Monday, September 30, 2019

Last post for Wounded Times

We're moving

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 30, 2019

My husband and I are moving back north, so this is the last post for a while. Not sure where we will move to, since the house we thought we would buy had some major problems. Great reason to have a home inspection done...even more important when the property is 1,600 miles away.

Today is a great day to start the journey, since it is also our 35th wedding anniversary.
For the last 15 years, I have attended some wonderful events for our veterans. Filming them was heartwarming, knowing how much veterans matter here. 

I had a great regular job too, working for a wonderful boss and team members who became family to me. My going away party was Friday, and all I wanted to do was cry. Some of us went into the conference room and they had a prayer circle for me. I never knew how much I impacted their lives, but I knew how much they impacted mine.

My boss talked about the work I do during and how important it is for me to be starting the Out Post with Point Man for female veterans in the Portsmouth area.
This picture was taken in Peru when Erica decided she would surprise me by wearing the PTSD Patrol T-shirt. She said that the message of empowerment fit with that stunning site.

There are a lot of things I will miss about Florida but there are more I miss about New England. I cannot think of a better time to begin the next part of our lives than today.

As an anniversary gift, I am asking for prayers for our journey and finding the home where we belong. It is a bit frighting not knowing where or when we will find it but I am comforted by the support and prayers already received. 

I will have more to say on this when I resume operation, hopefully by the end of October. 

Thank you for being loyal readers all these years!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Offutt Air Force Base Servicemember and Spouse Found Dead

2 dead in shooting near Offutt identified as active-duty service member, spouse

Omaha World Herald
By Kevin Cole and Jessica Wade / World-Herald staff writers
1 hr ago

Offutt Air Force Base officials have confirmed that two people died Saturday night in a shooting in a base community.
An active-duty service member from Offutt and their spouse died, a spokesman for the Air Force base said Sunday. The bodies were discovered about 8:15 p.m. in Rising View, Offutt’s privatized housing area in Bellevue.

Law enforcement officials from Offutt and Sarpy County responded to a call from the home, the spokesman said. The names of the deceased are being held pending notification of the next of kin.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment at Offutt is leading the investigation. A post on the Offutt-based 55th Wing's Facebook page by Col. Gavin P. Marks, commander of the wing, confirmed the deaths.
read it here

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Wounded Times predicted rise in suicides a decade ago...DOD still clueless

In 2009 I wrote "Comprehensive Soldier fitness will make it worse"
General Casey, now hear this, you cannot, repeat, cannot train your brain to prevent PTSD and until you understand this "Because it is scientifically proven, you can build resilience." does not equal the cause of PTSD, you will keep making it worse! Did the rise in suicides and attempted suicides offer you no clue that Battlemind didn't work? Apparently something told you it didn't or you'd still be pushing this. When you have a program in place to "train them to be resilient" beginning with telling them if they do not, it's their fault, what the hell did you and the other brass expect? Did you think they would listen to the rest of what the Battlemind program had to say to them? Are you out of your mind?

With all due respect, because I do believe you care about the men and women you command, this is just one more in a series of mistakes because it seems no one in the Pentagon or the upper rows of the food chain have a clue what causes PTSD.

While adversity does make some stronger, you cannot train them to do it. Life and character does that quite effectively on their own. Some will walk away stronger after traumatic events but one out of three humans will not. Some experts put the rate at one out of five walk away wounded but the best experts I've listened to since 1982 have put it at one out of three.

Do you think that this man could have "trained his brain" as well?

UK:WWII veteran finally diagnosed with PTSD

A D-DAY hero has been told he is suffering a stress related illness picked up in battle — 65 years AFTER he was the first Brit to storm an enemy beach.

WWII vet George McMahon, who was the first soldier on Sword Beach in Normandy, France, had revealed he is still suffering terrifying flashbacks from June 6, 1944.

And Army docs have told the 89-year-old war hero he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) picked up during WWII.

Mr McMahon's family first sought help from docs when the ex-soldier talked vividly about the war in the lead-up to the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

Mr McMahon of Kirk Ella, Hull, was then visited by the Service Personnel and Veterans' Agency — part of the Ministry of Defence — who said he was displaying PTSD symptoms.

