PTSD disability ratings increased

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist More than 4300 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were diagnosed in service as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but got low military disability ratings, have won an agreement with the Department of Defense to upgrade those ratings retroactively to 50 percent. The higher rating will represent an important win […]

Three Hounds make all-region football team

Freedom New Mexico Eastern New Mexico University junior cornerback Rodney Mitchell was a first-team defense selection on Don Hansen’s 2009 Football Gazette All-Super Region Four squad. Greyhounds earning second-team honors were sophomore quarterback J.J. Harp and junior linebacker Nathan Uland. Mitchell tied for seventh in Division II and first in the Lone Star Conference South […]

Poor economy boosting recruitment

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Middle-class American youth are entering the military in significant numbers today, drawn by more competitive pay, a battered civilian job market and the buzz surrounding an improved GI Bill education benefit. The Department of Defense announced earlier this month that for the first time since the draft ended and the […]

News release: Senate approves key defense legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today reported that the Senate has approved key defense legislation that gives strong support to New Mexico’s military installations and the state’s two national laboratories. The bill, called the fiscal year 2010 Defense Authorization Bill, passed the Senate 68-29. The House of Representatives passed it earlier this month, so […]

TRICARE fee increases blocked

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist The last decision made by House-Senate conferees negotiating final details on a fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill was to insert language that will rollback an announced Oct. 1 increase in fees charged to TRICARE Standard beneficiaries for stays in civilian hospitals. The surprise fee increases, reported here last week, gave […]

TRICARE increase stuns retirees

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Defense health officials didn’t do the Obama administration any favor last week when they announced a “small” increase in the daily fee that military retirees under 65, their families and covered survivors must pay for inpatient care in civilian hospitals under TRICARE Standard starting Oct. 1. The jump, in fact, […]

Former Melrose chief cleared in traffic case

Freedom New Mexico Former Melrose Police Chief Jennifer Dreiling was found not guilty Friday for a citation she received in March when she crashed her patrol unit. Dreiling was charged with improper turning after police said she cut across traffic to follow a motorist she had stopped. She was struck by a car when she […]

Senate doesn’t need to stop with F-22 cut

The 58-40 Senate vote last week to stop production of more F-22 fighter planes was a welcome bit of sanity applied to Pentagon spending. Whether it will lead to less wasteful Pentagon procurement policies in the future or go down as simply a symbolic gesture is a more complicated question. The F-22 was developed in […]

Congress limited in helping military

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist For the last eight years, lawmakers have loaded annual defense authorization bills with new pay and benefit initiatives to support troops and their families and to show the nation’s appreciation. This year’s defense bills — both the version passed by the House, and the Senate bill to be debated on […]

Gates’ proposed defense reforms highly unlikely

Staff and wire reports General Motors on Friday told about 1,100 of its dealers — one in five — they would be dropped by late next year, adding to the economic pain radiating from the beleaguered Detroit automakers to cities and towns across the country. Clovis GM dealership owner Bryce Bender said he did not […]