The TAPS Daily - June 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.
- 'I Am George Floyd:' Top Enlisted Airman Voices Outrage, Calls for Justice Review
Hours after Defense Secretary Mark Esper called American streets "the battlespace" for which the U.S. military should preserve dominance amid protests and riots across the nation, the Air Force's top enlisted leader published an emotional post likening himself to African Americans who died as a result of police brutality, and asked fellow leaders and citizens to work toward "making things better."
- Goldfein: 'Every American should be outraged' at police conduct in death of George Floyd
(Air Force Times)
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein denounced the death of George Floyd and the conduct of the Minneapolis police who killed him in a strongly-worded memo Monday night.
- As many National Guard now activated in U.S. as active duty troops in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan
As thousands across the U.S. take to the streets for another day of protests demanding justice for George Floyd, more than 17,000 members of the National Guard are standing ready to support local law enforcement. That represents approximately the same number of active duty troops deployed in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
- 27 Powerful Moments Of Hope During The Protests Over George Floyd's Death
While images of violent clashes and looting so often dominate media coverage of the protests, quieter moments of peace, learning, and understanding can go overlooked.
- Army researchers say a COVID-19 vaccine could be available by the end of the year
(Task and Purpose)
A senior U.S. army vaccine researcher said on Tuesday it was reasonable to expect that some sort of coronavirus vaccine could be available to some parts of the U.S. population by the end of the year.
- 'First Super Tuesday Of The COVID Era': Voting Amidst Protests, Pandemic
Facing a pandemic that continues to spread through the United States and protests nationwide over the killing of another black man at the hands of police, voters headed to the polls Tuesday in more than half a dozen states.
- The first and only female Buffalo Soldier joined the Army disguised as a man
(We Are The Mighty)
Before women were allowed to join the military, Cathay Williams decided that she wouldn't let her gender, or the color of her skin, get in the way of her ambitions. She became the first known African American woman in American history to join the armed forces by disguising herself as a man.
TAPS In the News
- TAPS News Archive
Catch up on all the TAPS news stories over the years on the TAPS media resource page.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Top Pentagon Leaders Summoned to Testify on Military's Response to Protests
Defense officials will testify on Capitol Hill next week as criticism mounts over their presence near the White House on Monday, when police and National Guard members used tear gas on peaceful protesters to clear the way for the president to take a photo at a nearby church.
- Murkowski: Treatment of White House protesters 'not the America I know'
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) appeared to break with the decision to use tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters at the White House on Monday night.
- New Bill Requires VA Track All Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits
Lawmakers this week introduced a bill that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to document, track and notify Congress of all cases of burn pit exposure reported by veterans.
- MVP partners help VA lead the way for COVID-19 research
The VA Million Veteran Program (MVP) has launched a COVID-19 Survey to learn more about veterans’ experiences.
- VA Reverses Course, Will Remove Headstones with Nazi Symbols
In a reversal, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced late Monday that it had begun the process removing the headstones of three German POWs from World War II bearing Nazi symbols from two VA national cemeteries.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Researchers Identify Where Stress "Lives" in the Brain
Yale researchers have found a neural home of the feeling of stress people experience, an insight that may help people deal with the debilitating sense of fear and anxiety that stress can evoke.
- To address the mental health consequences of the pandemic, follow Kennedy's lead
Countless mental health organizations and professionals scramble to provide guidance to millions of people whose lives have been turned upside down and are struggling, cut off from routine and each other.
- 5 natural ways to boost your mental health during stressful times
Life today is razor's-edge tense. If your regular coping methods aren't measuring up, there are science-backed actions we can add on our own to ease anxiety, depression and stress — all done naturally, no doctor's note required.
- In a Pandemic-Stressed America, Protests Add to Mental Strain
(US News & World Report)
Just as Americans are emerging from COVID-19 quarantines, hoping to resume normal life but still fearful of infection, protests against police violence are raging in cities across the country.
- These methods from psychiatry can help you beat stress during the coronavirus pandemic
Clinical psychologist Luana Marques shares skills and advice to help scientists build resilience and mental and physical health.
