Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Questions loom over drug given to sleepless vets

Questions loom over drug given to sleepless vets

WASHINGTON — Andrew White returned from a nine-month tour in Iraq beset with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder: insomnia, nightmares, constant restlessness. Doctors tried to ease his symptoms using three psychiatric drugs, including a potent anti-psychotic called Seroquel.

Thousands of soldiers suffering from PTSD have received the same medication over the last nine years, helping to make Seroquel one of the Veteran Affairs Department's top drug expenditures and the No. 5 best-selling drug in the nation.

Several soldiers and veterans have died while taking the pills, raising concerns among some military families that the government is not being up front about the drug's risks. They want Congress to investigate.

In White's case, the nightmares persisted. So doctors recommended progressively larger doses of Seroquel. At one point, the 23-year-old Marine corporal was prescribed more than 1,600 milligrams per day — more than double the maximum dose recommended for schizophrenia patients.

A short time later, White died in his sleep.
read more of this here
Questions loom over drug given to sleepless vets

read some more collected reports from this blog

Links to medications suspected with non-combat deaths Sunday, January 13, 2008

Vets taking PTSD drugs die in sleep Saturday, May 24, 2008

"Vets' Sudden Cardiac Deaths Are Not Suicides or Overdoses" says doctor Tuesday, May 19, 2009

But this one really stands out
Seroquel fine to be paid but what about the rest of the story? Wednesday, April 28, 2010

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals took advantage of the government and has agreed to pay a fine. The problem is, the FDA, another branch of the government, did not approve Seroquel for "uses that were not approved by the FDA as safe and effective (including aggression, Alzheimer’s disease, anger management, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar maintenance, dementia, depression, mood disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleeplessness)." Why isn't anyone asking the VA why they used them without checking to see if the company was telling them the truth or not? It's great to hold the companies accountable, but who is holding the VA and other agencies accountable?

click the links to read more of these stories

Diabetes now tops Vietnam vets' claims

It never fails to amaze me that this nation can be so good at spending money on the machinery of the Department of Defense but we never really do seem to be able to plan on taking care of the men and women we send. Congressman Filner said in Orlando on Sunday that the price of war should always take into account the wounded, but somehow the Presidents and planners of wars never seem to think of this. The survival rate is higher than ever and troops are surviving wounds that would have killed them on the spot during other wars but while they do make it back home to their families, the care of these men and women will need to be taken care of, and rightly so, for the rest of their lives. We spent as a nation a boat load of money over the years to find ways of keeping the wounded alive but that never seemed to translate into the money that would be needed to make sure they had what they needed for the rest of their lives.

All these years later the "good idea of Agent Orange" still does not have a price tag on it. How many years do you think it will take before the rest of good ideas the DOD has used surfaces in the lives of our troops from other wars?

Diabetes now tops Vietnam vets' claims

RALEIGH, N.C. — By his own reckoning, a Navy electrician spent just eight hours in Vietnam, during a layover on his flight back to the U.S. in 1966. He bought some cigarettes and snapped a few photos.

The jaunt didn't make for much of a war story, and there is no record it ever happened. But the man successfully argued that he may have been exposed to Agent Orange during his stopover and that it might have caused his diabetes — even though decades of research into the defoliant have failed to find more than a possibility that it causes the disease.

Because of worries about Agent Orange, about 270,000 Vietnam veterans — more than one-quarter of the 1 million receiving disability checks — are getting compensation for diabetes, according to Department of Veterans Affairs records obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act.

More Vietnam veterans are being compensated for diabetes than for any other malady, including post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss or general wounds.

Tens of thousands of other claims for common ailments of age — erectile dysfunction among them — are getting paid as well because of a possible link, direct or indirect, to Agent Orange.
read more here
Diabetes now tops Vietnam vets' claims

Fort McPherson soldier was in near-catatonic state before shooting

Lawyer: Sgt. in shooting was on strict diet

Reserve soldier was in near-catatonic state after being ‘belittled, humiliated and berated’
By Greg Bluestein - The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Aug 31, 2010 9:46:48 EDT

FORT McPHERSON, Ga. — A soldier was fasting to meet strict military weight guidelines and was nearly catatonic when he shot and killed a supervisor who denied his vacation request, his attorney said Monday.

Attorney William Cassara said Army Reserve Sgt. Rashad Valmont was dehydrated, exhausted and delirious when he burst into Master Sgt. Pedro Mercado's office in nearby Fort Gillem in June and shot him six times.

Valmont, 29, faces a premeditated murder charge. The details of the shooting were revealed for the first time Monday at a military hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. No immediate recommendation was issued.
read more here
Lawyer Sgt in shooting was on strict diet

Five Fort Campbell Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

Five Fort Campbell Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Five Fort Campbell soldiers have been killed in three separate incidents in Afghanistan over the past few days.

Private First Class Chad Derek Coleman, and
Private Adam Jacob Novak, both 20,
were killed on August 27 when a command-wired improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during convoy operations in the Paktiya province, Afghanistan.

Coleman was a Cavalry Scout; Novak was an infantryman. Both Coleman and Novak were assigned to B Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

The Department of Defense reported that
Specialist James Robinson, 27,
died August 28 when insurgents attacked his Forward Operating Base in the Bermal district, Paktika province, Afghanistan.

Captain Ellery R. Wallace, 33, and
Private First Class Bryn T. Raver, 20,
died August 29 at Nangahar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when their military vehicle was struck by rocket propelled grenade on August. 28.

read more here

Five Fort Campbell Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

Cape Coral City employees raise $3,200 for soldier

City employees raise $3,200 for soldier
Funds hand delivered to Pfc. Kent at Walter Reed Hospital


City of Cape Coral employees are trying to look out for one of their own.

City employees donated $3,200 to Pfc. Corey Kent's family recently, hand delivered by Cape Police Sgt. Rob Wardrop to Walter Reed Hospital where Kent is recovering from serious injuries.

City spokeswoman Connie Barron said Wardrop originally intended to have city employees sign cards showing their support for Kent, but later decided to try and raise money for his family, who are also at Walter Reed in Maryland.

Barron said Wardrop expected to collect a few hundred dollars, and was overwhelmed, but happy, that donations were so strong.

Donations were collected over a period of two weeks, according to Barron.

"The idea was to reach out to him (Kent), and let him know city employees care about him," Barron said.
read more here

Vietnam Vet with PTSD aimed at Westboro group

Marine veteran haunted by memories
By Matthew Hansen

George Vogel drove his Ford pickup truck toward a group of people he thought were the infamous Westboro Baptist protesters.

The 62-year-old Omahan’s trigger finger rested on a can of potent pepper spray that can cause temporary blindness and vomiting. His grandson rode in the passenger seat.

But what Vogel saw as he leaned out the driver’s side window and twice sprayed the crowd outside the Saturday funeral of Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Bock is a 40-year-old memory he can’t shake, his wife says.

In the memory, Vogel is himself a young Marine. He has just climbed off the ship that has brought him back to the United States from a brutal tour of duty in Vietnam. And he encounters a group of anti-war protesters, young adults his own age, waving signs and screaming at him.

“He kept saying, ‘All I could think of was when I got off the boat,’” Marlene Vogel said Monday of the lone phone conversation she has had with her husband since he was jailed Saturday on suspicion of 16 counts of misdemeanor assault.

The charges stem from the 16 people — none of whom are believed to be Westboro Baptist members — who were allegedly harmed by Vogel’s bear repellent, a Mace-like chemical that burned their eyes, turned their stomachs and sent several to the hospital.

“In no way did he want to take away from the honor of Sgt. Bock, the solemn occasion for his family,” Marlene Vogel says. “But he was not thinking clearly. All he saw in his mind were those protesters when he got off the ship.”

Vogel is a Creighton graduate, a father of four, a retired vice president of a telemarketing firm and a longtime member of a veterans group that aids families of Marines killed or wounded in combat.

He is also a longtime victim of post-traumatic stress disorder, his wife and his attorney said Monday. He is spooked by loud noises. He has long suffered nightmares — his children, when young, grew used to hearing him call in artillery and scream for help while asleep.
read more here


Sunday, August 29, 2010

600 Patriot Guard Riders stood vigil for Staff Sgt. Michael Bock
Staff Sgt. Michael Bock, 26, who died August 13 in Afghanistan's Helmand province

Veterans with PTSD at greater risk for dementia

Veterans with PTSD at greater risk for dementia
31. August 2010 07:05

More Study Needed to Determine Why Veterans with PTSD Are More at Risk Than Others

Results of a study reported in the September issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggest that Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a greater risk for dementia than Veterans without PTSD, even those who suffered traumatic injuries during combat.

