Posted in Veterans News

Basic Training Flightmates Serve Together 21 Years Later > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


By Air Force Master Sgt. Phil Speck

379th Air Expeditionary Wing


AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar, Jan. 9, 2018 —

It all started in 1996. One kid from Prattville, Alabama, and another from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, took a bus to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. They were both a little scared and excited to become the Air Force’s newest airmen.

Though they spent six weeks together in the same flight at basic military training, their Air Force journeys separated them by thousands of miles and trips around the world after graduation.

Twenty-one years later, the Air Force brought Air Force Maj. Nick Hardeman, the distribution flight commander for the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Nathan McCoy, the chief enlisted manager, together again here.

Hardeman said he vividly remembers sitting in the day room on their first day of BMT with his flightmates as the military training instructors asked for volunteers for dorm chief and element leaders. Most trainees were too scared to speak up at first as they were told “Don’t volunteer for anything” before leaving for BMT.

“What I remember…

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All Female Anti-Poaching Combat Unit – In Pictures

Zimbabwe’s Anti-Poaching Success: In between nursing, women hold the front line. [From The Guardian]

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I was addicted and homeless. The VA took me in.

Vietnam Veteran Mike Doherty was homeless and addicted to pain killers and alcohol. He had hit bottom with no place to turn. But then a good friend drove him to the Pittsburgh VA. Read the full story

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Dedicated Lacey firefighter, dead at 40, was passionate role model for girls

Crystal Murphy served as a firefighter and EMT with Lacey Fire District 3 for nine years.

Crystal Murphy, a Lacey firefighter who mentored hundreds of girls interested in the fire service, died on Christmas Day. She was 40.

Lacey Fire District 3, where Murphy was a firefighter and EMT for nine years, announced her death earlier this week. Her cause of death was not released.

“She was a very, very dedicated public servant and a role model for firefighters, particularly women, in the fire service everywhere,” Lacey Fire Chief Steve Brook said Friday.

Murphy was known for her work as an advocate for diversifying the fire service. Nationally, about 4 percent of firefighters are women, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Murphy wanted to change that.

“Young girls aren’t taught that they can do a lot of things we do in the fire service,” said Kris Larson, a Los Angeles Fire Department battalion chief. “We wanted to show them that being a firefighter, which isn’t necessarily seen as a woman’s job, is an important passion.”

Larson met Murphy at Camp Blaze, a weeklong camp for…

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Airmen Keep A-10s Flying Despite Frigid Weather > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga., Jan. 9, 2018 —

After a snowstorm halted all flying and maintenance operations, the 75th Aircraft Maintenance Unit here took extra measures to ensure their A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft could operate in frigid temperatures.

The maintainers were able to get the A-10s flying and mission-ready within 24 hours by performing extra inspections and increasing their workload to get back on schedule.

“Ice can significantly reduce lift, increase drag and add significant weight to the aircraft, which can be dangerous.” said Air Force Senior Airman Carlos Ramon-Cruz, 75th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief. “We perform extra inspections and allow the aircraft to warm up longer to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Ice, Snow

“We keep an extra eye out for any ice or snow on the aircraft during conditions like this,” Ramon-Cruz added.

While aircraft are affected by the cold weather, the airmen working on them are also vulnerable to the frigid temperatures.

“The cold more affects the maintainers then it does the aircraft,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Zimmerman, 75th AMU superintendent. “The maintainers have to…

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AMC Band Adds Muscle Shoals Sound to Legacy > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala., Jan. 9, 2018 —

Armed with their instruments, soldiers with Army Materiel Command‘s unit band entered what many in the music industry consider hallowed ground.

Script lettering over a wood-paneled doorway reads: “Through these doors walk the finest musicians, songwriters, artists and producers in the world.”

The decor is dated and sparse, but plaques commemorating hit records and framed photos of renowned recording artists welcome visitors to Fame Studios. Within these walls, the legendary Muscle Shoals sound reverberates.

‘The History Here is Just Incredible’

“The history here is just incredible,” AMC Band Commander Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Bettencourt said. “All of us as musicians had a hero or somebody we grew up listening to, and it’s almost guaranteed they recorded somewhere here in this town. Every musician has their own story — and I think before each of our soldiers settles in to do their craft, they stop for a second to take it all in and appreciate where we are and what we’re actually doing.”

Bettencourt is the third warrant officer to lead the band since it came to its Redstone Arsenal…

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Tester Requests More Information on Executive Order to Expand Veterans Mental Health Care

Tester Requests More Information on Executive Order to Expand Veterans Mental Health Care

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[Podcast] #74: Aaron Slatton & Kirsten Battocchio – Student Veteran of the Year finalists

Each year Student Veterans of America choose an exceptional student Veteran as Student Veteran of the Year. This year, they narrowed it down to ten finalists, announcing the winner at the end of their national conference.

Student Veterans of America’s Student Veteran of the Year is someone who exemplifies the qualities of a servant leader. Student Veteran of the Year is a current SVA chapter executive with a demonstrated record of significantly improving their chapter, campus, and community over the past academic year. Student Veteran of the Year personifies SVA’s mission of supporting yesterday’s warriors, today’s scholars, and tomorrow’s leaders, with evident respect from their colleagues. Student Veteran of the Year is the public face and representative of the 1.1 million student veterans in higher education. We spoke with last year’s receipient, Kate Tillotson earlier last year.

This week, we are spotlighting 7-8 of this year’s finalists, including the person that was awarded Student Veteran of the Year. Today, we learn from two Marine Veterans, Aaron Slatton and Kirsten Battocchio. Each will tell us about military service, leading a Veterans group on campus, and…

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Trump Signs Order to Improve Mental Health Resources for Transitioning Veterans > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2018 —

Transitioning service members and veterans can now receive up to a year of mental health care from the Veterans Affairs Department after discharge from the service, according to an executive order President Donald J. Trump signed today.

The order, “Supporting Our Veterans During Their Transition From Uniformed Service to Civilian Life,” directs the Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security departments to develop a joint action plan to ensure the 60 percent of new veterans who now do not qualify for enrollment in health care — primarily because of a lack of verified service connection related to the medical issue at hand — will receive treatment and access to services for mental health care for one year following their separation from service.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the VA to ensure veterans who have served our country continue to receive the important mental health care and services they need and deserve,” said Defense Secretary James N. Mattis.

“We want them to get the highest care and the care that they so richly deserve, and I’ve been working very hard on that with [VA Secretary David J. Shulkin] and with…

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