Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Abrupt end of college tuition help angers military spouses

Abrupt end of college tuition help angers military spouses
By Les Blumenthal, McClatchy Newspapers
Stars and Stripes online edition, Sunday, March 28, 2010
WASHINGTON — With her husband deployed in Iraq with a Stryker brigade from Washington state's Joint Base Lewis-McChord, 20-year-old Lauren Silva isn't your typical college student. But when it comes to finding money for tuition, books and other expenses, she's not so different.

Silva has scrambled to apply for scholarships and loans to pay for classes at the University of Washington-Tacoma, where she's a junior studying social work. She thought part of her financial problems were solved when she learned of a Defense Department program that pays military spouses $6,000 to help them with their education. Yet just as Silva prepared to apply earlier this year, the military abruptly shut the program down.

The Pentagon was overwhelmed by the number of applicants, which had grown from an average of about 10,000 a month to 70,000 in January alone as the nation's economy continued to sputter. Money for the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program, known as MyCAA, was rapidly running out. Rather than ask Congress for more cash, Pentagon officials decided to close the program to new applicants and stop payments to those who were already enrolled.
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Abrupt end of college tuition help angers military spouses

Foreclosure help in Orlando: Millions in federal money unspent

Foreclosure help in Orlando: Millions in federal money unspent
Federal funds aim to help neighborhoods hit by foreclosures in the Orlando area.

By Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel

7:47 a.m. EDT, March 31, 2010

Florida and several local governments within Central Florida are way behind in spending $91 million statewide in federal funds aimed at stabilizing neighborhoods shaken by foreclosures.

Florida trails all but three other states in putting the foreclosure-relief dollars to work and could lose any funds not committed to projects by the end of September, according to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report this month on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

"It's obvious that the state … was unprepared to handle processing of those kind of grant resources and has dropped the ball," said U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, a Republican who represents parts of Polk, Osceola and Hillsborough counties.
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Millions in federal money unspent

Veterans say goodbye to Dignity Wall

Veterans touch the wall in the Call to the Wall during the closing ceremony for the Dignity Vietnam Memorial Wall at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier on Tuesday March 30, 2010. The last day of the traveling wall is also Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger/SWCITY)

Veterans say goodbye to Dignity Wall
By Sandra T. Molina Staff Writer
WHITTIER - The closing ceremony Tuesday for the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall was a time of reflection, healing and remembrance.

About 1,000 people - mostly veterans and their families - attended the final event of the 10-day program held at Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary.

Pico Rivera Councilman Bob Archuleta opened the program with "Welcome home," a phrase he said is used by combat veterans greeting one another.

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Veterans say goodbye to Dignity Wall

Hyperbaric chamber clinical trial offers hope for TBI wounded

Hyperbaric chamber may treat TBI

By Amy McCullough - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Mar 31, 2010 7:47:00 EDT

The Defense Department hopes to find a better treatment for the 100,000 troops who have been diagnosed with mild Traumatic Brain Injury since 2003, and it’s looking at hyperbaric chambers — often used in cases of carbon monoxide poisoning — for the answer.

Although there have been studies looking at the impact these pressurized oxygen chambers have on TBI patients, none have been able to definitively answer whether hyperbaric oxygen can reduce or eliminate chronic symptoms of TBI such as headaches, memory loss and mood swings. A new clinical trial, which is expected to begin in January 2011, is designed to do just that.

The study, conducted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, in Virginia, and the Army Research and Materiel Command, in Maryland, is expected to run for at least 18 months. It will include about 300 participants, mostly soldiers and Marines, and will build upon other ongoing studies on TBI treatment, said Col. Richard Ricciardi, director of the research evaluation and quality assurance and surveillance directorate at DCoE.
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Anger rises over bill to father of slain Marine

"As soon as we heard this, we just knew that it was going to go through the roof, and people were going to be upset. We seized on it," Seavey said. "On an issue like this that cuts across political lines, it's relatively easy, and it's the kind of fight we want to wade into because it's not right or left, it's right or wrong. We're going to do the best we can to make sure that Mr. Snyder doesn't have to deal with this. We're going to make sure he doesn't have to pay a red cent." Mark C. Seavey, new-media director for the American Legion

Seavey is right and this issue has captured the attention (and outrage) of the American people. This is not about anything other than doing the right thing.

Albert Snyder, right, and lawyer Sean Summers are waiting for the Supreme Court to rule in their suit against Westboro Baptist Church. A lower appeals court ruled that the York, Pa., man must pay $16,510 in some court costs incurred under the church members' appeal. (Baltimore Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor / March 22, 2010)

Anger rises over bill to father of slain Marine
Support, money sent to help pay court costs in Westboro suit
By Robbie Whelan

March 31, 2010
Outraged that the father of a dead Marine was ordered to pay some court costs incurred by a group he had sued for picketing his son's funeral, people from across the country have launched a grass-roots fundraising effort to help the grieving family.

"I was appalled," said Sally Giannini, a 72-year-old retired bookkeeper from Spokane, Wash., who had called The Baltimore Sun after seeing an article about the court decision against Albert Snyder. "I believe in free speech, but this goes too far."

Living on a fixed income, Giannini said she could send only $10 toward the $16,510.80 that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Snyder to pay to Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., an anti-gay group that travels the country picketing military funerals. The group says military deaths are God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

Snyder sued Westboro because its members waved signs saying "God hates fags" and "God hates the USA" at the 2006 funeral in Westminster of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who had been killed in Iraq. A federal jury in Baltimore awarded Snyder $11 million in damages in 2007, saying Phelps' group intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the family. The award was later reduced to $5 million, and eventually overturned on appeal.
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Anger rises over bill to father of slain Marine

Bill O’Reilly Pays Legal Bill for Fallen Marine’s Father

But it turns out, the money may not be needed to pay the protesters.

Updated March 30, 2010
Marine's Father Will Not Pay Court-Ordered Funeral Protesters' Fees
The father of a Marine killed in Iraq whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters told Fox News he will defy a court order and not pay the protesters' appeal costs.

The father of a Marine killed in Iraq whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters told Fox News he will defy a court order and not pay the protesters' appeal costs.

Albert Snyder, of York, Pa., told Fox News he does not intend to pay $16,510 to Fred Phelps, the leader of Kansas' Westboro Baptist Church, which held protests at Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder's funeral in 2006.

"I don't think I'm going to be writing a check until I hear from the Supreme Court," Snyder told Fox News on Tuesday. "I'm not about to pay them anything."

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered Snyder on Friday to pay Phelps. A two-page decision supplied by his attorneys offered no details on how the court came to its decision.

The decision adds "insult to injury," said Sean Summers, one of Snyder's attorneys.

Snyder is also struggling to come up with fees associated with filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, his attorneys said.
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Marine Father Will Not Pay Court-Ordered Funeral Protesters'

Does this mean that O'Reilly will pay the money Mr. Snyder owes his lawyers for taking on this case?

Somehow I have a feeling O'Reilly will do the right thing and help this father with his own legal bills because he cares and this is not some kind of a stunt. This is not about politics at all and people on both sides agree this is wrong, wrong, wrong beyond belief!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dallas County judge creating court for troubled veterans

Dallas County judge creating court for troubled veterans

03:11 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 30, 2010
By CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – Soldiers who survive combat only to fall into addiction, depression, rage - and, sometimes, criminal behavior - will have their own court in Dallas County, starting next month.

State District Judge Mike Snipes of Dallas attended training in Austin today to handle a new docket devoted to veterans.

If he can, he’s going to get them into a Veterans Administration bed instead of a prison bed.

“The veterans have unique problems that come from their service - not only in Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s still some from Vietnam,” Snipes said.

“We’re seeing more and more examples of people coming out of there with post-traumatic stress disorder, unique mental difficulties that have to do with combat-related issues.”
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Dallas County judge creating court for troubled veterans

Town raps arms around family in need

America Now: A Circle of Hands
An entire town helps a family in need, and becomes a stronger community
A Circle of Hands: A Dateline special
March 28: Amid job losses and struggles of their own, the people of Grafton, Wisc. came together to help an extraordinary family: single-mother Karen Longoria and her children, two of whom have cerebral palsy. The volunteer efforts resulted in a renovated home — and a closely knit community.

