Friday, September 30, 2011

Verdict: Lejeune Marine did not haze junior colleague

UPDATE: Verdict: Lejeune Marine did not haze junior colleague
September 30, 2011 12:12 PM
Updated at 5:37 p.m.

A military jury decided Friday that a Camp Lejeune lance corporal who fought “like a drunken monkey” in the mixed martial arts ring was not guilty of assaulting a Marine in his unit who failed to complete a series of push-ups.

Lance Cpl. Chad Fyffe, 23, was acquitted on charges of assault, false official statement and drunk and disorderly conduct in a summer 2010 incident at his French Creek barracks. Fyffe, then a member of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines scout sniper platoon, called the four newest members of the unit into his room to inspect their rucksacks for the next day’s exercise. Upon finding that some of the sacks were missing pieces of gear, Fyffe and his roommates told the Marines to begin “25-and-5” sets, a push-up exercise used in the platoon for training and correction. When one Marine, Pfc. Charles Holloway, could not keep up, Holloway claimed Fyffe began punching him and kicking him in the ribs, then ordered him into a bathroom across the hall and pummeled him for 10-15 minutes before finally releasing him.
read more here

also on hazing

Marine suicide tied to hazing

Marine suicide leads to charges

‘High-risk activities’ help soldiers remain grounded

‘High-risk activities’ help soldiers remain grounded
Posted On: Thursday, Sep. 29 2011 11:31 PM

'By Colleen Flaherty

Killeen Daily Herald

DALLAS — First Lt. Emily Miller had one thought as she stood at the edge of the seven-story platform.

"Why am I doing this?" she recalled, following her first bungee jump experience Thursday at Zero Gravity adventure park in Dallas.

Miller and about 30 other 66th Military Intelligence Company soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, visited the park as part of their reintegration training. The regiment returned from its fourth and final deployment to Iraq in August.

"There's nothing between you and the ground, just open space," said Miller, 24. But the fear was worth "the adrenaline rush. I always told myself I'd go bungee jumping."

Sgt. 1st Class Stanley Holcombe of Fort Hood's Warrior Adventure Quest program accompanied the Ghostrider crew. He said encouraging returning soldiers to thrill-seek in a controlled environment is central to Warrior Adventure Quest, which "mitigates high-risk behavior through high-risk activities."

"The purpose is two-fold," Holcombe said. "They're having fun, but at the same time, they're exhibiting positive adaptive behavior, versus maladapted behavior, like driving too fast or drinking."
read more here

GAO: 4 percent of VA copayments inaccurate

If there is anyone out there not understanding veterans are not covered for everything for free, this should clear that up.

GAO: 4 percent of VA copayments inaccurate
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Sep 30, 2011 12:26:41 EDT
In 2009, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s health panel called Department of Veterans Affairs officials on the carpet for what advocates and lawmakers said were “inappropriate billing practices” resulting in veterans being overcharged for medical service copayments.

But a newly released review of VA’s 56 million copayment bills in 2010 by the Government Accountability Office shows VA has an accuracy rate of 96 percent. Still, that means about 2.3 million copayment amounts were inaccurate last year, the GAO report said.

VA collects payment from veterans or their insurance companies for treatment and prescriptions for conditions not related to military service.
At the 2009 hearing, representatives of the Paralyzed Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion reported incidents of veterans paying erroneous bills and never being reimbursed. Some veterans also were billed multiple times for a single service or received incorrect bills months after services were rendered.
read more here

One more thing to understand is that if they have a claim not approved, they have to pay out of pocket or their insurance unless they can prove they are unable to pay.

Considering members of congress get to keep their full coverage after they leave office, this shows how little the congress does in fact value the troops and veterans. The troops are just not worth as much as they are to themselves. Most people don't know members of congress walk out with great benefits that last the rest of their lives no matter if they go to work for private companies or not. Ask Bachmann if she plans on ending her benefits when she leaves office the way she wants military retirees to give their benefits up.

Vietnam Vet Walks Hundreds Of Miles For Awareness

Vietnam Vet Walks Hundreds Of Miles For Awareness
Vet Is Hopes To Raise Money For Resource Center Staff
POSTED: 12:12 pm MDT September 29, 2011

UPDATED: 12:36 pm MDT September 29, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Ben Cordova is walking from Wyoming to New Mexico to raise awareness for veterans.

The Vietnam vet said his mission is to raise funds for a veteran’s resource center, which will provide free services to veterans and their families.

Cordova said there are not enough programs established to provide assistance to veterans, and he wants to change that.

“I don’t want the younger generations to go through some of the stuff we’ve gone through.
read more here

Camp Lejeune holds career fair and education expo

Camp Lejeune holds career fair and education expo
By: Ashley White

CAMP LEJEUNE – More than 100 companies are coming together to help employ our nation's heroes. The Job Fair and Education Expo on board Camp Lejeune is providing the resources to help get the military men and women, who are ready to leave the service, a new job or on the path for education.
read more here and see video

Fort Hood soldier dies of non-combat incident

The Department of Defense today announced the death of a Texas soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn in Iraq.

According to The Department of Defense, Staff Sgt. Estevan Altamirano, 30, of Edcouch, died Sept. 18 in Tikrit of “injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident.”

Sgt. Altamirano was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood.

Man accused of killing soldier with truck recovering from stab wounds

Man accused of killing soldier with truck recovering from stab wounds
Posted On: Tuesday, Sep. 27 2011 12:47 PM
From staff and wire reports

A South Carolina man accused of hitting and killing a Texas soldier with his pickup truck and then driving away is recovering from stab wounds after returning to the scene of the biker rally where it happened.

Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said the victim was Sgt. 1st Class Maurice Collier of Fort Hood.

Collier was assigned to the 8th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, according to information from Fort Hood.
read more here

Navy Vet with PTSD is focus of Criminal Minds episode

One of my favorite shows is Criminal Minds. I don't have much time to watch TV but this is one of the shows I make sure I get off the computer for.

'Criminal Minds' 'Dorado Falls' Preview: He's Fighting his own Mind
September 29, 2011 11:30 AM EDT
Criminal Minds season 7 continues with episode 3, "Dorado Falls." After the last case, which had to be one of the creepiest on the show, the BAU will be dealing with one where things are different from a usual case.

CM season 7 episode 3 "Dorado Falls" promo

"The BAU team investigates a mass murder at an Internet security company in Charlottesville, Va., but clues reveal it is not a typical serial killer at work. Also, Prentiss must complete recertification training under Morgan's watchful eye."

They're not forgetting that Prentiss has recently returned to the BAU after faking her death so fast. She may be back to solving cases, but there are a few more things she needs to take care of. In "Proof," the team was back together at the end of the episode, cooking dinner together like a family. Though Morgan had been understandably upset in the premiere, "It Takes A Village," he was the one to reassure Prentiss about Reid in the last episode. It only makes sense that he's the one helping her with her training.
read more here

Lewis Black, Vic Henley Stand Up For The Troops

Lewis Black, Vic Henley Stand Up For The Troops

l-r MAJGEN John Batiste, US Army RET -Stand for the Troops (SFTT) PTSD Campaign Chair; Lewis Black; GEN Robert Mixon, US Army RET - CDS Warrior Salute; Greenwich resident Eilhys England Hackworth, Stand for the Troops (SFTT) Chair (Photography: Denise Truscello)

Greenwich, CT - Caroline's on Broadway in New York, normally dark on Mondays, was packed for a stellar evening of Stand Up comedy from Lewis Black and Vic Henley on September 12. Pete Dominick emceed the first comedy benefit for Greenwich-based Stand For The Troops, the non-partisan advocate for American's frontline troops.

Before turning the microphone over to the three famed comics who performed pro bono, SFTT co-founder and chair Eilhys England Hackworth announced the Foundation's new PTSD initiative and introduced SFTT PTSD Campaign Chair MAJGEN John Batiste, US Army RET; campaign Co-Chair noted psychologist Dr. Henry Grayson, Ph.D with practices in Westport, CT and New York; and SFTT CDS Warrior Salute's GEN Robert Mixon, US Army Ret.

