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ND Veterans Affairs News

The Fort Hood shooting shines a spotlight on an overall epidemic, but suicide rates are higher for older generations.

By Jordain Carney
April 13, 2014

The Fort Hood shooting reignited the national debate over the surge of suicides among those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. But older veterans have been largely overlooked in the conversation.

Nearly 70 percent of all veterans who commit suicide are age 50 or older, according to the Veterans Affairs Department. This is double the suicide rate for the same age group in the nonveteran community.

By Michael Vitez, Inquirer Staff Writer
POSTED: April 13, 2014

The first time Pearson Crosby went to the methadone clinic at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center in early 2013, he asked his father to go with him.

But couldn't tell him why.

Crosby, who played varsity basketball at Council Rock High School South, had served four years in the United States Marine Corps, with two tours in Iraq.

By Patricia Kime
Staff writer, Military Times
Apr. 9, 2014 - 01:07PM

George Siders remembers his first enemy kill like it happened yesterday.

While rounding a curve on patrol in Vietnam, the 18-year-old Marine came upon a North Vietnamese soldier on the trail. Siders instinctively raised his rifle and fired, hitting his target in the forehead.

The blast, Siders said, blew the soldier’s “brain and about 2 or 3 feet of spinal cord” out his backside.

Written by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, The Washington Post
Published on April 8, 2014

Most Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ injuries didn’t occur during combat. But their ailments have become an enduring consequence of the conflicts.

Army sniper James Crowell went to war 70 inches tall. He returned home an inch shorter and in constant pain, his spine compressed by the collective trauma of a rooftop fall, a Humvee accident and his heavy body armor, worn almost every day on four deployments.

By Patricia Kime
Staff writer, Military Times
Apr. 9, 2014 - 06:00AM

The chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee strongly opposes a Pentagon plan to cut funding for commissaries, another signal that the drastic $1 billion proposed reduction will not survive the congressional budget process.

The U.S. Embassy to France has been advised that the French Government is offering local support to D-Day veterans who are planning to attend the 70th anniversary commemoration of Operation Overlord on June 6, 2014, in Normandy, France.  The French government will provide one veteran and a guest with roundtrip transportation from Paris to Normandy, and lodging, meals and transportation while in Normandy.  Travel to Paris is the responsibility of each veteran and guest.

Prairie Public Television is airing a three-part television series in May that addresses the concerns of many Veterans.  

BY MARK BERMAN, Washington Post
April 7, 2014

April 4, 2014 by Reynaldo Leal

The headlines circulating the Internet hours after the tragic Fort Hood shooting were vague, but the implications for Veterans who have been diagnosed, or are seeking treatment, for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are not.

By Matthew M. Burke
Stars and Stripes
Published: April 3, 2014

Joseph Petit went to the VA hospital for knee pain and depression and came out on a litany of powerful drugs that he said made him hallucinate.

He repeatedly asked doctors for help with the side effects, but he said they gave him more antipsychotics, antidepressants and anxiety drugs that made him feel worse.

Lowest level since Agent Orange cases added in 2011

WASHINGTON – One year after the backlog of pending disability compensation claims peaked at over 611,000 in March 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reduced that number by approximately 44 percent to 344,000 claims – a reduction of more than 267,000 – while at the same time improving the accuracy of the decisions being made on Veterans’ disability claims.  Additionally, on average, Veterans are waiting 119 days less for a decision than they were at this time last year.

Mar 27,2014 | WASHINGTON – At a U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Senator John Hoeven pressed Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki and VA Under Secretary for Health Robert A. Petzel to allow veterans in western North Dakota to access health care services in the local community when available.

March 20, 2014

By Leo Shane III
Military Times Staff writer

After being jilted again and again by the Pentagon in pursuit of a common digital health records system, the Veterans Affairs Department is hoping a new makeover will finally get its own system noticed — and perhaps get defense officials to commit to a long-term relationship after all.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 19, 2014

WASHINGTON- Veterans and active-duty military personnel with service-connected amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, are now presumed medically eligible for grants up to almost $68,000 to adapt their homes, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today.

BY BILL BRIGGS

Two U.S. senators insisted Tuesday that Veterans Affairs Secretary Erik Shinseki reveal why his agency is nearly three months late in creating a legally-mandated registry of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans potentially poisoned — some lethally — by exposure to toxic trash-fire trenches.

The so-called "burn pits," scattered throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, spewed acrid smoke while breaking down damaged Humvees, ordnance, mattresses, rocket launchers, and even amputated body parts. Some were ignited by jet fuel.

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