The TAPS Daily - September 23, 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.
- House passes funding patch to avert government shutdown
The House passed a stopgap spending measure on Tuesday to avoid a government shutdown and keep the Department of Defense and other federal agencies operating through December 11.
- House and Senate lawmakers reach agreement to pass sweeping veteran suicide prevention bills
(Stars & Stripes)
House lawmakers passed sweeping legislation aimed at preventing veteran suicide that would include a grant program for local and state organizations that provide mental health care to vets.
- Lawmakers question VA approach on burn pits, advance bill to help toxic exposure victims
On the same day that House lawmakers questioned VA efforts to help veterans with serious injuries believed caused by burn pits, Senate lawmakers advanced legislation to extend new testing and benefits for veterans who have suffered a range of toxic exposure injuries.
- COVID, hurricanes, wildfires, politics: Is 2020 the worst year ever?
Many of us are vacillating between horror and disbelief at what can only be described as an American nightmare. Experts say what many of us are experiencing is "disaster fatigue."
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose at Supreme Court
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg laid in repose at the nation’s highest court on Wednesday, commencing a series of events to give people the chance to pay their respects.
- VA coronavirus cases on the rise again as deaths top 3,300
Active cases of coronavirus at Veterans Affairs hospitals have increased again in recent days as the total number of deaths from the pandemic among VA patients topped 3,300 this week.
- Naval Academy Midshipmen Not Allowed to Go Home for Thanksgiving
Midshipmen will not be allowed to go home for Thanksgiving, with the Naval Academy instead considering local and weekend leave due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Exclusive: A New Coronavirus School Dashboard Tracks Infections
A new national effort asks K-12 schools to voluntarily — and anonymously — report their confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases, along with the safety strategies they're using.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month News
- Congress passes sweeping veteran mental healthcare bill aimed at suicide prevention
The House unanimously passed sweeping legislation on Wednesday aimed at improving veteran mental health care and preventing suicide.
- Approachable leaders vital to suicide prevention effort
Openness and humility in military leaders can have a huge positive effect when it comes to creating an environment where asking for help is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness.
- American Legion service officer's words help save a veteran from suicide
A phone call routed to a non-crisis line helped save the life of a veteran sitting in a parking lot contemplating suicide.
- Healthy connections build defense against suicide
(The Redstone Rocket)
DoD’s theme for this year’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is “Connect to Protect,” which highlights the important role personal connections have in combating suicidal tendencies.
- Seeking the Military Suicide Solution Podcast, Episode 36: USMC Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia
This podcast from Military Times examines military and veterans suicide, offering new insights based on research and effective clinical and peer support practices in suicide prevention.
- COVID-19 and suicide prevention: Parallel public health strategies for veterans, service members
TAPS Kim Ruocco writes about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our public health approaches in suicide prevention and saving lives.
TAPS In the News
- 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
- After nearly two decades of war, VA still denies 80% of veterans' burn pits claims, officials say
VA officials told Capitol Hill lawmakers that from 2007 to 2020, of 12,582 disability claims filed by veterans related to burn pit exposure only 2,828 were approved -- about 22%.
- Senators Push to Extend Care to 34,000 More Veterans for Agent Orange Diseases
Senators have ramped up efforts to add three new diseases to the VA list of Agent Orange-related diseases, pressing for their inclusion in the final national defense policy bill.
- Retired Green Beret’s widow sues VA for harassment, slander over life insurance payouts
A lawsuit filed by an Army widow names a VA nurse and the VA Secretary as defendants and seeks punitive damages for violation of privacy, slander and infliction of emotional distress.
- House Members Ask for National Guard State Partnership Program Review
Rep. Steve Womack, (R-AR), and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, (D-MD), are requesting a strategic assessment of the National Guard’s long running State Partnership Program.
- After munition worker deaths, Army floats $16 billion plan to modernize production
Army officials told lawmakers they are seeking a new $16 billion strategy to modernize and automate aging munitions plants following nearly a dozen deaths and injuries over recent years.
- House passes bill to award Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor for Iraq rescue
If he is awarded the Medal of Honor, Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe would be the first Black service member to receive the award for actions during the Global War on Terror.
- Coming to a Military Base Near You: Robots Filling Prescriptions
The Military Health System recently announced an expansion of the prescription pick-up locker,, nearly doubling the number of locations that offer the self-service, robotic option.
Grief / Mental Health / Wellness
- Widowed Parent: Incorporating New Love and Mindful Re-Partnering
How can widows or widowers move confidently forward with new love, especially with grieving children in tow?
- Lonely Widower Puts Up Poster Asking For Friends— Flooded With Messages From New Pals
(Good News Network)
A lonely pensioner who put up a poster asking for friends after his wife died has been inundated with thousands of calls and emails from people who want to be his pal.
- Air Force chief makes Time's 100 most influential people list
(Air Force Times)
Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles “CQ” Brown was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 Tuesday.
- Trump Bans DoD Diversity Training That Suggests U.S. Is Racist
President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning the military’s use of diversity training programs that suggest that the United States is "an irredeemably racist and sexist country."
- Coronavirus: Operation Warp Speed
Operation Warp Speed will accelerate the testing, supply, development, and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to counter COVID-19.
- Twitter poll calls Army work-life balance into question
A Twitter poll shared on September 22 asked soldiers on the platform whether the Army promotes a healthy balance of work and life. So far the overwhelming response has been, “No.”
- The U.S. Military’s Latest Wearables Can Detect Illness Two Days Before You Get Sick
Some troops in the U.S. military are wearing a watch and ring kit that can alert them and their command if they’re going to get sick in the next day or two.
- Japan-based sailor dies in traffic accident
A Japan-based sailor died earlier this month in a traffic accident, U.S. 7th Fleet said.
- Autopsy: Fort Hood soldier's drowning at lake was an accident
The drowning of a Fort Hood soldier was an accident, according to a final autopsy report.
- Tuskegee Airman from Arizona who Flew in 3 Wars Dies at 95
A member of the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen is being remembered following his passing this week in Arizona at the age of 95.
- This MOH recipient reenlisted to avenge his brother’s death
(We Are The Mighty)
Ron Rosser was a patriot and a hero. The Medal of Honor recipient who reenlisted in the Army to avenge his brother, died in August at the age of 90.
- Holocaust survivor to receive top military police medal
A retired Army officer and World War II veteran who survived the Holocaust will receive a top award in recognition for his military service.
- Remembering a legend
(We Are The Mighty)
Gunnery Sergeant Steve Sibbens, a Marine correspondent who was first to cover the Vietnam War for Stars and Stripes, has died at age 84.
- Volunteers return safely to national cemeteries during COVID-19
Volunteers are returning to national cemeteries, under certain circumstances, to clean headstones and following strict COVID-19 guidance.
Military Family News
- Six things to consider with the new payroll tax deferral
(We Are The Mighty)
Six things military families might want to consider with the new payroll tax deferral. You will see a boost in pay – but there's a BIG catch.
- Divorce Rate Among Active Duty Troops Remains Stable
Married troops are divorcing at about the same rate as they have for the previous five years, according to new data released by the Pentagon.
- 36 Simple Strategies For Parents Working From Home With Kids
(We Are The Mighty)
To work from home with kids, you need to reframe your outlook and do what you can to reduce stress and feel like you're getting work done within limited windows of time.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.