Exposure to life threatening events, like war, can cause PTSD, and there are high rates among veterans. PSTD includes symptoms such as avoiding things or people that remind a person of the trauma, nightmares, difficulty with sleep, and mood problems.

"We found Veterans with PTSD had twice the chance for later being diagnosed with dementia than Veterans without PTSD," said Mark Kunik, M.D., M.P.H., a psychiatrist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Texas, USA, and senior author of the article. "Although we cannot at this time determine the cause for this increased risk, it is essential to determine whether the risk of dementia can be reduced by effectively treating PTSD. This could have enormous implications for Veterans now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan."
read more here
Veterans with PTSD at greater risk for dementia

Glenn Beck took advantage of the troops for himself

Glenn Beck took advantage of the troops and our love for them!

There have been reports that the money Beck raised during his rally did not come with a warning that the money would first go to pay for the rally and then into the foundation. There is a disclaimer on his site about this but when a reported $5 Million dollars was raised for the sake of the troops and the wounded, it is sickening that this happened.

If you donated for them you ended up donating to Beck and his rally.

Thank you to all those that attended 8/28 both in person and online

With your support and help we were able to raise more than $5-million dollars for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

If you would like to donate to their cause you can do so online here OR you can text SOWF to 85944 to make a $10 donation.


Every day service personnel risk their lives to protect our country. It is through the support of non-profit organizations like the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) that the families of these service members are taken care of in the event of an accident or loss of life. Learn more about the SOWF today by visiting www.specialops.org.

Help us to honor our heroes, our heritage and our future by making a tax-deductible donation online or by sending a check to:

C/O Mercury Radio Arts
1270 Avenue of the Americas, 9th Floor
NY, NY 10020
(all checks should be payable to Special Operations Warrior Foundation)

This is at the bottom of the page,,,,,,,,,

This rally is compliant with IRS Rules and Regulations found in IRS publication 557 and IRS publication 4221-PC. For tax purposes a gift to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation is deductible in accordance with Internal Revenue Service's tax laws. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contribution. The purchase of Restoring Honor Rally merchandise is not a donation to SOWF, but all net proceeds from the sale of Restoring Honor Rally merchandise is being donated to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. All contributions made to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) will first be applied to the costs of the Restoring Honor Rally taking place on August 28, 2010. All contributions in excess of these costs will then be retained by the SOWF. Tax ID 52-1183585.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick update

As of today, I am a college "girl" as my husband puts it. I went back to college for Digital Media and Post Production. Mondays and Wednesdays will be very light posting from now on since I have two three hour classes and a long drive. Feels really strange being back in college since the last time I was in one my daughter was getting her bachelor's degree. The last time I was a student was over 10 years ago when I went back to get certified in Microsoft Office.

The good news is that if you like my videos now, think of what I can do with this kind of training!

I'll post tomorrow because this college "girl" is really tired.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vietnam veteran retiring from Guard after serving since 1970

Vietnam veteran retiring from Guard

One of the last veterans of the Vietnam War still serving in the North Dakota Army National Guard is retiring.

Master Sgt. Douglas F. Balliet will be honored at a retirement ceremony at 1 p.m. Monday at the Army Aviation Support Facility, 3410 Airway Ave., south of the Bismarck Airport. The event is open to the public.

A native of Linton, Balliet enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1970 and was assigned as an aircraft mechanic with the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Eagle, Vietnam, from September 1970, to September 1971.

After an additional tour in the active duty Army, Balliet joined the North Dakota Army National Guard in 1972.

He is assigned as the North Dakota Army National Guard’s aircraft maintenance supervisor.

There are two other Vietnam War veterans still serving in the North Dakota Army Guard.
Vietnam veteran retiring from Guard

Vets mourn loss of Vietnam Veteran Ken Baker

Vets mourn loss of Ken Baker, 61
August 29, 2010

When it came to helping veterans, Ken Baker was always there.

Today, fellow veterans will gather at 2 p.m. for a memorial service for Baker at the Veterans Memorial Center in Merritt Island. Baker, who was 61, died Aug. 18.

Friends and fellow veterans said Baker would do whatever he could for veterans' causes. He would also enlist others to help.

"He used to come to me," Ralph Earrusso said. "He'd say 'Ralph, it's easy. I'll help you.' He did help me. He was always there for me."

Baker was there so much for others that friends say it will be difficult to replace him in all he did through his volunteer work for Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard. He served as president and in many other capacities for veterans' organizations.

Baker, a Vietnam War veteran of the Army's 1st Cavalry Division, began his work with veterans organizations after coming to terms with his critical war injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"He was a charter member and the backbone of the organization," said Bill Vagianos, past president of the Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard. "At the time of his death, he was still on the board of directors."

read more here
Vets mourn loss of Ken Baker

Congressmen Filner and Grayson were asking for you today

Just back from meeting Congressman Filner and Congressman Grayson in downtown Orlando. They came together today to ask how you are doing, that is, if you are a veteran. For all the hard work both of these gentlemen do all year long for veterans, they want to know what you need and how what they are trying to do is working for you.

There were a lot of people there working on behalf of veterans and some really great questions but for me right now I want to tell you what I asked. I wanted to know why I was listening to CSPAN and hearing some people in congress say they couldn't increase funding for the VA because "there were two wars to pay for" at the time all the reports of inadequate care were the topic of many news stories beginning with the scandal at Walter Reed. Congressman Filner said he didn't have an answer as to why the general public didn't have a clue about any of this but I have a feeling he was just being nice. We know it is because the cable news shows had better things to talk about than just taking care of veterans or mouthing support to their faces at the same time they were stabbing them in the backs. If you want to know who was voting against veterans, look up the voting record of your senator and representative to learn all about them. If you noticed, then in 2007 when Filner took over chairmanship of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, things started to get better but there is a long way to go and there at too many people getting in the way.

Congressman Grayson added to Filner's answer by saying on the Presidential committee, there are some saying that stopping the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not the answer to coming up with fixing the funding problems. They want to cut the pay to the troops and cut back on services to the veterans. Again, he was being nice because we know that has been the answer all along because the Republicans some of my friends elected were duped into believing they cared simply because they were told and never bothered to check the voting records. Filner and Grayson said it was a moral obligation to take care of the men and women we send into combat and their care should be part of the budget for any war as a debt that needs to be paid just like all other war spending.

I asked Congressman Filner about why he holds so many hearings on the problems our veterans face but doesn't seem to be getting any testimony on what works. Wives of Vietnam veterans were the same age as the newer wives of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. We have years of experience to offer them in telling them how they can heal their marriages and help their husbands heal. After all we had to make all the mistakes learning because no one was talking about any of this when the Vietnam veterans came home. My own marriage is going on 26 years and yes, I remember what it felt like to be lost, alone, afraid and often even ashamed. I remember what it was like trying to explain all of this to our daughter and our families. I had the luxury, if you want to call it that, of knowing what PTSD was and why my husband changed because I was studying it since 1982 right after we met and my Dad said it was shell shock.

Congressman Filner said that people like me should be hired so that we can help other families cope and help the veteran heal. He's right. Taking care of the veteran and the families keeps families together and then it should help stop many veterans from becoming homeless. None of this has to be this bad.

Both Congressmen also brought up how the DOD says there are so many killed and so many wounded but the figures coming out of the VA do not match. The DOD says there are less than 50,000 wounded but over 100,000 filed claims for their wounds with the VA. The figures on the deaths do not come close because there are many not counted who committed suicide.

There is a lot that has to be done but these two men are trying and so are a lot of others across the country. I just thought it was important that you knew you were talked about today and both of these men wanted to know how you really are instead of waiting for the troubles your going through to become too great before someone does something more for you. They feel it is a debt that needs to be paid and not something any of you should have to do without, beg for or fight for.

Wisconsin Guardsman charged with killing separated Marine

Guardsman charged with killing separated Marine

By Joe Gould - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Aug 29, 2010 8:46:22 EDT

A 24-year-old guardsman in Waukesha, Wis., allegedly shot dead “his best friend,” a 23-year-old Marine Corps veteran, after the two argued during a night of drinking, according to local police.

Steven P. Osburn Jr., a specialist with the Wisconsin National Guard, was charged with intentional homicide in the Aug. 6 death of Zachary S. Gallenberg, formerly a Hawaii-based Marine corporal.

Police said Osburn shot Gallenberg in the chest outside Osburn’s home, where police discovered him bleeding and unresponsive. The first-degree intentional homicide charge can carry a life sentence. Osburn was being held in lieu of $500,000 bond at the Waukesha County Jail as of Aug. 18.
read more here
Guardsman charged with killing separated Marine

Georgia girl who doesn't feel pain helps researchers

Georgia girl who doesn't feel pain helps researchers understand condition
Posted: August 28, 2010

By Jeremy Cox
PATTERSON, Ga. - Ashlyn Blocker didn't cry when she was born.

