VVA Web Weekly – October 28, 2016

In This Issue: October 28, 2016
Dr. Orange: The Secret Nemesis of Sick Vets

FDA Drug Safety Communication

GAO: DoD Needs to do More About Burn Pit Exposure

Army Follows Up Suicide Risk Survey

Sec Def Suspends Collection Against CA Nat’l Guard Members

Military Warns Chinese Computer Gear Poses Cyber Spy Threat

1st Transgender Soldiers Seek Army Recognition

Misleading Mailers

Air Force Fire-fighting Foam Caused CO Water Pollution

Chapter 89 Helps Color in Veterans Day


Dr. Orange: The Secret Nemesis of Sick Vets

“For decades, the military and the VA have repeatedly turned to one man to guide decisions on whether Agent Orange harmed vets in Vietnam and elsewhere. His reliable answer: No.” So begins the latest installment in the series of excellent investigative work on the impact of Agent Orange on veterans by Charles Ornstein, ProPublica, and Mike Hixenbaugh, The Virginian-Pilot, co-published on October 26.

Read More…

FDA Drug Safety Communication
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning on October 4 about the risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV) becoming an active infection again in any patient who has a current or previous infection with HBV and is treated with certain direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medicines for hepatitis C virus. In a few cases, HBV reactivation in patients treated with DAA medicines resulted in serious liver problems or death. As a result, the FDA is requiring a Boxed Warning, about the risk of HBV reactivation to be added to the drug labels of these DAAs, directing healthcare professionals to screen and monitor for HBV in all patients receiving DAA treatment. This warning will also be included in the patient information leaflet or Medication Guides for these medicines.

Read the Full Safety Announcement…

GAO: DoD Needs to do More About Burn Pit Exposure
Mark Brunswick, in an October 24 article for the Star Tribune, reports on the Government Accountability Office findings of DoD’s March 2016 report to Congress on the use of burn pits. While the GAO report, released in September, credited the Department of Defense with improving practices to mitigate the risks of exposure to the burn pits, the department still needs to ensure that “research specifically examines the relationship between direct burn pit exposure and long-term health issues.”

Read More…

Army Follows Up Suicide Risk Survey  
According to an October 24 Army Times article by Meghann Myers, researchers are following up with more than 70,000 soldiers as they try to learn more about troops’ experiences with stress, mental health, and other risks for suicide. The work is part of an extensive and expansive survey that first began in 2010, the “Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members.” The initial study yielded research breakthroughs, including evidence that the increase in soldier suicide couldn’t be attributed to an increase in deployments, and that women were the most likely group to attempt suicide, though not the most likely to succeed.

Read More…

Sec Def Suspends Collection Against CA Nat’l Guard Members
—from the Defense Media Network on October 27: Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has temporarily suspended DOD efforts to collect reimbursement from California National Guard members who may have improperly received reenlistment bonuses and tuition assistance.


Military Warns Chinese Computer Gear Poses Cyber Spy Threat
As reported October 24 by Bill Gertz for AP, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff recently warned against using equipment made by China’s Lenovo computer manufacturer amid concerns about cyber spying against Pentagon networks, according to defense officials. A recent internal report produced by the J-2 intelligence directorate stated that cyber security officials are concerned that Lenovo computers and handheld devices could introduce compromised hardware into the Defense Department supply chain, posing cyber espionage risks, said officials familiar with the report.

Read More…


1st Transgender Soldiers Seek Army Recognition
According to an October 25 ABC News article by AP reporter Lolita C. Baldor, within weeks of the Pentagon allowing transgender service members to serve openly, Army officials said 10 soldiers have formally asked to be recognized as their new, preferred gender. “Is the Army ready? Well, we are educating ourselves, and we are trying to get ready,” Milley said in an interview with AP. “We’re well past the issue of debating and arguing about transgender. We are now into execution, to make sure the program is carried out with diligence, dignity, respect.”

Read More…


Misleading Mailers?
If passed, Measure 4 in North Dakota would increase taxes on tobacco products and use the tax revenue to fund veteran services. According to an October 25 Valley News Live article by Cornelius G. Hocker, the tobacco industry has used a picture of a veteran on a flyer to encourage a “No” vote on Measure 4. “We’re talking about North Dakota here, but the guy’s cap says California on it,” said David Johnson, a veteran and supporter of Measure 4. “It’s like they’re [the tobacco lobby] trying to jump on the band wagon to try and show that they’re supporting veterans, but they’re just using them as a ploy,” said Larry Lein, another veteran and supporter of Measure 4.

Read More…


Air Force Fire-fighting Foam Caused CO Water Pollution
According to an October 24 Colorado Springs Gazette article by Tom Roeder posted on the Military.com website, the Air Force ignored decades of warnings from its own researchers in continuing to use a chemical-laden firefighting foam that is a leading cause of contaminated drinking water for at least 6 million Americans, including thousands of people south of Colorado Springs.

Read More…


Chapter 89 Helps Color in Veterans Day
Fourth-grade students in Allen County, OH, and Auglaize County, OH, will receive coloring books from Chapter 89 in time for Veterans Day. The chapter anticipates distributing over 2,000 coloring books with pictures and history lessons about the Vietnam and other wars.

Read More About What VVA Chapters are Doing…
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