Sunday, October 31, 2010

Soldiers say work helped after Fort Hood shootings

Some things were done by the book after the shooting at Fort Hood. Trauma teams rushed in and that was good. Soldiers banded together no matter where they were from, if they were staying at Fort Hood or deploying. As reported in the story below, the soldiers deployed to Afghanistan helped each other. That's all good but the troubling part is there was very little followup done after this event that shattered their sense of safety on their own base.

There are stories coming out about female troops stopping their fluid intake at noon, no matter how hot it is, because they fear having to use the latrine in the middle of the night. It doesn't matter if no one they knew was attacked or not, it is the reports of it happening that cause them to fear it will happen to them. A sense of safety is gone when there is one report of a female solider being attacked and it causes psychological damage. It's the same thing with the soldiers at Fort Hood and even on other bases.

Major Hasan was in a position of power but betrayed the men and women he was supposed to be serving with and taking care of. The commanders that allowed him to not only stay in the military but be promoted, betrayed the troops. All the way around, there was a deep sense of betrayal and it caused fear for them as well as for their families because this happened in their own back yard.

There is still much that needs to be done for the soldiers at Fort Hood but by the looks of it, not enough is happening.
Soldiers say work helped after Fort Hood shootings

The Associated Press
Sunday, October 31, 2010; 12:04 AM

MADISON, Wis. -- For nearly a year in Afghanistan, a tightly knit Army Reserve unit kept the memories of their comrades killed during a shooting rampage Fort Hood close. But not too close.

The Madison-based 467th Combat Stress Control Detachment wore black wrist bands and dedicated field clinics to their fallen friends. At the same, they poured themselves into their jobs, blocking out their grief by helping combat troops deal with theirs.

read more here

Soldiers say work helped after Fort Hood

Wounded Soldiers Stuck in Middle of Aircraft Battle

Wounded Soldiers Stuck in Middle of Aircraft Battle
Sharon Weinberger

This is the third in a series of stories by our special correspondent about military aviation issues linked to the war in Afghanistan. Read also the growing pains of the Afghan air force and the attempts of women pilots to find a place in it.

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (Oct. 30) -- More than two dozen injured U.S. troops, including six critical-care patients, have been loaded onto the C-17 transport aircraft destined for Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Then everyone aboard gets the bad news:

There's a fuel leak, and the aircraft may not be able to fly today.

That means more waiting for the patients, a number of whom were wounded in operations in Afghanistan.

If the aircraft can't be fixed within a few hours, a new aircraft will have to be found, and that's easier said than done. Flights these like -- aeromedical evacuation -- have a high priority, but with military operations in Afghanistan surging, finding an aircraft can be a game of musical chairs.
read more here

Wounded Soldiers Stuck in Middle

Soldier's longest struggle after the battlefield

Soldier's longest struggle has taken place off the battlefield
After year of rehab, surgeries, staff sergeant shot in the head at Fort Hood is determined to recover, continue his Army career.


Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler saw the red laser sight approach his head, and then it all became like a dream. He opened his eyes and he was on the ground, the sound of screams filling the air. He tried to crawl out of the medical building, but he kept slipping on the blood pouring from his head. He grabbed the leg of a chair, but it slid across the wet floor.

His eyes closed, and the world grew dark. "I'm pretty much done for," he thought.

When he opened his eyes again, he was on the ground outside Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Processing Center. He doesn't remember, but he would later learn that he could move somehow, despite the bullet lodged in his brain and the three others in his shoulder, arm and hip. He cried out for a cell phone so he could call Jessica.

With his massive head wound, paramedics said he easily could have been ignored among the growing number of dead and wounded soldiers being pulled from the unfolding massacre in the processing center — which happened a year ago this Friday.

But his talking attracted the attention of a medic. He was lifted onto a gurney, an oxygen mask was slipped over his face, and needles were plunged into his arm. The helicopter rose into the air and flew 27 miles east to Scott and White Hospital — Temple. The doctors who met his flight were amazed that he was still alive.
read more here
Soldier longest struggle

Fort Hood shooting, odyssey of despair, hope

Fort Hood shooting sent wounded warrior, his fiancée on odyssey of despair, hope

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, October 31, 2010
By DAVID TARRANT / The Dallas Morning News / The Dallas Morning News
Lee Hancock contributed to this report.
When Jessica Hansen awoke that Thursday morning, she found a text message on her cellphone.

"Happy Nov. 5th. I love you."

It was from Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler of Fort Hood. He and Jessica, a senior at Boston University, met 11 months earlier on Dec. 5, 2008, and they liked to celebrate each new month of their relationship. They kept in constant communication, so when Patrick followed up his text with a noontime call, it wasn't unusual – except for the way it ended:

"I love you, Jessica," he said.

"I love you, too," she replied.

"No, really, I love you," he insisted.

He sounded serious, unlike his usual wisecracking self. She wondered if he was having a hard day.

Hours later, after the news broke of a mass shooting at Fort Hood, after her frantic calls to Patrick's cellphone went unanswered, after the late-night call from Patrick's father telling her Patrick had suffered a gunshot wound to the head, Jessica replayed that last conversation over and over.

read more here
Fort Hood Shooting

Danish people more aware of PTSD than we are

To deny an award for certain wounds is wrong. Tell me that TBI caused by a bomb in Iraq or Afghanistan is not the same as having metal pierce the skin or tell me having PTSD is not yet another wound caused by trauma during combat and I'll point to the countless articles on this blog alone proving that these two wounds deeper than skin do in fact matter.

There have been some in this country saying that Washington designed the Purple Heart for wounds, but the truth was he designed it to honor service. It was adopted later on for wounds received during combat at a time when PTSD was still not acknowledged and no one knew about TBI. We know better now but there are still some saying PTSD and TBI are just not worthy of getting the Purple Heart. Well, thank's to Lily over at Healing Combat Trauma, we know the Danes have been ahead of us on this and bravo for them!

October 27, 2010
Those Progressive Danes! Their Purple Heart Just Extended to Include PTSD

Those (ultimately) progressive Danes!

In a momentous development yet to be mentioned in the American or the English language-speaking press, we've learned that Denmark has expanded the criteria for their version of our Purple Heart medal -- given to those who have been wounded physically in combat operations -- to include those who suffer the less-visible wound of post-traumatic stress disorder.

(We wrote about the topic back in 2008, linked here, about whether it would be wise to extend the Purple Heart's criteria to include PTSD. That proposal generates controversy here, but the Danes have since moved past the controversy to actual recognition.)

From an official Danish government publication, issued date October 10, 2010, and translated here: "In 2010 Her Majesty The Queen approved that...veterans who are wounded physically in international operations can receive the Armed Forces Medal for Wounded in Service."

Importantly, the publication adds, "The Government recognizes the psychological harm on an equal footing with physical damage, and has therefore taken the initiative to add recognition of physical and mental injuries treated. The Defense medal "Wounded in Service" will from now on be attributed also to those mentally wounded."

read more here

Those Progressive Danes

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Toll of Veteran Suicide: Those Unnecessary Deaths

The Toll of Veteran Suicide: Those Unnecessary Deaths
Lily Casura
The poet T.S. Eliot called April "the cruelest month," but you know, this time of year, heading into the holidays, isn't that great either -- especially for those who are suffering from post-traumatic stress, when numbers of those who take their own lives actually climb. The numbers are already bad enough; and 'tis the season, so to speak, when they actually get worse.

Currently, 18 veterans a day(!!!) kill themselves; and one active duty servicemember every 36 hours(!!!).

Those are TERRIBLE numbers, because each one represents a life that can never come back, and plunges a family and a community into an often never-ending ordeal.
read more here
The Toll of Veteran Suicide: Those Unnecessary Deaths

If Lily's words do not hit you as hard as they should, maybe if you read some of their stories it will matter to you more than just seeing numbers. This video is a couple of years old but I found over a hundred of their stories.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Most Troops, Families OK With Gays

DoD Study: Most Troops, Families OK With Gays
October 29, 2010
Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- An internal Pentagon study has found that most U.S. troops and their families don't care whether gays are allowed to serve openly and think the policy of "don't ask, don't tell" could be done away with, according to officials familiar with its findings.

The survey results were expected to be used by gay rights advocates to bolster their argument that the 1993 law on gays could be repealed immediately with little harm done to the military. But the survey also was expected to reveal challenges the services could face in overturning the long-held policy, including overcoming fierce opposition in some parts of the military even if they represent a minority.

