Wednesday, August 31, 2011

21 Fort Campbell soldiers awarded Purple Hearts

21 Fort Campbell soldiers awarded Purple Hearts
Ceremony underscores dangers of driving on Afghanistan's roads
Written by
Philip Grey
The Leaf-Chronicle
Twenty-one members of the 101st Sustainment Brigade received the Purple Heart Medal on Tuesday for wounds received during a recent deployment in Afghanistan.

The medals were presented to the soldiers of the 541st Transportation Company, 106th Transportation Battalion by 101st Airborne Division Commander Maj. Gen. James C. McConville during a ceremony at Fort Campbell.

The awards, including two to Sgt. Ontario Perry for multiple incidents, underscore the dangers of driving on Afghanistan's roads. All told, 48 members of 541st TC received 50 Purple Heart Medals during their deployment in Afghanistan's Regional Command South, an area known as a Taliban hotbed strewn with improvised explosive devices.
read more here

Over $2.2 Billion in Retroactive Agent Orange Benefits

Over $2.2 Billion in Retroactive Agent Orange Benefits Paid to 89,000
Vietnam Veterans and Survivors for Presumptive Conditions

WASHINGTON (August 31, 2011)- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K.
Shinseki announced today that more than $2.2 billion in retroactive
benefits has already been paid to approximately 89,000 Vietnam Veterans
and their survivors who filed claims related to one of three new Agent
Orange presumptive conditions.

On August 31, 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amended its
regulations to add ischemic heart disease, hairy cell leukemia and other
chronic B-cell leukemias, and Parkinson's disease to the list of
diseases presumed to be related to exposure to Agent Orange.

"As the President said to the American Legion yesterday, VA is
committed to ensuring Veterans and their families receive the care and
benefits they have earned," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K.
Shinseki. "I encourage all potentially eligible Veterans to apply as
soon as possible to preserve the most favorable effective date for

For new claims, VA may authorize up to one year of retroactive benefits
if a Veteran can show that he or she has experienced one of those
conditions since the date of the regulatory change.

VA has reviewed, and continues to review, thousands of previously filed
claims that may qualify for retroactive benefits under a long-standing
court order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
California in Nehmer vs. U.S. Veterans Administration.

"VA encourages survivors of Veterans whose death may be due to one of
the three diseases to file a claim for dependency and indemnity
compensation," added Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.

Secretary Shinseki's decision to add these conditions to the list of
Agent Orange presumptive conditions was based on a study by the
Institute of Medicine, which indicated a positive association between
exposure to certain herbicides and the subsequent development of one or
more of the three conditions.

Potentially eligible Veterans include those who were exposed based on
duty or visitation in Vietnam or on its inland waterways between January
9, 1962, and May 7, 1975; exposed along the demilitarized zone in Korea
between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971; or exposed due to herbicide
tests and storage at military bases within and outside of the United

The Agent Orange Claims Processing System website located at may be used to submit claims
related to the three new presumptive conditions.

The website makes it easy to electronically file a claim and allows
Veterans and their physicians to upload evidence supporting the claim.
It also permits online viewing of claim status.

Beyond the three new presumptive disabilities, Veterans may file online
at VA's My-eBenefits web site at: They
can check the status of their claim with a premium account (confirming
their identity), and use a growing number of online services.

Servicemembers may enroll in My-eBenefits by using their Common Access
Card at anytime during their military service, or before they leave
during their Transition Assistance Program briefings.

Veterans may also enroll through their myPay or MyHealtheVet accounts by
visiting their local VA regional office or Veteran Service Organization,
or by calling 1-800-827-1000.

For more information about Agent Orange presumptives and disability
compensation, go to For questions
about Agent Orange, Veterans may call VA's Special Issues Helpline at
1-800-749-8387 and press 3.

Vietnam vets get fair shout-out

Vietnam vets get fair shout-out
By Amy Schweitzer

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Vietnam War veterans gave all subsequent veterans a great gift, said John Hilgert, director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs.

Hilgert was the guest speaker Monday during the Nebraska State Fair Veterans Day Celebration. The event was a salute to all veterans but gave special recognition to Vietnam War veterans.

"Certainly the sacrifice of the Vietnam veteran is well documented," Hilgert said, adding that as a Gulf War veteran he wanted to thank those veterans for the treatment he received.

"The Vietnam veteran taught this country a valuable lesson on how to treat the warrior upon their return. Never again will America question the commitment of the men and women they sent into harm's way.

"That is a special gift that the Vietnam veterans not only gave to this Gulf War veteran but to all veterans who came afterward."

About 250 veterans, their spouses and families attended the celebration in the Heartland Events Center. When asked to stand according to their era of service, most were Vietnam veterans, with a handful of World War II veterans and even fewer who served in Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan.
read more here

Army veteran's violent breakdown bucks demographics

Army veteran's violent breakdown bucks demographics
August 30, 2011|By Larry King, Inquirer Staff Writer

They had been married for 14 years. They lived in a two-story, $300,000 home in a Virginia suburb. They were the parents of a little girl, not quite grade-school age.

And Leonard and Carrie Egland were part of a culture - the Army - where research shows a relatively low rate of reported domestic violence. Particularly among officers, which Capt. Leonard Egland was.

But that idyll disintegrated as the couple separated and neared a final divorce decree.

They bickered over custody of their daughter, police said, and Carrie Egland confided to friends that she had grown fearful of her estranged husband.
read more here

Lawsuit seeks to help VA pension beneficiaries wrongly purged from Medicaid rolls

Lawsuit seeks to help VA pension beneficiaries wrongly purged from Medicaid rolls

By Adam H. Beasley, Miami Herald
In Print: Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene Czajkowski, 84, is the widow of a military veteran, living in a St. Petersburg nursing home with a fixed income of roughly $20,000 a year.

Apparently, she's too rich to qualify for Medicaid assistance. The Department of Children and Families recently notified Czajkowski's brother Michael Buckley — who has power of attorney — that it planned to remove her from the long-term Care Diversion Program.

But in a lawsuit filed in federal court late Friday, attorneys argue that Czajkowski is one of an untold number of Veterans Affairs pension beneficiaries, living in nursing homes across the state, who have been wrongly purged from the Medicaid rolls, in violation of a 1987 injunction spurred by the lawsuit Mitson vs. Coler.

"Shockingly, the State of Florida has failed to comply with the Court's permanent injunction, and class members have suffered, and continue to suffer, injury as a result," according to the motion to reopen Mitson, in which the state's Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services was ordered to review Medicaid qualifying standards.

read more here

We need to help other veterans and their families and friends understand the truths about PTSD

"Standing up for veterans also means making sure everyone knows how to get needed care. We, as veterans helping veterans, need to aide those who are suffering. They need to know about the hotlines the VA has setup, about the VA facilities offering free and immediate care. We need to know what symptoms to watch for, and we need to help other veterans and their families and friends understand the truths about PTSD."
Remarks by National Commander Donald L. Samuels

National Commander Tyson, National Adjutant Wilson, Department and Chapter Commanders, Auxiliary members, honored guests, friends, and my fellow members of Disabled American Veterans:

Thank you all very much. Thank you for this humbling opportunity to serve you. It is an immense honor and responsibility that I take very seriously. You can be sure that I will put my all into carrying on the great traditions of this organization, working tirelessly for every disabled veteran, their families and survivors. Together, we will continue standing up for veterans and keeping our pledge to leave no veteran behind.

When I was discharged from the Marine Corps in 1969, I came to a crossroads. At that point in my life – a young, wounded Vietnam veteran dealing with a disability – my life could have taken many different directions. But the DAV was there for me with much-needed help. Then they offered me a chance to help my fellow veterans. I have been hooked on this, the finest veterans service organization anywhere, ever since.

Being elected into this office is well beyond anything I could have ever imagined when I first became a National Service Officer. But now that I am here, you can count on me to always remember our one mission – improve the quality of life for disabled veterans, their families and their survivors.