11 U.S. troops injured in helicopter crash

11 U.S. troops injured in helicopter crash

By Michael Hoffman -
Posted : Tuesday Mar 30, 2010 15:21:51 EDT

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — An Army helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff from a forward operating base in Zabul province, injuring 11 U.S. and two Afghan soldiers. No one died and all the troops reported their injuries as minor.

The UH-60 Blackhawk sustained heavy damage in the March 29 accident, not far from Forward Operating Base Atgar, said Sgt. Shannon Wright, an 82nd Combat Aviaition Brigade spokesman. Rescue forces flew the wounded to Forward Operating Base Lagman for treatment.
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11 US troops injured in helicopter crash

Marines lift social media ban

Marines lift social media ban
By Warren Peace, Stars and Stripes
European Edition, Wednesday, March 31, 2010
STUTTGART, Germany — The Marine Corps lifted its ban on social media sites Monday, allowing Marines from Japan to the States to sign on to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and other sites.

But it looks like European-based Marines — along with other troops in Europe — will have to wait a little longer: As of Tuesday, servicemembers in Europe were still unable to log onto the sites from their government computers.

The Defense Department had lifted the ban on social networking sites in late February, but Army and Air Force officials in Europe said earlier this month they were trying to determine the best way to proceed.

“Local commanders still have to weigh security risk and bandwidth issues in their area of operation,” Chris Joseph, a spokesman for U.S. Army Europe’s 5th Signal Command said at the time.

The day after the Marines reversed their position, one official spoke about maintaining a transparency with the American public.
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Marines lift social media ban

St. Petersburg undercover cop wounded on duty given medals

Undercover cop wounded on duty given medals
By Luis Perez, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

ST. PETERSBURG — When it was his turn on the podium, the detective told a story of what he asked God in a dark alley.

It was Jan. 26, 2009, just before 10 p.m. He lay on the ground, south of an Exxon station at 31st Street and First Avenue N. He was shot several times. His service weapon was empty of bullets, and the bad guys, who had just robbed the gas station, were running away. His partners from an elite anti-crime unit raced toward him.

"I said to God, 'If this is it, if this is my time, I'm okay with that,' " said the officer, whose name is being withheld by the St. Petersburg Times because he works undercover. "I asked God if he would please take care of my wife and boys.

"Apparently, he felt my wife and five boys were too much work," said the officer, who is 42 and a 20-year veteran of the force. "I thank him so much for that."
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Man found dead in apartment was Camp Pendleton Marine

FALLBROOK: Man found dead in apartment was Camp Pendleton Marine
North County Times

Posted: March 29, 2010 6:32 pm
A man who died after a night of drinking and a skirmish with friends at a Fallbrook apartment was a Camp Pendleton Marine, base officials said Monday.

Lance Cpl. Jason Kameroff, 21, of Aniak, Ala., was a ground communications organizational repairman assigned to Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps officials said.

He enlisted in June 2006. His awards included the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
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Man found dead in apartment was Camp Pendleton Marine

Marine Dad Must Pay Westboro Court Fees

Albert Snyder's son lost his life serving this country. When his son's body returned to him, he was not allowed to grieve during the funeral procession escorting the casket covered by the flag of this nation. He had to see the signs held from people so filled with contempt, they held signs saying "Thank God for IED's" along with other protest signs.

What was Mr. Snyder supposed to do about this? Was he to simply take it? Now he has to pay the Westboro group legal fees? It is a very sad day in this country when a tiny group like this can cause so much pain and suffering for so many.

Marine Dad Must Pay Westboro Court Fees
March 30, 2010
York Daily Record

Albert Snyder got a bill for $16,500 on Friday -- the latest result of his ongoing legal battle with the Westboro Baptist Church.
Church members are seeking to recoup costs from federal appeals court, which dismissed Snyder's lawsuit against them. Snyder's lawyer, Sean Summers, said the court declared last week that Snyder was responsible for the costs.
Efforts to reach an official from Westboro Baptist Church were unsuccessful Monday.
Such mandated reimbursements are common after appellate court cases, Summers said.
When the U.S. Supreme Court hears Snyder's case in the fall, its decision will ultimately make a big difference as to whether or not Snyder can eventually recoup that money, Summers said.
"It's rubbing salt in an open wound," Summers said.
The Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, preaches an anti-homosexual message. Members maintain that combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God's retribution for America's tolerance of gay men and lesbian women.
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Marine Dad Must Pay Westboro Court Fees

Monday, March 29, 2010

Women’s History Lives On

Women’s History Lives On; III Corps officer sets Army standard
By Joy Pariante, Sentinel Staff
March 25, 2010 Living

As a woman who started out her career in the Women’s Army Corps, Col. Carolyn A. Carroll knows how hard women have worked to be able to serve as commanders, first sergeants and general officers in today’s Army.

In fact, when Carroll, now the chief of the strategic initiatives group for III Corps, joined the Iowa Army National Guard as an administrative clerk, she wasn’t thinking about breaking gender barriers. She was trying to find a way to support her children after she and her husband divorced.
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1st Cav Div ‘knights’ join Order of St George

1st Cav Div ‘knights’ join Order of St George
By Spc. Justin Naylor, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
March 25, 2010 News

Sixteen members of 4-9 Cav. Regt., 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div., stand in line with their medallions and awards of the Order of St. George following their induction ceremony. Spc. Justin Naylor, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsFor mounted Soldiers, there is hardly a more prestigious honor than to receive the medallion of the Order of St. George.

Since 1986, when the order was established, 6,195 awardees have been inducted, and leaders from 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, added 16 of their own to this number during a recent award ceremony on Fort Hood.

The order was named in honor of St. George, the only saint commonly portrayed as fighting mounted. St. George is depicted in Italian legend as having defeated a dragon, saving a princess and preserving the livelihood of a city; and his memory is celebrated annually by the Italian Armor Force.
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1st Cav Div knights join Order of St George

Cancer taking woman's life but she's giving away her money to make life better for others

Cancer-stricken woman scrambles to donate money
By Marlee Ginter

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - A Mount Vernon woman is giving away her life savings - she's already donated hundreds of thousands of dollars and says she's not done.

In the process, she is leaving a memorable footprint on her community.

Her name is Sonya Beard, and for 15 years she has been battling oral cancer. Finally she told her doctors - no more.
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Firefighters had to call in snake handlers backup during blaze,

March 28, 2010
Cobras complicate firefight
Firefighters in Volusia County got an unpleasant surprise arriving at a Holly Hill blaze: cobras.

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Murder-suicide shakes Glenwood neighbors, family

Murder-suicide shakes Glenwood neighbors, family
March 29, 2010 12:05 AM
Neighbors and family members remain perplexed Sunday about a murder/suicide in a quiet neighborhood west of DeLand.

Volusia County sheriff's investigators on Sunday released the names of the shooter and his 42-year-old victim -- the daughter of an ex-girlfriend -- in the shooting on Carr Street in the Glenwood community, but have not said why it occurred, according to sheriff's spokesman Brandon Haught.

What they do know is Richard Danao, 57, of Grand Avenue went to the home of Sarah Hille, shot and killed her before turning the gun on himself shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday.

Hille's mother, Barbara Jane Price, 70, and the victim's 5-month-old daughter were in the residence at the time of the shooting, but neither was injured.
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Murder suicide shakes Glenwood neighbors, family

CREW and Vote Vets files complaint against Sean Hannity over Freedom Concerts

Watchdog files complaint against ‘deceptive and illegal’ Hannity concerts

By David Edwards
Monday, March 29th, 2010 -- 1:28 pm

Allegations about a charity connected to a key Fox News personality have floated across the web for years, but less than two weeks after a conservative blogger took aim, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tends to focus on liberal issues has filed a complaint.

Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) and have filed a complaint charging the Sean Hannity's Freedom Concerts with deceptive and illegal marketing practices.

The concerts, hosted by Freedom Alliance, raise funds to provide scholarships and services to disabled veterans and their families. According to an email distributed by CREW, the complaints "allege Lt. Col. North's Freedom Alliance has violated its charitable tax status by engaging in prohibited political activities. In addition, CREW's complaints charge Mr. Hannity's Freedom Concerts has engaged in deceptive and illegal marketing practices by suggesting that all concert ticket sale revenue goes directly to scholarships for children of killed and wounded service members."