Details on the survey results were still scarce Thursday, with the Pentagon declining to discuss the findings until after Dec. 1 when it rolls out its own plan for repeal.

read more here
Most Troops, Families OK With Gays

Air Force Academy Survey: Proselytizing Cited

Faith plays a big part in the lives of a lot of our servicemen and women but it is of their own freewill they decide how to worship, when to worship and in what manner they worship. Trying to get them to convert to one denomination over another is appalling when they should be trying to sooth their souls and ease their minds. This is one of the biggest reasons they do not trust military chaplains even if most of them do their jobs the right way. 

I believe in the power of prayer and I am a devoted Christian but that is where it ends when I am working with veterans or their families.  My job is to help their souls heal not to get new members into a church someone told me to. I believe military chaplains are very important and that the biggest issue is that there are not enough of them to go around but my blood boils when I read about what too many of them are doing.  They end up pushing them away from the very faith they are trying to force them into. No one is served by this.  Not the men and women serving, not the chaplains and not the military as a whole. God is not served either by pushing people away.
AF Academy Survey: Proselytizing Cited

October 29, 2010
Associated Press
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- An Air Force Academy survey found that 41 percent of cadets who identified themselves as non-Christian said they were subjected to unwanted proselytizing at least once or twice last year.

Overall, 19 percent of all cadets said they were subjected to unwanted proselytizing.

Participation by cadets in the official academy survey, conducted in December and January, was both voluntary and anonymous. Forty-seven percent, or 2,170, of the cadets participated in the poll.

Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, the academy superintendent, had resisted disclosing specifics of the survey but now plans to release some details on Friday after several groups, including The Associated Press, filed Freedom of Information Act requests.

read more here
AF Academy Survey

Number of veterans in Congress likely to drop

They know how to get things done, how to work together but above that, they know what it is like to put their lives on the line and not put themselves always first. We need them in congress no matter what political side they are on because when it comes to veterans, they are always on America's side. Isn't that what really should matter in the long run? We cannot assume all veterans care about other veterans. Look at John McCain and his voting record. He votes against veterans most of the time but too many others, on both sides, deeply care about this country and those who serve more than political agenda.

Number of veterans in Congress likely to drop
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Oct 28, 2010 18:55:01 EDT
The number of veterans serving in Congress is likely to drop as a result of Tuesday’s elections, according to the executive director of a nonpartisan group that teaches veterans how to run for political office.

Seth McCormick Lynn, executive director of the Veterans’ Campaign, said Thursday that the number of veterans in the Senate — now 26 — might increase as a result of the election. But in the House of Representatives, the number of veterans is certain to decline from the current 95.

Of the total, 61 are Democrats — including two delegates — and 60 are Republicans.

A drop in the number of veterans in Congress would be significant, Lynn said. “The lack of military experience in Congress has implications far beyond foreign policy and national defense,” he said.

“Veterans share a common bond that transcends party affiliation. Fewer veterans mean increasing polarization and partisanship.”
read more here
Number of veterans in Congress likely to drop

Fort Hood soldier died in shooting spree in Iraq, kin say

GI died in shooting spree, kin say
By DENNIS YUSKO Staff Writer
Published: 02:38 p.m., Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Wednesday. nearly 600 Facebook users had joined the site's page called "Justice for Dead Army Pfc. David R. Jones." A user named Chris Wheeler of Canajoharie wrote: "It's coming. The truth is (going) to come out. Victim of another soldier gone nuts."

ST. JOHNSVILLE -- The family of a Montgomery County soldier killed in Iraq said Wednesday that they have received information from Baghdad saying that he and others were murdered during a one-person shooting spree.

The Department of Defense confirmed Wednesday that Army Pfc. David Jones of St. Johnsville, Montgomery County, died Sunday from injuries sustained in a "non-combat incident" in Baghdad.

But Theresa Bennett, an aunt who helped raised Jones, received a copy of a text message from a soldier who worked with him in Iraq that stated Jones was one of five people killed or wounded Sunday in a shooting "rampage" on a U.S. military base in the Iraqi capital, Jones' cousin George Bennett said Wednesday.

The text came Tuesday afternoon to the family of Jones' girlfriend, Brittany Winton, George Bennett said. Brittany Winton declined comment on Wednesday, but a member of her family who asked not to be identified confirmed receiving the text and its contents.

"Someone went on a rampage and killed David," George Bennett said, though he said he didn't know who.

As of late Wednesday, the Pentagon's casualty notification website made no mention of additional soldiers dying in Iraq on Sunday.

Asked Wednesday about the message received by Jones' family, a spokesman at Fort Hood in Texas, where Jones was assigned, said, "the circumstances surrounding the incident are currently under investigation by the military."
read more here
GI died in shooting spree, kin say
linked from

Election is about tomorrow not years from now

Sorry but the ads down here in Florida are driving me nuts! Marco Rubio keeps talking about our kids futures and passing on debt as if that ever mattered to the politicians over all the years no one was paying for anything. Remember the surplus Clinton left? Well tax breaks for the rich and corporations ate that up just as the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not paid for. Preying on our emotions about passing on debt to our kids is not where our fears are based right now. We're worrying about today and tomorrow.

We're worrying about bills coming due and not enough money to pay for them right now. For jobs that the GOP don't seem to care about. For health insurance that covers us getting sick, our families when one of them has a medical condition insurance companies can decide to not cover. We're worrying about someone being elected determined to cut benefits to our veterans, our elderly, raise the retirement age, end Medicare and end the Department of Education. We have enough to worry about for today so the fear Rubio wants us to focus on is, as FDR said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" and that fear is if we don't elect people putting us first ahead of "winning to defeat Obama" then when our kids grow up, they will have less than they do today. They will have more debt because no one is talking about how to pay for what they want to do in the GOP other than cutting benefits for what we need. None of them are talking about taking away the ability to have health insurance to pay for our healthcare or how we are supposed to get jobs when they are blocking bills to help small businesses buy equipment and hire workers.

If things are not fixed today, and the GOP are not stopped from blocking bills, our kids will have enough to worry about right now!

NC Marine commander relieved of duty

NC Marine commander relieved of duty
Charged with drunk driving on Monday

Updated: Thursday, 28 Oct 2010, 11:14 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 28 Oct 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

NC Marine commander relieved of duty
MCAS CHERRY POINT, N.C. (AP) - The colonel in charge of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point has been removed from his command after he was charged with speeding and drunken driving earlier in the week, a Marine Corps spokesman said Thursday.

Col. Douglas Denn was removed by order of Maj. Gen. Carl Jensen "due to loss of confidence in Denn's ability to command," said Maj. Bradley Gordon, spokesman for the Marine Corps Installations East located at Camp LeJeune in Jacksonville.

"The relief occurred as a result of an investigation into allegations of Denn driving under the influence that eroded good order and discipline," Gordon said.

Jensen is in charge of Marine Corps Installations East, which covers six Marine Corps bases in the mid-Atlantic region.

Col. Robert Clinton, the executive officer at Cherry Point, has assumed command, Gordon said. Clinton is a CH-46E helicopter pilot and graduate of the Naval War College, Gordon said.
read more here
NC Marine commander relieved of duty

PTSD What dreams may come

PTSD What dreams may come

Chaplain Kathie

We can all remember what it was like when nightmares woke us up as kids. We'd run to our parents seeking safety and assurance that the monsters of our dreams couldn't hurt us. We were protected by their love. Some of us were just as afraid of our parents. You'd see kids like that walking around the school hallways with dark circles under their eyes. They would fall asleep in class and some of them ended up wanting to make other kids understand what it was like to be afraid by becoming bullies.

As we got older, nightmares faded away replaced by real life fears we all faced as grownups. The movie Nightmare On Elm Street, one of my favorites, Freddy got even grownups to be afraid again. I went to see it with a friend of mine when it first came out. That movie hit us so hard that when we went to get back into the car, we were looking in the back seat to make sure no one was there.

I remembered what it was like to have nightmares come as a kid as I woke up in the dark, too afraid to go to my parents. I sought safety under the sheets with a flashlight. Each sound sent me into a panic. I knew I couldn't go to my parents because my Mom would just tell me the monsters weren't real and she had to go to work early in the morning. It was not that she didn't care about it but she had her own monsters to deal with in real life. My Dad was an alcoholic. I just had to learn how to fight off the monsters of my dreams on my own. Yes, I was one of those kids with dark circles under my eyes, but instead of wanting other kids to know what fear was, I wanted to comfort them because I didn't want anyone else to feel the way I did.

Horror movies play on our childhood fears. Life plays on our experiences of all of our past experiences.

