Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus urged Congress in an interview with Fox News on Monday to make good on its "sacred obligation" to support the growing number of veterans sickened by exposure to burn pits at U.S military bases abroad.
"By and large, our country does an extraordinary amount for our veterans and for those who are serving in uniform, and for their families,” Petreaus, currently a board member for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told Fox News. “But comparing what our VA does to any other country's care of veterans...this is the gold standard. Certainly, a gold standard that can always improve, without question. This is an issue, though, where we have a sacred obligation, and we need to meet that obligation.”
In a July letter to Congress mentioned by Fox News and obtained by Task & Purpose, Petraeus called upon lawmakers to support the Burn Pits Accountability Act, legislation introduced in May that would direct the Department of Defense to include questions regarding burn pit exposure among U.S. service members health assessments.
"If a service member reports being exposed, he or she will be enrolled in the Veterans Administration’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry," wrote Petraeus of the 154,000-veteran strong VA database. "Over time, this will increase the quantity of data that the VA can evaluate, better enabling it to determine the effect of burn pit exposure and to identify the most effective treatment for those affected."
Claims arising from burn pit exposure claims are usually handled slowly and inconsistently by VA medical centers. Veterans’ advocates have for years urged the VA to define illnesses arising from burn pit exposure as presumptive-service connected disabilities tied to the circumstances of a deployment.
While the Pentagon and VA maintain that there is empirical evidence of correlation or causality between burn pit exposure and deadly respiratory illness among U.S. service members, a February ruling by an administrative court judge established an important precedent by detailing the connection between exposure and lung disease in a federal contractor.
As the IAVA noted in June, better data means better evidence. “Although established in 2014, only 141,000 have completed the registry questionnaire out of the 3.5 million veterans the VA says are eligible to register,’’ legislative director Tom Porter testified in June. “Only 1.7 percent of the post-9/11 veterans eligible to register have done so, and only 35 percent of IAVA members exposed have.”
U.S. Air Force Col. Jeannie Leavitt, the outgoing commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, pilots an F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft over North Carolina May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman John Nieves Camacho)
WASHINGTON — Former Air Force and Navy fighter pilots are calling on the military to begin cancer screenings for aviators as young as 30 because of an increase in deaths from the disease that they suspect may be tied to radiation emitted in the cockpit.
"We are dropping like flies in our 50s from aggressive cancers," said retired Air Force Col. Eric Nelson, a former F-15E Strike Eagle weapons officer. He cited prostate and esophageal cancers, lymphoma, and glioblastomas that have struck fellow pilots he knew, commanded or flew with.
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.
In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.