The TAPS Daily - May 29, 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.
- Coronavirus started spreading in the U.S. in January, CDC Says
The coronavirus began quietly spreading in the U.S. as early as late January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.
- June is PTSD Awareness Month
The National Center for PTSD has put together resources to spread awareness about PTSD, but also to aid veterans with finding support.
- 77th Secretary of the Navy sworn in Friday
Kenneth J. Braithwaite was sworn in as the Navy’s 77th secretary during a socially distanced Pentagon ceremony on Friday.
- Updating our Air Force song to celebrate all of us
(Air Force Times)
General David Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, has made the decision to update all stanzas of the US Air Force song to better reflect the reality of today’s force by celebrating all who have and will step up to serve.(Op-Ed)
- U.S. missed early chance to slow coronavirus, genetic study indicates
The United States missed out on an early chance to catch imported cases of coronavirus earlier this year, genetics experts say in a new report.
- Coronavirus: Ghana War Veteran, 95, Walks 23KM to Raise Funds
WWII veteran Joseph Hammond logs 14 miles in a week as part of a fundraiser to support Africa's front-line workers.
- SpaceX-NASA launch: What to know ahead of Saturday's scheduled flight
SpaceX and NASA are, once again, gearing up to try to make history by launching two astronauts into Earth's orbit.The next launch is slated for Saturday at 3:22 pm Eastern. But whether or not the rocket will actually take off will most likely come down to the weather forecast — again.
- Bus Drivers Arrange Aerial Tribute to Grads In Quarantine
Since the novel coronavirus shutdowns have canceled thousands of graduation ceremonies across the country, these devoted Ohio bus drivers went above and beyond the call of duty to honor their senior high school students.
TAPS In the News
- Video: TAPS President and founder Bonnie Carroll Shares new resources for the American Public on CNN
Bonnie Carroll speaks with CNN's John King from Fort McHenry that TAPS is still here for survivors 24/7 and recently launched a new resource page for the American Public.
- Video: Remembering military heroes who died by suicide
On Memorial Day, CNN's Brianna Keilar remembers the service members and veterans who died by suicide inextricably linked to their service in the military.
- They didn't die in combat, but they lived heroic lives. Remembering military heroes who died by suicide
Are we decently honoring those who have given their all for us, if we’re focused on clinching the deal of a lifetime or grilling those burgers to perfection?
- What My Grief Has Taught Me About Life and COVID-19
Denise Brownlee, the surviving mother of Petty Officer 3rd Class Mitchell Brownlee, United States Navy, shares that she has realized that her grief journey has better prepared her for sheltering in place along with social and physical distancing.
- Foundation Backs Child Bereavement Outreach Effort With PDF Click Comp
The New York Life Foundation is using a donation-per-download model to promote an effort to support children who are coping with the loss of a loved one.
- TAPS COVID-19 Response
Find resources, services, and support provided 24/7 by TAPS to surviving military families navigating the challenges of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Government and Partner Resource Update
Learn more about access to and impacts on your government benefits during COVID-19.
- Enjoy the TAPS Talks series on demand
Learn more about access to and impacts on your government benefits during COVID.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Upcoming Events | TAPS
The latest 2020 schedule of events across the TAPS Family.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Ford Motor Co. donates thousands of COVID-19 face shields to US military
Ford Motor Co. has finalized an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to donate 200,000 face shields to military bases across the U.S. and abroad to protect against the coronavirus.
- Trump extends Guard coronavirus missions until mid-August
President Donald Trump announced Thursday he will extend National Guard orders authorizing domestic coronavirus response missions through mid-August, after controversy surrounding the problematic end date next month for their work.
- Cost-of-living boost for veterans benefits next year passes House
House lawmakers on Thursday easily passed legislation ensuring veterans will see a cost-of-living boost next year if Social Security officials approve one for their recipients.
- Troops could receive hazard pay, awards for service in coronavirus relief efforts
(Stars and Stripes)
Thousands of troops who have deployed to help battle the coronavirus pandemic could soon receive hazard pay and awards to recognize their service, the military’s top general said Thursday.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Military Medical Experts Explore Psychological Impacts of COVID-19
As the number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. exceeds 100,000 and people continue to take precautions, military medical experts expect the need for mental health care to increase because of stress, anxiety and other psychological symptoms.