Earlier this month, columnist and blogger Debbie Schlussel claimed that Hannity is profiting from a charity that raises money for severely injured US soldiers and the children of troops killed in action, and she described the Freedom Alliance as "a huge scam."

"Less than 20% -- and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively -- of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferret [sic] the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style," Schlussel writes.

"And, despite Hannity's statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show," she continues, "few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes."

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Fix Broken VA Claims System Now

VCS: Fix Broken VA Claims System Now !
Written by VCS
Saturday, 20 March 2010 00:00
VCS Appears Before "Claims Summit 2010" in Washington

Veterans for Common Sense urges Congress to pass a law and to fund a complete overhaul that would fix VA's broken claims processing system. A key Congressional leader and a top VA official agreed VA was broken and need of an urgent overhaul. Yet some VA leaders remain resistant to improving VA, thereby slowing down urgently needed reforms.

March 20, 2010 - Late last night, I returned from Washington to my home in Austin after attending Thursday’s “Claims Summit 2010: A Call for Solutions,” organized by Chairman Bob Filner. After 18 years working on veteran-related issues, this was a very exciting advocacy effort. VCS hopes that Congress and new VA leaders will work closely together and fix VA's failed claims processing system. VCS offered our insights based on nearly two decades of fighting to reform VA.

To begin, VCS was pleased to meet several new VA leaders who brought urgently needed fresh air into an old issue. Also attending were more than 40 veteran group leaders, industry executives, plus VA employee union leaders. Six Democratic Members attended, yet no Republican Representatives ever appeared. Ranking Member Steve Buyer was most likely out because his wife is ill and he is not seeking re-election.
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Fix Broken VA Claims System Now

Scott Brown joins Taunton POW rally

Scott Brown joins Taunton POW rally
By Ira Kantor
Monday, March 29, 2010

Vowing to keep supporting efforts to retrieve soldiers missing in action since the Vietnam War, Sen. Scott Brown joined more than 100 veterans and town officials at the Vietnam Memorial on Church Green in Taunton yesterday in honor of the city’s annual POW/MIA Remembrance Day.
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Scott Brown joins Taunton POW rally

Traveling Vietnam Wall plus 1000 flags in Oregon

Traveling Vietnam Wall & 1000 Flag Memorials Will Visit Newport

These Memorials are actually sanctuaries.

A real tribute to those who have served in the military will visit the Oregon coast this May.

(SALEM, Ore.) - A place for Hope and Healing for many Veterans, Families and Friends. The 1000 Flags will be on display by 1:00 p.m. Monday, April 26th in Newport Oregon, at the Newport Facilities in South Beach.

Organizers say there will also be a special Flag Presentation at 5:30 p.m. and an Honorable Service Medal presentation at 6:00 p.m. Families with flags being dedicated to a loved one will be escorted by a military member from the USANG and a person from the USCG, Yaquina Bay Station.

Tuesday April 27th there will also be another special Flag presentation at 5:30pm and another scheduled Honorable Service medal Presentation. Families with flags dedicated to a loved one will be escorted by a person from the USANG and a person from the USCG, Yaquina Bay Station.
read more here

FBI charges 9 in plot to kill police officers

FBI Charges 9 in Midwest Raids

Devlin Barrett

AP WASHINGTON (March 29) -- Nine suspects tied to a Christian militia in the Midwest are charged with conspiring to kill police officers, then attack a funeral in the hopes of killing more law enforcement personnel, federal prosecutors said Monday.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said agents moved on the group because the Hutaree members were planning a violent reconaissance mission sometime in April - just a few days away.

Members of the group called Hutaree are charged in the case, including their leader, David Brian Stone, also known as "Captain Hutaree."

Once other officers gathered for a slain officer's funeral, the group planned to detonate homemade bombs at the funeral, killing more, according to newly unsealed court papers.

According to the indictment, the idea of attacking a police funeral was one of numerous scenarios discussed as ways to go after law enforcement officers. Other scenarios included a fake 911 call to lure an officer to his or her death, or an attack on the family of a police officer.
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FBI Charges 9 in Midwest Raids

Veterans proud of service but left to feel ashamed after they survived it

It gets to me every time I hear it. They are proud they served but when you think about what happens to too many of them when they survive it because of claims denied or delayed, it's hard to understand why they feel that way. Think of how you'd feel after risking your life for this country and then left with nothing after because your body or your mind paid the price. These veterans have bills to pay. They have families to support. They have all the same needs and demands on them the rest of us face but unlike the rest of us, they put their bodies and their minds and their dedication on the line for the sake of the rest of us. Unlike the rest of us loving this nation enough to lay down their lives for it, cost them their future. We need to get this right once and for all of them.

Native American veterans claim racial discrimination by VA in South Dakota

By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji)
© 2010 Native Sun News

March 29 2010

There is a credo lamented daily in the waiting rooms of the Veterans Administration Hospitals scattered across America. It goes, "First you apply, then they deny and hope you will die." This has a special meaning to Native American veterans.

For too many Indian veterans it strikes close to the bone. They are so entangled in bureaucratic red tape they are all but suffocating. Many have been reduced to living lives well below the poverty level set by the very government they fought for and nearly died defending.

Several months ago I wrote about one such veteran named Andres Torres, an Oglala Lakota, living in Rapid City. What has happened to this veteran since then?

"I was told to open a new claim called Unemployability which means I have not been able to work since the second operation they performed on me at Fort Meade VA Hospital in 1989. I filed the claim in February and I have not heard from the VA since. As far as I know it is still sitting on somebody's desk in Sioux Falls or Washington, D. C.," Torres said.

Torres said that since I wrote about his plight in 2009 he got a call from Governor Mike Rounds (R-SD) and was told that his office was interested in helping him and other veterans in similar situations.
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Native American veterans claim racial discrimination by VA

Vietnam Vets:We are dying at the rate of 349 a day

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

March 29, 2010 12:00 AM
NEW BEDFORD — Thanking Vietnam veterans for educating America about how veterans of all eras should be treated was the mission Sunday during a Vietnam Veterans' Recognition Day ceremony held at Fort Taber.

"Vietnam Veterans of America was founded 32 years ago with the vow that never again would one generation of veterans abandon anther generation of veterans," said Mayor Scott W. Lang, recognizing how Vietnam veterans created awareness of the need for quality medical and psychological care for all who have served.

"We took veterans for granted until the latter part of this century when the Vietnam vets stood up and indicated that the men and women serving and their families are owed a debt of gratitude. ... They completely educated the public on what it means to be a veteran."

New Bedford Veterans Agent Donat "Dan" LeBlanc presented statistics showing how Vietnam veterans are dying at a rate higher than other Americans because of physical and psychological trauma that can be traced back to their service.

"Of the 2.7 million veterans who served in country in Vietnam, 800,000 are still alive today. ... We are dying at the rate of 349 a day. Using those statistics, according to the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, we will all be gone in five years," LeBlanc said, adding, "I don't plan on leaving in five years."

According to LeBlanc, many of the Vietnam veterans, a total of 130,000, have died relatively young from suicide.

Others have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder or cancers likely brought on by exposure to Agent Orange, a carcinogenic and teratogenic defoliant used by the military.

read more here

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

I am not sure where LeBlanc got his suicide number from but studies over the years have place it between 150,000 and 200,000. Even one is too high just as with today's OEF and OIF veterans.

Sorrow, Pride Expressed by Hundreds at Marine's Funeral

Sorrow, Pride Expressed by Hundreds at Marine's Funeral
Autumn Ziemba Fox 8 Reporter
6:10 PM EST, March 28, 2010

In a stunning tribute Sunday morning, Gunnery Sergeant Robert Gilbert of Richfield was laid to rest.

Thousands of people touched by the 28-year-old fallen marine packed the Revere High School gymnasium to celebrate life and say good-bye.

"I will truly miss him," Sgt. Gilbert's father, Robert Gilbert Sr., told Fox 8 Sunday morning. "But he told me I had to live for the both of us. It's a heck of a task to take on, but it's what I have to do."

"The world has lost a hero," said Sgt. Gilbert's best friend, Amy Tripp. "A part of me died the day he died, and [this service is] the new beginning of learning how to move on and live my life without him in it."

Sunday proved to be a somber day for many, yet one filled with immense pride.

