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Senators weigh impact of proposed Tricare fee hikes

Senators weigh impact of proposed Tricare fee hikes

Air Force Times

Military advocacy groups appear divided over a Pentagon proposal to consolidate Tricare health programs, but all agree that active-duty families should not have to pay higher medical costs just because they don't live near a military hospital.

In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee's personnel panel Wednesday, representatives from four military service organizations addressed the Defense Department's fiscal 2015 budget proposal to roll Tricare Prime, Standard and Extra into a single consolidated Tricare program.

The plan also would install a new fee structure based on where beneficiaries get their care. Families of active-duty troops would pay new copayments or higher cost shares at network and non-network facilities and retirees and family members would see new fees at military facilities and higher fees elsewhere.

Air Force F-35 takes first night flight

Air Force F-35 takes first night flight

Air Force Times

Pilots in the Air Force's newest and most expensive fighter can now fly at night.

An F-35A training pilot took off Monday at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for the Joint Strike Fighter's first night training sortie. Previously, the service's training syllabus explicitly prohibited the advanced stealthy fighter from flying at night or during adverse weather.

But this delay wasn't due to a technical problem, it was due to different air worthiness standards in the various services flying the plane.

The Joint Strike Fighter is designed as a common fighter for all services. However, an issue arose with the symbols that the system's pilot interface uses.

Four-car accident jams traffic near Robins

Four-car accident jams traffic near Robins


A four-car accident near Robins Air Force Base has slowed traffic on Highway 247 this morning.

Two people were taken to local hospitals, a law enforcement officer told 13WMAZ's Claudia Taylor.

It happened near Booth Road and Shannon's Cafe and the Museum of Aviation.

One of the vehicles slammed into the base's perimeter fence, damaging a 200-foot portion of it.

Houston County sheriff's deputies are on the scene, and so far there is no word on injuries.

The sheriff's department said they have no information on the wreck.


Home Depot group hits 10K mark for veterans project

Home Depot group hits 10K mark for veterans project


ATLANTA (AP) - Nonprofits backed by the Home Depot Foundation have improved more than 10,000 homes for veterans as part of the retail giant's grant program.

The foundation has handed out more than $65 million to organizations that renovate, rehab or build new homes for veterans since 2011.

The foundation committed to providing $80 million in grants by 2015. Home Depot Foundation President Kelly Caffarelli says expected troop cuts could result in more veterans who need housing assistance.

She expects the foundation to continue working on veterans' housing.

The Obama administration pledged in 2009 to eliminate veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development count, nearly 58,000 veterans were homeless in January 2013. That's down an estimated 24 percent from 2010.

24 Army Veterans receive belated Medal of Honor

24 Army Veterans receive belated Medal of Honor


President Obama honors heroism on Tuesday.

Obama will belatedly award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans who served during World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The honorees -- only three of whom are still alive -- were selected after Congress ordered a review to determine whether Jewish or Hispanic troops were denied the Medal of Honor in years past because of prejudice.

"These veterans will receive the Medal of Honor in recognition of their valor during major combat operations," says the White House schedule.

The two dozen honorees were previously awarded the the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest military award.

On Tuesday night, Obama will attend a Democratic fundraiser in Washington, D.C.


Some fast food outlets closing on military bases

Some fast food outlets closing on military bases


Four restaurants, including three McDonald's outlets, will close within the next three weeks on Navy installations, according to Navy Exchange Service Command officials.

And two other contractors — a name-brand sandwich eatery and a name-brand pizza parlor — have asked to be released from their Army and Air Force Exchange Service contracts to operate fast food restaurants at two other installations, according to AAFES officials.

But a source with knowledge of military on-base resale operations said the issue likely has to do with two new government regulations — one implemented, one pending — that will affect wages for contract workers in such on-base concessions.

These closings "are the tip of the iceberg," the source said. "I don't think anybody has realized what the far-reaching effects of this will be."

Robins Union election redo Tuesday

Robins Union election redo Tuesday


Members of the union that represents several thousand Robins employees can return to the ballot box Tuesday.

The national office said the local AFGE 987 needs to redo their November election, because of some ballots found in a trash can.

Robbie Tidwell won the November election, ousting nine-year-president Tom Scott.

About 900 union members voted, putting-in a clean slate of officers. No one from Scott's ticket was reelected.