A severe diaper rash when she was 2 weeks old didn't faze her. She never fussed when she was hungry, so her parents had to remind themselves to feed her every two hours. At 6 months, she laughed and cooed as a nurse administered stinging drops to dilate her eyes.

Doctors found that Ashlyn had a one-in-a-billion condition: She couldn't feel pain. And unlike most people in medical literature with a documented insensitivity to pain, she was otherwise normal and healthy.

It sounds like a gift. Imagine never having to worry about the discomfort of paper cuts, skinned knees or going to the dentist.

However, being immune to pain is also a curse, both physiologically and philosophically.

You wouldn't know if you were getting too hot or too cold. A sudden medical emergency like a heart attack or appendicitis might go unnoticed until it was too late. And how would you ever feel empathy for the suffering of others if you had never suffered yourself?
read more here

Georgia girl who does not feel pain helps researchers

Putnam teacher from St. Johns was decapitated

Putnam teacher from St. Johns was decapitated, sheriff reveals
Posted: August 27, 2010
By Tia Mitchell
ST. AUGUSTINE — The details of how an elementary school teacher’s body was decapitated and dismembered have rattled even St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar, a 30-year law enforcement veteran.

“This is probably one of the most heinous crimes that I have been involved in,” he said Friday.

Shoar announced new details about the death of 48-year-old Jan Dunn Keller, whose funeral will be today in Putnam County where she grew up and taught.

Her boyfriend, Timothy Dale Rose, 51, has been charged with murder. He told investigators he last saw Keller leaving a St. Augustine Beach restaurant Sunday. The two lived together at a home on Enon Court in St. Augustine.
read more here
Putnam teacher from St Johns was decapitated

Joy and tears greet US Army troops back from Iraq

Joy and tears greet US Army troops back from Iraq
By Dan De Luce (AFP)

WASHINGTON — Mothers cried and children squealed with delight as a company of US troops arrived back from Iraq on Saturday, after a year-long tour marked by desert heat and monotony.

A crowd of families roared as 124 soldiers from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, arrived marching in formation, part of a wave of homecomings as President Barack Obama scales back the US role in Iraq.

The welcoming ceremony at Fort Myer, outside Washington, was a joyous event for the soldiers and their loved ones after 12 months of separation, even if the legacy of the US invasion of Iraq remains a subject of bitter debate at home and abroad.

"It has been a very long year," said a tearful Charlotte Thompson, whose 25-year-old son had volunteered for the Iraq assignment.

The unit spent most of its time guarding a prison with about 300 Iraqi detainees in Taji, and carried out combat patrols as well, officers said.
read more here
Joy and tears greet US Army troops back from Iraq

AWOL soldier shot dead after Dad says Army failed him

Dad: GI shot dead seemed happy, Army failed him
By Matthew D. LaPlante

The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated Aug 28, 2010 11:12PM
There was something different about Brandon Barrett when he came home from Army basic training in early 2007.

Bill Barrett had always been proud of his son. But now, the Marine Corps veteran noticed, “Brandon held himself higher. Joining the Army was a life-changing experience for him. It was a good change.”

But Bill Barrett now fears that his son’s experiences at war brought on another change — something deeper, something darker.

Something deadly.

The younger Barrett, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, was wearing full battle gear and carrying a loaded rifle when a police officer confronted him in downtown Salt Lake City on Friday afternoon. A police spokeswoman said Barrett opened fire, striking the officer in the leg. The officer returned fire, killing the 28-year-old soldier, whose bloodied body fell in a patch of grass behind the Grand America Hotel, near one of the city’s busiest intersections.

According to military records, Brandon Barrett served in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Force from July 2009 to June 2010, a member of the Army’s 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment.
read more here
GI shot dead seemed happy Army failed him

7 US troops killed in latest Afghanistan fighting

7 US troops killed in latest Afghanistan fighting

KABUL, Afghanistan — Seven U.S. troops have died in weekend attacks in Afghanistan's embattled southern and eastern regions, NATO said Sunday.

Two servicemen died in bombings Sunday in southern Afghanistan, while two others were killed in a bomb attack in the south on Saturday and three in fighting in the east the same day, NATO said. Their identities and other details were being withheld until relatives could be notified.

The latest deaths bring to 42 the number of American forces who have died this month in Afghanistan after July's high of 66. A total of 62 international forces have died in the country this month, including seven British troops.

Fighting is intensifying with the addition of 30,000 U.S. troops to bring the total number of international forces in Afghanistan to 120,000 — 100,000 of them American. Most of those new troops have been assigned to the southern insurgent strongholds of Helmand and Kandahar provinces where major battles are fought almost daily as part of a gathering drive to push out the Taliban.
read more here
7 US troops killed in latest Afghanistan fighting

600 Patriot Guard Riders stood vigil for Staff Sgt. Michael Bock

Staff Sgt. Michael Bock, 26, who died August 13 in Afghanistan's Helmand province

He should be the focus of this story. He was killed serving this country. He didn't serve Afghanistan. He died there. He served the United States of America. He served with his brothers and sisters, his military family just as much as he served for his family and friends back home. The nation borrowed him for a time but he was their's first and they will remember him, mourn the loss of him, visit his grave and grieve for him as Michael Bock.

The incident occurred during the funeral and while nearly 600 members of the Patriot Guard Riders ringed the church and stood vigil, the group's state leader said.

Scott Knudsen, Patriot Guard Riders captain for Nebraska, said no members of the Patriot Guard had any interaction with the church members or counter-protesters, which he numbered Saturday at about 12.

"We don't get close to them," Knudsen said of the Westboro members. "We have our backs to them."

Patriot Guard members, who come when they are invited by families, shield families from distraction, Knudsen said.

"We don't condone counter-protesters," said Knudsen, adding he was troubled by Saturday's incident.

"It's inappropriate," he said. "It's a funeral service."

The 600 riders of the Patriot Guard came to honor his life as well as stand as a barrier between the protestors of the Westboro group. (Sorry but I have a hard time calling them a church with the way they act.) On short notice, they plan to give up plans they had ahead of time, make the ride or the drive to these funerals and face whatever the weather brings. In the freezing cold, rain, snow or sweltering heat, they stand guard to protect the family and friends as much as possible. Imagine how heartbreaking it is to have to bury a young member of your family and then be greeted by signs saying someone is thanking God for IED and praising Him for blowing up the troops. That's no god I know. It can't be the same God who sent Christ to tell us how much He loved us or the same one telling us that we needed to love each other. The Patriot Guard Riders formed for this mission as soon as the Westboro group decided to invade and attack mourners at a funeral.

Protestors and counter protestors will keep going on as long as the Supreme Court refuses to stop this. Free speech does need to be protected but since when does someone's free speech rights demand anyone has to listen to them, see them or be attacked by them?

If people want to protest no one is stopping them but the point here is that the family has no choice. They get to decide what color the casket should be. They get to decide what funeral home will conduct it, what church to hold the service in or to have no religious service at all, when to have it and what flowers to order. They get to decide what cemetery they visit. They have to be there with the other family members and friends to comfort each other but the Westboro group does not have to be there. They can go some place else but they want the publicity. Why the hell should the Supreme Court defend their right to publicize hatred to a captive audience?

Should someone in the Westboro group pass away, would it be ok with them if family members of the fallen showed up to protest at the funeral for one of their own? Can they hold up signs saying "Thank God for sending this one back to hell?" Would it be ok with them for someone to shout out about God's judgement and vengeance? How would they feel if someone shouted out that the person they loved deserved to die?

Man fires pepper spray on protesters outside Marine's funeral
By the CNN Wire Staff
August 28, 2010 11:28 p.m. EDT
NEW: Church member says police didn't control counter-protesters
A motorist fires pepper spray on a crowd outside a funeral for a Marine
Protesters from Westboro Baptist Church were in Omaha, Nebraska
An Omaha resident faces felony and misdemeanor assault charges

(CNN) -- A motorist fired pepper spray Saturday at a group of demonstrators and counter-protesters outside a funeral for a U.S. Marine in Omaha, Nebraska, police said.

The incident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) as members of a small Kansas church that protests at military funerals and counter-protesters stood nearly a block away from First United Methodist Church during services for Staff Sgt. Michael Bock, 26, who died August 13 in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

A man in a Ford-150 pickup truck drove by, extended his arm and sprayed with a large can, police said. His vehicle was stopped a few minutes later.