SFTT is collaborating with CDS Warrior Salute on a Rochester-based Pilot Treatment Program, and developing a local referral resource. Because PTSD affects 1 in every 5 soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan while eighteen (18) vets a day commit suicide, and Traumatic Brain Injury is the legacy injury of returning vets, this initiative complements SFTT's B.E.S.T. BASIC FIVE Campaign to give our fighting men and women the best chance to make in home alive and in one piece by getting them the best personal combat gear: body armor, helmets, rifles, sidearms, and boots.
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Vietnam Veteran's son Mark Wills new song Crazy Being Home

Country singer sheds light on PTSD
by Davia L. Mosley
September 30, 2011

Platinum-selling country singer Mark Wills will perform Saturday at 8 p.m. at the North Georgia State Fair. The Georgia native is known for his songs such as “Don’t Laugh At Me,” “Nineteen Something” and “Jacob’s Ladder.”

However, his single “Crazy Being Home” has a special purpose: It brings awareness to post-traumatic stress disorder. Wills said his father suffered from PTSD, and the singer wants to bring more attention to the cause.

“I am the son of a retired Vietnam veteran,” he said. “When my dad returned, he was inexplicably a ‘changed’ man. The problem was we didn’t know what it was or what to do for him.”

Wills said the inspiration for the song also came from a soldier (and personal friend) who is active duty with the special forces. Wills said, “His story and reaction inspired me in such a way that we hope it serves as a message to speak to all of our veterans to say, ‘You are not alone.’”

The country star has been a spokesperson for USA Cares since 2009. The nonprofit organization helps post-9/11 military families by providing financial and advocacy support.

read more here

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Invisible injuries’ of war to be felt for decades

Military Update

Invisible injuries’ of war to be felt for decades
Published: September 29, 2011

Sixty-six percent of the most seriously wounded soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq have “invisible” injuries of brain trauma or post-traumatic stress, which their families and society will be dealing with at great cost for decades, said Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff.

“The truth is, because we don’t see these injuries…they don’t receive the same level of attention as amputations, burns, shrapnel injuries,” Chiarelli said. “There is simply a bias – and I really mean that -- there is a bias either conscious or subconscious toward invisible wounds and injuries…It exists everywhere including in the medical community.”

Chiarelli made his remarks Monday at Defense Forum Washington, a one-day conference on support for wounded warriors and families as they struggle to heal and regain stable lives. The annual event is co-sponsored by U.S. Naval Institute and Military Officers Association of American.
read more here

Marine’s scream halts rape in New York

Marine’s scream halts rape
September 29, 2011

A Marine vet who served five years in Iraq and Afghanistan saved a woman from a would-be rapist in Queens yesterday morning -- scaring him off with a jarhead scream.

Brian Teichman was dropping off his 2-year-old daughter at her babysitter near the Cross Island Parkway and 148th Street in Whitestone at around 9 a.m. when he spotted the hulking man force his victim over a guardrail and into a deserted, wooded area.

“It was 100 percent instinct as a Marine that the situation didn’t look right,” said Teichman. “I looked down and I saw him straddling her and he had his hand over her mouth and he was trying to rip her shirt off.

“My thought was scream first. If he runs, you don’t need to worry if he has a gun or a knife.
read more here

Army veteran turned investor-entrepreneur wants to hear your ideas

Army veteran turned investor-entrepreneur wants to hear your ideas
Stars and Stripes
Published: September 28, 2011
WASHINGTON — Know any millionaire entrepreneurs? You do now.

Meet Joseph Meyer, Army veteran and private equity investor. The businesses he’s started or invested in over the past 20 years, he says, are now worth a half a billion dollars.

If you’re a servicemember, family member or veteran who has a great idea for a new business and who is sincerely looking for advice or mentorship, Meyer says he’s interested to hear from you. You can email him at

Meyer credits the leadership skills and character traits he honed while on active duty in the 1980s for his success in business, at least once he’d learned to translate those skills to the civilian world. Now, he wants to help others achieve success.

“I look at kind of my whole military background and where I am today and I kind of chuckle,” Meyer said. “If you take a look at what I’m doing now, it stems from the fact that I could get into a situation, understand all the things that are going on around me very quickly, and see where the gaps are. … I’m able to do that because of how battalion commanders and company commanders would give you 10 minutes or two days, whatever it was, to do an operations order. You sat down and said, ‘Well, here are the resources I have and what I don’t have.’ And you did it quickly.”
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Lewis-McChord Soldier Honored for Saving Woman's Foot, and Maybe Life

Soldier Honored for Saving Woman's Foot, and Maybe Life
September 28, 2011
Knight Ridder|by Christian Hill

Pfc. Jose Delgado put his skills as an Army combat medic at a unexpected time: while picking up a pizza in Lakewood.

Delgado, 22, is credited for saving Mary Healey's foot and possibly her life when he saw white smoke spewing from the Union 76 gas station on Bridgeport Way on July 24. He was driving from the barracks on Joint Base Lewis-McChord to pick up dinner.

Delgado and Healey hugged at Monday night's Lakewood City Council meeting, where city leaders and emergency responders recognized the soldier for coming to her aid.

"He's my hero," said Healey, who faces the prospect of another surgery but is praying to regain full use of her foot. "I would not be sitting here talking on the phone if he had not taken the actions he took."

Delgado said he doesn't consider himself a hero but was glad he could help.

"To know that I did enough for her to get her foot back, that was one of the most amazing feelings I'd ever felt," Delgado said Tuesday.
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Military salute outgrows venue, finds new home at Second Baptist

Military salute outgrows venue, finds new home at Second Baptist

The Examiner
Barbara Hayley was sitting in the Worship Center at Second Baptist Church on Easter Sunday when divine inspiration struck.

Looking around the modern, cavernous, high-tech sanctuary, she knew she’d found a home for Operation Military Salute, an outgrowth from the Houston West Chamber of Commerce’s annual recognition of the military and veterans.

“I looked up and thought ‘I wonder if the church would let us have it here’,” said Hayley.

Not only did it agree, Hayley said, the church is lending all its resources to the Nov. 4 event.

She hopes to fill the 4,200-seat capacity Worship Center with active-duty military and veterans, their families, Patriot Riders and community.

A joint event between the Houston West chamber and the PTSD Foundation of America, Operation Military Salute will, obviously, salute the military and veterans, but also raise money for the PTSD Foundation, and raise awareness of military members and the sacrifices they and their families make, Hayley said.
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Three homeless veterans buried with honor

Three homeless veterans buried with honor
by Brian New / KENS 5
SAN ANTONIO - They served their country, yet ended up without a home and without family to be found.

Wednesday, three homeless veterans were buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery -
U.S. Air Force veteran Peyton Brown, 51,
U.S. Army veteran Craig Burton, 57,
U.S. Navy veteran Richard Owen, 71.
Of the nearly fifty veterans in attendance at the burial, none had ever met any of the three, and yet they came.

"We are their family,” said John Rodriguez.

The former Marine and Vietnam War veteran has attended nearly 150 military funerals for homeless men and woman.

He said their service deserves his respect.

read more here

VA Hospital Aims To Serve New, Younger Vets

VA Hospital Aims To Serve New, Younger Vets
Dorn Medical Center breaks ground on facilities for Afghanistan and Iraq combat veterans
Published: September 28, 2011

The Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center broke ground on new facilities that will serve the changing demographic of veterans returning from war.

In a ceremony in Columbia Wednesday, hospital officials and veterans celebrated the new Freedom Health Center, which will help give combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan outpatient care.

Construction on the 10,000-square foot building will begin Friday. The project will give the hospital staff much needed office space, and more exam rooms for patients who need specialty care, labs and x-rays.

The medical center, as well as its seven satellite facilities through the Upstate and Midlands, aim to screen all returning combat veterans for spinal injuries, hazardous exposure, post traumatic stress disorder and depression.
read more here

Army veteran Nicholas Horner's trail delayed again

Ex-soldier's Pa. double-murder trial delayed again
Published 08:20 a.m., Wednesday, September 28, 2011

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — The death penalty trial of an Iraq war veteran has been delayed by two weeks so a psychiatrist can further study his state of mind when police questioned him about a sandwich shop robbery that led to two fatal shootings.

