December 2013

Defense Department transfers three Guantanamo detainees

12/31/2013 - DOD transfers three Guantanamo detainees

The Department of Defense announced this week that three Guantanamo Bay detainees were transferred to a new facility following President Barack Obama's signing of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, which lifted the ban on removing prisoners from the Cuba military prison. read more »

Arizona park program aids homeless veterans

12/31/2013 - Arizona park program aids homeless veterans

A pilot program in Arizona is helping homeless veterans find gainful employment by placing them in positions with the Arizona State Parks system, local news outlet KJZZ reported. read more »

VA website improves user experience

12/31/2013 - VA website improves user experience

As part of the federal government's Open Data Initiatives project, the Department of Veterans Affairs debuted new applications on its website this week that provide visitors with greater accessibility of VA resources. read more »

NORAD's Santa-tracking system breaks records

12/31/2013 - NORAD's Santa-tracking system breaks records

The popular Santa-tracking program hosted by the North American Aerospace Defense Command broke its own record this Christmas Eve, fielding calls from thousands of American children watching Santa and his reindeer make their way around the world, gifts in tow. read more »

Tennessee county commissioner rallies veterans for military benefits

12/31/2013 - Tennessee county commissioner rallies veterans for military benefits

Tommy Vallejos is frustrated. After campaigning for increased military benefits for veterans over the last year, the recent Congressional budget cuts to the pensions of military retirees and disabled veterans hit the veterans advocate hard. read more »

Bonus program about to expire for Ohio veterans

12/31/2013 - Bonus program about to expire for Ohio veterans

A bonus program for Ohio veterans coping with life after service is nearing its deadline, NBC 4i reported. read more »

VA reduces disability claims backlog by one third

12/30/2013 - VA reduces disability claims backlog by one third

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week that the agency was on track to eliminate its disability claims backlog by 2015. read more »

Obama signs military pay bill

12/27/2013 - Obama signs military pay bill

President Obama signed a bill this week granting military benefits to servicemembers and veterans. read more »

Former homeless veterans help others still in need

12/27/2013 - Former homeless veterans help others still in need

A group of veterans in Boston currently spend their weeks walking through the city's back alleys and bridge underpasses, looking for those who are struggling with life after service. read more »

Medicinal marijuana may help veterans with PTSD

12/26/2013 - Medicinal marijuana may help veterans with PTSD

A recent report from NPR found that medicinal marijuana might be one healing method for former servicemembers with PTSD symptoms. read more »

Military pension cuts create tension on Capitol Hill

12/23/2013 - Military pension cuts create tension on Capitol Hill

U.S. lawmakers passed a spending bill last week that included cuts to pensions for veterans under the age of 62, but not without a fight. read more »

Obama issues military sexual assault review

12/23/2013 - President Obama issues military sexual assault review

President Barack Obama issued a new directive last week that will look into the high rate of sexual assault among military members and continue to push for progress in sexual assault prevention and response. read more »

Military competition features latest robotic technology

12/23/2013 - Military competition features latest robotic technology

A competition funded by the U.S. military showed off the newest robotic technology designed by the world's top engineers and researchers, CNN reported. read more »

Did Phoenix end veterans homelessness?

12/23/2013 - Did Phoenix end veterans homelessness?

Three years ago, Arizona state officials formed a coalition to end chronic veterans homelessness in Phoenix. Now, the city's mayor claims that that goal has been achieved. read more »

Farming nonprofit teaches veterans how to turn to nature

12/20/2013 - Farming nonprofit teaches veterans how to turn to nature

An organic farmer from California has formed a nonprofit to help veterans transition to life after service in an unexpected way - through farming. read more »

VA delays impact veterans with PTSD

12/20/2013 - VA delays impact veterans with PTSD

Despite reducing the disability claims backlog by nearly 35 percent, the Department of Veterans Affairs still has thousands of pending claims. read more »

New Jersey veterans museum forges on

12/19/2013 - New Jersey veterans museum forges on

The Joyce-Herbert Veterans Museum in Bayonne, N.J., has been paying tribute to local war heroes since it opened in 2006. However, securing the funding to keep the museum's doors open to the public hasn't always been easy. read more »

Which cities have the longest waits for disability claims processing?

