Saturday, July 31, 2010

One reason suicides may be going up in Army

If I walked into a training session and heard any plans for starting crisis intervention in the middle of a tornado or hurricane, I would walk out the door. It seems they are doing this type of thing in Afghanistan. Good intentions? Absolutely. I've been complaining there isn't enough crisis intervention in the military and they have not responded the way civilians do when crisis teams hit it head on as soon as the event itself is over. Having them respond in combat areas is not that bad of an idea but when they are doing it to a soldier who already has PTSD, that idea is deadly. You cannot treat them for PTSD caused by traumatic events in combat while they are still in combat! You can't medicate it out of them either.

The other part to this story is for 5,000 soldiers there are two social workers, one psychiatrists and one psychologist! What good do they think this will do with so many men and women begin exposed to combat trauma on top of the stress of being redeployed over and over again? They are being medicated, probably with very little attention from the psychiatrist, and more than likely, no real therapy. All the ingredients necessary to help a soldier heal are spread out too far to do any good at all. Sending them back to help them is like sticking a tornado survivor into a wind tunnel and telling them it's for their own good.

Military keeps distressed soldiers at combat site

The Associated Press
Saturday, July 31, 2010; 12:00 PM

The 5,000 troops that make up Task Force Mountain Warrior - which includes the Fort Carson soldiers - are served by a psychologist, a psychiatrist and two social workers. Collectively known to soldiers as "Combat Stress" - as in, "I had to go see Combat Stress" - this four-person team makes the rounds to about 30 bases. They arrive after any potential trauma: the death of a soldier, an arduous battle or a large roadside bombing.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE BOSTICK, Afghanistan -- Sgt. Thomas Riordan didn't want to return to Afghanistan after home leave. He had just fought through a battle that killed eight soldiers, and when he arrived home his wife said she was leaving. He almost killed himself that night.

When his psychologist asked what he thought he should do, Riordan said: Stay in Colorado.

Instead, the military brought Riordan back to this base in the eastern Afghan mountains, where mortar rounds sound regularly and soldiers have to wear flack jackets if they step outside their barracks before 8 a.m., even to go to the bathroom.

Increasingly, the army is trying to treat traumatized soldiers "in theater" - where they're stationed. The idea is that soldiers will heal best if kept with those who understand what they've been through, rather than being dumped into a treatment center back in the States where they'll be surrounded by unfamiliar people and untethered from their work and routine.

However, the policy may serve the military at least as much as the soldiers. Treating soldiers on site makes it easier to send them back into battle - key for a stretched military fighting two wars. It also brings up a host of challenges: Ensuring soldiers get the treatment they need in the middle of war, monitoring those on antidepressants and sleeping pills, and deciding who can be kept in a war zone and who might snap.

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Military keeps distressed soldiers at combat site

Wars take a heavy toll on one California school

Wars take a heavy toll on one California school
Buchanan High School in the Central Valley community of Clovis has lost seven troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most of any school in the state.
By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times

July 31, 2010
Reporting from Clovis, Calif. — The seventh funeral was Friday. The church was full, even strangers lined the streets and everyone in sight stopped what they were doing and bowed their heads as Brian Piercy's body moved from church to cemetery — the same as they had done for six others.

Seven boys from Clovis' Buchanan High Shool have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Wars take a heavy toll on one California school
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TAPS volunteers help grieving children

Wrangler Bde volunteers help grieving children
By Pfc. Amy M. Lane, 4th Sust. Bde. Public Affairs
July 29, 2010 News

One of the Army values is selfless service, and volunteers from the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), along with other III Corps Soldiers, were a living example of this value during last weekend’s two-day Good Grief Camp at Fort Hood.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, known as TAPS, organized the annual event, which pairs children who have lost a loved one in the military with a Soldier-mentor for two days of activities aimed at dealing with grief. Mentors received training before the event.

The Wrangler Brigade sent 15 volunteers to the event. Each had various reasons for offering their time. Some said they were doing it to honor a loved one they had lost, to honor those lost in the Nov. 5 shooting or simply to help children.
go here for more
Wrangler Bde volunteers help grieving children

Spike in domestic violence at Fort Hood

Remember that Fort Hood had their sense of safety shattered when Maj. Hasan opened fire last year. Aside from the deployments over and over again into two combat zones, this very well could have a lot to do with the spike at Fort Hood.

Stop family violence - Love should never hurt
By Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, Fort Hood Acting Senior Commander

Combat is a necessary part of our lives in the Army. Few of Fort Hood’s Soldiers have not been affected by it during eight years of combat deployments. We’re trained to inflict harm and do violence on the enemy in defense of our country. However, we’re also taught restraint and how to properly apply controlled measures of violence only when necessary.

In our line of work, it’s crucial that we know where that violence ends. One thing we must always remember is that we can never bring violence into our homes. In April, I signed the Month of the Military Child Proclamation, recognizing the importance of our children and bringing awareness to the problem of child abuse. Fortunately, that has not been a significant problem in our Fort Hood community.

Lately, however, we have been seeing a spike in the number of reported cases of spousal abuse. In some of these cases the female, both Soldier and spouse, has been determined to be the aggressor. A few other cases are a result of mutual combat. Regardless of the circumstance, victim or perpetrator, if you find yourself in a situation that might escalate to violence you must choose to walk away and remove yourself from the scenario.
read more here
Stop family violence

More vets getting mental health care, more need care

July 30, 2010
More vets getting mental health care, more need care
Posted by Meredith Cohn

As the wars continue in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Veterans Affairs can be sure of something: more people will leave the military in need of long-term medical care – and long-term mental health care.

Robert A. Petzel, undersecretary for health at the VA, was in Baltimore for a meeting of mental health professionals trying to get up to speed on the latest treatments and services, and I was able to quiz him on the latest efforts to care for former service members. Joining in the discussion was Sonja V. Batten, Assistant Deputy Chief Patient Care Services Officer for Mental Health.

They told me that the agency has been working to bolster its staff of mental health professionals – adding 6,000 staffers from the field in the last four years, bringing the total to 20,673.

The VA has also added a suicide prevention hotline, which has taken 293,000 calls in the last two years, referred 35,000 callers to a suicide prevention coordinator and rescued 9,700 of those in immediate crisis.

But the number of those on active duty taking their own lives is, not surprisingly, rising. And many more are coming home from combat distressed.

For post traumatic stress disorders, almost 366,000 vets were treated in fiscal 2009. That number is also rising. There were almost 255,000 treated in fiscal 2006. Of course, during conflicts, there will be more PTSD – as estimated 30 percent of those who served in Vietnam, for example, experienced PTSD and 10 percent of those in the Gulf War did. (About 6.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some time in their lives.)

Officials say a main reason the numbers are going up now is because screening has gotten better. But certainly more vets need care.

In fiscal 2009, more than 1.4 million vets received care from the VA for a mental health problem, up from close to 1.2 million in fiscal 2006.
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More vets getting mental health care, more need care

Feds need help diagnosing stress in combat veterans

POWERS: Who's malingering?
Feds need help diagnosing stress in combat veterans
By Neal Powers
The Washington Times

In 1944, when an uninjured private, Charles H. Kuhl, said he couldn't "take it anymore," Gen. George S. Patton called him a "yellow coward," slapped him and threw him out of the hospital tent. The U.S. military has always had difficulty discriminating between malingering and disability caused by mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Many in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would have us believe PTSD is unique to military personnel, but that is not true. Law enforcement officers, firefighters and even missionaries and relief workers in Haiti can suffer. So can many victims of rape, abuse or other violent crime. Anyone witnessing death or dismemberment is a potential candidate. The critical difference is whether they get the chance to talk about it and work through it. That's where the military culture becomes a barrier.

In the modern military mindset, only the lowest of the low would let his buddies down, fail to do the job or abandon the mission. As a result, it is often only after family lives are destroyed by night terrors, panic attacks, violent outbursts, emotional numbness and substance abuse that many combat veterans seek help. Today, the VA feels like an adversary to many veterans.
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Feds need help diagnosing stress in combat veterans

Bus filled with children bursts into flames on I-95 in Brevard

This is just the start of this story. You have to read the rest to know there are good people in this world.

Bus filled with children bursts into flames on I-95 in Brevard
The Associated Press

4:09 p.m. EDT, July 30, 2010
ROCKLEDGE — A bus carrying school-age children from Fort Lauderdale to a track meet in Virginia burst into flames Friday along Florida's Space Coast, but nobody was hurt.

The bus was heading north on Interstate 95 in Brevard County when it burst into flames. All 42 people aboard managed to get off the bus safely. A cause hasn't been determined.