Thousands rose to their feet in applause as Sgt. Gilbert's father was presented the bronze star for his son's heroic action, that ultimately cost him his life.
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Sorrow Pride Expressed by Hundreds at Marine Funeral

Female suicide bombers blamed in Moscow leaving 38 dead

Female suicide bombers blamed in Moscow subway attacks
March 29, 2010 8:54 a.m. EDT
Female bombers detonated explosions in Moscow subway stations, officials say
38 people killed, 65 wounded, government ministry reports
First blast occurred near the Kremlin and the nation's intelligence service
Web site associated with Chechen separatists claims responsibility for attacks
Moscow, Russia (CNN) -- Female suicide bombers detonated explosions that rocked two subway stations in central Moscow during rush hour on Monday morning, killing at least 38 people, officials said.

"It was a terrorist act carried out by the female suicide bombers," said Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, citing Russia's intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service. "They were specifically timed -- for ... the train was nearing the station -- to make the most damage.

"The blast was caused by 300 to 400 grams of explosives," he said.

Forensic teams were combing wreckage from the underground blasts for clues.
read more here
Female suicide bombers blamed in Moscow subway attacks

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thousands swindled using soldier-in-need ruse

Thousands swindled using soldier-in-need ruse

By Joe Gould - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Mar 28, 2010 12:41:28 EDT

Whoever said all’s fair in love and war never met these Internet hucksters.

Con men impersonating deployed U.S. servicemen are hooking civilian women on dating Web sites and swindling them into spending money on fictitious laptops, international telephones, “leave papers” and plane tickets, said Chris Grey, a spokesman for Army Criminal Investigation Command.

The scheme appears to be a sophisticated twist on the ubiquitous lottery letter scam, but it uniquely exploits the victims’ patriotism and emotions while misrepresenting the Army and soldier-support programs, Grey said.

“These are not soldiers, they are thieves,” he said.

Officials say the phony American soldiers are often in reality African con men who seduce women online by creating profiles on dating and social media sites that appropriate the names, ranks and photos of actual soldiers, typically those serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
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Overdue thanks for 'Nam vets

JACOBS: Overdue thanks for 'Nam vets
For The Californian
Posted: March 28, 2010

A proclamation was made at Tuesday's Temecula City Council meeting recognizing March 30 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day." Murrieta Councilmen Rick Gibbs and Doug McAllister were also present to issue a proclamation on behalf of their city.

Although I was never in the military, my dad served two decades in the Air Force. I chose a career in civil service as a health care provider instead.

The display of humbleness and dedication to duty always leaves me in awe of the men and women who serve the public in quiet dedication. Whether wearing a military, law enforcement or firefighter uniform, all serve to protect the American public.The Law and Order Awards Dinner recognized police officers from Temecula and Murrieta, as well as a Highway Patrol officer and a Border Patrol agent.

Various agencies are invited to participate, but not all answer the call. It seems every year without fail, a surprised recipient modestly and earnestly says, "I was only doing my job."

I have already marked my calendar to fly the flag on Tuesday and every March 30.

Blessed are the peacemakers, but also thank God for peace officers and members of the military who put country first, regardless of political ideologies, personal faith ---- or lack thereof.
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Overdue thanks for Nam vets

Vietnam Vets Ceremony A First For City

Vietnam Vets Ceremony A First For City
By: Ruschell Boone

Some Vietnam veterans got a special welcome home Saturday in honor of Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.

George Raboni was 17 years old when he went to war in Vietnam. When he returned home three years later, Raboni like so many of the veterans who gathered Saturday for a celebration to mark their service, thought he would get a hero's welcome but that was not the case.

There was a lot of turbulence going on in the country," Raboni recalled.

The thank yous were slow to come because the war was unpopular, but on Saturday area veterans were recognized for their service at the Inaugural Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day.

"We had pride in ourselves and what we did to serve this country but now it is greatly appreciated that the country has come to recognize the service," Raboni said.

"This is the first day that officially by the city government and state government that they are honoring the Vietnam veterans -- long overdue," Patrick Gualtieri of United War Veterans.

For many, the event at Veteran's Plaza in Downtown Manhattan was bittersweet.

"I think we've changed the structure so that people today understand how to separate the war from the warriors and that the veterans coming home, the men and women we see coming out of the military today are hopefully going to get treatments and programs that they need," said Vietnam Veterans of America President John Rowan.

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Vietnam Vets Ceremony A First For City

Veteran Learns to “Face her Demons” with VA PTSD Treatment

Veteran Learns to “Face her Demons” with VA PTSD Treatment
Fri at 5:07am
Michelle Covert had PTSD for 24 years but didn’t know it.

Today, thanks to her treatment at a VA hospital, she is working, happy and determined to be “a voice of hope.”

Michelle was in the Army from 1980 to 1984 and was raped by her drill instructor – the night before she graduated from Advanced Individual Training. Frightened, distraught and confused, she did not report the rape. She went on to a career as a data communications specialist.

Years later, while working at a VA hospital, she was approached, remarkably, by a Veteran receiving treatment for PTSD, who said, “I’ve been watching you. You’ve got what I’ve got.” What he had seen was Michelle breaking into tears and panic attacks when visitors or situations got out of hand.

That, and another severe “meltdown,” convinced her to seek treatment. Under the guidance of Dr. Kathleen Chard of the VA, Michelle accepted the fact that her rape – in this case Military Sexual Trauma – was the cause of her life-long struggle with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Once she started receiving treatment, known as Cognitive Processing Therapy, Michelle realized that it was time to “come face to face with my demon.” She was able to finally accept the fact that the sexual abuse she experienced was not her fault.
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Veteran Learns to Face her Demons with VA PTSD Treatment

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vietnam veterans honored this weekend

If there are any Vietnam veterans thinking their service didn't matter this proves it did. Late in coming, that's for sure, but aside from what Vietnam veterans did when they came home, what they achieved for the sake of all veterans, there is one more really important thing they did. They taught this nation a lesson about the debt we owe to those we send to risk their lives. All veterans who came after did receive the respect and appreciation the Vietnam veterans did not receive because they refused to give up on the rest of us.

These are just a few of the events going on this weekend around the country.

Event to honor Vietnam veterans

Published: Saturday, March 27, 2010 2:38 AM CDT
YUCCA VALLEY — Morongo Basin residents will have the opportunity to thank and honor local Vietnam War veterans as the town hosts a “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” reception 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Yucca Valley Community Center’s Yucca Room.

Similar tributes will be staged throughout the state Tuesday, following a state resolution signed into law last year designating March 30 for an annual recognition of Vietnam veterans in California.

The bill was authored by Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley.

Another local Marine veteran, Carl Gorham, helped trigger the development of Cook’s Assembly bill. He met with Cook about the issue after observing a negative public reaction to Vietnam veterans in the Palm Springs Veterans Day parade a few years ago.
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Event to honor Vietnam veterans

Vietnam vets mark end of war with service in Lynn

By David Liscio / The Daily Item

LYNN - Tom Mailloux vividly recalls the day he got word that his teenage brother, John, had been killed in Vietnam.

"A priest and a police officer went to the West Lynn GE and told my mother. When they called you up to the front office in those days, you knew what it was about," he said Friday during a wreath-laying ceremony at City Hall to honor local residents who served during the Vietnam War.

It was Nov. 24, 1968.

"Kind of messed up Thanksgiving," said Mailloux, who attended the ceremony with his sister, Maureen Mailloux Hudson. "Over the years, my family never forgot because of us. They won't forget my brother and all the others who sacrificed."
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Vietnam vets mark end of war with service in Lynn

Daughter led effort for state's Vietnam Veterans Day
By Meg Jones of the Journal Sentinel

Thuy Smith is proud of her father.

She understands that it wasn't easy for Bill Smith and hundreds of thousands of other veterans returning from Vietnam. Many did not receive warm welcomes home, not like veterans of World War II or Korea.

And Thuy Smith's father had an additional element to his homecoming: having found love in the war, he came home to rural Wisconsin with a wife and baby daughter from Vietnam.

Growing up, Thuy Smith felt isolated and found herself pushing away her Vietnamese heritage.

Then she began meeting Vietnam veterans who came to her mother's Vietnamese restaurant, Huong's Little Wok, in Hayward. They found a common thread stitching their pasts together. She shared with the veterans the same sense of lingering sadness, a feeling of not fitting in.