Jury selection was to begin Oct. 4 in the trial of 31-year-old Army veteran Nicholas Horner, but it will now begin Oct. 18 with testimony starting a week later at the Blair County Courthouse in Hollidaysburg.
read more here

Original story
Three tour veteran Fellow Soldier Says Shooting Suspect Was In 'Combat Mode'

Solider goes on alleged shooting rampage

Medals of America creates ways to support PTSD veterans

Medals of America Releases PTSD Items in Support of Our Veterans Suffering from this Serious Disorder
Medals of America supports returning soldiers and retired veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder through PTSD merchandise, recognizing this disorder.
Fountain Inn, SC (PRWEB) September 27, 2011

Medals of America, the premier source for military medals, military ribbons and more, understands the seriousness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, and is doing its part to raise awareness and support this disorder through the release of new PTSD merchandise, including PTSD shirts, challenge coins and military hats. All PTSD items are great for both active and retired military members helping let all of our soldiers know that they are supported.
Close to one-third of all soldiers returning home after war suffer from this disorder. Despite being angry, confused and even suicidal, many of these men and women refuse to seek help—afraid it will be seen as a weakness or stigma. Sometimes, it is only through the aid of friends, family, and military leaders that these individuals pull through and can begin the healing process.
read more here

Vietnam Veteran Pays Respects at Soldier’s Funeral

Vietnam Veteran Pays Respects at Soldier’s Funeral

Reported by: Melissa Correa
September 28, 2011
MISSION - Victor Romo never met Staff Sgt. Estevan Altamirano, who was killed in Iraq. That didn't stop him from grieving.

He quietly crept into an Edinburg church. He witnessed true devotion to a son, father, husband and soldier.

“This morning I was thinking we were in the same steps because when I went to Vietnam, I was married. I had a wife,” says Romo.

Romo put himself in the shoes of Altamirano. He felt the grief and pain. With a simple gesture, Romo became connected.
read more here

Facebook users care about troops sacrifices and love

For those I love I will sacrifice is a post that has me stunned right now.

Sometime yesterday, someone on Facebook managed to do what I have not been able to do in the four years this blog has been up. They sent this post out and the hits kept coming.

Usually I am thrilled with 1,000 hits a day on this blog. Last night the blog was getting that many in an hour.

I have no clue what Facebook user managed to do this but I want to offer my heartfelt appreciation!

Above this post about combat medics in Afghanistan on Forward Operating Base PASAB. One of the photos taken was of a young soldier, Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry, wounded by an IED. What made him stand out from the other outstanding pictures in this Stars and Stripes article was his tattoo. On his right side he has the words, For those I love I will sacrifice.

To me, there could not have been a more clear message. That is exactly what they are like. I've been doing this for almost 30 years now and I can tell you that they are brave beyond measure but they are also more loving than they get credit for. You can't do what they do every day if they did not love so deeply. Imagine being willing to die for the sake of someone else by choice and not by circumstance. That requires love.

Anyway, click the link above and you'll know what else I had to say about this. The blessing went beyond this post. My video documentaries also received more views and these videos are my passion. They are about people the media pretty much ignore. The National Vietnam War Museum is getting more attention. First Church of Christ, the church that took in a homeless Vietnam veteran out of love is getting more attention. Pastor Joel took in Staff Sgt. Andrew Wright and his son managed to find him after searching for all his life for him. He found him while serving in Iraq in the Marines. Homes for Our Troops is getting more attention and the outstanding veterans in the video are being paid attention to.

This act of love out of a Facebook user will end up helping more than they ever dreamed of and much more than I prayed for.

If you are the one who spread the word about this post, please contact me so that I can know who my guardian angel is.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Looking After the Soldier, Back Home and Damaged

Looking After the Soldier, Back Home and Damaged
September 27, 2011

RAY CITY, Ga. — April and Tom Marcum were high school sweethearts who married after graduation.

For years, she recalls, he was a doting husband who would leave love notes for her to discover on the computer or in her purse. Now the closest thing to notes that they exchange are the reminders she set up on his cellphone that direct him to take his medicine four times a day.

He usually ignores them, and she ends up having to make him do it.

Since Mr. Marcum came back in 2008 from two tours in Iraq with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, his wife has quit her job as a teacher to care for him. She has watched their life savings drain away. And she has had to adjust to an entirely new relationship with her husband, who faces a range of debilitating problems including short-term memory loss and difficulties with impulse control and anger.
read more here

Retired Vietnam veteran receives Soldier's Medal at Ft. Eustis

Retired Vietnam veteran receives Soldier's Medal at Ft. Eustis
September 26, 2011

Today, retired Lt. Colonel Harold Campbell received the Soldier’s Medal for Bravery for saving about 50 civilian refugees in Vietnam after their camp caught fire.

"I feel good about what we did and the fact so many people took so much time to make this day happen,” says Campbell.

Retired Lt. Colonel says receiving the Soldier’s medal for bravery means more to him today than it would have in 1968.
read more here

101st Airborne soldiers help welcome Vietnam veteran home

101st Airborne soldiers help welcome Vietnam veteran home
Hundreds turn out for Grundy County funeral
Sep. 27, 2011

Written by
Philip Grey
The Leaf-Chronicle

PALMER, Tenn. — As rain poured in sheets on a small cemetery in Grundy County on Monday, the family of Spc. Marvin Foster Phillips closed a chapter of their lives that had remained open for 45 years.

Phillips was declared missing in action in Vietnam after his helicopter was shot down over the South China Sea. Since his disappearance, many friends and relatives over the years had traced out his name on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

And finally, he is home.

In commemorating Phillips' return Monday, the honor guard from 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, performed flawlessly, from standing guard at Layne Funeral Home, to transporting the remains to the Grundy County High School gymnasium, to graveside honors at Palmer Cemetery.
read more here

Wounded Iraq Veteran Still Dancing With the Stars

Martinez continues on 'Dancing with the Stars'
Written by
Alane S. Megna
The Leaf-Chronicle

Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez and his professional partner Karina Smirnoff advanced on Tuesday's results show to the third week of competition in ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." In the previous night's competition, they had tied for second on the judges' leaderboard based on the strength of high-flying jive.

Martinez is a former infantry soldier with the 101st Airborne Division's Strike Brigade at Fort Campbell. After being severely injured in the war and leaving the Army, he became a motivational speaker and an actor.
read more here

Dakota Meyer, a Medal of Honor recipient, still wants to serve

September 26, 2011, 9:06 PM
Medal of Honor Recipient Gets Extension for Fire Dept. Application

Richard Perry/The New York Times
Dakota Meyer, a Medal of Honor recipient, at the National September 11 Memorial.

A Marine who fought his way into an ambush in Afghanistan to rescue dozens of people wants to continue to save people by becoming a New York City firefighter.

A federal judge in Brooklyn agreed on Monday to extend the New York Fire Department application period for 24 hours for the Marine, who was awarded the Medal of Honor, to make that happen.

The application period will reopen for the Marine, Dakota Meyer, a sergeant in the inactive reserve, at midnight Monday and close at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, but it will be open for him only.

His lawyer says that is a problem. “My client does not feel that he deserves any special treatment,” said the lawyer, Keith M. Sullivan. “He has said that it’s not what he wanted and he doesn’t think it’s fair.”
read more here

More than 3,000 motorcycle riders set to honor Vietnam fallen

More than 3,000 motorcycle riders set to honor Vietnam fallen

By: Mike Vielhaber,
CLINTON, Ohio - It’s truly a unique way to honor those who died during the Vietnam War. On Saturday, Nov. 12, the day after Veterans Day, 3,095 motorcycles will thunder through Summit County to honor those killed during the Vietnam War.

The Ride for 3,095 is being organized by those who volunteer and operate the Ohio Memorial Veterans Park in the small town of Clinton, south of Akron in Summit County.

There were 3,095 Ohioans killed during the Vietnam War and each name is displayed on the Wall in Clinton. Organizers are making flags for each of the 3,095 Ohio armed service members that were killed during the war to be displayed on motorcycles.

Each flag will have the fallen service member's name, rank and branch of military, along with a large image of the Purple Heart.

read more here

New York Councilman helps Vietnam vet evicted by city

Vietnam vet evicted by city on the list for a new home after councilman intervention


Wednesday, September 28th 2011

David Maurinac served his country as a Marine, worked as a missionary, cared for his sick father and paid his rent on time.

But last Friday, the New York City Housing Authority kicked him to the curb, says a local City Councilman.