"Initial indications are he was probably targeting the Westboro Baptist Church" protesters, said officer Michael Pecha, a spokesman for Omaha police.
read more here
Man fires pepper spray on protesters

Westboro group should not be the focus but had it not been for them CNN wouldn't be covering the story of Staff. Sgt. Bock's funeral. The 600 members of the Patriot Guard Riders wouldn't be covered by CNN had it not been for the man who decided to add to the emotional damage being done by attacking the people adding to the trauma.

Fred Phelps
Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr. (born November 13, 1929) is an American pastor who is the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), an Independent Baptist church based in Topeka, Kansas. WBC that is notorious for its anti-gay protests, claiming that most natural disasters and terrorist attacks are God's punishment for a society that tolerates homosexuality.[1][2] The church is monitored as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.[3][4][5] Phelps was a disbarred lawyer, founder of the Phelps Chartered law firm, a past civil rights activist in Kansas, and a Democrat who has five times been a candidate for political office in Kansas Democratic Party primaries. He and his daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, are banned from entering the United Kingdom.[6]

Phelps's followers frequently picket various events, especially military funerals, gay pride gatherings, high-profile political gatherings, performances of The Laramie Project, and even Christian gatherings and concerts with which he had no affiliation, arguing it is their sacred duty to warn others of God's anger. When criticized, Phelps' followers say they are protected in doing so by the First Amendment.[7][8] In response to Phelps' protests at military funerals, President George W. Bush signed the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act into law in May 2006,[9] and, in April 2007, Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius signed into law a bill establishing a 150-foot no-picketing buffer zone around funerals.

Phelps describes himself as an Old School Baptist, and states that he holds to all five points of Calvinism.[23] Phelps particularly highlights John Calvin's doctrine of unconditional election, the belief that God has elected certain people for salvation before birth, and limited atonement, the belief that Christ only died for the elect, and condemns those who believe otherwise

He has the right to believe what he wants but so does everyone else. He has the right to preach his message of hatred but no one should be forced to listen to him or any member of his group. This not only crosses the line of freedom of religion, it corrupts the right to free speech. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" should protect the family members from having to listen to him and his group thank God for the death of a fallen son or daughter, protect them from having their liberty to attend a funeral without being harassed but it seems the only ones to deserve any happiness are those rejoicing with Phelps over the loss of life.

How someone goes from being a civil rights lawyer to attacking the civil rights of others is something we may never know.

But here is a story that CNN didn't cover. Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Schultz died in Afghanistan and his funeral was at a Baptist Church. Why did he want to serve? This is what he said,,,,
"To fight for righteous, individual freedom for myself and all children of God no matter where they were raised."

Yet while most people were thanking God for his life being sent here, people like the Westboro group were thanking God another Marine died. Which group do you think follows what Christ preached?

Fallen Marine was defender of 'righteous freedom'
By Bill Varian, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, August 29, 2010
Some time after he joined the Marine Corps, Nathaniel Schultz filled out a questionnaire asking him why he had signed up.

"Self reliance and ability to protect my family," Schultz wrote. "Decided if I go to war I might as well be the best, most well-trained. To fight for righteous, individual freedom for myself and all children of God no matter where they were raised."

Family and friends gathered under mostly cloudy skies Saturday morning at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon to honor a righteous fight cut short and the young man who waged it. There they were comforted by Pastor George Thomasson, who held up Schultz's goals as evidence of his focus, dedication and deep convictions.

"Nate's life was cut so short," Thomasson said. "We so appreciate deeply in our hearts the sacrifice he made."

Lance Cpl. Schultz was killed Aug. 21 during combat operations in Afghanistan's war-ravaged Helmand province. He was deployed to that country in June after training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and was promoted to lance corporal three weeks before his death.
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Fallen Marine was defender of righteous freedom

Saturday, August 28, 2010

America needs to get act together now

Excuse me right now but I just poured a second glass of wine and shut down my PC. I'm on my laptop trying to get some air. I am really angry right now and it seems to just be building up after the news I read today. Glen Beck and Sarah Palin were in Washington today and according to reports they brought up how we need to "support the troops" and take care of our veterans. Strange because President Obama said the same thing in his weekly address to the nation. What is even more strange about all of this is there is a lot of talking going on that doesn't seem to worth very much.

First, Obama has done a lot to fix some of the messes our troops and veterans have had to deal with for a very long time but people against him politically don't seem to think any of this is worth mentioning. The same people doing a lot of talking today have kept their mouths shut and their ears off all these years but now they want everyone to think they really give a shit about what happens to any of them? I am going to be very blunt because you have one pissed off tipsy chaplain here.

These self-proclaimed "troops supports" always seen to end up hating veterans as if they go into the military with the thought of sucking off the system for the rest of their lives.

Sure, a kid out of high school thinks of joining the military so they can learn how to shoot, fire other weapons, travel, risk their lives, watching buddies die and get blown up at the same time killing other humans so that they can then come back home with the intention of screwing up their families lives, ending their marriages, messing up their kids so they can end up homeless, living in shelters and on the streets drinking themselves to death. Right. After all, that year of deployment, staying alive and worry about their buddies going home in boxes meant they should deserve time off on a park bench somewhere tossing a few down with some other homeless veterans living the good life in pouring rain, freezing snow and endless days without any food in their belly at all.

Well some in this country think that they are criminals wanting to file false claims so that they never have to work again. Even if that were true, would you have wanted to swap jobs with them for the time they did serve in some God forsaken hell they were sent into? If you have the nerve to say yes then why didn't you go? If you said yes and you did end up going then you better get the notion that you are better than any of them out of your head because they are not less than you. They are better than you! They came home with problems because they cared more about other people than you did. You may have been older than they were. That protected the part of your brain you are supposed to feel with.

Bet you didn't know that one! That's right. The frontal lobe is where the emotions are living inside of you and up until 25 that part of your brain has not grown up yet. So if you ended up risking your life at an older age than a high school kid, then count your blessings.

If they come home "messed up" then you should also look in the mirror because they served in the same military you did. Are you proud of your service? Did you do your job? Then what makes you think they are not proud of their service? Didn't do their job? They feel the pain more because they could feel everything else more.

For most of today it's been one comment left after another on a lot of the articles I've read by hacks posing as "troop supporters" at the same time they turn around and slander veterans.

PTSD is real and no they do not deserve to suffer.

PTSD is not new and one out of three combat veterans came home with it going all the way back to your great-great-great granddad. How much do you want to be that if you were able to know everything about your Civil War relative or Revolutionary War kin you'd end up finding out the war in one way or another ended their lives early?

This nation had better stop talking about doing something and getting it right, right now! Too many have died and many more have suffered while a lot of yakking is going on and not enough doing. The next time you hear one more talking head say that we need to take care of our troops and veterans, get themn to explain what the hell they have done instead of just talking about it when a veteran is in earshot. What has Glen Beck done? Sarah Palin? Any ideas? Did they ever mention during their airtime how many died by their own hand? How many ended up homeless? How many families were destroyed? Their talk is cheap and so is the attention they get because it does not cost them anything. They make money off talking. Folks these reports have been coming out since Vietnam. Both of them are old enough to remember about the way Vietnam veterans were treated and they should know better now.

The suicide rate keeps going up so if you want to hang onto the excuse they want to suck off the system then explain how they are supposed to do that when they are in an early grave~

Father John Fergueson On Accepting His Darkside and PTSD

Father John Fergueson On Accepting His Darkside And Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Jamala Henderson

Father John Fergueson is an Episcopal priest at the Church of the Redeemer in Kenmore, Washington. In 1967 he was a Marine fighting in the Vietnam War. He was part of a counterintelligence unit whose mission was to take down the Viet Cong infrastructure. In order to do that, they took prisoners. Father John Fergueson talks about becoming a priest and accepting who he was as a soldier in order to manage his post–traumatic stress disorder.
listen online here
Father John Fergueson On Accepting His Darkside

President Obama weekly address focused on Veterans

It is all true what President Obama said and again he focused on TBI and PTSD.

CIA blocking lawsuit over experiments on troops during Vietnam War

Veterans’ group: CIA blocking lawsuit over experiments on troops

By Daniel Tencer
Friday, August 27th, 2010

An advocacy group working on behalf of Vietnam veterans has asked a federal judge in California to sanction the CIA, saying the spy agency has been blocking efforts to uncover its role in alleged experiments on US soldiers from the 1950s to 1970s.

The Vietnam Veterans of America filed a lawsuit on behalf of six Vietnam War veterans in January, 2009, claiming that the CIA had used an estimated 7,800 US service members as "guinea pigs" in experiments involving "at least 250, but as many as 400 chemical and biological agents," according to Courthouse News.

