Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Veterans "Continue To Serve" clean up after Washington Riot

DC veteran group works to clean up city after attack on Capitol, denounces insurrection
WUSA 9 News
Jess Arnold
January 9, 2021

Navy vet David Smith founded Continue to Serve after watching federal forces tear gas peaceful protesters. Now, his group is helping to clean after the Capitol riot.

WASHINGTON — Days after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, a group of veterans is working to clean the hate out of their beloved city.

Navy veteran David Smith is still grappling with the horrific images from Wednesday's insurrection.

“It almost brings you to tears," he said. "It’s terrible.”

He said it was especially disconcerting to hear some rioters claiming to be veterans as they broke into the citadel of democracy.

“They’re yelling 'I served!' as if somehow that gives them impunity and they can just storm the Capitol, which is not right," Smith said. "To support and defend the Constitution. That’s what we’re supposed to do, not a man, not a president, but the constitution.”

Monday, June 1, 2020

VA Headquarters and monuments damaged by rioters

Protesters damage Veterans Affairs headquarters, several DC war monuments


Military Times
Leo Shane III
June 1, 2020

The Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters and several notable veterans memorials in Washington, D.C., suffered damage Sunday night from protests in the nation’s capital, part of a series of racially-charged outbursts in cities throughout America over the last week.
A man is seen through a shattered window at the Department of Veterans Affairs as he cleans up glass in Washington, Monday, June 1, 2020, after a night of protests over the death of George Floyd. Prosecutors say Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer after being restrained. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Unidentified attackers broke several windows and spray painted curse words along the sides of VA’s main offices, which sit a block away from the White House.

A car was set on fire just a few yards away from the main entrance to the building. According to multiple news sources, several buildings surrounding the VA were set on fire as protesters moved from areas around the White House to streets north of Lafayette Park.

In addition, VA officials said several department offices in other downtown buildings suffered some damage.
read it here

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Glenna Goodacre, Vietnam Women’s Memorial creator passed away

Santa Fe sculptor found national prominence


Santa Fe New Mexican
By Jennifer Levin
Apr 14, 2020

Glenna Goodacre, an internationally acclaimed figurative sculptor who lived in Santa Fe for more than 35 years and whose work adorns a U.S. coin and is featured on the National Mall, died Monday after a series of illnesses.

She was 80.

Goodacre was best known for designing the face of the U.S. Sacagawea dollar that entered circulation in 2000 and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. But her work is prominent from coast to coast, including a portrait of President Ronald Reagan at the Reagan Presidential Library in California and one of famed U.S. Military Academy head football coach Earl “Red” Blaik at West Point, N.Y.

Goodacre’s large-scale bronze sculptures are displayed in numerous public and private collections, and they cast familiar shadows in Santa Fe, where she is represented by Nedra Matteucci Galleries on Paseo de Peralta near Canyon Road.
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Monday, January 6, 2020

Planning on visiting Arlington National Cemetery? Better have ID with you.

Arlington Cemetery Implements 100% ID Checks Amid Iran Fears


Military.com
By Hope Hodge Seck
3 Jan 2020

Arlington National Cemetery is tightening its security protocols and warning visitors to report suspicious activity in the wake of a U.S. strike that killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran's elite Quds force.
Family, friends, and loved ones visit gravesites in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, May 27, 2019. (U.S. Army/Elizabeth Fraser)
In a series of tweets Friday afternoon, Arlington staff announced that the cemetery, located by the Pentagon and across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., is implementing 100% identification checks at all entrances.