Veterans have the same baggage we all do. They grew up the same way the rest of us did. They went to school, had parents they could go to when they were afraid or the kind of parents they were afraid to go to. They either faced bullies down or became one. What separated them from the rest of us was that while we went on to live common, peaceful lives, they were willing to take on the monsters in real life. They trained to do and prayed they wouldn't have to do it. When the time came, they picked up their weapons, locked and loaded, said a prayer and let hell loose on the enemy they were sent to fight.

Judgment of the action was "above their pay grade" which really boiled down to the fact it was not up to them to decide who was the enemy they needed to battle or when they fought, but it was their job to make sure as many of their buddies as possible would go home as soon as possible. It didn't matter if they enlisted or were drafted into the military once they were there. It was a matter of life or death.

For some, they walked away from the real-life nightmare the same way we walked away from childhood nightmares, with powerless memories to push out of their minds or powerful ones they had to battle to keep them from taking over their lives.

Instead of wanting to find safety in their parents arms, as adults, they wanted to find safety in being cared about, talking to someone who would not judge them, tell them the monsters haunting them were not real, or telling them to just go back to sleep. They needed reassurance they were not going to be destroyed by the monster, they did not deserve to be haunted and someone would stand by their side to help them fight it off.

As kids, we wanted to talk about our nightmares so that we would know someone else had the same experience or if they did not, they could understand what it was like to be afraid. Sharing our fears, our thoughts, our dreams, helped us defeat them slowly but surely. As veterans, they need the same ability to be able to defeat what they had to go through in real life.

This is one of the biggest reasons medication without therapy does not work. Meds only mask the pain so they can function. Sharing the experience helps them defeat it.

The longer the time between event and therapy with a professional or a trusted ally goes on, the deeper the cuts become. It is a wound to the emotional part of the mind, digging deeper like and untreated infection claiming more and more territory as the rest of the brain tries to take back control and protect itself, things get twisted around. Once they begin to talk, the strength of the monster vanishes. What is left of the damage done depends on how long it was allowed to destroy at will. Most of what PTSD does can be reversed. An infected wound will heal when it is treated. The scar left behind depends on how soon it was treated. Some scars will last a lifetime but there are ways to cope with what cannot be reversed. Understanding this monster, knowing where it came from, why it came after them, helps them cope with a monster reduced to the size of a really big bug.

The nightmare is not just on Elm street but on many streets across this country. If you want to see how vivid a nightmare can strike, here's a video I found on YouTube. Not my kind of music but it's pretty good. It talks about the price of evil but if you turn it around and think of it as evil just being what people do to other people, you'll get the point. Our veterans are not evil but what they had to go through was hell.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New York Soldier Dies After Iraq Injuries

New York Soldier Dies After Iraq Injuries
Updated: Thursday, 28 Oct 2010, 9:55 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 28 Oct 2010, 9:55 AM EDT


MYFOXNY.COM - Private First Class David R. Jones, Jr. of Saint Johnsville, N.Y. died of injuries sustained in a non-combat incident on October 24, 2010 in Baghdad, Iraq.
read more here

New York Soldier Dies After Iraq Injuries

Fort Campbell Soldier to receive Medal for Heroism

Bragg: Homes Where Babies Died Are Safe
October 28, 2010
Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer
Fort Bragg officials say test results have ruled out the possibility that conditions inside homes on the installation contributed to the inexplicable deaths of 10 infants since 2007.
But a separate and ongoing probe into military housing by the Army Criminal Investigation Command and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has yet to eliminate any environmental factors in the deaths.
Despite the ongoing probe, officials with Fort Bragg and Picerne Military Housing declared Tuesday that the houses where infants died are safe.
Fort Bragg's Directorate of Public Works ordered environmental tests at each of the 10 homes associated with the deaths, and those results were announced Tuesday.
"Across the board, none of them tested positive for anything that would contribute [to the deaths]," said Col. Stephen Sicinski, garrison commander at Fort Bragg.

read more here
Bragg Homes Where Babies Died Are Safe

Airmen Given Expired Anthrax Vaccines

Airmen Given Expired Anthrax Vaccines
October 28, 2010|by Bryant Jordan

In a memo issued Oct. 26, Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark Ediger, commander of the Air Force Medical Operations Agency in San Antonio, said the stand-down would remain in place until treatment centers can confirm the vaccine stock they have is current. But Ediger also said that confirmation that corrective actions had been taken were to be sent to the AFMOA by close of business Oct. 27, according to a copy of the memo obtained by

The only exceptions to the stand-down will be for personnel slated to deploy prior to Oct. 29 if the center can confirm that its vaccine supply is current, the memo states. If the available vaccine has passed its expiration date, the medical centers must follow waiver procedures set up by the Air Force Central Command Surgeon General's office.
read more here
Airmen Given Expired Anthrax Vaccines

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mother of accused soldier asks 'Where was the Army

Mother of accused soldier asks 'Where was the Army?'

By Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston, CNN
October 26, 2010 9:34 a.m. EDT
Dana Holmes: "The man that came home was not my son"
Holmes' mother says Army should be "going after" officers in charge
His attorney says Andrew Holmes is innocent
Holmes and four others are charged with murder
Editor's note: For more details on this story, watch Drew Griffin's report on tonight's "Situation Room," which airs at 5 ET. Click here for an archive of Griffin's reporting on this investigation.

Boise, Idaho (CNN) -- Five American soldiers have been charged with killing Afghan civilians for sport and staging the slayings to look like legitimate war casualties. The youngest of those five -- a now 20-year-old private from Idaho -- came home a changed man, his mother says.
And, said Dana Holmes, the Army not only should have known something had gone dreadfully wrong, but commanding officers should be held responsible.
"The man that came home was not my son," said Holmes. "He was very thin. He'd lost about 50 pounds. He said the Army told him he had a parasite. I made him his favorite sandwich, and it took him two days to eat the whole sandwich. Just couldn't eat; he didn't sleep."
Pfc. Andrew Holmes was a healthy, 185-pound 18-year-old when he joined the Army, his mother said. He came home on leave in April -- weeks before the Army launched an investigation into the suspected illegal drug use by his platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, Fifth Brigade.
read more here and see video
Mother of accused soldier asks Where was the Army

Captured Afghan may have killed U.S. sailors

Captured Afghan may have killed U.S. sailors

The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Oct 27, 2010 9:23:17 EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO says an Afghan insurgent leader linked to the killing of two U.S. sailors in July has been captured in eastern Afghanistan.

Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Jarod Newlove and Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Justin McNeley
read more here
Captured Afghan may have killed U.S. sailors

Senator Webb says "Cut waste from DOD and not benefits from troops!

It would be wonderful to find out who even thought of cutting benefits from the troops in the first place.

Cut waste, not benefits, Webb says

Senator says he will ‘not walk back on’ well-compensated military
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Oct 27, 2010 12:01:06 EDT

The chairman of the Senate panel responsible for military personnel said Wednesday he is all for cutting waste out of the defense budget — but that does not include reductions in pay or benefits.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., said he is willing to cut the size of the force, particularly Army and Marine Corps ground forces.

read more here
Cut waste not benefits

Florida State University and Military join forces for suicide prevention

FSU, military study suicide prevention
The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Oct 27, 2010 5:41:21 EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University is preparing to announce a new research effort into military suicides.

Florida State professor Thomas Joiner, who has studied suicide issues for many years, will join researchers from the Army and the Denver VA Medical Center to discuss an initiative they think can help reduce military suicides.

More than 1,100 members of the armed forces killed themselves from 2005 to 2009, and suicides have been rising again this year.

Just last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius launched the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a public and private coalition dedicated to reducing suicides across the U.S. population.
FSU, military study suicide prevention/

From FSU

"Soldiers see a lot of violence, they see death, they see the people who are closest to them in the world get killed, and they themselves are often seriously injured."

Thomas Joiner
Florida State University Department of Psychology

Florida State to help military wage war on suicide

American soldiers are taking their own lives in the largest numbers since the military began keeping records, and the Department of Defense has enlisted the help of The Florida State University in waging the war against suicide.

Thomas JoinerA $17 million federal grant has been awarded to FSU and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center to establish the Military Suicide Research Consortium. The consortium is the first of its kind to integrate DOD and civilian efforts in implementing a multidisciplinary research approach to suicide prevention.

Florida State's Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Thomas Joiner, an internationally known suicide researcher, and Peter Gutierrez, a leading suicide expert and clinical/research psychologist with the VA's Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Denver VA Medical Center, will lead the consortium. Each institution will receive $8.5 million in initial funding over the next three years.

