American Veteran News 07.06.16

TUSKEGEE AIRMAN, CAPT. ROSCOE C. BROWN DIES AT 94 — S&S — This Independence Day, the nation lost one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.

Capt. Roscoe C. Brown Jr., of New York City died at the age of 94 Monday.

He was a World War II fighter pilot with the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots in U.S. history. He flew 68 combat missions and later commanded the 100th Fighter Squadron.

Brown grew up in Washington, D.C. and graduated from the Tuskegee Flight School in 1944.

At that time, African-Americans were deemed unfit both physically and mentally to fly something as complex as an aircraft.

Brown and hundreds of other black men would prove the myth wrong with the help of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who authorized a group of black pilots to fight in WWII. They celebrated their 75th anniversary earlier this year.

COMMISSION CALLS FOR MORE PRIVATE OPTIONS, ‘TRANSFORMATION’ OF VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM — WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — The independent commission tasked with examining the Department of Veterans Affairs network of medical facilities will call for more private options in the government’s provision of health care to veterans and the formation of a new board of directors to oversee a ‘far-reaching’ transformation of the system.

The Commission on Care, established by Congress after the secret wait list controversy two years ago, has outlined 18 recommendations to fix the VA’s “deep problems” in a lengthy final report to President Obama and VA Secretary Robert McDonald that was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Though the report, which the agency is expected to publicly release on Wednesday, demands “fundamental, dramatic change” at the VA, some commission members still do not believe that the recommendations are aggressive enough to fix rampant flaws at VA hospitals nationwide.

The commission has been soliciting testimony for months, conducting on-site visits to VA facilities, and reviewing the details of an agency-commissioned independent assessment issued last September that found the VA’s network of hospitals to be deeply flawed and in need of “system-wide reworking.”

VA HEALTH CARE STILL HAS ‘PROFOUND DEFICIENCIES,’ REPORT SAYS — FOX NEWS — WASHINGTON – Two years after a scandal over long wait times for veterans seeking health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs still has “profound deficiencies” in delivering health care to millions of veterans, a congressional commission says in a new report.

The Commission on Care says in a report to be released Wednesday that the VA delivers high-quality health care but is inconsistent from one site to the next, and problems with access remain.

The panel says the VA needs to improve its service to veterans, adding that the VA’s health care operations “require urgent reform. America’s veterans deserve a better organized, high-performing health care system.”

Congress created the 12-member commission in 2014 after approving a landmark law overhauling the VA in the wake of the wait-time scandal, which also revealed that VA employees were covering up chronic delays with false paperwork and secret waiting lists.

VA PLANS MASSIVE EXPANSION OF CANCER TREATMENT OPTIONS — MILITARY TIMES — The Department of Veterans Affairs could turn its entire medical system into a nationwide center for excellence for cancer treatment in the next few months.

That’s the upshot of VA’s role within the White House’s “moonshot” to eliminate cancer, a $1 billion attempt to bring about a decade’s worth of medical advances in half that time. While other agencies will focus on research and clinical trials, VA doctors will be putting those advances to work as soon as this fall, in hopes of saving more veterans’ lives.

“We’re essentially taking expertise that exists in our high-end centers and making sure that it is available in even our most rural centers,” said Dr. David Shulkin, VA’s undersecretary for health. “It’s going to result in different treatment options and better decisions, and making sure every veteran is getting world-class cancer care.”

VETERANS OF THE GULF WAR CAN SUFFER CHRONIC HEALTH ISSUES — KENOSHA NEWS — A prominent condition affecting Gulf War veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders and memory problems.

Veterans Affairs refers to these illnesses as “chronic multi-symptom illness” and “undiagnosed illnesses.” We prefer not to use the term “Gulf War Syndrome” when referring to medically unexplained symptoms reported by Gulf War veterans.

Why? Because symptoms vary widely.

Gulf War Veterans who meet the criteria below do not need to prove a connection between their military service and illnesses in order to receive VA disability compensation. VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for six months or more are related to Gulf War service without regard to cause.

These “presumptive” illnesses must have appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by Dec. 31, 2016, and be at least 10

FROM HOMELESS TO HOMEOWNER: HOW A VETERAN GOT HER LIFE BACK — KTUL — The hum of an air conditioning unit, a sign in the window and plants growing in a garden out front are all small indicators of a home.

“But I have hummingbirds,” said Ginny Alyias.

Alyias said she knew her home was the one when she saw the yard. Her reason why is a four-legged dog named Jack.

“It’s been about training me more than training him,” said Alyias.

Jack can recognize when Alyias is about to get a migraine. He’s been by her side for four years, even when she was homeless, living out of her car.

“So, that puts you at more risk because you can lose your job. You can’t cook so your money goes for fast food,” said Alyias.

Alyias served in the Air Force from ’79 to ’80. She said asking for help was hard, but it was something she needed to do, not for herself but for Jack.