The children still hope to make the track meet in Virginia.
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Bus filled with children bursts into flames

Florida's new multi-millionaire was out of work and hit Powerball on a quick pick

This is post 10,000 on this blog and it's a wonderful thing to be able to share with readers of a trauma blog. It's a story of yes good things can happen to you too!

This new multi-millionaire was out of work, just like a lot of people in Florida. This is the kind of story I love to post because no matter how bad things look, there is always a chance for things to get better even more than we are able to imagine.

Florida’s second Powerball winner claims prize
Uncategorized — posted by gary taylor on July, 30 2010 10:46 PM Florida’s second Powerball jackpot winner has stepped forward to claim her $73.8 million prize.

Elizabeth Choras-Hanna, 35, of Hollywood, opted to receive a one-time, lump-sum payment of $38,929,055.11 for the July 10 jackpot.

Florida Lottery officials said Elizabeth is an out-of-work medical assistant. She was accompanied to Lottery headquarters by her twin sister, Alexandra, a firefighter and paramedic, and Alexandra’s husband, a retired firefighter. The three said they plan to share the money.

“We always go grocery shopping at Publix together and before we leave we buy one Florida Lotto and one Powerball Quick Pick ticket,” Elizabeth told Lottery officials.
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Florida second Powerball winner claims prize

US embassy vehicles torched in Afghan capital

US embassy vehicles torched in Afghan capital

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, July 30th, 2010 -- 11:24 am

Rioting erupted in Kabul Friday when scores of Afghan men set fire to two US embassy vehicles after one collided with a civilian car killing a number of occupants, officials and witnesses said.

Television pictures showed the vehicles in flames and young Afghan men throwing stones at them.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it had despatched a quick reaction force to the area, outside the American embassy and near US and Afghan army bases in the centre of the city.

An ISAF official said the vehicles involved belonged to the US embassy.

"We don't know yet how many people were killed in the accident," interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashery said.
read more here
US embassy vehicles torched in Afghan capital

Tornado survivors PTSD needs to be studied by military

While I refuse to call anyone a victim of a traumatic event instead of survivor, this study needs to be read over and over again by the military.

The rate for developing PTSD is “well over 50 percent for the victims,” Casey said. “For the workers, it will be somewhere between 10 and 30 percent.”

A tornado may only hit a town once but after that, the fear of another one coming can cause them to live in fear for the rest of their lives. For responders, they were not in there when the tornado hit but came after the damage was already done. Yet for them, the damage penetrates their minds as well.

Responders are trained to help survivors and other responders. Chaplains (like me) go through all kinds of different programs to be able to train ourselves to think beyond "self" so that we can take are of other people. It's just what we do. The problem comes when we've just seen too much to be able to just move onto the next crisis. While I believe our training helps us to recover a bit better than others, this does not stop us from experiencing what every other human does.

Two things stand out in this report. One traumatic event like a tornado can change lives forever, yet with the military, more often than not, they face one traumatic event after another and another. That fear of death, wounding or losing someone else they care about hangs on them. The other factor is that civilians have someone showing up after one event to help them put their lives back together but for the military, there is little done to help them recover from all they experience.

You'd think with all the exposures to combat situations, they would have developed a way to have someone there to debrief them all the time, but due to a shortage of mental health professionals and Chaplains, this isn't happening enough to get ahead of any of what we're seeing coming out of repeated deployments into Iraq and Afghansitan.

More than half of tornado victims may have PTSD
Two groups of people are likely to develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder from the June 17 tornado: directly affected Wadena area residents and the indirectly affected volunteers and workers helping them, according to Jim Kraemer of the Neighborhood Counseling Center and Dr. Dan Casey of Green Cross Academy of Traumatology.
By: Rachelle Klemme , Wadena (Minn.) Pioneer Journal
WADENA, Minn. — Two groups of people are likely to develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder from the June 17 tornado: directly affected Wadena area residents and the indirectly affected volunteers and workers helping them, according to Jim Kraemer of the Neighborhood Counseling Center and Dr. Dan Casey of Green Cross Academy of Traumatology.

“(PTSD) can be caused by anything that would be traumatic in a person’s life,” said Kraemer.

Casey and Kraemer said symptoms of PTSD include difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite (hardly eating, not eating at all or overeating), anxiety and flashbacks replaying the traumatic event in one’s mind.

The multiple July storms have not helped.

Casey also said people living with or without PTSD may overreact to severe weather — for example, taking shelter in the basement without an actual tornado warning.

Acute Distress Response occurs immediately after an event. After 30 days, it can be diagnosed as PTSD, Casey said.

read more here

More than half of tornado victims may have PTSD

Bank America closed Maj. Hasan's account

Banks won't take Fort Hood shooting suspect's paychecks

By Jeremy Schwartz

Published: 9:00 p.m. Thursday, July 29, 2010

BELTON — As he sits in the Bell County Jail, accused of the Nov. 5 Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead, Maj. Nidal Hasan continues to receive his monthly U.S. Army paycheck, which based on his rank and experience is probably more than $6,000.

That's standard procedure for soldiers who are confined before military trial, according to Army officials.

But Hasan, charged with a shooting spree that shocked the country, is not a standard defendant. And he's having a hard time finding a bank to take his money.

According to his civilian attorney John Galligan , Bank of America notified Hasan last month that it was closing his account and no area bank so far has agreed to open an account for the Army psychiatrist. Military regulations require soldiers to be paid through direct deposit, making a bank account indispensable.
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Fort Hood shooting suspect paychecks

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Gen. Peter Chiarelli: Screening for suicides won't work

General: Screening for suicides won't work
Published: July 30, 2010 at 7:40 PM

WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army cannot reduce its suicide rate by screening out recruits who might become suicide risks, Gen. Peter Chiarelli said Friday.

Chiarelli, the Army vice chief of staff, held a news conference at the Pentagon to discuss a new report on military suicide. He commissioned the report after the suicide rate among soldiers exceeded that among civilians for the first time since the Vietnam era.

The National Institute of Mental Health said screening intensively enough to prevent two suicides a year would mean the Army would not meet its recruiting goals, he said.

While the increased suicide rate has been blamed on repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chiarelli said soldiers are most likely to take their own lives in their first year in the Army or in the early months of their first overseas deployment. Those who enlist when they are older, often after losing civilian jobs, are three times as likely to kill themselves.

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Gen Peter Chiarelli

Only human after all

Only human after all
Chaplain Kathie

After the training is over they are rough, tough, combat ready Marines. Their bodies are young, conditioned, able to be pushed past where most others would collapse. Their senses sharpened by training and the sense of individuality beaten out of them by the Drill Instructor's constant taunting. They are ready to face any enemy, any obstacle and any harsh condition. This training also attempts to prepare them to forget about being human.

Marines try to explain that when they come home from combat, after watching bombs blow up friends, seeing buddies burn, picking up pieces of what used to be someone they knew, they are not supposed to cry. They have witnessed the worst man is capable of at the same time they have witnessed courage beyond all measure from their buddies and themselves. While back home they may reflect on the actions of others in full perspective, they often forget about their own. They focus on the pain they finally allow themselves to feel when the danger to their buddies is over. They tell themselves Marines don't cry because it means they are weak.

What they don't see is the Marine who did their duty no matter how much pain they were in, no matter how much they were grieving and no matter how much PTSD had already taken away from them. They had a duty to do and they carried it out but they forget that part when they are back home and then they blame themselves for not "preparing their brains" for not being "tough enough" and for being human.

We talk a lot about PTSD and what it does to them when they come home but what we don't talk about is the magnificence of their spirit when they are able to endure so much while deployed and others are counting on them to be fully engaged in the battle. This they do no matter what but once out of harms way, when they are alone, when they are back home, the greatest danger awakens. There is no one there to remind them of their courage rising above the weight of the world on their shoulders.

"Never leave a man behind" is often regarded as an action taken in combat but should be always part of what happens when they come home and one of their own is in danger from the enemy within. They need to be retrained to accept the fact they are only human after all.

I've held Marines in my arms as they run out of words to explain the pain they are carrying but the silence is broken with apologies for falling apart because I was dealing with a "Marine" who thought that returning to a human state of mind meant they did not train properly.

I've talked to soldiers in shock as they wonder what the hell happened to them. When they couldn't wait to go home and then once there, they couldn't wait to go back into hell. The hell of combat became a familiar place and home became foreign territory because the person inside of their skin changed.