12/18/2013 - Which cities have the longest waits for disability claims processing?

For the past year, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been working on reducing its disability claims backlog, which currently has thousands of veterans across the country waiting longer than the standard 125 days for a response. read more »

Program helps veterans heal with horses

12/18/2013 - Program helps veterans heal with horses

Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans are finding some relief from their symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder with the help of animal therapy. read more »

Servicemembers to receive housing allowance raise in 2014

12/18/2013 - Servicemembers to receive housing allowance raise in 2014

Defense officials announced this week that active-duty troops can expect a 5 percent increase in their basic allowance for housing rates in 2014. read more »

Report shows high death rate for young California veterans

12/17/2013 - Report shows high death rate for young California veterans

Newly released analysis from The Los Angeles Times found that California veterans under the age of 35 have a death rate that's higher than both active-duty servicemembers and civilians in the same age group. read more »

Organization honors late veterans with wreaths

12/16/2013 - Organization honors late veterans with wreaths

Wreaths were placed on thousands of graves last weekend to honor the lives of former servicemembers. read more »

National Guards processing benefits for same-sex couples

12/16/2013 - National Guards processing benefits for same-sex couples

All National Guards are now processing military benefits for servicemembers who are in same-sex marriages under a directive issued by the Pentagon, The Washington Post reported. read more »

VA introduces new health care regulations for veterans

12/16/2013 - VA introduces new health care regulations for veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced a new health care policy that will make it easier for veterans to receive treatment for mental illness, The New York Times reported. read more »

Army enters annual clash with Navy having lost 11 straight meetings

12/13/2013 - Army looks to stop Navy's streak in 114th meeting

Since it was first played in 1890, the annual Army-Navy football game has been a highlight of the college football season, and while the series is relatively even, Navy has been dominant as of late. read more »

Study shows increase in PTSD among Marines with head injuries

12/12/2013 - Study shows increase in PTSD among Marines with head injuries

A new study exploring the link between post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries found that Marines who sustained a mild head injury while in combat were more likely to develop the condition, The Los Angeles Times reported. read more »

VA performed lobotomies on World War II veterans

12/11/2013 - VA performed lobotomies on World War II veterans

A new investigation from The Wall Street Journal found that the Veterans Administration approved lobotomies for World War II veterans who showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. read more »

New budget deal might affect military retirees

12/11/2013 - New budget deal might affect military retirees

Lawmakers in Congress introduced a bill this week that will cut $6 billion from the federal budget. read more »

University dental school to help homeless veterans

12/11/2013 - University dental school to help homeless veterans

The Indiana University School of Dentistry announced this week that it will assist homeless veterans currently searching for gainful employment by giving them free dental care. read more »

Pay raise likely for servicemembers in 2014

12/10/2013 - Pay raise likely for servicemembers in 2014

Although it will be the lowest basic pay raise in 40 years, Military Times reported that servicemembers can expect a 1 percent salary increase in 2014. read more »

Report shows similar PTSD rates for veterans and contractors

12/10/2013 - Report shows similar PTSD rates for veterans and contractors

A study conducted by the RAND Corporation found that veterans and civilians who work as defense contractors in combat zones experience post-traumatic stress disorder at similar rates, The Washington Post reported. read more »

Congress moves forward with defense bill

12/10/2013 - Congress moves forward with defense bill

Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees announced this week that they reached a deal on the National Defense Authorization Act, which outlines military spending for the 2014 fiscal year. read more »

Disability claims backlog increases in Minnesota

12/10/2013 - Disability claims backlog increases in Minnesota

The Minnesota VA is currently overwhelmed by its disability claims backlog, as efforts to reduce the paperwork pileup have failed. read more »

Where's the help for veterans with a bad discharge?

