VA WAIT TIMES FALSIFIED WHILE VETERAN SUICIDES CLIMB — EDMUND NEWS — Last week, USA Today reported that “Employees at 40 VA medical facilities in 19 states and Puerto Rico regularly ‘zeroed out’ veteran wait times.”

The manipulation of the data masked the growing demand on services, preventing a response to increase services where needed. As a result, some veterans simply died waiting on services because of a “zeroed out” backlog or long wait times.

This entire topic is simply tired. It seems like once every month new evidence emerges highlighting the failure of those who are charged with ensuring our veterans receive the care they’ve earned. As I write this piece, not only does my frustration grow, but I think of the ineffective role the government has played in working to reduce suicides – at taxpayer expense of course.

FEMALE MARINE VET TURNS 100 IN STYLE — MILCOM — SAN DIEGO — It was not her first birthday celebration of 2016, and it wasn’t going to be the last. Gladys “Ruth” Gallivan of San Diego turned 100 on April 1, and if people want to keep throwing her parties, she is not inclined to stop them.

“She loves it,” daughter-in-law Maya Pring said during Saturday’s birthday fete thrown by the San Diego County chapter of the Women Marines Association, where Gallivan served as president for more than 10 years.

“She really does,” added daughter-in-law Daphne Gallivan. “She’s been looking forward to this since she turned 99.”

Born 100 years ago in Darlington, Wis., Gladys Ruth Tresner enlisted in the Marines in 1943, one of the many women who took over military jobs on the homefront so men could head for the front lines. After boot camp at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and a stint at the Cherry Point Air Station (also in North Carolina), she volunteered to head out to what is now San Diego’s Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

108-YEAR-OLD VETERAN TO FLY IN WWII-ERA BIPLANE — AP– CHICO, Calif. — A 108-year-old woman believed to be the oldest living female military veteran is set to be honored with a flight aboard a World War II-era biplane.

Lynn Balmer is scheduled to take off Monday morning from Chico, California, about 90 miles north of Sacramento.

Her flight is courtesy of the nonprofit group, the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, which honors seniors and U.S. military veterans.

The foundation says Balmer served in the U.S. Coast Guard, working as a coder while stationed in Seattle. The Chico Enterprise-Record reported she enlisted during World War II. She achieved the rank of lieutenant.

The organization’s president, Darryl Fisher, restored a 1940s Boeing Stearman — the same type of plane used to train military aviators during World War II.

‘FREEDOM TEAM’ OF 20 WOUNDED US VETS TO RUN BOSTON MARATHON — MIDDLETOWN PRESS — BOSTON >> Twenty U.S. military veterans wounded in action in Iraq and Afghanistan will face a new battle: reaching the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

The veterans will attempt to cover all 26.2 miles of Monday’s race as part of the Freedom Team.

The effort is sponsored by the group Achilles International, which helps disabled vets take on physical challenges such as marathons.

Competitors include Army Spec. Stefan Leroy, of Jupiter, Florida, who lost both legs while serving with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.

Leroy will run on a pair of carbon-fiber blades. He’ll be paced and guided by David Cordani, the president and CEO of Cigna Corp., a Connecticut-based health services company.

Freedom Team organizers say the program helps injured veterans regain fitness and build confidence.

HONOR FLIGHT WARMS HEARTS OF WORLD WAR II, KOREAN WAR VETERANS — JOURNAL TIMES — MILWAUKEE — There’s a cure for any doubt a U.S. military veteran may harbor that his or her service is appreciated by other Americans.

It’s called the Honor Flight. One such event started and ended at General Mitchell International Airport on Saturday, and it left an indelible impression on Norman Dowdy, 88, of Caledonia, a 10-year U.S. military veteran.

“It was a wonderful day,” he said Sunday. “I’ll never forget this.”

Honor Flight is a national program funded entirely by donations, with more than 130 hubs nationally. They include the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight hub of southeastern Wisconsin that organized Saturday’s trip to Washington, D.C., and festivities at both ends.