National Guards tell a familiar story but for them it is more complicated because they return home to civilian life in communities facing the same demands and problems everyone else has but carrying the memories of combat while they listen to their neighbors complain about the trivial details of their own lives. They hear co-workers complain about having to stay an hour late to finish a project after they had just returned from days without much sleep at all and a year on a project that could have cost them their lives.

With all of this, somehow they got the message that being human, suffering from PTSD, is their fault. Somehow they got the message that they should be tough enough to defeat this enemy on their own. No one told them they were not deployed into combat alone, didn't fight the enemy alone over there and they should not have to fight the enemy inside of them alone either.

We read about the rates going up and shake our heads wondering when it will stop being too late to save the lives that managed to survive combat but cannot survive coming home.

Here is one of their stories

A Marine's Suicide Brings The Battle Home
by Wade Goodwyn

Tina Fineberg/AP
Mary Gallagher, photographed at her home in October 2007, the year after her husband, Marine Gunnery Sgt. James Gallagher, took his own life.

'Lot Of Ugly Things'

Mary Gallagher said when her husband returned stateside, he kept the worst of it to himself: "Most Marines were not ones to really talk at all. Jim always said he'd placed it in his heart, and he said, 'I'll carry it forward because that's what I have to do and that's how I'll get through it.'

"I'm sure he saw a lot of ugly things. I just don't know all the ugly he did see."

After he returned home, Sgt. Gallagher was soon sent to the Marines advanced course. Mary Gallagher said her husband seemed mostly fine.

"I didn't really see it coming at all. I think that people are a little misled at the fact that PTS is very visible, but it's not as visible as people think," she said.

PTS refers to post-traumatic stress.

It is only in retrospect that Mary Gallagher can see what she missed at the time.

"To me, he just seemed sad. You know, he was not quite himself, but, you know, I just had no idea that he was really struggling as bad as he was," she said. "And obviously he was struggling a lot.

"And that's the hardest part for me. You know, it's something I carry with me every day, that I didn't notice that I didn't realize how much he was hurting."

A Sergeant's Suicide Brings The Battle Home
July 30, 2010
A U.S. Army study released Thursday says it suffered a record number of soldier suicides last year, pointing to a military that has been stretched thin by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The report says 160 soldiers took their own lives in 2009; another 1,800 tried to commit suicide. The report says multiple deployments and too little time at home are part of the underlying problem.

"Our last phone call of that day, he just repeatedly told me how much he loved me and, you know, if I truly knew how much he loved me, and I said, 'I do, Jim, and we can get through this together.'

"And my children and I came home, and my daughters actually found their father before I could protect them from that — and he was hanging in the garage in our home."

click link above for the rest of this

This can help because too many are not getting any mental health counseling at all.
N.J. Sen. Frank Lautenberg introduces mental health counseling bill for U.S. soldiers
Published: Friday, July 30, 2010
MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A day after the U.S. Army released a report showing alarming increases in suicide rates among its soldiers, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg today introduced legislation to help more military personnel get mental health counseling.

Called the Sgt. Coleman Bean National Guard and Reserves Mental Heath Act, the bill extends to National Guard and Reserves members the same access to mental health as active-duty personnel.

Last year’s National Defense Authorization Act amended added a provision requiring five in-person mental health screenings for military personnel returning from combat. But that provision did not extended to the Inactive National Guard, the Individual Ready Reserves and Individual Mobilization Augmentee, who, unlike full-time Army personnel, have a more difficult time accessing mental health services after returning from combat because they return to civilian life.
read more here
Lautenberg introduces mental health counseling bill

Here's some more links you may want to read
U.S. House of Representatives passes suicide-prevention measure named after N.J. soldier
N.J. Army soldier's death highlights gap in military suicide prevention efforts
U.S. Rep. Rush Holt introduces military suicide prevention bill named for N.J. soldier
Military suicides: Cases of post-traumatic stress mount at alarming rate
Military suicides: Army Sgt. Coleman Bean's downward spiral ends with gunfire
Military suicides: Hero's life transforms to nightmare for Marine James T. Jenkins
VIDEO: Military suicides: U.S. soldiers struggle with torment of war

Friday, July 30, 2010

Another rumor about Obama proved wrong but still goes on

Honest people bother to read what the facts are. Honest people bother to see what has changed since he has been President when it comes to taking care of our troops and our veterans. Other people start rumors and other people want to believe the lies instead of the truth.

If the commanders of the service groups can't get them to believe he's been very good to veterans or the fact he is going to the DAV convention to address them, then nothing will change the minds of the people happy to be so wrong if they think it justifies hating him. After all these are the same people who thought Bush was their friend at the same time he was cutting the VA budget in half the year after he increased it with two wars on, veterans killing themselves and no one doing anything about any of it. Why can't people get it into their heads that the truth does not change with elections, nor should it?

Did Obama really say that about vets?
By Jeff Schogol
Published: July 30, 2010

President Barack Obama recently met with veterans groups at the White House.

With November’s midterm elections approaching, chain e-mails are swirling about politicians’ alleged wrongdoings or political missteps.

One claims that President Barack Obama made outrageously offensive comments about veterans. That rumor has been debunked, but because it is still in circulation, it is worth a reminder that it is false.

The rumor stems from an Obama administration proposal last year to bill veterans’ private insurance companies for treatment they received from the Department of Veterans Administration. After much sound and fury from veterans groups, the idea died quickly.

“They stubbed their toe on that one,” Veterans of Foreign Wars Executive Director Bob Wallace said last year. “But once it bubbled up, the president called us in, listened to our concerns and decided against it. What encouraged me the most was that the president himself got involved to fix it.”
read more here
Did Obama really say that about vets

But if you really want to know the truth on this, the insurance companies can actually refuse to pay when a veteran is diagnosed with anything attached to their service. When a VA claim is denied, the veteran tries to get help from private doctors but if the records show a diagnosis from the VA, they can turn down the claim saying it is the responsibility of the government to treat the medical need. Considering there was an enormous backlog of claims when this was even being thought of, it would mean that veterans wouldn't have to pay for services until their claim was approved. But none of the talking heads ever mention this nor do they mention the fact the VA bills insurance companies for any care not attached to their claim. There is a lot that never gets talked about because too many people are too busy trying to find crap instead of focusing on what is really wrong in this country and making sure that politics stays out of caring for veterans and the troops.

4 positive tests of St. Louis vets

APNewsBreak: 4 positive tests of St. Louis vets

Associated Press Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Four veterans treated at the St. Louis VA Medical Center's dental clinic have tested positive for hepatitis, but further testing will be necessary to determine if inadequately sterilized dental equipment is to blame, VA officials said Friday.

The Department of Veterans Affairs provided test results to The Associated Press after repeated requests over the past two weeks. The VA has drawn criticism from some members of congressional delegations in Missouri and Illinois for taking too long to release information on how many veterans tested positive.
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4 positive tests of St. Louis vets

Faith foiled a robbery in Florida

Friday July 30, 2010
Keep the Faith - ‘Early Show’
Faith foiled a robbery in Florida last Friday. 'Early Show' correspondent Betty Nguyen examines an incident in which a clerk at a cell phone store talked a robber into leaving without the goods by appealing to his Christian faith. As 'The Early Show' rolls the surveillance camera footage, Betty explains, "The suspect asked for money from the register, but the clerk said she had to talk to him about Jesus."

A transcript of the surveillance tape reveals that the clerk told the suspect "You can do whatever you want. I'm going to talk to you about the Jesus I have." As he blesses her for that, the compassionate clerk offers to help the man find a job, asking about his family, etc. After talking it over with the evangelical clerk, the man leaves empty handed. "That's one way to do it," Betty opines.
CBS Weekdays, 7AM
go here for the video
Faith foiled a robbery in Florida last Friday

Jill Biden appears in Army Wives

Some of my friends in the military think I'm nuts because I love Army Wives. Can't help it. I'm hooked. They tell me how unreal it is but when it comes to this show, considering it's about the military, it has broken the long list of failures of other attempts to show any kind of military life. Movies fail more than they succeed and so do TV shows. Army Wives will never be another MASH but it outlasted what a lot of critics had predicted. This summer fill in has a lot of loyal fans and I'm one of them.

Jill Biden appears in ‘Army Wives’

The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Jul 30, 2010 11:11:02 EDT

WASHINGTON — It isn't much of a stretch for Jill Biden when she takes an acting turn in an episode of Lifetime network's "Army Wives."

The second lady, playing herself, visits the show's Fort Marshall to hear about the challenges facing military families and offer them words of encouragement.

"I'm proud to be here today as a second lady, but I'm even more proud to be here as a military mom," Biden tells a group that gathers for the post's annual fun run to benefit military kids.