- COVID-19 intensifies need for mental health care services
One in five adults suffers from a mental health condition or substance use disorder. However, stigma and behavioral health workforce shortages lead to a mismatch in prevalence of these conditions and the proportion of people who receive effective treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbates these problems.
- Looking for Ways to Protect Against Pandemic PTSD
(US News & World Report)
Yuval Neria, director of the PTSD program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, said we're in uncharted territory in terms of predicting the current pandemic's effects.
- Study reports re-emergence of disturbing dreams during COVID-19 in patients in PTSD remission
New research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic can trigger the re-emergence of traumatic dreams among patients previously in remission from PTSD.
- How To Get Sleep In Uneasy Times
Having trouble getting to sleep these days? You're not alone. For people with a history of insomnia, sleep problems are magnified right now. And many who never struggled before are suddenly experiencing interruptions in their nightly rest or difficulty falling asleep.
- How to seek and provide mental health support in a remote work context
(Medical News Today)
How can we tell if a teammate may be experiencing mental health struggles when all our interactions are from behind a screen or computer keyboard?
- How to ask what kids are feeling during stressful times
(We Are The Mighty)
Psychologists have engineered a dialogue to provide parents with insight into how their kids are handling emotional turmoil.
- Stress wearables: best devices that monitor stress and how they work
Wearables have made big strides in monitoring how stressed we are, and the likes of Garmin, Apple and Fitbit are all on board.
- Military service academies plan for students' return in fall
The U.S. Naval Academy is planning to have its 4,400 midshipmen return to campus in Annapolis, Maryland, for the fall, after students completed the last semester with online learning from their homes around the nation due to the coronavirus, academy officials said Monday.
- Governors in several states turned down Pentagon request for National Guard troops
Democratic governors in Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware turned down requests from Defense Secretary Mark Esper to offer National Guard troops to help with security in Washington, D.C. In some instances, the Defense Department was counting on troop support from those states before the governors intervened.
- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is not in charge of all troops responding to riots
(Task and Purpose)
One day after President Donald Trump said he was putting the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in charge of the military response to violent protests across the nation, anonymous defense officials used the cloak of anonymity to try to put the genie back in its bottle.
- Guard troops in D.C. say they want to 'give people the opportunity to express their First Amendment rights'
Hours after the sometimes chaotic protesting died down, two soldiers with the D.C. National Guard kept watch at the mostly calm corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 7th Street N.W.
- 82nd Paratroopers Forward Deployed near Washington, D.C.
The 82nd Airborne Division's Immediate Response Force (IRF) is deploying in response to riots in Washington D.C., three sources confirmed.
- NYC Mayor Declines National Guard Support Amid Protests
Mayor Bill de Blasio doubled down on a citywide curfew but rejected urging from President Donald Trump and an offer from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bring in the National Guard. Cuomo gave a particularly scathing assessment of the city's response to the unrest, saying authorities had not done their job.
- Tennessee Guard Lay Down Riot Shields at Request of Protesters
On Monday evening, more than 60 National Guard troops at the state Capitol put down their riot shields at the request of peaceful protesters. Guardsmen had initially rushed to grab their shields and form a hard line to block the slowly moving crowd -- who were singing and chanting -- from advancing up the Capitol steps.
- Army National Guardsman: 'I Never Imagined Fighting a Virus'
When local business owner Gus LaFontaine signed up for U.S. Army National Guard fresh out of high school in 1998, he didn't anticipate his service would include responding to a health crisis like the coronavirus.
- Oklahoma National Guard Supports Statewide COVID-19 Contact Tracing
Members of the Oklahoma National Guard are supporting the Oklahoma State Health Department in fulfilling Gov. Kevin Stitt's continued efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state.
- Collegiate Guardsmen in Kansas Respond to COVID-19
Things moved quickly for two University of Kansas students after the Kansas National Guard called them to duty in response to COVID-19. While juggling a full load of online courses, these citizen-soldier students jumped at the opportunity to serve their community.
- Sailors test positive for COVID-19 aboard dock landing ship Carter Hall
Several crew members from the dock landing ship Carter Hall tested positive for COVID-19 last month, but Navy officials refused to say Monday how many shipmates were infected.
- 2,000 Camp Pendleton Marines deploy to the Middle East as crisis response force
(Task and Purpose)
Units from Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Expeditionary Force have deployed to the Middle East, base officials announced on Monday, June 1.