"The veterans told me that because I represented Vietnam for them, they could relate to me," said Smith, whose parents will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary in May. "Coming together with others who understand and talking with them brought a lot of healing to me."

Now she's helping give back to Vietnam veterans such as her father, who served two extended tours in Vietnam, and the men she met at her mother's restaurant. Two years ago she learned of efforts to organize a Vietnam Veterans Day in Minnesota and Tennessee, and she thought Wisconsin also should recognize the day.
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Vietnam Vets Day
Mar 26 2010 5:30PM
KXMBTV Bismarck
Honor Guard marches in

North Dakota becomes the 10th state to honor Vietnam Veteran's as Governor Hoeven proclaims March 29th Vietnam Veterans Day in North Dakota.

Close to 18-thousand North Dakotan's served in the Vietnam Warwith 198 making the ultimate sacrifice.

Soldiers today say they were never officially welcomed homeuntil now.

A touching moment came when Dan Stenvold of the Vietnam Veterans of America shared a story about his unit the 1-5-5.

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Mental wounds treatable, but most veterans don't complete care

Mental wounds treatable, but most veterans don't complete care
War » Study says main reason may be soldiers' own resistance to care.
By Matthew D. LaPlante

The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 03/24/2010 05:31:47 PM MDT

Ben Rollins was self-destructing. Every night, after work, he and a few fellow Marines would get together to polish off a 30-pack of beer and a fifth of hard liquor. On one night, heading home from a night of hard drinking at a California bar, he was pulled over and arrested for drunken driving.

On another night, when Rollins was awoken by a family member, he began screaming and scrambling for his gun.

All around him, Marines who had served alongside him in Iraq were taking their own lives. "One guy walked out into traffic on Interstate 5," Rollins, now living in Sandy, recalled. "Another guy hung himself in his room."

But Rollins still wasn't convinced that he needed help. "I'm fine," he told himself. "There's nothing wrong with me."

He wasn't fine. And he wasn't alone.

Veterans Affairs researchers say that many veterans who submit to weekly treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can reduce their symptoms to "sub-diagnostic" levels within a few short months. But fewer than one in 10 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder completes a recommended regimen of treatments within four months -- and only about 30 percent complete the treatment regimen within one year of their diagnosis, according to a recent study in the Journal of Traumatic Stress .
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Female Marine Leads Platoon, Inspires Others

Female Marine Leads Platoon, Inspires Others
2nd Marine Logistic Group Public Affairs
Story by Gunnery Sgt. Katesha Washington
Date: 03.26.2010
Posted: 03.26.2010 05:24

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Sgt. Tanell Nedd is one of the busiest non-commissioned officers working in the 2nd Marine Logistics Group these days. While she directs and mentors her platoon of young Marines, she is also preparing them for a grueling future deployment to Afghanistan.

Nedd, a tactical switch operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd MLG, is the platoon sergeant for the S-6 Communications shop. On the surface, she looks like the average hotshot platoon sergeant; slim physical appearance, confident and sharply clad in her camouflage uniform.
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Services planned for fallen Palm City Marine killed in Afghanistan

Photo by Jose Luis Magana

DOVER - A Marine carry team carries the transfer case containing the remains of Marine Lance Corporal Justin J. Wilson of Palm City, Fla. upon his arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del. on Wednesday, March 24, 2010. The Department of Defense announced the death of Marine Justin J. Wilson who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Services planned for fallen Palm City Marine
By Will Greenlee
Posted March 26, 2010 at 3:09 p.m
PALM CITY — The body of Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, is expected to be flown into Witham Field on Sunday before services next week, a family member said Friday.

Wilson, 24, joined the Marine Corps in January 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan 10 months later. He died Monday, killed by an IED or improvised explosive device, his father has said.
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Services planned for fallen Palm City Marine

Marine shields team from harm, earns Bronze Star

John Gastaldo
Velzeboer, part of an explosive-ordnance-disposal team, drove a trailer full of grenades away from the fiery aftermath of a bombing.

Marine shields team from harm, earns Bronze Star

Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

After the blast, Staff Sgt. Dustin Velzeboer looked around and realized he was the only person still standing.

His gunnery sergeant lay in pieces, literally, on the ground. Two other members of the bomb unit were dead, and so was the sergeant assigned to them for security.

Velzeboer, a 27-year-old Marine with a baby on the way at home, saw no other choice: He couldn’t move his guys away from the danger. He had to move the danger away from them.

The tall, blond Marine jumped into the team’s truck, which was hooked to a trailer packed with 45 Iraqi rocket-propelled grenades. The grenades were sure to detonate in the fiery aftermath of the roadside bomb blast.

With one hand — his other was shredded by shrapnel — Velzeboer drove the truck away from his men. These thoughts ran through his mind: “Get the rig off the road; we need the road to leave.” “I hope there are no more bombs where I’m driving.” “I need to tell my wife I love her.”

There were no speeches. But afterward, Velzeboer — not much for grandstanding himself — talked about the life of an explosive-ordnance-disposal Marine, one of the most dangerous and in-demand jobs in the military.

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Marine shields team from harm, earns Bronze Star

Wounded veterans take case for service dogs to Capitol Hill

For Iraqi war vet Luiz Montalvan, Tuesday can pick up a dropped cane, even sense when he needs his medications. Wounded veterans and their dogs were on Capitol Hill recently hoping to get more support for the service dog program.

Slain Marine from Yorba Linda remembered

Santa Ana Police Sgt. John Centanni, 51, at his home in Yorba Linda, reflects on the death of his son, Rick, a 19-year-old Marine lance corporal killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Slain Marine from Yorba Linda remembered
The death of Lance Cpl. Rick Centanni, 19, killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, stirs reflection at Esperanza High. He is the third from the Anaheim school to die in post-9/11 combat.
By Mike Anton

March 27, 2010
The death of Rick Centanni of Yorba Linda was announced Friday over the intercom at Esperanza High School in Anaheim.

Class of 2008. Member of the football team. Marine lance corporal killed earlier this week by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Just 19.

A secretary put Centanni's yearbook, the one in which his photo shows off his broad shoulders and wide smile, out at the front desk. Students, she knew, were sure to ask to see it.

This isn't the first time this has happened at Esperanza. Or the second. Centanni is the third Esperanza graduate killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2004.
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Slain Marine from Yorba Linda remembered

The Funniest 'Help Wanted' Signs

Most of these are hilarious! If you need to laugh a bit today, click the below link.

The Funniest 'Help Wanted' Signs
Michael Jordan
Oh man, guys, there have been some funny help wanted signs floating around the internet lately. Perhaps you've come across them?

Well, let me remind you of the Urlesque guarantee: we will provide you with the funniest, most comprehensive lists of signs available anywhere on the internet. We have been all over that, what with the hacked stop signs, the "God Hates" signs, the intentionally funny political signs, and even the unintentionally funny political signs.

Now we're bringing you the funniest "Help Wanted" signs on the web. Other sites have lists, but none of them are this comprehensive or completely awesome. After the break, check out all the chuckle-worthy signage.
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The Funniest Help Wanted Signs

Filner urges quick approval of some VA claims

More and more claims will be made from veterans seeking treatment and compensation just as more and more claims wait to be honored. While they wait, there is not just the financial suffering they are subjected to as bills cannot be paid due to their wounds, there is the emotional harm inflicted that should matter to all of us.

Think of it this way. They risked their lives serving this country. Then because of that service, they were wounded yet when they come home, they are left to fend for themselves. They file claims to have their wounds taken care of and compensated for the income they can no longer work for. Delays in honoring those claims are dishonoring their service.

Just as advocates are reaching the Vietnam veterans so they seek help for PTSD because they are finally understanding what it is, now we have a flood expected from Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Does it end there? No because we also have two active military campaigns producing more wounded veterans every day. We also have Gulf War veterans still trying to be compensated for what the Gulf War did to them the VA still doesn't quite understand.

These men and women are suffering for having served. They should not have to see their lives as veterans subjected to delays in honoring their service wounds.

“If there is a 1 percent error, and there could be, so what? You would be helping the 99 percent of veterans who are honest,” Filner said.

