Posted in Veterans News

U.S. Forces Japan Command Chief Welcomes Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A to Misawa > U.S. Pacific Command > 2015

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — The United States Forces Japan and 5th Air Force command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Terrence A. Greene, joined Misawa Air Base leadership in welcoming the first operational Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A Lightning II during a commemoration ceremony, Feb. 24.

In addition to attending the ceremony, the chief dedicated time with Team Misawa members the day prior emphasizing readiness, welfare and resiliency across all units on the installation.

“I am ecstatic to be here with our Japanese counterparts to help welcome their first fifth-generation aircraft into their fleet,” said Greene. “This visit gave me an opportunity to witness the strong bond shared among U.S. and Japan service members and assure them of their importance to the safety and security across Japan.”

The day before the ceremony, Greene visited U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy units and spoke directly with Team Misawa members and received a glimpse of their mission.

“It’s good for everyone who hasn’t met Chief Greene to put a face to his name,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Ostrowski, the 35th Fighter Wing protocol support staff NCO in charge. “His approachable…

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Female Veterans of Today Facing Vastly Different Health Issues Than Their Predecessors


Female Veterans of Today Facing Vastly Different Health Issues Than Their Predecessors

Service With a Smile — Dr. Manuel Morales, speaks with a staff member in his office. He says that the women he sees today, many in their teens and 20s, are coming to VA “with a whole different set of health issues than our older female Veterans.”

“Thirteen years ago, I was mainly seeing female Veterans from World War II, Vietnam and the first Gulf War. Their average age back then was about 55. We were treating them for things like uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and issues related to menopause.

“Today, the average age of my patients is 35. These women are Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them are in their teens or 20s, and so they’re coming to VA with a whole different set of health issues than our older female Veterans.”

Dr. Manuel Morales retired on the last day of June after spending more than a decade as a gynecologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs Central Texas Health Care System. During that time he’s seen some big changes at VA.

Morales, who continues to work at VA two days each week, said the female patients he cares for today are a different breed from…

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Senator Isakson pays tribute to the late Reverend Billy Graham

Senator Isakson pays tribute to the late Reverend Billy Graham

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DoD prepared to find lessons learned in audit it expects to fail

The Defense Department is working hard this year on an audit it will almost certainly fail. But, DoD leaders said Tuesday the review offers valuable insight not only into the way the Pentagon spends, but how it operates.

DoD remains the only federal agency that hasn’t passed a full-scale financial audit. Congress approved measures in recent years that would require the agency to overhaul its financial systems in order to prepare for its first-ever audit by September 2018.

Half a year away from that deadline, Tom Harker, the assistant secretary of the Navy’s financial management and comptroller office, said the Navy won’t receive a clean opinion from auditors reviewing its 2017 financial statements, but he said the feedback will give the military service a chance at a clean audit next year.

In managing expectations of the upcoming audit results, Harker said Navy Secretary Richard Spencer understands that this year’s outcome should serve as a roadmap to eventually earning a clean audit opinion in the next few years.


“Our secretary gets it,” Harker said Tuesday at the Association of Government Accountants’ National Leadership Training event in Washington. “He…

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VA Psychiatrist Named One of America’s Top Doctors for Fifth Time


VA Psychiatrist Named One of America’s Top Doctors for Fifth Time

Dr. Thomas R. Kosten of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston.

For the fifth year in a row a physician at the Houston VA Medical Center has been named one of ‘America’s Top Doctors’ by a leading health care company that rates physicians nationally.

For his work in treating drug addiction, Dr. Thomas R. Kosten, senior advisor on substance abuse at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, was recently named one of ‘America’s Top Doctors’ for the fifth time by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd.

“Only a small percentage of physicians have earned the prestigious recognition of America’s Top Doctor at all,” said Dr. J. Kalavar, chief of staff at the medical center. “Fewer still have earned it five years in a row.”

Castle Connolly’s ‘Top Doctors’ selection process is a rigorous one. Each year, the company surveys thousands of physicians and other health care professionals and asks them to identify excellent doctors in every specialty in their region and throughout the nation.

