Posted in Veterans News

Parades Planned Across America on Veterans Day

Ceremonies and parades across the country show America’s gratitude.

By Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

Monday, November 10, 2014

“We pray and promise that those who have served and are still serving will never be forgotten, that returning warriors will not bear their wounds alone, that their families will receive help in facing uncertain futures, and that we, as a grateful nation, will embrace and care for survivors of those who do not return.”
Robert A. McDonald, Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs

On Veterans Day, we celebrate the service, sacrifice and enduring achievements of almost 22 million living Americans who served our nation in uniform – at home and abroad – during times of both war and peace.

On the 11th day of the 11th month, as we have in so many years past,…

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Thousands Sign Up for Dental Insurance

VA creating partnerships with the private sector for high-quality care.

By Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

Thursday, November 13, 2014

More than 64,000 eligible Veterans and Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) beneficiaries have taken advantage of the discounted dental insurance plans offered through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP).

The program is a partnership between VA, Delta Dental and MetLife.

VADIP, which launched Nov. 15, 2013, is a three-year pilot program designed for Veterans with no dental coverage and those eligible for VA dental care who would like to purchase additional coverage. Participation does not affect individuals’ entitlement to VA dental services and treatment.

There are no eligibility limitations based on…

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Impact of a shutdown on contractors means lost wages, project delays

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Government contractors are often overlooked when it comes to the threat of a government shutdown. And as the most current threat becomes more and more real, many are waiting for guidance from their agency customers.

“We are hearing there is a lack of communication,” said David Berteau, the CEO of the Professional Services Council, an industry association. “We saw cases in 2013 where the contracting officer and contracting officer representative for a program gave direction to the contractor and put them on the list of cleared individuals, but when they showed up at the base or installation, there was no guard or the guard didn’t let them in. There were a lot of those disconnects in 2013. If a shutdown happens this time, the same thing may happen.”

PSC, the IT Alliance for Public Sector and the Coalition for Government Procurement are offering resources centers for contractors as they plan for a possible partial shutdown.

The Defense Department provided guidance to employees about how to address contractor employees.


“Contractors performing under a fully funded contract…

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National Defense Strategy a ‘Good Fit for Our Times,’ Mattis Says > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2018 —

The new National Defense Strategy is a good fit for the times, emphasizing the return of great power rivalry, yet still addressing other threats that abound in the world today, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said today.

The secretary unveiled the strategy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and stressed that the strategy is not merely a defense strategy, but an American strategy. The school is a division of the Johns Hopkins University based in Washington.

The strategy — the first new strategy in a decade — is based on the National Security Strategy President Donald J. Trump announced in December.

New Strategy Reclaims ‘An Era of Strategic Purpose’

“Today, America’s military reclaims an era of strategic purpose and we’re alert to the realities of a changing world and attentive to the need to protect our values and the countries that stand with us,” the secretary said. “America’s military protects our way of life and I want to point out it also protects a realm of ideas. It’s not just about protecting geography. This is a defense strategy that will guide our efforts in all…

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Just Saying No to Pain Meds

Dr. Robert Friedman uses Chinese pulse diagnosis to determine deficiencies or excesses in a patient’s energy in order to guide acupuncture treatment. The technique is well over 2,000 years old.

By Tom Cramer, VA Staff Writer

Monday, November 17, 2014

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple Inc., once made the following observation: “Less is more and usually more effective.”

Increasingly, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appears to be taking the same view when it comes to dispensing pain medications. At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, for example, a little less than three percent of the total patient population is on chronic opioid therapy. That’s five percent below the national percentage for patients receiving such drugs.

An opioid is a drug such as…

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Shutdown could cause court martial for some troops in debt

Active-duty service members will have to report for duty if the government closes, but that doesn’t mean they will get paid and that could have some huge repercussions for military families.

One of the most worrisome for service members is the fact that 49 percent of military families have less than $5,000 in savings, according to the 2017 Military Family Lifestyle Survey.

Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families, says the lack of savings combined with a period of no pay could put some service members in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The code states any service member who borrows money and dishonorably fails to pay is in violation and shall be punished by a military court.


The maximum punishment is six months on confinement. Obviously, a person’s military career is severely hampered if found guilty as well.

Possible court martial isn’t the only thing threatening military families during a shutdown.

Kelly Hruska, the government relations director for the National Military Family Association, said if a service member is killed during a shutdown, the family will not receive the death gratuity until the government reopens.

“You just lost your…

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Shutdown Affects Quality of Life, Family Readiness Programs > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2018 —

The government shutdown that began at midnight will affect the operating status of quality of life and family readiness programs offered by the Defense Department to service members and their families, Pentagon officials said.

Operating hours and status may vary at the local installation level, officials said in a statement, adding that addresses and phone numbers for installation and state resources available to active duty, National Guard and reserve service and family members at the Military Installations website.

“We are working with each of the military services to keep as many doors open as possible during the government shutdown,” Julie Blanks, the acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, said. “We will be operating within the fiscal guidance passed down from senior Defense Department leadership.”

Guidance on Specific Activities

The list below provides guidance as to what to expect regarding the operating status of these programs while the government is shut down:

Military OneSource: The Military OneSource website and call center will remain fully operational. Military OneSource is a…

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Brain Bank to Help in Treatment of PTSD

Dr. Matthew Friedman

By George Decker, Public Affairs Officer, VA National Center for PTSD

Monday, November 24, 2014

There are currently more than 50 brain banks in the United States. The focus of these brain tissue repositories is on investigating alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia and a variety of neurological disorders. Yet there has never been a PTSD brain bank — until now.

With recently appropriated funding from Congress, the National Center for PTSD is leading a research consortium developing a national PTSD brain bank. This will be the first brain tissue repository dedicated to researching the physical impact of stress, trauma and PTSD on brain tissue, thereby advancing the scientific knowledge of PTSD, particularly PTSD biomarkers. Dr. Matthew Friedman, Senior…

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Military Working Dogs > U.S. Pacific Command > 2015

Yokota Air Base, Japan — The priority of safety and security of Yokota Air Base and its residents is second to none, and on the front lines of the base’s defense are some of the hardest working four legged members of Team Yokota.

The 374th Security Forces Squadron’s (SFS) military working dogs (MWD) and their handlers work long hours to ensure that no dangerous or illegal substances come through Yokota’s gates; they also regularly perform foot patrols, perimeter checks, random anti-terrorism measures and demonstrations for the public.

The specialties of the MWD teams at Yokota vary; some specialize in detecting drugs and others in explosives, but they are all certified patrol dogs that can search for and apprehend people, if required.

Senior Airman Mario Hernandez, 374 SFS MWD handler, is new to the MWD force and his first MWD partner is eight year old MWD veteran, Demo.

According to Hernandez, the hardest part for the dogs while searching, besides environmental factors such as temperature, wind and humidity is the relationship between the handler and the dog.

“Each dog has their own personality,” said Hernandez. “If the dogs don’t trust you, it will be hard to work…

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Giving Thanks … with Empathy and Hope

Patricia (PJ) Johnson and Army Veteran Teddy Rosario

By Claudie Benjamin, Public Affairs Specialist, VA New York Harbor Healthcare System

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Patricia Johnson is helping to provide a few friends with a Thanksgiving dinner. About 110 of them, actually, all Veterans for whom she says, “We can’t do enough.”

The annual dinner at the NY Harbor Health Care System Mental Health Clinic is scheduled the day before Thanksgiving. As Johnson, known as “PJ” to her many friends, puts it, “We are thankful for the many freedoms these Veterans have given us. When I was in college, I could go dancing but these guys were in foxholes. I am just so thankful I can now do something for them.”

A lot of Veterans who will be at the Thanksgiving dinner are also very thankful for PJ….

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