Among the chemicals the lawsuit alleges were used on the soldiers were LSD, sarin and phosgene nerve gases, cyanide, PCP and even THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

The lawsuit described it as a "vast program of human experimentation" that was "shrouded in secrecy" and carried out without the informed consent of the experiment subjects.

"In 1970, [the CIA] provided Congress with an alphabetical list showing that they had tested 145 drugs during Projects Bluebird, Artichoke, MKULTRA and MKDELTA," the lawsuit stated, as quoted at Courthouse News.
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CIA blocking lawsuit over experiments on troops

Honolulu Police Department award goes to two hero soldiers

Two soldiers honored for car crash aid

By Joe Gould - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Aug 28, 2010 8:39:20 EDT

Staff Sgt. Cameron Grimone and his wife were giving a friend visiting on leave, 1st Lt. Joseph Fontana, a scenic tour of sunny Honolulu when a terrible crash happened before their eyes.

An old Toyota pickup truck raced by them on the H-1 Freeway, slammed into an embankment and flipped three times. The truck was on its side and on fire, the driver’s legs were pinned beneath the cab, and his head was bleeding heavily.

What Grimone and Fontana did next earned them the Honolulu Police Department’s highest medal for bravery, the Civilian Medal of Valor. Grimone received the award at an Aug. 7 ceremony, though Fontana had returned from Iraq the day before and missed the ceremony.

The two childhood buddies from Saranac Lake, N.Y., said they did not do anything extraordinary. As soldiers, they were trained to help, and that’s what they did.
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Two soldiers honored for car crash aid

Hawaii reservists are not alone when they come home from battle

Hawaii reservists are not alone when they come home from battle
Aug 28, 2010

By Teri Okita

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Flashbacks, insomnia, hallucinations - all very real problems for some of Hawaii's returning servicemembers.

"It was pretty rough. I did have nightmares. The stress level was pretty high for me, just because of what I experienced there."

Sergeant Noelani DE Silva saw some pretty horrific things during her 10 month tour in Iraq. "I had no choice but to be strong, "she says. DE Silva's job was to meet with and collect personal information from injured soldiers - many who's limbs had been blown off from roadside bombs.

When she returned home to Hawaii in 2007, she had a hard time adjusting, although she was never specifically diagnosed with PTSD. Still, at first, she didn't want counseling. "I did actually go and seek help afterwards for relief, ‘cause I couldn't sleep, and it was real difficult."

DE Silva still battles some emotions, especially when thinking about a fellow soldier who she took under her wing in Iraq. She tears up when saying "He's still having problems, and we've been back for what, three years now? So, I still carry that burden because it kind of destroyed his personal life."

The Department of Defense finally decided it needed to specifically address the problems and challenges of reservists. Since 9-11, the military has had to call upon more part-time servicemembers for both Iraq and Afghanistan, and many have gone on multiple tours in the Middle East. When they return from war, their needs are often quite different from those on active duty.

Many return, not to the security and familiarity of a military base, but to their civilian lives where they were often left on their own. So, two summers ago - seven years after the September 11th attacks - the DOD launched the Yellow Ribbon program.
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Hawaii reservists are not alone when they come home from battle

Military Suicide Prevention Task Force Report

Military Suicide Prevention Task Force Report
Aug 24, 2010
Department of Defense
Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces

The Armed Services Suicide Prevention Task Force presented its final report. The report contained a number of finding and included recommendations to overhaul the Department of Defense's ability to react to increasing suicide rates and detect potential problems. Congress established the panel in .. Read More
The Armed Services Suicide Prevention Task Force presented its final report. The report contained a number of finding and included recommendations to overhaul the Department of Defense's ability to react to increasing suicide rates and detect potential problems. Congress established the panel in August 2009 to study the issue of suicides in the military. The group has seven members from the military and seven members with professional suicide prevention and mental health backgrounds.
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Korean War veteran receives medal of valor

Korean War veteran receives medal of valor

Lisa Irish/The Daily Courier

A Korean War veteran in hospice at the Bob Stump Veterans Affairs Medical Center received the Warriors Medal of Valor on Thursday afternoon as his wife Joy, daughter and others looked on in the community living center's dining room.

As flute music played, Ed Albert, a member of the Cherokee of the Bear Clan, gently touched Jim Bork, 78, of Camp Verde, with an eagle feather and blessed him with a smoldering bundle of sweet sage.

"It is an honor and a pleasure to award you the Warriors Medal of Valor for your service to this country and your people. This is just a small token of our appreciation," said U.S. Marine Corps (retired) Sgt. Alfonso Santillan Jr., commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 608. "We thank you for a job well done."

Then Larry Kimmel of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and a member of the Miami Tribe of Indians of Indiana presented Bork with his medal.

The Warriors Medal of Honor was designed by Marshall Tall Eagle Serna, who wanted to honor veterans with a medallion to show appreciation for their sacrifices, Santillan said.
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Korean War veteran receives medal of valor

Vietnam Vet, Charles "Larry" Deibert honored by Oregon Army National Guard

This is one incredible story about a hero Vietnam Vet!

Oregon Guard aviator, who saved Marines in Vietnam, honored with Salem building
Friday, August 27, 2010
Julie Sullivan, The Oregonian

For decades, as he aged into a salesman with silver hair and a golden touch, no one knew the story, except the men he served with, and the men he saved.

Today, the two groups will meet in Salem so the rest of Oregon will know how Charles "Larry" Deibert flew a two-seater Cessna into history over South Vietnam.

The Oregon Army National Guard will dedicate its new $14.8 million aviation center to Deibert, the most decorated living Oregon Guard aviator. The center is the hub for the Guard's 12 search-and-rescue Blackhawks, firefighting and the civil support team that responds to chemical, biologic or nuclear attacks. It replaces a double-wide trailer and a hangar.

On hand to celebrate will be 76 of the 3rd Battalion/26th Regiment Marines, who arrived in Portland Wednesday for a reunion hosted by Deibert. Their lives turned on Sept. 10, 1967, at a place called Ambush Valley in South Vietnam. More than 800 Marines were on the ground, outnumbered 6-to-1. Deibert was above, flying the improbably low and slow reconnaissance plane known as a "bird dog."

"I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for Larry," says Moe Miller, 63, who lives off the grid in rural Ohio. "And these men wouldn't be here either."

For Deibert, though, Sept. 10 was like Oct. 11, or Nov. 12, "another day." After a year in combat, he had flown 570 missions, including 73 over North Vietnam. He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Vietnam Crosses for Gallantry, a Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service medals, and 25 other awards. He was back in the Oregon Guard and working when he was called to Camp Rilea on the Oregon Coast in 1968 and presented with the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest American decoration, second only to the Medal of Honor for his actions on Sept. 10, 1967.
Oregon Guard aviator

Vietnan veteran Larry Deibert

US taxpayers pay for computers for Iraqi kids, but they were auctioned off

Military: Where are PCs bought for Iraqi kids?

By Rebecca Santana - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Aug 27, 2010 16:38:53 EDT

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military is demanding to know what happened to $1.9 million worth of computers purchased by American taxpayers and intended for Iraqi schoolchildren that have instead been auctioned off by Iraqi officials for less than $50,000, the military said Friday.

The U.S. press release was a rare public admission by the military of the loss of American taxpayer money in Iraq and an equally rare criticism of Iraqi officials with whom the Americans are trying to partner as the military hands over more and more responsibility and withdraws troops from the country.

A shipment of computers intended for schoolchildren in the central Babil province was found to have been auctioned on Aug. 16 for $45,700 — before the computers could be sent to the province, the U.S. military said.

The computers were auctioned off by a senior Iraqi official at the southern port of Umm Qasr, the statement said.

“United States Division-South Commander Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks called for an immediate investigation into the actions of the Umm Qasr official to determine why computers destined for children to facilitate their education were approved for auction,” it read.
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Where are PCs bought for Iraqi kids

Friday, August 27, 2010

Facebook Virginia Tech blogger ordered by judge to join military

Judge orders man to join military

By Scott Johnson - The Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser
Posted : Friday Aug 27, 2010 13:00:19 EDT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A judge ordered an Alabama man to join the military as a condition for of his probation for a provocative Facebook message about the mass killing at Virginia Tech.

Zachary Lambert pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of harassing communications, and a judge in Montgomery placed the 23-year-old man on probation.
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Judge orders man to join military

Supporters line procession route of fallen Marine

Supporters line procession route of fallen Marine

By KEITH MORELLI The Tampa Tribune

Published: August 27, 2010

Tears welled up in Tom Allen's eyes even after the procession carrying the fallen Marine passed by on Bayshore Boulevard. Allen didn't know the man, actually teenager, in the hearse. Lance Cpl. Nathaniel J.A. Schultz of Safety Harbor was killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Saturday.

