Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Superman" Marine plugs own wounds with fingers

Marine shot during necklace robbery plugged bullet wounds with fingers

By Ihosvani Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel
9:14 p.m. EST, December 30, 2011

One bullet went through his belly and lodged in his pelvis, while a second sliced through his chest and out his shoulder. Yet another grazed the back of his skull.

Shot and wounded while chasing thieves on foot, Lt. Col. Karl Trenker said he did what he had been trained to do as a 29-year veteran of the U.S. Marines with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Running with bullet holes wasn't working out well, so I plugged them up with my fingers," Trenker said Friday.

Trenker, 48, was not injured on the battlefield, but in an apartment complex parking lot in Deerfield Beach where he had gone to sell a necklace to a Craigslist buyer-turned-robber. Father and stepfather to seven children, Trenker was released Friday from North Broward Medical Center, nine days after the shooting.

Emergency physician Dr. Igor Nichiporenko, who removed part of Trenker's bowel and left a bullet in his pelvis, attributed the fact that Trenker is alive to his military training and lifestyle.

"When you hear someone is coming in with multiple gunshot wounds, you are concerned," Nichiporenko said. "He was in bad shape."

Trenker spoke several hours after leaving the hospital. He said he feels pain where a 10-inch surgery wound now crosses his stomach area. He walks with a slight limp, but that is expected to fade.

He recounted the moments leading up to the shooting, and described the actions that led his fiancee and doctor to refer to him as "Superman."
read more here

Returning Marine surprises kids at Tampa International Airport

Returning Marine surprises kids at Tampa International Airport
By: Erik Waxler
TAMPA - The mission was getting seven-year-old Arianna and five-year-old David to open an oversized present before they figured out what's inside.

With a cell phone in each ear, their grandmother, Dana Barrow was coordinating it all.

Tanya McKinley is the kids' mom. She knew what was inside. She told her children it was a gift so big, they had to come to the airport to pick it up.

"My son thinks it's Buzz Lightyear and my daughter is hoping it's a dress," said McKinley.

Sorry kids, no Buzz Lightyear and no dress. It turned out to be something they weren't expecting: Their father.
read more here

Lewis-McChord leaders ignorance leads to deadly end

Lewis-McChord leaders ignorance leads to deadly end
Chaplain Kathie

Who sold the military on this and why do they continue to buy it?

This quote sums up exactly what has been going on at Lewis-McChord and across every base, every branch.

“We take suicide very seriously,” Dangerfield said. “We’re going to continue to push the envelope to make sure soldiers get the resiliency training they need.”

As pointed out over the last four years by Wounded Times, this does more damage than good but they have yet to see it. They keep insisting on using this deadly failure of a program. They defend what they have been doing no matter what the result has been. What is worse is they continue to delude the public into thinking they finally get it.

All this "resiliency training" does is leave them feeling as if PTSD is their fault because they didn't train their brains right and they are weak. When 1 out of 3 walk away from trauma trapped inside of them, they see the other two manage somehow to "get over it" then the training reverberates in their ears telling them they are to blame. They just weren't mentally tough enough and didn't train right.

Tell a parent their son or daughter took their own life because that was what they were trained to do. Isn't that what we're talking about here? Now we have all these suicides, all these years later with grieving families wondering what they did wrong when they should be asking what the hell the DOD did wrong!

JBLM suicides hit grim milestone in 2011 - most ever
Published: 12/30/11
Joint Base Lewis-McChord passed an unwelcome milestone in 2011, recording more soldier suicides than in any previous year.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord passed an unwelcome milestone in 2011, recording more soldier suicides than in any previous year.

Twelve soldiers took their own lives in 2011, up from nine in 2010 and nine in 2009, Army I Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield said. The total could grow as the Army completes investigations ahead of its annual suicide report next month.

The toll at Lewis-McChord rose despite new efforts to counsel soldiers when they come home from war, including the creation of a suicide-prevention office.

Lewis-McChord leaders plan to apply what they learned from those programs to help soldiers cope with stress at home and in their work.

“We take suicide very seriously,” Dangerfield said. “We’re going to continue to push the envelope to make sure soldiers get the resiliency training they need.”
read more here

For more on this story

Editorial Board is wrong on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and PTSD

DOD message has been PTSD is your fault

The $125-million Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Failure

Copper thieves target Habitat home built for disabled veteran

Copper thieves target Habitat home built for disabled veteran
December 29, 2011

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- A house for a disabled veteran, built by veterans is a shining example of humanity.

After a year of hard work and grueling fundraising, volunteers had finally put the finishing touches on the place, with a brand new boiler and all the trimmings, when the thieves severed pipes, busted out a window and left holes in the drywall.

"We have a homeowner who is in a wheelchair. He desperately needs to live close to the VA hospital and this was going to be his home in what we thought would be no more than two weeks,” said Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Suzanne Williams.

Construction Manager Michael Brownfield said, "They took a big rock and threw it through the window and literally busted out the window. It made a lot of noise. I mean they weren't quiet about it."

The brazen thieves caused as much as $10,000 in damage, trying to dig out whatever copper piping they could find.
read more here
CNY HVAC supplier to help Habitat home damaged by copper thieves

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- An act of vandalism was followed up by an act of kindness after a local man stepped up to help repair damage at a Habitat for Humanity house targeted by copper thieves this month.

After hearing the story on the news, VP Supply Corporation's Christopher Maroney says he will either salvage a damaged boiler in the home or replace it.
read more here

Marine Charged With Stabbing at Movie Theater

NEW INFO: Marine Charged With Stabbing
A Camp Lejeune Marine faces a serious charge this morning for a stabbing at a local movie theater.
Posted: 5:23 AM Dec 30, 2011

One of the comments left on the site stated this.

"Dec 30, 2011 at 09:47 PM
it was two FEMALE marines that jumped in after this man went nuts on not only the man that was stabbed but also his girl freind. any resonable person who saw that would jump in. thats what happend. the marines broke it up and helped the man that was stabbed. if you were not there or involved, dont spread any lies."
read more here

Friday, December 30, 2011

Vietnam Veterans of America want wrongful discharges corrected

Saturday, September 29, 2007

10 discharges a day for "personality disorder"
Many soldiers get boot for 'pre-existing' mental illness
St. Louis Post-Dispatch September 29, 2007
By Philip Dine

WASHINGTON -- Thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq - as many as 10 a day - are being discharged by the military for mental health reasons. But the Pentagon isn't blaming the war. It says the soldiers had "pre-existing" conditions that disqualify them for treatment by the government.

Many soldiers and Marines being discharged on this basis actually suffer from combat-related problems, experts say. But by classifying them as having a condition unrelated to the war, the Defense Department is able to quickly get rid of troops having trouble doing their work while also saving the expense of caring for them.

The result appears to be that many actually suffering from combat-related problems such as post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries don't get the help they need.

Working behind the scenes, Sens. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., have written and inserted into the defense authorization bill a provision that would make it harder for the Pentagon to discharge thousands of troops. The Post-Dispatch has learned that the measure has been accepted into the Senate defense bill and will probably become part of the Senate-House bill to be voted on this week.

read more here

Monday, August 20, 2007

Department of Defense to Armed Forces:It's your fault
Treating the trauma of war – fairly
In relabeling cases of PTSD as 'personality disorder,' the US military avoids paying for treatment.
By Judith Schwartz
from the August 20, 2007 edition

Bennington, Vt. - The high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among soldiers returning from Iraq is one of the many "inconvenient truths" of this war. Inconvenient largely because it is costly: The most effective and humane means of treating PTSD are time-intensive and long-term.

