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IAVA Daily News Brief – Thursday, August 20, 2015

Members of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor and supporting participants honored their WWII brethren who were forced to endure a 60 mile march infamously known as the Bataan Death March during the 18th Annual Bataan Memorial March. | Military Times >>

Members of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor and supporting participants honored their WWII brethren who were forced to endure a 60 mile march infamously known as the Bataan Death March during the 18th Annual Bataan Memorial March. | Military Times >>

 

TODAY’S TOP STORIES
Coffman calls on VA Secretary to hold managers accountable U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman suggested Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has an internal policy preventing it from working out a dispute with whistle-blowers who are accusing a VA supervisor of sexual harassment and assault. In a letter to VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald, the Aurora Republican said the VA “may have an informal policy to not enter into monetary settlements with whistle-blowers” to avoid a review by the department’s Office of Accountability Review. | Denver Post >>

Survey: Most Americans think government is failing vets
A majority of Americans don’t think the U.S. government or American businesses are doing enough to help veterans, and few believe that charities are doing enough to help cover those unmet needs, according to a survey released Wednesday. | Military Times >>

Proposed Syracuse University medical school to specialize in veteran healthcare
As the U.S. healthcare industry continues to expand and undergo reform, medical schools across the country have begun focusing on preparing graduates to meet the demands of a changing health care system. Syracuse University’s recent proposal to open a medical school specializing in veterans’ health care is reflective of the nationwide effort. | USA Today >>

AFGHANISTAN
Afghanistan has summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to explain fighting between the two countries’ security forces that killed up to eight Afghan border police. Cooperation between the two neighbors, both battling militant insurgencies is seen as key to peace in Afghanistan, since Pakistan is widely believed to wield considerable influence over the Taliban and allied militants. | Reuters >>

Afghan security forces have “tactically retreated” from a key district in the southern province of Helmand that foreign troops battled for years to secure, as the Taliban make a late summer push to expand areas they control in a traditional stronghold. | Reuters >>

The family gathered for a private briefing at the Pentagon, intent on learning the details of how an Afghan soldier had fatally shot their loved one, Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, the highest-ranking American officer killed in a combat zone since the Vietnam War. | Washington Post >>

IRAQ
The United States and its allies launched 26 air strikes on Tuesday against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, according to the Combined Joint Task Force leading the air operations. In Iraq, 18 air strikes targeted the militant group and its operations near eight cities, the task force said in a statement on Wednesday. | Reuters >>

A Marine expeditionary unit deployed in the Persian Gulf began conducting airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq this week, officials with the MEU said. Marine AV-8B Harriers with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 attached to the 15th MEU, out of Camp Pendleton, California, began flying expeditionary strike sorties Aug. 16 from the amphibious assault ship Essex in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, said Capt. Brian Block, a spokesman for the unit. | Marine Corps Times >>

Top officials ignored ample warnings of an impending attack on Iraq’s second city Mosul and grossly mismanaged the crisis that saw jihadists seize it. | AFP >>

MILITARY AFFAIRS
Two female soldiers are set on Friday to graduate from the Army’s Ranger School, the grueling nine-week training and leadership course that just two out of every five candidates pass. But the two women, First Lt. Kristen Griest and Lt. Shaye Haver, already have experience in jobs that could take them near the front lines. They are the latest in a long line of female fighters who pushed the military’s barriers on what is considered women’s work. In fact, the tradition extends back to 1781. | New York Times >>

The graduation of Haver and Griest, both in their 20s and alumnae of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., increases pressure on the Army to integrate women into more combat jobs. They have not previously been identified by the Army, but The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Georgia were able to do so after observing Ranger School training several times this year. | Washington Post >>

For the roomful of grizzled sergeants major in suits, the slides of Facebook metrics and Twitter case studies were a stark indicator that the Marine Corps has changed since they first stood on the yellow footprints. | Marine Corps Times >>

#VETSRISING
When faced with a room full of troops and veterans hoping to become entrepreneurs, James Williams likes to ask whether anyone has had someone laugh at their business idea. He gets plenty of raised hands. Then he launches into his signature story about a group of his peers in Bridgeport, Conn., who couldn’t afford college after graduating high school. They told Williams and his friends that they planned to sell sandwiches to raise money for tuition. | Stars and Stripes >>

Krutsinger and a team of veterans train dogs and their owners in classes each week. Bigger dogs help people with balance issues or who can’t walk. Smaller dogs help those with PTSD, diabetes or seizures. At first, Krutsinger says many veterans are nervous about the class. “It’s like a foreign language to learn all this. And it’s hard on them when they’re already struggling on some level,” she said. | The Southern >>

Anthony Cerezo of Quakertown is a combat veteran who fought in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. When he came back home, like many soldiers with physical and mental wounds, he had a hard time blending back into civilian life. But then he heard about the Wounded Warrior Project from his battle brothers and felt like he was thrown a lifeline. | The Philadelphia Enquirer >>

INSIDE WASHINGTON
The Air Force is still fighting to stop Congress from cutting Basic Allowance for Housing for dual-military couples, Secretary Deborah Lee James told airmen Tuesday. “We have been very vocal with members and staff that we oppose this provision as we think it’s unfair to certain airmen. We will keep up our efforts,” she posted on Facebook in answer to questions during a social media town hall. Stopping the proposal is one of her top priorities, she said. | Air Force Times >>

The Los Angeles VA shredded veterans’ benefit claims without ever processing them, the department’s inspector general said in a report Tuesday that suggests the problems exposed last year continue. Investigators auditing the Los Angeles office of the Department of Veterans Affairs found eight benefits claims that were designated for shredding, instead of being processed and entered into the agency’s electronic system. | Washington Times >>

A Veterans Affairs Department investigation into the death of a former Marine at the Tomah, Wisconsin, VA Medical Center found the staff failed to properly prescribe medications and blundered the medical response when the veteran was found unresponsive in his bed. | Military Times >>

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