The new consortium comes as the military struggles with a surging suicide rate that now exceeds the rate of suicide in the general population. More than 1,100 members of the armed forces died by suicide from 2005 to 2009 — that's more than the total number of servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001 — and suicides are rising again this year, according to a new task force report ordered by Congress.

"These suicides have deeply affected the military leadership, and they are desperate to do something about it," Joiner said. "For many in the military, they never knew the misery of suicide, and now they do. They are agonizing over this. They say it hurts every bit as much as losing someone in combat, maybe more."

Despite the new trend of suicide in the military, very little medical research has actually been done on the subject, said Joiner, who is also the Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology and a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at FSU. There's no doubt that the trauma of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq plays a role, but that doesn't explain why some soldiers take their own lives and others who share the same experience don't.

go here for more of this
Florida State to help military wage war on suicide

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who voted against veterans again?

Veterans Benefits Act 2010 Signed
Week of October 25, 2010
President Obama recently signed H.R. 3219, the Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010, into law. The new law addresses the needs of veterans by enhancing employment opportunities, preventing and caring for homeless veterans, ensuring the welfare of veterans and their families by increasing insurance limits, protecting servicemembers called to combat, honoring fallen servicemembers and their families, strengthening education benefits, addressing housing needs of disabled veterans, and investing in research for Gulf War veterans.
Visit the Military Advantage Blog to learn more about this new law.
read more here
Veterans Benefits Act 2010 Signed

There were 111 votes against this bill but we may never know who voted against it.

H.R. 3219:
Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010
111th Congress

An act to amend title 38, United States Code, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to make certain improvements in the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.


Rep. Bob Filner [D-CA51]show cosponsors (29)
Summary | Full Text
less than $2 per American in 2010.
Introduced Jul 15, 2009
Referred to Committee View Committee Assignments
Reported by Committee Jul 15, 2009
Amendments (2 proposed) View Amendments
Passed House Jul 27, 2009
Passed Senate Sep 28, 2010
Signed by President Oct 13, 2010
This bill has become law. It was signed by Barack Obama. [Last Updated: Oct 16, 2010 6:11AM]
Last Action:
Oct 13, 2010: Became Public Law No: 111-275.
Other Titles:
-- Corey Shea Act
-- Veterans Small Business Verification Act
See the Related Legislation page for other bills related to this one and a list of subject terms that have been applied to this bill. Sometimes the text of one bill or resolution is incorporated into another, and in those cases the original bill or resolution, as it would appear here, would seem to be abandoned.
Jul 27, 2009: This bill passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote. A record of each representative’s position was not kept.
Sep 28, 2010: This bill passed in the Senate with changes by Unanimous Consent. A record of each senator’s position was not kept.
Sep 29, 2010: A vote in the House of Representatives to agree with the other chamber's changes passed by voice vote. A record of each representative’s position was not kept.
read more here
Veterans Benefits Act of 2010

But knowing that the GOP have blocked over 100 bills from even being voted on, it does not shock me.

This is part of a game they love to play. There is a list on this site with more bills they blocked but notice when the bill was written, who it was for and who blocked it. It took since July of last year just to be able to vote on this.  Yet veterans are not part of their plan.  They don't care who pays as long as they defeat Obama even if it means blocking bills to take care of YOU!  Still think they earned your support?

GOP blocked these from being voted on.  Some of them finally passed with Republican support and they should be proud of that but ashamed these bills were part of a political game some of them could hide behind.

Supporting our Nation's Veterans

H.R. 403, Homes for Heroes Act
Provides special assistant to veteran affairs to ensure that housing and homeless assistance programs benefit veterans.

H.R. 466, Wounded Veteran Job Security Act
Protects the rights of wounded veterans to receive medical treatment for service-connected disabilities.

H.R. 1168, Veterans Retraining Act
Provides assistance for veterans who are in an employment training program that teaches a skill in the demand of the employer. (150 Republicans voted yes.)

H.R. 1211, Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act
Expands and improves health care services available to women veterans, especially those serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. (This bill passed 408-0.)

H.R. 1293, Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act
Increases payments to veterans with service connected of disabilities for improvements and structural alterations to their home.

H.R. 1803, Veterans Business Center Act
These centers would provide veterans and their surviving spouses with entrepreneurial training and counseling.

H.R. 2990, Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act
Provides special pays and allowances to certain members of the Armed Forces and disabled military retirees. (165 Republicans voted for this bill.)

H.R. 3219, Veterans' Insurance and Health Care Improvements Act
Would make improvements in the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs relating to insurance and health care for veterans.

H.R. 3949, Veterans' Small Business Assistance and Service Members Protection Act
Provides a full range of small business ownership counseling, training, financing and procurement programs available to veterans and Reservists. (This vote passed 382-2.)
read more here
Supporting our Nations Veterans

Fort Campbell Soldier to receive Medal for Heroism

Fort Campbell Soldier to receive Medal for Heroism

Fort Campbell, KY – The Soldier’s Medal, the highest award a Soldier can receive for an act of valor in a non-combat situation, will be awarded to a Fort Campbell Soldier, October 29th. Specialist Jose A. Ortiz-Fernandez, 63rd Chemical Company, will receive the medal at Fort Campbell for his heroic actions on June 19th, 2010, when he rescued a woman from a submerged vehicle in the Cumberland River near Clarksville, Tennessee.
According to the award citation, Ortiz-Fernandez was at a park, adjacent to the river, when he witnessed a female drive her vehicle onto a boat ramp and into the water. With complete disregard for his own safety, he dove into the water and battled stiff currents to reach the vehicle.
read more here
Fort Campbell Soldier to receive Medal for Heroism

Will Florida Veterans vote against themselves?

On the issues there is one that stands out for me and that is veterans.  Coming from a family full of veterans and spending my days with their lives in mind, that's my biggest issue.  During conversations with veterans down here in Florida, they usually say they will vote for Rubbio until I fill them in on some facts the media has yet to inform them of.  First on the list is the GOP agenda is to turn the VA over to private hands.  Imagine that!  They used to be ashamed of taking this position but now, now they seem almost proud of their willingness to betray the men and women who served this country with their lives.  They want to turn Social Security over to the stock market and get rid of Medicare.  Most of the lies down here on the TV are about how Pelosi lead the way on cutting Medicare along with Kosmos and Grayson but the truth is, they should have been patted on the back because they cut if from waste, fraud and abuse.  The GOP want people to believe they did it by cutting benefits instead of taking care of the tax payers and insuring that the Medicare system works for all of us.

Marco Rubio
Address: 2030 South Douglas Road, Suite 105, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Occupation: Lawyer
(Editor\\\'s Note, From Rubio\\\'s website) From 2000-2008, Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives. During this period, he served as Majority Whip, Majority Leader and Speaker of the House, effectively promoting an agenda of lower taxes, better schools, a leaner and more efficient government and free market empowerment. Rubio also helped spearhead Florida’s congressional and legislative redistricting effort. He chaired the House Select Committee on Property Rights, which crafted national model legislation to protect private property rights following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo v. City of New London decision that opened the door for eminent domain abuse.
The candidate has declined repeated inquiries to fill out biographical information and campaign stances in this race. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
Getting back to the GOP platform, it is no surprise to the aware voter that the GOP politicians have been voting against them every chance they have.  They didn't want the GI Bill.  They blocked the cost of living raise last year for Veterans and seniors.  They voted against the pay raise for the troops.  What is the most deplorable action taken by them was up until 2007 when the Democrats took control of the House and Senate, they were refusing to increase funding for the VA to take care of the wounded flooding into the system from Iraq, Afghanistan and our older veterans.  They were coming back home to suffer instead of being taken care of but the GOP politicians didn't give a damn.  They just kept talking about tax cuts for the rich.  You can look up their actual votes and the bills they blocked so you can weigh their actions agains their claims.

Rubio's claims about what he's done and the history of his family have little to do with what he will end up doing to veterans.  The people working for veterans and putting their lives ahead of political power are not members of the GOP.  I love Republicans as people but their politicians don't feel the same way or they would stop lying to them and then betraying them.

Mitch McConnell said
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

The way they wanted to make sure small businesses didn't get tax cuts to hire workers and buy equipment. The way they wanted to stop the bill that would increase the pay of the troops, the same troops they claim to support. They way they didn't want Obama to take care of the veterans suffering under the GOP leadership all the years they had the chance to prove where their hearts were.

