Veterans Weekly Report- July 21st- 27th

News for Veterans

July 21st, 2018-

Coast Guard Captain Was Relieved of Duty for Inappropriate Behavior

An investigation into the head of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, who was removed from his post in mid-February, found that he engaged in inappropriate behavior with three female Coast Guard members.

Capt. Andrew Tucci was being investigated for abusive sexual contact, a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Coast Guard’s investigation indicated there was “permanent relief for cause,” and Tucci retired. The decision was approved by the assistant commandant for human resources and the commander of the Coast Guard’s Personnel Service Center.

July 24th, 2018-

Black Female Pilot Makes History in Alabama National Guard

An Alabama woman has made history as the first black female pilot in the state National Guard‘s history.

News outlets report that 2nd Lt. Kayla Freeman of Huntsville graduated from Fort Rucker’s Army Aviation School last month, following her 2016 graduation from Tuskegee University where she was enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Freeman’s aviator wings were pinned by retired Col. Christine Knighton, the second black woman in the Department of Defense to earn aviator wings and the first from Georgia. Freeman says Knighton has been an inspiration since college and that “it was only right” to have her do the pinning.

“We take the ideals of equal opportunity very seriously and we’re extremely proud of 2nd Lt. Freeman’s achievements,” Gordon said in an Army news release. “She is further proof that we don’t see race or gender in the Alabama Guard, we see soldiers and airmen and their potential.”

Her assignment as a black female pilot was also applauded by Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon, the Alabama National Guard’s first female general and the first female to serve as adjutant general for the state, according to

Retired Col. Christine Knighton pins aviator wings on 2nd Lt. Kayla Freeman at Freeman’s graduation from the Army Aviation school, June 21, 2018, at Fort Rucker, Ala. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by 1st. Lt. Jermaine Thurston)


July 25th, 2018-

First Woman Promoted to Navy Admiral Dies at 98

The first woman to rise to admiral in the Navy died Saturday, just over 46 years after her groundbreaking promotion into the ranks of flag officer, the service announced on Wednesday.

Retired Rear Adm. Alene Duerk spent her career in the Navy’s nursing corps, serving during three major wars and eventually rising to the Navy’s top nurse position, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.

“I didn’t go into the Navy for a lifetime — I went in for six months,” she told Ohio university from which she received a doctorate in Human Relations in 1973, two years before her retirement from the military. “But I had an amazing career and have a lot of good memories. I hope I did my duty.”

Duerk recalled being honored when she learned she’d become the Navy’s first female admiral. With the rank came a lot of notoriety that she had not previously experienced, remembering regular requests for interviews with newspapers, television and radio stations, according to

She traveled a lot and made extensive trips, both here and overseas, after being promoted to rear admiral, she said. “And whenever I visited naval hospitals and naval facilities, I tried to speak with the women serving in the Navy, and not just the nurses.”

She said, “It was a nice distinction to have, and to be recognized as the first, but I wanted to make certain that I used that notoriety to do as much positive as I could.”

Following her death, Navy officials described her as a trailblazer for military women and a medical innovator.

July 26th, 2018-

ICE to deport wife of Marine, Iraq veteran Aug. 3

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents notified Alejandra Juarez on Tuesday that she will be deported back to Mexico on Aug. 3rd, despite ongoing efforts to allow her to stay.

Juarez crossed illegally into the U.S. in 1998 and married Temo Juarez in 2000. The eldest of their two daughters was 12 months old when he was deployed to Iraq.

The family’s separation comes partly as a result of stricter enforcement of immigration laws by the Trump administration. Under previous administrations, ICE deferred separation and allowed Alejandra Juarez to remain in the U.S.

“Alejandra deserves to stay in the country she has called home for over 20 years, the country her husband patriotically served as a Marine and Florida National Guardsman. The only country her two American-born daughters have known,” said Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla.

July 27th, 2018-

Veterans could be hurt by proposed $13 billion cut to student loan relief

Veterans and other students defrauded by their schools would have a harder time getting their federal loans erased under new rules proposed by the Trump administration on Wednesday.

The proposal, which aims to replace a set of Obama-era rules that were never implemented, drew applause from the for-profit industry but intense criticism from advocacy groups that represent student borrowers, and that includes veterans.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the proposal lays out clear rules schools must follow to avoid trouble, while also protecting students harmed by deception by their schools.

“Our commitment and our focus has been and remains on protecting students from fraud,” DeVos said.

Under the proposal, students would be eligible for loan relief if they can prove their schools knowingly misled them with statements or actions that directly led them to take out loans or enroll at the school.

The new proposal is estimated to save nearly $13 billion over the next decade compared with spending estimates under the Obama rules, primarily by reducing the amount of loan relief that is awarded to students.

Department officials say they have received more than 100,000 fraud claims since 2015, and most are still under review. But the new rules would apply only to loans taken out after July 1, 2019, according to officials.