CONGRESS MUST TACKLE KEY DEFENSE BILLS BEFORE SUMMER BREAK — MILITARY TIMES — Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday with a list of critical defense bills to advance before their extended summer break begins July 15, even if none of them has a chance to become law before this fall.

Most of that work requires Senate action, with the annual defense appropriations bill awaiting floor debate this week and the annual defense authorization bill needing procedural approval from senators to move ahead to conference work.

In the next nine days of session (fewer if congressional leaders break early because of unbreakable deadlocks), lawmakers will also need to decide whether to advance key reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs, including an omnibus bill that supporters had hoped would be approved before the Memorial Day break in May.

The work now is critical to give staffers from both chambers the ability to debate and refine the measures over the next two months, while lawmakers are back home preparing for the November elections.

VETERANS DESERVE BETTER THAN THE VA’S PROPOSED CHANGE FOR ANESTHESIA — PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE — Our American military veterans have made sacrifices to keep us safe. Now, our own federally managed health care system is proposing to put them at greater risk by removing physician supervision from the administration of anesthesia in Veterans Affairs hospitals.

My late father was a veteran of World War II, and he was quite passionate that veterans deserved all that was bestowed upon him, including physician led-care!

On May 25, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published a proposed policy change in the Federal Register that would permit nurses to perform advanced medical procedures — including administering anesthesia during surgery — without a physician’s supervision.

Currently, nurses who treat veterans in VA hospitals must be supervised by a physician. There is no acceptable justification for suggesting this change.

VET USED LESSONS AFTER VIETNAM TO HELP THOSE IN CRISIS OR LEFT HOMELESS — TRIBUNE STAR — In the thick of combat, Jim Logsdon decided he wasn’t finished serving his country.

His 1970 arrival in Vietnam coincided with President Richard Nixon’s order to invade Cambodia. Logsdon and comrades from the Army’s 9th Division took over for the First Cavalry Division on Shakey’s Hill.

Just two days after planning to re-enlist, Logsdon was on patrol setting up a night ambush with 13 other soldiers. Before they reached the preliminary site, a Vietnamese soldier planted a command-detonated explosive.

“A land mine went off, and I went 10 feet in the air,” he recalled, “and left a big hole in the ground.”

Logsdon ultimately lost both legs from the blast. He credits his survival to two medics with them on the assignment and quick transport to the hospital. A helicopter pilot hovering nearby saw the explosion and evacuated Logsdon and the other injured soldiers, landing at the hospital within 20 minutes.

VETERANS OF THE 442ND REFLECT ON WHAT IT MEANT TO ‘GO FOR BROKE’ — WEST HAWAII TODAY — Few are left of “The Greatest Generation” retired NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw profiled in his 1998 book, referring to the Americans who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II or contributed to the war effort on the homefront.

Even fewer remain who served in the vaunted 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a U.S. Army infantry regiment comprised almost entirely of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry, who served with valor and distinction, mostly in Europe, during WWII.

The regiment lived up to its motto, “Go for Broke.” In total, about 14,000 men served and earned 9,486 Purple Hearts, eight Presidential Unit Citations and 21 Medals of Honor. That makes it the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in American wartime history. Casualties included 650 killed in action, 3,173 wounded — many more than once — and 67 remain missing in action, according to the U.S. Army Mediterranean Theater of Operations Information-Education Section.

The 442nd was mostly Nisei, second-generation Japanese Americans whose parents were immigrants, and they served at a time when Japanese Americans faced open discrimination at home. The loyalty of many Japanese Americans to the U.S. was openly questioned, and thousands, mostly on the mainland but some in Hawaii, as well, were forced into internment camps, sometimes thousands of miles from their homes. Many also had their homes and businesses confiscated by the government.

The remaining heroes of this remarkable outfit are almost all in their 90s.

VETERANS RECEIVE FRENCH LEGION OF HONOR — PEARLAND JOURNAL — Eighteen U.S. World War II Veterans received or were awarded posthumously the medal of Knight in the French Order of the Legion of Honor from Consul General of France Sujiro Seam Monday aboard the Battleship Texas.

A large crowd came out of the Independence Day ceremony, as veterans William Baker, Harding Boeker, Grayson Cocharo, Arthur Collins, Everett Cost, Jack Dodson, Lewis Gammon, Birney Havey, Jerry Jones Jr., John Lemons, Fred Machol, Johnnie Marino, Elmer Michel, Robert Reese, Jack Rude, Jack Thomas, Melton Wright and Charles Wheelwright were honored.

Attending were local officials including Jay Guerrero, U.S. Senator Cornyn’s representative and La Porte Mayor Louis Rigby. Sea Cadets presented the colors.

The history of the Legion of Honor stems back to 1802, after all French orders of Chivalry were abolished during the French Revolution.

‘DECADES-LONG PRACTICE’ OF MANIPULATING WAIT TIMES IN NEW MEXICO VA CLINICS — TOWNHALL — The Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico is guilty of manipulating scheduling in order to make patient wait times seem better than they were, a new report from the VA Office of the Inspector General finds.