12/9/2013 - Where's the help for veterans with a bad discharge?

Veterans who left the service with an other-than-honorable discharge often find themselves without many military benefits or resources. read more »

Louisiana to grant military benefits to same-sex couples

12/9/2013 - Louisiana to grant military benefits to same-sex couples

Despite a state ban on recognizing same-sex marriage, the Louisiana National Guard will begin processing applications for military benefits for its servicemembers who are in same-sex relationships. read more »

Baseball player establishes foundation for veterans

12/9/2013 - Baseball player establishes foundation for veterans

Looking for a way to help former servicemembers, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto has established a foundation to help veterans in Cincinnati and his hometown of Toronto who are currently coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.  read more »

William and Mary welcomes Veterans Writing Project

12/6/2013 - William and Mary welcomes Veterans Writing Project

The Veterans Writing Project, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., is holding a workshop at the College of William and Mary this weekend to help former servicemembers find some therapy through the written word. read more »

Sen. Rubio claims Congress is negatively impacting veterans

12/6/2013 - Sen. Rubio claims Congress is negatively impacting veterans

In an Op-Ed for The Tampa Tribune, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) addressed the current issues facing both Congress and the military. read more »

Pentagon official warns teens of online behavior

12/5/2013 - Pentagon official warns teens of online behavior

Could the Internet be harming the up-and-coming crop of military recruits? Gen. Martin Dempsey seems to think so. read more »

First Lady hosts holiday event for military families

12/5/2013 - First lady hosts holiday event for military families

A group of military families gathered at the White House this week for a sneak-peek of its holiday decorations. read more »

Veteran claims discrimination against his service

12/5/2013 - Veteran claims discrimination against his military service

In 2009, former Air Force Reserve major John J. Murphy applied to be the manager of Radnor, Penn., a suburb of Philadelphia. Although Murphy believed his military experience would give him a better chance at clinching the position, he was denied the job, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. read more »

Ohio veterans memorial to be demolished

12/4/2013 - Ohio veterans memorial to be demolished

A group of Ohio veterans recently attempted to block the razing of a veterans memorial in Columbus. read more »

Christine Fox becomes highest-ranking women in DOD

12/4/2013 - Christine Fox becomes highest-ranking women in DOD

Following the departure of Deputy Secretary of State Ash Carter, President Obama has appointed Christine Fox to serve under Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as the acting Deputy Defense Secretary. read more »

Iowa expands program for veterans employment

12/4/2013 - Iowa expands program for veterans employment

After establishing the Home Base veterans employment program last month, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is continuing to push for veterans benefits. read more »

Treatment court provides veterans with alternatives to incarceration

12/3/2013 - Treatment court provides veterans with alternatives to incarceration

Veterans who have had run-ins with authorities might be able to find a second chance thanks to a new path through the court system. read more »

Deputy Defense Secretary gives his final remarks

12/3/2013 - Deputy Defense Secretary gives his final remarks

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter officially leaves his post at the Department of Defense Dec. 4, but he's not departing without first saying his goodbyes. read more »

U.S. military court opens Fort Hood prostitution case

12/3/2013 - U.S. military court opens Fort Hood prostitution case

A U.S. military court started hearing arguments this week on a high-profile prostitution case that occurred at the U.S. Army installation Fort Hood. read more »

Army officially recognizes same-sex couples

12/2/2013 - Army officially recognizes same-sex couples

Following the June 26 Supreme Court decision that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the U.S. Army has officially extended its military benefits to the same-sex spouses of Army servicemembers. read more »

North Carolina group honors Vietnam veterans with personalized memorial

12/2/2013 - North Carolina group honors Vietnam veterans with personalized memorial

Two North Carolina residents are currently working hard to honor fallen Vietnam veterans by putting a face to their names. read more »

Pennsylvania sees increase in homeless veterans

12/2/2013 - Pennsylvania sees increase in homeless veterans

Despite a drop in veterans homelessness nationwide, Pennsylvania has experienced an increase in its homeless veterans population over the last four years. read more »