"I am excited about continuing our relationship with Harley-Davidson during my term. The Harley's Heroes program is doing great things for veterans by getting our Mobile Service Office into communities around the nation, helping us bring benefits, education, and counseling to our veterans free of charge to them and their families. I appreciate Harley-Davidson’s commitment and I appreciate our skilled counselors who are developing and prosecuting veterans’ claims."

read more here

Obama salutes vets for ‘extraordinary burdens’

“We cannot, will not, and we must not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans,” Obama said.
Obama salutes vets for ‘extraordinary burdens’
Veterans eye job initiatives as president speaks at American Legion convention
By Julie Pace - The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Aug 30, 2011 13:38:37 EDT
MINNEAPOLIS — Recalling “those awful attacks,” President Obama saluted the 9/11 generation of veterans Tuesday and publicly relished the prospect of U.S. forces getting out of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They have borne an extraordinary burden, with more than 2 million of our service members deploying to the war zones,” Obama said. “Hundreds of thousands have deployed again and again, year after year. Never before has our nation asked so much of our all-volunteer force — that 1 percent of Americans who wears the uniform.”

Speaking before thousands of veterans and their families attending the American Legion’s annual convention, Obama said the Americans who have worn the uniform since Sept. 11 have put the nation in a position of strength and have earned their place among the greatest of generations.

“Every day for the past 10 years, these men and women have succeeded together as one American team,” Obama said.

Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; more than 6,200 American troops have been killed and tens of thousands wounded.
read more here

Parents seek answers for son's concussion, suicide

Posting this and wondering if some of the military suicides should be tied to traumatic brain injury or if they are even looking at this?

Parents seek answers for son's concussion, suicide
By JOSEPH WHITE, AP Sports Writer
NOKESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Austin Trenum's bed remains half-made, the way a typical teenager would leave it. On a shelf is his scarred black helmet, the one he was wearing when he tackled the quarterback near the sidelines during Brentsville High's game against Handley some 11 months ago. Austin's mouthpiece remains tucked neatly in the face mask, ready to be taken out for the next play.
For Austin, there was no next play.
Downstairs in the Trenum home, in the living room to the left of the television, is a memorial in photographs to the 17-year-old college-bound senior who wore No. 43 in football, No. 14 in lacrosse, all sorts of crazy hats when he felt like it, a "fro-hawk" of curly hair, and a pair of women's sunglasses on a lark one day while riding back from the beach.
Austin's final play left him with a concussion. Two days later, with the rest of the family downstairs in the house, he went up to his room and hanged himself.
To the grieving parents, there is no doubt that one caused the other. Shortly after his death, Gil and Michelle Trenum made the difficult decision to donate Austin's brain for research. Seated around their dining table, they told their son's story, hoping his death can leave a legacy for others of lessons learned — that concussions still aren't taken as seriously as they should be; that athletes, parents, coaches, trainers and even emergency room workers are often ill-informed as to how to treat them; that more of a culture change is needed in a sport in which blows to the head are considered badges of honor.
read more here

Almost 4,000 still suffering with PTSD after 9-11 in New York

9/11 -- Remembrance and Renewal: Thousands Still Coping with PTSD
(NEW YORK) -- A decade after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, thousands are still feeling the emotional impact.

After 9/11, a unified spirit helped Americans cope.

"There was a real sense of solidarity in the community which I think probably limited the [emotional] damage," says Dr. John Markowitz at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

But there are nearly 4,000 people who are still suffering with 9/11-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
read more here

Navajo Code Talkers Exhibit

Sedona Arizona Visitors Enjoy
— Navajo Code Talkers Exhibit

Sedona, AZ: Japanese photographer Kenji Kawano, born in Fukuoka in 1949, was not yet born when a group of modern-day Navajo warriors, known as the Code Talkers, defied Japanese intelligence during World War II. By communicating in their own language, the Navajo Code Talkers provided the U.S. Marines with an unbreakable code.

Now, more than a half century later, Kenji Kawano’s photographs capture the spirit of those Navajo Code Talkers, whose code was never broken. “Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers,” at the Museum of Northern Arizona through Sunday, October 9, is an exhibit of 20 black and white photographs, each a handcrafted, gelatin-silver print on archival-quality paper.
read more here

Veteran lifted by D.C. visit

Veteran lifted by D.C. visit
by Laura Freeman | Reporter

Hudson -- More than 65 years after serving his country, a World War II veteran helped to honor fellow veterans in Washington, D.C.

James Rothgery, 87, a 37-year Hudson resident, flew from Cleveland to the U.S. Capitol Aug. 17 as a member of Honor Flight Cleveland, a nonprofit organization, which takes World War II veterans to see the nation's memorials.

During the trip, Rothgery, who fought as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps in the Battle of Midway, was chosen with three other veterans to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

"I think the greatest pleasure was pushing a fellow veteran in a wheelchair and the four of us putting a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier," Rothgery said. "That was amazing."

Rothgery was accompanied by his guardian, Jennifer Cline, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, who is stationed in Washington, D.C.
read more here

Seven Signs That You Need to See a Mental Health Professional

Seven Signs That You Need to See a Mental Health Professional

Everyone has bad days. And many have bad weeks. But when feeling depressed, stressed, or anxious stretches out over a period of several weeks and begins to interfere with daily life, then mental health professionals may need to be involved. Here are some signs that you or someone you care about need evaluation and possibly treatment:
1.Suicidal thoughts or plans.
2.Feeling defeated and hopeless
3.Unable to work or play because of overwhelming emotional distress.
4.Changes in sleep.
5.Changes in appetite.
6.Changes in mood that last for longer than a few weeks.
7.Lack of interest and withdrawal.
read more here
Usually the rule is 30 days "for better or worse" meaning if the symptoms seem to be less each day, then you are more than likely "working it out" but if they do not ease up or get stronger, seek help. As pointed out in this article, make sure the therapist you are planning on seeing is an expert on trauma or you may find yourself with the wrong diagnosis or not getting the help you should.

Walter Reed Was The Army's Wake-Up Call In 2007

In 2010 I had a VIP tour of Walter Reed during the Memorial Day trip to the Vietnam Wall. The young men and women I met were incredible. They stood by each other as if related by blood and in a way, they were. Each one of them was seriously wounded in combat. Most were from Afghanistan. They were more worried about others than themselves.

Walking around waiting for a cab to take me to the hotel my thoughts went back to the report. The American people just assumed they were all being treated with the best that could be done for the wounded. We had no clue how bad it was until reporters told us how wrong we were. There was an uproar but the families and the wounded knew how bad it was then. Had they not been willing to do something about it, I wonder what it would have been like for the men and women I just met.

Courtesy of Oscar Olguin
At Walter Reed, Oscar Olguin and his family were visited by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush. But Olguin says that when he left the hospital, he had to fend for himself.
Walter Reed Was The Army's Wake-Up Call In 2007

August 31, 2011
For more than a century, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center was known as the hospital that catered to presidents and generals. Eisenhower was treated and died there. So too did Generals "Black Jack" Pershing, Douglas MacArthur and George Marshall.

But in recent years, Walter Reed was shorthand for scandal.

A 2007 series that dominated the front page of The Washington Post told of decrepit housing and wounded soldiers left to fend for themselves.

But the problems were identified years before. wrote about it in 2005. Members of Congress later said they had complained to senior Army officials a year or two earlier. Nothing happened.

Soldiers Fending For Themselves

Among those who had problems at Walter Reed was Oscar Olguin, an Army private who lost a leg in Iraq in 2004, when a suicide bomber struck his Humvee outside the city of Ramadi.

Olguin was discharged from the hospital at night in December 2005, in his wheelchair. He was simply told to find his new quarters.

"I got out. I was in my wheelchair. I was by myself," Olguin says. "I got released in the middle of the night. I'm trying to find my way. So I just started rolling around in my wheelchair. And ended up taking the streets, and just following the signs to get to Malogne House."

