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IAVA | November 2, 2015

IAVA Daily News Brief – November 2, 2015

Navy Diver 2nd Class David Close, assigned to Commander Task Group (CTG) 56.1, conducts a ship's husbandry dive to inspect running gear. CTG 56.1 conducts mine countermeasures, explosive ordnance disposal, salvage-diving, and force protection operations throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. | Military Times >>
Navy Diver 2nd Class David Close, assigned to Commander Task Group (CTG) 56.1, conducts a ship’s husbandry dive to inspect running gear. CTG 56.1 conducts mine countermeasures, explosive ordnance disposal, salvage-diving, and force protection operations throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. | Military Times >>


Today’s Top Stories

IG probes uncover more problems at VA hospitals
Three new reports were released this week demonstrating deficiencies at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals. The VA Office of Inspector General (IG) released separate reports on clinics in Alaska, Illinois and California showing protracted delays and mismanagement at the hospitals dedicated to providing care for veterans. | The Hill >>

Generous GI Bill isn’t keeping today’s veterans out of student loan debt
Despite the generous benefits of the latest GI Bill, military veterans attending college are taking out substantial student loans, raising concerns among veterans’ organizations that they are unnecessarily diving into debt. | LA Times >>

How a Marine Unit’s High Suicide Rate Got That Way
Since coming back from Afghanistan in 2008, the hard-hit Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment has struggled to adjust. The battalion, known as the 2/7, lost 20 men in war. In the years since, it has lost 13 more to suicide. The battalion now has a suicide rate 14 times that for all Americans. | New York Times >>


A rocket apparently fired by fighters from the radical Islamic State movement has hit a mosque in eastern Afghanistan, killing six worshippers and wounding four others, a local official said on Saturday. | Reuters >>

A multi-day operation in southern Afghanistan this month that involved 200 Special Operations forces and scores of American airstrikes targeted what was “probably the largest” al-Qaeda training camp found in the 14-year Afghan war, the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan said on Friday. | Washington Post >>

The school is run by fighters who pledged allegiance to ISIS — the terrorist group that declared an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria. They live among the locals in the village of Shaigal, take local wives and collect taxes. They seem to control every aspect of life. | PBS Frontline >>


The US is to station troops in Syria to assist in the fight against Isis for the first time, a reversal of President Barack Obama’s opposition to basing US forces in the country. No more than 50 troops will be sent to offer advice and support to the moderate opposition troops, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said on Friday. He insisted it was not a combat role. | The Independent >>

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is condemning the attack at an Iraqi camp housing Iranian refugees that killed at least 26 people and wounded many more. Ban called on Iraq to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice and reminded the government “of its responsibility to provide for the safety and security of the camp’s residents,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday. | Associated Press >>

The spokesman for Iraq’s defense ministry says the Iraqi military has temporary halted its offensive to retake the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State group due to inclement weather. | Associated Press >>

Military Affairs

U.S. leaders are increasingly worried that Russia’s submarines could sever the communication arteries that drive global commerce. The communications cables criss-cross tens of thousands of miles of ocean to relay Internet and phone data between continents. | Navy Times >>

French train hero Spencer Stone was promoted to staff sergeant Friday at a ceremony at Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento. After Stone and two friends received international acclaim for thwarting a terrorist attack on a Paris bound train in August, Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh ordered that Stone be promoted to staff sergeant. | Air Force times >>

Fan of the M4A1 and M4? So is the U.S. Army. More of the popular weapons will be making their way into the hands of troops. The Army has ordered $212 million worth of M4 and M4A1 carbines from Colt Defense and FN America. | Fox News >>


Sometimes, Alexis Duhon says, people are surprised to learn she’s a veteran. That’s bound to change. In spite of ongoing debates about the role of women in combat and ongoing scandals about military sexual assault, the number of women in the armed forces is growing, which means the number of female veterans is growing. | Peoria Star Journal >>

Sitting on the bank of the Snake River, whittling a linked chain from a piece of redwood, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Gary Shoemaker lost track of time. The 38-year-old Boise, Idaho, resident laughed with other veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, told stories and enjoyed the tranquil scene at A.J. DeRosa’s tipi camp. The men traded good-natured barbs about their particular military branches, shared tales of illness and treatment, and focused on their hobby. | Associated Press >>

Former Navy SEAL Andy Stumpf wants to raise $1 million for the Navy SEAL Foundation, a non-profit that supports the families of fallen SEALs, by jumping out of a plane at 36,500 feet. His jump aims to break the wing suit overland distance world record of 17.83 miles. | We Are The Mighty >>

Inside Washington

The chief of staff at a much-criticized Wisconsin Veterans Affairs Medical Center, who was nicknamed “candy man” by some patients for allegedly handing out excess narcotics, was notified Friday that he would be fired. | Military Times >>

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Saturday announced a plan to reform the veterans health system at a rally in Norfolk, Va. “We’re going to take care of those wounded warriors and we’re going to take care of our vets better than anybody.”he said, speaking in front the USS Wisconsin — the same spot where now-Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was formally introduced as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. | The Hill >>

The federal government awarded a final construction contract Friday to complete an over-budget veterans medical center outside Denver by January 2018. The contract authorizes builder Kiewit-Turner to spend about $571 million more to finish the facility, on top of nearly $1.1 billion already spent. | Associated Press >>

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