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News stories tagged with "afghanistan"

McHugh: cut red tape from veteran health care

Revelations of grim conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are bringing intense focus on the health care system for veterans. President Bush planned to do some damage control today by visiting Walter Reed. He'll talk to veterans and hospital staff, trying to reassure them the government is doing something following the scandal over shoddy treatment of wounded soldiers. Yesterday, the House passed a $2.9 trillion budget resolution. Among other things, it provides $3.5 billion more for veterans' care than the president's budget. It rejects the administration plan to raise premiums for the military's health plan, called Tricare. Congressman John McHugh, a Republican, voted against the Democratic resolution. He also voted against the Republicans' own budget resolution, which reflected the Bush Administration's plan to cut funding for military treatment facilities. In comments during a House Military Personnel Subcommittee hearing this week, McHugh said these are "most difficult times" for the military health system. Better technology has meant more soldiers survive severe wounds, like traumatic brain injuries. But that means veterans' hospitals will have to care for these soldiers their whole lives. On Wednesday, the congressman told David Sommerstein that the biggest problem facing the system is red tape.  Go to full article

Resolve, and some grumbling, at Fort Drum

There was disappointment, resolve, and some grumbling at Fort Drum yesterday. The Pentagon announced Wednesday that more than three thousand soldiers won't be coming home this winter as planned. The 3rd Brigade of the Army's 10th Mountain Division will remain in Afghanistan for four more months. As David Sommerstein reports, some soldiers who have already come home will have to return.  Go to full article
Dawn and Randall Perry, Ft. Drum
Dawn and Randall Perry, Ft. Drum

Heard Up North: Love between two wars

Today's Heard Up North is a love story. Two soldiers from Fort Drum, who met at a karaoke bar on post, got married. Three months later, one was headed to Iraq, the other to Afghanistan.  Go to full article
NPR's Ivan Watson
NPR's Ivan Watson

NPR on the ground in Afghanistan

The international body overseeing reconstruction in Afghanistan released a gloomy report on escalating violence there yesterday. The Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board says insurgent attacks have increased four-fold since U.S. troops ousted the Taliban five years ago. Almost 4,000 people were killed this year in the conflict. Some 5,000 members of Fort Drum's 10th Mountain Division are currently in Afghanistan. More than 2,000 Canadian troops are there under NATO control. NPR is covering the five-year anniversary of the U.S. and NATO presence in Afghanistan all this week. Reporter Ivan Watson has been on the ground there throughout the conflict. He told David Sommerstein he sees signs of hope, but the latest violence doesn't bode well.  Go to full article
A bomb hidden in a traffic cone.
A bomb hidden in a traffic cone.

Soldiers learn to spot IEDs at Ft. Drum

Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, kill more American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other weapon. They can be terrifying for soldiers because the deadly bombs could be anywhere - in a donkey cart, a highway median, even in a dead body. The military spent $3.5 billion just last year trying to fight IEDs through better armor and better detection. Now it's adding another approach: hands-on IED training exhibits. One of the first in the country opened at Fort Drum near Watertown Tuesday. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Ft. Drum to add two battalions

Fort Drum near Watertown is getting bigger - again. The Army has assigned another two battalions to the base. Ft. Drum has already grown by more than half since 2003. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Film Calls for Depleted Uranium Study

The group North Country Veterans for Peace is showing a movie tonight in Potsdam about the military's use of depleted uranium (a heavy metal used in ammunition) in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the first Gulf War, veterans groups have argued the weakly radioactive chemical has caused a range of illnesses in thousands of soldiers. The Pentagon says the substance does not make people sick. New York's legislature has taken up a bill that would help National Guard soldiers get tested for exposure to depleted uranium from military service. And it would encourage more research on the subject. Similar bills have passed in Connecticut and Louisiana. Miles Manchester is a member of North Country Veterans for Peace.  Go to full article

Pentagon Releases Drum Casualty Names

Yesterday the Army released the names of the 10 soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan last week. Two were native New Yorkers. All were members of the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Fort Drum near Watertown. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Drum Families Cope With High-Profile Loss

Last Friday night, 10 soldiers from Fort Drum were killed when the Chinook helicopter transporting them rolled down a mountainside in Afghanistan. The families, friends, and colleagues of these soldiers face very trying times in a very high-profile position. Debra Stellfox is Fort Drum's Family Readiness Coordinator. She told David Sommerstein the military provides each family a "care team".  Go to full article
The Schuckman and Esplin families Sunday outside Ft. Drum.
The Schuckman and Esplin families Sunday outside Ft. Drum.

Copter Crash Stirs Drum Families

10 Fort Drum soldiers died in a helicopter crash Friday night in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan. The military says the chopper was not downed by enemy fire. The Pentagon says it may be several days before the soldiers' names are released. It's the deadliest incident for Fort Drum since a Blackhawk helicopter crashed on a training mission on base, killing 11 soldiers. This latest news is sobering for a community weathering near-constant deployments, but it's not out of the ordinary. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

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