I have found that when we talk around the coffee table at Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida the foundation of our discussions come from some sources that we generally have confidence in the reporting.

The Stars and Stripes newspaper is one that focuses and reports on issues concerning all the armed forces of the United States. It operates from inside the Department of Defense but editorially separate and is safeguarded by the U.S. Congress of its 1st Amendment rights. It has a website, four print editions for us serving overseas that we are able to download for free and seven digital editions. They produce independent daily news that is right now being discussed as a funding cut by the present Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Elaine McCusker. I am thinking that since the Stars and Stripes operates with complete editorial independence and all the other publications under the Defense Media Activity (such as the Armed Forces Radio and TV, and DoD News channel) are operated as command publications, and are under the thumb of the Department of Defense that the editorial independence is not in the best interest of the DoD’s controlling the news we hear. We would lose a tremendous cradle of news if indeed the Stares and Stripes losses its federal support in 2021.

This has been proposed by the present Administration and if it happens, that would represent about half its budget and would most likely have to close down. I also think it would darken an avenue of news that would be detrimental to the health and well-being of our military in the future. Of course, this is my opinion, and you might feel differently.

I guess if negative news is not printed, some would think it doesn’t exist. Scary: isn’t it? We will see, as time goes on if we do lose this important source of independent news.

Monster Worldwide has a division called Military.com that is followed by many in the military family. I find this site very informing and you also will be able to pinpoint news that is geared to a particular service: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Navy and the new Space Force. Military.com covers defense news in general and does a great job because of its affiliation with Monster in helping you find military transition and veteran employment information. This is also a great source if your trying to find a buddy from your time in the service, and it also has many unit homepages and reunions listed. On the website it also has many fun and cool stuff that you might enjoy. It is quite extensive and you might spend a lot of time off of the serious stuff, of which is quite interesting but on things that might take you away and into a mindset that you will appreciate. At least I have been sidetracked from a serious issue that I was working on, it gave me a break and allowed me to come back refreshed and ready to tackle that next challenge. Good source of news and fun.

There is also Militarytimes.com that is also aimed at current and former U.S. military personnel. They have a very good section on veterans that you might find interesting.

You also might not forget our local publications produced by the Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs, Idaho Division of Veteran Services and of course even the Veteran Administration has some really good material that you can sink your teeth into.

With any of these news items you must do your homework and investigate the source of news and you might even research a couple of these and look for the same topic and see how they compare and draw your own conclusion. I would never go to just one location and stop there; I would make sure what you are looking for is verified by another reliable source.

I have learned to take much with a grain of salt and not to accept everything without question. What I was promised when I served in Vietnam is not what I received when I got out. I think looking back I might have been a little too gullible and now am paying for it because I truly believed what was told and I should have checked a little more and got a second opinion. Your experience might have been different? In any case, I like to check my sources and double check the information received.

“A Nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” — Edward R. Murrow

Ronald Verini is a local veterans advocate who writes a weekly column for The Argus Observer. He can be contacted at (541) 889-1978, help@veteranadvocates.org or 180 W. Idaho Ave., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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