Considering the service organizations like the DAV verify claims made before they even begin to start the process with the VA, most of the evidence is already gathered together. Very few claims presented are fraudulent. Doing this is the right thing to do for the sake of the veterans. After getting them through the process and honoring their claims, there would be more time for them to review claims for fraud. Then, they would be treated as any other criminal charged with VA fraud and would have to pay the money back, plus see some jail time. We need to stop treating them all as if they are already guilty.
Filner urges quick approval of some VA claims

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Mar 26, 2010 16:59:14 EDT

The Veterans Affairs Department’s large and stubborn backlog of benefits claims could be reduced almost overnight if VA automatically approved any claims prepared with the help of a certified veterans service officer from a veterans organization or a state or local government veterans office, says the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

The idea, floated March 26 by Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is not new — and is not endorsed by all veterans groups.

Filner has been talking for several years about the idea of VA accepting some claims without a long review process and then doing spot-checks to look for cheaters, which he has described as similar to the way tax return audits are handled by the International Revenue Service.

His current initiative is somewhat different in that he is now talking only about automatic payment of claims that are prepared by people who have undergone VA training so they have some expertise in the requirements for a valid claim.
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Filner urges quick approval of some VA claims

Families of contractors killed in Iraq sue feds

Families of contractors killed in Iraq sue feds

The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Mar 26, 2010 17:37:43 EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The families of three private security contractors who were kidnapped, held for ransom and beheaded in Iraq are suing the State Department over their deaths.

Joshua Munns, John Cote and John Young were working for Crescent Security Group in November 2006 when they and two other co-workers were ambushed and abducted while guarding a military convoy near the southern Iraq city of Safwan.

The complaint, which filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, seeks punitive damages and challenges the constitutionality of the U.S. government’s practice of using private military contractors in war but not supporting them when they are injured, killed or kidnapped.

“The primary goal is to peel back the lid on this black box .... to ask the hard question about what this ‘War on Terror’ is about,” Bill Palmer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told The Associated Press.
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Families of contractors killed in Iraq sue feds

VFW apologizes for barb on health care reform

VFW apologizes for barb on health care reform

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Mar 26, 2010 15:12:28 EDT

The commander of the nation’s largest organization for combat veterans has issued an unusual apology for stating that President Obama’s national health care reform initiative is “betraying” veterans.

Thomas Tradewell Sr., national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, issued a written apology for his earlier criticism of Obama and Democratic leaders for failing to include language in the final health care reform bill that specifically exempts the veterans health care system from its effects.

Just as the House of Representatives was about to vote on the final national health care reform package March 21, Tradewell issued a statement that read: “The president and the Democratic leadership are betraying America’s veterans, and and what makes matters worse is the leadership and the president knows the bill is flawed, yet they are pushing for passage today like it’s a do-or-die situation.”

In a March 25 statement, Tradewell, a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran, said he “apologized for using too harsh of a word. But I did not apologize for our strong advocacy on the issue.”
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VFW apologizes for barb on health care reform

Seven years after teen taken to Walter Reed, she's still there

Kyrgyz woman longs for a home of her own, outside the walls of Walter Reed

By Annys Shin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 26, 2010; 7:42 PM

Lyudmila Sukhanov has spent the past seven years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as a patient and a prisoner of sorts

But with Kyrgyz cooperation vital to the United States, saving Lyuda, as she came to be known, was not only humane but also strategic, a goodwill gesture directed at a vital but skittish ally. The request to medevac her received the blessing of the commander of U.S. forces in the region, Gen. Tommy Franks, and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In early 2003, a C-17 military transport plane braved dangerous conditions to airlift Sukhanov first to Germany and then to Washington.

Seven years of Walter Reed
Lyudmila Sukhanov, 26, has spent the past seven years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as a patient. She has had 18 major surgeries and nearly died several times after a series of botched intestinal operations in her country. In early 2003, U.S military officials arranged for Sukhanov to be treated by doctors in Germany and then at Walter Reed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Plans unveiled for Eisenhower memorial in Washington

Plans unveiled for Eisenhower memorial in Washington
He was a two-term president and World War II commander who has buildings, schools, an aircraft carrier, a highway tunnel and even a mountain named after him. Now, President Dwight David Eisenhower, or Ike, will have what only six other occupants of the Oval Office seem to share: A national memorial in the nation's capital.

Unlike the well-known presidential memorials for Washington and Lincoln set amid green, open spaces, the Eisenhower design would be nestled among federal agencies that all came into being during his presidency: the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services — which originally were combined as Health, Education and Welfare — the federal Aviation Administration, and the Voice of America.

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Is state denying benefits to jobless who qualify

Is state denying benefits to jobless who qualify?


11:53 p.m. EST, March 25, 2010
At first, Bonnie Lewis thought her boss was joking.

He had told her that the Longwood call center where she worked was closing. But he was offering Lewis a sales job, one that meant driving around Central Florida.

"I have cataracts so bad I can't see," thought Lewis, 59. "I have no depth perception. I don't have a car."

So she declined the offer and applied for unemployment. After one check, the money stopped because her employer told the state that she had quit, making her ineligible for benefits.

"She didn't quit," says Sally McArthur, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Orlando who got Lewis' benefits restored. "They eliminated her job and offered her something she couldn't possibly do. … They were looking for reasons to turn her down."

The state said it cannot readily determine whether the rate of initial denials is rising, but several lawyers who handle such cases say they have seen similar instances in which the state or employers appear to be stepping up efforts to disqualify out-of-work Floridians.
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Is state denying benefits to jobless who qualify

Teen charged with 2d Wal-Mart announcement

Teen charged with 2d Wal-Mart announcement
By Jan Hefler

Inquirer Staff Writer

WASHINGTON TWP., NJ - A 16-year-old Atlantic County boy arrested after the racially tinged announcement at the Turnersville Wal-Mart this month did the same thing Dec. 28, police reported yesterday.

The youth, whose name has not been released because he is a juvenile, is now charged with two counts each of harassment and bias intimidation, Washington Township police said.

He is accused of announcing over a Wal-Mart telephone March 14 that "all the black people" should leave the store, on Route 42. Police arrested him after examining surveillance cameras and social Web sites such as Facebook and YouTube.

Wal-Mart representatives have apologized and secured their public address system to prevent future problems.
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Teen charged with 2d Wal-Mart announcement
linked from CNN

And Now Veterans: 'We Owe Them'

And Now Veterans: 'We Owe Them'

Travis County is embarking on a new project that will establish, later this spring, the courthouse's newest addition: veterans' diversion court. The impetus for the court came nearly three years ago, from Precinct 4 Constable Maria Canchola, who knows well the reintegration difficulties faced by many vets. Her uncle and cousin came back from war changed men, troubled by "shell shock" they medicated with alcohol. And for 26 years, she has helped her partner – a "stoic veteran" – a former Marine who served as a reconnaissance sniper in Viet­nam. He suffered for nearly 30 years before finally seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, which he never connected to his drinking and which invariably led to run-ins with the law and more than one night in jail.
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Deceased Vietnam Veteran CIA Agent Finally Recognized

Deceased Veteran Finally Recognized for Vietnam Service

The Salem News; March 15, 2010
'He gave a lot for his country' Deceased veteran finally recognized for Vietnam service By Cate Lecuyerstaff writer
DANVERS — Robert Krisko is not one of the 58,261 names engraved on the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The Peabody man was part of the Airborne Infantry, and one of the original Green Berets. But when he died in Vietnam in 1967 — at 34 years old — he was working deep undercover for the CIA.
Since he wasn't in the service at the time, his name didn't make the cut when the memorial went up in 1982.
"Every time I'd go there, it just kind of irked me," said his son, Hugh Krisko. "I saw all these names, and my dad's was not on the wall. I just thought it wasn't right."
His widow, Claudette, tried 14 years ago to get him recognized, but had no luck.
"About two months ago, I said I'm going to try this again," she said. "I've got nothing to lose."
She sent out letters, including one to Sen. John Kerry's office, which notified her about "In Memory Day."
"The In Memory program was created to pay credit to people who died as part of the Vietnam War," said Lisa Gough, communications director for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. "It honors those service members whose deaths don't fit the guidelines (to be on the monument)."

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Who lied to veterans over Tricare?

