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Boston bombing amputees face tough, costly recovery
Los Angeles Times
Tammy Duckworth still remembers the anger she felt when well-wishers offered encouragement after she lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down over Iraq in 2004. "I thought, how the heck is my life ever going to get back to normal?" she recalled. Duckworth spent a year recovering and many more adapting to her new life. "Recovery is not a smooth process," she said. "You are trying to process what happened. Your family is going through shock. You have to find a new normal." But Duckworth did, thanks in part to major medical and therapeutic advances.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Veterans fight changes to disability payments (The Associated Press via Logan Banner)
More troops, families using Post-9/11 GI Bill (Air Force Times (Subscriber article))
A Vietnam veteran reflects: How I found peace 40 years later (The Guardian)
Pentagon presses for higher fees for military health care beneficiaries, Congress resists (The Associated Press via Star Tribune)
Veteran groups question White House budget plan (Military.com)

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VA to push longest-waiting veterans to front of benefits line
The Press-Enterprise
After enduring criticism, outrage and late-night monologue punch lines, the Department of Veterans Affairs is responding to the legendary long waits for benefits that many of its beneficiaries endure. According to a press release, the agency is, "implementing an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for veterans who have waited one year or longer."
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Lawmaker renews fight for automatic veterans COLA
Military Times
A House subcommittee chairman has renewed his efforts to provide automatic cost-of-living adjustments for veterans so they don't have to wait for Congress to act. In 2012, Congress postponed action on the COLA bill until November, and the bill granting a 1.7 percent increase effective Dec. 1 was not signed into law until Nov. 27, said Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee's disability assistance and memorial affairs panel. "This situation was unacceptable and unfair to our veterans," Runyan said at a recent hearing of his subcommittee that focused on pending legislation.
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Boston Marathon wounds raise anxiety for Iran, Afghanistan war veterans
Newsday
The horrific wounds on the legs of some Boston Marathon spectators were all too similar to those witnessed and experienced by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Timothy Strobel, a former Army medic, who rushed to aid the wounded when a Baghdad suicide bomber injured 38 Iraqi civilians at a crowded gas station in 2007, had to turn away from television images streaming out of Boston. Strobel is among veterans who said the images from the Boston bombings inflamed their own anxieties about their experiences in war.
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War, sports shape better artificial limbs
The New York Times
John Kremer, a Navy explosives expert, lost both his legs below the knee after stepping on a mine in Afghanistan in 2010. In his San Diego hospital bed, he assumed he would be chained to a wheelchair for a year or more. Walking seemed a distant goal. Running? He could barely comprehend the concept anymore. But with the encouragement of therapists at the Naval Medical Center, Kremer was walking in two months, running in five and skydiving after nine.
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Veterans' gun rights bill falls in the Senate
Military Times
The Senate recently failed to pass legislation preventing veterans from losing gun ownership rights simply for being incapable of handling their financial affairs. Under special rules for Senate debate on the gun bill, 60 votes were required for passage. The vote was 56-44.
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Pentagon presses for higher fees for military health care beneficiaries, Congress resists
The Associated Press via Star Tribune
The loud, insistent calls in Washington, D.C., to rein in the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare ignore a major and expensive entitlement program — the military's health care system.

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Veterans' programs are set for raise in spending plan
The New York Times
Facing growing criticism from Congress, veterans groups and even late-night television hosts, the Obama administration announced that it would include significant increases for veterans' programs, including money for mental health services, in the budget it soon unveils.

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Legislation would help wrongfully discharged vets
Minneapolis Star Tribune
As many as 31,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans nationwide may have been improperly discharged for personality or adjustment disorders, even though they may be suffering from service-connected disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder, the signature injury of the wars.

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VA aims to reduce its backlog of claims
The New York Times
Under pressure to reduce its immense inventory of disability claims for injured and sick veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced its plans to process 250,000 claims that are one year or older within the next six months.
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Nearly half of veterans found with blast concussions might have hormone deficiencies
American Physiological Society via Medical Xpress
Up to 20 percent of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq have experienced at least one blast concussion. New research suggests that nearly half these veterans may have a problem so under-recognized that even military physicians may fail to look for it. A new study has found that about 42 percent of screened veterans with blast injuries have irregular hormone levels indicative of hypopituitarism.
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Opinion: Wars on drugs
The New York Times
In 2012, more active-duty soldiers committed suicide than died in battle. This fact has been reported so often that it has almost lost its jolting force. Almost. Worse, according to data not reported on until recently, the military evidently responded to stress that afflicts soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan primarily by drugging soldiers on the front lines. Data obtained directly from Tricare Management Activity, the division of the Department of Defense that manages health care services for the military, shows that there has been a giant, 682 percent increase in the number of psychoactive drugs prescribed to our troops between 2005 and 2011. A nearly 700 percent increase — despite a steady reduction in combat troop levels since 2008.
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Donate to VAA
If you are in the U.S., you now can donate online through VetsNet. Everything you donate — 100 percent — will go directly to the Veterans Association of America Inc. to help all veterans. Simply click on the 'Make A Donation' button on the donation page to submit your contribution of choice. All donations made are tax deductible. We appreciate your contribution.
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VAA Dispatch
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Rebecca Eberhardt, Content Editor, 469.420.2608   
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April 23, 2013




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