The choice is simple. If you vote for Rubio, you will be voting to turn the VA over to private companies and very well could lose your benefits including Social Security because they want to turn that over to private companies and end Medicare. Is that what you want? If they take control of the Senate and the House, that is exactly what will happen. Frankly I've seen enough of how they closed their eyes and blocked their ears when veterans were crying out in agony for help. I heard the suffering when the Cost of Living raise didn't come but not once did I hear any of the veterans mention the fact the bill was written and the GOP blocked it just as they are going right now. Never once did I hear veterans say the GOP were allowing them to suffer any more than I heard how much the Democrats were fighting for them.

All of this was because no one told them until I did. Considering they know how hard I work for them, care about them, their best interests has been issue number one for me. I adore them and want them to be aware. When they are told what has been happening behind their backs, they are shocked because no one told them before. They wonder why the media hasn't told them the truth and so do I.

Look up the record of Kosmos and Grayson and what you'll find are two great friends of veterans along with almost every other Democratic politician including the President they love to hate. He's done so much for veterans even though the GOP has tried to stop everything he has tried to do because they wanted him to fail no matter who got hurt in the process. They had the chance to prove they loved veterans but they proved they loved the rich and thought the veterans were in a "welfare program" when they went to the VA instead of receiving a debt owed to them. Politicians serve their own best interest but for some that includes our veterans and for others, they want to use veterans for power to take care of the rich. How many rich people do you know willing to put on a uniform and risk their lives for this country they love?

I pray they open their eyes before they vote because if the GOP take over the Senate and the House after all the damage they've already done, things will only get worse for veterans and I'd hate to think they just did it to themselves because they didn't pay attention. Does your political ideas matter more than what is right?  Do you really think they will repay you with anything other than they have done before?  The last time they were in charge, you were betrayed when you thought they were your friends.

Think of this when you think about Rubio

Nevada Republican Wants to Privatize VA
Sharron Angle wants to screw veterans

Of all the confusing statements the Nevada Republican Senate hopeful Sharron Angle has made, one is very clear. Sharron Angle wants to privatize the Veterans Administration. At first glance, privatization of some government agencies might be worth a second look. However, we should look closely at why the ultra-conservative Republican might be looking at this idea.

Former President George Bush who pretty much single handedly engineered the economic mess we are now in, decided to privatize Walter Reed Army hospital in 2007 because of the poor condition the hospital was in. A 200 million dollar contract was awarded to an outfit run by former Halliburton Executives. Former Halliburton Executives? Where have we heard that before? Oh, that's right-Vice President Dick Cheney is a former Halliburton man! Unfortunately, the new company cared more about making money than wounded soldiers.
read more of this here
Nevada Republican Wants to Privatize VA

Rocket launcher recovered in alleged plot to attack Dayton VA

Rocket launcher recovered in alleged plot to attack Dayton VA
By Kristin McAllister and Tom Beyerlein
Staff Writer
Updated 11:41 PM Monday, October 25, 2010
MIAMI TWP., Montgomery County — Two men were being questioned after federal agents and local officers learned the men planned “to show up at the VA Center and basically shoot a bunch of people up,” police said Monday.

Federal agents found a rocket launcher and other weapons at the Miami Bluffs apartment Monday, according to Miami Twp. Deputy Police Chief John DiPietro.

The two men were not immediately identified. A Veterans Affairs spokeswoman refused to comment, citing privacy regulations and the ongoing investigation.

FBI Special Agent Michael Brooks confirmed that the agency is investigating a threat made to the Dayton VA Medical Center either late Sunday night or early Monday morning, but he would not say how the threat was made.

Deputy Police Chief Maj. John DiPietro said the men had received services from the Dayton VA Medical Center.

“I understand them to be American citizens who were also veterans of one of the wars,” he said.

read more here
Rocket launcher recovered in alleged plot

Family of soldier found dead in Iraq wants answers

UPDATE: Family of soldier found dead in Iraq wants answers

Reported by: Julie Tremmel

The air in the Bennett-Jones house in St. Johnsville is heavy with pain and sadness. On Sunday night, two uniformed military men showed up at their front door with the news that U.S. Army Private David Jones was found dead in his room on base in Baghdad, Iraq.

His mother Theresa Bennett of St. Johnsville said, "They said that they found him in his room at 2 o'clock yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, and there was one gunshot wound to his head. That was it. They didn't say anything about anything else."

The family says Jones had so much to live for, suicide simply isn't possible.
Family of soldier found dead in Iraq wants answers

Veteran of Vietnam and Gulf war shot by police

Delta man killed by police a war vet, says TV station
The Denver Post

Delta man killed by police a war vet

DELTA — The Delta County Coroner's Office identified a man killed in a shootout with police early Saturday as Larry A. Brown, 59, of Delta.

He was shot by two Delta police officers after he allegedly pulled a gun and fired it at them, authorities said.

The officers were not hit and returned fire. Brown died from multiple gunshot wounds, the coroner said.
KKCO-Channel 11 in Grand Junction reported that Brown was a Vietnam and Desert Storm veteran who was a Marine sniper and medic and had received the Bronze Star for bravery.

His family told the TV station he was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and sometimes walked the streets in camouflage, but they did not think he fired first at police.

Read more: Delta man killed by police a war vet, says TV station - The Denver Post
Delta man killed by police a war vet

Monday, October 25, 2010

Will you love them enough to learn?

Chaplain Kathie

My husband was married before we met. He was married soon after he came back from Vietnam. During their six years together, she didn't want to know about Vietnam, had no tolerance for his nightmares, flashbacks or short term memory loss. She didn't want to hear anything about Vietnam and they separated so many times he lost count. She just couldn't take it and this, this was when his PTSD was mild.

His Dad, a WWII veteran with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, didn't want to talk to him about war at all other than a few stories about some of his friends. His Mom didn't want to talk to him about anything other than what she wanted him to do for her.

Friends didn't want to listen and he never felt he could talk to any of them even if they were willing to listen. A few of them were also Vietnam veterans but they didn't talk about much either. There was no communication and no support. They had nothing to really connect. No emails with buddies back home in the states. No news reports from around the country. No books on PTSD with personal stories were written. There were only clinical books for me to read when we met and I wanted to find out why this veteran was so much different than everyone else in my family.

My Dad was a disabled Korean Vet and my uncles served in WWII. My husband was totally different.

Today there is the Internet, books, videos, media attention, sites like this one putting together news reports from around the country and more programs than I can remember, yet today there are still high numbers of divorce, suicides and attempted suicides with more and more veterans ending up homeless from Iraq and Afghanistan. Their families and friends are not perfect. Most of them have the same attitude my husband's inner circle did when they could have been trying to be supportive instead of telling him to "get over it" and stop.

Today wives like me are no longer left in the abyss trying to claw their way out alone because they have a lifeline to reach for, but too many never take hold of it. Their families, spouse and kids, suffer just as much as they do but they have the power to end the suffering and begin the healing. They have the power within their reach but they just won't take it.

Do they love their veteran enough to learn? Do they care enough to find out what they can do to help instead of judge and blame?

My husband's ex-wife didn't care enough to find out what she was facing and their marriage ended after six years. We've been married for 26 years and with all the heartache and struggles, I wouldn't have missed a day of it because in the process of learning what I could do for him, I discovered a more marvelous man under all the pain he carried.

All of us can discover the people they really are under all the pain when we care enough to learn and help them heal. In the process, we heal ourselves, forgive what caused us pain because we understand what is behind it and know how to respond to help them see the person they are under all of it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

College Hosts PTSD Seminar

College Hosts PTSD Seminar
One Of Five Soldiers Return With Disorder

By: Fred Halstied

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A recent study shows that one out of five soldiers returns from Iraq or Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
On Saturday, the University of Phoenix held a workshop teaching counseling professionals how to diagnose and treat local soldiers who have this condition.
"Military personnel are returning to Colorado Springs with their families, and they're abusing drugs," said Jody Tomberlin, licensed clinical social worker. "When soldiers return from the Middle East, they often have angry outburst, resulting in bar fights, domestic violence, and difficulty holding jobs."
read more here
College Hosts PTSD Seminar

Resilience training won't work tomorrow if yesterday is an example

It doesn't have to be as bad as it has been but as long as they take this kind of approach, it is unlikely to get better any time soon. "Resilience training" has not worked up until now and that is reflected by the ever increasing suicides along with attempted suicides. Drug and alcohol abuse are up, arrests are up so much so many states have rightly set up Veterans Courts, mental health claims are up, divorces are up and the list goes on.

