Wilkerson says ‘politics



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October 22, 2013




  1. As Afghanistan war ends, NATO shifts focus to preparation for future ops.

  2. NATO to help set up new Libyan military.

  3. Wilkerson says politics led to his dismissal; critics call it slap on wrist.

  4. 21 members of Tucson Air Guard unit indicted on fraud charges.

  5. As National Guard reclaims incentives, soldiers feel pain.

  6. Armona woman pleads guilty to stealing VA benefits.

  7. Bronx Veterans Treatment Court aims at helping troubled returning soldiers.

  8. VA claims backlog fell during shutdown, despite warnings.

  9. VA: Backlog of Claims Didnt Grow During Shutdown.

  10. USF program helps military medics adapt to civilian nursing.

  11. After denial, homeless veterans programs seeks shelter.

  12. Fox 13 News Midday.

  13. Official cites area health issues in VA prescriptions.

  14. Dallas VA opens new polytrauma wing for veterans with complex injuries.

  15. Veterans clinic did right by me, my spouse.

  16. VA / VSO-MSO Hearings as October 22, 2013:

  17. Today in History:




  1. As Afghanistan war ends, NATO shifts focus to preparation for future ops. As NATO shifts away from a war-fighting footing with the end of combat operations in Afghanistan approaching, the alliance must find new, more affordable ways to maintain combat readiness, according to NATO’s commander of land forces.



  1. NATO to help set up new Libyan military. NATO said on Monday it would help Libya rebuild a functioning military amid warnings about worsening turmoil in the country.



  1. Wilkerson says politics led to his dismissal; critics call it slap on wrist. The Air Force fighter pilot and former inspector general for Aviano Air Base in Italy whose sexual assault conviction was overturned by his commander last year is complaining that his demotion and forced retirement is unfair, while one of his biggest critics in Congress called the punishment “nothing more than a slap on the wrist.”



  1. 21 members of Tucson Air Guard unit indicted on fraud charges. A colonel and 20 other members of an Arizona Air National Guard unit based in Tucson have been indicted on charges they defrauded the government out of $1.4 million.



  1. As National Guard reclaims incentives, soldiers feel pain. When Staff Sgt. Troy Torres and his wife, Sgt. Lori Torres, joined the California National Guard more than five years ago, they were stirred by patriotism and persuaded by something more tangible -- the prospect of paying down some student loans. Each was promised $20,000 in loan repayments over six years, an enticement for recruits. Now, the Guard is asking for it back.




  1. Armona woman pleads guilty to stealing VA benefits. Hyperlink to Article Fresno Bee: A woman from Armona pleaded guilty Monday to stealing about $77,000 in benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs after her husband died, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said.



  1. Bronx Veterans Treatment Court aims at helping troubled returning soldiers. Hyperlink to Article News 12 The Bronx: The new Bronx Veteran’s Treatment Court aims at helping veterans seek treatment for mental health or drug-related issues as an alternative to incarceration. It will also assist them to find housing and receive job training.



  1. VA claims backlog fell during shutdown, despite warnings. The veterans claims backlog continued to drop this month despite the two-week government shutdown and dire claims from Veterans Affairs leaders that momentum on the problem had been lost.




  1. VA: Backlog of Claims Didnt Grow During Shutdown. Hyperlink to Article The Wall Street Journal: Despite warnings of a backup of veteran-benefits claims because of the government shutdown, Veterans Affairs tallies show the claims backlog held steady during the two-week furlough period.




  1. USF program helps military medics adapt to civilian nursing. Hyperlink to Article Tampa Tribune: USF’s program, called V-CARE, was designed in part by input from medics, Navy corpsmen and veterans. Many said rigid university rules didn’t recognize military medical experience, and forced them to compete against civilian students for a limited number of spots, said Rita D’Aoust, the college’s associate dean for academic affairs and interprofessional initiatives.



  1. After denial, homeless veterans programs seeks shelter. Hyperlink to Article The Daily Press: Virginia's largest veterans transitional housing program is without a home, and it doesn't appear the service will find shelter any time soon… "If the Salvation Army can't become operational in the very near future, the program will cease to exist," said David Wall, who oversees the program for the Veterans Medical Center.



  1. Fox 13 News Midday. Hyperlink to Article WHBQ (Video): This video features a $900,000 grant from VA to Catholic charities to help Homeless Veterans in Shelby County, Tennessee. The clip features a formerly Homeless Veteran and states, “The VA has helped turn his entire life around.”



  1. Official cites area health issues in VA prescriptions. Hyperlink to Article Charleston Daily Mail (Daily Mail Capitol Reporter): Administrators at the Beckley Veterans Affairs Medical Center know their hospital prescribes powerful painkillers at some of the highest rates in the nation… But it's not necessarily a sign the hospital is over-prescribing the medication -- or of rampant abuse of the system -- and the hospital has taken steps to address the problem in recent years, officials recently told the Daily Mail.