Kalavar added, “Dr. Kosten’s work in the field of addiction has resulted in a series of ground-breaking…

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“Hall of Honor” Distinctive Feature of Ohio VA Clinic


“Hall of Honor” Distinctive Feature of Ohio VA Clinic

VA Volunteer Robert Brienik (with his wife Alice) points out a few of the hundreds of framed medals in the Youngstown VA CBOC “Hall of Honor.”

When Veterans visit the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Youngstown, Ohio, they look forward to taking a stroll down the “Hall of Honor” and locating a medal they received while in uniform.

Hundreds of military medals and badges in framed shadow boxes line the main hall, one of the most unique displays of military memorabilia among VA clinics in the country.

Veterans relive their personal memories when viewing the 17 large frames filled with hundreds of medals and badges, ranging from the Civil War to the present.

The impressive display of American military awards is the handiwork of Robert Brienik, volunteer liaison at the Youngstown clinic.


When staff refer to them as “Bob’s Medals,” he is quick to point out they are not his.

“They are a tribute to the Veterans who served and earned those medals and badges”
—Veteran Robert Brienik

“They are a tribute to the Veterans who served and earned those medals and badges,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed every second of putting…

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Isakson Opening Remarks at Senate VA Committee Hearing with the American Legion

Isakson Opening Remarks at Senate VA Committee Hearing with the American Legion

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U.S. cyber defenses ‘not optimized for speed’

The outgoing commander of U.S. Cyber Command told lawmakers Tuesday that the “whole of government” approach federal officials have advocated for years as the best way to defend the nation against cyber attacks suffers from at least one serious problem: It doesn’t move particularly quickly, at least as it’s designed today.

Adm. Michael Rogers, set to retire this spring, said the relationships between the FBI, Homeland Security Department and Defense Department have now matured to the point where each organization understands its roles and responsibilities. The persistent difficulty, he said, is coordinating them to respond rapidly.

“How do we integrate those capabilities into a tighter whole that’s really optimized to execute at the day-to-day level? As I look to the future, that’s where I’d like to see us focus our efforts,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Right now, the time it takes to deploy capability, the time it takes to coordinate a response across multiple organizations — when those well-meaning and hard-working organizations exist in separate structures — that’s not optimized for speed. So to me, the biggest challenge is how to integrate this…

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How & Why the Defense Department Works With Hollywood

The Defense Department has a long-standing relationship with Hollywood. In fact, it’s been working with filmmakers for nearly 100 years with a goal that’s two-fold: to accurately depict military stories and make sure sensitive information isn’t disclosed.

“We take both of those roles very seriously,” said Army Lt. Col. Tim Hyde, the deputy director of the Los Angeles Office of the Chief of Public Affairs.

National Geographic cameramen get their shots while working on the documentary “Chain of Command.” Courtesy of National Geographic

Hyde’s office focuses on the Army, while each other branch of the armed forces, including the Coast Guard, has its own Hollywood liaison office. But they coordinate with each other, and projects are often doled out to various installations to best accommodate filmmakers’ needs.

“In our office, there’s only three of us,” Hyde said. “If there’s a topic dealing with tanks, I have no clue – none of us do. … So, we coordinate regularly with subject matter experts in the field that’s being depicted.”

Develyn Watson, the deputy director of the Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office, said that coordination can be one of the hardest parts…

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Airman at Bagram Supports Air Power, Quality of Life > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


By Air Force Staff Sgt. Divine Cox

455th Air Expeditionary Wing



BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Feb. 28, 2018 —

Deployments are part of the job description for members of the armed forces, but they can still cause a lot of stress in life.

Deployments here are no different, but the on-base facilities can help ease some of the pressures of life in a combat environment. And ensuring that each airman is taken care of and provided with the best quality of life is Air Force Senior Airman Astrid Hernandez, a contracting officer’s representative with the 455th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron.

“I look over the fitness centers, Morale, Welfare and Recreation [facilities] and lodging,” Hernandez said. “I help make improvements for the facilities and make sure the contractors are meeting standards and following guidelines.”

Hernandez said this has been a unique and rewarding experience and she’s always on the lookout for new ways to improve the lives of airmen here.

“Every day here is different,” she said. “We always have something going on here. One day we’ll be building bedframes for lodging. Other days,…

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