The military, however, has changed the terms and given many thousands of enlisted men and women a new diagnosis: "personality disorder." While the government would be obliged to care for veterans suffering from combat-related trauma, a personality disorder – defined as an ingrained, maladaptive way of orienting oneself to the world – predates a soldier's tour of duty (read: preexisting condition). This absolves Uncle Sam of any responsibility for the person's mental suffering.
read more here

Thursday, December 27, 2007

DOD claims 85% of discharges for personality disorder were right?
Military Works to Improve Personality Disorder-Based Discharge Process
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2007 – The military is working to improve the way it implements a policy of discharging troops based on pre-existing personality disorders, Defense Department health officials said today.

Several articles in summer 2007 claimed that some 22,500 troops had been discharged -- in some instances, wrongly discharged -- after being diagnosed as having personality disorders. In response, the Defense Department launched a “secondary review.”

In the ongoing investigation thus far, officials have reconfirmed that 85 percent of servicemembers initially determined to have personality disorders were correctly diagnosed. Roughly 1.5 percent, however, were misdiagnosed, officials said.

“We have looked at most of them, and some, on review, have been incorrect diagnoses,” Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, told reporters at the Pentagon today.
read more here

There are more of these reports on Wounded Times, but you get the idea. This has been going on for a long time and so far, not much has been done to correct any of this.

Vets Say Pentagon Misdiagnosed Thousands
Friday, December 30, 2011
NEW HAVEN (CN) - The Vietnam Veterans of America says the Pentagon has "systematically and wrongfully discharged" more than 22,000 veterans since 2001 "on the basis of so-called 'personality disorder'" - rather than post-traumatic stress disorder - to deny them medical care and save the Pentagon $12.5 billion in medical and disability payments.

"The military classifies PD [personality disorder] as a condition pre-existing military service," the four plaintiff chapters of the Vietnam Veterans of America say in their federal complaint against the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.

"Veterans discharged from the military on the basis of a PD diagnosis are not entitled to receive service-connected disability benefits or VA health care.

"By its own admission, DoD dismissed 22,656 service members on the basis of PD between fiscal years 2001 and 2007; 3,372 of these discharged service members had served in combat or imminent danger zones in support of OCO [overseas contingency operation - Pentagonspeak for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan]. Approximately 2,800 of the service members whom DoD had dismissed on the basis of PD had deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.

"By discharging over 22,000 service members on the basis of PD, DoD saved the military approximately $4.5 billion in medical care and $8 billion in disability compensation that these service members would have received had they been discharged on the basis of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder ('PTSD') or another service-connected disability."

The veterans say the Pentagon and Homeland Security have blown off their requests for "records relating to the use by branches of the United States armed forces and the National Guard of PD discharges and adjustment disorder or readjustment disorder discharges to discharge service members since October 1, 2001."

And: "Because DoD refuses to admit that it incorrectly discharged many service members on the basis of PD, an unknown number of veterans who served with integrity and valor in the armed forces continue to be denied service-connected disability benefits and VA health care."
read more here

Vietnam Vet meets grown son for first time

Uploaded by kxan on Dec 29, 2011
On a Bastrop horse farm, Vietnam veteran Mike Gold is getting to know the 47-year-old son he was never sure he had -- who actually was born on the same day as his father: April 27.

Another Fort Campbell soldier nabs car burglar

Second Fort Campbell soldier nabs car burglar
9:10 PM, Dec. 29, 2011

Written by
Philip Grey
and Chris Smith

For the second time this week, a Fort Campbell soldier has caught and detained a vehicle burglary suspect in the neighborhoods just north of Tiny Town Road.

At about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, Maj. Scott Puckett, 40, saw two men walking past his house on Old Timber Road when one of the men stopped in his driveway and looked in his vehicles, according to a news release from Clarksville Police spokesman Officer Jim Knoll.

Puckett went outside and saw a man, later identified as Rafael Alves Quina, opening and closing the driver's side door of his Chevrolet Suburban.
read more here

Those found guilty of using Spice 'Synthetic' marijuana are kicked out

'Synthetic' marijuana is problem for US military
By Julie Watson
Associated Press / December 30, 2011
SAN DIEGO—U.S. troops are increasingly using an easy-to-get herbal mix called "Spice," which mimics a marijuana high and can bring on hallucinations that last for days.

The abuse of the drug has so alarmed military officials that they've launched an aggressive testing program that this year has led to the investigation of more than 1,100 suspected users, according to military figures.

So-called "synthetic" pot is readily available on the Internet and has become popular nationwide in recent years, but its use among troops and sailors has raised concerns among the Pentagon brass.

"You can just imagine the work that we do in a military environment," said Mark Ridley, deputy director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, adding, "you need to be in your right mind when you do a job. That's why the Navy has always taken a zero tolerance policy toward drugs."

Two years ago, only 29 Marines and sailors were investigated for Spice. This year, the number topped 700, the investigative service said. Those found guilty of using Spice are kicked out, although the Navy does not track the overall number of dismissals.

The Air Force has punished 497 airmen so far this year, compared to last year's 380, according to figures provided by the Pentagon. The Army does not track Spice investigations but says it has medically treated 119 soldiers for the synthetic drug in total.
read more here

Iraq vets need time to heal

'Be patient with us': Iraq vets need time to heal
I pulled the newspaper clipping from my bag and slid it across the table.

Nicole Brodeur
Seattle Times staff columnist
Iraq war veteran Marc Loiselle was an Army platoon leader. "Sometimes I just feel like I broke," he said. "You just see too many things."
I pulled the newspaper clipping from my bag and slid it across the table.

Marc Loiselle took in the headline: "Obama marks end of Iraq war, welcomes 'equal partnership.' "

He looked at the photo of the president and Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki placing a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.

"How clean this looks," Loiselle said, running his hand across the clip. "How clean it seems, when it was absolute horror, an absolute nightmare. It's insane how bad.

"If someone wrote a screenplay, it would be torture porn."

This is not the young man I remembered meeting in 2004, when he returned from his first, one-year tour in Iraq. His parents had invited me to a welcome-home party at their house in Seattle, and I went, wanting not only to talk to a witness to a war, but to gauge how one returns from it.

Loiselle, then 25, had attended the University of Washington with plans to be a teacher, but the former ROTC member decided to join the Army instead.

At one point, Loiselle and I talked about what he had done as a platoon leader. He was quiet, but clear-eyed. Smart and well-read. It seemed he had gone to war with an informed understanding of why we were there, and what he needed to do.
read more here

Female vets talk joblessness, homelessness

Female vets talk joblessness, homelessness

(CBS News) Tens of thousands of troops are leaving military service and entering an often bleak job market. For women with families, it's especially difficult to find work and housing.

CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller traveled to Fayetteville, N.C., to visit with some female veterans who are looking for help to change their lives.

Shawn McLean is one of those veterans. She served in the Army for four years as a water treatment specialist. She told Miller, if she had to do her military service all over again, she would, because she "loved it."

But she's had no luck finding a full-time job since her discharge in 2008.

"I don't think when you get out, they actually point you in the right direction," McLean said.

"They give you a bunch of briefings, but they don't sit down (and say,) 'What is your next step?'"

Ruth Donaldson served in the Army for 10 years.

"I went to a place that I thought could give me a head start in life," Donaldson said.

Both McLean and Donaldson had been homeless -- living at a shelter for female veterans near Fort Bragg. It's called The Jubilee House, and was started by former Navy Chaplain Barbara Marshall.
read more here

Two former VA employees sentenced for embezzling funds

Two former VA employees sentenced for embezzling funds from disabled veterans
Memphis Business Journal
Date: Thursday, December 29, 2011, 1:48pm CST
Related: Human Resources

Two former Veterans Affairs administrators were each sentenced to three years in federal prison Thursday for conspiring to embezzle almost $900,000 from 10 veterans’ beneficiary accounts.