Most of this week there have been several posts on this issue. What it boils down to is that when politicians decided to lie to veterans and the troops to scare them, they betrayed the men and women risking their lives as well as the veterans of combat for the sake of this country. This betrayal requires they be held accountable. If they lied because "they didn't know better" it was their job to know what the hell they were talking about. Vote them out because they have proven they are not interested in working for the people. If they knew they truth but lied anyway to score political points, then they should be kicked out of office. We all need to stop letting politicians get away with telling us lies but it is more disgraceful when they use the troops and veterans to get what they want.

Dems: Health reform threat to Tricare overblown
By Tom Philpott, Special to Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Saturday, March 27, 2010
Republican lawmakers raised the specter of military families and survivors of veterans seeing health care costs rise as a result of the national health reform law that President Obama signed March 23.

But the threat was never more than a notion and it is fading away. That’s the consensus among most military associations and veterans groups, as reinforced by statements from the secretaries of defense and veterans affairs, the White House and chairmen of key congressional committees.

White House officials were angered, and some veterans groups perplexed, by press releases issued last Sunday from Republicans on the House armed services and veterans’ affairs committees, and by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, hours before the House voted to approve the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

The VFW said "the president and the Democratic leadership are betraying veterans" by not adopting a Republican amendment that explicitly would list Tricare and VA survivor health benefits as meeting the health reform bill’s minimum essential coverage standard.

Without that status, ranking committee Republicans Howard "Buck" McKeon (Calif.) on armed services and Steve Buyer (Ind.) on veterans’ affairs, argued these beneficiaries and even some veterans’ children could be forced to pay a penalty or buy extra health insurance.
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New Law Gives Huge Tax Breaks to Companies who Hire Veterans

New Law Gives Huge Tax Breaks to Companies who Hire Veterans

On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed the new Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE) into law. This federal legislation creates brand-new tax breaks for hiring and retaining unemployed workers. Here's an overview on this job creation tax break and a clear path to capitalizing on it.. Read More >>

Old Soldiers Still Fighting for Veteran's Disability

Old Soldiers Still Fighting for Veteran's Disability
March 26, 2010. By Gordon Gibb

Albany, NY: While the US Department of Veterans Affairs is adding new diseases and conditions to the list of those which quality for compensation, securing veterans' disability benefits can be painfully slow—and for some, impossible.

On Monday the Albany-based Times-Union revealed the maddening situation of those who came into contact with Agent Orange while serving during the Vietnam War.

Agent Orange is a toxic herbicide used by the US military to defoliate the dense forest and allow US soldiers to better see the enemy. It was later found that military personnel who ingested dioxins and the various toxic chemicals associated with the herbicide have become susceptible to illness. The VA long ago ruled that military personnel who served on Vietnamese soil and became ill from the aftereffects of Agent Orange should be compensated.

However, those who did not actually serve on Vietnamese soil—including those who served in the air or on the sea—are ineligible for compensation unless they can prove their illness is directly service-oriented. That, it turns out, is not easy. Even when doctors verify the connection, benefits can be painfully slow in coming.

The Times-Union told the story of Robert Hug, who served in the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea aboard the USS Hancock from 1967 to 1970. Hug, a non-smoker, eventually developed cancer of the larynx and required surgery. Doctors blamed his illness on Agent Orange. However the VA denied his claims for cancer-related benefits four times in nine years before finally allowing him benefits last fall.
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Old Soldiers Still Fighting for Veterans Disability

35 years later, Vietnam vets welcomed home

35 years later, Vietnam vets welcomed home
By Claudette Langley

Veterans of the 25-year conflict and war in Southeast Asia received their due at the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.

On behalf of Chapter 391, Vietnam Veterans of America, Dan Brown accepted a resolution from the board honoring Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, which is March 30. Supervisors Merita Callaway and Gary Tofanelli presented the resolution to Brown during the consent agenda period of the regular meeting.

“Whereas, beginning in 1950 and ending with troop evacuations in 1975, the Vietnam War was the longest conflict in American history,” the resolution reads. “Whereas, 324,000 Californians, including Calaveras County residents, served in Vietnam...”

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35 years later Vietnam vets welcomed home

A Matter of Life and Death: Suicides in the Army

I have long believed that Chaplains are the best treatment for not only heading off PTSD, but helping to heal it after it has taken hold as well.

Troubled veterans of combat don't want to talk to just anybody. They want to talk to someone they know they can trust, someone they know will not judge them or feel repulsed by what they have to say. They need to know opening up will not harm their career. These, obvious reasons are only part of it. When you consider PTSD is a wound to the emotional part of the brain striking after traumatic events, it is really hitting the soul of the man/woman. When they begin to heal spiritually, every other treatment works better because of it.

The following article points out how important chaplains are for the men and women serving. This should also offer more evidence that the clergy in the civilian world need to become more involved in helping them heal when they come home.

March 26, 2010, 11:19 am
A Matter of Life and Death: Suicides in the Army
The Army faces a battle over the life and death of its soldiers. The battle is not being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in the minds and tortured souls of soldiers contemplating suicide. Last year the Army again reported an increase in suicides, and in response the Army now requires every soldier to complete an online assessment of their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

The Army’s suicide problem is worse than the official numbers presented because the suicide statistics that are tabulated do not include the family members of soldiers. When I attended suicide prevention training sponsored by the Army, several chaplains who were leading the class told the participants that beyond just counseling service members they also had assisted in helping soldiers cope with a family member’s suicide. The official numbers also do not include veterans who have left the military.

While suicides are most pronounced in the Army, the other branches of the military also face this problem, which extends beyond just soldiers returning from combat and even to the service academies. Moreover, the pain and emotional strain of deployment and suicides is not simply limited to soldiers in the junior ranks. Even generals, like Gen. Carter Ham, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, has encouraged soldiers to seek help for their mental wounds.

The Army’s response to the uptick in suicides has been swift and pronounced. Beyond just having soldiers fill out individual risk assessments, soldiers are also required to role-play scenes in an interactive DVD video that mirrors the emotional issues that may be encountered. Perhaps more important, within the Army there has been a substantial shift in the army’s organizational ethos concerning how leaders view mental strain. Going to talk to a chaplain or mental health professional is no longer looked down upon. Leaders have also emphasized that official policy does not automatically prevent one from gaining security clearance if they see a psychiatrist.

When my unit returned from Iraq the first time, there was no emphasis on the soldier’s mental health. The one solace that soldiers seek out, then and now, are military chaplains. Were it not for the listening and compassionate ear of my unit’s chaplains, my unit’s morale would have plummeted while deployed. While many civilians probably presume that there are numerous military health professionals — particularly in light of the notoriety of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and the Fort Hood Army Base shootings in Texas — in actuality there are very few psychiatrists at the unit level.
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Boston DAV helps Camp Lejeune toxic water vet receive comp

Lejeune veteran receives full disability on contaminated water claims

March 16, 2010 1:20 AM
A former Camp Lejeune Marine suffering from a rare blood disease last week became one of a small number of veterans to receive full disability due to historical water contamination.

Braintree, Mass., resident Paul Buckley said he was shocked after multiple claim denials from the Department of Veterans Affairs to discover a packet in his mailbox granting his claim in full.

“I opened it up and almost fell to the ground,” he said.

The victory comes after a long and harrowing journey for the 46-year-old veteran. On May 10, 2006, more than 20 years after Buckley’s contract with the Marine Corps ended, he became rapidly ill, driving himself to the hospital before collapsing in its emergency room. He was in a coma for 10 days.

Buckley, then 42, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an uncommon and largely incurable form of cancer that typically afflicts a far different demographic.

“The doctors were confused because the people who get my disease are primarily elderly and they have worked in industries where there has been exposure to certain chemicals,” Buckley said. “I was burning my brain trying to figure out where I got this.”

Staff with the Boston branch of Disabled American Veterans, who advocated on Buckley’s behalf, said that he represented a “perfect storm” of circumstances: no environmental or family links to his disease and a detailed nexus letter from doctors with Harvard Medical School making his case.

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National Medal Of Honor Day at White House

The White House Blog
National Medal of Honor Day
Posted by Jesse Lee on March 26, 2009 at 08:46 AM EDT
Yesterday the President participated in the wreath-laying ceremony for National Medal of Honor Day at Arlington National Cemetery, along with more than 30 of the 98 living Medal of Honor recipients.