The Scotland-born Army vet who served with The King's Regiment Army was awarded the Military Cross for storming two machine-guns.

Back then there were plenty of excuses to use for what happened to veterans but after Vietnam veterans came home and forced the wound to be treated, we ran out of excuses. How can you continue to dismiss what is so obvious? It is the nature of man, what is in their core, their empathy for others that is at the root of PTSD. I've talked to them long enough and enough of them to have understood this over 20 years ago. I also live with one.

I'm sick and tired of reading about what does not work being repeated. In all these years, people like me have already learned from the mistakes we made trying to help our husbands and others. To us, it wasn't a numbers game or a research project. This has meant our lives and the lives of the men we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. Aside from that General Casey, I've spent countless hours attempting to undo the damage done because the troops are not being told what they need to hear in the first place.

I've held Marines in my arms crying because the military told them they were not strong enough and National Guardsmen told they were not cut out for combat. All of this because the military has been telling them it's their fault they didn't work hard enough to toughen their brains.

How many more suicides are you willing to live with? Has it not gotten thru to you yet that you are losing more men and women after combat than you do during it? This is only part of it because I doubt you have considered how many have committed suicide and tried it after they were discharged. You cannot order them to stop caring! You cannot order them to become callous or oblivious to the suffering of others. Between the members of their own unit to the innocent civilians that do end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, you cannot seriously expect them to just "get over it" and "toughen" their brains. These men and women walk away with their own pain compounded by the pain of others. This is what opens the door to PTSD and until you understand this is what the difference is, you will never get close enough to finding the best treatment for it and they will continue to pay for it.

Ever notice the vast majority of the men and women you command end up carrying out the mission they are given, fighting fiercely and showing great courage even though they are already carrying the wound inside of them? They fulfill their duty despite flashbacks and nightmares draining them because their duty comes first to them. Do you understand how much that takes for them to do that? Yet you think telling them their minds are not tough enough will solve the problem? What kind of a tough mind do you think they needed to have to fight on despite this killing pain inside of them?

I fully understand to you, I'm no one. I have been ignored by senators and congressmen, doctors and other brass for as long as I've been trying to help, so you are not the first. I've also been listened to by others trying to think outside the box, but more importantly to me, by the men and women seeking my help to understand this and their families. I tell them what you should have been telling them all along so that they know it's not their fault, they did not lack courage and they are not responsible for being wounded any more than they would have been to have been found by a bullet with their name on it.
And then I issued the prediction that should have been seen by all the experts as a warning of what was to come.

If you promote this program the way Battlemind was promoted, count on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides to go up instead of down. It's just one more deadly mistake after another and just as dangerous as sending them into Iraq without the armor needed to protect them.

I was right back then, still right now, while the DOD remains clearly wrong...and too many servicemembers remain choosing to die instead of fighting for their own lives.

This is the "headline" they are dealing with now.

U.S. military’s suicide rate for active-duty troops up over the past five years, Pentagon says
But the Pentagon must build better understanding of the effectiveness of its suicide-prevention efforts, she said. That can be done through examining pilot programs and seeing “what is working in the civilian sector and bringing it into the military as a promising practice and to measure the effectiveness.”

Too bad they have been saying the same F***ing thing for a decade!

Sec. of the Army said he is pushing "resilience training" when in fact it has been more responsible for military suicides and enforces the stigma of PTSD. Telling them they can train their brains to be mentally tough ends up telling them they are mentally weak. They won't admit they need help to a buddy that heard the same message. No one is held accountable and I just got off the phone with another Mom after he son committed suicide. February 5, 2013

186 reported suicide deaths in 2017, including 123 spouses and 63 dependents

Here’s what first-ever data shows about military family suicides

Military Times
By: Karen Jowers  
September 26, 2019

Of the 123 spouses who died by suicide in 2017, 14 percent, or about 17, were active duty, in dual military marriages.