Jack Perry, 75, and Robert Tabbutt, 67, both of Memphis, devised a scheme to embezzle $896,239.43 from the beneficiary accounts of 10 disabled veterans, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee which prosecuted the case.
read more here

SW Idaho veteran struggles with huffing addiction

SW Idaho veteran struggles with huffing addiction
12/29/11 8:33 AM
The Idaho Statesman
Aaron D. Draper doesn't remember standing in a field off Overland Road last summer, surrounded by dozens of cans of compressed air he'd just stolen from Walmart.

He doesn't remember sticking those 42 cans in his mouth and breathing in the aerosol fumes over and over.

All he remembers of July 19 is waking up at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center that night.

"I've tried to block out that day," said Draper, dressed in his inmate's uniform at the Ada County Jail last week. "I remember the police officer told me he wanted me to stay at Saint Al's (instead of going to jail), because I did so much damage to my (heart)."

Draper is addicted to "huffing," a practice in which people breathe in the propellants found in household spray cans to get high. Huffers even abuse something as seemingly benign as a can of compressed air.

The buzz occurs because of hypoxia, when oxygen is denied to the brain. Effects include lung damage and poisoning by the chemical propellants, which can even lead to fatal conditions like heart arrhythmia in rare cases.

Draper looks older than his 28 years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army who says he served as a flight medic on Black Hawk helicopters and later at military hospitals in the mid-2000s, a career choice that he said led to his huffing addiction.

He has been through VA rehab at least twice and will enter again when he finishes his jail time for theft this winter.

"It's hard to explain," he said. "I know the dangers of it. ... I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person. I was more embarrassed than anything for asking for help."

Draper knows he has done permanent damage to his health.

"If I do this again," he said, "it's probably going to end up killing me."

read more here

Ann Arbor police searching for missing man with PTSD

Sad Update
Police report finding body of missing Ann Arbor man
Posted: Sun, Jan 1, 2012
By Sven Gustafson Freelance Journalist

Ann Arbor police said they have found the body of a man who has been missing since last week.
A police officer on routine patrol found Herbert Richard Harmsen, 60, dead in his vehicle around 1 p.m. Saturday in a remote area on the city’s south side.
Police have ruled the death as a suicide. Harmsen was reported to be suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Ann Arbor police searching for missing man with PTSD
Posted: Thu, Dec 29, 2011
By Julie Baker
News producer

Ann Arbor police have released a missing person poster in an effort to find 60-year-old Herbert Richard Harmsen, who was last seen Wednesday.

Harmen is depressed and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, police said.

He was driving a green 2003 Ford Focus with the Michigan license plate CJC3188. Harmsen is about 5'10" and 180 pounds.

If you have any information, contact Det. Stanford at 734-323-2628, call the tip line at 734-794-6939 or call 911.
read more here

"I'll Go, a Soldier's Oath" tells it like it is

"I'll Go, a Soldier's Oath" tells it like it is. They serve for all of us.

This is a great song but what makes it more special is they are donating all the proceeds to military charities!

Uploaded by MusicUCanSee on Nov 10, 2011
A tribute to our Soldiers and Veterans. A Kelly's Lot song now available on i-Tunes On iTunes
Kelly is donating %100 of her i-Tunes proceeds from this song to military charities.

Song produced by: Perry Robertson and Scotty Lund. Video by: MusicUCanSee Productions and Axis 4 Studios. Produced by CJ Reagan.
Audio mastering: Mike Milchner/SonicVision Mastering Photo archives: Tim McGrath. Thanks to: Cahuenga General Store-NoHo CA.
Cameras: Howie Rogers, Jennifer Gilroy and CJ Reagan
Kelly's Lot are:
Kelly Zirbes - Vocals/Guitar
Perry Robertson - Guitar
Rob Zucca - Guitar
Matt McFadden - Bass
Scotty Lund - Drums

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fort Campbell army officials, veterans rally in support of Christopher Sullivan

Fort Campbell army officials, veterans rally in support of Christopher Sullivan
2:42 PM, Dec. 29, 2011
Written by
Tavia D. Green
The Leaf-Chronicle

The U.S. soldier’s creed to never leave a fallen comrade proves true on the battlefield and off and members of the 101st Airborne Division, past and present have rallied in the support of Specialist Christopher Sullivan, who was shot while on leave at his home in San Bernardino, Calif.

Sullivan, 22, has been in critical condition at the Arrow Head Regional Medical Center in San Bernardino, Calif. since being shot Friday night.

According to previous report, Sullivan was at his welcome home party, when an argument over football erupted between Sullivan's younger brother and Ruben Ray Jurado, 19.
read more here

Iraq veteran suffered from PTSD and took his own life

December 29, 2011
Newsmakers: Vet's death still painful
Iraq veteran suffered from PTSD and took his own life


BELLAIRE — Joe Baker wishes his son asked for help when he returned from his second tour of war duty in Iraq.

Instead, U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph H. Baker II bottled up his emotions and ultimately took his own life.

"I did not know he was having night terrors, having stuff like that until after he was gone. We could have gotten help for him faster," said his father, Bellaire Fire Chief Joe Baker. "In the military, they're taught to go through things like this, that it doesn't matter what you see, you're supposed to soldier on, and not supposed to let this bother you. But if you bottle it up and do your job, eventually it's going to come back."

The younger Baker, 32, displayed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. In addition to terrifying nightmares, the alarms and loud noises he encountered as a volunteer with the Bellaire and South Torch Lake fire departments sometimes made him cringe and duck for cover.

On Jan. 21, he committed suicide. The military held a memorial service for Baker in February, but his father said officials rejected claims that war-related PTSD contributed to his death.
read more here

Editorial Board is wrong on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and PTSD

The News Tribune Editorial Board is wrong on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and PTSD
Chaplain Kathie

The best place to start on this is the claim that "it’s gotten more aggressive about teaching soldiers to recognize the signs that may signal a colleague is contemplating suicide" because it has been going on for years. The claims of the military doing anything that works on PTSD has been trumped by reality. If anything they were doing was actually working, there would be a decrease in suicides, attempted suicides, arrests and a lot less phone calls to the Suicide Prevention Hotline. For the editors of TNT to make this kind of claim shows one thing. They have not been paying attention. If they had, they would be just as sickened by the outcomes as everyone else.

JBLM has problems, but it’s hardly ‘on the brink’ of disaster
Post by TNT Editorial Board
The News Tribune on Dec. 28, 2011
This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Is Joint Base Lewis-McChord “on the brink,” as claimed in a Los Angeles Times article and headline Monday? (The brink of what is never spelled out, but it’s safe to assume that it’s not “on the brink of something good.”)

The Times cites an article that appeared a year ago in Stars and Stripes that described JBLM as “the most troubled base in the military.” That billing was based on the courts martial of a group of Stryker soldiers for murdering civilians in Afghanistan, a much-publicized – and disputed – complaint by Oregon National Guardsmen of second-class treatment at Madigan Army Medical Center, and increased steroid use among soldiers.

The Times article adds to the list by citing several suicides and crimes committed by soldiers who returned to the South Sound after deploying to war zones, including the tragic case in April of a combat medic being treated for depression and other conditions. He shot his wife and himself, and their 5-year-old son was later found dead in the family’s Spanaway home. (Read about that case here.) The “base on the brink” description of JBLM came from a local veterans group that was not named in the Times article. The reporter says the group is Iraq Veterans Against the War – hardly an unbiased observer.