A supervisor in a Primary Care clinic stated it was a decades-long practice to alter or otherwise enter an incorrect desired date for appointments in an effort to underreport wait times. She described an all-hands meeting 2 years prior to the interview, during which the former director told everyone to properly enter the desired date. Clerks in the past were taught to back out of the system and change the desired date. She identified the business manager as the individual who pressured her to make “corrections” to the desired date after the all-hands meeting.

VISN staff concluded, as the complainant had alleged, that different groups of staff at the VAMC were, in fact, mis-entering desired dates.

Dan Caldwell, CVA’s vice president for legislative and political action, was justifiably outraged.

“This report shows that the manipulation of wait times is a systemic issue that has plagued the VA for years, and as we learned in Houston last week, is still ongoing today. Veterans simply cannot trust that their appointments are being handled with integrity, and that’s a problem. Dishonest practices like this highlight the need for reforms such as the Caring for Our Heroes in the 21st Century Act, which would give veterans real choice in determining where to get care, and create incentives for the VA to embrace accountability and end this cycle of corruption.”

The Albuquerque revelation is eerily similar to the shady practices just discovered in Houston. In their investigation, the Office of Audits and Evaluations found that VA clinics based in the major Texas city incorrectly recorded 223 appointments.

The egregious wait times found in these individual cities reflect the national trend. Instead of improving veterans’ services as new VA Secretary Robert McDonald promised, their wait times have gotten worse. Here’s a summary of the worsening trend in the past few months, via the latest VA report.

FORMER GITMO GUARD ADVANCES IN MS. VETERAN AMERICA CONTEST — MILCOM — An Army veteran and former Guantanamo Bay guard from Montgomery County has been named one of 25 finalists in a contest that celebrates “the woman behind the uniform.”

Erica Walsh, who studies health and physical education at West Chester University and runs her own fitness business, was chosen from about 120 current or former servicewomen nationwide to advance in the Ms. Veteran America competition.

The four-year-old competition scores women based on grace, poise, confidence, and personality. It also quizzes contestants on military history and disregards height, weight, and age.

Walsh will head to Washington in October for the final competition. There, she hopes to be named “Push-Up Princess” — the contestant who does the most push-ups in two minutes. She also hopes to win the special award for entrepreneurship for her two-year-old fitness studio, Dub Fitness in King of Prussia.

FLAG STOLEN FROM VETERAN’S DAUGHTER FOUND BY MISSOURI POLICE — T&P — The flag belonged to the daughter of a deceased WWII veteran in upstate New York. It had been missing since Memorial Day.

Upstate New Yorker Cathy Scoppo was relieved to find that an American flag stolen from her was recovered by Missouri police in Willard County on the Fourth of July.

Scoppo lost her father in 1969 when she was just 14 years old. He served during World War II and died of cancer at just 47. Upon his death, she was given the flag, which draped the casket during his funeral.

She said the flag was stolen on Memorial Day, as she displayed it at her family’s Cherry Grove campground near Wolcott, in Wayne County, New York.

The alleged thief is a Missouri teenager who was visiting his grandparents at the campground. Texts apparently implicated him in the crime.

8 COMBAT ARMS-FRIENDLY COMPANIES HIRING VETS — NO DEGREE REQUIRED — T&P — These 8 Hirepurpose partners are hiring veterans who may not have had an opportunity to pursue advanced education.

We see it all the time: Military career fairs on base typically seek out service members with advanced technical training or even a four-year degree. That’s not the case with these eight companies that are actively seeking to hire those with combat arms experience. At Hirepurpose, we strive to find roles that our 100+ hiring partners have available for those of you who may not have had the opportunity to pursue higher education outside of your military career fields. This series includes numerous roles for our brothers and sisters at the pointy end of the spear. All of the jobs below are hand-picked and dedicated to you — so read, click, and apply.

WIFE WHO MURDERED DECORATED COMBAT VET FOR HIS BENEFITS GETS 50 YEARS — DAILY CALLER — The wife of a combat hero veteran has just been sentenced to 50 years in prison for murdering him in order to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits, according to a release from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ watchdog.

Martha Ann McClancy, now known as Martha Ann Kaczmarczyk, murdered her husband in 2006 to inherit his estate and snag more than $130,000 in benefits from the VA and the Social Security Administration. In so doing, she received the highest sentence possible for first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder after being convicted in November 2015.

Robert McClancy was a Marine Corps veteran, who served in the Vietnam War and earned a Purple Heart medal for sustaining injuries while in combat. That he was a decorated combat veteran didn’t prevent Martha from plotting and ensuring his death. Robert’s death was staged to make it look like a suicide, but investigators saw right through the ruse. Robert was positioned in a recliner. In one hand, he had a bottle of prescription pills. In the other, a .38-revolver.


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