The TAPS Daily - June 22, 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.
- Active coronavirus cases among VA patients jump 36 percent in a week
VA officials reported 2,332 active cases of the fast-spreading illness among patients at 129 department medical centers across the country. That’s up more than 500 cases in the last week alone, and 68 percent higher than the department’s low of 1,390 active cases at the end of May.
- Breaking the Silence as a Survivor of Murder-Suicide Loss
A surviving daughter shares how she found purpose from the murder-suicide death of her parents to help others understand the realities and people behind this rare final act.
- Nominee to Lead National Guard Sees Bigger Role in Quelling Civil Unrest
At his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing last week, Lt. Gen. Daniel Hokanson stressed the Guard's growing mission to de-escalate violence by backing up local law enforcement.
- Webinar: PTSD and its Effects on Military-Connected Children
(Military Child Education Coalition)
Join Dr. Stephen Cozza and the Military Child Coalition for a free webinar on Tuesday, June 23 on the impact of PTSD on military children.
- Korean War: 70 Years Later 'Forgotten' Conflict Still Fresh for Veterans
The United States commemorates the 70th anniversary of when the Korean War started on June 25, 1950.
TAPS In the News
- Trump rolls out national plan to address veteran suicides
Kim Ruocco, a vice president for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a group that supports those who have lost loved ones in the military to suicide, told ABC News the plan represented "a good starting point."
- TAPS News Archive
Catch up on all the TAPS news stories over the years on the TAPS media resource page.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Troops would see 3% pay raise, more child care family support programs under House plan
Troops would see a 3.0 percent pay raise, more child care options at bases with 24-hour duty shifts, and a new basic needs allowance for low-income military families under a House draft of the annual defense budget policy bill to be released next week.
- Senators Seek Proper Care for Those Exposed to Burn Pits During Coronavirus Pandemic
Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), along with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), sent a bipartisan letter to the Departments of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) urging the Administration to take immediate action to help ensure servicemembers and Veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances receive the care they need during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, the Senators introduced the bipartisan “Pandemic Care for Burn Pits Exposure Act”, which TAPS is supporting.
- 4 Common PCS Entitlement Questions Answered
Do you have questions about your PCS entitlements? The money -- how much it is and how to get it -- that comes with a permanent change of station (PCS) move can be confusing. Here are some answers to the most common PCS money questions.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Battle Buddies in the Mental Health Struggle
Mental health problems in the military are pervasive, and spouses supporting struggling service members need the help and support of battle buddies to do what needs to be done.
- Children ‘have PTSD from the coronavirus pandemic’
A UK based charity warns children are developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
- How PTSD Affects Memory, According To Experts
Science shows that PTSD affects the brain and memory, changing the way it processes information, and that can create a lot of issues when it comes to retaining new knowledge and recalling it on command.
- The pandemic makes it clear: it's time to finally address the mental health crisis in America
The US was already facing a mental health crisis, even before COVID-19 hit. Congress can help address the crisis and we can all work to improve the country's collective mental health.
- 'Sorry for Your Loss … Let's Get Back to Work': On the Nature of Grief
Society creates the perception that all that is needed after a loss is for the individual to take a little time to breathe — and then get back to work. It is as if people will only tolerate grieving for a fixed period of time. After that it is time to “shake it off.” No. That is not how it works.
- Report: 'Breakdowns' in vetting let in Saudi gunman who killed three sailors at NAS Pensacola
The fatal shooting of three sailors aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, in December, by a Saudi military officer occurred after a series of lapses in how such international military students are screened and vetted, the New York Times reported Sunday.
- After COVID-19 and protest response, National Guard is gearing up for a rough hurricane season
The National Guard has already have an unprecedentedly busy year, with tens of thousands of troops mobilized since March in support of both coronavirus pandemic response and in support of local law enforcement after nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd broke out in May.
- Most Soldiers with Severe COVID-19 Have Preexisting Health Conditions, Study Finds
Most of the small number of active-duty soldiers who became seriously ill after contracting the coronavirus had underlying health conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure, the first study to look at that group of service members has found.