It’s true that the Army has been slow to recognize the mental health issues facing its soldiers, especially combat troops who have had multiple deployments. But it is starting to address those issues. At Madigan this year, it opened the $52 million “warrior transition” barracks that can accommodate more than 400 wounded or psychologically impaired soldiers and their families.
And it’s gotten more aggressive about teaching soldiers to recognize the signs that may signal a colleague is contemplating suicide.

read more here

This is the first point they missed.

It was around the same time the DOD came out with the flawed notion servicemen and women can "train their brains" to become tough enough to prevent PTSD.
01 NOV 2006
“Battlemind” is the Soldier’s inner strength to face fear and adversity in combat with courage. The two components of Battlemind are self-confidence and mental toughness; strengths that all Soldiers must have to successfully perform in combat.
The key precept in Battlemind Training is that all Soldiers have the necessary skills to successfully transition home. By building on the Soldiers’ existing skills and inner mental strengths, the transitioning home process can be enhanced.

Through Battlemind Training, Soldiers are shown how their combat skills, if not adapted for home, may interfere with their transitioning process. Battlemind training focuses on ten specific skills, using the word B-A-T-T-L-E-M- I-N-D, and emphasizing how it is possible to avoid the problems that can occur when Soldiers go, in a matter of hours, from the battlefield to the home front.
Buddies (cohesion) vs. Withdrawal
Accountability vs. Controlling
Targeted Aggression vs. Inappropriate Aggression
Tactical Awareness vs. Hypervigilance
Lethally Armed vs. “Locked and Loaded” at home
Emotional Control vs. Anger/Detachment
Mission Operational Security (OPSEC) vs. Secretiveness
Individual Responsibility vs. Guilt Non-defensive (combat)
Driving vs. Aggressive Driving
Discipline and Ordering vs. Conflict
read more here

The problem with this is it makes the soldiers believe it is their fault if they end up with PTSD, enforces the idea they are defective or mentally weak and did not train properly. Training them to face combat is what bootcamp is for. Evidently they haven't discovered that yet. Whatever else this program offers, which could be very beneficial, the rest of the message was trumped by telling them it is their fault if they end up with PTSD.

The fact is, this program doesn't work because everything it "attempted" to avoid increased, including drunk driving and minor crimes that have resulted in the necessity of communities offering Veterans Courts to get them help instead of jail time.

The common rate used by most experts on PTSD point to 1 out of 3, meaning 2 will walk away without PTSD. Some use 1 out of 5, meaning 4 will walk away from the same traumatic experience without PTSD. Any program claiming to prevent PTSD should have to prove the test subjects are among the group more likely to develop PTSD, but they didn't have to prove anything before this was put into practice in the DOD. Everything coming out of the DOD thus far has shown they don't understand what causes PTSD or makes one more apt to be suffering from it.

None of the reports coming out on combat and PTSD are new.
A copy of this hangs over my desk to remind me of what was known and when we knew it. It was a study done on Vietnam veterans. The report not only supported the need for Veterans Centers because of the reluctance of Vietnam veterans to go to the VA, but supported the need for them to be able to come together with others. Talk therapy was vital in healing these men and women, but as psychologist are being replaced by psychiatrists handing out prescriptions instead of listening, there is more numbing going on than healing.

The report also stated that there were 500,000 Vietnam veteran with PTSD along with warning the numbers would go up in the following 10 years. Two later reports put the number of suicides between 150,000 and 200,000. As you can see, the link between combat and PTSD has been studied for a very, very long time, so none of the new studies have shown any progress or we wouldn't be seeing higher negative reports.

We would be seeing more reports on the different types of PTSD being addressed. While there are many causes connected to different traumatic events, combat is in a class by itself. The duration has a lot to do with it because they do not feel safe while deployed then the fact of redeployment will not allow them to feel the threat is over. Keep in mind, most Vietnam veterans did one tour of duty. Some of the men and women of today's wars have been deployed multiple times. The number of exposures during deployment are one component to all of this but then there is the fact they are participants in them. They are not just bystanders. They are not responders showing up after the fact but we seem to be able to understand emergency responders with PTSD better. In New York they studied responders after 9-11 with PTSD even though they were not there when the planes hit the Twin Towers. These men and women are right there when it all happens and then exposed to more attacks.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord has been using the same type of program as Battlemind under Comprehensive Soldier Fitness "program aims to equip troops mentally Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum of Gulf War fame has been deployed to lead the military's new program to prepare soldiers for the psychic trauma of war and its aftermath." This just received another $125 million in funding even though there is no proof it has done any good at all. While the reporter Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times, said it was "new" it has been around since 2009.

The article also stated "The suicide rate among our soldiers is at an all-time high. The number of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress is also high. And the stress of long separations due to combat is felt by our family members too," Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army's chief of staff, wrote in an article about the program this year. "As such, we are starting not with a blank slate but rather with the challenge of having the preponderance of our force influenced in some way — both positively and negatively — by the effects of sustained, protracted conflict."

So how can a program like this be allowed to claim it is anything "new" when the results have been so deadly for this long?

When editors and reporters do not know what they are reporting on, we end up with them defending all the wrongs that have been done to the men and women serving this country. We end up with veterans still reluctant to go to the VA or seek help for PTSD because they have been "trained" to see PTSD as their fault. We see suicides go up at the same time the Suicide Prevention Hotline phone calls flood in. Had any of these programs worked, there wouldn't be so many reaching the point where suicides seems to be their only option. We see so many veterans being arrested there is a need for a special court for them. We see employers unwilling to hire them because they don't understand what PTSD or the simple fact that unlike the general population the combat veterans are actually better employees because of what their last job was.

We see thousands of claims waiting for processing yet this simple fact never makes it into the veterans suicide reports. If they do not have an approved claim, they are not counted by the VA. If they are not active military, they are not counted by the DOD. Each branch of the military has their own numbers but they only include active duty.

One more thing reporters and editors need to understand is the fact there are over 2 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan but very few of them are causing any kind of trouble. They have allowed the fear of PTSD take over the minds of the general public because they will not address the reality of what PTSD is, what causes it and what these men and women are like any more than they address what they need to heal.

Semper Fido: dogs helping vets with PTSD

Semper Fido: dogs helping vets with PTSD

Uploaded by calkinsmedia on Dec 28, 2011
Three canines and their handlers graduated from Semper Fido, a six-month non-profit program held at K-9 Basics in Evesham, N.J. that trains dogs how to help veterans with brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder. One in four service members returning from war suffers from the disorder, but the dogs help them assess their safety level and build confidence.

Battle doesn't end when wounded warriors come home

David Killeen: Battle doesn't end when wounded warriors come home
6:00 PM, Dec. 28, 2011
David C. Killeen
My View
Padre, I need to speak with you."

Robert is a wounded warrior in his early 20s who served in Iraq, and as he utters these words, I see an urgency in his eyes that I have learned to recognize as a pastor. His expression says: "I need to unload a whole bunch of stuff, and it's not going to be pretty."

Robert and I were at a Wounded Warrior Spiritual Retreat held by the Episcopal Diocese of Florida at the Cerveny Conference Center and Camp Weed in Live Oak. A partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project in Jacksonville, the ministry seeks to care for the spiritual wounds of veterans.

By New Year's Eve, all of our troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, the lives of many warriors have been saved by the use of body armor and advances in battlefield medicine. That's the good news.

Robert's wounds are deep, but they can't be seen. He is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a common affliction for veterans returning from war. Robert has flashbacks of traumatic incidents. He sleeps only a couple of hours a night. A trip to the grocery store is nightmarish, because the aisles remind him of alleyways in Iraq.

He is also burdened by shame and guilt. He was an intelligence officer, responsible for gathering information on which missions were based. If he made a mistake, men and women that he personally knew died. Robert is haunted by the "what ifs." What if I had triple-checked that location? What if I went on that mission instead of my friend?