The President issued the following statement yesterday:
We are grateful to all those who wear the uniform of our Armed Forces and serve and sacrifice on behalf of our great nation. Members of our Armed Forces hold themselves to the highest standards and set an example of responsibility to one another and to the country that should inspire all Americans to serve a purpose greater than themselves. Today we pay our respect to those who distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty - the recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Since it was first awarded during the Civil War to the current battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Medal of Honor recipients have displayed tremendous courage, an unfailing determination to succeed, and a humbling willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice. It is telling that so many Medal of Honor recipients received the award posthumously. These soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman embody the best of American values and ideals.
Medal of Honor recipients are the foremost example of greatness in service and sacrifice. Their bravery and humble strength continues to reassure our nation of the strength of its character and ideals even in these difficult times. We owe these heroes a debt of gratitude that our nation can never fully repay. So, it is on this day that we salute that fact and celebrate their lives and heroic actions that have placed them amongst the "bravest of the brave." We must never forget their sacrifice and will always keep the Fallen and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

Youth suicides epidemic on tribal reservations

Youth suicides epidemic on tribal reservations
Rates among Native Americans are 10 times the national average

Coloradas Mangus, a sophomore at Ruidoso High School on the Mescalero Apache Reservation, N.M., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on "The Preventable Epidemic: Youth Suicides and the Urgent Need for Mental Health Care Resources in Indian Country."


updated 7:47 p.m. ET, Thurs., March. 25, 2010
WASHINGTON - At 15, high school sophomore Coloradas Mangas knows all too much about suicide.

He's recently had several friends who took their own lives, and he survived a suicide attempt himself.

Coloradas, a member of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, lives on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, where there have been five youth suicides since the start of the school year. All were his friends.

Coloradas went to Capitol Hill Thursday to tell lawmakers about the urgent problem of suicide among Native Americans. Tribal suicide rates are 70 percent higher than for the general population, and the youth suicide rate is even higher. On some reservations youth suicide rates are 10 times the national average.

"Things go wrong that they can't change," Coloradas said, trying to explain the high rate of suicide in his community. "They don't get shown the love they need. They say, 'You don't love me when I was here. Now you love me when I'm not here.' "

On the mountainous Mescalero reservation, located in south-central New Mexico more than 200 miles south of Albuquerque, a single mental health clinic serves a tribe of more than 4,500 people. The closest 24-hour Hotline is in Albuquerque.
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At least 10 dead following multi vehicle crash on Interstate 65

At least 10 people were killed in a wreck on Interstate 65 in Kentucky this morning, a spokesman for the Kentucky State Police said. FULL STORY

Los Angeles SWAT team officer killed in Afghanistan

2 Calif Marines killed in Afghanistan

Associated Press
03/26/10 3:10 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES — They were Marines from the same Southern California city. One was a Los Angeles SWAT team officer on active duty, the other was the son of a Santa Ana police sergeant. Both were killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Sgt., Maj. Robert. J. Cottle, 45, a 20-year LAPD veteran, and Lance Cpl. Rick. J. Centanni, 19, both of Yorba Linda, were traveling with two other Marines in an armored truck in the Marjah region of Afghanistan when the blast occurred, LAPD Capt. John Incontro said. The other Marines were seriously injured. No other details of the incident were immediately available.

Cottle and Centanni were stationed with the 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, out of Camp Pendleton, in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Cottle had been deployed on active duty since August 2009.

2 Calif Marines killed in Afghanistan

11 Utah Guard workers hospitalized

11 Utah Guard workers hospitalized

By Mike Stark - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Mar 25, 2010 19:33:00 EDT

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah —Eleven workers who were exposed to an irritating material at a Utah National Guard training base on Thursday had to be decontaminated in a hospital parking lot before they were taken to the emergency room and released several hours later.

The irritant came from material leaking from a building’s heating system that was dripping onto some drywall, according to Maj. Craig Bello of the 85th Civil Support Team.
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11 Utah Guard workers hospitalized

Online scammers are posing as US serviceman prey on hearts

Beware online knights in shining armor, US Army warns

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, March 26th, 2010 -- 8:26 am
Online scammers are posing as US serviceman posted overseas and promising love and marriage to cheat women out of thousands of dollars, the US Army's Criminal Investigation Command has warned.

Special CID agents cautioned that they had learned of multiple incidents in which people online posed as US soldiers and got "romantically involved... with female victims and prey on their emotions and patriotism."

Army CID spokesman Chris Grey said the scammers often used information about real soldiers, including their names and ranks, and found photographs of soldiers online to create a false identity.

These individuals promise "true love, but only end up breaking hearts and bank accounts," the CID warned.
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Beware online knights in shining armor, US Army warns

What Joe Dwyer's Death Can Teach Us about PTSD

Battling the Inner Demons of War
What Joe Dwyer's Death Can Teach Us about PTSD
By Cordula Meyer
A photograph of PFC Joseph Dwyer in Iraq made him an American hero, but five years after returning home, mental combat wounds drove him to his death. He is not alone. In 2009, more than twice as many soldiers died by their own hands than were killed by the enemy in Iraq. But new types of therapy are giving others the chance for the peace he never had.

On an afternoon in June 2008, police in Pinehurst, North Carolina, were dispatched to a white farmhouse. The town is set in an idyllic location, complete with woods, plantation houses and eight golf courses. Many of its inhabitants are retirees, so law enforcement officers generally don't have much to do. But, in the previous months, they had repeatedly been called to this particular address. Its owner, a 31-year-old man named Joe Dwyer, had been barricading himself in his house, where he kept several pistols and a semiautomatic rifle.

This time, the officers broke down the door. Once inside, they found Dwyer lying on the ground, covered in feces and urine, gasping for air. "Help me!" the young man begged the officers. "I can't breathe." Surrounding him were dozens of empty cans of Dust-Off, an aerosol spray meant to clean electronic equipment. But it can also be inhaled as a kind of sedative, which can cause heart and lung damage if repeated.

A taxi driver had alerted the police. She told them that, for months, she had been driving him to local shops every day to buy his cans of Dust-Off because he had wrecked his own car veering to avoid a roadside object he thought was an Iraqi bomb.

Joseph Dwyer was a giant of a man with reddish-brown hair. He died that same day while being rushed to the hospital. He was buried a few days later with military honors. While handing Dwyer's widow, Matina, the folded flag that had been draped over her husband's coffin as a mark of respect from the US Army, an officer fell to his knees in front of her.
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Fiery WWII veteran surrenders peacefully after standoff

Fiery veteran surrenders peacefully after standoff
After dispute with wife, he says he's been married 'too damn long'
March 25, 2010, 8:13PM
After he allegedly fired a gunshot during an argument with his wife, a 84-year-old World War II-era veteran held a SWAT team at bay at the couple's home in southwest Houston for nearly six hours early Thursday before he was arrested peacefully.

The standoff began around 1:30 a.m. after the homeowner, who identified himself as Gerald Lancaster, fired a shot as his wife was leaving their home in the 10100 block of Amblewood, authorities said.

He was arrested about 7 a.m., police said, and charged with aggravated assault.

Patrol officers arrived at the home after the gunshot, and later the Houston Police Department SWAT unit was dispatched because Lancaster did not come outside.

Lancaster was unarmed when arrested by SWAT officers who broke through a door at the home. He didn't resist, police said, and no injuries were reported.

Lancaster, in an interview from the backseat of a police cruiser after his arrest, said he had been drinking alcohol during the day and that he and his wife had argued. He said his wife had not been drinking.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Senators want data on military prescription drug use

Senators want data on prescription drug use

By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Mar 25, 2010 9:21:40 EDT

Several senators expressed concern Wednesday about increasing psychiatric drug usage among service members and called on top military health officials to provide detailed data about how many troops are on anti-depressants and other mind-altering drugs.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s military personnel panel, cited a recent Military Times report about the spike in psychotropic drug use in the military community, pointing to evidence that overall psychiatric drug usage has risen about 76 percent since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We’ve seen recent reports of increased prescription drug use that are deeply troubling … in fact, the data is stunning,” Webb told the surgeons general from the Army, Navy and Air Force and the Marine Corps’s top health official, who all appeared at the hearing on the military health system.
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Senators want data on prescription drug use