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First Operational Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A Makes Its Debut at Misawa Air Base > U.S. Pacific Command > 2015

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Blue skies and snowy mountains welcomed the first operational Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A Lightning II during an arrival ceremony at Misawa Air Base, Jan. 26.

In the upcoming Japanese fiscal year, nine more aircraft will join this one to incept the first fifth-generation fighter squadron as part of the JASDF’s 3rd Air Wing.

“The F-35A will bring transformation in air defense power and significantly contribute to the peace for citizens and ensure security,” said JASDF Maj. Gen. Kenichi Samejima, the 3rd AW commander. “All service members will do their best to secure flight safety and promptly establish an operational [squadron] structure step-by-step.”

The aircraft is a high-performance, multirole aircraft with advanced electronics designed to heighten situational awareness and distribute more information to pilots than any other fighter aircraft, giving operators a critical advantage over adversaries. Japan is one of 12 countries to purchase the F-35A in efforts to maximize air superiority.

“This aircraft represents not only a big step forward in technological advancements and combat capabilities but also in U.S.-Japan relations,” said…

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One of Those Things You Gotta Do – The Flu Shot — Veterans Health Administration

Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

Monday, November 4, 2013

Yeah, you have to carve out about an hour to get it done — where can I get my flu shot? How long will it take? How long will my arm be sore?

But, boy is it worth it! You don’t want to be the one about Super Bowl time who gets banished to the basement with all your pills because you have THE FLU!

This is serious stuff. Tens of thousands die each year of flu and pneumonia.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.

Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.

Want to find out everything you need to know about the flu? Start here.

It’s time. Get your flu shot. Flu shots are available for Veterans enrolled in VA…

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Shanahan Asks All DoD Personnel to Read, Internalize New Defense Strategy > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article



WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2018 —

All DoD personnel need to read and internalize the new National Defense Strategy, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said here Jan. 19.

“This is not a document; it is a means to an end,” the deputy secretary said in an interview. “The strategy creates alignment and transparency.”

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis unveiled the bones of the strategy during a speech at the Johns Hopkins Paul Nitze School for Advanced International Studies in Washington. An 11-page summary of the strategy is available on the Defense Department’s website.

Shanahan said he wants the more than 2 million members of DoD to be in alignment with the strategy to create a powerful impetus to making the joint force more lethal, helping DoD to strengthen old alliances and build new partnerships, and reforming the way the department does business.

“When you have a common understanding of priorities and a common lexicon, we’re the most powerful team in the world,” Shanahan said.

Foundational for Future Budgets

The NDS is foundational, the deputy secretary said. “As we put together the fiscal 2019 budget, it was derived from…

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With Honor Wants to Elect More Veterans—From Both Parties

Even the most optimistic interpretation of this week’s government shutdown quickly slides into the abyss of the bottomless distrust between Republicans and Democrats in the House.

The brief standoff over immigration and funding the government mostly dramatized Washington’s dysfunction. But it offered one glimmer of the hope when about two dozen senators from both parties coalesced to urge a quick resolution that reopened the government.

That loose alliance is now expressing optimism it can reach agreements on other thorny issues, starting with the long-term fate of the roughly 800,000 “dreamers” brought to the U.S. illegally as children by their parents. President Trump in September ended an Obama-era program that shielded them from deportation, though a federal District Court has temporarily blocked his decision.

Yet even if the Senate can come together on the “dreamers” or other issues, any such cooperation would confront the chasm between the parties in the House. GOP leaders there have already indicated they don’t feel bound to even consider the legislation if the Senate approves a deal.

Enter a new organization called With Honor.

The group, which is…

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Quitting Smoking Redefines Glamour and Success — Veterans Health Administration

“Today, I’m symptom-free and feel great.”

by Dore Mobley, VA Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Glamour and success have new meanings for Myriam Leonardo, an Army Veteran who receives care at the Puerto Rico VA medical center. Glamour is now defined by good health while success is defined by five months of being smoke-free.

“I started smoking to look glamorous like a lot of women did in the 80s,” said Myriam. “In the movies and in advertisements, smoking was portrayed as being glamorous so I thought smoking made me look cool.”

Her on again-off again relationship with cigarettes began at 16 years old and continued until she became pregnant with her first child and successfully kicked the habit for 10 years before succumbing to the old cravings.