Allen has never met the corporal's family.

But it feels like a member of his own family has died, Allen says. He feels the same way every time he comes out to pay his respects to fallen soldiers at these processions.
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Supporters line procession route of fallen Marine

VA/NIH Award $6 Million for Substance Abuse Research

VA/NIH Award $6 Million for Substance Abuse Research

Studies to Fill Knowledge Gaps about OIF/OEF Service Members

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs is partnering with the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) to award $6 million in grants for
research examining the link between substance abuse and military
deployments and combat-related trauma.

"VA has a commitment to meet the full range of our Veterans' physical
and mental health care needs, and that includes addressing substance
abuse," said Dr. Joel Kupersmith, VA's chief research and development
officer. "This coordinated research effort is one more way we are
turning that commitment into action."

NIH agencies taking part in the initiative are the National Institute on
Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and
the National Cancer Institute.

Several studies will look at treatment seeking patterns -- why and when
Veterans ask for help, and why many don't. Scientists will also explore
treatment strategies, including cognitive behavioral therapy and
Web-based approaches, as well as the most effective therapies for
soldiers who have other disorders, such as depression and substance

Researchers will also determine if early intervention can improve
outcomes. Other projects will focus on how Veterans readjust to their
work and families after returning from war.

Institutions receiving the grants include Brandeis University; Dartmouth
College; the Medical University of South Carolina; the National
Development and Research Institutes in New York City; the University of
California, San Francisco; the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; the
University of Missouri in Columbia; and the VA medical centers in West
Haven, Conn.; Philadelphia; Little Rock, Ark.; and Seattle.

"These research projects will give us important information about the
ways that combat stress and substance abuse affect returning military
personnel and their families," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow.
"This knowledge will be used to improve our prevention and treatment
approaches, which we hope will reduce the burden of combat-related
trauma. Working cooperatively with VA and other partners will help in
finding solutions for this shared concern."

VA NIH Award 6 Million for Substance Abuse Research

Katrina Five Years After: Hurricane Left a Legacy of Health Concerns

Katrina Five Years After: Hurricane Left a Legacy of Health Concerns
Friday, August 27, 2010
By Brian Donnelly

Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf region, killing nearly 2,000 and displacing more than 250,000 others from Louisiana to Florida. This week, in a series titled "Hurricane Katrina: Five Years After," FoxNews.com looks back on the costliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States.

When Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans, leaving a legacy of death and destruction in its wake, the storm's immediate effects were evident. But now, five years later, the long-term effects on the devastated population’s mental and physical health still linger.

A study released this week linked the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with a high incidence of anxiety in Gulf Coast-area children displaced by the hurricane, while another found increased sensitivity to mold in children with asthma whose homes were flooded.

“Being exposed to transient home situations, not being able to get access to care and the adversity of just the recovery process fraught with so many difficulties added and compounded the stress and trauma of being exposed to the devastation and personal loss of life and property during the event of the hurricane and the flooding itself,” said Anthony Speier, psychologist and deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Behavioral Health for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. “So that kind of set the stage for increased vulnerability of the population.”
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Hurricane Left a Legacy of Health Concerns

Katrina's toll includes rise in suicide, mental illness

By Pam Firmin McClatchy Newspapers
BILOXI, Miss. — The last five years have been a mental health roller coaster for many among the Mississippi Gulf Coast's post-Hurricane Katrina population.

Suicides are up since Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005. More people are seeking treatment for substance abuse, therapists say, and post-traumatic stress disorder is on the rebound.

Though suicide numbers were higher in 2004 than in the years immediately after the storm, they have climbed in the years that followed. In Harrison County, the largest county on the Mississippi Coast, the number of people who committed suicide has increased since the storm from 30 in 2005 to 32 in 2006, 36 in 2007 and 44 in 2008.

Read more: Katrina and toll on mental health

2 GIs accused of using water punishment on kids

2 GIs accused of using water punishment on kids

The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Aug 26, 2010 19:12:06 EDT

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Two Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers who live in Yelm were accused of using water punishments on their children in January.

The Olympian reports both soldiers had served in Iraq but the incidents were unrelated.
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2 GIs accused of using water punishment on kids

8 firefighters hurt at Fort Bragg construction site

8 firefighters hurt at Bragg construction site

The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Aug 26, 2010 19:14:15 EDT

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Eight firefighters were injured Thursday after a fire started in a barracks under construction here.

Fort Bragg officials said that six firefighters suffered smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, and were treated at Womack Army Medical Center. Two firefighters were transported to Cape Fear Medical Center.

The fire started Thursday morning in a three-story building under construction near the 4th Brigade Combat Team barracks.

A statement issued by base officials said the fire was extinguished about 1:30 p.m., more than three hours after firefighters first arrived on the scene.

"War is hell" - and so is the aftermath

Dealing with troubled vets crucial
Aug 26, 2010

Veterans who served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan are offered mental health care upon re-entry to American communities, but the possibility of tragedy remains. Last Friday's double-murder and suicide by a Hawaii veteran treated for post traumatic stress disorder is an extreme example of the need for more perceptive -- even aggressive -- measures to prevent violent outbreaks.

Clayborne Conley, a former Hawaii Army National Guardsman, shot and killed acquaintance Kristine Cass and her 13-year-old daughter, Saundra, before turning the gun on himself. Conley had been afflicted with insomnia, combat nightmares, morbid ruminations, suicidal thoughts and alcohol abuse upon his return to Hawaii from deployment in Iraq in 2005, according to court records.

In the years following his discharge, Conley was convicted of misdemeanors of assault and terroristic threatening. He was acquitted by reason of insanity in January 2009 of burglary and criminal property damage after entering a stranger's apartment and throwing furniture off the lanai two years earlier. Conley was committed to the Hawaii State Hospital and released in May of this year.

There were a lot of comments left on this but this one stands out.

kamaainaintx 23 hours ago

This editorial is tragically on the mark for our family. I was in combat in Korea and 'Nam, our grandson was in Gulf War II. He took his own life three years ago after struggling with the demons of war that still were with him. He took no one 'with him' but the result was devastating to us, nonetheless. There were few signs that we saw along the way - he had been participating in a VA program where he lived - to no apparent avail.

Some have said (cruelly, we might add) that 'he must have had those propensities before he enlisted'. If so, they were well-hidden for many years. He showed no such traits. It has been said that "War is hell" - and so is the aftermath.

We encourage all who have loved ones who may struggle with PTSD to heed the warning signs (if there are any that are visible) and be proactive in getting all the counseling and assistance that may be available.

Read more: Dealing with troubled vets crucial

Last weekend I posted the stories from Wisconsin and Hawaii. Both about National Guardsmen coming home with PTSD and both killing others before taking their own lives.

There was a comment on this blaming Democrats as if any of this is new. All wars produced emotional damage done to other humans but someone decided that this had to be made political. Guess it didn't matter that the numbers have been going up while political hacks stuck their fingers in their ears and said this country couldn't afford to increase funding for the DOD and the VA to care for the wounded because there were "two wars to pay for" at the same time neither war was included in the Presidential budget until Obama added them in. Just a shame all the way around but if people want to turn everything into some kind of political finger pointing, they should at least know what they are talking about.

Helping veterans has to be more than talking about it

I read reports everyday on what is happening to our veterans when they come home just as I read reports about the great and growing need of the members of the military still serving. I read about this group followed by another group jumping onto the gravy train pretending to be "doing something" to address the need. What I end up seeing is tiny action being taken with a small percentage of those in need actually being helped. Our troops and veterans tug at the heartstrings of the people of this country and we are a generous bunch. Program after program begs for funding and more attention so they can "deliver the care" that we all know is needed but no one is asking for any proof what they say they do actually works. After all these years, when you read the following it becomes clear that what all of these groups say they are delivering is not enough to really make a difference.

U.S. official: Help us help vets
Jobs are ultimate solution, he says

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged local leaders to hire, educate and help find resources to support tens of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans returning to the most difficult economy in decades.

Speaking Thursday to the Detroit Economic Club, Mullen called on small business owners, hospital and college administrators to work with the Pentagon and the Veterans Administration to prevent veterans with medical and social needs from falling through the cracks.

"Hundreds of thousands, we're not sure quite frankly, are exhibiting the symptoms of and will have post-traumatic stress that all of us need to deal with," Mullen said.

Ultimately, jobs are the real solution. Mullen said the G.I. Bill is as robust now as it was after World War II. Once veterans get enrolled in universities and community college, they also are more likely to find social services.

