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Category: Veterans issues


JBLM’s new chief of warrior transitions brings a background in medical evacuations

The Army tapped a veteran helicopter pilot from Oregon with deep experience in medical evacuations to be the newest leader of a unit that cares for ill and injured soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Lt. Col. Jeffery Mosso is the fourth commanding officer of the base’s Warrior Transition Battalion, a unit created in 2007 to care for troops in a vulnerable period in their careers when they could either leave the service or return to duty.

Mosso’s commander, Col. Dallas Homas, said the job has a “noble mission.”

“For many of your soldiers, you will help carry them through one

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Coffee Strong drops the java as it reopens to focus solely on helping soldiers

Coffee Strong is  out of its namesake business.

The Lakewood veterans advocacy project is keeping its name but slimming down its mission to focus on connecting service members with behavioral health resources and speaking up to hasten the end of the war in Afghanistan.

It moved out of its coffee shop store front at the end 2012 and on Tuesday opened a new office around the corner at 15107 Union Ave. SW  in Tillicum. It no longer sells coffee.

The new digs have more space for confidential meetings with veterans and room to work on claims for help.

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Army secretary launches resiliency campaign at JBLM, gives an update on PTSD reviews

 Secretary of the Army John McHugh visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord Monday. Photo by Peter Haley/The News Tribune.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh on Monday launched an initiative to promote life skills in military families, seeking to streamline and advertise behavioral health resources so soldiers know where to turn in moments of need.

He signed a memorandum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Monday steering more resources to so-called “resiliency” programs, which the Army uses to promote overall health among soldiers and their families.

They’re one component of the Army’s push to reverse a disturbing rise in soldier suicides

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New VA study shows rising suicides among veterans and civilians

Sen. Patty Murray is citing a new report on rising suicides from the Department of Veterans Affairs in urging the military to move quickly on a mental health reform package the carried last year.

The VA today reported that 22 veterans take their own lives every day, up from an average of 18 that the VA cited in past studies.

“This data provides a fuller, more accurate, and sadly, an even more alarming picture of veteran suicide rates. And while I am encouraged that VA has worked to collect the information needed to better understand the problem we face,

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Military suicides climb to record number in 2012

The Associated Press reports today that suicides among service members climbed to record high of 349 in 2012, 48 more than in 2011.

Here’s a link to Robert Burns’ piece describing the increase. It includes the troubling observation that people studying the rising number of suicides do not expect the trend to reverse.

As Burns reports:

David Rudd, a military suicide researcher and dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Utah, said he sees two main categories of troops who are committing suicide at an accelerating pace: Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans

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Obama signs Sen. Murray’s PTSD reform measure for DOD; House declines proposed expansion of fertility services

At the close of 2012, one of Sen. Patty Murray’s measures to improve care for war veterans passed into law and another died without reaching the president’s desk.

Her broad measure to reform behavioral health services – including suicide prevention programs – became law when President Obama signed the 2013 Defense authorization bill.

A separate proposal to expand fertility services for severely wounded service members failed to pass the House of Representatives. The Senate passed it last month, but House Republicans declined to bring it to a vote citing concerns about the bill’s $500 million cost.

Matt McAlvanaugh, a spokesman

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Senate passes Murray bill to expand VA fertility services for wounded service members

The Senate today passed a bill to provide additional fertility treatments to catastrophically wounded service members and their families, but the measure faces a tight deadline in the House of Representatives.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., campaigned for the bill two months ago in Seattle flanked by paralyzed service members from Spokane and Tacoma. Her bill  compels the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer in vitro fertilization services to severely wounded service members and their spouses.

In a Senate floor speech today, Murray cited the damage buried mines can do a service member’s reproductive organs. In Afghanistan, the Taliban’s

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Rep. Smith moves north from JBLM but is still the top Democrat on House Armed Services Committee

Rep. Adam Smith moved a little farther from Joint Base Lewis-McChord when he followed the center of the 9th Congressional District into King County, but he kept his position as the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

Smith in the coming year likely will face more tough decisions on where to cut spending in the Defense Department. Over the past year, he has said he supported some reductions in defense spending as the wars ended and the country turned its focus to improving its economy.

That position is a contrast to the Armed Services Committee’s Republican

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