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness

Resilience training and post traumatic stress disorder
Resilience training reflects a strength-based, positive psychology approach to Warrior behavioral health. It is designed for Warriors, Leaders, Spouses, Families and behavioral health providers. Training and information is targeted to all phases of the Warrior deployment cycle, Warrior life cycle and Warrior support system.
Do you believe this training will prepare you to cope with deployment and the effects of deployment, to include post traumatic stress disorder?
For more information on Resilience Training, visit
None of what we're seeing has to happen as long as they start to look at what has worked instead of what has failed.

I've been married 26 years but other couples have lasted 30 to 40 years while sharing a home with PTSD. We raised our kids to understand why their Dad acts the way he does and they didn't end up blaming themselves. We got our emotions out of the way and reacted with our intelligence using the view of a wounded combat veteran standing in front of us instead of some kind of jerk out to cause a fight. We helped them see all the good within them because we were able to forgive and we were able to forgive because we understood there was a reason behind what they did.

Above all, we helped them forgive themselves.

PTSD comes after trauma. From an outside force attacking them. It hits the emotional part of their brain. Under 25, this part is not fully developed. In other words, their character is not carved in stone yet. Exposure to traumatic events in combat weighs heavily on them and the number of times they are exposed to it, crushes them. Our job is to take the weight off their souls brick by brick. It was that way for wives of Vietnam Vets and will be that way for today's veterans.

It doesn't matter if the people in their lives are a spouse, sibling or parent or even a friend. We are the ones on the front lines of this. While they fight the battles in combat, we must fight the battles for their lives but we must do so fully armed with understanding, love, forgiveness and patience with them. "Resilience training" should not be geared toward them but should be geared toward us so that we have the ability to help them heal. From what I've seen, this attempt falls flat because the people running this type of program have little understanding what it is like to be in their boots 24-7 or live with them.

None of what we see has to happen but much we have done should happen. It won't as long as the powers that be will not listen to what has worked because they are too busy asking what has failed. If the people in their lives get emotionally hurt, then they turn away from them. Most of this comes from lack of understanding and looking at them as if they were the way they used to be. Homeless veterans, for the most part, can be tracked back to coming back with PTSD and families that were destroyed by it because no one understood why any of the damage done was happening to them. Want to really make a difference, then start what what already has. The track record of aware Vietnam veterans' families proves nothing is impossible.

Free Meals for Veterans

News from Military Connection

Free Meals for Military and Veterans
McCormick & Schmick's. For the 11th year in a row, the 87 locations in 25 states are offering free entrees to veterans on Sunday, Nov. 7th. The chain also requests military ID and highly recommends reservations. The promotion is on Sunday instead of Veterans Day, "because it allows vets to bring their families who might not be available during the week," CEO Bill Freeman says.
Golden Corral is offering free buffet meals - including beverage and dessert - to current military and veterans on Monday, Nov. 16, from 5 to 9 p.m. No military ID is required for its ninth annual Military Appreciation Monday, according to Dolly Mercer, national events manager. The event is held on this date, she says, "so we don't interfere with Veterans Day activities."
Applebee's is offering a free entree on Wednesday to veterans and all active-duty military from 11 a.m. to midnight at all 1,900 locations. Although Applebee's requests some kind of military ID, "We're not going to argue with folks who might forget to bring it," says Sam Rothschild, senior vice president of operations.
Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation is offering free doughnuts to all Veterans and active military personnel. Just visit any participating Krispy Kreme to redeem your free doughnuts. No identification required but keep it available anyway.
Outback Steakhouse - Free Blooming Onion and beverage.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

GOP Trick or threat?

I don't know what has happened to the people of this country but if I get into one more conversation with a smart person spouting off nonsense, I think I may just stop trying to set them straight and let them go off believing whatever they want so they can look totally stupid to someone without any patience at all.

Support For Veterans Shows Sharp Partisan Divide
Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 23rd, 2010 4:39 am by HL
Support For Veterans Shows Sharp Partisan Divide
According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America Action Fund, Republicans in Congress have dramatically failed to support our troops after they come home. IAVA’s 2010 Veteran Report Card, based on the key veterans’ legislation that came to a vote during the 111th Congress, exposed a sharp partisan divide on […]

According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America Action Fund, Republicans in Congress have dramatically failed to support our troops after they come home. IAVA’s 2010 Veteran Report Card, based on the key veterans’ legislation that came to a vote during the 111th Congress, exposed a sharp partisan divide on the level of support for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow tabulated yesterday. Of the 94 elected officials that earned an A or A+ rating from IAVA, 91 were Democrats. Of the 154 officials who received a D or F, 142 were Republicans:
read the rest here

Support For Veterans Shows Sharp Partisan Divide

It has been my job to know what the truth is and I can tell you that this is true. I listened to them talk for far too long to understand the difference between talk and real action. They say they support the troops and the veterans but on their agenda, their actual plans, they want to hand over the VA to private corporations, along with Social Security and Medicare while getting rid of the Department of Education. This is how they plan to knock down the deficit plus making sure we go back to the days when people ended up without medical care because they didn't have insurance. That is exactly what all the fighting has been about but they twist and snare words from fact so suit themselves on a daily basis.

Take down here in Florida for example. Grayson and Kosmos have been accused of cutting Medicare along with Nancy Pelosi. This accusation was by GOP contributors. The same people always talking about the deficit and how government doesn't work. These three people did in fact cut Medicare but they did it from cutting waste, fraud and abuse, while the commercial wants people to think someone lost benefits. How dumb is that? The very people wanting to cut it are accusing watchdogs of doing it? Where were will these people be when our parents are elderly and need medical care along with a social security check to be able to live after working all their lives? It's bad enough these same people stopped an increase in Social Security and Veterans cost of living raises last year and plan to do the same this year.

I've heard enough and read enough to know that when it comes to really caring about the people this country was built by and sustained by, they couldn't care less.

I heard them say there wasn't enough money to take care of our veterans because, if you can believe their own words, "there are two wars to pay for" at the same time Iraq and Afghanistan were never included in the budgets until Obama, the man they love to hate, decided they were important enough to include in the budget and pay for. They complain about so many things needing to be paid for when it matters to us but when it comes to the rich people in this country, nothing is too good for them.

The simple truth is if you read and check their voting record, notice all the bills they stopped in the Senate including how they voted against the GI Bill, pay raises for the troops and cost of living raises for our disabled veterans, then you will know that if you still think they deserve your vote, you should be prepared to have people laugh because your fly is down or your dress is stuck in your underwear, because you'll not only look that dumb, you'll be to blame for us going back to the days when no one cared about anyone but themselves.

They just didn't care about us when they blocked so many bills because power trumped all else. They figured if Obama fails then we'll be suffering so much we'd want them back but they didn't count on how bright we all are and we figured out that in the end, none of us matter to them but we do matter to the people who have been fighting for us since 2007 when the Democrats took back control of the committees and things began to work for common folk like us. Don't let the GOP trick you into not knowing when you are being threatened with what they want to do to us so you forget who has been trying to do things for us!

Rant for the week concluded.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Senator Doran says "Pentagon dropped the ball on chemical exposure of US Troops in Iraq"


Friday CONTACT: Barry E. Piatt

October 22, 2010 PHONE: 202-224-0577

Follow up report is delayed:


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) --- U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said Friday a preliminary report of an investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General confirms that the Pentagon dropped the ball in responding to the exposure of hundreds of U.S. troops to a deadly chemical in Iraq. Those failures left some exposed soldiers unaware that they had been exposed to the deadly chemical and without follow up health monitoring and treatment. Monitoring tests performed on other soldiers who were informed of their exposure were so inadequate that the agency that performed them now admits they have a “low level of confidence” in those tests.

A second and more detailed Inspector General’s report, originally scheduled to be released this month, has now been moved back to the end of the year, a development Dorgan said he finds “disappointing.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee and Dorgan requested IG investigations after he chaired hearings by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), in June 2008 and August 2009. The hearings revealed that troops from Indiana, Oregon, South Carolina, and West Virginia were exposed to sodium dichromate, a known and highly potent carcinogen at the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility in Iraq. The DPC hearings revealed multiple failures by the contractor, KBR, and the Army’s failure to adequately monitor, test, and notify soldiers who may have been exposed of the health risks they may now face.

The IG is releasing two reports on its investigation, The first report was released in September. The second, expected to be a more detailed response to specific DPC concerns, was originally slated for release by late October. But the Department of Defense Inspector General now states a draft of that report won’t be available until the end of the year.

