The TAPS Daily - July 2, 2020
Welcome to The TAPS Daily - your source for some of the latest news, resources, and thought pieces from across the military and veteran community during the COVID-19 response.
- Intelligence chiefs brief congressional leaders on Russia bounties
U.S. intelligence chiefs conducted classified briefings for lawmakers who have demanded more answers about assessments Russia offered bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
- U.S. no longer 'flattening the curve' of coronavirus pandemic, administration official says
The U.S. reported 50,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, surpassing previous single-day highs and levels seen when New York was the epicenter of the epidemic.
- Despite pandemic, Trump promoting July 4th fireworks in D.C. over mayor's objections
President Donald Trump’s July Fourth celebration on the National Mall will feature one of the largest fireworks displays ever despite COVID-19 concerns from D.C.‘s mayor.
- Hugh Downs Has Died. The Army Veteran and News Anchor was 99
Hugh Downs, the Emmy-award winning broadcaster and anchor of ‘20/20’ and ‘Today Show’, has died at age 99. Downs served in the Army’s 123rd Infantry Regiment.
- How to watch 'Hamilton' online: Hit musical on Disney+ July 3
The hit Broadway musical "Hamilton" will arrive on Disney's streaming service on Friday, just in time for the July 4th holiday weekend.
- Fireworks and hand sanitizer could make for dangerous combination on July 4th
While hand sanitizer has become an integral part of the daily routine during the COVID-19 pandemic, it could make for a painful combination with Fourth of July fireworks.
- Here's four things you might not know about the Fourth
As the nation prepares to celebrate a socially distanced Fourth of July this year while marking its 244th birthday, here are four interesting things you might not know about the holiday.
- Get set for July 4 buck moon, partial lunar eclipse: NASA’s top tips for July skywatchers
Skywatchers are in for a treat on July 4, when the buck moon, or July full moon, rises in the sky. There will also be a partial lunar eclipse.
TAPS In the News
- In Times of Uncertainty TAPS Online Community is Steadfast
A surviving mom is grateful for the TAPS Online Community, where there is always someone who is willing to talk about anything.
- Ready to Mentor – Ready to Heal
Peer support is so important not only for other survivors to know they’re not alone in this journey but also for ourselves. It gives us purpose again in our life.
- Yuengling donates $50K to TAPS for virus relief efforts
America's oldest brewery is saluting the nation's military in a big way ahead of the Independence Day weekend with a donation to TAPS as part of the brewery's Lagers for Heroes.
- We're All in This Together - COVID-19 Resources for American Public
Resources and support to help anyone facing the impacts of COVID-19.
- TAPS News Archive
Catch up on all the TAPS news stories over the years on the TAPS media resource page.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Big pay raise, limits on troop moves highlight defense budget measure
A House panel approved plans for a $740.5 billion defense authorization bill which would provide a pay raise for troops, limit the president’s ability to withdraw troops from Europe and Afghanistan, and force the military to reckon with Confederate symbols and legacy on its bases.
- Senate Passes Bill to Create Support Networks for Veterans
The Senate unanimously advanced legislation this week to create networks of support for veterans in transition to keep them connected to VA benefits and services.
- Duckworth to halt 1,100 military promotions if Pentagon retaliates against Vindman
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) plans to block promotions of 1,123 military officers until Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirms he will not block the promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
- Senate Passes Bill to Investigate VA Doctor License Issues
The Ensuring Quality Care for Our Veterans Act aims to prevent veterans from suffering because of improper care from a VA provider with a history of substandard care.
- House bill would force DoD to list deployed numbers around the world
Lawmakers have included a provision in the defense bill to reduce the Secretary of Defense’s travel budget until the Pentagon complies with a requirement in the 2019 defense policy bill.
Grief / Mental Health / Wellness
- Fireworks Can Trigger PTSD. Here’s How to Be Considerate While Celebrating July 4th at Home
There are ways to reduce how fireworks might negatively affect the mental health and well-being of others and yourself.
- New programs use mental health professionals as an alternative to police
Some localities are now sending a behavioral health specialist and paramedic in response to low-risk 911 mental health calls instead of police.
- 5 Pro-Tips on Keeping Track of Your Teen's Mental Health
(The Island Now)
It has been long established that your psychological state is just as important (if not more important) than your physical condition.
- Bounty price against U.S. troops in Afghanistan reached $100k
(Task & Purpose)
Russian bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan netted upwards of $100,000, according to Afghan officials.
- Troops who stepped up for COVID-19 pandemic response are eligible for these two medals
Service members who mobilized in response to the coronavirus pandemic are authorized to receive the Armed Forces Service and/or Humanitarian Service medals, per a Defense Department memo.
- The National Guard will be responding to COVID-19 for the foreseeable future
There are still more than 30,000 National Guardsmen activated for coronavirus pandemic response, the head of the National Guard Bureau said Thursday, and there is no end in sight.
- Army Investigating Fort Hood Sexual Assault Response Program After Soldier's Disappearance
The Army announced a probe into Fort Hood’s administering of the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program intended to respond to and prevent sexual assault.
- Military Firefighters Say DoD Isn’t Moving Fast Enough to Protect Them from Toxic Chemicals
The Department of Defense has yet to begin testing firefighters for toxic exposure though they are required to do so by October 1 under last year's National Defense Authorization Act.
- Norfolk sailor saves two children from fire
Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Nathaniel Atkins rescued two children from a burning duplex in Portsmouth, Virginia. Police suspect the fire may have been intentionally set.
- Goldfein: 'Something broke loose' in the Air Force after George Floyd's death
(Air Force Times)
Now is the time for the Air Force to “put on the gas” and move toward racial equality across the service, according to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein.
- Navy needs to act more quickly on diversity and inclusion, personnel chief says
(Stars & Stripes)
A new Navy task force established to address biases in the service such as racism and sexism is working to create “enduring and meaningful change” within the ranks.
- The Navy is Seeing a Huge Spike in LSD Use, NCIS Says
Amid a surge in investigations related to Navy personnel using and distributing the dangerous hallucinogenic drug LSD, federal agents are asking for help tracking down perpetrators.
- Veterans compensation and pension exams ramp up even as coronavirus cases rise
Even as coronavirus cases surge, VA officials are dramatically stepping up efforts to resume Compensation and Pension exams to reduce the backlog of about 200,000 disability claims.
- From fighting Saddam Hussein to American success, Kadhim Al-Waeli
This is the story of an American veteran who put it all on the line in the name of freedom, democracy, and to restore his family name.
- Veterans unemployment saw another small improvement in June
The unemployment rate for veterans fell for the second consecutive month but remains more than double the number reported in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Brantley Gilbert on music, military and how he honors vets
Country rocker Brantley Gilbert is not only performing on TV for America’s birthday this year, but he’s also dedicated a unique part of his house to our military and veterans.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.