NYCHA moved to evict Maurinac from the Pelham Parkway Houses due to a technicality: the 70-year-old Vietnam War veteran never added his name to the lease for the apartment he inherited.

Maurinac was headed for the shelter system until City Councilman James Vacca (D-East Bronx) persuaded NYCHA to delay the eviction and found the vet a new home. Now Vacca wants NYCHA to do more to educate and relocate its tenants.

"I did absolutely nothing wrong," Maurinac said. "I paid my rent every month."

The Iona College graduate - who served 13 months in Vietnam and worked as a Catholic missionary in Taiwan - grew up in the Pelham Parkway Houses.

He moved back to the housing project more than 15 years ago to care for his cancer-stricken father, who died in 2004.
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Even in death, the bond, the band of brothers cannot be broken

7 Soldiers From Fort Hood Come to Valley to Pay Respects
Reported by: Melissa Correa
Last Update: 9/27 9:55 pm

MCALLEN - Seven soldiers arrived in the Valley. They traveled from Fort Hood to say goodbye to a co-worker, a war hero, a brother.

Even in death, the bond, the band of brothers cannot be broken.

“In the military, people come and go. You never really get that close, but ‘Speedy’ is one of those people that he's like a brother to me. I probably know him better than I know my brothers,” says soldier Malcolm Garcia.

"Speedy" was Staff Sgt. Estevan Altamirano. The 30-year old got the nickname because he was often seen whizzing around a military base.
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Rising Suicides Stump Military Leaders, duh

For the last ten years they've been stumped because they have been listening to and paying the wrong people. Repeating the same failed programs with these results has not managed to sink in. With this attitude, they'd still be using bows and arrows.

Rising Suicides Stump Military Leaders
By KRISTINA WONG @kristina_wong
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2011
The U.S. military doesn't need September's Suicide Prevention Month to realize it has a problem within its ranks.

The increase in suicide deaths is one of the most distressing issues facing military leaders who want to reduce the rates among active-duty service members. More than 2,000 of them have killed themselves in the past decade, including 295 last year compared with 153 in 2001.

Despite their best suicide-prevention efforts, reducing the number of military suicides has been a frustrating challenge, military leaders acknowledged earlier this month at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. Recent efforts have included increasing at-risk service members' access to mental health professionals, while reducing the stigma attached to mental health care. Internet outreach, including "video chats," has also shown some promise.

The difficulty, however, is in identifying which initiatives work best and deciphering the multiple triggers that can lead to suicide within the armed services, which accounts for a small fraction of the total number of people who serve.

The most commonly identified risk factors and "stressors", according to the leaders who testified, are relationship issues, work-related problems, financial pressure, legal concerns, alcoholism and substance abuse.
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“Celebration of Service” initiative to honor U.S. military veterans

As Chaplain of the Orlando DAV Auxiliary, I can tell you that this group should have a lot more attention. After all, our Chapter was one of the projects Home Depot took on with Mission Continues. Now they are helping out even more.

When it comes to a real "welcome home" to our veterans, Home Depot has been making sure their homes are better than what they are able to do for themselves.
U.S.VETS & The Home Depot Foundation Announce 2012 Veteran Housing Rehabilitation Project

Creating Transitional and Permanent Housing for 160 Veterans and Veteran Families in St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19, 2011 — The United States Veterans Initiative (U.S.VETS) and The Home Depot® Foundation today announced the 2012 Veteran Housing Rehabilitation project to expand housing for homeless and low-income veterans in the District of Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri. As part of its “Celebration of Service” initiative to honor U.S. military veterans, The Home Depot® Foundation has awarded U.S.VETS $400,000 to support the launch of its newest site in St. Louis and increase the capacity of its location in the Nation’s capital.

Funding from The Home Depot Foundation will enable U.S.VETS to expand its presence and provide programs and services to twice as many veterans in the D.C. area, while also replicating many of its most successful programs for a new population of veterans in St. Louis. These services include residential and reintegration programs for disabled veterans; education, employment and preventative mental health services for recently returned Iraq and Afghanistan veterans; as well as focused and specific services for women veterans.

“A new generation of men and women are coming home from service to fight another battle – the transition back to civilian life,” said Stephen Peck, President and CEO of U.S.VETS. “They join thousands of veterans from previous wars in their struggles with homelessness, unemployment, and mental trauma. We are grateful to have the support of The Home Depot Foundation and this opportunity to expand our services and presence in the places where veterans’ needs are also growing.”
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More troops' mild brain trauma diagnosed

More troops' mild brain trauma diagnosed
By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY

Nearly 1,400 U.S. servicemembers were found to have concussions or mild brain injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq this year under a program that forces servicemembers to take a break from combat when exposed to a blast or other jarring incident.

The military has pulled about 9,000 servicemembers from combat for short periods of time to look for signs of brain injury after blasts that caused no obvious wounds, according to data given to USA TODAY.

Most of the servicemembers were OK; those with symptoms of dizziness, headaches and difficulty processing thoughts were kept out of combat until the problems went away, the Army said.

"Under the rule, troops caught within about 165 feet of a blast must be pulled from combat for 24 hours and examined for signs of concussion. The data on the results of that policy are from August 2010 — when the treatment plan for concussions was initiated — through June."
read more here

Denver Drug Court Opens a Special Track for Veterans

Does having PTSD give them the right to break the law? No and they don't expect to be able to do it any more than they want to break the law. When it comes to combat veterans this goes far beyond the normal because they are not "normal" citizens. Normal citizens live in a tiny world of their own with their own problems focusing on their own needs, wants and desires first. Face it, we're basically self-centered, caring about people in our lives and oblivious to others. While combat veterans have the same wants, needs and desires as the rest of us, they didn't put themselves first when they decided to serve in the military. The country came first, in other words, all of us. Then it was the men and women they served with coming before themselves. Their family and friends came after that and they were willing to be away from them so they could do what the country asked of them. This all came with a higher price for a third of them.

When what they saw and what they did became too heavy on their souls, they sought help reluctantly. Why? Not just because of what some experts point to as a stigma. It goes beyond that. People like them are the ones being turned to to help and they are the least likely to ask for it for themselves. When they do seek it, most of the time it is a battle to get and when they do get it, it is not what they need. When almost half of the suicide deaths came after seeking help, that is a massive inditement on the support they have waiting for them.

Medications are another issue. Some have been found to be useless. Some have been found to do more harm than good. Can anyone really wonder why they would end up using drugs or drinking to numb their pain away and calm themselves down? Can anyone blame them for avoiding what has been passed off as "care" when they see their buddies getting worse instead of better?

This is why there is a great need for Veterans' Courts. They have broken the law. The same law attached to the nation they were willing to die for. With Veterans' Courts they end up having someone with knowledge watching over them instead of just pushing them away or locking them up. They have to do their part and do what the judge orders them to do or they end up in jail. This is not a "get out of jail free" pass but it is a chance to heal.

Denver Drug Court Opens a Special Track for Veterans
September 27, 2011 By Zachary Willis

Earlier this month, the Denver Adult Drug Court implemented a Veterans Track within its existing problem-solving courts program. As a result, some military veterans charged with non-violent crimes may now have the opportunity to be enrolled in the court-monitored treatment and accountability program.

The drug court program was expanded to create the new track, which is designed to balance the specialized treatment needs of veterans with the need to protect the community’s safety. The goal is to provide non-violent offenders with effective treatment while still holding them accountable for their actions.

According to the press release from State Judicial, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports that one in six veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from a substance abuse challenge; one in five has symptoms of a mental disorder or cognitive impairment. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be an underlying factor in crimes allegedly committed by veterans and their subsequent involvement with the criminal justice system.
read more here

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Do you have a story about a veteran

It is that time of year again when reporters are looking for stories on veterans.

Do you have a story about a veteran
Posted by Brad Stanhope
This image shows the cover from the 2010 Veterans Day special section.

FAIRFIELD — Do you have interesting stories of your time in the military? We’d like to hear them.

The Daily Republic is publishing a special edition for Veterans Day and is looking for stories of local men and women who served our nation. Whether it was in World War II, Korea, Vietnam or more recent conflicts — or even during peacetime — let us know about your story. It could be a tale of heroism or about a significant moment of which you were a part.