"Effective immediately, all visitors 16 years and older (pedestrians, drivers and passengers) must present a valid state or government issued photo identification upon entering the cemetery," cemetery staff said in tweets. "Visitors include all funeral attendees, tourists, and personnel on official business."
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Monday, September 23, 2019

AMVETS taking over rolling the thunder in Washington

It's Official: AMVETS Will Hold Memorial Day Rally in D.C. to Replace 'Rolling Thunder'


Military.com
By Richard Sisk
21 Sep 2019
The 2020 events will be held to "to make the nation, especially our voters, aware of what is happening, what isn't happening and what needs to happen to address our POWs, our MIAs, and our veterans and active-duty service members who are dying by suicide," Chenelly said in a statement.
Ray Weaver, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, supports Rolling Thunder 2017. (Joshua L. DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)
AMVETS made it official Friday: A "Rolling Thunder"-style motorcycle rally will take place next Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C., to honor the nation's veterans, POWs and missing-in-action.

In a release and at a news conference, leaders of the veterans service organization American Veterans, better known as AMVETS, said they would continue the tradition of the annual three-day rally of thousands of motorcyclists in the nation's capital for the 2020 Memorial Day.

Last year, Artie Muller, long-time leader of the Rolling Thunder rallies that rumbled through Washington for 32 years, cited escalating costs, stating that the 2019 rally would be the last, although local chapters around the country might sponsor their own events.
read it here

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Vietnam veteran Robert Earl Hanson life remembered after Agent Orange

Winter Park Vietnam War veteran, who died from Agent Orange effects, to be honored in Washington, D.C.


ORLANDO SENTINEL
By MARTIN E. COMAS
JUN 13, 2019

Just months after Robert Earl Hanson graduated from Colonial High School in 1966, the outgoing young man known as “Bobby” found himself thrust into the jungles of Vietnam as an Army private carrying a teletype machine and a rifle.
Patricia Hanson holds an old photo of her and her late husband, Robert Earl Hanson, who died in June 2018 of cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange. (Martin E. Comas / Orlando Sentinel)


At the time, U.S. military planes were spraying millions of gallons of the defoliant Agent Orange across the Vietnamese countryside to expose enemy soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Hanson, like millions of other American and Vietnamese soldiers, was exposed to the dangerous herbicide. It led to Hanson’s malignant lung cancer decades later and ultimately caused his death on June 29, 2018, at the age of 69, according to doctors.

On Saturday, Hanson will be among 536 deceased veterans — including 13 from Florida — who will be inducted into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s “In Memory Program” as part of an annual three-day ceremony held every June in Washington, D.C.
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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Vietnam veterans remember those who gave their lives at the Wall

Central Illinois veterans honor squad members who saved their lives during Vietnam War

Central Illinois Proud
By: Matt Sheehan
Posted: Jun 04, 2019

WASHINGTON D.C.--The Greater Peoria Honor Flight can be seen as the trip of a lifetime.

A time where veterans are able to see the memorials in Washington D.C. and reminisce on their times serving in the military.

For Kenneth Klein and Donald Lewis, the Vietnam Memorial Wall reminded them how blessed they are, to be alive today.

"Just the memory of those lost in my platoon. Like I said, Corporal Maxim won the Medal of Honor. If it weren't for Corporal Maxim, Don Lewis wouldn't be here," said Donald Lewis who served in the Vietnam War in the Marine Corps.

"I know too many names on that wall. Some from high school, but four of them that I indicated was from a squad that I was in. They had a big part of my life when I was in country," said Kenneth Klein who served in the Navy as a builder during the Vietnam War.

Klein fought in the Vietnam War a little less than two years.

"I shipped out and joined them in Vietnam in May of 1967, and they were killed in August," Klein said.

And while he only knew his squad members for a short period of time, they changed his life forever.

"Richard Wager shared Christ with me, told me I need to be saved and know The Lord. It gave me a lot of hope, because when there was incoming, I'd pray. I mean, what do you do? You'd call out to God," said Klein.
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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

POTUS sent executive Tweet to Rolling Thunder?

President Trump Said He Rescued the Rolling Thunder Tribute to POWs. It's Not That Simple


TIME
BY RACHEL E. GREENSPAN
MAY 26, 2019


Despite Trump’s tweet, Rolling Thunder’s founder and executive director Artie Muller affirmed again on Sunday this was the last year for the event in the nation’s capital.

