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IAVA | May 11, 2015

IAVA Daily News Brief – May 11, 2015

Lt. Col. Christine Mau, 33rd Operations Group deputy commander, prepares to exit an F-35A after completing her first training flight at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. | Military Times >>
Lt. Col. Christine Mau, 33rd Operations Group deputy commander, prepares to exit an F-35A after completing her first training flight at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. | Military Times >>


Today’s Top Stories

Interim Medical Director: We aren’t done fixing the VA
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald said last August, “It is critical that we continue to listen and learn directly from those who use our system.” It’s one way for us to start rebuilding the trust with veterans which was broken here and other places last year. | The Arizona Republic >>

New studies focus on service dogs and PTSD
New research is under way at Purdue University to determine whether service dogs can alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Marguerite O’Haire, an assistant professor of human-animal interaction at the school’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is leading a study of 100 post-9/11 veterans to see if a dog trained to help a veteran with PTSD influences medical symptoms, social anxiety, relationships and more. | Military Times >>

Vets and Others With PTSD Age Faster
People who suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome — such as war veterans, sexual abuse victims and earthquake survivors among others — will die earlier than the general population because of changes to their physiology, according to new research. | Discovery News >>


Inside a former U.S. military combat outpost, still ringed by curled barbed wire and blast walls, several massive generators are silent. Outside, factories that depend on the machines for electricity are either shuttered or on the brink of closing. | Washington Post >>

Four members of Congress – including two from Southern California – made an early Mother’s Day trip last week to Afghanistan to talk with women serving there in the U.S. military, as well as Afghan women. | LA Times >>

Dozens of Taliban fighters attacked local government buildings in a district of northwestern Afghanistan on Sunday and may have captured the whole area, officials said. | Reuters >>


As Iraq’s government attempts to reclaim territory seized by the extremist group Islamic State, it has accepted military aid from two rival powers, the United States and Iran. It is a difficult balancing act. | LA Times >>

At least 40 inmates, including prisoners with suspected links to the Islamic State, escaped a prison in eastern Iraq early Saturday after overpowering guards, Iraqi officials said. | Washington Post >>

More than 1,000 recruits stood at attention in fatigues, their heads held high, during a ceremony Friday for what Iraqi officials hope marks the formation of a force to push out the Islamic State militants who control most of Anbar. | Washington Post >>

Military Affairs

The Department of Defense paid NFL teams more than $5 million over four years to buy moments that honored troops. It’s disingenuous — and also par for the course for the NFL’s operations. | SB Nation >>

Fix the fitness test. Improve education and training opportunities for enlisted soldiers. Enforce standards. Come up with an “Army brand” that the service can stand behind. The proposals aren’t new. In the wrong hands, they can become grist for a gripe session — a list of problems without thought-out approaches to solutions. | Army Times >>

As Marines bolster their presence in Africa, they are sparking a close relationship with Army Green Berets who have long-time experience on the continent. | Marine Corps Times >>


Tice Ridley, a decorated U.S. war veteran, drew a deep, cleansing breath as he considered the view through large, floor-to-ceiling windows at the Circle of Veterans Ranch. In the near distance, a pair of miniature horses, Shooter and Rikki, passed their time in the shade of a large tree, as Spirit, a mild-mannered Appaloosa, sauntered in the sun. | The Tampa Tribune >>

Disabled Marine Corps veteran Andrew Dye was walking toward the entrance of the Poughkeepsie Galleria’s Target store when he saw the “service dog” collar on a German Shepherd as the dog rested on the sidewalk. | Times Herald-Record >>

Nate Boyer, 34-year-old veteran of three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, walked up to the podium just beyond the Seattle Seahawks’ lush practice field. He squinted into the sun, into the cameras trained on him, into the reporters five rows deep wanting to talk to him. | The News Tribune >>

Inside Washington

At a town hall meeting hosted Saturday by the Department of Veterans Affairs, former service members spoke of their struggle to receive benefits and medical care for ailments that have worsened as they age. | Philadelphia Inquirer >>

John MacPhee, who was in the first wave of troops to hit Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, has to travel to Tampa from his home in Sun City Center for some of the medical care he receives from the Department of Veterans Affairs. At 91, he would much prefer to seek medical treatment closer to home. He’s not alone. | The Tampa Tribune >>

The lawsuit says U.S. Army veteran Gene Spencer was at the Phoenix VA Medical Center on Oct. 5, 2012, when a physician told him cancer had metastasized in his lungs and he should go home to prepare for the end. | The Arizona Republic >>

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