You can also tell us about someone you know who would make an interesting subject.

Send the information Ian Thompson at or call him at 427-6976. You can also reach him at Ian Thompson, Daily Republic, 1250 Texas St., Fairfield, CA 94533.

Don't you wish they would all be interested all year long since you are a veteran every day?

Rep. Gordon was in US during Gulf War; rank changed late

Marines: Gordon was in US during Gulf War; rank changed late
September 26th, 2011 at 1:10 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
The U.S. Marine Corps reaffirmed its record of state Rep. Daniel Gordon’s military service on Monday, saying the embattled lawmaker never left the United States during the first Gulf War and became a private first class weeks before he was discharged.

The Marines first released details about Gordon on Friday that called into question his statements about his service. Gordon told the AP it was “unfortunate” the military did not release his full record and told WPRO’s Matt Allen he was injured by shrapnel outside of Baghdad during the first Gulf War.

“In our view, that’s a false claim,” Maj. Shawn Haney, a public affairs officer for the Marine Corps’ manpower and reserve affairs department, told on Monday. If Gordon thinks his record is inaccurate, Haney said he should contact the Quantico office to get it corrected.

Gordon, who did not return a phone call Monday, uploaded a photograph last week of a certificate he received in 1989 for training in the Philippines and noted that the Marines had not mentioned his time there in its release. The certificate lists him as a lance corporal.

Gordon’s record does show he went to the Philippines as part of his rotation at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan, for five months and 28 days from October 1988 to April 1989, according to Haney. She said she did not mention it on Friday because it was part of his service in the Pacific.

“That’s so normal,” she said. “Units do that all the time. When they’re in Japan, they’re always doing different exercises in the Philippines or whatever, all assorted different training. That’s not a deployment. He was part of a unit that was in Iwakuni.”
read more here

Original story

Vow to care about them so that we can care for them

Vow to care about them so that we can care for them
by Chaplain Kathie

This notice of death announced by the DOD was linked from and they have been doing a wonderful job of keeping people up to date on what has been going on in Iraq as well as Afghanistan all along. The problem is most people in this country have just about forgotten men and women are dying in both countries. Some are shocked to discover there are still troops in Iraq so when news like the following comes out, they appear to be shocked.
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn.

Sgt. Andy C. Morales, 32, of Longwood, Fla., died Sept. 22 in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Orlando, Fla.
Yet this year Sgt. Morales was one of the 46 killed in Iraq. Another 341 have been killed in Afghanistan. Men with stories to tell, lives lived and families left behind.

Brownsville soldier killed in Afghanistan
September 26, 2011 10:19 PM
By LAURA B. MARTINEZ/The Brownsville Herald
A 26-year-old U.S. Army first lieutenant from Brownsville is the latest soldier from the Rio Grande Valley to die in the Middle East.

Andres "Andy" Zermeño died Sunday in Afghanistan from injuries he sustained in the line of duty said his brother the Rev. Joaquin Zermeño, outside his parents’ home in Cameron Park Monday afternoon. Father Joaquin is a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville.

"He was on patrol in IED (improvised explosive device) struck the vehicle and he died from the injuries he sustained," said Father Joaquin. Several other soldiers in the vehicle were also killed.

Andy, as he liked to be called, was in his first tour of duty and had been Afghanistan for about 11 months, his brother said. He was expected to end his tour in about a month and head home.

"He was 11 months into it, so we were expecting him to come home sometime soon but...." Father Joaquin said, as he voice faded away.

Andy had been active duty in the Army for three years. He also served in the National Guard.
read more here

Dana Point soldier dies in Afghanistan
An Army Ranger from Dana Point died Saturday in Wardak province, Afghanistan, the Department of Defense has reported.

Sgt. Tyler N. Holtz, 22, died from wounds suffered during heavy fire with insurgents. As he led his men in an assault against an enemy position, he was shot, according to a release from U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Holtz was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Holtz enlisted in 2007 after graduating from Mater Dei High School and served as a rifleman and Ranger Team Leader. This was his fourth deployment to Afghanistan.

Already decorated for his service, Holtz was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart and Joint Service Achievement Medal.
read more here

Oklahoma City soldier killed in Afghanistan
Spc. Francisco J. Briseno-Alvarez Jr., 27, of Oklahoma City, is the 12th soldier from the Oklahoma National Guard 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to die in combat since July 29 and the fifth this month.

Published: September 26, 2011
Another Oklahoma soldier has died while fighting in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense reported.

Spc. Francisco J. Briseno-Alvarez Jr., 27, of Oklahoma City, is the 12th soldier from the Oklahoma National Guard 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to die in combat since July 29 and the fifth this month.
Briseno-Alvarez was killed Sunday in Laghman province when his unit was attacked with a roadside bomb, according to a Defense Department news release. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based in Stillwater.
Three other soldiers also were injured in the attack, according to a news release from the Oklahoma National Guard.

read more here

As of today has 4,476 killed in Iraq and 1,787 killed in Afghanistan.

This blog is here for a reason. Local news will cover the death of one of their own but as a nation we are left with no clue at all about what is going on because the national media stations don't bother to cover any of it unless something huge happens with many deaths all at once. They forget these men and women do not serve just their own community. They serve the entire nation. The least we can do is pay attention as a nation. I made a vow to do whatever I could, whenever I could back in 1982 when I met my husband. Believe me, I could find other things to do but nothing I want to do more.

I've heard many say that "until they all come home" but why stop there? We've seen how many have been forgotten about while they serve. The odds of being paid attention to when they are back home are very low. It is easier to find support when they come home missing limbs but so much harder for them to find support when they have wounds no one else manages to see.

We need to pay attention to everything going on if we really care as a nation. We need to acknowledge they are not just numbers but people with families and we need to make a vow to care about them so that we can care for them.

They come home wanting to get over it but when we read about the deaths by bombs, we ignore the fact their eyes saw it all happen.

They come home expecting to pick up where they left off with their families, but they forget they are not the same after all they lived through.

They come home with family members expecting them to only need time to "get over it" like they did before and when that doesn't happen, they leave.

They come home in need of help but when they ask for it, it is not what they need. This was made perfectly clear yesterday in an article about military suicides.

"About 46 percent had been seen at a military treatment facility sometime in the 90 days before death. The treatment services include physical and behavioral health, substance abuse, family advocacy and chaplains."read more here

Until we all pay attention we will see even more paying the price for what was asked of them.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rigors of war leave troops battling arthritis at a young age

Rigors of war leave troops battling arthritis at a young age
Stars and Stripes
Published: September 25, 2011

BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Staff Sgt. Thomas Wenzke would sit for hours, hunched over the five-ton truck’s window, scanning for hints of bombs along Iraq’s garbage-lined roadways.

The truck — reinforced with heavy armored plates that had ruined its suspension — motored over crater-sized potholes, and Wenzke’s spine would feel every jolt. His body armor, weighing 50 to 60 pounds, added to the strain.

Convoy forays like this lasted from three to 30 hours, he said, depending on the number of breakdowns and firefights.

“By the time we got back,” he said, “I’d be bent over and hobbled like I was an old man of 50 or 60.”

Wenzke said, since his yearlong deployment in 2006, he has suffered from a herniated disk and degenerative arthritis in his spine, for which there is no cure.

He is 29 years old.
read more here

Remains of WWII vet being repatriated from Bosnia

Remains of WWII vet being repatriated from Bosnia
Stars and Stripes
Published: September 26, 2011

STUTTGART, Germany — For 67 years, the only people who knew about the presence of the American were the residents of the village in western Bosnia-Herzegovina where he was buried.

In 1944, a resident of the hamlet of Stubica buried Staff Sgt. Meceslaus T. Miaskiewicz, a Massachusetts native who was shot down over the former Yugoslavia, according to U.S. military officials who interviewed local residents.

It had long been assumed that Miaskiewicz’s remains had been collected by the military along with the crash’s other seven victims soon after the war, but U.S. military members learned this summer that was not the case. Somehow, Miaskiewicz was left behind.