In between all of the bickering, smooching and other interpersonal drama of the TV show, Biden gives the crowd a pep talk. She tells them how important it is to build "stronger ties between our civilian and military communities."

"Although only 1 percent of Americans are fighting our wars today, we need 100 percent of Americans to support them and their families," she says.
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Jill Biden appears in Army Wives

12 Republicans honor 9-11 responders with Democrats

House rejects bill to aid sick 9/11 responders

By The Associated Press
Friday, July 30th, 2010

As aid bill for sick 9/11 responders fails, court settlement may be workers' only option.

A bill that would have provided up to $7.4 billion in aid to people sickened by World Trade Center dust fell short in the House on Thursday, raising the possibility that the bulk of compensation for the ill will come from a legal settlement hammered out in the federal courts.

The bill would have provided free health care and compensation payments to 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who fell ill after working in the trade center ruins.

It failed to win the needed two-thirds majority, 255-159. The vote was largely along party lines, with 12 Republicans joining Democrats supporting the measure.
read more here
House rejects bill to aid sick 9 11 responders

Rep. Anthony Weiner

But these are the people who forgot what happened 9 years ago and don't want to do anything for the people who were there!

These had the courage to care from the GOP

Yea AK-0 Young, Donald [R]
Yea IL-10 Kirk, Mark [R]
Yea LA-2 Cao, Anh [R]
Yea MI-10 Miller, Candice [R]
Yea NJ-2 LoBiondo, Frank [R]
Yea NJ-4 Smith, Christopher [R]
Yea NJ-7 Lance, Leonard [R]
Yea NJ-11 Frelinghuysen, Rodney [R]
Yea NY-3 King, Peter [R]
Yea NC-3 Jones, Walter [R]
Yea PA-15 Dent, Charles [R]
Yea PA-18 Murphy, Tim [R]

But these did not. If your state or congressman is not here, they voted yea.

Nay AL-1 Bonner, Jo [R]
Nay AL-2 Bright, Bobby [D]
Nay AL-3 Rogers, Michael [R]
Nay AL-4 Aderholt, Robert [R]
Not Voting AL-5 Griffith, Parker [R]
Nay AL-6 Bachus, Spencer [R]

Nay AZ-2 Franks, Trent [R]
Not Voting AZ-3 Shadegg, John [R]
Nay AZ-6 Flake, Jeff [R]
Not Voting AZ-7 Grijalva, Raul [D]

Nay AR-1 Berry, Robert [D]
Nay AR-3 Boozman, John [R]

Nay CA-2 Herger, Walter [R]
Nay CA-3 Lungren, Daniel [R]
Nay CA-4 McClintock, Tom [R]
Not Voting CA-19 Radanovich, George [R]
Nay CA-21 Nunes, Devin [R]
Not Voting CA-22 McCarthy, Kevin [R]
Nay CA-24 Gallegly, Elton [R]
Nay CA-25 McKeon, Howard [R]
Nay CA-26 Dreier, David [R]
Not Voting CA-33 Watson, Diane [D]
Nay CA-40 Royce, Edward [R]
Nay CA-41 Lewis, Jerry [R]
Nay CA-42 Miller, Gary [R]
Nay CA-44 Calvert, Ken [R]
Nay CA-45 Bono Mack, Mary [R]
Nay CA-46 Rohrabacher, Dana [R]
Nay CA-48 Campbell, John [R]
Nay CA-49 Issa, Darrell [R]
Nay CA-50 Bilbray, Brian [R]
Nay CA-52 Hunter, Duncan [R]

Nay CO-5 Lamborn, Doug [R]
Nay CO-6 Coffman, Mike [R]

Nay DE-0 Castle, Michael [R]

Nay FL-1 Miller, Jeff [R]
Nay FL-4 Crenshaw, Ander [R]
Nay FL-5 Brown-Waite, Virginia [R]
Nay FL-6 Stearns, Clifford [R]
Nay FL-7 Mica, John [R]
Nay FL-9 Bilirakis, Gus [R]
Not Voting FL-10 Young, C. W. [R]
Nay FL-12 Putnam, Adam [R]
Nay FL-13 Buchanan, Vern [R]
Nay FL-14 Mack, Connie [R]
Nay FL-15 Posey, Bill [R]
Nay FL-16 Rooney, Thomas [R]
Nay FL-18 Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R]
Nay FL-21 Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [R]
Nay FL-25 Diaz-Balart, Mario [R]

Nay GA-1 Kingston, Jack [R]
Nay GA-3 Westmoreland, Lynn [R]
Nay GA-6 Price, Tom [R]
Nay GA-7 Linder, John [R]
Nay GA-9 Graves, Tom [R]
Nay GA-10 Broun, Paul [R]
Nay GA-11 Gingrey, John [R]

Nay HI-1 Djou, Charles [R]

Nay ID-2 Simpson, Michael [R]

Nay IL-6 Roskam, Peter [R]
Nay IL-8 Bean, Melissa [D]
Nay IL-13 Biggert, Judy [R]
Nay IL-15 Johnson, Timothy [R]
Nay IL-16 Manzullo, Donald [R]
Nay IL-18 Schock, Aaron [R]
Nay IL-19 Shimkus, John [R]

Nay IN-4 Buyer, Stephen [R]
Nay IN-5 Burton, Dan [R]
Nay IN-6 Pence, Mike [R]

Nay IA-4 Latham, Thomas [R]
Nay IA-5 King, Steve [R]

Not Voting KS-1 Moran, Jerry [R]
Nay KS-2 Jenkins, Lynn [R]
Not Voting KS-4 Tiahrt, Todd [R]

Nay KY-1 Whitfield, Edward [R]
Not Voting KY-2 Guthrie, Brett [R]
Nay KY-4 Davis, Geoff [R]
Nay KY-5 Rogers, Harold [R]

Nay LA-1 Scalise, Steve [R]
Nay LA-4 Fleming, John [R]
Nay LA-5 Alexander, Rodney [R]
Nay LA-6 Cassidy, Bill [R]
Nay LA-7 Boustany, Charles [R]

Nay MD-6 Bartlett, Roscoe [R]

Not Voting MI-2 Hoekstra, Peter [R]
Nay MI-3 Ehlers, Vernon [R]
Nay MI-4 Camp, David [R]
Nay MI-6 Upton, Frederick [R]
Nay MI-8 Rogers, Michael [R]
Nay MI-11 McCotter, Thaddeus [R]
Not Voting MI-13 Kilpatrick, Carolyn [D]
Not Voting MI-14 Conyers, John [D]

Nay MN-2 Kline, John [R]
Nay MN-3 Paulsen, Erik [R]
Nay MN-6 Bachmann, Michele [R]

Nay MS-3 Harper, Gregg [R]

Not Voting MO-1 Clay, William [D]
Not Voting MO-2 Akin, W. [R]
Nay MO-6 Graves, Samuel [R]
Nay MO-7 Blunt, Roy [R]
Nay MO-8 Emerson, Jo Ann [R]
Nay MO-9 Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R]

Nay MT-0 Rehberg, Dennis [R]

Nay NE-1 Fortenberry, Jeffrey [R]
Nay NE-2 Terry, Lee [R]
Nay NE-3 Smith, Adrian [R]

Nay NV-2 Heller, Dean [R]

New Jersey
Nay NJ-5 Garrett, Scott [R]

New York
Nay NY-26 Lee, Christopher [R]

North Carolina
Nay NC-5 Foxx, Virginia [R]
Nay NC-6 Coble, Howard [R]
Nay NC-9 Myrick, Sue [R]
Nay NC-10 McHenry, Patrick [R]
Not Voting NC-12 Watt, Melvin [D]

Nay OH-2 Schmidt, Jean [R]
Nay OH-3 Turner, Michael [R]
Nay OH-4 Jordan, Jim [R]
Nay OH-5 Latta, Robert [R]
Nay OH-7 Austria, Steve [R]
Nay OH-8 Boehner, John [R]
Nay OH-12 Tiberi, Patrick [R]
Nay OH-14 LaTourette, Steven [R]

Nay OK-1 Sullivan, John [R]
Nay OK-3 Lucas, Frank [R]
Nay OK-4 Cole, Tom [R]
Nay OK-5 Fallin, Mary [R]

Nay OR-2 Walden, Greg [R]

Nay PA-5 Thompson, Glenn [R]
Nay PA-6 Gerlach, Jim [R]
Nay PA-9 Shuster, William [R]
Not Voting PA-10 Carney, Christopher [D]
Nay PA-16 Pitts, Joseph [R]
Nay PA-19 Platts, Todd [R]