- Air Force investigating whether airmen in Guam broke triggered a COVID-19 outbreak
(Task & Purpose)
An Air Force base in Guam is experiencing a major spike in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, and officials are investigating whether any airmen bear responsibility after violating any mandatory protection measures.
- Fort Benning COVID-19 Mitigation Measures Unchanged
Training at Fort Benning in Georgia continues despite a COVID-19 outbreak that infected nearly a quarter of the recruits in two of its training battalions at the beginning of June.
- 7 Marines awarded for security operations on COVID-19 hospital ship in NYC
On June 15, seven Marines from Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, were awarded medals for providing security to the Navy hospital ship sent to New York City to provide emergency COVID-19 support.
- Navy Sees Enormous Decrease in Hypoxia-Like Events in its Fighters and Trainers
(Task & Purpose)
The U.S. Navy has been able to substantially decrease the number of hypoxic-like physiological episodes (PEs) pilots in its trainer and fighter aircraft experience, despite not finding a root cause for the problem. Such incidents can take the form of shortness of breath, disorientation and related symptoms.
- Dozens affected by toxic exposure from fire at hazmat storage facility at Kadena
About 45 people at Kadena Air Base were affected by exposure to smoke or chlorine gas from a fire that started at a hazardous materials facility, officials say.
- Remains of one of two missing Fort Hood soldiers found
Fort Hood announced that the remains of Pfc. Gregory Morales, missing since last year, were discovered Friday.
- Guard unit that lost EOD troop faced 'funding constraints' and 'time-consuming request process'
An investigation into the 2018 death of an Army EOD tech in Helmand province, Afghanistan, found that his unit faced equipping and funding issues prior to deployment, but the company command team went to great lengths to resolve those problems before arriving downrange.
- They Really Did It: Guard Members Create COVID-19 Challenge Coin
Oklahoma Army and Air National Guardsmen created a COVID-19 joint service challenge coin in the midst of conducting missions during the world-wide pandemic.
- With pandemic restrictions, wife of veteran faced uphill battle to spend final moments with husband
Patty Wood knew her husband Gregg, would die from Alzheimer’s. For years as she watched the illness slowly steal the man she loved bit by bit, she steeled herself for the inevitable -- but nothing could have prepared her for what Gregg’s passing would look like in the time of COVID-19.
- Army Veteran earns her college degree at 62
Army veteran, Kathleen Cashaw, will celebrate her 62nd birthday this summer with the achievement of a big goal - receiving her college degree thanks to the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
- Virginia County Transfers Land to Disabled Veteran
Stafford County officials gave 8,000 square feet of vacant land to a disabled Stafford veteran so he can build an accessible bathroom and shower onto his home.
Military Family News
- Military Aid Societies Offer Assistance for 'Crisis Schooling' Expenses
During the past few months of pandemic restrictions, many resources normally accessible to military spouses and their families have been unavailable or hard to find. With offices closed and phones going unanswered, there's been a struggle to find answers and support. But some programs have adapted well.
- Author traces family’s MIA journey through Laos
(We Are The Mighty)
"What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family's Search for Answers" is a deeply personal memoir testifying to the incredible strength of military families whose loved ones died in service or remain missing.
- Experts Predict What A Second Wave Of Coronavirus Will Be Like
The first wave of COVID-19 cases is still happening. So what does that mean for the pandemic in the fall? Here's what you should know.
- 16 years after her husband’s donated organs saved a life, she saved the life of the same man
When Terri Herrington's husband Bryan died 16 years ago, he saved the lives of four other people through organ donation. She befriended Jeffrey Granger, who received Bryan's kidney and pancreas. When that kidney failed last year, Terri immediately volunteered to donate her own kidney, which is now living on with Bryan's organs in Jeff.
- Planning for summer beach days? Docs share virus safety tips
Experts agree that outdoor activities are relatively low risk because the air helps disperse virus particles, as long as you follow basic precautions.
- N95 filter inventor became a hero in the coronavirus pandemic
The shortage of masks was so dire, it brought Dr. Peter Tsai out of retirement to dive head-first into solving the crisis.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.