He never checked in with anybody, even as he attended his physical therapy appointments. It wasn't until three months later that Olguin was contacted by an Army master sergeant. "You're in my platoon," the sergeant told him. "And you have to check in with me every morning."

That wasn't Olguin's only problem. He also had a roommate.

"I had a roommate who was suffering from severe PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], who wasn't supposed to have any sharp objects," Olguin remembers. "I didn't know."

Olguin went on a ski trip with other wounded soldiers, and when he returned, his roommate was gone. Military police had taken him away.

"He tried to slash his own wrists with the knives that I had in my room," says Olguin. "That was probably the worst part. He could have killed himself, and I could've played a part in that, and not even known."
read more here

Shooting suspect blames Hollywood anti-war film for death of two Airmen

Shooting Suspect Admits Killing 2 US Airmen
August 31, 2011
Associated Press
FRANKFURT, Germany --- A 21-year-old Kosovo Albanian says he killed two U.S. airmen at the Frankfurt airport on March 2 and wounded two others, but insists he doesn't understand why he committed the crime.

In an emotional confession to the court as his murder trial began Wednesday, Arid Uka said he had become increasingly radicalized by jihad videos online before the shooting.

He told the court that "what I did was wrong, but I cannot undo what I did."

He says that a video purporting to show American servicemen raping a Muslim girl had prompted him to try and stop other American soldiers from getting to Afghanistan.

The video turned out to be from a Hollywood anti-war film.
read more here

Army to Charge Stryker Soldier

Army to Charge Stryker Soldier
August 31, 2011
The News Tribune|by Adam Ashton

The Army is moving forward with most of the charges it pressed against a Joint Base Lewis-McChord sergeant linked to its Stryker "kill team" investigation, despite a July report that expressed skepticism about the soldier's guilt.

The decision means that Staff Sgt. David Bram, 27, of Vacaville, Calif., will face a general court-martial on charges that he asked a fellow soldier to kill Afghans in combat-like scenarios, abused detainees and assaulted a subordinate who blew the whistle on drug use in their platoon.
Bram has been a suspect linked to a group of five 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers who allegedly murdered Afghan noncombatants last year.
read more here

Phony Green Beret Gets 21 Months in Jail

Phony Green Beret Gets 21 Months in Jail

August 30, 2011|by Bryant Jordan
William "Bill" Hillar, convicted of wire fraud in connection with making schools and the FBI believe he was a retired Green Beret and expert on human trafficking, was hit with a 21-month jail sentence today in Maryland.

Hillar was arrested at his home in January after his scam was exposed by veterans through the website
read more here

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Obama: PTSD stigmatization must end

Obama: PTSD stigmatization must end
By Lucy Madison
President Obama called on Tuesday for an end to the stigmatization of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and affirmed his recent decision to send condolence letters to the families of service members who took their own lives while serving.

Mr. Obama, speaking at the annual American Legion Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, emphasized his commitment to providing improved support for veterans both during and after their service - particularly in regard to mental health services and job opportunities.

"We're working aggressively to address another signature wound of this war, which has led too many fine troops and veterans to take their own lives--Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," Mr. Obama said. "We're continuing to make major investments--improving outreach and suicide prevention, hiring and training more mental health counselors and treating more veterans than ever before."

The president also explained his recent decision, as reported in July by CBS News, to reverse a long-standing policy of not sending condolence letters to the families of service members who commit suicide while deployed to a combat zone.
read more here
read more here

Fort Hood Soldiers get training on safety and suicide prevention

Soldiers get training on safety and suicide prevention
Posted: Aug 29, 2011 6:56 PM

by: Aimee Burnett

FORT HOOD - Fort Hood will be wrapping up safety and suicide prevention training on post Tuesday.

Units have been called in for the training since Wednesday of last week. That's because officials say the U.S. Army, as a whole, has been seeing a larger number of suicide cases this year, and Fort Hood has seen an increase in car and motorcycle accidents.
read more here

For football coach back from war, it's like starting over

For football coach back from war, it's like starting over
By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

SHELLEY, Idaho – The high school football coach known here as "Mr. November" — it was on his license plate even before he won his fifth state championship — was having a tough August.

He said he felt irritable, impatient, inadequate. Sometimes he was depressed. He had trouble remembering players' names and deciding when to defer to his assistants. "I'm lost," Dwight Richins said. "I feel like a new coach at a new school."

In a way, he was. Coach Richins was also Lt. Col. Richins, a reservist home after a year's deployment as an Army logistics officer in Afghanistan. He was struggling with the disorientation experienced by almost all such returning vets.
read more here

Soldiers’ Amygdalae Show Scars

I usually describe PTSD as if it was an infection. A cut can lead to an infection if the cut is not treated. Trauma is a cut. It is an outside force hitting the soldier. Treat it early and pretty much cure it. Wait and it digs deeper, spreading out to more parts of the life of the soldier. Much like an infection, it grows and eats more healthy territory. Once treated, it stops spreading. What is left behind is healed parts along with a scar. The scar cannot be healed and that is the part of PTSD that cannot be reversed. The healing happens to the rest of the life. Now we have the ability to see into the minds and see the scars left behind.

Soldiers’ Amygdalae Show Scars
A year and a half after soldiers have returned from war, impairments in the regulatory circuitry of the amygdala remain.
By Kerry Grens | August 30, 2011

A chronically overactive amygdala, the brain region involved in fear, is a hallmark of an unhealthy response to traumatic events. New research, published today (August 30) in Molecular Psychiatry, shows that some soldiers—who have no mental health deficits after a return from deployment—also harbor signs of trauma within the regulatory network of this brain region.

The findings could help researchers determine “what changes [in the brain] help us predict who becomes sick and who recovers and leads a normal life,” said Ahmad Hariri, a professor at Duke University who was not involved in this study.

The amygdala mediates humans’ fear response, and researchers have found that its overreaction is related to psychological disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. People with PTSD, for example, have heightened activity in the amygdala when they are exposed to potential stressors, such as images of threatening faces.

In the new study, the researchers compared 23 Dutch combat soldiers who had been deployed to Afghanistan with 16 soldiers who stayed home. They measured brain activity using fMRI as the soldiers were exposed to angry or fearful faces.

The findings revealed different neural responses to the faces depending on how much fear the soldiers experienced—and not necessarily how much combat they were in. Immediately after returning from Afghanistan, those soldiers who reported feeling the greatest threat abroad displayed the most activity in the amygdala when they viewed the faces. Soldiers who didn’t feel as threatened had a less sensitive amygdala.
read more here

Motorcycle crash claims life of Marine who survived bullets in Afghanistan

Naugatuck Marine dies in motorcycle crash

Marine Cpl. Matthew Tooker, 25, of Naugatuck, pictured here in Afghanistan.

NAUGATUCK -- Marine Cpl. Matthew A. Tooker was shot twice in Afghanistan last year and survived to run the Marine Corps Marathon in honor of his fallen comrades.

Now someone will have to run the race for him.

Tooker, 25, who lived at 123 Carriage Drive, died early Saturday after crashing his motorcycle into a telephone pole on Osborn Road, Lt. Robert Harrison of the Naugatuck Police Department said.

Preliminary reports indicate Tooker was traveling eastbound when he struck a curb and lost control of the 2001 Honda CBR900 sport motorcycle he was riding. The motorcycle eventually crashed into a pole near 183 Osborn Road, Harrison said. Police are still trying to determine Tooker's speed and whether he was under the influence of alcohol. He was not wearing a helmet and had a motorcycle learner's permit, which does not allow nighttime riding, Harrison said.
read more here

Naval Officer Guilty in 9-11 Fraud

Naval Officer Guilty in 9-11 Fraud
August 30, 2011
Associated Press|by Nedra Pickler

A retired naval officer honored for his valor during the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon was found guilty Monday of defrauding the victims' compensation fund by exaggerating his injuries.