Homelessness among veterans also must be addressed, said Mullen, a Vietnam War veteran. He said it took nearly 10 years before significant numbers of homeless Vietnam vets began showing up.

Read more: U.S. official: Help us help vets

I am not saying we should stop supporting charities trying to help but we should be asking for proof of what they claim. We can see some groups making a difference, like Habitat for Humanity because we can see a house built. We can see it in homeless shelters because we see veterans in beds, being fed and provided with clothes. What we cannot see is programs that claim to be "curing" or healing them when we see the results in suicides, attempted suicides, homelessness, arrests and families falling apart all going up.

There are groups that claim to be doing something about PTSD and they have the publicity to make people believe what they say but when asked for specifics, asked to provide proof of their programs working, there is silence.

Hyperbaric therapy not proved to help PTSD

By Letters To The Editor For Friday, Aug. 27

I appreciate that your article on the use of hyperbaric oxygen for blast-related traumatic brain injuries made clear that there is no compelling evidence supporting the efficacy of this treatment for this condition, particularly when the patient undergoes therapy months or even years after his or her accident ("A Lot of Hot Air," Aug. 14).

The article does not, however, mention the serious potential for psychological harm that any unknown or unproven treatment carries, especially in a context of severely "dysfunctional" and desperate patients as described by the physical therapist Ray Cralle. The article should make clear that hyperbaric therapy has no known benefit for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. The fact that Mr. Cralle is "pleased with the success he has seen with his four veterans" does not constitute evidence of effectiveness or positive benefit in scientific terms.

In fact, your article incorrectly refers to Mr. Cralle's program as "a bold experiment." A true experiment, however, would require objectively verifiable criteria for defining a therapeutic effect, independent judges who do not have a vested interest in the outcome of the program, large control and treatment groups, as well as objective cognitive assessment both before and after treatment is received. In more basic terms, people receiving hyperbaric treatment would need to be compared with comparably injured people who did not receive any treatment at all. Ordinarily, such research is not designed, conducted, reviewed or published by physical therapists.


Does it help some? Depends on who tries it and what caused the damage. There is no one size fits all. No one expects there to be one "cure" for all but we should expect proof of what people claim and not just for today but for followup proof that it lasts or is just a short fix.

When there are PTSD programs, we need to know if they work and if the family is helped to stay together. If not then we will see more homeless veterans. What no one talks about is what remains of the family members. How are they psychologically and emotionally? How are the kids adjusting? Does the family blame themselves for the veteran becoming homeless? Did they know all they needed to know to stay together? Did they get enough support but just decided they didn't want to do it anymore?

What about suicide and attempted suicide? Did the veteran get all they needed to be able to heal? Did the family know what they needed to know? Did they learn enough after to be able to forgive themselves and understand that it was not their fault? Where are the support groups? What about the extended family members and friends? Do they have support?

There is so much that is not being talked about. We will not be able to really get ahead of the drama being played in hundreds of thousands of homes everyday until we start to get answers to the rest of the story.

Homemade bombs kill 3 US troops in Afghanistan

Homemade bombs kill 3 US troops in Afghanistan
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN (AP) – 56 minutes ago

KABUL, Afghanistan — Homemade bombs killed three U.S. troops in southern and eastern Afghanistan on Friday, and a roadside bomb tore through a crowded market in the increasingly volatile north, killing three police and two civilians.

No other details about the attacks on the U.S. troops were given by NATO and the identities of those killed were not immediately released in keeping with standard procedure.

A total of 55 foreign troops have been killed in Afghanistan this month, including 35 Americans, according to a count by The Associated Press. July was the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion, with 66 killed.

U.S. troops make up about 100,000 of the 120,000-strong foreign military contingent in Afghanistan, most of them in the south and east where the Taliban is most deeply entrenched.
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Homemade bombs kill 3 US troops in Afghanistan

Thursday, August 26, 2010

American Support Boosts Troop Morale, Mullen Says

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, greets Army Capt. Scott Leifker during a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Aug. 25, 2010. Leifker was severely burned in a car bomb explosion in Iraq in 2006. Mullen is on three-day Midwest tour to meet with local civic and business leaders to discuss the needs of returning troops and their families, and how community leaders can support them. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

American Support Boosts Troop Morale, Mullen Says
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

CHICAGO, Aug. 26, 2010 – At last night’s Major League Baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles here, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff couldn’t help but notice the difference between the nation’s support for today’s servicemembers and veterans and the reception returning servicemembers received when they came home from Vietnam early in his military career.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game and he also helped the host White Sox honor soldiers from a local Army Reserve unit.

Forty years ago, at the height of the Vietnam War, America didn’t support its troops, Mullen said. There was no tickertape parade when they returned from battle, and stories of Vietnam veterans being ridiculed in the streets by protestors were all too common.

The tension was so bad, Mullen said, that some servicemembers were even ashamed to wear their uniforms. Mullen witnessed such displays first hand, he noted, saying that’s just the way things were when he began his career in 1968.

Mullen, a Vietnam War veteran, has spent the past three years overseeing the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. When the wars kicked off in 2001 and 2003, respectively, he said, one of his initial fears was that the American people might not support the troops.

“As someone who grew up [during the Vietnam War] and saw a complete disconnect between our men and women in uniform and the American people, [the level of support] was a huge concern for me when these wars started,” he said. “It was terrible during Vietnam. It was really bad how troops were treated.”
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American Support Boosts Troop Morale, Mullen Says

Top Issues in Wounded Warrior Care


Reviving the faithful few who are willing to risk it all for others....

AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families Identify Top Issues in Wounded Warrior Care…
by Reviving Heroes on August 19, 2010

AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families Identify Top Issues in Wounded Warrior Care

Image by The U.S. Army via Flickr Recently, more than several wounded Soldiers, Veterans, and their Family members gathered in San Antonio at the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) Symposium and identified the following top five issues that should be addressed to advance wounded warrior care:

1. Concurrent receipt of retired and Veterans Affairs (VA) disability pay

2. Comprehensive psychoeducation for post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD)/traumatic brain injury (TBI) servicemembers, Family members, and caregivers

3. Veterans Affairs (VA) education for Army Wounded Warrior Program Advocates

4. Stipend for primary caregivers of ill/injured servicemembers

5. Community support coordinators in geographically dispersed areas
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Top Issues in Wounded Warrior Care

Gluf War Vet John Paul Scott had to prove he's not dead yet

Disabled vet wins war over VA blunder
Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
Aug. 25, 2010, 11:14PM

John Paul Scott wasn't sure he'd heard correctly.

"It's in the computer system that you're deceased," repeated an official from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"What are you talking about?" Scott asked.

The 39-year-old Army veteran from Houston had been calling the VA's hotline twice a day for weeks to check the status of his disability claim. This time, on July 12, the VA official who answered the phone informed Scott he would no longer be receiving benefits because, according to VA records, he had passed away in April.

Scott suffers from vision problems traced to his service in the first Gulf War. In 2008, the VA had cut his monthly disability check by $2,000. Scott appealed. On June 25, he had finally won.

Now a bureaucratic blunder meant that Scott faced a Kafkaesque dilemma: As far as the VA was concerned, he was dead. His disability payments instantly halted. His medical prescriptions stopped. Scott, already in dire financial straits after the reduction in his benefits two years ago, feared he would end up on the street.

First thing the next morning, Scott went to the Houston VA Regional Office on Almeda Road and spoke to a woman at the front desk. Scott gave the woman three forms of ID and filled out a form: "I was told by the Department of Veterans Affairs that someone entered in their computer I was deceased," he wrote. "I am not. Please reinstate my benefits immediately. Thanks, John Paul Scott."
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Disabled vet wins war over VA blunder

Staff sgt. sentenced for mistreating Marines

Staff sgt. sentenced for mistreating Marines

The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Aug 26, 2010 8:24:45 EDT

NORFOLK, Va. — A Marine staff sergeant is spending one year in confinement after pleading guilty to mistreating 17 male subordinates at a Chesapeake training facility.

Staff Sgt. James McCoy was the noncommissioned officer in charge of a training company at the Navy's Northwest Annex. He oversaw Marines waiting to begin a security training course at the base and injured Marines waiting to return to duty or be processed out of the service.
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Staff sgt. sentenced for mistreating Marines

Army ends GED program for aspiring soldiers

Army ends GED program for aspiring soldiers

By Susanne M. Schafer - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Aug 26, 2010 8:42:49 EDT

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — The Army is ending a program that helped nearly 3,000 high school dropouts earn high school equivalency certificates and become soldiers.

The GED pilot program known as the Army's prep school started here in summer 2008, when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan left the service scrambling to find soldiers. But since then, with the economy in a downward spiral and jobs hard to come by, more people with diplomas have been enlisting.