South Carolina
Nay SC-1 Brown, Henry [R]
Nay SC-2 Wilson, Addison [R]
Nay SC-3 Barrett, James [R]
Nay SC-4 Inglis, Bob [R]

Nay TN-1 Roe, Phil [R]
Nay TN-2 Duncan, John [R]
Not Voting TN-3 Wamp, Zach [R]
Nay TN-5 Cooper, Jim [D]
Nay TN-7 Blackburn, Marsha [R]

Nay TX-1 Gohmert, Louis [R]
Nay TX-2 Poe, Ted [R]
Nay TX-3 Johnson, Samuel [R]
Nay TX-4 Hall, Ralph [R]
Nay TX-5 Hensarling, Jeb [R]
Nay TX-6 Barton, Joe [R]
Nay TX-7 Culberson, John [R]
Nay TX-8 Brady, Kevin [R]
Nay TX-10 McCaul, Michael [R]
Nay TX-11 Conaway, K. [R]
Nay TX-12 Granger, Kay [R]
Nay TX-13 Thornberry, William [R]
Nay TX-14 Paul, Ronald [R]
Nay TX-19 Neugebauer, Randy [R]
Nay TX-21 Smith, Lamar [R]
Nay TX-22 Olson, Pete [R]
Nay TX-24 Marchant, Kenny [R]
Nay TX-26 Burgess, Michael [R]
Nay TX-31 Carter, John [R]
Nay TX-32 Sessions, Peter [R]

Nay UT-1 Bishop, Rob [R]
Nay UT-3 Chaffetz, Jason [R]

Nay VA-1 Wittman, Rob [R]
Nay VA-4 Forbes, J. [R]
Nay VA-6 Goodlatte, Robert [R]
Nay VA-7 Cantor, Eric [R]
Nay VA-10 Wolf, Frank [R]

Nay WA-4 Hastings, Doc [R]
Nay WA-5 McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R]
Nay WA-8 Reichert, Dave [R]

West Virginia
Nay WV-2 Capito, Shelley [R]

Nay WI-1 Ryan, Paul [R]
Nay WI-5 Sensenbrenner, F. [R]
Nay WI-6 Petri, Thomas [R]

Nay WY-0 Lummis, Cynthia [R]
here's the link

Chaplain Kathie on WDJA Saturday

A couple of days ago I received an email from Tom about my website and the work I do for veterans. He invited me to be on his radio show for Saturday and I am totally amazed to be included in on such a group to be on the show.


Listen to him on the G I Radio Network

Saturday from 12:00 NOON to 2 on


People call listen through out the world by going to or

CALL IN LINE: 877-278-1420

Dr. Eugene Lipov

Stellate ganglion block offers hope for PTSD treatments

About Raymond Cralle
Raymond Crallé has been a practicing Physical Therapist for 39 years, most of that time in his own private practice. There is no physician ownership since Crallé was one of the original private practices in Florida founded by his mother Ruth Crallé in 1957. Raymond graduated from the University of Iowa in 1971 following service with the Marines during the Vietnam conflict. Raymond served on many committees in the Florida Physical Therapy Associations twice as Chairman of the Private Practice Section. He sold controlling interest in 13 sports medicine centers in 1992 to specialize in treatment for Brain injury, Sports injury and has developed an international reputation in these areas of practice. Mr. Cralle works with many of the Polo team members from Wellington, he was featured in “ Polo Magazine” season guide, 2006.

Crallé’s advanced training in Neuro rehab has found him as an annual presenter to international symposiums on rehabilitation for brain injury and cerebral palsy. He was also featured in Cerebral Palsy Magazine regarding his advanced work with such children.

Cralle' has added Hyperbaric Oxygen Treament to his practice and has had amazing results. (

The 501(3)(C)corporation will allow us to solicit funds to further extend staff, equipment and service for the underprivileged. Benefactors will allow us to support research, arrange for Physician Specialists visits and provide for adaptive chairs, braces and other needs.
We are excited about our future because of our special “Angels” here on earth.

Navy Seal James "Patches" Watson -One of the FIRST Navy Seals!

Keith DeMello "Battleship Missouri at Pearl Harbor
Captain Howard - National Navy UDT - Seal Museum

And then there is me.

I am a Senior Chaplain with the International Fellowship of Chaplains, and Chaplain of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, Chapter 16 Orlando. Aside from being the wife of a Vietnam veteran, fast approaching 26 years, I've been helping veterans and their families to survive and heal PTSD since I met my husband.

I track PTSD around the country and reports focused on veterans, the troops, National Guards and Reservists, police officers, firefighters and trauma survivors on this blog. I also make videos on PTSD so that people find understanding, support and comfort on what it took me over 20 years to learn.

I have a Charter of the IFOC and seek donations to support my work, so please, if you find what I do to be worthy of support, don't wait for someone else to do it.

I am the author of For the Love of Jack, about 18 years of living with PTSD. This book is for free on my website, Nam Guardian Angel and I have over 30 videos to watch on this blog currently housed on Great Americans.

I will be focusing on the spiritual healing of our veterans since it is my greatest belief this is a spiritual wound and any healing must include the spiritual part of being human. Each one of us walks away from traumatic events either feeling blessed or cursed. We believe God spared us, saved us, was watching over us, or God abandoned us, judged us, punished us by what we had to endure. I've been exposed to all kinds of traumatic events other than combat. My experiences had allowed me to see my husband in a different way because I connected the events in my life to his. The more I worked with veterans the more I was able to understand that they experienced traumatic events for their entire deployment into combat zones. For them, it was not just a matter of the events themselves, but the fact they were in positions where they feared the events could happen at any moment.

As I studied PTSD it became a quest to understand why I didn't have PTSD. There are two factors that later training helped me to understand. As an IFOC chaplain, I was trained to respond to crisis situations moments after they happen. This is done so that people can find someone to talk to. In my life, I had a big Greek family where things were talked about until no one needed to talk about them anymore. Plenty of ears to listen and surrounded by people I felt safe to talk to made all the difference. The other factor was my faith and the understanding that I was loved by God and because of my faith, I was not alone. I am Christian but I do not dismiss the faith of other people. The Bible is filled with accounts from the Hebrews about warfare and spiritual crisis. History is rich with accounts of war and many different faiths addressing the spiritual aspects of being human.

One of the biggest things to come out of research in recent years is the development of the frontal lobe and how it is not fully mature until the age of 25. This helps us to understand that as the age of recruits into the military right out of high school has some benefits, it should also cause greater awareness of the need to have someone to talk to right after traumatic events. There is a lot of support out there for this because as they trained their bodies to endure, addressing the crisis right after it happens helps to train their brains to recover from them.

I also believe that we will see the suicide, attempted suicide, self-medicating, homelessness among veterans and divorce rates continue to rise if this is not addressed. As we read about the calls flooding into the Suicide Prevention Hotline, there are lives saved but when there were over 200,000 calls in three years, that should have been a alarm heard around the country. To have that many veterans reach the point of that kind of despair they feel the need to call is the greatest indicator of the failures of the past being continued.

The other issue that has to be addressed is family involvement. Most families have no idea what PTSD and what little others do know does not help them to understand how their reactions can either help the veteran heal or can harm them more. They need to be fully informed just as much as they need to be fully involved in the mental healthcare provided. Doctors only know what the veteran tells them and most of the time, they hold back too much. Families have to be included to set the record straight for the doctor to know what the reality is.

I hope you tune in tomorrow and listen to the show to hear more and about other things being done to help our veterans heal. It will be broadcast to the troops serving overseas.

When soldiers' deaths benefit companies, families continue to lose

As the combat in Afghanistan heats up and draws down in Iraq, we can still argue all we want about the necessity to have troops in either country, but the reality is, we ignore the other issues as we make the claims to support them and their families.

For years as they suffered because of the backlog of claims in the VA, most people in this country didn't have a clue. As the suicides were ever increasing, again, most people didn't have a clue. What it took to bring attention to what we so easily ignore, were the families involved to speak out and fight for what they should have never been forced to fight for. Had they not spoken out, we would blissfully sleep at night knowing they were doing their jobs serving and defending this country and assuming all was well with them too.

So Secretary of Defense Bill Gates attends yet another military funeral as another milestone is reached in Afghanistan. But too often the family's pain is just starting.

Grim milestone as three U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 30, 2010 6:52 a.m. EDT

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday consoles the family of Army Pfc. David T. Miller, who was killed in Afghanistan.

