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Wednesday, Sep 03rd

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Native American veterans face lonely battle against PTSD

Native American vetsOn Oct. 11, 2013, 37-year-old Watts was taken to the Gallup Indian Medical Center on the border of the Navajo Nation. He had blood clots in his lungs and pneumonia, and his heart — damaged by chronic and heavy alcohol use — was unable to provide oxygen to his body anymore.

Only a year before, Watts had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. His doctor told him that if he didn’t stop drinking he would die, but he didn’t listen.

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U.S. discloses secret Somalia military presence, up to 120 troops

US troops in SomaliaU.S. military advisors have secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007 and Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant group al Shabaab, U.S. officials said.

The comments are the first detailed public acknowledgement of a U.S. military presence in Somalia dating back since the U.S. administration of George W. Bush and add to other signs of a deepening U.S. commitment to Somalia's government, which the Obama administration recognized last year.

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Half of returning vets battle chronic pain, many risk pill addiction

Vets with chronic painChronic pain tortures nearly half of returning U.S. veterans, a new study suggests, and a large number of them — as many as 15 percent — are using narcotic painkillers to manage it.

Research shows that soldiers are four times as likely to use prescription narcotics compared to the wider civilian population. Such drugs carry the risk of lifelong addiction, fatal overdose and have been linked to the nation’s epidemic levels of heroin use.

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Navy Gets Its First Female Four-Star Admiral

Michelle HowardThe Navy has promoted Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, making her the first female four-star admiral in its 236-year history and the service's new vice chief of naval operations.

Howard paid tribute to the nation's service members Tuesday morning at her promotion ceremony, held at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. In her brief remarks, she said that the "willingness to step up and contribute to a noble cause in your life is a sign of true selflessness."

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Independent panel releases report on ending military sexual assault

mkilkitary sexual assaultsThe number of reported cases of sexual assault in the military in 2013 went up by 50 percent from the year before. The Department of Defense says it’s because more people are comfortable coming forward, but many say the problem is only escalating.

For 2012, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 sexual assaults took place but that only 3,300 of them were reported to authorities.

An independent panel is due to give recommendations to Congress this week on how to deal with the growing number of incidents. Among dozens of suggestions, it says there should be no more limitations on the authority of commanders to refer charges to military courts, that commanding officers should have clemency authority and that Congress should improve and enhance the response to male-on-male sexual assault.

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Veterans not surprised Iraq's Army collapsed

Iraqi armyBuilt and trained by the U.S. at a cost of some $25 billion, the Iraqi Army quickly collapsed in the last few weeks against well-equipped rebel fighters. For the Americans tasked with helping to create the country’s security force, it’s a disturbing, though not unexpected, blow.

America Tonight asked three veterans who trained, advised and fought alongside the Iraqi Army about how such an enormous investment in blood and money could seemingly vanish so quickly.

“They weren’t soldiers because they wanted to be soldiers,” explained Marine First Lt. Dave Jackson, who fought with Iraqi forces during his two deployments to Iraq. “They were soldiers because they wanted a job.”

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No Evidence of Misconduct by Bergdahl While Captive, Army Says

Bowe BergdahlThe U.S. Army said Wednesday that there is no evidence that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl engaged in any misconduct during his five years in captivity.

Sgt. Bergdahl is the focus of a continuing Army investigation trying to determine whether he attempted to desert his unit on June 30, 2009 while stationed at a small U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan. If charged with desertion, Sgt. Bergdahl could face court-martial, prison time and, in the most extreme sentence, the death penalty.

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