Getty Images/Stock
The prevalence of suicide among military family members is about the same or less than in the civilian population, according to a report from the Defense Department.

It’s the first time data on military family member suicides has ever been released by the Defense Department. This report includes one year of data: 2017, so there’s no basis of comparison for trends within the community.

Data from 2017 is also the most recent available, because the information is partly dependent on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The overall suicide rate among family members was 6.8 per 100,000 population in 2017, which is less than half the rate in the U.S. general population of 14.5 per 100,000. This measurement is the standard comparison used by the government for suicide rates in populations.

The overall military spouse rate of suicide was 11.5 per 100,000; the rate for dependents was 3.8 per 100,000. Adjusting for age and gender, the rates were comparable to or lower than those in the general population, officials said.
According to the report:
There were 186 reported suicide deaths in 2017, including 123 spouses and 63 dependents. The dependents ranged in age from 12 to 23; and almost half of the dependents who died were 18 years or older. Two-thirds of the spouses who died by suicide were female, and 82 percent were under age 40.

Ages 18 to 60 were used in the rate comparison for spouses. When examined by age, officials said, the suicide rates for female military spouses was 9.1 and for male spouses, 29.4 per 100,000 population. For females and males in the general population, the rates were 8.4 and 28.4 per 100,000 population, respectively.

For active duty spouses, the rate is higher: 13.2 per 100,000.

Firearms were used in more than half of the suicide deaths of military spouses and dependents. For female spouses, that trend departs from suicides of females of similar age in the U.S. general population, where poisoning or drug overdose were as prevalent as firearms.
read it here

...and yet, according to the DOD, they have been working very hard to support the families who support their servicemembers! Seriously?

Lowlife jerks caught ripping off veterans and troops and sexual assaults

Businessman indicted in $510 million Tricare fraud scheme

By: The Associated Press
September 27, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. — Federal prosecutors say a Mississippi businessman has been indicted in one of the nation’s largest health care fraud investigations.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced that 52-year-old Wade Ashley Walters of Hattiesburg is charged for his alleged role in a scheme involving fraudulent prescriptions.

Prosecutors say the fraud led to TRICARE and other health care benefit programs reimbursing various companies more than $510 million.

The scheme targeted people insured by TRICARE, which covers military members, their families, retirees and some National Guard members and reservists. read it here

Doctor pleads guilty to sexually exploiting VA patients

By: The Associated Press
September 27, 2019

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A California doctor has pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting five women — several of them veterans — while doing work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Edgar Manzanera pleaded guilty Wednesday as trial was to begin on more serious charges of sexual assault. Instead of potentially facing more than a dozen years in prison, Manzanera will be sentenced to three years of probation. He also must surrender his medical license and register as a sex offender.
read it here

Miracles happen Oklahoma veteran died saving granddaughter

“He was all about that baby and she was all about him,” Grandfather dies after saving 3-year-old granddaughter from house explosion

KFOR 4 News
Kelsey Hill
September 24, 2019

“Just thought about the steep grade of that driveway and just knew and kind of came to the conclusions that they were carried up that driveway you know. It wasn`t him, it wasn`t her something carried them up that driveway." Brendon Osteen

MAUD, Okla. - A grandfather rescued his 3-year-old granddaughter after the home they were in exploded.

Don Osteen was a longtime educator, Army Veteran, and Purple Heart recipient. He spent his life putting others first and would help anyone if they needed it, even a stranger.

Brendon Osteen says his father looked forward to every minute that he could spend with his granddaughter, Paetyn.

"That`s what he was first and foremost I mean he was all about that baby and she was all about him,” said Osteen.

He said his father was 15 to 30 feet away from the front door, lighting a candle next to the stove when the explosion happened.

“He wasn`t worried about himself at all. I'll leave it at that, but save her was the message he was trying to get across and he did exactly that,” said Osteen.
v Osteen suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, and severe burns, but he was able to carry Paetyn to safety, even navigating the family’s steep driveway to get help.

“He just got out of the house and headed straight to where he knew help was. He tried to get in his truck and his keys were melted to him. His phone was exploded in his pocket," he said.
read it here