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Female combat veterans left in cold by loophole as group of women senators steps in

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FIRST ON FOX — A bipartisan group of girls senators penned a letter to Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough to induce the leaders to provide tons of of feminine fight veterans entry to important advantages.

“These heroic girls served our nation, dealing with the identical life-threatening hazard that different fight veterans confronted,” Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., one of many lawmakers main the trouble, advised Digital.

At subject is the case of about 310 girls veterans, who the lawmakers say deployed and served alongside particular operations forces in each Iraq and Afghanistan. Their service within the conflicts got here earlier than feminine service members have been formally allowed to serve in fight roles, in keeping with a press launch from the senators, serving as an alternative as a part of cultural assist groups that have been tasked with outreach to Iraq and Afghanistan’s feminine populations.

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Sen. Rosen and Sec. Austin image split

A lot of these feminine service members accompanied their male counterparts on missions comparable to raids, the lawmakers argued, sustaining accidents that they haven’t been pretty compensated for within the aftermath due to the dearth of recognition of their fight service.

“Their navy data don’t precisely replicate their fight service, regardless of accompanying particular operations forces on raids and sustaining accidents,” Rosen mentioned.

The letter argues that these feminine veterans have “been turned away by the VA” and “unable to persuade a clinician that their accidents comparable to post-traumatic stress, traumatic mind accidents, and disabling bodily trauma are combat-related.

“As a result of these administrative oversights, we name upon you to treatment these errors so our nation could correctly acknowledge and look after our feminine fight veterans,” the letter reads. 

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Rosen was joined in sending the letter by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who urged the VA to “be sure that all of our service members and veterans have correct navy data and obtain the care and advantages they earned.”

“As the primary feminine fight veteran to serve within the U.S. Senate, I’ll proceed combating for the tons of of girls who performed crucial roles in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Ernst advised Digital. “Those that served deserve our full thanks and assist.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, at podium in Capitol

The letter, which was additionally signed by Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-In poor health., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., comes after Rosen launched bipartisan laws named the “Jax Act” earlier this yr to mandate that the Biden administration acknowledge the fight service of feminine veterans and open up entry to important fight advantages.

“I’m calling on the Biden administration to proper this decades-long incorrect by correcting these service members’ data and guaranteeing they lastly get the popularity and advantages they’re owed,” Rosen advised Digital.

President Joe Biden holding wireless microphone, US flag behind him

The White Home didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

 

Whereas the letter notes the legislative effort led by Rosen, the lawmakers urged the Protection Division and VA to overview and take the step of reviewing “personnel data and denied incapacity claims of those girls now” and “act in your findings in order that they might be correctly acknowledged and compensated for his or her service.”

“We’re dedicated to making sure that every one service members and veterans have correct navy service data and obtain the care and advantages they’ve earned,” the letter concludes. “We admire your consideration to this necessary matter and urge you to rectify this subject by your personal authority.”

Reached for remark by Digital, a U.S. Protection official mentioned “the division will reply as acceptable” as soon as it receives the letter, noting that course of is similar “with all congressional correspondence.”

In the meantime, VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes advised Digital that the feminine veterans are “heroes who served our nation admirably and with distinction” however famous that the VA “can’t make adjustments to these data,” referring these inquiries to the Division of Protection.

“Every time they apply for advantages at VA, we are going to take all proof under consideration – together with extra data, medals, testimonials, and statements from present or former servicemembers who served alongside them – to affirm their fight expertise and guarantee they obtain the care and advantages they’ve earned,” Hayes mentioned.

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