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Army 16 articles

Whistleblower complaint prompts U.S. to sue Army contractor, subcontractors for fraud

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A whistleblower complaint has prompted the U.S. government to sue a Houston, Texas-based Army contractor and two Kuwaiti companies for submitting false claims in connection with the logistical support they were contracted to provide for U.S. Army operations in Iraq. The case names Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc. (KBR), an engineering and construction firm, and two Kuwait-based companies, La Nouvelle General Trading & Contracting Co. (La Nouvelle) and First Kuwaiti Trading Company (First Kuwaiti), which KBR subcontracted to provide transportation, maintenance and other services for its work in Iraq. The U.S. alleges that KBR knowingly made false claims to the ... Read More

New bill would strengthen whistleblower protections for military members

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A bill designed to toughen protections for military whistleblowers has been introduced by four U.S. Senators who say that improving the provisions would encourage more military members to blow the whistle on sexual assault, fraud, waste, and abuse. The bill, dubbed the Warner-Collins-Kaine-Grassley Amendment for the senators who designed it, appears to enjoy strong bipartisan support. The measure is also backed by some 50 whistleblowers and organizations, including the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a group that has emerged in recent years to advocate for whistleblowers in all levels and branches of government. “Improving the military’s whistleblower system is an important ... Read More

Nasal spray could help drive down suicide rates among U.S. veterans

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“Here’s a window into a tragedy within the American military,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff wrote in an April column. “For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.” The alarming epidemic of suicide amongst our veterans, often linked to traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and all the adverse emotional and physical complications that accompany them, have compelled military and civilian researchers to find better ways of diagnosing and treating brain injuries, which can lead to myriad cognitive, motor, and emotional problems. Among those problems, depression and suicide loom ... Read More

Army close to diagnosing concussion, TBI with on-site blood test

The U.S. Army soon will use point-of-care blood-testing devices that can determine almost instantly if a soldier has suffered a concussion or other form of head trauma, U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff Peter Chiarelli told an University of Texas audience in Austin last week. The device, developed by Florida-based company Banyan Biomarkers, will also be able to measure the severity of head trauma. “This is really critical,” Chiarelli said. “I think we are 14 to 18 months away from having a blood test for these invisible injuries. And it’s going to change medicine in a huge way.” The device ... Read More

Wounded Iraq vet killed after being thrown from NY roller coaster

Twenty-nine-year-old Army sergeant James Thomas Hackemer survived combat in Iraq, lost both of his legs to a roadside bomb, emerged from a 6-week coma, and endured years of painful rehabilitation only to lose his life back home in the United States … on an amusement park roller coaster ride. Sgt. Hackemer was killed on the evening of Friday, July 8, after being ejected from the “Ride of Steel” roller coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort in upstate New York. He was on riding the 208-foot tall, 70-mph roller coaster with his nephew when the tragic accident occurred. Investigators are ... Read More

SPECT brain scans help Army doctors “see” traumatic brain injuries

When Spc. James Saylor, a 31-year-old father of two, returned home from Afghanistan, he didn’t believe at first that his short temper, vivid nightmares, and short-term memory loss could be the result of a concussion he suffered after a mortar exploded near him. After all, traditional CT scans and MRIs showed a normal brain unaffected by contusions, bruises, and other physical injuries. But such is the nature of concussions, which are mild forms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can have severe and lasting effects if ignored, repeated, or not properly treated. Concussions and many other forms of TBI usually ... Read More

Soldiers living with TBI and PTSD simultaneously live in a state of internal warfare

NPR and Propublica have led the media coverage of the devastating impact traumatic brain injuries are having on American troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today, they profiled an Iraq war veteran whose story illuminates the dark journey thousands of our soldiers have had to endure with little help and understanding. It’s the story of a soldier coping with the unseen and little understood damage of a brain wounded by war. Brock Savelkoul, a 29-year-old soldier from North Dakota, was medically discharged from the Army after serving three tours in Iraq. Savelkoul received a Purple Heart medal for injuries he ... Read More

Army now awards Purple Heart for all combat-related concussions

The Army now considers combat-related concussions injuries worthy of the Purple Heart medal, underscoring the gravity of a wound that has been overlooked or dismissed as harmless for decades. The Army’s move to recognize all concussions as serious combat wounds comes at a time when the medical community is making strides in its understanding of concussions and other forms of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The sheer number of American soldiers receiving some degree of head trauma has made TBI the “signature wound” of the wars in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Up until now, the Army left it up to ... Read More

Pentagon kills traumatic brain injury tests for combat vets

Tests that would have more accurately measured the rate of traumatic brain injury in troops returning to the U.S. from combat in the Middle East have been barred from completion, according to a USA Today report. Traumatic brain injury, often referred to as TBI, has been christened the “signature injury” of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Thirty percent of soldiers taken to Walter Reed Army Medical Center since 2003 suffered traumatic brain injuries, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. The injuries are most commonly caused by shockwaves emitted from bomb blasts. In January 2008, Congress ordered the ... Read More

Clemson research offers hope for TBI patients

New hope for people living with the physical and mental impairments of traumatic brain injury has emerged from Clemson University. Assistant professor of bioengineering Ning Zhang used a combination of synthetic and natural materials in developing an injectable biomaterial that showed great promise for brain tissue regeneration in laboratory tests. According to Clemson, the material “has the potential to spur the growth of a patient’s own neural stem cells in the body, structurally repairing the brain injury site.” In previous lab studies conducted with rats, Zhang demonstrated “the reconstruction of a complete vascular network at the injury site as an ... Read More