The TAPS Daily - May 13, 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.
- VA cemeteries will open to the public on Memorial Day, but wreath laying ceremonies will be closed
Veterans Affairs officials will continue the tradition of holding wreath laying ceremonies at department cemeteries on Memorial Day later this month, but will not open those events to the public because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Air Force Sergeant Overcomes 100% Disability Rating To Return To Full Duty
(Task and Purpose)
A dozen years after he was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro was on the verge Saturday of completing a final, unbelievable stage of his comeback.
- ‘Hey, what are you reading?’Kids start social distance book club.
(Love What Matters)
TAPS kid, Emma Dozier, is bringing Harry Potter to life for other kids while practicing social distancing.
- Behind the Scenes with the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has been modified to implement precautionary measures for minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Some of the movements have changed, but the respect and commitment to honoring the Unknowns remains eternal.
- Krispy Kreme giving 2020 graduates free doughnuts
(Good Morning America)
As commencement ceremonies go virtual across the country for high school and college graduates, Krispy Kreme is giving away sweet treats to the class of 2020.
Memorial Day News
- National cemeteries plan brief, private ceremonies for Memorial Day
National cemeteries will open from dawn to dusk on Memorial Day, but the usual events to honor deceased service members will be brief and closed to the public.
- Boy Scouts banned from planting flags on veterans' graves for Memorial Day due to coronavirus
A longtime Memorial Day weekend tradition to honor veterans is now canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there are persisting calls to bring it back.
- No Memorial Day parades? Here’s another way we can honor our fallen veterans.
New Jersey grassroots initiative encourages residents to honor fallen heroes in unison at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day, by playing or singing the Star-Spangled Banner.
- Fort Lee to honor fallen with virtual observances
(Fort Lee Traveller)
A virtual version of the Fort Lee’s Memorial Day observance will be held next week; altered due to social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
TAPS In the News
- Advocacy group wants survivor benefits for all military families who lose a service member to coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a nonprofit and advocacy group for families of fallen service members, is looking to get the remainder of National Guard troops on federal status and to backdate it to help families of fallen receive federal benefits, such as monthly survivor compensation, education benefits or a death gratuity.
- Here's what grieving military families can teach civilians dealing with coronavirus tragedy
TAPS families of the fallen are no strangers to isolation after loss. TAPS President and Founder Bonnie Carroll shares how their experience is helping others dealing with COVID-19.
Government Relations / Benefits
- New COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Debt Reprieve, Health Coverage for Veterans
Another massive pandemic relief package introduced in the House of Representatives contains several provisions for veterans, including protections for those who owe money to the Department of Veterans Affairs and health care for vets who lost insurance coverage during COVID-19 pandemic.
- No coronavirus co-pays for vets, more servicemember financial protections in emergency spending plan
A new $3 trillion emergency coronavirus spending plan unveiled by House Democrats this week includes additional financial protections for servicemembers trapped in place by military travel stops and guarantees that veterans won’t face co-pays when seeking treatment for pandemic-related treatments.
- Tricare Drops Telehealth Copays, Adds Phone Call Coverage in Emergency Measure
Tricare will now cover telephone services for some medical appointments and will eliminate copayments for beneficiaries who use telehealth services in place of an in-person visit to the doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 3D mammograms will be covered by Tricare starting this month
Tricare is expanding its breast cancer screening coverage this month. Starting on May 29, Tricare will cover Digital Breast Tomosynthesis — known as 3D mammography or DBT —under its provisional coverage program, according to Republican Sen. Martha McSally from Arizona.
- Are military patients delaying the health care they need?
With a drop in the number of patients seeking health care at military treatment facilities during the coronavirus pandemic, defense health officials are concerned that some patients may not be getting the care they need.
- Here’s Why the Military Can Treat Service Members with Trial COVID-19 Drugs
The law that allows the military to work with the FDA in order to get emergency authorization to respond quickly to emerging threats.
- MS Patient Registry for US Veterans Open to Researchers and Doctors
(Multiple Sclerosis News Today)
A patient registry of multiple sclerosis (MS) among veterans of the U.S. military has been created to allow for better clinical management of these people and to inform future research.
- Proposal Would Create Tent Cities for Homeless Veterans in VA Parking Lots
Tent cities for homeless veterans would go up in Department of Veterans Affairs hospital parking lots under a proposal included in a massive COVID-19 aid bill offered up this week by House Democrats.
- Why veterans need more than Transition Assistance Programs
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 mandates several improvements to the Transition Assistance Programs. While long overdue, these improvements and their good intentions will still fall short of what transitioning service members ultimately need.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Treating Grief in the Veteran Population
In PsychArmor’s course "Treating Grief in the Veteran Population," TAPS Peer Mentor, Dana O'Brien, describes his feelings of loss after his grandson, Daniel, died by suicide.
- Suicide Prevention Aims To Get Ahead Of Pandemic's Added Pressures
Mental health specialists are working now to bolster the resilience of Americans who are suffering from feelings of despair — in hopes of preventing increases in suicides among people who are under increased pressure during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Could COVID-19 Finally Destigmatize Mental Illness?
Though absolutely no one would wish a pandemic on anyone— this is actually what mental health needed to stop being stigmatized and start being valued.
- Experts worry about effects of COVID on those with mental health issues
Experts and officials have raised concerns about how this time of crisis can affect people struggling with mental health issues and substance addiction.
- What Being a 30-Year-Old Widow Has Taught Me About Handling Unexpected Tragedy
The tools I developed in the initial aftermath of my husband’s death are ones I rely on to navigate the challenges we’re currently facing.