On Tuesday, Miaskiewicz’s flag-draped coffin will be loaded onto a U.S. C-130 in Sarajevo, the first leg of a journey home to relatives in Massachusetts. After a stop at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, his coffin will be flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where he will receive the same honor guard reception as troops killed in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
read more here

Medal of Honor recipients convene in Louisville

Medal of Honor recipients convene in Louisville
By Chris Kenning - The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal
Posted : Monday Sep 26, 2011 7:15:12 EDT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The moment came for Wilburn Ross in 1944, when he spent five desperate hours in France using a machine gun to single-handedly repel waves of attacks by elite German mountain troops.

And this week, they will be here for the 2011 Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention, a rare gathering held for the first time in the city for many of the nation’s bravest soldiers. It comes as the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the award.

“It’s good for me and all the guys to get together,” said Ross, a former Kentucky coal miner who lives in Washington state.

Starting Wednesday, more than 50 Medal of Honor recipients and their families will be here for five days of school visits, receptions, a public “walk of heroes” and an awards dinner.

It’s a chance to foster what Littrell said is a strong brotherhood among those who have received an award that carries lasting acclaim but also a heavy burden that often includes haunting memories and survivor’s guilt.

“None of us feel we deserve the medal,” said Littrell, who lives in Florida. “We had a job to do.”
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Air Force veteran who lives alone in shack enjoys simple pleasures

Air Force veteran who lives alone in shack enjoys simple pleasures
Published: Sunday, September 25, 2011
By Tom Rademacher
The Grand Rapids Press

The calendar on his wall is stuck on September 2008.

But it might as well read fall 1908, or even 1808, for Jerry Weeks lives in a world of yesteryears — splitting wood to heat his hovel of a home, hobbling out back to answer nature’s call and subscribing to nobody’s rules when it comes to affairs of everyday living.

In an era of hurry up this and more quickly that, you’re apt to miss him as you speed along Five Mile Road NE, where Jerry has set up house just west of Lincoln Lake Avenue. In good weather, he’ll sit on the side of road and wave to anyone who’ll notice.

“Nobody stops,” he says.

His little place — a shack really, uninsulated and lacking plumbing or potable water — stands off the south side of the road in the shadows of trees. His backyard is a struggling woodpile, an outhouse with no door, a dilapidated trailer, a vehicle that hasn’t run in years, and odds and ends of every sort, most of it worthless.

This has been home for Jerry, now 74, since 1972, when he was a young man of 35. His second of two wives lived for a time with him here, but he says, “She was a city gal, wasn’t good enough for her.” The place formerly belonged to his grandfather, and Jerry says he remembers helping pour the floor as a kid of 16.
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Vietnam soldier's remains return 45 years later

Vietnam soldier's remains return 45 years later
KRISTIN M. HALL, Associated Press
September 25, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Forty-five years to the day since Army Spc. 4 Marvin Phillips was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam, his family will finally be able to bury his remains in his hometown in Palmer, Tenn., on Monday.

Phillips was a 20-year-old door gunner on a UH-1B Huey helicopter that crashed into 9 feet of water off the coast of South Vietnam on Sept. 26, 1966, after the helicopter was struck by small arms fire.

James Phillips, Marvin's younger brother, remembers the day a military officer came to his family's home to tell them that the helicopter had been shot down and Marvin was considered missing in action. He said his brother had been due to come home from the war but volunteered for the mission.
read more here

Illinois soldier based at Fort Bragg found dead outside hotel

NC police say Illinois soldier based at Fort Bragg found dead outside hotel
By Associated Press, Published: September 25

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — North Carolina police continue looking for clues in the off-post shooting death of a Fort Bragg soldier from Illinois.

Fayetteville police they found Pfc. Chad Patrick Dellit lying between two cars near a hotel. He had been shot in the head. Fort Bragg said Friday that the 22-year-old Dellit was from Fulton, Ill., and enlisted in September 2008.

Soldier from Longwood dies in Iraq

Soldier from Longwood dies in Iraq
Andy Caraballo Morales is pictured in a 2009 photo: "Training in Japan." (Photo courtesy of Facebook / September 25, 2011)
By Arelis R. Hernández, Orlando Sentinel
9:09 p.m. EDT, September 25, 2011
"The family drifted apart as they lived their lives separately in other states, but Sgt. Morales' near-fatal car accident in North Carolina in 2009 helped draw them back together, family said."
On the 2-month-anniversary of the birth of his daughter, Sgt. Andy Caraballo Morales of Longwood died in Iraq.

The 32-year-old soldier, who was killed Thursday in Baghdad, was assigned to the 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) of Orlando, the Department of Defense announced today, and was serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.

When Army officials delivered the news to his wife, Mariela Caraballo-Morales, she could hardly believe it, said sister-in-law Mercian Lesser said from her Sarasota home.

Just five months before, the best friends were married in a celebration that brought together a family that had seen its share of hardships. The young soldier spent just nine days with his newborn, Naiara Morales, before he was deployed, his wife said.
read more here

Still in the Fight

Mike Corrado - Still in the Fight (live at Camp Lejeune, NC USO w/Gary Sinise & Lt Dan Band)

Mike Corrado performing "Still in the Fight" a tribute to wounded warriors aboard Camp Lejeune, NC Saturday, September 17. The show was sponsored by the USO and MCCS where Mike opened for Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band. The studio version of Still in the Fight is available on iTunes and other major download retailers and proceeds benefit USO Wounded Warrior Family Centers. For more information please visit Mike and Facebook Corradomusic

Almost half of military suicides came after seeking help

The larger number we should be aware of is the simple fact that 46 percent had sought help but still committed suicide. No matter how Richard McKeon wants to avoid that fact, it does show how what they have been proving in terms of "help" has not been working. With all the years they have been trying to prevent suicides and get these men and women to seek help, the numbers would have gone down instead of up. There are things they are doing right but if they make a mistake early on, what they do have right won't help. Resilient training is the biggest mistake of all. Telling them they can train their brains to prevent PTSD is telling them if they end up with PTSD their minds are weak. While this is not the message the military intended to deliver, it is the one the servicemen and women have heard. Once they think of PTSD this way, whatever they hear afterwards, they believe they're suffering because they didn't train their brains right and it is their fault.

The other thing they have wrong is that whatever help they have been providing has not lived up to the need. That is clear when we read that almost half of the men and women committing suicide had sought help before that point. How much more evidence do they need before they understand what they have been doing is just not good enough?

A third of military suicides told of plans to die

Associated Press

"About 46 percent had been seen at a military treatment facility sometime in the 90 days before death. The treatment services include physical and behavioral health, substance abuse, family advocacy and chaplains."
DENVER (AP) - A third of military personnel who committed suicide last year had told at least one person they planned to take their own lives, a newly released Defense Department report says.

Nearly half went to see medical personnel, behavioral health specialists, chaplains or other service providers sometime in the 90 days before they died, according to the 2010 Department of Defense Suicide Event Report.

That doesn't necessarily reflect a failure in the Defense Department suicide prevention program, said Richard McKeon, chief of the Suicide Prevention Branch at the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

"It's not that some person blew it," McKeon said Thursday. But physical and behavior health care personnel, counselors and other providers need to monitor their programs and look for improvements, he said.
read more here

Veteran of World War II and the Korean War, paralyzed, still an athlete

U.S. Veteran Unable to Walk Proves He's Still an Athlete
Published September 25, 2011
An 83-year-old veteran who hasn’t walked in 10 years has refused to let that stop him from becoming an award-winning national athlete.

Theron Hallock, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, recently took the bronze medal in the power chair relay race at the 31st Annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Pittsburgh, the Green Valley News reports.

Hallock, who turns 84 soon, and others from a group of paralyzed veterans from Tucson, Ariz., joined nearly 600 athletes from 46 states, Puerto Rico and Great Britain in this year’s games, which included 17 sports. Archery, basketball, bowling, hand cycling, power soccer, softball, table tennis and weight lifting were among the events.
read more here

We must be the healers that returning war veterans need

Thousands of years ago people were dying from infections we just take a pill for now. It wasn't that people didn't know about suffering any more than it was about doctors giving up. It took the media to spread the news with every advance in medicine to learn about what had been going on. People can't learn if no one tells them.

When veterans came home in America from the Revolutionary War, they brought the war back with them. The survivors of amputations reminded everyone around them of the battles fought for freedom from England. With the Civil War there were even more reminders that once the soldiers returned home, they were forever changed. With every war afterwards there were more reports simply because there were more reporters and more people to read the reports. The wound we call PTSD now was carried within them but only the families knew about it. It was a secret part of price paid. It was not until the Vietnam War ended that the general public became aware of what had been happening all along, again, because there were more reports and more people reading them.