Deaths bring July tally to 63, the highest monthly toll for U.S. forces in the 9-year war
Milestone comes amid concern over Washington's strategy in the Afghan war
A total of 85 international service members, including Americans, have died this month

(CNN) -- Three U.S. soldiers were killed in two separate blasts in southern Afghanistan, making July the deadliest month for American forces since the war started nine years ago.

The three died Thursday after an improvised explosive device attack, the International Security Assistance Force said.

Their deaths bring the July tally to 63. A total of 85 international service members, including Americans, have died this month.

Before this month, June was the deadliest month for Americans and coalition forces. A total of 103 international soldiers died last month -- including 60 Americans. The totals are based on reports compiled by CNN.

The grim milestone comes amid concern at home over Washington's strategy in the Afghanistan war.
read more here
Grim milestone as three U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan

We could very well settle for that knowing the fallen soldiers receive a military funeral, but then the back story would show a totally different story when we read about the problems at Arlington National Cemetery topped off with the recent news of families left behind being ripped off by insurance companies that are supposed to be paying the families instead of themselves first.

Dead soldier's family sues insurer
Friday, July 30, 2010
SPRINGFIELD - A Belchertown family that has advocated for soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder since their son committed suicide in 2004 is among the lead plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against Prudential Insurance Co. of America.

Kevin and Joyce Lucey received a $250,000 life insurance payment following the death of their son, Jeffrey, an Army corporal who hanged himself in their home shortly after returning from active duty in Iraq.

The class-action suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Springfield by Conway lawyer Cristobal Bonifaz alleges that the Luceys and other beneficiaries of life insurance policies on members of the military were short-changed by Prudential, which was earning 5.7 percent interest on the benefits while paying 1 percent interest.

According to Bonifaz' calculation, Prudential has kept more than $100 million that should have been paid to the families of soldiers. The suit includes as plaintiffs all beneficiaries dating back six years.

Kevin Lucey said Thursday that he and his wife received a kind of checkbook from Prudential weeks after their son's suicide that gave them access to an account worth $250,000, the amount of the policy. The Luceys spent about $53,000 of that money, but took out the remaining $197,000 last year after talking to a financial adviser and invested it so it would have a higher yield.

Lucey said he is outraged that Prudential is making a profit on his son's life insurance policy.

Dead soldiers family sues insurer

The Lucey family lost their son because he wasn't taken care of and committed suicide. These people are heroes! They could have just grieved in the privacy of their own home, let the death of their son remain a private matter, but they knew other families were suffering and something had to be done to end the silence.

I remember when their son's story first came out.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Jeffery Lucey's parents sue government over suicide, bravo!
Iraq war veteran's parents sue U.S. after suicide
Thu Jul 26, 2007 5:41PM EDT
By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) - The parents of an Iraq war veteran who committed suicide sued the U.S. government on Thursday for negligence, charging their son hanged himself after the government ignored his depression.The suit accuses the federal government of not helping 23-year-old Jeffrey Lucey, who committed suicide in his parents' Massachusetts basement less than a year after returning home from fighting during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary James Nicholson was also named in the suit.

And they won!
Marine Reserve Cpl. Jeffrey Lucey's family wins law suit
Family of Iraq vet gets settlement after his suicide

U.S. loses wrongful death suit

By Jeff Schogol,
Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, January 16, 2009
ARLINGTON, Va. — Marine Reserve Cpl. Jeffrey Lucey hanged himself on June 22, 2004, about three weeks after being released as an inpatient from the Northampton Veterans Medical Center in Leeds, Mass.His parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. government, claiming the VA initially refused to treat him for post-traumatic stress disorder because they required him to be sober first.Now they will receive $350,000 under a settlement with the U.S. government that was announced Thursday by Military Families Speak Out, an anti-war group to which they both belong."The Government killed my son," Lucey’s father, Kevin, said in Thursday’s news release. "It sent him into an illegal and reckless war and then, when he returned home, it denied him the basic health care he needed."
click link for more of this

Not only did they bring honor to the life of their son, they managed to bring attention to the suffering of hundreds of other families so that their ranks would not grow without anyone noticing.

Now they are fighting another public battle for the sake of other families. No longer can insurance companies just do what they want without anyone even trying to stop them. Today the news is flooding in from other families and it will go on for a while as the media reports on it. Just as with suicides happening in private lives, it took someone coming forward to talk about it so that others stop suffering. Ending the silence brought attention to PTSD. It brought attention to suicides. Things changed because people were more concerned about others going through the same thing than they were about their privacy. Things only change when someone has the courage to speak out.

Local veterans upset over life insurance policy
Elise Preston
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO---A national out cry of disgust rises as people learn Prudential life insurance makes money off of dead veterans benefits. Prudential is the sole provider of life insurance for active duty and recently retired service members.

They provide what's called a retained asset account. When active duty or recently retired service members die, they're beneficiaries don't receive a lump sum. Instead, they receive the funds through a checking account. The account also allows the beneficiaries to earn interest on the policy.
read more of this here

Local veterans upset over life insurance policy

NY subpoenas MetLife, Pru on soldier death benefits

By Jonathan Stempel
Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:26pm EDT

(Reuters) - New York's attorney general has subpoenaed MetLife Inc and Prudential Financial Inc as part of a probe into whether life insurers are defrauding families of deceased military personnel by siphoning off millions of dollars of death benefits for themselves.

"It is shocking and plain wrong for these multinational life insurance companies to pocket hundreds of millions in profits that really belong to those who have lost family members and have already suffered immensely," the attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, said in a statement.

Cuomo announced the subpoenas of the largest U.S. life insurers on Thursday, one day after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said in a published report that it had begun its own investigation into the issue.
read the rest of this here
NY subpoenas MetLife, Pru on soldier death benefits

But this is not the worst of it or the end of it. This is what they used to excuse what they were doing,,,,

-- We do not think it makes sense to force people to make decisions in a difficult and complex financial environment during a very emotional time in their lives.

This was from Prudential's press release posted on MarketWatch
Prudential addresses concerns with the Department of Veterans Affairs

How dare they? Do they do this on all life insurance policies? Do they try to "save people the trouble" of having to decide what to do with the insurance checks? Who the hell told them they had any right to decide what people did with the money?

These families had to spend day in and day out wondering if their warrior would spend their last day on this earth, then ended up with the doorbell proclaiming their worst fears had come true. They have to wait for the body to return home covered by a flag on top of a casket, then prepare for a funeral. To have anyone holding back paying out on an insurance claim for any reason is unacceptable and appalling! There is no excuse for this at all!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mullen says WikiLeaks founder may have blood on his hands

Mullen says WikiLeaks founder may have blood on his hands
Pentagon leaders Thursday promised a thorough investigation into the release of 91,000 pages of sensitive military documents to the website, saying the security breach will force changes in operational tactics and intelligence gathering in Afghanistan.

Commanders not aware of suicide deaths until weeks after?

Commanders not aware of suicide deaths until weeks after? How is this possible? As if that were not bad enough this reports wants to point fingers at the troops instead of the reasons they had "risky behaviors" in the first place.

Drinking? Well gee that's a hard one to understand. Talk to most veterans and they tell you why they drank while in some foreign country. Talk to them if they have trouble after combat and they tell you it calms them down. It's called self-medicating for a reason.

Drugs and overdoes? Well this one could be more from the fact the DOD has been giving out drugs to help them sleep and for full blown PTSD to keep them on duty but offered hardly no therapy and worse, very little medical motoring when medications have been coming with warnings about supervision from a doctor. This also could have something to do with the fact along with PTSD comes short term memory loss. Ever forget if you took a pill and take more?

This is a report from people with blinders on searching in the dark for reasons to blame the troops. You know, the same men and women so dedicated to serving this country they were willing to die for it. Not by their hands but by the enemy they were sent to fight. Blaming them without understanding them is one of the reasons the suicide numbers and attempted suicides have gone up instead of down! Now we also know that "commanders didn’t realize soldiers under their control had committed suicide until weeks after the troops had taken their lives."

Report links suicide spike to risky behaviors

By Gregg Zoroya - USA Today
Posted : Thursday Jul 29, 2010 15:21:23 EDT

A record high number of Army suicides are linked to an increasingly “permissive” environment in the service where soldiers take personal risks in their lives by using alcohol and drugs, committing crimes and refusing to get psychological help, according to a sweeping internal investigation released by Army officials Thursday.

In many cases, the report says, commanders don’t do enough to curb the behavior.

The review, commissioned last year by Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli, says this “Army-wide problem” is linked to a tally of deaths last year that included 160 active-duty soldiers who committed suicide and 146 more who died during risky activity or behavior such as drug use. Seventy-four of those deaths were drug overdoses. There were also 1,713 attempted suicides last year.