In reference to the President’s comments, Muller said on C-Span that nothing had changed. “I know he means well, but I don’t know what the story is with them working it out with us,” Muller, a Vietnam War veteran, said. “There’d have to be a lot of discussion and a lot of changes for everybody that comes here and our organization that helps put this together.”


Rolling Thunder has held its motorcycle demonstration ride every Memorial Day Weekend in Washington, D.C., for more than three decades—which is why the nonprofit veteran advocacy group’s announcement last fall that 2019 would be the ride’s last year concerned many.

The news made it all the way to President Donald Trump, who tweeted from Japan on Saturday with a pledge to help. On Sunday, he weighed in again––this time declaring that Rolling Thunder would continue in Washington next year, implying he had fixed the problem.

“The Great Patriots of Rolling Thunder WILL be coming back to Washington, D.C. next year, and hopefully for many years to come,” he said. “It is where they want to be, and where they should be.”


Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump
The Great Patriots of Rolling Thunder WILL be coming back to Washington, D.C. next year, and hopefully for many years to come. It is where they want to be, and where they should be. Have a wonderful time today. Thank you to our great men and women of the Pentagon for working it out!


Rolling Thunder has organized an annual rally in Washington for 32 years, inviting veterans and bikers to ride together to voice support of veterans missing in action and kept as prisoners of war.
read more here

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Rolling Thunder's Last Ride in DC

Rolling To A Halt: Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally Ends 30-Year Tradition


NPR
May 25, 2019


Roll on, no more.

After a three-decade run, a veteran advocacy group will hold its last motorcycle demonstration ride — called "Rolling Thunder" — in the U.S. capital this Memorial Day weekend.
U.S. Marine Tim Chambers salutes to participants in last year's Rolling Thunder motorcycle demonstration. Jose Luis Magana/AP


The nonprofit that organizes the rally, Rolling Thunder Inc., was founded in the late 1980s to bring public attention to prisoners of war and those missing in action and to hold the government to account for veterans who never made it home.

"We signed basically a blank check that said, 'I'll give you up to – and including – my life to defend our Constitution and defend the American freedoms,' " Doc Stewart, the group's New England regional liaison, told NPR's Amy Held. " 'But the return is, you're going to ensure that I come home afterwards.' "

Every year, hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists converge near the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., then rumble through the city's downtown.

But next year's Memorial Day weekend will be a quiet one.

The main reason the organizers gave for calling it quits is financial; it costs them about $200,000 last year to hold the rally, WAMU's Mikaela Lefrak reports. A lot of that money went to the Pentagon for things like security, toilets and parking lot use, according to Rolling Thunder President Joe Bean.
read more here

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Memorial Day, Lt. Dan and Why He's a Grateful American

A Visit with Gary Sinise: Memorial Day, Lt. Dan and Why He's a Grateful American


Military.com
By James Barber
21 May 2019
In many ways, and not only the career. I had done only two or three movies before I did "Forrest Gump." That was certainly a career changer, for sure. It also led to a long, 25-year relationship with the Disabled American Veterans organization because, within weeks of the movie coming out, they invited me to come to their national convention.
Gary Sinise as Vietnam veteran Lt. Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump" (Paramount)
Gary Sinise spoke with us when he was scheduled to co-host the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C. He's had to cancel, but the show will go on, airing at 8 p.m. Eastern on May 26 on PBS stations. Mary McCormack will fill in for Gary as co-host with Joe Mantegna.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Memorial Day Concert, and Sinise has been involved with the event since 2005. We had a great conversation and decided to share the interview even though he won't be able to attend the event.

Sinise spoke to us about his experiences with the concert, what the role of Lt. Dan Taylor has meant to his career and his life, and his recent memoir "Grateful American."

