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IAVA | April 23, 2015

IAVA Daily News Brief – April 23, 2015

Reconnaissance Training Company Marines received an aerial view of Camp Pendleton during Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction training at San Mateo Landing Zone.
Reconnaissance Training Company Marines received an aerial view of Camp Pendleton during Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction training at San Mateo Landing Zone. | Military Times >>


Today’s Top Stories 

Why is de Blasio AWOL when it comes to NYC’s veterans?
Paul Rieckhoff writes a blog for the New York Daily News: I’m an Iraq veteran and 9/11 first responder. My first combat activation began 14 years ago just south of City Hall when our city was attacked. My brothers and sisters in arms were united on that fateful day. And we are united again now. We are united in our disappointment in Mayor de Blasio for his total lack of leadership on veteran’s issues. | New York Daily News >>

Is she here for her husband? Her son? No. She’s a veteran, too.
As the number of female veterans continues to increase, a prominent veterans service organization is asking the federal government to conduct a study that would evaluate the Department of Veterans Affairs’ ability to meet the growing needs of women veterans and study their levels of privacy and security when they do seek treatment. | Washington Post >>

‘Veterans seal of approval’ for colleges
A proposal aimed at making it easier for veterans to get a college degree in Louisiana started moving in the state legislature, winning approval from the House Education Committee. | Military Times >>


The Afghan Taliban on Wednesday announced the start of its annual spring offensive, warning it would ramp up attacks on foreign embassies and government officials, as well as military targets, starting on Friday. | Reuters >>

A wave of kidnappings followed by numerous beheadings of members of Afghanistan’s Hazara ethnic group have spread alarm and anger among a people who have historically been this country’s most persecuted. | New York Times >>

Two Fort Bragg airmen will receive Silver Stars for their valor in a 48-hour battle in Afghanistan last year. Tech. Sgt. Matthew J. Greiner and Senior Airman Goodie Goodman will be honored with the nation’s third-highest award for valor during a ceremony on Fort Bragg’s Pope Field in early May, according to the 24th Special Operations Wing. | Fayetteville Observer >>


Russia is arming Iraq and Syria to help them fight Islamic State, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday, calling the radical militant group the main threat to his own country’s security. | Reuters >>

Even as the Islamic State takes body blows in Iraq from a U.S.-led coalition, the extremist group’s arms are extending elsewhere around the world. | USA Today >>

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on April 16, Dempsey dismissed the symbolic importance of Ramadi in the fight against the Islamic State militant group that has seized large amount of territory in Iraq. The city is home to more than 480,000 people, and was the site of fierce fighting that killed scores of U.S. troops during the Iraq War. | Washington Post >>

 Military Affairs

The Navy is considering extending production of its F/A-18 Super Hornet beyond 2017 because of delays in production of the Navy’s carrier-launched F-35C and increased demands on the Hornet fleet, service leaders said. | >>

It’s a mostly friendly family rivalry here in Washington state. But as Congress cuts $500 billion out of the Defense Department budget, the active Army and the National Guard are competing for the same dollars. | NPR >>

The Air Force is looking at big changes to its combat search and rescue fleet, possibly using the tilt rotor Osprey to carry pararescuemen in addition to its new combat rescue helicopter, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Wednesday. | Air Force Times >>


Juan Alonzo, 24, of Weslaco, Texas, who served five years in the U.S. Army including a tour in Iraq will be making personal history at the 38th George Paul Memorial Bull Riding this weekend. | Del Rio News-Herald >>

Tuesday afternoon, 31-year-old Pollock was back for his third trip to Santa Cruz with Amazing Surf Adventures’ Operation Surf. Wearing a lei and smiling around a few dozen people waving American flags outside the Dream Inn, he greeted new veterans who just arrived for six days of surfing in Santa Cruz and Capitola with Operation Surf. | Santa Cruz Sentinel >>

A local Army veteran has started a new mission in Shawnee. That mission? To serve those who have served our country with coffee. It’s a place where the highest priced cup o’ joe runs $1.65. Downtown Coffee House has been attracting people from all walks of life, many of them veterans. | KSHB 41 Kansas City >>

Inside Washington

Employees of the Philadelphia office said they have seen little change despite assurances just two days ago from VA Undersecretary Allison Hickey, who told reporters that managers had already fixed most of the problems identified in a scathing inspection report. The report said that employees altered paperwork, hid mail and ignored dates on claims to make processing times look faster. | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette >>

House appropriators on Wednesday advanced a $77 billion bill funding military construction projects and veterans’ benefits. The bill is scheduled to hit the House floor next week along with a $35 billion bill funding energy and water development programs. | The Hill >>

Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., is introducing legislation in the House on Wednesday that would bar inspectors general in the federal government from keeping from the public the findings of their investigations. | USA Today >>

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