In some cases, the report says, commanders didn’t realize soldiers under their control had committed suicide until weeks after the troops had taken their lives.
read more here
Report links suicide spike to risky behaviors

Yet this is how Stars and Stripes reported this

Task force report says suicides linked to lack of leadership, discipline
By Megan McCloskey
Stars and Stripes
Published: July 29, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va. — “Atrophied” leadership has led to more high-risk behavior among soldiers and ultimately more soldiers committing suicide, according to a blunt report the service released Thursday.

“It’s time for the Army to take a hard look at itself,” Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Peter Chiarelli said at a Pentagon press briefing.

The report, based on a 15-month review by the Suicide Prevention Task Force, asks: “Where has the Army’s leadership in garrison gone?”

Chiarelli said nearly 10 years of war has led to a generation of leaders who focus solely on preparing for combat. He pointed out that many of the Army’s platoon sergeants joined the service after 2001, so all they’ve ever experienced is an unbalanced, stressed Army that has had to prioritize tactical readiness over good order and discipline in garrison.
read more here
Task force report says suicides linked to lack of leadership

6K graves at Arlington could be wrong

Senator: 6K graves at Arlington could be wrong
By The Associated Press
Thursday, July 29th, 2010
Senator: As many as 6,600 graves at Arlington Cemetery could be misidentified

A Senate Democrat says that as many as 6,600 graves at Arlington National Cemetery could be misidentified because managers there didn't do their job properly.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., spoke at a hearing Thursday, where the cemetery's former superintendent and deputy superintendent were scheduled to testify.

McCaskill says she believes that between 4,900 and 6,600 graves may be unmarked or mislabeled on cemetery maps.
read more here
6K graves at Arlington could be wrong

Westboro Baptist set to protest another soldier's funeral

They didn't show up

Protests planned at Spring Hill soldier's funeral
By Laura J. Nelson, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SPRING HILL — First came the flier: "God hates America & is killing our troops in his wrath."

And now, its makers want to deliver their message in person Wednesday on Mariner Boulevard.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based religious organization that has gained notoriety by picketing military funerals across the country, plan a protest outside a local soldier's funeral.

Two local groups hope to shield that soldier's family from the WBC's picket signs.

"We will be there to protect the family from this indignity," said Kathy Kentta, a local organizer for United Protectors of Fallen Soldiers. "No grieving family deserves this treatment."

Spring Hill soldier Sgt. Derek Schicchi, 27, died July 19 of an apparent gunshot wound while serving at Fort Hood. He was found behind a store in Killeen, Texas, and local police said there was no evidence of foul play.
read more here
Protests planned at Spring Hill soldier funeral

Florida:State Dept. of VA Director killed in accident

State Dept. of VA Director LeRoy Collins Jr. Killed in Accident
Kevin Derby's blog
Posted: July 29, 2010 11:06 AM

Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins Jr., executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, was killed on Thursday morning when a car hit the bike he was riding in Tallahassee.
read more here

LeRoy Collins Jr Killed in Accident

also read here
Crist: LeRoy Collins Jr. hit and killed

U.S. Missing Billions in Iraqi Funds

U.S. Missing Billions in Iraqi Funds
July 28, 2010

A new independent audit shows the U.S. military cannot account for $8.7 billion of Iraqi money allocated for the rebuilding of 
the war-ravaged nation.

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by

U.S. Missing Billions in Iraqi Funds

Army suicide study to survey 400,000

Army suicide study to survey 400,000
By Seth Robson
Stars and Stripes
Published: July 28, 2010

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Starting this summer, researchers plan to survey up to 400,000 soldiers as part of the largest study to date of suicide and mental health among military personnel.

It’s the next phase in a $50 million, five-year study the Army and the The National Institute of Mental Health have been conducting since 2008 in hopes of identifying risk factors and providing a scientific basis for efforts to reduce troops’ suicide rates.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to assist the Army in addressing a pressing military health issue,” NIMH director Thomas R. Insel said in the statement.

Historically, the suicide rate has been lower in the military than among civilians, but in 2005 that pattern was reversed. In June, there were 21 active-duty and 11 reserve soldier suicides, including seven in Iraq or Afghanistan, the most on record.

“While the stresses of the current wars (in Iraq and Afghanistan), including long and repeated deployments and post-traumatic stress, are important potential contributors for research to address, suicidal behavior is a complex phenomenon,” the NIMH statement said.
read more here
Army suicide study to survey 400000

Retired vets help soldiers with combat PTSD

Retired vets help soldiers with combat PTSD through Operation Restored Warrior
Jawa Report (blog)
June 2010 saw the highest number of combat deaths in Afghanistan, and also the highest number of suicides by active duty and reserve service members. So far this year there have been 145 suicides by soldiers, compared to 130 this time last year. The DOD response to this disturbing trend has been to produce a video addressing service suicide. Oh, and give soldiers professional help from the likes of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood killer.

But one private organization, Operation Restored Warrior, is working to help soldiers deal with combat-related PTSD. The organization is run by retired military members and has the support of giants like LTG Hal Moore ("We Were Soldiers Once, and Young") and LTG Jerry Boykin (Delta Force CO). Here is a report from WHNT on the fine work of Operation Restored Warrior
read more here
Retired vets help soldiers with combat PTSD

More on this story
Carson GI cited for preventing suicide in Iraq
The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday May 18, 2010 14:00:51 EDT

FORT CARSON, Colo. — A Fort Carson soldier has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for preventing a buddy’s suicide in Iraq.

The Army says Spc. Albert Godding removed the firing pin from his buddy’s rifle after noting he was feeling down because his wife was leaving him and he had several months left in his deployment.

The Army says the other soldier tried to kill himself with his rifle later that day, but it wouldn’t fire without the pin.

Godding was presented the award at Fort Polk, La., where he was training with Fort Carson’s 4th Brigade Combat Team to deploy to Afghanistan.
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Stellate ganglion block offers hope for PTSD treatments

There is no "one size fits all" for treating PTSD. If something doesn't work, keep looking until you and your doctor find the right treatment. Medication helps some but what may work for a friend, may not work for you. Therapy works but again, what kind of therapy that works for someone you know may not be right for you. Keep trying and you'll find what you need to heal.

Jab to the neck treats PTSD?
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dr. Jay Adlersberg

Eyewitness News
NEW YORK (WABC) -- All it takes is one loud noise to trigger a flood of awful memories. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) haunts one in every six soldiers coming back from Iraq, and nearly eight million Americans in all. Standard treatment means therapy and medications that don't always work and have side effects. Now, one doctor is treating PTSD with an injection that he says can block the painful memories.

"I was firing a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). When I pulled the trigger, it malfunctioned, and it blew up in the tube. Injured seven marines and killed three, all good friends of mine," said John Sullivan, an Iraq Veteran.

Thirteen surgeries, several skin grafts, and two years of therapy later, Sullivan is in a much more peaceful place, but that doesn't mean he's safe from the effects of war.

"The way I look at PTSD, it's a biological problem. It's no different than a broken arm," said Dr. Eugene Lipov, the Medical Director of the Advanced Pain Center.

Dr. Lipov is the first to use a local anesthetic to treat PTSD. It's called stellate ganglion block (SGB). It's been used since the 1920s to treat pain.

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Jab to the neck treats PTSD

VA accounting system deserves an F

Lawmakers: VA accounting system deserves an F

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Jul 28, 2010 14:05:32 EDT

Incredulous lawmakers sat steaming as government auditors gave the Veterans Affairs Department a “B” grade on efforts to correct an accounting system that has almost twice as many unexplained charges today as it did two years ago.

“I would not underestimate the anger my colleagues on both sides feel. I would not underestimate the sense we are really mad,” said Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, who said he would have given VA an “F.”

The problem involves something called “miscellaneous obligations” —purchases made outside of the normal contracting system, usually for items that are needed quickly, such as medical supplies, but sometimes also for bigger items such as vehicles and furniture.

In 2008, the Government Accountability Office, the auditing and investigative arm of Congress, found $6.9 billion in these miscellaneous charges, many with inadequate or nonexistent documentation to explain the bill.

A new review found $12 billion in miscellaneous charges, and many of the same problems with a lack of justification.
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VA accounting system deserves an F

Therapy helps wounded emerge from comas

Therapy helps wounded emerge from comas

By Gregg Zoroya - USA Today
Posted : Thursday Jul 29, 2010 10:38:38 EDT

TAMPA, Fla. — Army Ranger Cory Remsburg was thrown like a rag doll into an Afghanistan canal Oct. 1 by the blast from a 500-pound roadside bomb, the right side of his head caved in by shrapnel.