I brought up his father Robert's own movie career, which he started as editor for the drive-in gore schlockmaster Herschell Gordon Lewis in the early 1960s. Gary enthusiastically displayed his own knowledge of deep cuts from one of the trashiest filmographies of all time. He truly is a renaissance man.
read more here

NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT | Charles Durning | PBS

Thursday, May 16, 2019

90 year old Mom of Vietnam veteran got to see her son welcomed home this time

90-year-old mother watches Vietnam veteran son get proper welcome at Fresno airport


Fresno Bee
BY CRESENCIO RODRIGUEZ-DELGADO
MAY 16, 2019
“I can’t even tell you how wonderful it was to be able to hug him,” the older Walker said. “They were so mistreated when they came home, and to have them now, watch all these people who are thanking their veterans, it’s really amazing.”

As the bright light on the screen grew, a 90-year-old mother leaned on a silver pillar inside Fresno Yosemite International Airport and peered over to watch the airplane prepare to land.

“They’re here,” Carolyn Walker thought to herself in that moment.

Among the 68 former military men returning on the 19th Central Valley Honor Flight trip from Washington D.C., was Walker’s son.
She’s remains so proud of him.

Her son, 68-year-old John Walker, served as a crew chief during the Vietnam War in 1970 and ‘71.

And this time, Carolyn Walker had plenty of company to help welcome these veterans home with a long tunnel of family and friends waiting.
read more here

Monday, February 25, 2019

Dueling "tributes" Capitol Fourth and "A Salute to America"...seriously?

Trump Says He's Hosting 'A Salute to America' on July 4 at the Lincoln Memorial


New York Daily News
By Brian Niemietz
24 Feb 2019


National recording artists perform at the 2018 A Capitol Fourth rehearsals at U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on July 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C. This time-honored 38-year tradition places attendees and viewers front and center for America's largest birthday party celebrating 242 years of independence. (Reese Brown/Department of Defense Photo)
"Your favorite President" is hosting an Independence Day celebration, and we're all invited.

President Trump excitedly announced on Twitter Sunday that he is throwing "one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington D.C. on July 4" and he's a naming it "A Salute to America."

Trump's party will take place at the Lincoln Memorial and he promises "major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!"

It's unclear if Trump's Independence Day event will coincide with the annual A Capitol Fourth celebration on the west lawn of the United States Capitol. That also features fireworks and musical performances and attracts a half-million spectators.
read more here

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Last ride for Rolling Thunder?

Rolling Thunder: Lack of money to silence POW/MIA support run


Smyrna-Clayton Sun Times
Jeff Brown
January 30, 2019

For the past 30 years, Rolling Thunder has sponsored a ride to Washington, D.C. to remind the public about POWs and MIAs. This year will be its last.
The rumble of motorcycles rolling across the nation’s capital in memory of America’s missing service members and prisoners of war is on the road to becoming a thing of the past.

The yearly event, sponsored by the New Jersey-based Rolling Thunder, Inc., will end with its 32nd ride in May 2019, Executive Director Artie Muller and President Joe Bean announced in December.

Since 1988, Rolling Thunder’s annual First Amendment Demonstration Ride has seen hundreds of thousands of bikers and supporters converge on Washington, D.C., in support of the MIA/POW cause. The first event attracted about 2,000 bikers; more than a half-million turned out for the 2018 event.

Delawareans who ride in support of Rolling Thunder were shocked to learn the news.
Bikers coming in from across the country traditionally assemble in parking lots around the Pentagon, where Rolling Thunder would sell products such as pins, patches, and flags to raise additional money.

A particular point of contention, according to Muller, was a growing lack of cooperation with security forces at the Pentagon who he accused of diverting the bikers and not allowing them to enter the parking lots, which also prevented participants from buying Rolling Thunder products.