Fast forward to the early 90's when more and more people plugged into the Internet and listened to the sound of the phone line connecting to AOL, hearing "You've got mail" giving them the ability to discover within minutes what was happening across the nation. When whatever they wanted to know about was found just by typing in a few words in Google. This link gave us the ability to discover what a small town newspaper was reporting on no matter where we were. Information linked us to everyone else in the country and sooner or later, we managed to find people just like us.

Today we have the ability to spread the word about PTSD so that this wound will be noticed as commonly as we notice a missing limb and remember the price of freedom is still being paid long after the wars have ended.

We must be the healers that returning war veterans need
10:57 PM, Sep. 25, 2011
Written by
Alden Josey
Recent comments in the media have highlighted the epidemic of suicides of military personnel, those in combat situations and those who have returned home.

It is increasingly urgent to understand and respond to the experiences of these persons, particularly the latter group, with empathic understanding of where they have been, what has happened to them and what they need from us.

Typical reactions displayed by some returning combat veterans include depression and anxiety in various forms, a sense of "not fitting in anymore," of not being able to adjust to the norms of civilian life, of intense rage of undetermined focus, and increasingly, suicide.

Clearly, a deep and powerful dynamic is at work among these men and women, and it is usually described under the diagnostic category of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Families and friends are often shocked at the difficulties of the veteran in readjustment to civilian life and are puzzled and dismayed when their friends and loved family members behave erratically, as if they had arrived as strangers from another and sinister planet.

These returning veterans have had a profound but incomplete initiatory experience of warfare in which their psychological landscapes have been deeply affected and their sense of identity, of relationship to their lives before this experience, irrevocably altered.
read more here

Motorcyclists ride in support of wounded marine

Motorcyclists ride in support of wounded marine
Published Sunday, September 25, 2011
Motorcyclists head down Main Street in Watkinsville on Saturday during a ride to support Marine Cpl. Michael Boucher, who lost both legs below the knees while serving in Afghanistan.
Michael Boucher hid the first motorcycle he bought, several years ago, from his parents, who said the machine was too dangerous.

This weekend, more than 250 motorcycles rode in support of Boucher, 22, who lost his legs below the knees in Afghanistan while serving in the Marines.

The "Freedom Isn't Free" motorcycle ride started at Cycle World of Athens and traveled through Boucher's Bogart neighborhood and downtown Watkinsville before ending at a fundraiser at the Blind Pig Tavern on Broad Street.

Boucher joined the crowd by webcam and thanked everyone for their support.
"I'll drink one (beer) for everybody," Boucher joked.

Jim and Kim Boucher, Michael's parents, were overwhelmed by the amount of support the motorcycle ride received, they said.

"(The motorcycles) just kept going and going and going," Jim Boucher said.
The money raised from the ride will help make the Bouchers' Bogart house wheelchair-friendly.
read more here
Linked from Marine Corps Times

A Marine tells his story after losing both legs and one arm

A Marine tells his story after losing both legs and one arm
Joshua Benjamin Kerns was serving in Afghanistan when he was hit by an explosive in April

Melissa Gaona
Multimedia Journalist
7:00 p.m. EDT, September 25, 2011

After losing both of his legs and one of his arms, a young Marine who was serving in Afghanistan, was back in his hometown Sunday afternoon.

For a town of 2700 people, you'd never guess swarms of traffic would come through Ararat.

But when the news is about a hometown soldier who lost both his legs and his right arm while serving his country, people tend to show off their support.

At only 21 years old, Jeremy Benjamin Kerns is still alive to tell his story. "I have no regrets what happened,” said Kerns. “I knew exactly what could happen when I signed up but I love this country."
read more here

Son of Seminole Sheriff seriously injured in Afghanistan

Son of Seminole Sheriff seriously injured in Afghanistan
Don Eslinger Jr. in photo taken about 10 days ago

By Gary Taylor, Orlando Sentinel
4:41 p.m. EDT, September 25, 2011

The son of Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger was seriously injured Saturday when he was hit by mortar fire in Afghanistan.

Don Eslinger Jr., 20, underwent surgery Sunday morning [11 p.m. EST Saturday] at the Kandahar Airfield Hospital and is in a medically induced coma, his father said.

"His fellow soldiers and the medical team at both Forward Operating Base Bullard and Kandahar Airfield Hospital saved my son's life," Eslinger said. "They're doing a wonderful job."

He suffered broken ribs and a broken leg and his spleen was removed, Eslinger said.

Former Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary and former DEA agent John O'Rourke are in Afghanistan and spoke to a medical team from Orlando that treated the soldier,and they relayed information to his father. They are contractors working with the Afghan government's police force.

Eslinger enlisted in the Army in July 2010 and was sent to Afghanistan in April. He was home on leave for two weeks before returning there Sept. 16, his father said.
read more here

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Orlando VFW POW-MIA Service on YouTube

On September 18, 2011, the Orlando VFW held a service to honor all POW-MIAs. One of the speakers was an ex-Korean War POW. Ed Izbicky served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. They also did the empty chair ceremony.

First lady, TV show bring attention to veterans

First lady, TV show bring attention to veterans
By Lynn Elber - The Associated Press
Posted : Saturday Sep 24, 2011
LOS ANGELES — Michelle Obama found an unusual ally — reality TV — in her effort to bring attention to the needs of military families.

The first lady, appearing Sunday on the two-part season premiere of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (7-9 p.m. EDT) says the program was the right platform for the cause.

“We live in a media age, and one of the things we still share is our love of television” and the stories it can tell so effectively, Obama said. “We thought this was an extraordinary venue to highlight the struggles and challenges and triumphs of a special family.”

Barbara Marshall of Fayetteville, N.C., who served in the Navy for 15 years, was dismayed by the number of homeless female veterans and established Steps-N-Stages Jubilee House to provide shelter, counseling and other aid. When the house grew cramped and inadequate, “Extreme Makeover” and the first lady stepped in.

She joined with series host Ty Pennington, a local builder and community volunteers on the Jubilee House project and was on hand at the unveiling to surprise Marshall.
read more here

Fulton soldier identified as victim of suspected murder case

Fulton soldier identified as victim of suspected murder case

Submitted by Anna Virginia Greene, Community Blogger
Friday, September 23rd, 2011, 7:33pm

FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina -- A Quad City Area soldier has been identified by authorities as the victim of a suspected murder case in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Private, First Class Chad P. Dellit, of Fulton, Illinois was discovered near a hotel after guests reported what sounded like gunfire.

The incident occurred late Wednesday, September 21st. Police say they arrived at the Inn-Keeper Hotel just after 11 p.m.

“The officer responded to the area at 1706 Skibo Road where they saw the suspect running…behind the complex, I believe the Toys R Us. They canvassed the area. They didn’t locate the suspect described in the 911 call,” says police spokesman, Gavin MacRoberts.
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Investigation shows Custer combat veteran had PTSD

Investigation shows Custer man had PTSD
Posted: Sep 23, 2011
By Courtney Zieller

An investigation shows a South Dakota Highway Patrol officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing after he shot and killed a Custer man on September 6.

And we're learning more about the man who died after Attorney General Marty Jackley sent out a statement Friday.

A criminal check was done on Engen by the Division of Criminal Investigation.

He didn't have a record.

But investigators found Engen was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

Engen was discharged from the military in May 2011.

He served four years.
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Army Investigating Death Of Non-Combat Soldier In Afghanistan

Army Investigating Death Of Non-Combat Soldier In Afghanistan
Soldier Worked Desk Job In Afghanistan
September 23, 2011

APPLETON, Wis. -- The sisters of a Wisconsin soldier killed in Afghanistan say U.S. Army military police are investigating his death.

His sisters told the Appleton Post-Crescent that Staff Sgt. Garrick Eppinger Jr. worked a desk job on Bagram Airbase and wasn't in the line of fire.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced earlier this week that the 25-year-old soldier from Fox Valley died Saturday in Parwan province in eastern Afghanistan.
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Bomb "hunter" with PTSD waiting 3 years for benefits

Collateral Damage: Benefit delays frustrating for ex-soldier with PTSD

By Greg Barnes
Staff writer

Ron Smith worked as a bomb hunter in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the most dangerous jobs in the military.

