VAA Dispatch
Jun. 4, 2013

Veterans group stands apart by advocating military budget cuts
The Denver Post
Pete Hegseth leaned forward on the brown leather sofa in Rep. Mick Mulvaney's office and began his rapid-fire pitch: Captain in the Minnesota National Guard. Served in Baghdad and Kabul. Now running an organization of veterans and families. Sixty seconds in, when meetings between veterans and members of Congress usually turn to the importance of protecting health and retirement benefits, of the GI Bill and disability benefits, Hegseth swerved in the other direction.More

VA program helps ex-military medics in civilian world
The Virginian-Pilot
Navy corpsman Jason Martines earned his chops on the Afghan battlefield, patching together wounded Marines in the war-ravaged Helmand Province. Army medic Mathew Vance witnessed the birth of homemade bomb attacks as a convoy medic during his first tour in Iraq. On his second deployment, he worked on a trauma helicopter, perfecting his life-saving medical skills. David Theibert spent 20 years as a Navy corpsman. He treated detainees at Guantanamo Bay, where he learned a lot not just about medicine, but also about the human condition. But after they left the military, Martines, Vance and Theibert had few marketable skills. In the civilian medical world, they were virtually unemployable.More

Tester pushes for better health care for rural veterans
Great Falls Tribune
Sen. Jon Tester is pushing to Department of Veterans Affairs to provide better health care to veterans in rural areas like Montana. Recently, Tester spoke during a hearing of the Governmental Affairs subcommittee, which he took charge of earlier this year. "We need to address chronic health care workforce shortages in rural communities and in agencies like the VA," Tester told Dr. Robert Petzel, the VA's top health official. "The VA made a commitment to hire 1,600 new mental health clinicians and 300 support staff. Where are we on those hirings?" More

Veteran researching impact of Post-9/11 GI Bill
The Free Lance-Star
Frank Bergmeister used the GI Bill to obtain two master's degrees. Now, the 59-year-old retired Marine who lives in Virginia wants to make sure other veterans and their dependents know how to use the updated law to further their education. He is researching a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill for his doctoral dissertation at George Mason University.More

Obama calls for end to mental illness stigma, pushes services for veterans
Yahoo News
President Barack Obama expressed disbelief at a White House mental health conference about the number of "very personal" medical ads shown on television while mental health remains a taboo subject.More

Doing more for US veterans
The New York Times
The Memorial Day commemoration honors the 1.25 million Americans who have fallen for their country. It also affords an opportunity to show concern for living service members, active and retired. The picture is complex and contradictory.More

Veterans dying for benefit decision
Press TV
The backlog of initial and supplementary benefit claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs is expected soon to reach 1 million filings, forcing most honorably discharged GIs to wait for at least nine months for a decision.More

For ailing veterans in rural areas, telemedicine can be the cure
Howard Lincoln of White Mountain, Alaska, doesn't always hear it when people knock on his door. He's 82 and he still has a little shrapnel in his jaw from a mortar shell that nearly killed him in the Korean War 60 years ago. "We heard it whistling, but I was the third one in line running toward the bunker," he recalls. Wounds to his face, arm and hip laid him up in a Tokyo hospital for quite a while. But he recovered, came home to Alaska in 1955 and says he never applied for Veterans Administration. More

Farming, gardening offers comfort to traumatized combat veterans
The Republic
An assemblage of soil-filled plastic buckets stood at the ready, and Operation Rooftop was officially underway. For former soldiers Steve Smith and James Jeffers, it was just another mission in their quest to change Dallas' eating habits through an urban farming enterprise they call Eat The Yard.More

A bigger picture for veteran health
Inside Higher Ed
With the ongoing influx of veterans onto campuses thanks to troop withdrawals from the Middle East and federal tuition benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, more colleges than ever before are trying — and in some cases, struggling — to figure out the best ways to help that unique student population succeed. At a presentation at the annual meeting of the American College Health Association, the outgoing and incoming chairs of ACHA's veterans' group proposed a comprehensive approach through which programs think big but start small. More

Nonprofit provides custom home for wounded warrior
Brandon Rumbaugh recently rode past the well-wishers waving American flags and cheering for him, heading toward the home of his dreams. Rumbaugh, a Marine Corps corporal who lost both legs in Afghanistan, passed more than 150 people lining the streets — some holding "Welcome Home" signs — as he traveled to Paul Court in Uniontown, Pa. There on a lot, the nonprofit group Homes For Our Troops will build a house with special adaptive features for the returning hero. Rumbaugh said he deeply appreciates the gesture and added it will help ease his worries.More

Giving veterans homes to return to
The Huffington Post
According to a count made in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, a staggering 62,619 U.S. veterans are homeless. Too many men and women who bravely served our country are living on the streets and struggling with the uncertainty of their future. As a nation, we cannot — must not — forget our veterans. Nor can we ignore the challenges many of our service men and women are facing as they return from duty, seeking to make the transition to civilian life amidst a struggling economy.More