After a three-week trial, a federal court jury found retired Cmdr. Charles Coughlin of Severna Park, Md., guilty of making a false claim and stealing public money after he got $331,034 from the fund set up by Congress after the 2001 attacks. The charges carry maximum penalties of up to 15 years in prison, but prosecutors say they expect to argue for three to four years based on his lack of a criminal record and the nature of the offense when U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth sentences Coughlin on Nov. 21.

Coughlin's claim said he was in constant pain after being injured twice on Sept. 11, 2001 - first when objects fell on him when a hijacked plane struck the building and later when he went back inside to rescue others and hit his head. But prosecutors said Coughlin, now 52, continued playing lacrosse and ran a marathon after the attacks and lied when he claimed he needed surgery.

The case was not a slam dunk for prosecutors: It took three trials to convict him. Coughlin was first tried in 2009 along with his wife, also accused of making a false claim to the fund in support of her husband's application. The jury found Charles Coughlin not guilty on three mail fraud counts, but couldn't agree on a verdict on four counts against him or the charge against his wife. Afterward jurors said they thought Coughlin was the kind of man who would exercise through pain and seemed credible when testifying that he didn't lie.
read more here

August is Deadliest Month for US in Afghanistan

August is Deadliest Month for US in Afghanistan

August 30, 2011
Associated Press|by Amir Shah
KABUL, Afghanistan --- August has become the deadliest month for U.S. troops in the nearly 10-year-old war in Afghanistan, where international forces have started to go home and let Afghan forces take charge of securing their country.

A record 66 U.S. troops have died so far this month, eclipsing the 65 killed in July 2010, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

This month's death toll soared when 30 Americans - most of them elite Navy SEALs - were killed in a helicopter crash Aug. 6. They were aboard a Chinook shot down as it was flying in to help Army Rangers who had come under fire in Wardak province. It was the single deadliest incident of war being waged by Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces and insurgents.

On Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai used the start of a three-day Muslim holiday to plead with insurgents to lay down their arms and help rebuild the nation. Karzai wants Afghan security forces to take the lead in defending and protecting the nation by the end of 2014.

At a palace celebration, he also greeted eight boys and young men who had been solicited to become suicide bombers, but then turned themselves in to Afghan authorities.
read more here

Police stress can explain behavior

Cape Cod Times had a letter published defending police officers that offers one more way to understand military culture. While it is about police officers the troops have the same view about being "tough" and reluctant to seek help. The biggest problem is, the military is actually supporting the "tough" enough notion when they push resiliency training. This approach has been telling the troops they need to toughen their minds, in other words, they are not tough enough if they end up with PTSD.

Police stress can explain behavior

August 30, 2011
I found it ironic that the Times chose to run its latest editorial (Aug. 28) bashing the police on the same day that local officers were risking their lives during a tropical storm to protect the rest of us.

The Times frequently lambastes police officers for improper actions, yet declines to discuss how the stresses of law enforcement affect the lives of officers. I hope this helps readers see another side of the story.

While most people understand that policing is a very difficult profession, few understand its impact on those who wear a badge. Officers are expected to perform professionally in horrific circumstances and control their emotions at all times.

As a 26-year police veteran, I know this isn't easy. My peers have had people attack and try to kill them; helplessly watched people burn up in fires; frantically performed CPR on lifeless babies; felt the squish of pooled blood beneath their feet at crime scenes; and scooped various body parts off the street. The impact of such incidents can be severe, and many officers turn to alcohol or sometimes even drugs to help them forget the ingrained images or recurring nightmares.

Indeed, it is estimated that alcoholism among officers is double the national average; the rates of officer suicide, divorce and domestic abuse in police families are also above normal; and 10 percent to 15 percent of officers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Another aspect of PTSD is there are different levels of it but above that, there are also different types of it. Military and police work have men and women not just surviving traumatic events, but participating in them with force on a daily basis. While we can understand PTSD in the civilian world with one extreme event, they live through them over and over again topped off with the risk of "at any moment" it can happen again. Firefighters and emergency responders have another type of PTSD because of the horrors they encounter above civilians due to the pile up of events as well.

The very people we depend on the most should be applauded for seeking help since it is often the hardest thing they do, but when they are told their minds are just not trained to "take it" they believe it is their fault they have PTSD.

Navy chaplain carries tragic memories of Ground Zero to Afghanistan

Navy chaplain carries tragic memories of Ground Zero to Afghanistan

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story by Cpl. Brian Adam Jones
U.S. Navy Capt. Rondall Brown serves as the command chaplain for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) in Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. In 2001, the chaplain shepherded families through the carnage in Ground Zero that took the lives of their loved ones, offering a first step toward closure. Brown said it was important to him to be in Afghanistan on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, working to eradicate violence in this once terror-stricken region.
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan - Though he’s spent the past 23 years in the Navy, Rondall Brown’s thick drawl, formed in the Blue Ridge Mountains, distinctly makes its presence known when one word crosses the chaplain’s lips – horror.

Brown’s introduction to horror came 10 years ago and 10,000 miles from here, it came to a lieutenant commander serving as a chaplain for a Coast Guard unit in New England. It came as thousands of innocent Americans lost their lives with a collapse and a cloud of dust.

Brown, who calls the mountains of Haysville, N.C., home spent several weeks in New York’s Ground Zero immediately following 9/11. The chaplain shepherded families through the carnage that took the lives of their loved ones, offering a first step toward closure.

“I remember one lady collapsing and just crying out, ‘Oh my God, my baby, I will never see her again.’ Her husband stood there, big guy, clenched fists, with tears streaming down his face. He never said a word,” Brown spoke with long pauses, successfully repelling waves of persistent tears.

“I apologize,” the chaplain said, running his fingers through his short crop of gray hair. “I’m not normally like this.”

Now far away from the wreckage that changed the world, Brown, a Navy captain, serves in Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, as the command chaplain for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
read more here

President Obama Addresses American Legion

Aug 30, 2011
Obama's day: Talking to veterans

By David Jackson, USA TODAY
By Susan Walsh, AP
Good morning from The Oval. On this day in 1990, President George H.W. Bush said a "new world order" could emerge from the Persian Gulf crisis that eventually led to the first Iraq war.

Foreign policy will be on President Obama's mind today as he travels to Minneapolis to speak to the American Legion's annual convention.

"As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, (the president) will pay special tribute to the 9/11 Generation of troops and their families who have borne the burden of a hard decade of war," says the White House.

Obama will also "discuss how responsibly ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan must include meeting our obligations to take care of our troops and veterans as they come home, and will review the Administration's efforts in meeting our obligations to all veterans."
read more here

Also on this topic to clear up the emails flooding your server.

August 29, 2011
VFW Accuses White House of Snubbing Annual Convention

The Veterans of Foreign Wars convention this week will not feature a top-tier official from the Obama administration, a breach in tradition that the group's commander described as an "insult of the highest magnitude."

However, an administration official claimed Monday that the White House made "every effort" to provide a speaker for the event, offering up a range of top officials.

"In all instances, the VFW declined those offers," the official said.

Read more: read more here

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jeb Bush upset with Scott over firing fallen soldier's Mom

Emails: Jeb Bush was upset Scott fired staffers
Published: August 27, 2011
TALLAHASSEE — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was disappointed that Gov. Rick Scott fired the mother of an Army soldier who had just been killed in Afghanistan as well as others who worked in the governor's office, newly released emails show.

Bush's comments were included in more than 700 pages of emails released by an attorney who worked on Scott's transition team. The new emails, recovered from Scott's campaign manager, give some insights into those trying to influence the new administration. The emails also highlight some tensions between members of the transition team — including exchanges over who had the authority to offer jobs in the new administration.

