Friday marks the United States Air Force’s 68th birthday. It commemorates the day on Sept. 18, 1947, when President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act, which established the Department of Defense with a strong Joint Chiefs of Staff. The act also created U.S. Air Force as an independent service, equal to the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy.
Up until then, the Air Force did not exist as an independent service branch. From the time the Army purchased its first aircraft in 1909 up to 1947, the air service went through a series of designations: Aeronautical Section, Signal Corps (1909); Aviation Section, Signal Corps (1914); United States Army Air Service (1918); United States Army Air Corps (1926), United States Army Air Forces (1941).
Friday also marks POW/MIA National Recognition Day Ceremony at the Pentagon. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin E. Dempsey will participate in the POW/MIA National Recognition Day ceremony to recognize the approximately 83,000 Americans that are still missing from past conflicts.
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Marines in California are dealing with their symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, by learning to ocean surf, according to Outside Magazine.
Carly Rogers, a Los Angeles County lifeguard and graduate student at the University of Southern California, began developing a program called Ocean Therapy, in which combat veterans learn to surf, bracketed by structured group discussions on the sand. In 2007, she tested the program with a dozen Marines at Camp Pendleton, outside San Diego.
Since then, more than 1,000 Marines have been treated with Ocean Therapy, and hundreds of veterans and surfers have worked as volunteers in the program, including 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. In a paper published last year in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Rogers wrote that most participants in the study reported significantly decreased PTSD symptoms after being in the program for just five weeks. Attendance at such things is usually spotty, but with surfing it was roughly 75 percent.
According to a year-long study, drone pilots and crews feel the emotional impact of combat the same as pilots in manned planes. With remotely piloted aircraft expected to take on greater roles in the future, the study carries far-reaching implications, chief among them is that even though their job takes place behind a screen, it is not a game. Least of all, a video game, according to the military blog Task and Purpose.
“The pilots specifically stated it was their personal responsibility to conduct the mission and weapons deployment in a serious manner,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Campo, a planner for Joint and National Security Matters at the Operations Directorate, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, who conducted the study as part of his doctorate at Air University.
“I don’t enjoy killing people,” said an anonymous airman who was quoted in Campo’s study. “I enjoy being good at my job. Lives hang in the balance based on your decisions.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs has not listened to whistleblowers or protected them, and it also has not punished employees who tried to stop or interfere with whistleblowers, according to a letter the U.S. Office of Special Counsel sent to the White House and Congress on Thursday, according to CNN.
The OSC letter backs up allegations by whistleblowers who raised alarms about dangers and harmful incidents happening to U.S. veterans in various VA facilities. And the letter says VA officials did not protect those who came forward and even tried to harm them.
Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at email@example.com or 618-239-2533.