In 2008, 82.8 percent of people who enlisted for active duty were high school graduates. That number jumped to 94.6 percent in 2009.
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Army ends GED program for aspiring soldiers

1st Lt. Paul G. Magers and Chief Warrant Officer Donald L. Wann MIA no more

1st lt. killed in Vietnam remains returned

The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Aug 26, 2010 8:38:22 EDT

BILLINGS, Mont. — The remains of a Billings soldier whose helicopter was shot down during the Vietnam War have been returned to Montana.

The remains of Army 1st Lt. Paul G. Magers, which had been missing for nearly four decades, were returned in a flag-draped casket Wednesday as family members gathered at the Billings airport to pay their respects.

A vigil service will be held Thursday, and a memorial Mass will be celebrated Friday in Billings. Burial will follow with full military honors at Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery in Laurel.

Magers was killed June 1, 1971, when the AH-1 Cobra helicopter he was flying in was shot down in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. Also killed in the crash was Chief Warrant Officer Donald L. Wann, of Shawnee, Okla.

The men's remains were identified in March through DNA testing.
1st lt killed in Vietnam remains returned

Agent Orange Update

Agent Orange Update

Shinseki to defend new Agent Orange rules

Veterans groups praised the Department of Veterans Affairs last year when officials announced they would add three new diseases to the list of "presumptive illnesses" connected to the use of the Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange. But senators concerned about the cost and precedent of such a change put a 60-day hold on money related to the change, and have asked the VA for more information on why Agent Orange claims should be expanded.

On Tuesday, in a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said he's happy to defend the decision. "It was the right decision, and the President and I are proud to finally provide this group of Veterans the care and benefits they have long deserved."

The rules regarding the new recognized illnesses -- Parkinson’s Disease, Hairy Cell and other types of chronic, b-cell leukemia, and Ischemic Heart Disease — could open up veterans benefits to 250,000 more Vietnam-era veterans and cost the VA another $13.4 billion over the next 18 months.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., has publicly questioned whether scientific research supports including the three new diseases with other Agent Orange exposure conditions, and if the VA is unnecessarily committing billions in compensation payments for problems that are often simply the result of aging.

But Shinseki said he's "happy" to explain the rationale behind the move, and confident lawmakers will support the change. The hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee is set for Sept. 23.

Veterans-For-Change will continue to monitor closely the situation and report any new developments and we strongly urge you to call your Senators and Congressman toll free at 866-272-6622 and politely insist they support Secretary Shinseki’s decision and allow the rule to be finalized immediately.

If you’re able to make the call, please send an E-Mail to: jim.davis@veterans-for-change.com and let us know their response.

Veterans-For-Change Needs Your Support

On behalf of Veterans-For-Change I’d like to request your help in supporting three very important programs we have.

Our first program is our Emergency Financial Assistance program which was developed to help Veterans and their families on a one time bases with utilities, rent, clothing, etc.

Our Second program is a small college tuition assistance program for the children of Veterans. We’d be awarding financial grant assistance of up to $200 to the top three competitors in an annual essay contest.

Our third program is an award program for Veterans, their spouse and children who are ill to due their service or by no fault of their own being family members of a Veteran. And it’s our special way of saying thank you for your service to our Country.

The Annual Fund provides funding to range of vital areas, including those names above and for operations, resources and potential new programs. These donations are critical to maintain the standing that Veterans-For-Change has held as well as make strong forward strides.

Our organization directors are dedicating their time, energy and enthusiasm to work for this cause, and all do this as a volunteer so 97% of every dollar goes back to the Veteran community.

We request your support by considering a donation to Veterans-For-Change.

If you decide to contribute, please send your donation to

Director of Annual Fund
Many of you know that over the past year or so we’ve done our level best to provide assistance to veterans and their families when in need. And as with most small non-profit groups, we’re no different and always have a need for financial assistance.

If you’re able to contribute $25, $50, $100 or more, please click HERE to be taken direct to the PayPal site!

For those who contribute $25, you will be given a Veterans-For-Change E-Mail address for one year. Those at the $50 level an E-Mail address for five years and those at the $100 level a lifetime E-Mail address. And I’d like to thank you all in advance for your continued support!

If everyone receiving this newsletter were to just donate a single $1 bill, we’d meet our goal and fast and would be able to continue to serve the some 5,000-9,000 veterans and widows per month! We could really use your support!

If you’re interested in advertising in our weekly newsletter, click HERE and send us an E-Mail for further details.

We’re also desperately looking for someone who has talent in the field of writing Grant Proposals which we can submit to corporations and grant foundations to assist in our operations and continued support to veterans and their families.

If you have such a talent and can donate your time and talents, please click HERE and send me an E-Mail.

We also have the chance to purchase a copy of the National Association Uniformed Services nationwide membership register for $125, and to join Starthmore’s Who’s Who for $49.95, both would give VFC opportunities to network with other veterans, veteran organizations, and thousands of fortune 500 and 1000 corporations and grant foundations to secure funding for continued operations of Veterans-For-Change. Your donations could open these doors for us.

If you’d prefer to send a check or money order, please send an E-Mail to: Jim.davis@veterans-for-change.com for instructions.

You can also help by book marking and visiting Newsvine frequently: http://jdavis92840.newsvine.com/

VFC earns money on every article a comment and vote that is posted. So visit frequently for things not always in the newsletter, comment and click on comment & vote.

Veterans-For-Change operates under National Faith Based Coalition Disabled Veterans Enterprises
Tax ID #84-1285120

Department of Defense Deploys Muppets

AUGUST 26, 2010
The Muppets' Military Mission

It's a Muppet family picnic in the park, but Elmo is sad and confused: His Uncle Jack won't be there, because he's dead, and Elmo can't quite grasp that he's never coming back. For Elmo's moptop cousin Jesse, it's hard to even talk about the loss: Jack was her dad.

The story line may seem highly unusual for "Sesame Street," but when Elmo and friends aren't on their day job being cute, colorful and cuddly, they've taken on another mission: helping children of military families struggling with loss, grief and fear.

With some deep-pocketed sponsors like Wal-Mart, Sesame Workshop has been steadily expanding a program called "Talk, Listen, Connect" aimed at kids of all ages, including the youngest and most vulnerable. More than two million U.S. children have been affected directly by a parent's military wartime deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan; 40% of these children are younger than 5 years old.

According to the Defense Department, in the past 8½ years more than 12,000 military children have experienced the death of a parent. Research shows that even the toll of military deployments is steep; a study last year by the Rand Corp. found that children in military families were more likely to report anxiety than children in the general population, and that the longer a parent had been deployed in the previous three years, the more likely their children were to have difficulties in school and at home.
Gary Knell, president of Sesame Workshop, says the initial inspiration came from a story he read on a train five years ago about a family that lost its home because it fell behind on mortgage payments while the father was deployed in Iraq. "I just was so sick of seeing all these 'support the troops' posters when we were allowing things like this to happen," he says. The needs of military families also struck a chord with Sesame Workshop Executive Vice President Sherrie Westin, whose brother is an Army reserve officer now serving in Afghanistan.

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The Muppets Military Mission

Former Berwyn Heights mayor returns from Iraq deployment

Former Berwyn Heights mayor returns from Iraq deployment

By David Hill
The Gazette
Thursday, August 26, 2010
When former Berwyn Heights mayor Brad Jewitt was deployed to Iraq in 2009, he expected to miss his family and home town but felt comfortable making the sacrifice.

"Many of my peers have served multiple tours in Iraq or Afghanistan," said Jewitt, 40, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. "I was really at peace with the idea of going, because it was my turn so someone else wouldn't have to go again."

Jewitt -- a Marine reservist who served as mayor in 2003, as a Town Council member in 2002 and as mayor pro tem from 2006 to 2008 -- returned home Aug. 1, after a scheduled one-year tour of duty. His return coincidentally came during the same month that defense officials withdrew all major combat units from Iraq.
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Former Berwyn Heights mayor returns from Iraq deployment

Australian Veterans Beware of Scam

I get a lot of email updates about what is going on with Australian Veterans and this one really needs to be paid attention to. If you know a veteran in Australia, please let them know about this.

Hi Kathie,
I have just been advised by DVA Cairns that some people are scamming mainly ex National serviceman. The ex serviceman is initially sent a letter advising them that they are entitled to Service pension and to contact the author. Once they do this they are then sent a letter with AMF (not used for many years) headed paper asking for bank details to put the service pension into, date of birth and other personal information. Their bank accounts are then cleaned out. Please advise as many others as possible of this scam.


John King JP (Qual) Advocate
Pensions, Advocacy & Welfare Services RSL (Queensland Branch)