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IAVA | December 4, 2015

IAVA Daily News Brief – December 4, 2015

Parris Island’s mascot, Cpl. Legend, salutes officers of Mike Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, and November Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, during the motivational run. | Military Times >>
Parris Island’s mascot, Cpl. Legend, salutes officers of Mike Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, and November Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, during the motivational run. | Military Times >>


Today’s Top Stories

All Combat Roles Now Open to Women, Pentagon Says
In a historic shift in policy, the Pentagon will open all combat jobs to women, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday. “Our force of the future must continue to benefit from the best America has to offer,” Carter told reporters during a Pentagon press conference. “This includes women.” | NBC News >>

High veteran unemployment appears to be in the past, but the push for more hires continues
High veteran unemployment, once rampant among those returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, appears to be a thing of the past, based on data from the Labor Department. The most recent unemployment rate for veterans who served after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, was 4.6% — essentially the same as the rate for nonveterans. That’s 142,000 recent veterans out of work. An additional 280,000 veterans from other eras are also without jobs. | LA Times >>

Demotions for 2 Top VA Employees on Hold
The Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday that it has rescinded the demotions of two high-ranking officials, but will reissue them after a paperwork mix-up in the case is resolved. In November, Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves were demoted from senior executives — the highest rank for career employees — to general workers within the Veterans Benefits Administration. | Associated Press >>


The Pentagon lavished nearly $150m of taxpayer money on villas with private security, flat screen TVs and three course meals for “special events” for US government staff in Afghanistan, an official watchdog has found. | The Guardian >>

A series of home raids by C.I.A.-trained Afghan counterterrorism forces in the past month resulted in the deaths of at least six innocent civilians, according to Afghan government officials, reviving an issue that has been a chronic source of tension between Afghanistan and the United States. | New York Times >>

A former Russian military tank commander convicted of leading a Taliban attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan is set to be sentenced. Sentencing for Irek Hamidullin is scheduled Thursday at the federal court in Richmond. | Associated Press >>


President Barack Obama defended his administration‘s decision to send more special forces to Iraq and Syria in the fight against the Islamic State, calling the “specialized expeditionary targeting force”” announced by Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Congress earlier this week a necessity to accomplish U.S. and coalition goals to take out the terrorist group. | Politico >>

Marines are regularly flying over both Iraq and Syria to provide an airborne force capable of responding quickly if a coalition aircraft goes down and a pilot or air crew needs rescuing, said the commanding officer of a unit that returned from Iraq this fall. | Washington Post >>

A new force of special operations troops being deployed by the United States to Iraq will likely number around 100, U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren said on Wednesday. “It will be … probably around 100, maybe a little bit less,” said Warren, a spokesman for the U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State. | Reuters >>

Military Affairs

A retired Army officer who took a civilian job in the ROTC office at the University of Portland has filed a federal lawsuit saying that co-workers belittled him because of disabilities he suffered in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. | The Oregonian >>

NOAA and University of Hawaii archaeologists today released rare images of a U.S. Navy airplane sunk during the opening minutes of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on Oahu on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States’ entry into World War II. | NOAA >>

Two Army pilots were killed when their helicopter crashed near Fort Campbell in rural Tennessee, the military said. The two crew members were flying a two-seat AH-64D Apache during a routine training mission when the helicopter went down around 7 p.m. Wednesday, a news release from the Army’s 101st Airborne Division said. | Associated Press >>


Manny Parra doesn’t have a personal motto. However, if he did, it would be “Go hard.” This 29-year-old former Green Beret has managed to leverage every opportunity to push himself, out working and out learning his peers. This approach led him to starting his own fitness company, Revive, which makes it easier and cheaper for people to find and join group exercise classes. | Task & Purpose >>

They are much more comfortable in uniforms and most have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. But these 12 female veterans are now showing there is much more to them outside of their service, channeling a nostalgic Marilyn Monroe-inspired look to pose as 1940s-style Pin Ups for a charity calendar. | Daily Mail >>

The students in Ms. Warrens’ AP Psychology classes welcomed two very special guests on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Retired Captain John “Jack” Capra and his service dog, Rocco, spent the day at Bartram Trail High School sharing their story. | Saint Johns Sun >>

Inside Washington

The Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Health Care System has sent letters to 400 veterans who might have crossed paths with someone diagnosed with tuberculosis last month. Doctors confirmed the patient’s bacterial infection on Nov. 17 and say the veteran is responding well to antibiotics. | Associated Press >>

Thursday’s decision to open all military jobs to women — including combat roles — earned both praise and promises of closer scrutiny from members of Congress. At a Pentagon press conference, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the military will open all combat jobs to women early next year, with “no exceptions.” | Military Times >>

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is making its services more available to student military veterans by bringing a portable outreach unit to the Ohio State campus. Resembling a bloodmobile, the mobile unit is staffed with nurses, nurse practitioners and volunteers to provide services ranging from medical care and flu shots to mental health screenings. | The Lantern >>

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