- 10 Common Myths About Therapy
Don't let misconceptions stand in the way of getting help during the pandemic.<
- What is an anxiety disorder? Types, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
An anxiety disorder is diagnosed when there is a disproportionate amount of anxiety, which interferes with daily functioning for an extended period of time. Here's what you need to know about the types of anxiety disorders, the general symptoms, and most common treatment methods.
- Deepak Chopra: Easy ways to relieve stress if meditation and yoga aren’t for you
While yoga, meditation and deep-breathing exercises work for many others, they’re not for everyone. Here are ideas for those looking for alternative methods to reduce stress.
- In Settlement, Facebook To Pay $52 Million To Content Moderators With PTSD
Facebook will pay $52 million to thousands of current and former contract workers who viewed and removed graphic and disturbing posts on the social media platform for a living, and consequently suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Commander of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, died at his home on base Tuesday
Col. Thomas Falzarano, commander of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, died at his home on base Tuesday. His death is now under investigation, but the 21st said it appears to be due to natural causes.
- Masks are the uniform of the day for the rank-and-file — why aren't the brass following suit?
Across the Joint Force, the military is masking to keep those personnel safe when six feet of distance isn’t possible. So why isn’t the brass following suit?
- Commanders Turn to Social Media to Inform, Inspire, Quell Rumors During Virus Lockdowns
During the pandemic, service members have been listening to their leaders in more relaxed settings via social media instead of morning formations or auditorium assemblies.
- DoD Evaluating Navy's Handling of Shipboard Coronavirus Outbreaks
The Pentagon's Inspector General will conduct an evaluation of the Navy's command decisions in its response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, including outbreaks aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and destroyer Kidd that forced both warships into port.
- First Round of Naval Academy Midshipmen Commissioned in Coronavirus Altered Ceremony
The first group of 200 newly minted Navy ensigns and Marine Corps 2nd lieutenants celebrated in a Naval Academy commissioning ceremony Tuesday, a coronavirus-altered event closed to the public.
- Virus Forces US Military Police to Expand Off-Base Patrols into Korean Restaurants, Barbershops
Routine U.S. military police patrols into the entertainment district outside Camp Humphreys took on new meaning when coronavirus cases, seemingly curbed in South Korea, resurfaced with the loosening of social-distancing measures.
- Army Anti-Terrorism Technology Helps Pinpoint COVID-19 Cases
The Army technology that's used to root out terrorism threats is now being deployed to help monitor the spread of COVID-19, and in the process, it's giving Army leaders an advantage in making real-time, force-protection decisions, the Army’s top criminal investigator said.
- Army to resume large-scale exercise in Europe, but with coronavirus precautions
(Stars and Stripes)
Thousands of U.S. and Polish soldiers will participate in drills next month, marking the first time since the coronavirus crisis began that American troops will assemble for a large-scale exercise in Europe.
- Despite COVID-19, Space Force Prepping for Back-to-Back Rocket Launches
The commander of the Space Force's local wing says his teams are ready for this weekend's back-to-back rocket launches, possibly breaking a decades-old mission cadence record despite the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
- Simultaneous T-38 landings halted after fatal crash
(Air Force Times)
The Air Force has stopped requiring student pilots to practice formation landings after the deaths of two pilots attempting to carry one out while flying the T-38C Talon.
- ‘The Office’ Actor Craig Robinson Does Q&A With Troops Overseas
Through the USO, Robinson did a live online question-and-answer session with soldiers stationed at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. Other service members in undisclosed locations joined in for the online chat.
- 'Astonishing': Veteran Military Pilots See First Survey Data on How Many Have Cancer
Last fall current or former military pilots were asked to respond to a survey about whether they had been diagnosed with cancer. The response was astonishing.
- Veterans Buried Without Military Honors or Families at Their Gravesides
The daughter of a WWII veteran is urging the government to relax coronavirus restrictions on military funerals, which means no taps, no honor guard, and no loved ones at the graveside.
- Diving With Purpose—How Veterans Are Healing Their Wounds By Helping The National Park Service
(Task and Purpose)
A partnership with the National Park Service is helping wounded warriors to heal and restore connections by giving them a mission underwater.
- VA's Telestroke Program saving Veterans' lives
The VA National Telestroke Program (NTSP) serves Veterans with acute stroke symptoms at VA emergency departments, urgent care centers and hospitals.
- VA data sheds new light on health employees with coronavirus
(Federal News Network)
Updates to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ public-facing coronavirus case tracker shed some new light on the number of agency health professionals who have contracted the virus since March
Military Family News
- The Unexpected Blessings of a Pandemic on our Military Family
The COVID-19 pandemic has not been a blessing in the general scheme of things, but it has certainly been a blessing to our marriage and our family for many reasons.
- Meet the First Lady of Space Force: An interview with Mollie Raymond
(Air Force Times)
Mollie Raymond is the wife of newly appointed Space Force Chief Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, making her the first military spouse in the newly created sixth branch of the military.
Across the TAPS Family
- 2020 Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program | TAPS
Register to join us, virtually, this Memorial Day weekend to honor our fallen heroes. The Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program is offered to all those grieving the loss of a loved one who served in our nation's Armed Forces.
Other Coronavirus News
- This girl created a curtain so she could hug her grandparents
(Good Morning America)
A 10-year old from California made a device so she could still spread love without spreading germs.
- CDC Guidelines on Untested COVID-19 Patients Ending Self-Isolation Could Be Helping Virus Spread
Guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on whether COVID-19 patients should stop self-isolating could help the disease spread, doctors have warned.
- AP Exclusive: CDC Docs Stress Plans for More Virus Flareups
(Voice of America)
The Associated Press obtained a document more detailed than other, previously reported segments of the shelved guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It shows how the thinking of the CDC infection control experts differs from those in the White House managing the pandemic response.
- What's your state's coronavirus reopening plan?
As states begin to reopen their economies, plans vary drastically.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.