Most massive VA Budget in History Signed by President Trump
According to Military Times, on Friday, September 21st, President Donald Trump signed the largest Department of Veterans Affairs budget in American history. For the first time, the VA budget has surpassed $200 billion with a 6% increase from last year.
The bill was finalized and signed at a ceremony that took place in the North Los Vegas VA Medical Center. The new budget includes $400 million for opioid abuse prevention amongst the veteran community as well as $1.1 billion to implement a new system for VA electronic records.
“With this funding bill we have increased the VA’s budget to the largest ever,” President Trump stated. “We are delivering the resources to implement crucial VA reforms.”
F-35B Joint Strike Fighter’s First Successful Mission
The first combat mission by U.S. Marine Corps F-35B joint strike fighter has been completed in Afghanistan, according to Marine Corps Times. Thursday morning, F-35Bs assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit carried out strikes on a fixed target. The ground force commander deemed them as successful in a statement released by the U.S. Naval Central Command.
As the most expensive program in Pentagon history, the joint strike fighter is estimated to cost around $1 trillion to develop, manufacture, produce, use, and sustain.
The F-35B allows for vertical landing which lets the pilot hover and lands vertically, much like a helicopter. This is important for the Marines as they typically work from ships with smaller decks than common aircraft carriers.
New Grooming Standards in the Navy
According to the Navy Times, this past July the Navy released an updated guidelines list for grooming standards. This document included authorized hairstyles, and fair hair and nail accessories for women. Just last week the Navy has released an update to these grooming standards which go in depth to clarify all grooming standards among men and women in the Navy.
This update on grooming standards also includes all sailors assigned to Marine Corps units. Stating “sailors assigned to U.S. Marine Corps units who wear the Marine Corps uniform will abide by Marine Corps grooming standards.”
For additional information, read the full document at public.navy
10% Increase in Young Veteran Suicide Rates
Even though the suicide rate amongst all veterans has fallen slightly, young veterans saw a dramatic increase in suicides as reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The most recent data available to us on veteran suicide comes from 2016, where veterans were 1.5 times as likely to commit suicide than Americans who have not served in the military. About 20 veterans a day commit suicide according to these findings. To put that in perspective: veterans committed 14% of all adult suicide deaths but, only 8% of America’s population has served in the military.
It has found that veterans who regularly have contact with VA health services are less likely to commit suicide than those who do not. Because of this the VA has implemented new hotlines and methods to contact them for suicidal veterans.
To get in contact with the Veteran Crisis Line, please call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 to speak with a VA representative. Veterans, active duty troops, and their families may also text 838255 or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net for more help.
According to the report released by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the rate of suicide amongst veterans aged 18-34 has been steadily increasing between 2006 and 2016. From 2015 to 2016 that number saw a 10% increase in deaths. That means that 45, out of every 100,000, aged 18-34 veterans committed suicide.
The rate of suicide amongst veterans (up to a total 26%) is not the only one that has grown since 2006. Suicide rates amongst all American adults have increased by 21%. These numbers show that suicide prevention and awareness is a challenge that affects not just veterans and active duty military but also everyday Americans.
Las Vegas Marries the Military
This past Wednesday, September 26th, was the last day to fill out an application and submit a short vide. 25 military couples will be chosen from the applicants for the chance to win a free wedding in Las Vegas on Veterans Day weekend. To qualify at least half of the couple must be on active service duty or a veteran.
Last year was the first time this event, which is known as “Las Vegas Marries the Military,” was held with ten wedding or vow renewal services being conducted. This year even more venues have agreed to be a part of the event, increasing options for both traditional and untraditional ceremonies as well as increasing the number of weddings that can be held.
Winning couples are chosen based around those who want a meaningful experience rather than a vacation. Those who are selected to receive a free ceremony are also given a venue, an officiant, a photographer, and flowers at no extra cost. There is even a joint reception after all of the weddings with cake and champagne for all of the couples. We hope you submitted your application for your chance to win, and if not you can always apply for next year.