The first report provides no indication -- seven years after the exposure – that the Army ever notified seven soldiers from the Army’s Third Infantry Division who secured the Qarmat Ali facility during hostilities that they had been exposed. It also confirms that the Army’s assessment of the health risks associated with exposure to sodium dichromate for soldiers at Qarmat Ali are not very reliable. In fact, the organization that performed these assessments, the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine (CHPPM), now says it has a “low level of confidence” in its test results for the overwhelming majority of those exposed.

Equally troubling, Dorgan said, is the report’s finding that the Department of Defense is refusing to provide information to Congress about the incident, because of a lawsuit to which it is not a party.

“I am very concerned about the findings we now have, and I am disappointed in the delayed release of Part II of this report. The IG’s investigation and its findings are very important to the lives of U.S. soldiers and workers who were at the site. Details and definitive findings will help us ensure accountability for this exposure and flawed follow up, but even more importantly, they will help ensure that all exposed soldiers receive appropriate notice and medical attention,” Dorgan said.

As a death notification team "It wasn't supposed to be like this."

It wasn't supposed to be like this

Posted 10/18/2010

Commentary by Lt. Col. Jonathan Tamblyn
54th Air Refueling Squadron commander

10/18/2010 - ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) -- After parking the Air Force staff car beside the yard, the chaplain, the nurse and I got out of the car and took a moment to look over each other's service dress. We had been steeling ourselves for this moment most of the afternoon.

As a death notification team, it was our job to inform a newly bereaved father about the tragic death of his Air Force son.

In a very rare Air Force Personnel Center decision, the signed letter I would read to the father stated the suspected cause of death was suicide.

Many of you can't read the word "suicide" without feeling the pangs of a tragic loss you have already experienced in your life due to someone else's decision to prematurely end his or her own life. Although the pain of suicide is staggering, the risk of suicide may be more pervasive than previously thought.

In a 2008 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it was found that "nearly 8.3 million adults (age 18 and older) in the U.S. had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year."

The study also showed that 2.3 million adult Americans made a suicide plan within the past year and that 1.1 million adults actually attempted suicide within the past year."

Hidden within these staggering statistics, you find too many servicemembers who have also been suicidal.

Lately, military suicides have been on the rise.

The Houston Chronicle did an analysis and found suicides of "Texans younger than 35 who served in the military jumped from 47 in 2006 to 66 in 2009 -- an increase of 40 percent."

As sobering as the statistics can be, there are some things we can do to help reduce the risk of losing an Airman, coworker, friend or family member to suicide.
read more here

Kentucky family sues over shooting death at Fort Bliss

Ky. family sues over shooting death at Fort Bliss
By BRETT BARROUQUERE Associated Press Writer © 2010 The Associated Press
Oct. 20, 2010, 4:10PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The family of a teenager killed during a shooting at a post in Texas is suing the U.S. government for $8.75 million, claiming the military was negligent in diagnosing and treating the alleged shooter.

Renee Richardson of Louisville, whose 18-year-old son, Ezra Gerald Smith, died in the April 24, 2009 shootings at Fort Bliss in Texas, claims the U.S. Army missed multiple warning signs that Spc. Gerald Polanco was suffering from numerous psychiatric disorders, including post traumatic stress disorder.

"This could have been prevented and that's what she's mad about," attorney Sheila Hiestand said of her client.

Richardson filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Louisville.

Polanco was charged with murder, but ruled incompetent to stand trial by a military judge a few months later. Polanco's current condition was not immediately available. His attorney, John Convery of San Antonio, Texas, did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Army Maj. Myles Caggins III, a spokesman for Fort Bliss, told The Associated Press that Polanco's court martial proceedings are ongoing and declined to comment.

"Our heart goes out to the family of Gerald Smith," Caggins said. "We are committed to fair and thorough legal proceedings in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

In letters to Smith's family, the military denied liability for the shooting, saying Polanco's actions could not have been foreseen.

Smith was at Fort Bliss, where his stepfather was based at the time of the shooting.
read more here

Huron police searching for missing Iraq War veteran

Huron police searching for missing Iraq War veteran
Published: Thursday, October 21, 2010

HURON — A 21-year-old Iraq War veteran is still missing and divers searched the Huron River yesterday but didn’t find anything, Huron police Chief John Majoy said.

Nathan Dickey was reported missing after he did not return home Sunday evening following a night out with friends, according to the Huron Police Department.
go here for more
Huron police searching for missing Iraq War veteran

Friends of missing Iraq war veteran wait, hope, pray
It’s a grueling wait for Nathan Dickey’s family and friends as they look to police to solve the Iraq war veteran’s mysterious disappearance.

Dickey’s friends gathered Wednesday evening outside the Brass Pelican near the Huron River, where earlier this week the missing man’s shoe was found in the river.

“He’s an excellent guy,” said Casey Gonzalez, Dickey’s friend from Columbus. “We’re all a tight bunch and we’re just waiting, hoping for the best.”

Gonzalez recalled the last time he saw Dickey — just weeks ago at Cedar Point — and he’s hoping it’s not the last time he’d see his friend alive.

Dickey’s friends reported him missing Sunday evening after a night of drinking at i5’s Bar and Grill in downtown Huron. Dickey was with the group Saturday night, but at 2 a.m. Sunday he wandered off into the early morning darkness.

He was drunk and upset about problems within the group, a police report said.

It’s the last time anyone saw him alive.
read more of this here
Friends of missing Iraq war veteran wait

Veteran Guards Christian Flag At City's Memorial

Since this is a memorial, there should be no problem with the "Christian" flag flying at all. There doesn't seem to be any rule about preventing other faiths from flying a flag there too so there should really be no problem.  What's next? Removing the headstones with crosses on them from cemeteries?

Air Force veteran Ray Martini guards a Christian flag
Lynn Hey/AP
Ray Martini, an Air Force veteran, stands beside a Christian flag flying in front of the Veterans Memorial at Central Park in King, N.C., on Saturday. Martini launched a round-the-clock vigil to guard the new flag after it was taken down because of complaints.

Veteran Guards Christian Flag At City's Memorial

October 21, 2010
The Christian flag is everywhere in the small city of King, N.C.: flying in front of barbecue joints and hair salons, stuck to the bumpers of trucks, hanging in windows and emblazoned on T-shirts.

The relatively obscure emblem has become omnipresent because of one place it can't appear: flying above a war memorial in a public park.

The city council decided last month to remove the flag from above the monument in Central Park after a resident complained, and after city leaders got letters from the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State urging them to remove it.

That decision incensed veterans groups, churches and others in King, a city of about 6,000 people 15 miles north of Winston-Salem. Ray Martini, 63, an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam, launched a round-the-clock vigil to guard a replica Christian flag hanging on a wooden pole in front of the war memorial.

Since Sept. 22, the vigil has been bolstered by home-cooked food delivered by supporters, sleeping bags and blankets donated by a West Virginia man and offers of support from New York to Louisiana.
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Veteran Guards Christian Flag

Faith healing or foul play on cliff

Faith healing or foul play on cliff?
By Ryan Sabalow
Posted October 21, 2010
Rather than call police when their drinking partner fell — or was pushed — off a nearly 200-foot cliff, two students at a Redding Bible school tried first to reach the severely wounded man and pray him back to life, a lawsuit alleges.

In a lawsuit filed this month in Shasta County Superior Court exactly two years to the day after he was pulled by search-and-rescue crews from the banks of the Sacramento River, Jason Michael Carlsen alleges that when Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry students Sarah Elisabeth Koivumaki and Zachary Gudelunas couldn’t reach him to heal him with their prayers, they spent hours debating whether to call the police.

Bethel’s members purport to have the ability to heal people through prayer and bring the dead back to life.

The two later told police they thought Carlsen was killed in the fall.

Worried that they would be exiled from the church, the two Bethel students also went so far as to try to cover up evidence they’d even been at the top of the cliff, the lawsuit alleges.
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Faith healing or foul play on cliff

Feds: Mentally Ill Targeted in $200M Medicare Fraud in Florida

There is an ad here in Florida attacking Grayson and Kosmos along with Nancy Pelosi. The problem with the ad is that while it is true they were part of the millions cut from Medicare, it was against waste, fraud and abuse, just as this report how bad the problem is. No one lost benefits and tax payers were well served by going after this kind of fraud. Whoever is behind the ad, just doesn't care about the elderly or the tax payers when they use an ad doing good but paint it as bad for attempted political gain.

This kind of thing happens way too often and it needs to be stopped for the sake of everyone.