The Rev. David C. Killeen is the rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Tallahassee. He founded Wounded Warrior Spiritual Retreats in the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. Contact him at
read more here

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Iraq And Afghanistan War Veterans Aren't Using VA Benefits

Yesterday when I wrote that the DOD message has been PTSD is your fault attacking the attitude they can "train their brains" to be tough enough to prevent PTSD. This is an example of how this message translates to the troops.

Iraq And Afghanistan War Veterans Aren't Using VA Benefits, Study Concludes

Though thousands of injured troops in need of medical care have recently come home, they're not taking advantage of the Department of Veterans Affairs services, a soon-to-be-published study reports.

Since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars began, only 51 percent of eligible veterans have sought care through the VA, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, that will be published in January, found. Researchers say that these servicemen and servicewomen are reluctant to call on the VA for help for a number of reasons. They may be unfamiliar with the system, live far from a center or doubt the quality of care available.

"To reach young veterans, we need to establish partnerships that cut across traditional institutional domains," Rachel Widome wrote in the CDC study.

When Scott Kimball returned from Iraq and was battling PTSD, he couldn’t bear admitting that he had a problem.

“I was scared to go to the VA,” Kimball, secretary for Iraq Veterans Against the War, told the Huffington Post in November. “I didn’t want to be a messed up veteran.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to an increased budget and improved communications to reach more veterans.

Next year's budget will hit $61.85 billion, a 10.6 percent increase from 2010. Of those funds, $6 billion will go to mental health care and $52.5 billion in advance money for the VA medical care program in 2013, according to NBC.
read more here

If the VA really wants to improve communications they need to understand what they are really up against. The DOD has done enough damage to them already. After being told to "train their brains" to prevent PTSD, ending up with PTSD because of this "program" makes them feel it is their fault. They feel there is something "wrong" with them or "weak" and that's why they have PTSD. We really need to wonder if the DOD has been informing the troops that all the repeated deployments they have been sent on increased their risk of being hit by PTSD by 50% for each one of them. I doubt it. The Army commission the study around the same time programs came out to "train their brains" oddly enough. The risk of redeployments didn't stop them from doing it but they expected a better outcome.

From December 26, 2011
Study Some veterans reluctant to use VA

Troubled veteran found new mission in the Occupy movement

2 minutes ago
Troubled veteran found new mission in the Occupy movement
John Wagner, left, stands by his brother Anthony Wagner's casket during funeral services in their hometown of Peru, Illinois, November 9, 2011. On November 3, the morning after his last visit to Zuccotti Park, Wagner was found dead in a friend's New Jersey apartment of what authorities suspect was a drug overdose.
Chicago Tribune
Published: December 28, 2011
PERU, Ill. — They buried Anthony Wagner in his hometown two days before Veterans Day. It was cold, with a stinging wind that tore the last few leaves from the trees and pulled the cemetery flags into taut ribbons of red, white and blue. A lone sun ray spilled from the sky, briefly painting the grave markers with a stripe of gold before vanishing into the clouds.

Wagner couldn’t get out of Peru fast enough when he was a teenager. He was a hard case back then, prone to fighting and partying, and he had ambitions too big for a small town to hold. When an Army recruiter visited his high school in 2001, he saw his chance to escape.

But a few months after he enlisted, Wagner stared at a mess hall television screen and watched the twin towers disappear in pillars of smoke. Just like that, his future was set on a new course.

He spent a violent year in Iraq, and the things he saw and did there changed him. He shipped out a rough-edged but essentially stable young man. He came back with a brain injury, a propensity for extreme substance abuse and a savage case of post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here

In Vermont this story
Veteran Committed Suicide at Occupy Vermont

How does Camp Pendleton Cross hurt Atheists?

How does Camp Pendleton Cross hurt Atheists?
Chaplain Kathie

It is not as if the government has issued a rule saying the cross "has to" be there. It isn't as if the government said no other faith can be displayed there. So why is the claim of a group of Atheists being considered to trump the needs of these Marines to honor their dead?

If Atheists believe in nothing than how does this harm them? Are they being forced to go up the hill and worship at it? There are many complaints they have that should be taken very seriously.

One of them is when they go to see a Chaplain for spiritual issues and are told they must convert or they will go to hell. Now, that's something to complain about. Being forced to attend a Christian concert is something to complain about. Being forced to go to a church service is another thing to complain about and I will defend them on those issues. No one should be forced to do anything against what they believe. The Marines shouldn't be forced to go against what they believe either. They believe the cross honors the lives lost in combat. They believe the cross symbolizes that sacrifice better than anything else.

Atheists, Marines debate Camp Pendleton crosses

Associated Press

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Camp Pendleton, --

San Diego County - A Marine Corps ruling on the future of a pair of crosses at the top of a steep Camp Pendleton hill isn't expected until next year.

An atheist group wants the crosses to come down. Many Marines and their families want the crosses to stay in honor of comrades killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Base officials have sent a recommendation to Washington, but won't say what it is.
read more here

Virginia lawyers volunteer to help military veterans

Virginia lawyers volunteer to help military veterans

Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: December 28, 2011

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are paying the steep price of war.

They are experiencing high levels of unemployment, huge health-care costs and the greatest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder among service members nationwide.

But they are getting help from Virginia lawyers, who have stepped up to help veterans get the benefits they have earned and with other legal issues.

"The need for these services among Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans is astonishing, and increased benefits have a significant impact on the veteran and his or her family, and enable them to live a life out of poverty," said Erin L. Barrett, a lawyer with Hunton & Williams law firm in Richmond and the director of the firm's Veterans Pro Bono Program.

Hunton & Williams recently was honored by the National Veterans Legal Services Program with its Pro Bono Partner of the Year Award for its efforts to help America's military veterans.

"Many veterans are unable to work, and if they can, it is in a reduced capacity," Barrett said. "Often, they are unable to navigate the complex system to obtain their rightful benefits."

Other law firms are pitching in as well.
read more here

Florida Veteran Shoots Dog, Tries to Start Fire

Cops: Fla Veteran Shoots Dog, Tries to Start Fire
December 27, 2011

CHIEFLAND, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a north Florida veteran tried to set his mother-in-law’s house on fire and shot the family dog.

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office says 25-year-old Arthur Lee Pipes of Chiefland showed up at his mother-in-law’s house Friday and began spreading gasoline around. Deputies say she wrestled a cigarette lighter from his hands, and then he went outside and shot the dog several times.
read more here

Ron Paul will hold veterans rally in Des Moines

Ron Paul will hold veterans rally in Des Moines
The State Column
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign released the following statement Tuesday:

Air Force veteran and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul will hold a major veterans rally in Des Moines, demonstrating his commitment to veterans, active-duty military men and women, and their families.

In recognition of Paul’s own military service, his promotion of a strong national defense, and his service to veterans, active-duty military personnel contributed more to Paul’s campaign than to those of all Republican presidential candidates combined, and more than that of incumbent President Barack Obama, in 2Q and 3Q of 2011.
read more here

Retired Army police officer saved by rescued Pug

Rescued pug taught to dial 9-1-1 is 'saving grace' for owner with post traumatic stress disorder

By: Rikki Klaus

VERO BEACH, Fla. - They say a dog is man's best friend, and there's a dog in Vero Beach who's living proof.

She may be tiny, but Pei Pei packs a powerful punch. Not only can she sense her owner's moods, she can contact emergency responders when he's in danger. The service dog is a mix of a beloved family member and a diligent worker who could rescue her owner's life if need be.

"Go get help!" James Taylor shouted to his 11-pound pug. Pei Pei ran to a phone on the living room floor and pressed both paws onto the large, circular button. The dial tone sounded. Praise followed.