After a medical evacuation and six surgeries at military hospitals in Afghanistan, Germany and Bethesda, Md., Remsburg arrived at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital here in November in a vegetative state.

Doctors, therapists, family and friends rallied to help with Remsburg’s therapy. They massaged joints, stretched limbs and exercised muscles. They stimulated him with drugs, aromas and episodes of the TV comedy Scrubs. They questioned, commanded and cajoled — anything to jump-start his brain.

Progress came by inches, his family rejoicing over every success: “Those baby blues are looking very good,” they wrote in an online journal about his open and alert eyes.

Of 97 troops or veterans admitted to these centers between January 2007, when the Emerging Consciousness program became fully operational, and the end of 2009, 67 have awakened, says David Cifu, VA national director, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Two of those were soldiers brought in from overseas battlefields — Remsburg and Sgt. Tony Senecal.

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Therapy helps wounded emerge from comas

Four Dead in Alaska Air Force Base Crash

Four Dead in Alaska Air Force Base Crash
C-17 Cargo Plane on Training Run Crashed Wednesday, Sending Fireball into the 750 Feet into the Sky

A military cargo plane carrying four people on a training run has crashed at an Air Force base near downtown Anchorage, killing all four men aboard.

Col. John McMullen says three of the men were in the Alaska Air National Guard and the fourth was on active duty at Elmendorf Air Force Base. Their names have not been released pending notification of relatives.

Witnesses say the crash sent a fireball rising hundreds of feet over the base near downtown Anchorage.
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Four Dead in Alaska Air Force Base Crash

Body of second sailor recovered in Afghanistan

Body of 2nd sailor recovered in Afghanistan

The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Jul 29, 2010 9:08:59 EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan — A second Navy sailor who went missing in a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan was found dead and his body recovered, a senior U.S. military official and Afghan officials said Thursday.

The family of Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, a 25-year-old from the Seattle area, had been notified of his death, the U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to disclose the information.

Newlove and Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Justin McNeley went missing Friday in Logar province. NATO recovered the body of McNeley — a 30-year-old father of two from Wheatridge, Colo. — in the area Sunday.
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Body of second sailor found/

VA supporters take to the streets

VA supporters take to the streets

By Dan Bain
Story Published: Jul 28, 2010 at 8:15 AM PDT

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Veterans and supporters lined the entrances to the Roseburg Veterans Administration Medical Center Tuesday morning, and they plan to keep doing it to call attention to the possible cuts in services at the hospital.

The veterans held signs demanding that VA officials stop the downsizing and keep the Roseburg facility as a full service hospital.

Veterans say the want to keep people aware of what's going on and encourage them to make their opinions known.

Jim Little of the Douglas County Veterans Forum, says they need to keep the pressure on, and that's what they intend to do. "We want our VA Roseburg hospital returned to a full service hospital," said Little.
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VA supporters take to the streets

John Boehner wanted to cut VA bill that just passed House

For veterans bill, Republicans put budget ax aside

WASHINGTON — House Republicans who have spent months demanding spending cuts blanched Wednesday at their first opportunity to actually make them, instead joining Democrats in treating a bill to pay for veterans programs in 2011 as politically sacrosanct in an election year.

The veterans measure is the first of a dozen spending bills for the upcoming 2011 budget year to come up for a vote. Democrats, meanwhile, were doing some ducking and weaving of their own to avoid time-consuming floor debates and politically difficult votes on other measures.

It's of little surprise that Democrats picked the Veterans Affairs bill as the first in the appropriations pile to bring to a vote. It passed by a 411-6 vote.

Only a handful of others are likely to get as far before the November election, even though all 12 are supposed to pass both the House and Senate and be signed by the president before Oct. 1. Last year at this time, the House had passed all 12 bills.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, offered the only amendments to cut the veterans bill but withdrew them as soon as Democrats started making political hay out of them.

Boehner wanted to cut the Veterans Affairs Department's rapidly growing policy office as well as its congressional lobbying operation and skim $45 million from the VA's $3.3 billion request for computer systems, which the agency itself admits was too high.
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For veterans bill

Returning veterans deserve better

There are a lot of articles I read over the course of the day. Sometimes they get me angry and sometimes they offer hope. Most of the time, they remind me of what we went through when no one was talking about PTSD and reporters considered any reports about the fate of our veterans to be nothing more than "sour grapes" as they proceeded to hang up the phone.

When I married my husband in 1984, I knew Vietnam had taken hold of him but at the time no one was warning PTSD would get worse without treatment. We just assumed it was as bad as it would ever be. Now we know a lot more. You have to understand that it was not until the late 70's the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was being used by the mental health community and not until the 80's the VA used it. There really wasn't much known back then.

Nine years later, I felt as if I had entered into a world I had not known existed. A world where veterans are denied the medical care they needed to heal from combat. My Dad was 100% disabled Korean War vet. He was well taken care of so I assumed all veterans needing care got it. I realized how wrong I was when my husband's PTSD got worse. I was finally able to convince him to go to the VA for help but it was a six year battle to have his claim approved and his care covered by the VA. It was six years of hell trying to keep him alive, going for help at the same time I had to fight the VA because he had given up.

What was the problem? A wrong number typed in on a Bronze Star Award. The doctors tested him, diagnosed him with PTSD tied to Vietnam, just as a civilian doctor had done in 1990. None of that mattered because of the error on the award. We had all the documentation and since I knew first hand how veterans were treated, what they went through when claims were denied, I contacted a lot of local reporters but was told it was nothing more than "sour grapes" because his claim was denied. Had they bothered to even take a look at the documentation we had, they would know it was the truth and if it happened to my husband, it was happening to a lot of veterans, but they didn't bother. Long story short, I ended up talking to a General and he has his assistant track down the facts to have the award corrected. The VA soon after approved his claim.

Reading the following I can tell you that things have not changed that much when it comes to filling out claims and having the paperwork to back up the claim. What I find very hopeful in all of this is the fact so many reporters are willing to look at the facts and understand there is a problem in this country when disabled veterans are left to fend for themselves. After reading this I am very sad because of the memories it stirred up because I know when we read about claims denied, care delayed or another veteran falling thru the cracks, there are far too many more we will never hear about.

We can all agree they deserve the best care possible but no one can agree on how we get there from here. At least we're closer than ever before so take some comfort in that and keep fighting to make sure our veterans are all taken care of.

Editorial: Returning veterans deserve better
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jul 28, 2010 @ 12:56 PM
The story of Marine Staff Sgt. Curtis Long, who survived a bomb blast while serving in western Iraq in 2007, should remind us all of the toll the concurrent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking on our servicemen and women.

Long, 26, was riding in a mine-resistant truck when a 300-pound bomb went off, sending the truck flying 30 feet into the air. The blast knocked Long unconscious for five minutes.

After he returned from Iraq, Long was angry, emotionally distant from his family and numb, according to his wife, Ginny. He has since begun treatment for severe post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Long is far from alone in being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the Veterans Administration, more than 400,000 veterans are receiving benefits for the disorder, including 19,000 women. The Houston Chronicle reports that 20 percent of the 2 million soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 suffer from PTSD.

On July 13, the VA changes its rules and no longer required documented proof of events that might have caused the disorder and is encouraging veterans who had been denied benefits to apply again. Before that time, the VA made these men and women jump through hoops while seeking help. In one case, recounted in the Washington Post, the PTSD claim of an Air Force veteran was denied because of a spelling mistake on his forms.
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National Guardsman foreclosured on while in Iraq gets home back

Frisco soldier who lost home to foreclosure while in Iraq gets it back

07:21 AM CDT on Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Frisco soldier and his family who lost their home to foreclosure while he was serving in Iraq will get the house back.

Army National Guard Capt. Michael Clauer and his wife, May, lost their $315,000 southwest Frisco home in May 2008 after falling behind on Heritage Lakes Homeowners Association dues.

The Clauers sued the association and subsequent buyers in federal court. A court-ordered settlement conference led to an agreement this week that gives the house back to the Clauers.
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Frisco soldier who lost home to foreclosure

Leaked military documents show search for soldier missing since 2009

Documents detail search for captive Idaho soldier

BOISE, Idaho — Leaked military documents on the war in Afghanistan appear to provide details of the U.S. Army's search for an Idaho soldier captured last year by the Taliban.

Bowe Bergdahl, from Hailey, has been a captive since June 30, 2009.
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Documents detail search for captive Idaho soldier