Feds: Mentally Ill Targeted in $200M Medicare Fraud

Hugh Collins

(Oct. 21 ) -- Two Miami health care companies and four owners and senior managers were indicted today in a $200 million fraud scheme that targeted mentally ill patients, federal authorities said.

American Therapeutic Corp. and Medlink Professional Management Group allegedly paid kickbacks to Florida assisted-living facilities to deliver their patients to ATC.

The companies would then bill Medicare therapy sessions that were unnecessary or never performed at all, the indictment said.

Agents with the FBI and Investigations Division of the Office of the Inspector General are seen outside the American Therapeutic Corp. building on Thursday in Miami. Federal agents raided the building during an operation that resulted in the arrest of four in what is being called one of the nation's biggest Medicare fraud cases.

Some of these patients were suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia, and were not aware of what was going on.

go here for more

Feds: Mentally Ill Targeted in $200M Medicare Fraud
Feds: Mentally Ill Targeted in $200M Medicare Fraud

60 Minutes shines light on local homeless Marine vet

60 Minutes shines light on local homeless Marine vet
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2010 AT 8:02 P.M.

What a difference three months made in the life of former enlisted Marine Charles Worley.

In July, Worley was one of a handful of young veterans living on the streets of San Diego . Worley, then 31, had been bouncing among friends’ couches after he lost his job and unemployment ran out.

To get a break from that routine, he showed up at the annual three-day Stand Down for the Homeless event held by Veterans Village of San Diego at San Diego High School.

That’s where the cameras of 60 Minutes discovered him. Worley was prominently profiled in a report aired Sunday night. He was also featured in this story in the San Diego Union-Tribune on July 16.

The 60 Minutes piece leaves off with the viewer wondering about Worley’s destiny.
60 Minutes shines light on local homeless Marine vet

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vet who attempted suicide facing sentencing?

‘I’m scared’
Local Army vet, struggling with PTSD, worried over upcoming sentencing for incident following suicidal episode

Times Editor
Thursday, October 21, 2010 9:10 AM EDT
SAYRE — Rebecca Amey has two significant scars on her body.

One is on her left shoulder, the reminder that she survived an IED explosion while serving in Iraq as a U.S. Army intelligence analyst back in 2005-2006.

The other is on her left wrist — leftover from when her nightmares and flashbacks triggered a suicide attempt this summer.

Amey suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. She is currently on five medications to combat her anxiety, lingering pain from her injury and to help her sleep without the nightmares of that incident flowing back into her mind.

Dealing with the PTSD is a daily struggle for the 24-year-old mother of two. But it was the aftermath of her recent suicide attempt that may have lasting repercussions on her life and her family’s.

It was on July 23 when Amey left her house and attempted to commit suicide following her most recent flashbacks and nightmares. However, in her haste, Amey left her 3-year-old son Tristan and her 10-month-old son Andrew home — alone.

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Local Army vet, struggling with PTSD

600 people met the eight Westboro pickets at Gonzaga University

October 21, 2010 in City
Ferris to release students early as protesters gather
The Spokesman-Review

Ferris High School officials have decided to release students at 1:45 today as hundreds of protestors gather nearby to demonstrate against a planned appearance by pickets from Westboro Baptist Church.

Hundreds of people have turned out at each of the stops scheduled by the radical group to counter its message of hate and intolerance.

An estimated 600 people met the eight Westboro pickets at Gonzaga University, with another 200 to 300 at both the Moody Bible Institute and Whitworth University. Currently, about 200 people are gathering near Ferris High School.

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Ferris to release students early

Iraq contractor seeks appeal from Oregon veterans

Iraq contractor seeks appeal from Oregon veterans

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Texas-based military contractor is seeking an appeal before trial begins in a lawsuit filed by Oregon veterans who claim they were exposed to a toxic chemical in Iraq. Attorneys for Kellogg, Brown and Root claim that suing a military contractor raises “unprecedented” legal questions that first should be decided by a higher court. Other federal judges have ruled in KBR’s favor in lawsuits in Indiana and West Virginia, saying their courts lack jurisdiction. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak in Portland told attorneys Wednesday to prepare for trial while he considers the KBR request to have the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals review his rulings. Oregon Army National Guard veterans sued KBR last year, claiming the company downplayed or disregarded their exposure to hexavalent chromium in Iraq.

Iraq contractor seeks appeal from Oregon veterans

Facebook behind Vietnam Vet finding daughter after 39 years

Danielle Petratos holds a photo of her and her father 42 years ago. (Photo/Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Dad, Daughter Reunite Via Facebook After 39 Years
October 21, 2010 2:31 PM

Reporting Mike Xirinachs

MANHASSET, NY (WCBS 880/ 1010 WINS) – All her life, the only thing Danielle Petratos had of her father was a single photograph.

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Dad Daughter Reunite Via Facebook After 39 Years

Marine Charged With Killing Friend

Marine Charged With Killing Friend During Drunken Brawl
“We have two families each who has lost a son," said Miami-Dade police

Kevin Toledo, a Miami-Dade College student studying nursing and working as a security guard, was considering joining the military.

Wednesday night, his stunned friends and family mourned his death by gathering in the darkness outside his family's home in Little Havana, calling him "a good man" and "a brother." Tears were everywhere. His friend Ken Shika is now charged with first degree murder in his death. Police say they got into a drunken brawl. Shika, a Marine Reserve Sergeant who did two tours in Iraq, shot his friend in the back, according to police.

"This is, in fact, a tragedy all the way around,” says Roy Rutland, spokesperson for the usually tight-lipped Miami-Dade police. “We have two families each who has lost a son. And we have lost an American soldier who is now being charged with first degree murder and is looking at spending the rest of his life in prison.”
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Marine Charged With Killing Friend During Drunken Brawl

Should pictures of bodies be published?

There was a great debate about media covering the return of flag draped caskets coming home. In the end after the ban was lifted, it was left up to the family members if the media would be allowed to cover the return or not and how much they would cover.

The same rule needs to be applied here as well. It shouldn't matter if you can see the face of the fallen or not. It should be up to the family if they want the picture shown.

This is a heartbreaking picture of a group of Marines standing by the body of one of their brothers. A tenderness we do not get to see showing that this Marine's life mattered. Maybe we need to be reminded of what they are going through, that war is real and they die, they get wounded and for far too many they cannot escape the carnage even though they leave the country. It comes back with them as they try to get back into society where things like they see are not supposed to happen. They come back to oblivious communities so out of touch with what they are going through, most of them have no idea how many died. They were not reminded of what was happening in Iraq or Afghanistan, so they forget all about them as they deal with their own problems. Maybe they need to be reminded but just as the public has a right to know, the families have a right to be private if that is what they want. We may honor the life gone for our sake but they did not belong to us. They belonged to the families who prayed for them everyday, missed them, worried about them but above all, will be the people visiting their graves instead of holding them in their arms. Let them decide.

Go here for the picture and to read more. I decided to remove the picture.

Two views of photo of a fallen Marine
October 20, 2010
The photo on Wednesday’s front page of Marines in Afghanistan waiting with the body of a fallen battalion member drew strong, and opposing, responses from readers. Cpl. Jorge Villarreal, who was based at Camp Pendleton, was killed by an improvised bomb while on patrol. In the photo, above, three fellow Marines await a helicopter that will evacuate Villarreal's body.
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Two views of photo of a fallen Marine

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Discharged gay troops try to re-enlist

Imagine serving your country, being willing to die for it, then be told that your service is not wanted because you are gay. Then imagine most of the other countries in NATO have no problem with gays serving in the military. Then think that even though you wanted to serve despite all of this, you were kicked out anyway. Well if that wasn't enough to turn these men and women against the military, some of them are showing exactly how much they do care by enlisting back into the military that tossed them out for being what they are. Says a lot about the kind of people the military has been getting rid of instead of appreciate.

Discharged gay troops try to re-enlist
By Anne Flaherty and Julie Watson - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Oct 20, 2010 8:18:43 EDT
SAN DIEGO — At least three service members discharged for being gay have begun the process to re-enlist after the Pentagon directed the military to accept openly gay recruits for the first time in the nation's history.

The top-level guidance issued to recruiting commands Tuesday marked a significant change in an institution long resistant and sometimes hostile to gays.

"Gay people have been fighting for equality in the military since the 1960s," said Aaron Belkin, executive director of the Palm Center, a think tank on gays and the military at the University of California Santa Barbara. "It took a lot to get to this day."
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Discharged gay troops try to re enlist