Navy Banning E-Cigarettes from Ships and Aircraft over Explosion Fears


By Debbie Gregory.

The Navy has banned electronic cigarettes and vaping devices throughout the fleet. The Navy cited concerns that the battery-powered gadgets can explode and injure sailors.

The new rule “suspends the use, possession, storage, and charging of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems aboard ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment,” according to a Navy press release.

“The prohibition applies to Sailors, Marines, Military Sealift Command civilians and any personnel working on or visiting those units.”

“This new policy is in response to continued reports of explosions of electronic nicotine delivery devices due to the overheating of lithium-ion batteries,” the release said.

The malfunctioning devices have forced at least one aircraft to land, started fires on ships and left sailors with second-degree burns and disfigured faces. According to the Navy, these injuries occurred when the devices were being used, charged or replaced, or when they came into inadvertent contact with metal objects.

In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received twenty reports of e-cigarette overheating, fires and explosions.

“Based on the experience of other FDA-regulated products, it is important to note that adverse experience reporting received is an underestimate of actual events,” FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said.

The Navy’s ban prohibits uniformed personnel and civilians from using, possessing, storing and charging the devices. It will remain in effect while the Navy conducts a more thorough analysis on the devices, although Fleet Forces spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Stephanie Turo stated that there is not a timeline for any permanent decision.

The Navy reported fifteen incidents between October 2015 and June 2016 where fires were started or personnel were injured because of these devices, according to the Naval Safety Center. It’s unclear if the FDA figures include statistics from the Navy. The issue of overheating batteries has been one that E-Cigarette makers have tracked closely,

Some manufactures claim that approximately eighty percent of these cases of battery overheating occurs when the device is charged incorrectly or with a different charger that the manufacturer intended.

The Navy is encouraging sailors to use tobacco-cessation programs that it offers. However, some vaping advocates fear the Navy is taking away a useful tool.

Sailors on shore still will be allowed to use the devices on Navy bases, but only in designated smoking areas.

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Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Ranger Killed in Mosul


By Debbie Gregory.

An improvised explosive device that detonated during a patrol on the outskirts of Mosul claimed the life of U.S. Army soldier 1st Lt. Weston Lee.

The 25-year-old infantry platoon leader was from Bluffton, Ga., was assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, N.C.

According to a DoD press release, the Georgia native joined the Army in March 2015, and was killed “while conducting security as part of advise and assist support to partnered forces.”

It was his first combat deployment.

Lee’s death marks the first time an 82nd Airborne paratrooper has been killed in combat since 2014. He was also the first member of the division killed in Iraq since 2011, the year the U.S. formally withdrew all combat troops from the country.

There are now more U.S. forces in Iraq than at any other time since the 2011 U.S. withdrawal, marking an intensifying war as Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition work to push ISIS out of the last pockets of territory the extremists control in Iraq.

Lieutenant Lee, who has been stationed at Fort Benning since March of 2015, graduated from the University of North Georgia and commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Army in December of 2014. While at Fort Benning, he completed the Infantry Basic Officer’s Leadership Course prior to Ranger and Airborne schools. He has recently been assigned to 1-73 CAV, 82nd. Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Lee was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Meritorious Service Medal.

“He was exactly the type of leader that our paratroopers deserve,” Col. J. Patrick Work, the 2nd Brigade commander, wrote in a statement to reporters.

We at Military Connection express our sincerest condolences to Lee’s family and friends, and express our gratitude for his service and sacrifice.

Dr. Seuss ‘s Military Connection

Dr. Seuss

Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, an author of children’s books such as “The Cat In The Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” joined the Army in 1943 in a role that most people probably didn’t know existed. He served as the commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces.

Geisel’s contributions included designing illustrations and posters for the U.S. Treasury and other agencies to bring attention to in the war effort by promoting the purchase of war bonds and the rationing of goods needed by soldiers overseas. He eventually worked on marketing enlistment posters for the Department of Defense.

He also made training and propaganda videos starring a character that he created known as Private Snafu.

Geisel’s Private Snafu cartoons were black-and-white training and education films. Snafu was taken from the acronym, SNAFU- “Situation Normal: All F****d Up.” The character was voiced by Mel Blanc, who was the original voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, and many, many others.

Private Snafu did everything wrong in order to demonstrate to the troops what they were expected to do. The cartoon series was rated higher than any other training tools. The Private Snafu series was intended to help troops who lacked the ability to read and understand basic military protocol.

Geisel also created “Your Job in Germany,” a 1945 propaganda film on the role of peace in Europe after World War II, and “Our Job in Japan.” One of the films he created for the Army, “Hitler Lives,” won him an Academy Award.

Geisel was awarded the Legion of Merit for his contributions to the war efforts as a cartoonist, scriptwriter, and filmmaker.

After the war, Geisel wrote the script for “Gerald McBoing-Boing,” a Technicolor short by United Productions of America / Columbia, which won the 1951 Oscar for Best Cartoon Short.

Geisel went on to become the infamous Dr. Seuss and died in 1991. He wrote more than 60 books that have sold over millions and millions of copies including “The Cat In The Hat”. His contributions to our nation have made him an enduring part of American culture.

VA Partners With CVS to Reduce Wait Times

wait times

The Veterans Administration and CVS have partnered for a test program that will enable the pharmacy chain’s MinuteClinic Urgent Care Centers to treat some veterans for minor injuries and ailments.

This program that is launching in the Phoenix area but it can be expanded. Patients will still be required to contact a VA help line. Veterans may be referred to one of the in-store clinics for minor injuries and illnesses if the nurse answering the phone deems it “medically appropriate.”

This new program comes three years after the VA faced allegations of chronically long wait times at its centers, including its Phoenix facility, which treats about 120,000 veterans.

The Phoenix pilot program is a test-run by VA Secretary David Shulkin who is working on a nationwide plan to reduce veterans’ wait times.

Under this program, Veterans would not be bound by current restrictions under the VA’s Choice program. The current procedures limit outside care to those who have been waiting more than thirty days for an appointment or have to drive more than forty miles to a facility.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a long-time advocate of Veterans and expanded access to private care, thinks this new initiative is an “important step forward.”

“I’ve long believed that Veterans in need of routine health care services should not have to wait in line for weeks to get an appointment when they can visit community health centers like the CVS MinuteClinic to receive timely and convenient care,” said Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Senator McCain serves as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Veterans Health Administration said it opted to go with a CVS partnership in Phoenix after VA officials there specifically pushed for the additional option. They cited the feedback of local Veterans and the success of a smaller test run with CVS last year in Palo Alto, California.

The VA did not indicate whether it received requests from other VA medical centers or how quickly it might expand the program elsewhere.

“We believe in the MinuteClinic model of care and are excited to offer our health care services as one potential solution for the Phoenix VA Health Care System and its patients,” said Tobias Barker, Chief Medical Officer of CVS MinuteClinic.

Unlike the standard national Choice program, Veterans in need of acute care can be referred to a MinuteClinic right away. Their health records will be shared electronically with the clinic. Nurse practitioners for MinuteClinic can write prescriptions and give common immunizations.

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