It’s been a transformative year for veterans and those serving in the military. We’ve seen the resignations of both the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of the Department of Defense.
And there have been changes at the state and local levels too. Here are some of the major stories from 2014:
- Florida state lawmakers granted in-state tuition to all veteran students using their Post 9-11 VA education benefits.
- After national reports of long waiting lists linked to some veterans deaths, Gov. Rick Scott ordered Florida regulators to inspect records at the state’s federally run VA hospitals. State inspectors were denied access to the patient records, so the governor sued.
- Several local members of congress, including U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) and U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), held local “veteran intakes” to help expedite their VA claims and appointments.
- Congress held hearings looking at the VA health care system and reports of secret waiting lists that led to veteran deaths and poor quality of care. Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), continues to spearhead those investigations.
- During his first 100 days in office, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert “Bob” McDonald visited VA facilities in the Tampa Bay area.
- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel resigned, but he remains on the job until his successor is approved.
- At Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base: Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie took over as commander of the Marines at US Central Command; Col. Daniel Tulley is now commander of MacDill Air Force Base and the 6th Air Mobility Wing.
- Army Ranger Lt. Gen. Joe Votel became commander of U.S. Special Operations Command upon the retirement of Navy SEAL Adm. William McRaven who will forever be remembered as the architect of the plan that captured Osama Bin Laden.
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