CalVet Newswatch brings you the latest veteran news from California and beyond, delivered weekly to your inbox and updated daily on CalVet Connect. Scroll down to view highlights of this week’s top articles, or click here to visit our site.
2 Vets Celebrate Love: ‘If You Came To See The Bride, You’re Out Of Luck’
NPR — When John Banvard, 100, met Gerard “Jerry” Nadeau, 72, in 1993, neither of them had been openly gay. “When we met, we were sort of in the closet, and I’d never had a real relationship. Now, we’ve been together almost 25 years,” Jerry tells John during a StoryCorps interview. “What would it have been like if you didn’t meet me?” Jerry asks John. “I would have continued being lonely,” John says. “I’d been absolutely lost.” Both are veterans, having served in World War II (John) and Vietnam (Jerry), and when they moved into the veterans home together in Chula Vista, Calif., in 2010, Jerry says people there wondered what their relationship was.
See what changes could be coming to TAP
MILITARY TIMES — Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want service members to get more training for civilian life before transitioning out of the military. Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives this week seeks to boost participation in specialized workshops offered through the Defense Department’s Transition Assistance Program, or TAP. The bill, introduced by Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., would require service members to opt out of the additional training provided in addition to the program’s core curriculum, rather than opt in.
Kevin Graves to serve as Discovery Bay Community Services District Board president
THEPRESS.NET — Kevin Graves is a Discovery Bay fixture. In the 24 years he has lived in town, Graves has worked as a volunteer, founded a nonprofit organization and been active in local politics. This year, he will be leading the town’s community services district (CSD) board as its president. “This is my ninth year serving on the board, and my third time as president,” Graves said. “We have gone through a lot of changes in the past year, and we have some big projects coming up.” …When he’s not serving on committees or speaking on town business, Graves can be found in his car, driving somewhere in the 10-county region he covers for the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CDVA).
New VA memo nixes plan to shift $460 million earmarked for veteran homelessness
STARS AND STRIPES — The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a memorandum this week that officially reverses plans to shift millions of dollars from a VA account dedicated to combating veteran homelessness. Steve Young, VA deputy undersecretary for health, sent the memo Tuesday to all VA network directors, homeless coordinators and medical center directors. It states the VA will not reallocate funds this fiscal year earmarked for a veteran housing program known as HUD-VASH, in which the VA provides case management for veterans who receive housing vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Heroes-turned-actors: 3 stars of ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ talk about their roles of a lifetime
MILITARY TIMES — Two and a half years after three friends helped thwart a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train, their story is getting told on the big screen. In August 2015, then-Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, then-Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler tackled a gunman armed with an assault rifle, a pistol and a box cutter on a train heading from Amsterdam to Paris.
Ginnie Mae penalizes 9 lenders for targeting veterans
STARS AND STRIPES — The U.S. government sent notices to nine lenders this week, warning them that they would be penalized for pressuring veterans into costly home loan refinancing. The lenders were told they will be kicked out of Ginnie Mae’s mortgage program unless they prove they can correct their actions. The notices are part of an effort between Ginnie Mae, formally known as the Government National Mortgage Association, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to stop predatory lenders from targeting veterans who use the VA home loan guarantee program.
Veterans are taking blood pressure medication for PTSD – For some, that might be a mistake
NEWSWEEK — A blood pressure drug that one in six veterans with PTSD may take to control their nightmares may not work better than a placebo, new results published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest. Despite the results, the researchers still believe the drug might work—just for some people. The study followed more than 300 people, half of whom took the drug and half of whom took a placebo, for six months. About 80 percent had received disability for PTSD. Almost all were men who had fought in Vietnam.
‘General Tubman’: Female abolitionist was also a secret military weapon
MILITARY TIMES — When the Civil War began, Harriet Tubman had already been a freedom fighter for more than a decade. As a renowned abolitionist and intrepid Underground Railroad conductor who went into slave territory to lead refugees to safety in the North and Canada, she had undertaken numerous clandestine and dangerous rescues. Tubman wasn’t afraid of assisting her escaped brothers and sisters either. In 1860 she helped liberate runaway slave Charles Nalle from a slave catcher in Troy, N.Y.
Long-Term opioid use down among U.S. vets: Study
U.S. NEWS — Recent efforts by the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to promote safe prescribing of opioid painkillers seem to be working. Opioid prescriptions by the VHA have declined since peaking in 2012, a new study finds. Key to the drop is decreases in long-term prescriptions, which carry greater risk for overdose and addiction, said the study’s lead author, Katherine Hadlandsmyth.
After Iraq and Afghanistan, pioneering women in the military set sights on Congress
WASHINGTON POST — In Amy McGrath’s pitch to voters in Kentucky, she wears a bomber jacket and stands next to an F/A-18, the fighter jet she flew as a Marine to drop bombs on Afghanistan. In Mikie Sherrill’s political ad in New Jersey, the camera lingers over a whirring Sea King helicopter, like the one she piloted on Navy missions. And in Martha McSally’s video announcing her run for Senate in Arizona, she is crouched in the cockpit of an Air Force fighter jet to underscore that she was the first woman to fly in combat.
MILITARY TIMES — Veterans are not broken. There is a myth that veterans are broken. That war has somehow destroyed the mind, body, and soul. The idea that we as veterans are dysfunctional and cannot reintegrate back into society is absolute garbage. Many of us do it to ourselves, though not on purpose. Society has this stigma about warriors, that what we do somehow rips apart our humanity and damages us beyond repair. Some will state the suicide epidemic that plagues the veteran community as evidence that we are broken. We respectfully disagree, it is, but a symptom.