Department of Defense spokeswoman Susan L. Gough has denied those charges, saying the DoD is focused on supporting Rolling Thunder’s right to protest while at the same time ensuring the safety and security of both the bikers and the Pentagon complex itself.
read more here

Friday, December 14, 2018

Rolling Thunder DC Ride Ending After 2019

Rolling Thunder to end annual Memorial Day ride in DC after 2019


STARS AND STRIPES
By NIKKI WENTLING
Published: December 13, 2018
The ride started in 1988 with about 2,000 riders, Muller said. In 2018, there were more than 500,000.
The rain didn't stop motorcyclists from taking part in the 30th anniversary of Rolling Thunder on Sunday, May 28, 2017, in Washington. AMANDA L. TRYPANIS/STARS AND STRIPES

WASHINGTON – Rolling Thunder will no longer hold its annual Memorial Day motorcycle ride through Washington, D.C., after 2019, the group’s founder announced Thursday.

The tradition is ending because of escalating costs and a lack of cooperation from the Pentagon and metropolitan police departments, said Artie Muller, a Vietnam veteran and founder of Rolling Thunder, Inc.

“It has been a hard decision to make,” Muller wrote in a letter that he plans to send to supporters in January. “After much discussion and thought over the last six months, Rolling Thunder National Officers have concluded to end our 32-year annual D.C. Memorial weekend event.”

Rolling Thunder is a nonprofit organization that honors prisoners of war and servicemembers missing in action. Its “Ride for Freedom” through Washington every Memorial Day weekend draws thousands of riders and onlookers.
Costs for the 2018 ride totaled more than $200,000, Muller said. The nonprofit hasn’t been able to recruit a new corporate sponsor, and Rolling Thunder didn’t sell enough merchandise, such as patches, pins and flags.
read more here

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

President Bush "Congratulations on receiving your wings of gold,"

Ailing George H.W. Bush Did a Last 'CAVU' Favor for Pence's Marine Son


Military.com
By Richard Sisk
December 3, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence recalled Monday how he asked a last favor from an ailing George H.W. Bush in August on behalf of his son, Marine 1st Lt. Michael Pence -- never expecting that the former president would be able to comply.
The young Pence had just made his first tailhook carrier landing on the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, earning his wings as a Marine pilot. Could the former president please autograph a photo for his son?

Pence said Bush's staff replied that he was no longer signing autographs, so he thought that was the end of it. But within a week, a handwritten letter and a signed photo from Bush arrived.

"Congratulations on receiving your wings of gold," Bush wrote to Pence's son. "Though we have not met, I wish you many days of CAVU ahead" -- a reference to the Navy acronym meaning "Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited" that he adopted as his motto in public service.

Pence told the story upon the arrival of Bush's casket at the Capitol as an example of the former president's basic decency and humility. Even in death, Bush performed another public service in the form of a brief respite from the partisan infighting and mudslinging of the warring factions of the White House and Congress.
read more here

Saturday, December 1, 2018

President George H.W. Bush Passed Away

Presidents, politicians mourn passing of former President George H.W. Bush


By ABC NEWS
Dec 1, 2018

The death of former President George H.W. Bush drew an immediate outpouring of condolences from around the country and the world. From former presidents to representatives and business leaders, the praise was overwhelming for the 41st president.
His son, the 43rd president, sent an immediate statement on behalf of George H.W. Bush's children.

"Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear dad has died. George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for dad and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens."
read more here

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Guardians help veterans on Honor Flight

Guardians help veterans on Honor Flight visit to war memorials

WLOS ABC 13 News
by Frank Kracher
October 12th 2018
Some guardians were veterans, like Iraq War Marine Kevin Rumley, who was on his fourth Honor Flight..."As much as I'm moved by the experience every time, my focus as a guardian is always on the veteran and anything they need to just make their day better," Rumley said.


ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Blue Ridge Honor Flight took to the air last weekend for the 35th time, and the trip was a first.


Veterans of Vietnam, accompanied by Honor Flight guardians, who helped get them through a whirlwind day in Washington, D.C., were the focus for the first time.


Honor Flights are free for veterans; guardians pay for the privilege.


That group of volunteers is our Persons Of The Week.

From Asheville Regional Airport to Reagan National, the trip was the start of a "welcome home" experience so many Vietnam vets never had.