Smith said the experience, which included three deployments between 2006 and 2008, left him mad at the world. He began drinking a lot, he said, and became detached from everyone around him.

In 2009, after leaving the Army and Fort Hood, Smith came to Fayetteville to see a girlfriend who became pregnant with his child.

He also went to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he said he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and told he was entitled to VA disability benefits.

Three years after applying for those benefits, Smith said, he is still waiting for them. He makes concessions for the delay, acknowledging that the paperwork initially was filed improperly.

Now he is frustrated. He said he has called, emailed and written letters to the VA numerous times, only to be ignored or turned away each time.

He is far from alone.

At the beginning of this year, the Fayetteville VA had a medical exam backlog for nearly 6,000 veterans who had filed for disability benefits, said Ed Drohan, a hospital spokesman.
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Ex-officer shoots ex-wife, self

Ex-officer shoots ex-wife, self

CMPD police say argument in Davidson ended when their former colleague fired.

By Meghan Cooke
Posted: Sunday, Sep. 25, 2011
A former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer and his ex-wife were hospitalized with serious injuries Saturday, police said, after he apparently shot the woman, then turned the gun on himself in Davidson.

Just after 2 a.m. Saturday, Davidson police responded to a report of a shooting at a home on Callaway Hills Lane. When officers arrived, they found a man and woman in the front yard, both with gunshot wounds.

Witnesses told police that Jeremy Allen Hester, 31, drove to the home of his ex-wife, Erin Marie Cobb, 28, and they began arguing inside. Moments after the pair walked outside, multiple gunshots were fired, witnesses told police.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, who are investigating the shooting, said that evidence gathered at the scene suggests Hester shot his ex-wife in the neck and then shot himself in the head. Police called the incident a "domestic violence-related shooting."

A neighbor who lives across the street told the Observer she heard three gunshots and then saw police cruisers rush to the home.

"I think everybody in the neighborhood called 911," she said.

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Camp Lejeune Marine to receive Silver Star

Marine to receive Silver Star

September 24, 2011 6:38 PM
Camp Lejeune will present the prestigious Silver Star medal to a base Marine next week.

Capt. Timothy R. Sparks will receive the Silver Star Medal on Wednesday, according to releases from the 2nd Marine Division. The award ceremony will be held at the Officers Club aboard Camp Lejeune at 3:30 p.m.

Sparks will receive the medal for conspicuous gallantry in action while in support of Operation Moshtarak, February 2010, as company commander with Lejeune’s Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, according to releases.
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Fort Bragg soldier in critical condition, 12 others in hospital after march

1 soldier remains critical, 12 others still hospitalized after grueling Fort Bragg march
First Posted: September 24, 2011

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — One Fort Bragg soldier is fighting for his life and a dozen others are hospitalized a day after succumbing to the heat and humidity during a grueling march.

Womack Army Medical Center spokeswoman Shannon Lynch said Saturday one soldier remains in the hospital's intensive care unit. Twelve others receiving treatment are expected to be discharged Sunday.

More than three dozen soldiers at the North Carolina Army base suffered heat-related problems Friday after participating in the early morning march they needed to complete for their expert field medical badge.
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CNN had this

43 Fort Bragg soldiers suffer heat illness in 12-mile road march
By Jennifer Rizzo and Michael Martinez
updated 1:50 PM EST, Fri September 23, 2011
A total of 60 soldiers were being tested for their expert field medical badge
43 of them suffer heat-related illnesses
One is in intensive care
The difficult-to-obtain badge is considered the "portrait of excellence" in the Army

(CNN) -- Forty-three soldiers suffered heat-related illnesses Friday during a 12-mile road march at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, an Army spokesman said.

The march was the culmination of a week of "expert field medical badge training," during which soldiers are tested on their medic and general soldier skills in order to receive an "expert" badge, Fort Bragg spokesman Benjamin Abel said.

Sixty soldiers were on the march, which started at 6 a.m., and they were carrying backpacks, helmets, weapons and other combat gear, Abel said.

About an hour and a half into the march, the people running the event noticed some personnel "were having difficulties," and medical transports were begun, he said.

Eighteen of the soldiers were transported to Womack Army Medical Center, and one was admitted to the intensive care unit, he said.

Humidity levels Friday morning were higher than expected, but "this is odd, out of the norm, to have this many people treated," Abel added.
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Fort Hood soldier dies after being hit by truck

Fort Hood soldier dies after being hit by truck in Aiken County
By Lynn Davidson
Staff Writer
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011

Follow Latest News
A 48-year-old Killeen, Texas, soldier died after being hit by a pickup on Edgefield Highway near Eureka, S.C., on Friday night, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said.

Sgt. 1st Class Maurice J. Collier was attending a motorcycle rally with more than 500 motorcycles at Ellen’s Bar and Grill, Carlton said. Collier was standing near the entrance to the property directing traffic when he was struck by a Ford F-350. Collier was taken to Aiken Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead of multiple body trauma, Carlton said.
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Homeless vets get help with their problems at Orlando Stand Down

Last year I was in Buffalo when they held the Stand Down. My husband went with the DAV to help out. After he told me about all they had going on, I wondered why there was so little coverage on the news. It sounded wonderful! So many volunteers showing up to help veterans otherwise forgotten and avoided. Anyway, I showed up yesterday with camera in hand to get some of it on tape. The problem was, I was told I couldn't film or even take pictures. This reporter was there doing an interview and she told me the photographer would have plenty of pictures for me see.

As you can see, no pictures. At least the Sentinel reported on it. I checked News 13 site and there was nothing. Channel 2 didn't have anything. None of the others had anything. What's really bothering me right now is that when our veterans commit crimes, they are all swarming around to report on it. When one of them is in need and being helped out by volunteers because they care, no one seems interested.

So, to the Sentinel, thank you for reporting on this and to the volunteers, thank you for caring. To the others, this is why I hardly ever watch the news anymore.

Homeless vets get help with their problems

By Eloísa Ruano González, Orlando Sentinel
6:53 p.m. EDT, September 24, 2011

U.S. Navy veteran Bill Kirwin needs a computer to search for a job and turn his life around, but he needs a library card to access the Internet at the Orlando Public Library. And to receive a free library card, he needed an identification card.

Kirwin finally received a state-issued I.D. at the Veterans Stand Down event held Saturday in Orlando. He was among the hundreds of homeless veterans who showed up for free haircuts, food and bags filled with hygiene products, clothing and a sleeping bag.

"When you're out on the street, transportation is a problem. Here, [the services] are all right here," said 37-year-old Kirwin, who will be entering a six-month residential treatment program to deal with the alcohol problem he developed while in the Navy.

The event, held at the Orlando Downtown Recreation Complex, also gave homeless vets an opportunity to sign up for transitional housing, food assistance, drug treatment programs and other services.

"It's our obligation to take care of them [veterans]," said Tim Liezert, director of the Orlando VA Medical Center. He watched as the veterans made their way through the maze of tables inside the recreation center. The veterans were allowed to use the showers at the facility.
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Murdered veteran faces final insult — no money for local funeral

Murdered Elgin homeless veteran faces final insult — no money for local funeral
By Dave Gathman
September 24, 2011
ELGIN — Vietnam-era soldier. Gifted carpenter. Loving father of three.

Alcoholic. Chronic homeless man. The victim of a senseless murder in which too much drinking likely played a role on both sides.

But after fulfilling all those roles during his 60 years of life, Richard Gibbons of Elgin now faces perhaps the final insult. His children don’t have enough money to give him the kind of funeral he wanted — a local cremation and simple memorial service costing just $1,700 — and are holding a fundraiser to pay for it, with any extra raised to be donated to three causes that benefit the homeless of Elgin.

The only time Gibbons made headlines was when he died, the victim of a crime so cruel and pointless that it made the Chicago newspapers and TV broadcasts. Many who heard the tale may have simply shrugged and said, “So another drunken homeless man is gone from our streets and some overserved, irresponsible jerk will probably spend most of his life in prison.”

But Gibbons’ family remembers a different man — a kind man, someone who even while he was homeless worked with an Elgin charity group to better the lives of others who live on Elgin’s streets.

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