- The Mental Health Toll from the Coronavirus Could Rival that of the Disease Itself
Mental health experts are now bracing for a "mental health tsunami." They're anticipating a steep rise in the diseases of isolation—suicides, opioid abuse, domestic violence and depression—that will unfold over the next few months and could stretch on for years.
- Feeling stressed? Now's the time to take extra care of your mental health
May is Mental Health Awareness month, but therapists and advocates are urging people to remember that resources are always available, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- How viral videos of killings of black men take a toll on black male mental health
For many black men, viral videos featuring the killings of other black men can weigh heavily. Watching the disturbing footage can impact the mental health of African American men, experts say.
- Medical Specialists Outline How to Deal With COVID-19 Stress
Handling the symptoms of stress and anxiety begins at home with self-care, a panel of medical experts said during a media roundtable.
- In the face of COVID-19, the U.S. needs to change how it deals with mental illness
Just as the majority of Americans have dramatically changed their ways of life to combat COVID-19 infection, the federal government needs to dramatically change how it deals with mental illness. Without such action, Americans are ripe for a pandemic of depression and despair. (Op-Ed)
- Promoting Student Mental Health in Difficult Days
The ways that members of college communities support each other during this time can help protect the mental health of young people, helping to reduce risks for suicide. (Op-Ed)
- 'Silent epidemic': Obituary of mom, 28, shines light on suicide, mental health
When Mindi Hoggan’s daughter Chaylie Holmgren, 28, died by suicide on May 17, Hoggan knew she didn’t want an obituary that said her daughter died suddenly. Instead, she wanted something that honored Holmgren and raised awareness about mental health.
- New coronavirus cases decreasing among troops, but deaths are up across DoD
The Defense Department had one of its lowest increases in COVID-19 cases since early March this week, though it also saw its second consecutive week of deaths, according to data released Friday.
- Exercise to unite four combatant commands to test homeland defenses for the first time
For the first time, four U.S. combatant commands are coming together this week for an exercise that simulates how the military would respond to an attack on its home turf. Headed by U.S. Northern Command, the four-day exercise began this week off the east coast and also involves U.S. Space, Transportation and Strategic commands.
- The Air Force is getting blasted by its own service members for trying to cover up institutional racism
(Task & Purpose)
A report showing systemic racism in the Air Force justice system came out on Wednesday, and the service’s own airmen are blasting the report and the subsequent coverup.
- Here’s what the National Guard can and can’t do during the George Floyd uprising
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the state’s National Guard on Thursday afternoon to “help provide security and restore safety” amid the ongoing protests in Minneapolis against police violence in response to the death of George Floyd — a sign the state’s leaders feel they need more help to calm the demonstrations.
- 2nd MEB Completes Deployment Supporting National COVID-19 Response
Marines and sailors with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade who formed the command element for U.S. Northern Command's COVID-19 response in the Northeast United States have returned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
- Navy completes investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt
(Task & Purpose)
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday has received the Navy’s latest investigation into the deadly novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, said Gilday’s spokesman Commander Nathan Christensen.
- U.S. military's coronavirus response could look different if second wave hits
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that as the U.S. military prepares for another potential wave of the coronavirus, it may do things a bit differently, providing more targeted aid for cities and states and possibly shorter quarantine times for troops.
- Soldiers Return to Fort Riley After Supporting Army North in Detroit
The cross-functional Forward Assessment Sustainment Team, or FAST 1 from the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, recently completed its mission in Detroit and returned home to Fort Riley, Kansas.
- COVID-19 NEWS: Joint AI Center Accelerating Work Despite Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing delays and disruptions across the Pentagon, but has so far had minimal negative effects on the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, which is aiding the military response, said the head of the organization May 29.
- 10 Ways to Show Your Gratitude During Military Appreciation Month
(We Are The Mighty)
May is Military Appreciation Month. Each year the President makes a proclamation reminding the nation of the importance of the Armed Forces, and declaring May as Military Appreciation Month. Here are 10 ways you can show your gratitude to military members during Military Appreciation Month.