Bush followed her comment with another email in which he notes that other people, including Carolyn “Freda” King were let go. King, who first went to work for the governor's office when Bush was there, worked in the external affairs office of the governor. King's son, Army Pfc. Brandon King, was killed in Afghanistan in July 2010.
read more here

Vietnam vet given 10 years' probation for shooting at Watauga police

Vietnam vet given 10 years' probation for shooting at Watauga police
Posted Monday, Aug. 29, 2011
FORT WORTH - A Vietnam veteran has been sentenced to 10 years' probation for shooting at police during a standoff in 2009 when the officers went to his Watauga home to check on his welfare.
No officer was injured in the standoff that lasted more than nine hours.

SWAT officers shot at least six rounds of a chemical agent into his home before they rushed in and tackled the troubled veteran.

Ronnie Crowder, 59, was sentenced to probation with deferred adjudication last week in Criminal District Court No. 213 on the charge of attempted capital murder.

Crowder joined the Marines when he was 17 and was an artilleryman in Vietnam, serving two tours, his wife told the Star-Telegram in a 2009 interview.

He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and for years has been treated by psychiatrists from Veteran Affairs. He then contracted diabetes and throat cancer which forced doctors to remove his larynx in May 2009. At that time, he also had to take nourishment through a tube in his stomach.
read more here
Vietnam Vet in standoff stopped taking medication

Pentagon pays $720M in late fees for storage containers for Iraq and Afghanistan

Folks, this is $750 million for late fees on storage containers! Why? They use the excuse Afghanistan and Iraq were "planned" to be brief but when you look back at the history of both nations, thinking anything would be "brief" was stupid. The Russians were in Afghanistan, along with other nations trying to take it over. As for Iraq, well, they need only look back to the Gulf War for what Cheney and Rumsfeld already knew. It would be a "quagmire" and they knew exactly what would happen. It is all in the history books and they can't wipe any of it away with their own books now.

Pentagon pays $720M in late fees for storage containers
By Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY

The Pentagon has spent more than $720 million since 2001 on fees for shipping containers that it fails to return on time, according to data and contracts obtained by USA TODAY.

The containers — large metal boxes stowed on ships and moved from port on trucks — are familiar sights on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan where troops use them for storage, shelter and building material. Yet each 20-foot container returned late can rack up more than $2,200 in late fees.

Shipping companies charge the government daily "container detention fees" after the grace period ends for the box to be returned.

The $720million represents a thin slice of the Pentagon's $553billion budget. Yet military spending is under intense scrutiny as the Defense Department has been ordered to trim $350billion in spending over the next 10 years and could face steeper reductions from budget cutters.

The cost stems from the mistaken belief that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would be brief and late fees would be minimal, said John Pike executive director of, a defense policy group.
read more here

But it looks like this keeps getting worse
Ten years after 9/11, wasteful Pentagon war contracting still under fire
Published: August 29, 2011
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon's use of no-bid contracts meant to field urgently needed war goods like counter-IED devices has tripled since 9/11, despite promises to reform the controversial practice once justified by military planners at the outbreak of war ten years ago, a new watchdog report finds.

After repeated pledges and orders from President Barack Obama and Defense Department leaders to clean up the no-bid trough, “Campaign pledges and memos have made little headway in combating the problem,” writes Sarah Whitmire, in the Center for Public Integrity's first installment of a five-day investigative report on war contracting, released Monday. What was a $50 billion worry in 2003 has ballooned to $140 billion in 2011.

The report is the latest dispatch in the Center’s “Windfalls of War” series, which in 2003 accounted for the explosion of war spending in the buildup and aftermath of the Iraq invasion and early Afghanistan fighting. (Full disclosure: I was a writer on the original project.) At the time, when U.S. officials refused or could not say how much money the wars were costing taxpayers, through Freedom of Information Act requests the Center discovered billions of dollars were being doled out to huge defense firms, like Halliburton. The Pentagon, in some cases, simply modified previously existing contracts for unrelated goods and services instead of opening up a new bidding process to competition, sometimes adding tens of millions to the potential value of the original contract.

The Pentagon and other contracting agencies said the practice was justified because the need to troops was too urgent. Some of the contractors, DOD said, were the only ones capable of providing unique and uniquely large services, like rebuilding Iraq’s electrical system. The Center found that was untrue in many cases.
read more here

1,800 riders take part in Wounded Warrior Motorcycle Run

More than 1,800 riders take part in Wounded Warrior Motorcycle Run

More than 1,800 motorcyclists showed up Sunday for a Wounded Warrior Motorcycle Run where five local veterans were honored and money was raised for the cause of supporting injured soldiers across the country.

“A lot of bikes here,” said Bill Teckenbrock of Naperville, surveying the motorcycles lined up in the morning in New Lenox Commons. Shortly after noon, the hundreds of motorcycles rumbled off to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

The ride was preceded by a ceremony in which checks of $1,000 were presented to five area veterans, three of whom are in wheelchairs.
read more here

VA directors received retention bonuses just before retiring?

Haley, Bay Pines VA directors received retention bonuses just before retiring

By William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Monday, August 29, 2011

TAMPA — The former directors of Tampa Bay's two veterans hospitals received a combined $65,000 in retention bonuses not because another hospital called with a better job.

They got them, oddly enough, because they were close to retirement.

A St. Petersburg Times review of retention bonuses paid to the directors of the Haley and Bay Pines VA medical centers calls into question whether the Department of Veterans Affairs ever determined that the men would have left their jobs without the extra money.

Both directors said they never asked for the money.

In fact, Bay Pines' former director, Wallace Hopkins, 64, said the bonuses did not delay his retirement at all.

"But the retention was nice to build up my savings account," said Hopkins, who worked at the VA for 40 years.

Hopkins, who retired April 1, and former Haley director Stephen Lucas continued to receive retention payments for three months or more after announcing their retirements, the VA confirmed. Lucas, 66, retired in March 2010.
read more here

Former Marine wounded in Iraq bombing becomes Dallas officer

Former Marine wounded in Iraq bombing becomes Dallas officer, lingering health problems
TANYA EISERER Dallas Morning News
First Posted: August 29, 2011

DALLAS — Dallas police Officer Andrew Litz falls frequently and can't walk across the room without help.

He sometimes uses a wheelchair or cane. He suffers seizures. He's confused and disoriented. He's in and out of the emergency room almost every week.

After three combat tours in Iraq, he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury caused by a 2005 roadside bomb.

Litz was among the thousands of Americans who enlisted in the military during a burst of patriotism after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Now, a decade later, he has become a victim of the wars spawned by 9/11.

"I feel like I'm broken," said the 30-year-old former Marine sergeant, now a Dallas police officer who can't work because of his health problems.

After intense criticism over its handling of blast concussions, the military has in recent years toughened protocols for handling them. But for Litz and others, it is too little, too late.

Litz relies on the strained medical services of the Department of Veterans Affairs, where psychological injuries and brain injuries compete with the "more real" problems of amputations and other physical ailments.

Litz and his wife call it the "VA machine." Trips from their home in McKinney to the emergency room at the Dallas VA Medical Center are routine.
read more here

Where Generations Of Soldiers Healed And Moved On

Where Generations Of Soldiers Healed And Moved On

August 29, 2011
On a recent morning, John Pierce walked across the sprawling hospital campus of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. On the lawn, he spotted people who have come to define the place in recent years.

"[They were] having physical fitness-type tests," Pierce said. "There were people with notebooks and things, like they record when you do your sit-ups and pushups — but these were a number of double amputees."

Pierce is the historian for the Walter Reed Society, which makes him an expert on the historic American hospital in Washington, D.C.

The last doctors and patients are leaving, as the center closes. They're moving elsewhere as part of a round of base closures — a huge development for the U.S. military.
read more here

Veteran remembers friendship with Elvis Presley

Vet befriended King in Army
August 29, 2011
By CHRISTOPHER BOBBY - Staff reporter
Tribune Chronicle

JOHNSTON - Since he was the oldest son of a coal miner from Punxsutawney, Pa., Bill Hazlett had always figured he would live his life the way he wanted, working in the mine like everyone else.

Instead he ended up dropping out of high school and followed his father to Warren where his dad eventually found work at Packard Electric.