Among them, 71-year-old Yancey County native David Letterman.


First stop was the Lincoln Memorial, for a color guard flag ceremony and group photo.


read more here

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Veterans who committed suicide remembered by name at National Mall

Veterans group places thousands of flags on National Mall to draw attention to suicide crisis
STARS AND STRIPES
By NIKKI WENTLING
Published: October 3, 2018

WASHINGTON — Thousands of American flags filled a grassy expanse on the National Mall on Wednesday morning, each of them representing a veteran or a servicemember who died by suicide in 2018 so far.

Maj. Sandra Lee Altamirano of the Army Reserve said she took military leave to help place the 5,520 U.S. flags. She recently lost three friends to suicide, two of whom were veterans.

A couple of years ago, after serving three deployments in Iraq, she contemplated suicide herself.

“Each of these flags is a name, a person. Three of them are my friends, and one could’ve been me,” said Altamirano, now a suicide prevention liaison in the Reserve. “I hope this helps people see how vast of an issue this is. It’s overwhelming. It’s a crisis.”

The flags were placed on the Mall by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America, an advocacy group trying to draw awareness to the issue of veteran suicide.
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Monday, September 24, 2018

135 Ladies Only Veterans Honor Flight From Nebraska to DC

Female Veterans Honor Flight
"M*A*S*H" actress Loretta Swit (second from left) poses with participants in Monday's honor flight for female military veterans at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. MIKE THEILER, For the Journal Star (Go to link above for more great pictures)


Women-only honor flight takes 135 veterans from Nebraska to D.C.
Lincoln Journal Star
JULIE KOCH
September 24, 2018

OMAHA — Since 2008, Bill and Evonne Williams have taken more than 3,500 veterans to Washington, D.C., on honor flights.

But Monday's trip to the nation's capital is different. The Patriotic Productions flight consists of all females. All of the 135 veterans are women, as are the volunteers, members of the media and the plane's pilots.

The trip, which is free to the veterans, left Omaha at 4 a.m. The veterans will spend all day Monday visiting military memorials in Washington, including Arlington National Cemetery, the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, the World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

But before their trip to Washington, the veterans were treated to a dinner at a hotel in La Vista on Sunday evening. The guest speaker was Loretta Swit, who played Maj. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the hit TV series "M*A*S*H."
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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

VA finds 'deteriorating' conditions at DC hospital

This is what happens when the President decided that it was a good thing to privatize the VA and then appointed people to make sure that happened.

Too bad when people tried to warn about this, some just passed it off and wanted to "give him a chance" to pull it off!

He is finishing the job the others in Congress started a long time ago. Destroy the VA instead of honoring the fact that veterans, unlike civilians, prepaid for the care they need BY GETTING DISABLED IN THE FIRST PLACE SERVING THIS COUNTRY!


Memo: VA finds 'deteriorating' conditions at DC hospital
STARS AND STRIPES
By NIKKI WENTLING
Published: August 1, 2018
Since then, inspection reports from the Food and Drug Administration and the VA’s National Program Office for Sterile Processing have revealed ongoing problems. The reports, obtained by Stars and Stripes this spring, detailed instances of dirty syringe bottles, unsanitary conditions, rooms in disarray and staff and supply shortages that led to canceled procedures.

WASHINGTON – After being deemed high risk in January, the flagship Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Washington has continued to deteriorate in quality during the first six months of 2018.

The hospital was designated “critical” and its performance is under administrative review, including possible changes of leadership, according to a memorandum sent to the D.C. hospital July 17 from Carolyn Clancy, then executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration. The memo was obtained Wednesday by Stars and Stripes.

“Unfortunately, we have not seen the amount of improvement desired over the past two quarters and now see benefit in utilizing additional measures to support the facility in stabilizing the hospital’s quality to the extent that it can be sustained,” Clancy wrote.

According to the memo, the hospital isn’t getting better, despite public assertions from VA officials over the past several months that problems there were being fixed.
read more here