SOME VA WORKERS IN DISBELIEF AS TWO CONTROVERSIAL EXECUTIVES RETURN TO HIGH-PAYING JOBS — S&S WASHINGTON — Some employees across the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs reacted with disbelief when two directors were reinstated Monday despite findings of wrongdoing and as VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson tried to tamp down the controversy.
“We were hoping that we’d start seeing an upswing in change and accountability,” said Germaine Clarno, a social worker at the Edward Hines VA Medical Center in Illinois and co-founder of the national whistleblowers group, VA Truth Tellers. “It’s disappointing, it sets us back.”
The reinstated executives, Philadelphia VA Regional Office director Diana Rubens and St. Paul (Minn.) VA Regional Office director Kimberly Graves, who the VA Office of Inspector General found to be involved in a hiring-system scheme, were back on the job Monday, after a decision to reassign them was overturned by an appeals board.
Gibson said he was still exploring alternative punishments for Rubens and Graves, even as he expressed his confidence in them. Gibson visited Philadelphia on Monday to hold two town hall meetings with employees.
MARINE VET BANNED FROM DAUGHTER’S HS GRADUATION FOR CRITICIZING SCHOOL’S ‘PROMOTION OF ISLAM’ — DAILY CALLER This year’s graduation at La Plata High School (MD) is scheduled for June 4, but Marine veteran John Kevin Wood might not be able to see his daughter — a member of the Class of 2016 — walk across that stage. According to The Washington Post, Wood — who fought during Desert Storm — was banned from La Plata’s campus after complaining about the school’s promotion of Islam during the fall of his daughter’s junior year (October 2014) and sued the Charles County school system last month, seeking a reversal of the no-trespass order on the grounds that La Plata’s curriculum violated his “daughter’s civil and constitutional rights.” Back in 2014, Wood asked administrators that his daughter be excused from lessons teaching about Islam in her world history class, as the “First Amendment prohibits the promotion of the religion of Islam over other faiths, such as Christianity or Judaism, in our public schools.” While he admits to threatening to “take his concerns public by going to the media and to lawyers,” he maintains he never physically threatened school staff or facilities.
WORLD WAR II HEROES OF THE OSS MOVE CLOSER TO A CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL — WASHINGTON TIMES The innovative clandestine warriors of the World War II era are ever closer to well-deserved recognition. The Senate has unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to veterans of the Office of Strategic Services — the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA and special operations forces. “The members of the OSS saved thousands of lives in World War II, and their courage and sacrifice played a critical role in the success of the Allied campaign,” says Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican. “The 13,000 members of the OSS established intelligence networks deep behind enemy lines, bolstered resistance organizations throughout Europe and Asia, and helped the Allies win the war.”
REMEMBERING THE COMMON VIRTUE OF IWO JIMA — DAILY CALLER Seventy-one years ago, Marines stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima, an eight square mile volcanic island. The reason: The island was intended to be a staging base for the planned invasion of Japan (the atomic bomb had still not been successfully tested – and would not be until July, 1945). During the 36 days of fighting, 6,821 American troops were killed. This is only 50 short of the total American KIA totals from the War on Terror (6,871). Perhaps Iwo Jima is more famous for the iconic image of the flag-raising on top of Mount Surbachi. It is also the place where Medal of Honor recipient John Basilone was killed in action (Basilone would receive a posthumous Navy Cross for heroism). Sergeant Darrell S. Cole would earn the Medal of Honor for carrying out a one-man attack on Japanese pillboxes that had greatly reduced the effects of air and naval gunfire support. Cole was killed in action on the first day of the battle. Later, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) would be named in his honor. USS Cole is probably most famous for being the target of an al-Qaeda attack in the port of Aden in 2000.
VETS FIGHT NEW REPORT THAT CALLS FOR HALT TO RESEARCH ON ‘GULF WAR ILLNESS’– FOX NEWS The scene U.S. forces encountered as they entered Kuwait in February 1991 to end the Iraqi occupation was a hellish inferno, with hundreds of oil wells set ablaze by Saddam Hussein’s army to send a choking, black smoke billowing into the skies. Now, as the troops who served in the Gulf War mark its 25th anniversary on Tuesday, they are fighting a different battle. A new report once again casts doubt on the legitimacy of Gulf War Illness, an ailment afflicting hundreds of thousands of veterans of the war.