An arm of the Veterans Affairs Department in Atlanta eliminated 208,272 applications from across the country for health care early this year amid efforts to shrink a massive backlog of requests, saying they were missing signatures or information about military service and income, according to records reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Veterans groups say the VA should have done more to communicate with the veterans before closing their applications, some of which date back to 1998. Troops face additional challenges in applying for VA health care, they said, as they grapple with reentry into civilian life, change addresses following overseas deployments and suffer from combat stress.
In the middle of the controversy is the VA's Health Eligibility Center, the Atlanta office that oversees the process by which veterans seek access to the VA medical system. It and its parent agency have come under intense scrutiny in recent years for mismanagement and delays in providing medical care, presenting a thorny challenge for the administration of President Donald Trump, who focused on veterans' care during his presidential campaign.
The Trump administration is considering sheltering unaccompanied immigrant children apprehended along the southwest border at Fort Benning, the sprawling Columbus-area military installation, according to the Pentagon and U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
It is unknown how many children could be housed there and for how long. But Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services in April for the Pentagon to find space for up to 5,000 at military bases.
On Dec. 7, two years after a domestic disturbance call took a tragic turn and claimed the lives of two Americus, Georgia police officers, the Marine Corps honored one of their own: Lance Cpl. Nicholas Smarr, who died while rendering first aid to another fatally wounded officer.
A man arrested earlier this week during an FBI sex sting for allegedly trying to meet a 14-year-old girl at a Cobb County, Georgia, hotel is confirmed to be a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and a member of the Georgia Air National Guard, authorities said.
The U.S. military has “quite literally surrounded” the East Coast states that Hurricane Florence is expected to hit with personnel and equipment, which are poised to swoop in to help people in need, said Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, head of U.S. Northern Command.