  1. Dallas VA opens new polytrauma wing for veterans with complex injuries. Hyperlink to Article Dallas Morning News: A new polytrauma wing offering more care for North Texas veterans with complex, multiple injuries opens Monday at the Dallas VA Medical Center.



  1. Veterans clinic did right by me, my spouse. Hyperlink to Article Columbus Dispatch: As a military veteran who receives health care at the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Columbus, I have had a far different experience than that of Heather and Scott McDonald (“Columbus widow tells House panel of husband's demise,” Dispatch article, Oct. 11).




  1. VA / VSO-MSO Hearings as October 22, 2013:

  • October 24, 2013.  HVAC-DAMA will conduct a hearing entitled, “Focused issues on Dignified Burials: A National Cemetery Update.” 

  • October 30, 2013.  The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will be holding a hearing that examines Department of Veterans Affairs conferences in July and August of 2011 in Orlando, Florida. 

  • October 30, 2013.  SVAC intends to hold a legislative hearing on issues related to VHA, VBA, NCA, Outreach, and IT. 

Tentative schedule of bills:

  • S. 1148 (Heinrich) Veterans Benefits Claims Faster Filing Act

  • S. 1155 (Tester) Rural Veterans Mental Health Care improvement Act

  • S. 1165 (Tester) Access to Appropriate Immunizations for Veterans Act of 2013

  • S. 1211 (Boxer)  A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to prohibit the use of the phrases GI Bill and Post 9/11 GI Bill to give a false impression of approval or endorsement by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • S.1216 (Bennet) Improving Job Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2013

  • S.1262 (Nelson)  Veterans Conservation Corps Act of 2013

  • S. 1281(Blumenthal)   Veterans and Servicemembers Employment Rights and Housing Act of 2013

  • S. 1295 (Brown) A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide  Veterans with notice, when Veterans electronically file claims for benefits under laws administered by the Secretary, that relevant services may be available from Veterans service organization, and for other purposes.

  • S. 1296 (Nelson) Servicemember’s Electronic Health Records Act of 2113

  • S. 1361 (Murphy) World War II Merchant Mariner Service Act

  • S. 1399 (Durbin) A bill to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to extend the interest rate limitation on debt entered into during military service to debt incurred during military service to consolidate or refinance students loans incurred before military service.



  • S. 1411 (Franken) Rural Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2013

  • S 1434 (Moran) A bill to designate the Junction City Community-Based Outpatient Clinic located at 715 Southwind Drive, Junction City, Kansas, as the Lieutenant General Richard J. Seitz Community-Based Outpatient Clinic.

  • S. 1471 (Coats) Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act

  • S. 1540 (Brown)  A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to include contracts and grants for residential care for Veterans in the exception to the requirement that the Federal Government recover a portion of the value of certain projects

  • S. 1547 (Burr) A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to review the dialysis pilot program implemented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and submit a report to Congress before expanding that program, and for other purposes

  • S. 1556 (Brown)  A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to modify authorities relating to the collective bargain of employees in the Veterans Health Administration

  • S. 1558 (Begich)  A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a program of outreach for Veterans, and for other purposes

  • S. 1559 (Durbin)  Benefits Fairness for Filipino Veterans Act of 2013

  • S. XXXX (Sanders)  A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to update the Service-Disabled Insurance program to base premiums rates on the Commissioners 2001 Standard Ordinary Mortality able instead of the Commissioners 1941 Standard Ordinary Table of Mortality.

  • S. XXXX (Sanders) A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide replacement automobiles for certain disabled Veterans and members of the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.

  • S. XXXX (Sanders) Military Sexual Trauma

  • S. XXXX (Sanders) Medical Foster Home Act of 2013

  • S. XXXX (Sanders) Veterans Health Care Eligibility Expansion Enhancement Act of 2013



  • S. XXXX (Hirono) To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand eligibility for reimbursement for emergency medical treatment to certain Veterans that were unable to receive care from the Department of Veterans Affairs in the 24-month period preceding the furnishing of such emergency treatment.

  • S. XXXX (Tester) A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the payment of temporary compensation to a surviving spouse of a Veteran upon the death of the Veteran, and for other purposes. (DIC)

  • S. XXXX (Sanders)  Mental Health Support for Veteran Families and Caregivers Act of 2013

  • S. XXXX (Sanders) Enhanced Dental Care for Veterans Act of 2013

  • S. XXXX (Sanders) Survivors of Military Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Act of 2013

  • S. XXXX (Sanders) SCRA Enhancement and Improvement Act of 2013

  • S. XXXX (Sanders)  A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit reports on the provision of services by the Department of Veterans Affairs to Veterans with hearing loss and the measures that can be taken jointly by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense with respect to hearing loss, and for other purposes. 

  • S. XXXX (Blumenthal)  To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand and facilitate compensation of Veterans for illnesses associated with exposure to toxic substance during service on active duty in the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.

  • S. XXXX (Blumenthal)  To establish in the Department of Veterans Affairs a national center for the diagnosis, treatment, and research of health conditions of the descendants of Veterans exposed to toxic substances during service in the Armed Forces, to provide certain services to those descendants, and for other purposes.