With the press of that single button, service dog Pei Pei can dial 9-1-1. That's a huge comfort for the retired Army police officer, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and hearing loss. Sometimes he falls too, so Pei Pei is his 'saving grace.'

"Without her, I couldn't imagine my life. I'd probably be home-bound a lot because of what I suffer severely. I know if I have any kind of problems, she's going to help me right through it," said Taylor.
read more here

Veteran's claims of awards, service do not withstand scrutiny

Imagine being in this family and left with this.

Veteran's claims of awards, service do not withstand scrutiny
Cemetery to change headstone after review of records does not match materials provided by family

By Steve Mills, Chicago Tribune reporter
December 28, 2011

When David Stump died last year, the south suburban man left his family a sheaf of yellowing documents and a troubling question: Did the U.S. Army veteran earn the Bronze Star and the three Purple Hearts the records suggested, or were the military documents falsified?

The question of Stump's legacy was more than an idle curiosity.

Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery south of Joliet have decided to replace the simple granite headstone at Stump's grave site. The officials say military records do not support claims in the records the family provided when Stump died.

A new headstone will be ordered, Marty Fury, the cemetery's director, said last week.

"We want all of our headstones to be an accurate reflection of a veteran's service," Fury said.
read more here

Alabama Special Forces soldier returns home and finds out his son has cancer

Alabama soldier returns home and finds out his son has cancer

Soldier returns
Special Forces Sergeant First Class Smiddie Avery and his family celebrated Monday night in Alabaster. Sgt. Avery was in Afghanistan, but he found out his son faces a different type of battle here.

Published: December 26, 2011

Coming home for the holidays isn't something every soldier gets to experience, however, this year Special Forces Sergeant First Class Smiddie Avery made it home just in time.

“You don't realize what home is until you have to leave it and go away for a long period of time,” Sgt Avery said. “Everything means that much more when you get back.”

However, not long after his arrival he found out his 18-year-old son, Sam, would prepare for a fight that has nothing to do with the battle field.

He said, “I was home about two weeks and found out he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.”
read more here

Transitioning From War to Home

Transitioning From War to Home
By Brandi Devine

December 27, 2011
Updated Dec 27, 2011 at 5:13 PM EST
Binghamton,NY (WBNG Binghamton) Returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan is a time of celebration for families and their soldiers, but it's after the celebrations are over that the real struggle begins.

It can be difficult for a soldier to pick up where they left off when they come home from war.

They have to switch gears from living in a high stress environment to living an ordinary life at home.

There is help out there for soldiers and their families.

The Binghamton Vet Center in Binghamton offers counseling and other programs like Yoga and musical therapy for soldiers.
read more here

Disabled Iraq Veteran called "cripple and worthless" as civilian Army employee

How does something like this happen?

Judges OK Tossing of $4.4M Verdict in Disabled Army Vet
by David Ashen, Detroit Free Press
"supervisor and co-workers derided him, calling him a "cripple" and "worthless."
A federal appeals court upheld Wednesday a judge's decision to throw out a $4.4-million jury verdict for an Army veteran who lost his hand while serving in Iraq -- only to be ridiculed about his disability by co-workers and a boss while working as a civilian Army employee.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said the district judge didn't abuse his discretion by instead requiring the Army to follow through on its offer to reinstate James McKelvey to a job with higher pay at the Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren.

But the appellate panel reversed U.S. District Judge John O'Meara on another point, concluding that a hostile work environment forced McKelvey, 40, of Macomb Township to quit. So, the Army must provide McKelvey with about $100,000 in back pay, his lawyer said.
read more here

2 dead, 5 wounded at Church's Chicken in Englewood

2 dead, 5 wounded at Church's Chicken in Englewood

By Ryan Haggerty
Tribune reporter
5:46 a.m. CST, December 28, 2011

( Terrence Antonio James, Chicago Tribune / December 27, 2011 )
Diamond Brown grieves near the crime scene after learning that a friend of hers was reportedly shot and killed.
Two people were killed and five others wounded when shots rang out Tuesday evening at a fast-food restaurant in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, authorities said.

The gunman had gotten into an argument with a person outside the Church's Chicken restaurant near 66th and Halsted streets, then chased the person inside and opened fire about 6:50 p.m., police said.

Surveillance video appears to show the intended target trying to run away through a crowd of people, police said. No one was in custody, police said.

Two people were dead on scene and four others were taken to hospitals initially in critical condition, according to police and the Chicago Fire Department. It was not known whether the person being chased was among the victims.

The Cook County medical examiner's office this morning still did not have the identities of the dead.
read more here

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lakeland Police Officer Crispin's life honored at funeral

Friends Remember LPD Officer Crispin at Funeral
Thousands of mourners filled Victory Assembly Church this morning for the funeral of Officer Arnulfo Crispin.

Officers from throughout Florida attended the service for the 25-year-old officer who was gunned down in the line of duty last week. Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi also attended.

Police Chief Lisa Womack spoke during the service, recalling Crispin's quiet nature and ever-present smile. She said many people have mentioned to her the ways Crispin touched their lives.

"He brought an enthusiasm and energy that was contagious. He was well respected by his peers and praised by those who worked with him for his passion and his energy. As I talked to those who worked closely with him on Charlie Squad over the past week, it was clear he was a favorite member and was becoming respected as a shift leader," she said. "Charlie Squad is going to miss him greatly."

"It is with great sadness that as the police chief of the Lakeland Police Department that I must call the end of watch of Officer Arnulfo Crispin on Dec. 21st, 2011," she said.
read more here

Former Marine could face death penalty in Iran

Former Marine could face death penalty in Iran
The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Dec 27, 2011 12:55:00 EST
TEHRAN, Iran — A Michigan high school graduate and former Marine accused by Iran of working for the CIA could face the death penalty, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported Tuesday.

In a closed court hearing, the prosecution applied for capital punishment, the report said, because the suspect, identified as Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, "admitted that he received training in the United States and planned to imply that Iran was involved in terrorist activities in foreign countries" after returning to the U.S.
read more here

As Iraq War ends, no parade for US troops in cards

It would be better for each state to have their own parade because of all the National Guards and Reservists. They've been away from home for far too long and shouldn't be expected to have to travel far now.

As Iraq War ends, no parade for US troops in cards
By BEN NUCKOLS, Associated Press – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans probably will not be seeing a huge ticker-tape parade anytime soon for troops returning from Iraq, and it is not clear if veterans of the nine-year campaign will ever enjoy the grand, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue homecoming that the nation's fighting men and women received after World War II and the Gulf War.

Officials in New York and Washington say they would be happy to help stage a big celebration, but Pentagon officials say they haven't been asked to plan one.

Most welcome-homes have been smaller-scale: hugs from families at military posts across the country, a somber commemoration by President Barack Obama at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

With tens of thousands of U.S. troops still fighting a bloody war in Afghanistan, anything that looks like a big victory celebration could be seen as unseemly and premature, some say.

"It's going to be a bit awkward to be celebrating too much, given how much there is going on and how much there will be going on in Afghanistan," said Don Mrozek, a military history professor at Kansas State University.

Two New York City councilmen, Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo, have called for a ticker-tape parade down the stretch of Broadway known as the Canyon of Heroes. A similar celebration after the Gulf War was paid for with more than $5.2 million in private donations, a model the councilmen would like to follow.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week that he was open to the idea but added, "It's a federal thing that we really don't want to do without talking to Washington, and we'll be doing that."

read more here

6 Silver Stars for daring rescues in Afghanistan

6 Silver Stars for daring rescues in Afghanistan
By John Ryan and Michelle Tan - Staff writers
Posted : Monday Dec 26, 2011

ARMY From left to right, Silver Star recipients Capt. David Fox, Sgt. McKenna 'Frank' Miller and Staff Sgt. Matthew Gassman stand during a Valor Ceremony hosted by U.S. Special Operations Command Europe on Dec. 6 in Stuttgart, Germany.
Six soldiers received Silver Stars in early December for bravery during two bloody firefights in Afghanistan.

