Army unit performs tough, but necessary duty | DOD learning about AI for aircraft maintenance | House Democrats release $3T coronavirus bill
May 13, 2020
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The Army's 54th Quartermaster Company has been working with the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner to collect and process the bodies of those who've died from COVID-19. "[W]e try to make ourselves available and make sure that the civil authorities understand we are here and able to provide assistance when we see it needed from a logistical standpoint," says 54th Quartermaster Company commander Capt. Ethan Frazee.
Full Story: US Army (5/12) 
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In the Pentagon
The Pentagon is gathering information on the use of artificial intelligence for aircraft maintenance, with a focus on H-60 helicopters. The goal is to gain "timely and trusted model outputs that accurately predict engine maintenance and servicing," according to the request for information.
Full Story: Defense One (5/11) 
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On the Hill
House Democrats have introduced a $3 trillion bill aimed at supporting the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and have scheduled a vote for Friday, but the legislation is not expected to gain Senate approval. Republican senators are drafting a "major package," says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Full Story: The Hill (5/12),  CNN (5/12) 
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Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., has asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper to lift the Pentagon's ban on previously hospitalized COVID-19 survivors from enlisting in the military. "[I]t is critical for the Department of Defense to immediately halt implementation of any related bureaucratic actions that threaten the honor to serve in the US military," he wrote in a letter to Esper this week.
Full Story: The Hill (5/11) 
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On the Home Front
The VA says its 142 national cemeteries will be open for Memorial Day, but strict rules will be in place and no large ceremonies will be allowed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Face coverings may be required for all visitors, pending local rules, according to Les' Melnyk, spokesman for the National Cemetery Administration, and the VA is asking members of the public to spread out their visits in the days prior to Memorial Day, May 25.
Full Story: Military online (5/12) 
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Service Section News
National Guard Bureau chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel has had a third test for the novel coronavirus and has tested negative for the second time. Lengyel was first tested on Saturday and received a positive result, was tested a second time that day with negative results and was tested a third time on Monday.
Full Story: Military online (5/11) 
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Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard pilots in Minnesota and Georgia are among those taking part in a second round of flyovers honoring front-line workers in the coronavirus fight this week. In Minnesota, the National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing and 133rd Airlift Wing and the Air Force Reserve's 934th Airlift Wing are taking part in flights today, while in Georgia the Air Force Reserve's 94th Airlift Wing will do flyovers on Thursday.
Full Story: Belle Plaine Herald (Minn.) (5/13),  WAGA-TV (Atlanta) (5/12) 
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Reserve Life
Advocacy groups are concerned that already strained VA medical staffs won't be able to keep up with the growing mental health issues facing veterans as the stress of lockdowns and job losses put mounting pressure on them, despite a boost in telehealth options. "We have been very busy during the COVID crisis -- with our efforts focused on getting in front of the mental health crisis that we know is coming," said Barbara Van Dahlen, who heads up a White House task force set to deliver a report on mental health care solutions soon.
Full Story: The Associated Press (5/11) 
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