- Joint Chiefs Vision Changes Military Education Philosophy
The Joint Chiefs of Staff have released their vision and guidance for officer professional military education, calling for a change in philosophy and tightly tying performance to assignments.
- VA sees rise in active coronavirus cases among patients in recent days
The number of active coronavirus cases at Veterans Affairs medical centers nationwide rose by more than 7 percent in the last five days, a worrisome turnaround from the almost daily reductions in infections over the last month.
- D-Day: Death knew no colors as American soldiers took part in WWII invasion, veterans say
(El Paso Times)
Black, white, Hispanic. Skin color didn't matter on D-Day, say the men who fought there. The bullets didn't discriminate. And El Paso veterans who were at Normandy 50 years ago said your race and culture didn't matter to your fellow soldiers then either.
- Third lawsuit filed in deaths at West Virginia VA hospital
A third lawsuit was filed Monday involving the deaths of patients over wrongful insulin injections at a West Virginia veterans hospital.
- VetsInTech Unveils New Online Mentoring System to Support and Engage Veterans During COVID-19
VetsinTech, the leading national non-profit dedicated to advancing career opportunities for veterans in the tech industry, unveiled a new mentoring system that squarely helps veterans during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
- Large-scale research project focuses on horse-human bond for veterans with PTSD
The Equine Science Center has announced its fundraising initiative kickoff for a large-scale research project focusing on Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies (EAAT) for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which will coincide with June’s Month of the Horse in New Jersey.
- Paws in court: Veterans Court gets four-legged help for those dealing with PTSD, anxiety issues
Participants in Howard Superior II’s veterans court program soon will get extra assistance from a four-legged friend.
- WWII Museum to observe 76th anniversary of D-Day on Saturday
The National WWII Museum will commemorate the 76th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on Saturday, and will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its opening as The National D-Day Museum in 2000.
- Baseball 'Legend' Abner Doubleday Also Served in the Union Army
Most sporting events have been postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because many service members are sports fans and the games are mostly on hold, here's a look at a purported baseball legend who also served in the Army.
Military Family News
- Face of Defense: Sibling-Soldiers
For Army Maj. Nicholas Fiore, Maj. Elyse Pierre and Capt. Carolyn "Nina" Fiore, family ties bolster their shared commitment to duty and service. Raised in a military family, all three siblings graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, before embarking on their Army careers.
- Photos: People Clean Neighborhoods Following Protests Against Police Brutality
This weekend saw an increase in both protests and violence, but many within the community chose to come together peacefully.
- Navy to Host Notre Dame Football Game for 1st Time in 94 Years Due to COVID-19
The Notre Dame vs. Navy college football game originally scheduled for August 29 in Dublin, Ireland, has been moved because of the coronavirus pandemic. The University of Notre Dame announced Tuesday that the game will likely take place Labor Day weekend and it will be played at Navy's Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.
- Governors Push Back On Trump's Threat To Deploy Federal Troops To Quell Unrest
President Trump, in a conference call Monday with the nation's governors, threatened to deploy the U.S. military to restore order unless states hit by days of unrest "put down" violent demonstrations, urging leaders to "dominate" lawbreakers or risk looking like "a bunch of jerks." The upbraiding from the White House didn't sit well with many governors.
- Prime minister calls for investigation into police attack on Australian news crew outside White House
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday called for an investigation into an alleged police attack on an Australian news crew outside of the White House during protests over the death of George Floyd.
- As doctors go virtual, pandemic turbocharges telemedicine
In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus pandemic sparked a technological revolution in healthcare systems across the world that might otherwise have taken years.
- New Habits Created During Shelter-in-Place Orders: Personal, Professional and Physical
I have developed new habits under the shelter-in-place order that I am taking with me into my post-quarantine life. They can save you lots of time and effort when it comes to training, help you be more productive at work, and may even help prevent you not from catching COVID-19 and other illnesses, especially if you want to focus on home gym training.
- From Instacart to Amazon, here's who's hiring amid COVID-19
(Good Morning America)
With the coronavirus affecting the lives of so many, it’s also impacted working Americans who have been furloughed from their jobs.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.