Three soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division — Staff Sgt. Al J. Garcia, Spc. David R. Stone and Sgt. Jacob Wilder — were honored at Fort Campbell, Ky., on Dec. 9 for two audacious rescues during an air assault operation in Paktika province in April.

They served with 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.

On Dec. 6, a trio of Special Forces soldiers received Silver Stars in Stuttgart, Germany. Capt. David Fox, Sgt. 1st Class McKenna “Frank” Miller and Staff Sgt. Matthew Gassman were recognized for a dangerous evacuation of casualties in the mountains of Kapisa province in 2010. All three were assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group.

read more here
Three receive Silver Stars

Navy veteran helps burglarized Fort Bragg soldier

Navy veteran helps burglarized Fort Bragg soldier

Published: December 26, 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- Christmas is in the rear view mirror, but Monday proved an NBC-17 News viewer was still filled with the holiday spirit. First Sergeant Steven Martinez went to Best Buy with a complete stranger on Monday, and that stranger bought him a laptop. It all stemmed from a NBC-17 story that aired Christmas Day. The story featured Martinez after his apartment had been ransacked Christmas Eve while he spending time with his mother. Among the items stolen was his laptop, which he uses to talk to loved ones when he is deployed. Navy veteran Jim Pierce saw the story and decided to step in to help out. read more here

DOD message has been PTSD is your fault

DOD message has been PTSD is your fault 
by Chaplain Kathie

The Department of Defense has been unknowingly delivering a message to the troops that PTSD is their fault while expecting a different result. Why? Because they still don't understand what causes PTSD in the first place or the best way to heal it.

This is one of those moments I am grateful I am not a "military Chaplain" instead of a Chaplain working with veterans. I don't have to worry about being divided between holding the DOD line and taking care of the men and women serving in it.

Their attitude has been that servicemen and women can "train" brains to prevent it. They point to soldiers that have come through the training and have been able to prevent PTSD. Did it ever once occur to them these men and women wouldn't have ended up with PTSD in the first place? 

The rate is normally one out of three. That means two will walk away from a traumatic event with just memories and not much more than that. One will walk away with it embedded in their soul changing how they think and feel about everything.

When they tell this group they can become mentally tough before combat it delivers a message to them they are weak and didn't train their brains right if they end up with PTSD after combat.

The reluctance to seek help stems from this. Do they think that a tough Marine will admit they have PTSD when they were told weak minds end up PTSD? Do they think they will seek help when they've seen what it did to the careers of others? If the "two out of three" also believe the notion the others were just too weak, do you think for a second they will treat the PTSD soldier the same way afterwards?

When the report came out about another 125 million Comprehensive Soldier Fitness no one in congress has bothered to ask if it works or not. The reports coming out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord prove it doesn't work.
"At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, described by the independent military newspaper Stars and Stripes last year as "the most troubled base in the military," all of these factors have crystallized into what some see as a community-wide crisis. A local veterans group calls it a "base on the brink."
It has been advertised as some kind of new program but is based on Battlemind nonsense that the troops can train their brains to prevent PTSD leaving them with the impression if they do end up with PTSD, they were weak and didn't train their brains right.
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program aims to equip troops mentally Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum of Gulf War fame has been deployed to lead the military's new program to prepare soldiers for the psychic trauma of war and its aftermath.
"Aims to equip troops mentally" is something they've been trying to do since the Revolution. Bootcamp is supposed to be about training them to be ready for combat mentally as well as physically. The claim of "new program" is also false since it has been tried since 2008 under a bunch of different names so the public will have the impression the military is doing all they can to stop the suicides and suffering from PTSD. Brig. General Cornum earned bragging rights with the trauma she survived but that should not translate into running a program without showing results. She is not alone on this.

The notion of training the minds has been around since the reports of suicides going up began to make the news. The truth is, they cannot become more mentally tough. How much tougher can you get than to be willing to die for someone else, ready to endure all kinds of physical and mental hardships than they are when they enlist? The thing is, they can train their brains to heal from where they've been. The key word is "heal" because there isn't a cure anymore than anyone can "cure" their own past. We can learn from experiences, grow from them, become a better person, enjoy simple pleasures more, but we cannot change what happened. On the flip side, we can also be destroyed by the events, especially the ones we had no control over, become so filled with regret we hate everything and everyone, be brought down so low that we find no hope in a better day and nothing reaches our hearts. We can push people away, feel as if we don't deserve to be happy or forgiven and even regret feeling loved.

Here's some numbers for you now.
The military answer has been to medicate the ones they want to keep and kick out the ones they don't want. They send them back into combat medicated and expect them to be able to function? Therapy must be for only for veterans then since the VA does offer it along with medications. As for spiritual healing, you can forget that one too. Reports came out regarding the attitude of 60% of military Chaplains more about getting converts to their own denomination than it has been about saving lives and healing them. Suffering servicemen and women are told that if they do not convert, they'll go to hell.

 This is why the numbers are so high but the most infuriating part of all of this is that none of it had to happen. This all needs to stop but it won't until congress demands accountability and stops funding what has been one failure after another.


If you think this is "new" news, here are a couple of reports from 2008 and 2009 most people have forgotten about. These links are still active and they show what was known back then and how lessons learned did not cause changes needed.

February 11, 2009 3:05 PM

The Military's Showdown Over PTSD
By Kimberly Dozier

(CBS) Twenty-two year old combat medic Jonathan Norrell volunteered for every mission during his year in Iraq.

He was bombed, ambushed, treating wounded under fire - and the memories still haunt him, CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier reports.

"The things that affected me the most weren't the IEDs, which I went through six or seven of, and all the firefights, and all the combat," Norrell said. "It was the psychological stuff, the people I failed to help."

By the time he came off his tour of duty he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: anxiety, sleeplessness, flashbacks. Military doctors recommended immediate discharge and treatment but the command refused.

Instead they forced him into combat training exercises. He turned to drugs and alcohol.

"I just lost it," Norrell said. "I didn't wanna do it anymore."

So the Army he served so well in Iraq threatened to expel him without medical benefits.

Norrell's case reveals the showdown inside the military, between the new school and old school view on how to handle PTSD - one of the signature injuries of the Afghan and Iraq wars.

And experts warn there's a storm coming: a generation of soldiers coming home with PTSD.
read more here

Antidepressant Use Soars Among Deployed

Stars and Stripes
June 12, 2008
For the first time in history, a sizable and growing number of U.S. combat troops are taking daily doses of antidepressants to calm nerves strained by repeated and lengthy tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a report in Time Magazine.
In its June 16 cover story, the magazine reports that the medicines are intended not only to help troops keep their cool but also to enable the already strapped Army to preserve its most precious resource: soldiers on the front lines.

Citing the Army’s fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report, using an anonymous survey of U.S. troops taken last fall, Time wrote that about 12 percent of combat troops in Iraq and 17 percent of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope.

Escalating violence in Afghanistan and the more isolated mission have driven troops to rely more on medication there than in Iraq, military officials told Time.

The Army estimates that authorized drug use splits roughly fifty-fifty between troops taking antidepressants -- largely the class of drugs that includes Prozac and Zoloft -- and those taking prescription sleeping pills such as Ambien, Time wrote.

Editorial Board wrong on Joint Bast Lewis-McChord was an attempt to defend what the military has been doing but as the above points out, the results show a different story.