NEW YORK WEIGHS STATE BAN ON STOLEN VALOR — TASK & PURPOSE — A Navy Reserve officer serving as a New York state senator wants to make stolen valor a felony.

New York state Sen. Tom Croci, a Navy Reserve officer whose district covers part of Long Island, launched a bill to make stolen valor a felony.

Those convicted will be required to pay a $250 fee as part of their punishment to a state fund that maintains and establishes veterans cemeteries.

“You don’t want the uniform or the decorations, in any way, disgraced,” Croci told Military Times. “And you certainly don’t want the hard-earned taxpayer dollars that they think are going to veterans to be abused by people impersonating veterans.”

A first-term state senator, Croci is “cautiously optimistic, but realistic” about the bill.

5 SMART COLLEGE DEGREES MODERN VETERANS SHOULD CONSIDER — TASK & PURPOSE — We have an overview of five college degrees that every veteran should check out.

According to Forbes Magazine, “most veterans are more qualified than they realize for well-paying jobs.” They usually have the practical experience in leading people, managing complex problems, and navigating large logistical operations. However, many times they don’t have the degree behind their work experience. G.I. Jobs asked 184 military-friendly employers — meaning they actively recruit and retain veteran employees — what their top careers are for vets. Engineering, nursing, business administrator and financial services professional are among the top jobs. Most of these jobs, however, require at least a four-year degree.

The best degrees for veterans are largely based on what skill sets vets can already bring to the table and what degree program can best complement those skills. G.I. Jobs looked at several degree programs that led to their “Hottest Jobs” list. Additionally, BestCollegesOnline — which is geared towards online degrees — listed programs it found to be well suited for student veterans.

GEORGIA VETERAN TO UNDERGO SURGERY DECADE AFTER BEING SHOT IN FACE — FOX NEWS — Nearly 10 years after being shot in the face by a sniper, a Georgia Navy veteran will undergo surgery Monday to repair his badly damaged mouth and jaw.

Dusty Kirby, 32, of Canton, Georgia, was shot in the face while on guard duty with a U.S. Marines unit in Iraq on Christmas Day in 2006.

“I was hit with a high-powered sniper rifle,” Kirby told Fox5 Atlanta, pointing at his chin. “It impacted right here, and made contact [on] the middle of my tongue, and then blew my jaw out here.”

Military trauma surgeons saved Kirby’s life, and he’s since undergone over 30 operations. The father of four recently received a letter confirming that a team of New York City surgeons will repair his mouth and jaw. The surgeons are part of Marine Assist, which provides free plastic surgery and dental services to Marine veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Kirby will only have to pay for his hospital stay after the operations.

GOV’T WATCHDOG REPORT SHOWS VETERANS STILL WAIT A LONG TIME FOR HEALTH CARE — DC — A new report released Monday by a government watchdog reveals veterans are still waiting incredibly long times for health care.

The Government Accountability Office report sampled about 180 veterans newly enrolled for primary health at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What the watchdog found was appalling.

When GAO conducted the review, 60 of the 180 veterans had not been seen by any doctors. The 120 veterans who did see doctors had to undergo wait times of anywhere from 22 to 71 days.

VA SCHEDULING ERRORS MISLEAD ON WAIT TIMES FOR CARE — WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — The Department of Veterans Affairs still does not provide sufficient oversight to ensure that medical center employees contact newly enrolled patients and accurately log patient wait times.

Two years after VA employees were found keeping secret wait lists to conceal the long periods that veterans waited for appointments, a new report from the Government Accountability Office points to persistent scheduling problems at several VA facilities that kept veterans waiting long periods for primary care. In some cases, the veterans did not receive the care they needed.

Auditors reviewed six VA medical centers across the country between January 2015 and March 2016. They discovered that schedulers at half of the centers made errors when recording veterans’ “preferred dates” for care, which resulted in veterans’ wait times appearing much shorter. Wait times were understated by as many as 20 days on average at one of the medical centers.


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