  • S. XXXX (Burr)  To amend title 38, United States Code, to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs has an up-to date policy on reporting of cases of infectious diseases, to require an independent assessment of the organizational structure of the Veterans Integrated Service Networks and Department medical centers, and for other purposes.



  • November 6, 2013.  The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has tentatively scheduled a confirmation hearing for Mr. Sloan D. Gibson for the position of Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Ms. Constance Tobias for the position of Chair, Board of Veterans’ Appeals. 

  • (Hearing has been postponed)  SVAC will hold a hearing on claims transformation and efforts at reducing the backlog.

  • (Hearing has been postponed)  HVAC will conduct an oversight hearing entitled “”Building VA’s Future – Confronting Persistent

  • November 13, 2013.  The Economic Opportunity Subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs will conduct a hearing on November 13, 2013 (originally scheduled for October 23, 203) entitled, “VA’s Independent Living Program – A Program Review

  1. Today in History:

  • 1707Scilly naval disaster: four British Royal Navy ships run aground near the Isles of Scilly because of faulty navigation. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell and thousands of sailors drown.

  • 1777American Revolutionary War: American defenders of Fort Mercer on the Delaware River repulse repeated Hessian attacks in the Battle of Red Bank.

  • 1784Russia founds a colony on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

  • 1790 – Warriors of the Miami tribe under Chief Little Turtle defeat United States troops under General Josiah Harmar at the site of present-day Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the Northwest Indian War.

  • 1797André-Jacques Garnerin makes the first recorded parachute jump from one thousand meters (3,200 feet) above Paris.

  • 1836Sam Houston is inaugurated as the first President of the Republic of Texas.

  • 1859Spain declares war on Morocco.

  • 1877 – The Blantyre mining disaster in Scotland kills 207 miners.

  • 1878 – The first rugby match under floodlights takes place in Salford, between Broughton and Swinton.

  • 1879 – Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric incandescent light bulb (it lasted 13½ hours before burning out).

  • 1883 – The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City opens with a performance of Gounod's Faust.

  • 1907Panic of 1907: A run on the stock of the Knickerbocker Trust Company sets events in motion that will lead to a depression.

  • 1923 – The royalist LeonardopoulosGargalidis coup d'état attempt fails in Greece, discrediting the monarchy and paving the way for the establishment of the Second Hellenic Republic.

  • 1924Toastmasters International is founded.

  • 1926J. Gordon Whitehead sucker punches magician Harry Houdini in the stomach in Montreal, precipitating his death.

  • 1927Nikola Tesla introduces six new inventions including a motor with onephase electricity



  • 1934 – In East Liverpool, Ohio, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents shoot and kill notorious bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd.

  • 1941World War II: French resistance member Guy Môquet and 29 other hostages are executed by the Germans in retaliation for the death of a German officer.

  • 1943 – World War II: in the Second firestorm raid on Germany, the Royal Air Force conducts an air raid on the town of Kassel, killing 10,000 and rendering 150,000 homeless.

  • 1946Soviet Operation Osoaviakhim takes place.

  • 1957Vietnam War: First United States casualties in Vietnam.

  • 1962Cuban Missile Crisis: US President John F. Kennedy, after internal counsel from Dwight D. Eisenhower, announces that American reconnaissance planes have discovered Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba, and that he has ordered a naval "quarantine" of the Communist nation.

  • 1964Jean-Paul Sartre is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, but turns down the honor.

  • 1964 – Canada: A Multi-Party Parliamentary Committee selects the design which becomes the new official Flag of Canada.

  • 1966The Supremes become the first all-female music group to attain a No. 1 selling album (The Supremes A' Go-Go).

  • 1968Apollo program: Apollo 7 safely splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean after orbiting the Earth 163 times.

  • 1972Vietnam War: In Saigon, Henry Kissinger and South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu meet to discuss a proposed cease-fire that had been worked out between Americans and North Vietnamese in Paris.

  • 1975 – The Soviet unmanned space mission Venera 9 lands on Venus.

  • 1976 – Red Dye No. 4 is banned by the US Food and Drug Administration after it is discovered that it causes tumors in the bladders of dogs. The dye is still used in Canada.

  • 1981 – The United States Federal Labor Relations Authority votes to decertify the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization for its strike the previous August.

  • 1983 – Two correctional officers are killed by inmates at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. The incident inspires the Supermax model of prisons.

  • 1999Maurice Papon, an official in the Vichy France government during World War II, is jailed for crimes against humanity.

  • 2005Tropical Storm Alpha forms in the Atlantic Basin, making the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record with 22 named storms.

  • 2006 – A Panama Canal expansion proposal is approved by 77.8% of voters in a National referendum held in Panama.

  • 2007Raid on Anuradhapura Air Force Base is carried out by 21 Tamil Tiger commandos. All except one died in this attack. Eight Sri Lankan Air Force planes are destroyed and 10 damaged.

  • 2008India launches its first unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-1.


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