Military/Veteran News for October 6th, 2016

U.S. Military Responds to Hurricane Matthew –

The Pentagon is preparing to send Navy ships and helicopters to areas recently hit by the Cat. 4 Hurricane Matthew. The mighty storm made landfall on Tuesday, October 4th in Haiti, with winds up to 145 miles per hour. Helicopters will be moved within a few hundred miles of Jamaica, Cuba, and Haiti. Thousands of sailors and Marines may be called in for relief effort. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook stated, “This is a serious storm, and while we have not received any specific request for assistance at this point, we do stand ready to provide support in the region as needed.” The evacuations of hundreds of families and pets have been made from Guantánamo to Pensacola, Fla., but detainees held there will remain and be relocated to safer structures if needed. The storm is also anticipated to hit Camp Lejeune, N.C. and other military installations near Norfolk in the coming days.
Source: Washington Post

Hundreds of Veterans Died Waiting for Phoenix VA Care –

A recent report released by the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) revealed that more than 200 veterans have died while waiting for care since the Phoenix Veterans Administration hospital scandal. There have been attempts at reform for over two years, and the report revealed that this facility had, “a high number of open consults because […] staff had not scheduled patients’ appointments in a timely manner (or had not rescheduled canceled appointments), a clinic could not find lab results, and staff did not properly link completed appointment notes to the corresponding consults.” 215 deceased patients had open specialist consultation appointments on the day they died. Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain released a joint statement expressing their disappointment. The VA also released a statement, including the fact that they are still hiring positions that help handle the consultation scheduling.
Source: Fox News

Veterans Still Sick, Dying from Burn Pit Related Illnesses –

Veterans exposed to the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan are asking the public as well as government leaders to recognize their health problems. A group of 700 veterans and their families with Burn Pits 360 wrote a letter to President Barack Obama regarding their concerns. “We write because these veterans are seriously ill, dying or have passed away, and more must be done […] Many of us went to war able to run marathons, but now our health has deteriorated so much that we cannot hold down steady jobs.” A report was released by the Government Accountability Office documenting the shortfalls in the Defense Department’s monitoring of burn-pit victims. It also asks White House officials not to let the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs dismiss the veterans. There is also an issue with the National Airborne Hazards Open Burn Pit Registry where death entries can not be submitted, which Burn Pits 360 receives on a weekly basis.
The DoD and VA have often noted the difficulty of linking troops’ illnesses to the burn pits, due to the fact that what was actually burned in each pit and how much a single veteran was exposed to is not documented. Rosie Lopez-Torres, executive director of Burn Pits 360, states, “burn pits are this generation’s Agent Orange, but we are seeing deaths happen three or five years later, instead of decades later […] we cannot afford to wait for another delayed medical study, we need the president and Congress to recognize this crisis is happening now.’
Source: Military Times