- Decorated Combat Vet Who Died Highlights Pandemic's Effect on Mental Health
Rory Hamill was a father of three and a decorated combat veteran in the Marines. Hamill lost his life not at war — but in a growing mental health crisis that's being made worse by the deadliest public health crisis in a century.
- Veterans disability exams to resume at some sites as backlog hits 114,000, nearly doubling in six months
Veterans Affairs officials announced they will resume in-person compensation and pension exams at 20 department medical centers in coming weeks in an effort to bring down a backlog of benefits cases which has grown substantially since November due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- VA says it has ‘ratcheted down’ use of hydroxychloroquine to treat veterans
(The Washington Post)
The Department of Veterans Affairs has drastically scaled back the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat veterans with coronavirus infections after a major study raised questions about its efficacy and linked it to serious side effects, including higher risks of death.
- 2020 Warrior Games scrubbed by Marine Corps over COVID-19 concerns
Add the 2020 Warrior Games to the list of military events being cancelled over COVID-19 concerns. The USMC, as the lead planners for the 2020 Games, announced the decision to cancel the Games due to concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
- DOD COVID-19 Survivor Gives Shoutout to Doctors, Plasma Donors
Air Force veteran Patrick Bright, 55, a police officer with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, nearly died from COVID-19. Then he received a new treatment.
- Paralyzed Veteran Advocates for High-Risk Americans during COVID-19 Crisis
U.S. Navy veteran Tom Wheaton has been living with paralysis since 1988 and has been advocating for visibility, legislation, and awareness when it comes to disabled and paralyzed Americans ever since.
- John Shimoda, renowned forensics expert who served in WWII and Korea, dies at 100
(Stars & Stripes)
A 100-year-old Sebastopol man who died from injuries he suffered in a fire Monday at his family’s rural home was a World War II and Korean War veteran who learned criminal investigation in the Army and rose to director of the U.S. Army Crime Laboratories, then of a regional U.S. Postal Service crime lab.
- Lives Lost: Veteran Guarded Nazis During War Crimes Trial
Emilio DiPalma, 93, a WWII veteran and infantry man who stood guard at the Nuremberg Trials, was one of the more than 70 veterans that died of coronavirus at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts.
Military Family News
- Coronavirus delays new child care priority system, but good news for Coast Guard military families
Coast Guard active duty families will get the same priority for Defense Department child care as other military families, under a recent policy change directed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
- CNN and 'Sesame Street' to host a second special coronavirus town hall for kids and parents this Saturday
REMINDER: “The ABCs of COVID 19: A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents" will air on Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m. Eastern and tackle issues such as summer safety, play dates, schooling and how kids and families around the world are creatively coping during these challenging times.
Other Coronavirus News
- The Science of Kindness: How can kindness help us with COVID-19 induced stress?
We have been given the biology to help heal ourselves and be resilient. We just need to be kind to ourselves and reach for the tools to tap into it. This is very achievable with regular practice at little or no cost. And when the coronavirus epidemic ends (which it will), these same tools will be very useful in our everyday lives.
- Six Flags gives a preview of what it’ll be like when theme parks reopen
(Los Angeles Times)
Six Flags Entertainment Corp. became the first major U.S. theme park company to release a set of safety protocols for the reopening of all its U.S. parks, saying it will limit the number of people allowed in, check guests’ temperatures and require everyone to wear masks and spread out in lines and on rides.
- These Athletes Had the Coronavirus. Will They Ever Be the Same?
(The New York Times)
Von Miller of the Denver Broncos called the disease a “surreal” experience and said he struggled at first to work out. Other athletes have endured lingering lung and other health issues.
- Wearing a mask at home could help stop coronavirus spread among family members, study says
One of the few reliefs in our current pandemic is removing that mask when you arrive back home after a trip to the store. If you've got family there, however, a new study suggests you may want to keep it on.
- 43 online camp alternatives and online summer camps for preschoolers to teens
Many sleepaway and day camps have canceled their programs this summer. That's a bummer for kids and a problem for some parents. From online summer camps to camps-in-a-box to good old hands-on camp activities, consider this your guide to summer camp salvation.
- Coronavirus cancellations and reactions in sports
As the coronavirus has spread around the globe in recent months, tournaments, games and other sporting events have been canceled, while others have been modified. Here's a look at how the coronavirus is affecting sports in the U.S. and around the world.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.