''My brother Bob joined the Army, and my brother Luke joined the Air Force about a year earlier, but then I got my draft notice. I thought to myself it was going to be the worst time of my life,'' said Hazlett, a retiree from Wean United who bounced around from Commercial Shearing to Taylor Winfield before being called into the military.

''Nobody was volunteering at the time, so they were drafting. The company held my job for me, though, while I was gone for two years,'' said Hazlett, admitting that his time spent in the military turned out to be perhaps the best time of his life.

''What I thought was bad turned out to be good,'' he said.

Among the good things he can credit to his military service are the birth of his oldest daughter, lifelong friends and memories of his friendship with Elvis Presley, the king of rock 'n' roll.
read more here

Documenting a Fight for Environmental Justice at Camp Lejeune

Semper Fi: Always Faithful-- Documenting a Fight for Environmental Justice

Marcia G. YermanNYC writer focusing on women's issues; co-founder, cultureID

"There are over 130 contaminated military sites in the United states. This makes the Department of Defense the nation's largest polluter."

These words stand as the most salient message of the documentary Semper Fi: Always Faithful, a film that encompasses the worlds of environmental justice, the military, politics and science.

The protagonist of the narrative is Ret. Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger -- a formidable presence. When framed against the backdrop of the United States Capitol, his physical demeanor telegraphs that he is a man to be reckoned with. For Ensminger, the narrative begins with his daughter, Janey, who died at the age of 9 from a rare form of childhood leukemia. Trying to understand the reason behind her illness is the subtext of Ensminger's quest, as well as the connective tissue for the ensuing narrative about water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Ensminger's relentless search for truth is driven by the need to get answers not only for himself, but also for the nearly one million people who were unknowingly exposed to toxic chemicals at the base.

The backstory gets set in motion in 1941, when a fuel depot in operation at Camp Lejeune had leaks that were seeping into the ground -- 1,500 feet from a drinking water supply well. The estimated start date of the water contamination was 1957, when other improperly disposed of solvents additionally entered the mix. In 1975, Ensminger was living at Camp Lejeune. His wife was pregnant with Janey. In 1983, his daughter received her diagnosis. Ironically, unbeknownst to Ensminger, between 1980-1984, the water was being tested at the base with results consistently finding contaminants and "health concerns."
read more here

Widow of Army Ranger forced to leave Rumsfeld's book signing

"As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time." Donald Rumsfeld

Well that was the way they all seemed to think about sending troops into Iraq as the talk about Afghanistan was forgotten about even though there were still troops there, risking their lives while being ignored.

FOX news took the lead on omitting any harm being done to the troops making people believe the administration cared but like the above piece, reality was under-reported. Suicides went up and the DOD was scratching their heads to figure out why. The Army came out with a stunning study saying that redeployments increased the risk of PTSD by 50% but the administration was not about to make any changes. They continued the practice. A like study showed the need for dwell time between deployments, yet men like Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann received hardly no time home. He was do to return into combat for the 9th time. Troops were sent into Afghanistan 10 years ago in October yet this was supposed to be his 9th time?

Did any of this bother Rumsfeld? Cheney? Bush? Did the lives of the men and women sent bother any of them? All of them have books and PR agents to spin what happened but families left behind have graves to visit and heartaches to heal.

Ranger's widow expelled from Rumsfeld book signing
Two people were removed from a Donald Rumsfeld book signing Friday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, including the Yelm widow of an Army Ranger who blames the military for her husband’s suicide.

Published: 08/28/11
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld begins to sign a copy of his book for Jorge Gonzalez while Ashley Joppa-Hagemann looks on. Gonzalez and Joppa-Hagemann were later escorted from the event Friday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. (PHOTO COURTESY OF COFFEE STRONG)
Two people were removed from a Donald Rumsfeld book signing Friday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, including the Yelm widow of an Army Ranger who blames the military for her husband’s suicide.
Security officers for the former secretary of defense escorted Ashley Joppa-Hagemann out by the arm, she said Saturday. She and Jorge Gonzalez, the executive director of Coffee Strong, a Lakewood-based anti-war group, confronted Rumsfeld as he promoted his memoir, “Known and Unknown.”
According to an account posted on Coffee Strong’s website: “Mrs. Joppa-Hagemann introduced herself by handing a copy of her husband’s funeral program to Rumsfeld, and telling him that her husband had joined the military because he believed the lies told by Rumsfeld during his tenure with the Bush administration.”
Joppa-Hagemann complained about Rumsfeld’s response Friday to her account of Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann’s multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and his death at age 25. Hagemann belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Read more

They shared a moment of crisis, and the anguish that remained

They shared a moment of crisis, and the anguish that remained
OLD BRIDGE, N.J.— From Monday's Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011
Deputy U.S. marshal Dominic Guadagnoli helps a women after she was injured in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, Sept. 11, 2001. The Injured woman was later identified as Donna Spera. —Gulnara Smoilova/AP
It wasn’t until she collapsed outside the building that the pain took over.

Throughout the 78-storey trek to the bottom of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, Donna Spera was unaware of her surroundings, the passage of time or her own condition.

She remembers blood on the stairs, but didn’t think it was hers. She recalls crawling over an elevator smashed through the stairwell, but not how her legs became lacerated. She couldn’t figure out why a friend wrapped his shirt around her hand.

But once outside, she became aware of the scorched and melted skin on her arms and back; of her gashed knees, shattered hand and bloody scalp.

And that’s when Dominic Guadagnoli grabbed her.

The deputy marshal, who’d been working in a courthouse nearby, made a dash for the World Trade Center shortly after the planes hit.

The people he helped out of the towers came in waves of escalating injury: First the relatively unscathed; then the dust-caked, the water-soaked, the shell-shocked and slightly battered. And then Ms. Spera.

“I just scooped her up and ran. ... I said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. I got you.’ ”
read more here

No charges against Iraq war veteran with PTSD

Harlingen Police: No charges against Iraq war veteran
by Amber Dixon
Posted: 08.28.2011

A Harlingen neighborhood was shook up Saturday night after police blocked off their street and asked neighbors to stay inside their homes.

An Iraq war veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder had reportedly barricaded himself inside a home, armed with a gun.

A family member veteran Chris Huerta spoke off camera to Action 4 News.

"He's honestly a really good kid,” said the family member.

He said Huerta got into a fight with his brothers and grabbed a gun.

Police were called.
read more here

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Psalm 55 suffering of the soul

There have been many claims that what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been recorded all the way back in the Old Testament. This is one of the Psalms where you can clearly see the suffering of the soul.

1 Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
2 hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3 because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;[c]
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”
9 Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
11 Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lies never leave its streets.
12 If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
I could hide.
13 But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
at the house of God,
as we walked about
among the worshipers.
15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;
let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,
for evil finds lodging among them.
16 As for me, I call to God,
and the LORD saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God.
20 My companion attacks his friends;
he violates his covenant.
21 His talk is smooth as butter,
yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
yet they are drawn swords.
22 Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
will not live out half their days.

But as for me, I trust in you.

Veteran sought in 4 deaths found dead in Pennsylvania

Veteran sought in 4 deaths found dead in Pennsylvania

By Associated Press
Sunday, August 28, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — Police say a soldier being sought in the deaths of four people in Pennsylvania and Virginia has been found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Pennsylvania State Police spokesman David Lynch says the body of 37-year-old Leonard John Egland of Fort Lee, Va., was found shortly after 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Warwick Township. That’s where he had been sought since early morning.
read more here

Soldier is at large in Philadelphia area, sought by police for 4 deaths in Va.
Published: Sunday, August 28, 2011, 2:22 PM
Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2011, 4:00 PM
By The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA — A soldier who recently returned from war service fired at officers in suburban Philadelphia as he was sought in the Virginia deaths of his ex-wife, her boyfriend and the boyfriend's young son, authorities said. The soldier's former mother-in-law was also killed, and he remains at large.