What infuriates me the most is that reporters have a responsibility to report facts, not just what they are told at the moment. That is exactly what has been happening leaving the impression the military has been "learning" on the job instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

When you read the link to my response here are some more facts you may find interesting.
Suicide Prevention
Suicide and Public Policy
• 1997-U.S. Congress -S.Res 84 and H.Res 212
• 1999-Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Suicide
• 2001-National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
• 2002-Institute of Medicine Report-Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative
• 2003-President’s New Freedom Commission
• 2004-Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act
• 2005-Federal Action Agenda
• 2006-Establishment of Federal Working Group on Suicide Prevention
• 2007-Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act

Outcomes of Hotline Referral
1,771 Admissions
143 Enrolled
5,902 Referrals to other services
506 Immediate evaluations
This all happened well after the "training" of their brains to become "mentally tough" enough.

Yet this was happening in 2010

Suicide Rivals The Battlefield In Toll On U.S. Military
June 17, 2010
Nearly as many American troops at home and abroad have committed suicide this year as have been killed in combat in Afghanistan. Alarmed at the growing rate of soldiers taking their own lives, the Army has begun investigating its mental health and suicide prevention programs.

But the tougher challenge is changing a culture that is very much about "manning up" when things get difficult.

This is the first in an occasional series of stories on the problem of suicides in the military.

Stephen Colley, 22, killed himself in May 2007, six months after returning from a tour in Iraq.
The Case Of Stephen Colley

Military veteran Edward Colley served in the Air Force and the Army. Three of his children also served in the military, and his son-in-law was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq.

Colley, 53, and his wife, who live in Los Angeles, also have three other kids, but the tradition of military service is on hold. "Mom prohibits the younger ones from joining the military now," he says. "You might understand the prohibition in our house."

The mother's ban was imposed after their son Stephen killed himself in May 2007, six months after returning from a tour in Iraq. Stephen, 22, had suffered depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and his young marriage was in trouble.
read more here

When you read anything, remember, it is based on what is known at the time but all too often, they never bother to look back to see what was known before it.

Memorial to fallen stirs controversy

Memorial to fallen stirs controversy 

Marine Corps weighs fate of crosses atop remote hill in Camp Pendleton

Written by J. Harry Jones

The Marine Corps will soon decide whether two crosses that sit atop a remote hill in Camp Pendleton as a memorial to fallen troops should be removed.

One of the crosses was placed on the hill in 2008, about 60 feet from where another had been for four years but burned in a wildfire in 2007. The second, a 13-foot cross made of a fire-resistant material, was erected Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

A controversy started after the Los Angeles Times wrote a story and published photographs of it being carried up the steep hillside. Atheist groups read the story and complained. They said the separation of church and state dictates that religious symbols should not be allowed on public land. Base officials have conducted a legal review and have sent their recommendation to Washington, where a final decision awaits. They declined to say what that recommendation is.

Should the crosses be allowed to stay, a lawsuit is likely. This is just the latest battle in San Diego County over crosses. After receiving two complaints, Caltrans quietly removed three crosses from a roadside pullout just south of Julian in August. The largest of those three crosses is back now, near where it once stood, but this time on private land. The Mount Soledad cross in La Jolla has been a legal issue for years, its fate still unknown. read more here

Police Arrest Suspect In Shooting That Left Soldier Paralyzed

Ruben Ray Jurado Arrested:
 Police Arrest Suspect In Shooting That Left Soldier Paralyzed
12/26/11 09:22 PM ET
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Police on Monday arrested a suspect in a shooting that critically wounded a soldier at his Southern California homecoming party after he survived a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan. Police said Ruben Ray Jurado turned himself in to authorities in Chino Hills, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old had been sought in the attempted murder of 22-year-old Christopher Sullivan. Authorities allege Jurado shot Sullivan at the party Friday night after getting into an argument with the soldier's brother over football teams. Jurado, who had played football with Sullivan in high school, punched Sullivan's brother and Sullivan intervened. Jurado then pulled a gun and fired multiple shots, hitting Sullivan in the neck, San Bernardino police Sgt. Gary Robertson said.

Sullivan's relatives said the Purple Heart recipient was hit twice by gunfire, which shattered his spine and left him paralyzed. read more here Original report Soldier shot at his welcome home party

Monday, December 26, 2011

'You don’t go into a war like this and come out unscathed'

PTSD's toll: 'You don’t go into a war like this and come out unscathed'
Chicago Tribune
Published: December 26, 2011

James Dahan, of Lisle, center, stands with his son, Kalel, 4, after going through an eye exam at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois, December 14, 2011. Dahan, a Marine, was exposed to over 30 improvised explosive devices while in Iraq and suffers from mild traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Along with that comes headaches and vision problems that has changed his everyday life. WILLIAM DESHAZER/CHICAGO TRIBUNE
CHICAGO — It was just after midnight when former Marine Cpl. James Dahan was awakened by a faint noise in the distance. Except for the glare of his flashlight, there was darkness all around as he crept from room to room, searching for an unknown enemy.

Windows sealed: check. Doors locked: check. Building secure: check. Yet with people pacing about upstairs, voices he did not recognize billowing through the walls and the incessant roar of traffic outside, he dared not fall asleep. So he stayed up all night repeating the routine over and over again. Dahan returned from Iraq seven years ago. But the horrors of war followed him home. On that night last month, there had been a power outage at his apartment in Lisle, Ill., unleashing memories of the war zone. He stood guard over his sleeping son, while the noises of his neighbors moving about kept Dahan on edge. 

The enemy existed only in his mind. The last convoy of U.S. troops left Iraq last Sunday, but for thousands of veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the haunting memories might never go away. Since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars began a decade ago, the U.S. Veterans Administration has treated more than 212,000 combat veterans for PTSD, an anxiety disorder resulting from traumatic events during war. read more here

Seminole County Florida deputy killed in motorcycle crash


Investigation continues after fatal crash
Deputy Matt Miller killed
Deputy Matt Miller was killed when his motorcycle collided with a Volkswagen Jetta

Seminole County deputy killed in motorcycle crash
By Christian De La Rosa, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, December 26, 2011
Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger identified the deputy killed in a crash Monday afternoon on Maitland Blvd.
Eslinger said Matt Miller, a consummate professional and highly skilled deputy, was on duty and trying to catch up with a speeder when a car pulled in front of him.
"It's all one family at the Seminole County Sheriff's office. It's not only a loss of a great deputy sheriff, but a family member for all of us," said Eslinger.
Miller is survived by his wife and brother. read more here

Girl Tells Santa She Wants Dad Home From Iraq

Girl Tells Santa She Wants Dad Home From Iraq, Doesn't Know Santa is Dad

Triple-amputee soldier would go back to war tomorrow

Triple-amputee soldier would go back to war 'tomorrow, if I could'

Published: Sunday, December 25, 2011 By Paul Rioux, The Times-Picayune

 Not long after a roadside bomb killed three members of his unit and seriously injured seven others in Afghanistan, Army Pfc. Kevin Trimble got a rare bit of good news: He had been cleared to return home to New Orleans for Christmas.

“I was planning to keep it a secret and surprise everyone by sneaking in the back door,” said Trimble, 19. But another bomb went off in mid-September, killing a soldier and critically injuring Trimble, who lost both legs and his left arm.

A 2010 graduate of New Orleans Science and Math High School, Trimble has been recovering at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where doctors are so pleased with his progress that they granted him a two-week leave to come home for Christmas. But instead of slipping in the back door, Trimble arrived home to a hero’s welcome Dec. 17, escorted by a half-dozen police cars and a motorcycle group that honors veterans. When the motorcade stopped in front of the Trimble home on Mayo Boulevard, he swung himself from a sport-utility vehicle and dropped into a wheelchair adorned with two American flags. read more here