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Morning Muster: 11/26/2014

Operations Specialist 3rd Class Carter Davonte holds his daughter for the first time. The child was born while Davonte was deployed aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun as part of Carrier Strike Group 2 in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Jessica Kellogg)

Operations Specialist 3rd Class Carter Davonte holds his daughter for the first time. The child was born while Davonte was deployed aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun as part of Carrier Strike Group 2 in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Jessica Kellogg)

VA downloading old annual reports online; GAO reports on service members who lose civilian jobs after deployment; first Iraq War vet to take home the National Book Award talks recovery; vets may miss Chuck Hagel; VSO offers VA acronym explanations

The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun downloading old annual reports online—going all the way back to 1918 through 1997, with a gap from 1980 to 1995. The reports list everything from benefits to healthcare to memorial services, as well as VA management issues.

The Government Accountability Office reports that the Department of Labor performed “relatively higher” than the Office of Special Counsel when looking at service members who say they were not rehired at their civilian jobs after deploying overseas, as required by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

Special Counsel helped about 26 percent of claimants, while Labor helped 20 percent of its claimants, but resolved 308 of 319 cases. Special Counsel resolved 366 of 434 cases. GAO did not look at whether the agencies made correct decisions, but the study offers some insight into how long and how much it costs to investigate claims.

The first Iraq war veteran has taken home the National Book Award, reports The Daily Beast’s Jacob Siegel. Some war-reporter types may recognize Phil Klay from a 2007 embed with the Marines at al Taqqadum, Iraq, but others will know him from his work of fiction stories, Redeployment. Siegel talks with Klay about how to process war, working to avoid glorifying war and how it feels to watch ISIS move in after thinking the U.S. military had accomplished something.

As analysts debate Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel‘s resignation, veterans may find they miss him, reports Gordon Lubold in Defense One. The former Army sergeant and Vietnam vet felt comfortable talking with troops as he advocated for the, Lubold writes, taking on the health record system and the sexual assault scandal, as well as building a budget that had to cut benefits for the troops.

A Marathon County veterans service officer, in a column for the Wasau Daily Herald in Wisconsin, breaks down VA’s acronym in a quick column. If you don’t know your VBA from your VHA, this might be a good thing to hold onto. 

That’s all for this week, folks. Happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll try to keep an eye out for 5 p.m. Thanksgiving-Eve regulations.

Bergmann & Moore, LLC, is a national law firm dedicated to serving the needs of veterans in compensation claims before and against the Department of Veterans Affairs. The firm’s partners are former VA attorneys who are very familiar with the VA system. Bergmann & Moore handles all kinds of cases, but has a concentration in claims involving PTSD, military sexual trauma and complex medical issues, such as brain cancer or degenerative issues, veterans exposed to Agent Orange often face. For more information, or to sign up for an email version of this blog, contact Kelly Kennedy at kkennedy@vetlawyers.com.

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