Residents of Warwick Township were asked to stay in their homes and lock doors and cars as police hunted for Leonard John Egland, 37, of Fort Lee, Va., who evaded authorities as Hurricane Irene lashed the area.

"I have no idea whether he's acting on impulse or whether this storm played a part in his thinking," said David Heckler, district attorney in Bucks County, Pa.

Heckler didn't know when the Virginia deaths occurred but said Egland's former mother-in-law, 66-year-old Barbara Reuhl of Buckingham, Pa., was believed to have been killed Saturday night.
read more here

Denver police arrest man after Fort Carson soldier killed

Man, 22, arrested in July killing of soldier near motel
The Denver Post

Denver police have arrested a man suspected of shooting and killing a Fort Carson soldier near his motel in July.

At 8:55 p.m. on Thursday, Ricky Scott, 22, was arrested in the 1600 block of West 37th Avenue, on suspicion of first-degree murder, according to a news release from the Denver Police Department.
Details about the arrests and possible motivation behind the shooting were not released.
read more here

Fort Carson soldier shot and killed

7,500 Guard troops ready to begin relief operations

Guard troops ready to begin relief operations
By Lolita C. Baldor and Randy Pennell - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Aug 28, 2011
JONESTOWN, Pa. — The National Guard is poised to help states hit by Hurricane Irene.

Maj. Gen. David Harris, director of operations for the Arlington, Va.-based National Guard Bureau, told The Associated Press on Saturday that at least 7,500 Guard troops either have been pre-positioned in key regions or have been told to prepare to deploy to provide help to states affected by the storm this weekend.

“Typically when a hurricane like this goes through, it’s several hours after it passes through before they get a chance to get out and survey the damage,” Harris said. “If there are things that are beyond the state’s capability, that’s when we’ll get those requests.”

The hurricane, with an enormous 500-mile wingspan, knocked out power and piers in North Carolina and hammered Virginia with strong winds as it crept up the coast Saturday. It stirred up 7-foot waves, and forecasters warned of storm-surge danger on the coasts of Virginia and Delaware, along the Jersey Shore and in New York Harbor and Long Island Sound.

In northern Virginia, at the National Guard Bureau’s coordination center, military officials tracked the storm on an array of screens three stories below ground, and they organized massive Army and Air Guard assistance squads, called packages, that will be ready to head to the coastal states over the next day or two.
read more here

Oklahoma soldiers deal with danger fighting Taliban

Oklahoma soldiers deal with danger fighting Taliban
About 2,000 members of the Oklahoma National Guard are deployed to Afghanistan.

Published: August 28, 2011
Oklahoma National Guard soldiers are “outside the wire” in Afghanistan, fighting up close and personal with the Taliban and waiting for the day they can come home.

The 2,000 soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have lost seven of their comrades in the short time they've been deployed, a fact that is always on the minds of those left behind.

Rely on each other
Spc. Anthony Fernandez, of Edmond, a scout who does reconnaissance and gathers intelligence for his unit, said soldiers must rely on each other with danger a constant reality.

“Everyone has each other's back,” he said. “We become like a family, and we look out for each other and trust one another. I pray a lot and know that God is watching over me.”
read more here

Walter Reed Army Medical Center closes its doors in final ceremony

Walter Reed Army Medical Center closes its doors in final ceremony
By Laura Koran, CNN
August 28, 2011
The flag was lowered for the final time Saturday as Walter Reed Army Medical Center closed it doors.
Military hospital lowers its flag
Walter Reed completes merger with center in Maryland

Washington (CNN) -- Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington closed its doors Saturday, completing the military hospital's merger with the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center. The event was marked with a flag-lowering ceremony, which followed the transfer of Walter Reed's 18 remaining patients to the combined medical center's Bethesda, Maryland, campus.

The official closing was conducted a day earlier than originally planned in order to avoid the worst of Hurricane Irene, but the ceremony was still marked by grey skies, heavy rain and strong winds. This somber weather caused Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general, to remark in his closing speech, "clearly the heavens are struggling with the finality of this too."

read more here

Marine Corps sets new guidelines for anthrax vaccine

Marine Corps sets new guidelines for anthrax vaccine
Published: August 27, 2011

The Marine Corps has issued new policy clarifying rules for the controversial anthrax vaccine, incorporating numerous changes introduced since 2007.

According to the Marine Corps Times, the major changes are:

• The vaccine is mandatory for many Marines, but not everyone.

• The vaccination course includes five injections administered over 18 months, not six as earlier rules stipulated.

• The injections are intramuscular. They are no longer given under the skin.
read more here

Blind veteran to be evicted from Minnesota Veterans Home

Whistleblower: Blind and in need of special care, veteran may be evicted from VA Home
Updated: August 28, 2011 - 12:19 AM
Vietnam vet Gerald Bilderback is in jeopardy of eviction from the Veterans Home because of unpaid bills. He, however, doesn't control his money.

Fifteen years ago, Gerald Bilderback moved into the state-run Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis. It's the kind of facility that offers the skilled nursing care needed by the blind 73-year-old Vietnam veteran who's unable to live independently due to a traumatic brain injury, according to court documents.

Bilderback is now facing eviction over unpaid bills, even though he has no control over his money. An administrative law judge recommended earlier this summer that the state Department of Veterans Affairs discharge Bilderback because of a dispute that started when his brother-in-law -- who oversees Bilderback's pensions and veterans benefits -- refused to pay $1,084 in medical expenses two years ago.

A Wisconsin court has taken steps to remove the brother-in-law, Robert Adams of Eau Claire, as Bilderback's conservator. But that follows two years of wrangling with Adams by county social workers and courts in two states, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies, culminating in threats to send Bilderback packing.
read more here

Fort Hood soldier dies during training

Texas Today: Fort Hood soldier dies during training
Posted On: Friday, Aug. 26 2011

A 37-year-old Fort Hood soldier died Friday morning during physical training.

The soldier was identified as Dennis Lamonte Lee. Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin pronounced Lee dead at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at 8:15 a.m. Friday.

Potvin ordered an autopsy, which will be performed by military medical examiners.
read more here

Parade canceled after soldier arrested-support was not canceled

UPDATE Sept 4th, 2011
Soldier says weekend arrest came during 'a big hurt'
Written by
Eric Braman, the local soldier arrested over the weekend on the eve of his homecoming parade, said that he was sorry for firing a gun and hurting another man.

"I want to say a formal apology to the community and to the individual that was hurt," Braman said Monday afternoon. "I don't even know who he is. The police wouldn't tell me. I want to apologize to him and to his family."

Braman, 24, returned to Lafayette this month after 11 months of physical therapy at Walter Reed Medical Hospital in Washington, D.C.
read more here

Arrest doesn't impact Braman fish fry
Parade scheduled for Sunday is now canceled

Updated: Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 11:54 PM EDT
Published : Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 11:54 PM EDT

Kristin Maiorano
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - News of the arrest of a Lafayette soldier injured in Afghanistan didn't seem to deter members of the community from taking part in a fish fry fundraiser for Eric Braman and his family. Organizers said hundreds came out Saturday evening to show their support.

"Our focus all along has been, Eric deserves a welcome home for what he sacrificed in Afghanistan," said Navy Club Commander Tim Hilton.

Hilton said that focus wasn't blurred by news that Army Specialist Eric Braman was arrested for a felony charge of criminal recklessness Saturday morning.

"That's not our judgement," he said. "Eric's going through a tough time, and we really think it's the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that happens to a lot of soldiers coming back."

Hilton said Braman will be getting help for those issues, but in the meantime, friends, family and other community members were hoping to help him and his family the best they can.
read more here

Soldier arrested after shooting incident on day before his homecoming parade: parade canceled (update)
9:49 PM, Aug. 27, 2011

Written by

A parade scheduled for downtown Lafayette Sunday to honor an injured U.S. soldier was canceled today in wake of the soldier's arrest early today.

According to Lafayette police, Eric S. Braman, 24, is accused of shooting a gun and injuring a man on Veterans Memorial Parkway South during an argument.