She had tried to quit in the past using nicotine gum, patches, and “everything except voodoo.” But after developing a nagging cough, persistent sore throat, and an unexplained tingling sensation in her fingers, she went to the VA for help.

“I got scared when the doctor told me I was on my way to causing permanent damage to myself,” she said. “He told me I had to stop and that made a lot of sense.”

As a doctor herself,…

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Octavia Harris: San Antonio Veteran Helping Shape Women’s Care At VA

There are over 2.2 million women veterans in the U.S., and about 37,000 in San Antonio alone. Many seek care through the VA Health System. In January, a local veteran named Octavia Harris was tapped to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Advisory Committee on Women Veterans. She’ll have the ear of VA Secretary David Shulkin for the next two years, and be able to offer input on policies that affect healthcare for women veterans nationwide.

“The women veteran population is growing exponentially,” Harris said. “We’re about 10 percent of the veteran population now. That number is growing. The needs of women veterans cross over to some of the same needs as male veterans, but we also have specific and unique issues. Those things we like to bring to life.”

The committee has previously offered its input on topics like gynecological services, therapies and protocols for military sexual trauma, homelessness, vocational rehabilitation, claims processing and recreational therapy.

Every two years, the Advisory Committee on of Women Veterans issues an official report that goes all the way to Congress through the VA secretary. In 2016, it recommended that…

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DoD Launches Initiative to Inform Americans of Military Life > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article



WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2018 —

It is a sign of America’s disconnect with its military that there are those who believe that when a person joins the military, that person cannot have a spouse or children or pets, said Amber Smith, the deputy assistant to the secretary of defense for outreach.

This misperception may be extreme, but there are other and it’s one reason why DoD is launching an outreach program on Feb. 1 called “This Is Your Military.” The program is designed “to inform and educate the American public on who is serving in the military today,” Smith said during a Pentagon news conference today.

Less than 1 percent of Americans serve in the military and the number of Americans with firsthand experience with service members or veterans has declined precipitously since the beginning of the all-volunteer military in 1973.

‘A Force for Good’

“We want to show [Americans] how the military is relevant to their everyday lives; we want to show how innovative the military is and how we are a force for good,” she said.

The initiative will highlight the lives of those serve and give a balanced view of military service and life, said…

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Homeless Women Vets Find Comfort, Hope — Veterans Health Administration

Melinda Lindsay, a resident of the Veterans Domiciliary at Wade Park, in Cleveland, works on her resume with a little help from Domiciliary Chief Patricia James-Stewart.

by Tom Cramer, VA Staff Writer

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Melinda Lindsay was discharged from the Army in 1984 and then spent the next 25 years on drugs, alcohol and on the street.

“I went to the party and just stayed there,” she explained. “I was on alcohol and crack for a lot of years. I was using every day, all day.”

Things are a little different for Lindsay now. She’s taking some college courses and living at the Veterans Domiciliary at Wade Park, in Cleveland — a place where homeless Veterans can come to heal themselves and rebuild their lives.

Free at Last

“I’ll have four years clean next month,” Lindsay said proudly. “My mind is free now. I just need to stay focused. First and foremost, I need to stay clean and sober.”

The Wade Park Domiciliary is a unique partnership between the Cleveland VA Medical Center and Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio, a marriage that may be the first of its kind in the entire country. Operating since 2011, it serves as a classic example of VA’s continuing…

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Mobile food pantry for veterans starts distributing food – KXXV-TV News Channel 25

Source: KXXV

TEMPLE, TX (KXXV) –

The Central Texas Food Bank has partnered with the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System and Feeding America to distribute food to veterans once a month in Temple.

The mobile food pantry will be at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. the fourth Thursday of each month.

Central Texas Food Bank Chief Development Officer Mark Jackson said 1 out of 6 of Central Texans is at risk of hunger. In addition, he said from those they serve, about 25 percent of them have at least one servicemember or a veteran in their households.

“We are just grateful that we are given the opportunity to give back to people who have given so much for this country. We can’t have our veterans going hungry,” Jackson said.

In December, Central Texas Food Bank served 170 families during a food distribution for veterans in Temple. Jackson anticipated serving over 170 families on Thursday morning.

U.S. Army Veteran Larry Gill who got food from the mobile pantry is grateful for the help. The 57-year-old said with his income he is not able to afford the groceries he may need.

‘I’m just grateful to be here today and this is a blessing from God for me. I was…

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