Police said they were called to the 2400 block of Veterans Memorial Parkway South at 3:28 a.m. today after reports of two shots being fired during a verbal altercation. Police said witnesses said Braman fired both shots.

Andrew Studer, 31, of Lafayette was injured after one of the shots was fired, police said. He had a wound on the left side of his chest, near the shoulder. Police said the wound was minor and that Studer refused medical treatment at the scene.
red more here
Parade Will Welcome Home Injured Soldier

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Virginia Vietnam Veteran wins $1 million lottery prize

Christiansburg vet wins $1 million lottery prize
By Lerone Graham

A Christiansburg Vietnam veteran is the first $1 million winner in the Virginia Lottery's Right on the Money game.

"I knew immediately, instantly that it was a $1 million winner," Thomas Wurtz told Virginia lottery officials.
read more here

Online Love Triangle, Deception End in Murder

Online Love Triangle, Deception End in Murder
Aug. 27, 2011
The Internet is known as a breeding ground for illicit affairs between people often hiding behind fake names and handles. But most such virtual relationships aren't dangerous as this -- when "Talhotblond" and "MarineSniper" struck up a relationship online, it ended in murder.

MarineSniper was 46-year old Thomas Montgomery, a married father of two. In May, 2005, posing as a young, handsome Iraq-bound Marine, he entered a teen chat room the popular game site "Pogo."

When 18-year-old Talhotblond started instant-messaging him, he decided to pretend he was 18 too.

"I kept thinking, well, we're never going to meet. ... I'll just play the game with her," he said.

Before long, the flirtation became a romance.
read more here

VA awards new contract for debunked PTSD drug

VA awards new contract for debunked PTSD drug
BY BOB BREWIN 08/25/2011

This is the fourteenth story in an ongoing series.

The Veterans Affairs Department continues to issue contracts to purchase an anti-psychotic drug to treat post-traumatic stress disorder despite research showing the drug, risperidone, is no more effective than a placebo.

Nextgov reported Aug. 22 that VA spent $717 million over the past decade to purchase risperidone, the generic name for Risperdal, a second-generation anti-psychotic drug originally developed by the Janssen Pharmaceuticals division of Johnson & Johnson to treat severe mental conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

VA doctors prescribe the drug to treat PTSD, but a study by department researchers published Aug. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded, "treatment with risperidone compared with placebo did not reduce PTSD symptoms."

Despite these findings, on Aug. 11, VA awarded a contract to Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. for more than 200,000 bottles of risperidone containing more than 20 million pills in multiple dosages. The announcement of the contract to the Morgantown, W.V., generic drug manufacturer did not provide a dollar value for the contract.
read more here

WWII Montford Pointers occupy a quiet corner of history

Overdue salute for a black Marine

By David Perlmutt
Posted: Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011
Seeking recognition

"Nearly 70 years after they integrated the Marines on Aug. 26, 1942, the Montford Pointers occupy a quiet corner of history. Their recognition has never come close to the Tuskegee Airmen, the famed black World War II pilots."

Raymond Worsley was 18 in 1943, a student at Johnson C. Smith University, when the military came knocking.

The recruiter told Worsley he was bound for the Army. But Worsley had other plans: "No sir, I want to be a Marine."

That's what he became. But he had to overcome more than just the rigors of boot camp. Worsley's black, and until 1942, the Marine Corps had been all white.

He was sent to segregated Camp Montford Point near Camp Lejeune to train with thousands of other blacks who broke the military's last color barrier.

This weekend, the retired Charlotte Presbyterian minister and dozens of surviving Montford Pointers are getting their due, starting with breakfast Friday morning in Washington, D.C., with Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos as part of a weekend of events.

"I always wanted to be a Marine, even as a boy" in Rocky Mount," said Worsley, 86. "I'd seen them in the movies and I loved their music.

"Those were among my proudest days."

read more here

Defense attorney suggests possible PTSD defense in killings

Defense attorney suggests possible PTSD defense in killings
By Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post

A defense attorney for an accused killer who admitted slashing and shooting two people to death in a remote home in Douglas County today raised the possibility that he was suffering from a psychological condition and under great stress.

Public defender Kathleen McGuire indicated through questioning of Sgt. Jason Weaver that she may be planning a defense to establish that her client Josiah Sher, 27, was taking medications for post traumatic stress disorder.

She asked Weaver whether it was true that Sher, one of four suspects in the double homicide of Amara Wells, 39, and Bob Rafferty, 49, had served several tours in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq between 2005 and 2009.

The sergeant confirmed that and also said that Sher told him he had been institutionalized for severe PTSD, was still taking medications for the condition and had called a suicide hotline on Feb. 4, less than three weeks before the Feb. 23 murders.
read more here

Man claims PTSD caused crime spree involving gun

Police: Man claims PTSD caused crime spree involving gun
Posted on26 August 2011.
By Kelci Parks

A Pahrump man was arrested in the early morning hours yesterday after allegedly going on an alcohol and drug-induced crime spree. In less than two hours John David Radell, 43, was reported to have pulled a gun on three people in three separate locations.

Deputies were first dispatched to Paddy’s Pub on Pahrump Valley Boulevard just before midnight on Wednesday evening. Deputies discovered that Radell had allegedly pulled a gun and put it to the first victim’s head during some sort of verbal dispute outside of the bar. No shots were fired and Radell fled the scene before police could respond.

“It was pretty random. He just kept picking different locations,” said Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo.

The severity of the incidents increased a little each time. Less than 15 minutes after the first incident, deputies were dispatched to Terrible’s Country Store gas station on Highway 160 across from the entrance to Calvada Blvd. Witnesses there told police that Radell walked into the gas station and engaged in a verbal argument with a patron at the store. Radell then allegedly pulled out a gun and put it to the head of the second victim. Again, no shots were fired, but Radell allegedly pistol-whipped the patron and again fled the scene before deputies showed up.

The sheriff says that the suspect was not on foot, but driving from location to location.

Just before 2 a.m. Thursday, deputies responded to a suicide threat at 2240 S. Winery Rd., the suspect’s residence. The press release states that Radell had pointed the gun at his wife and then fired a shot into the wall.

Radell told police that his actions were an attempt to draw attention to his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that he claims resulted from his service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Radell’s claims to have served in the U.S. Army have yet to be confirmed, but the suspect told police that he served tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He also told them he was on medication for his PTSD.
read more here

Veteran Says Deputies Shot Him in the Back

Veteran Says Deputies Shot Him in the Back

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A Gulf war veteran and his wife say a sheriff's deputy shot the veteran in the back, leaving him paraplegic, and that the Sheriff's Department then lied about the shooting, claiming the veteran had shot first.

Michael and Kimberly Foster sued San Diego County and its Sheriff William Gore in Federal Court.

Kimberly Foster says she called 911 from her Alpine home on Oct. 19, 2010, "out of concern for her husband's safety." She says she felt that her husband, an Army medic who had served in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf, "was having a PTSD episode."

Alpine is a distant suburb in the hills east of San Diego.

She says San Diego County Sheriff deputies and a SWAT team responded to her call.

"At approximately 1:00 pm, plaintiff Michael Foster walked outside into his back yard in broad daylight. With his back turned to the officers and without provocation, plaintiff Michael Foster was shot multiple times in the back by the SWAT team members," the complaint states.

Kimberly adds that "at the time he was shot," her husband "posed no immediate threat of harm to any of the officers."

She says that when she heard the shots she thought her husband had been killed.

"Immediately after the shooting, San Diego Sheriff's Lieutenant Dennis Brugos made a public statement indicating that the Sheriff SWAT officers shot Mr. Foster because Mr. Foster first shot at them one or two times," the complaint states. "Lieutenant Brugos' statement was entirely false as subsequent investigation has proven that Mr. Foster never discharged his firearm in the presence of the sheriff's officers."

The Fosters say the County of San Diego stuck by the story, even though Brugos' statement was "indisputably false."
read more here