Monday, October 31, 2011

Kids of deployed vets prone to violence

Study: Kids of deployed vets prone to violence
By Mike Stobbe - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Oct 31, 2011 8:11:50 EDT
ATLANTA — A new study suggests that when parents are deployed in the military, their children are more than twice as likely to carry a weapon, join a gang or be involved in fights.

And that includes the daughters.

“This study raises serious concerns about an under-recognized consequence of war,” said Sarah Reed, who led the research of military families in Washington state.

Last year, nearly 2 million U.S. children had at least one parent serving in the military. Deployment can hurt a family in a variety of ways. There’s stress while that parent is overseas and in danger, as the remaining parent has to shoulder all responsibilities and family roles shift. There can also be challenges after deployed parents’ return, especially if they were physically or psychologically damaged.
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More data needed on burn pits, report says

More data needed on burn pits, report says
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Oct 31, 2011 13:43:32 EDT
A group of the nation’s top researchers has concluded there are insufficient data to determine whether open-air burn pits, used extensively by the U.S. military during the wars Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of trash and other waste, cause long-term health effects.

Furthermore, the Institute of Medicine committee, which investigated the possible long-term health effects of burn pits at the request of the Veterans Affairs Department, said the biggest pollution concern at one of the most controversial sites, Joint Base Balad, Iraq, is likely particulate matter resulting from local and regional sources, not the military burn pits, which operated there from 2003 to 2008.

The report released by the Institute of Medicine said there are “insufficient data” to determine whether pollution from the pits is associated with cancer, respiratory disease and other illnesses.

In trying to determine whether there was a link between burn pits and adverse health conditions, the panel examined data provided by the Defense Department on pollutants found in raw air, information on health effects from various studies, and the health outcomes in populations that experience similar exposures, such as firefighters, waste incinerator employees and people who live near such facilities.
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Jobless veterans say military experience is not valued

When you think about coming from a whole different world, it seems hard to translate what you did into what you can do. The following has some advice on it but here's a few of my own.

If you were in leadership in the service, tell them you are a focused leader.

If you were just one of the group, talk about how much you value team work.

You are no longer mission focused but goal driven and stop at nothing to get the job done. You won't ease up because you are tired or had a bad night. After all, you've been there and done that with a lot more facing you than a bad tempered boss.

If they ask you if you will travel or not, tell them you thrive on it. At least you know when they send you on a business trip, you won't be gone for a year at a time.

Talk about how you don't call in sick. After all, when you were deployed you couldn't decide to stay in bed instead. Add up all the time you were in the service and then think about all the times you didn't call in sick.

Tell them that you want to work for them as much as you wanted to do your job in the military. That you will be grateful for the opportunity to work there and not afraid of long hours or overtime since at the end of the day you can go home to your family.

Think about all the reasons you would hire you and talk in civilian words they can understand. Focus on all you can bring to the company because in the end you are a rare worker. There are less than one percent of the population in the military right now and less than ten percent of the population are veterans.

Jobless veterans say military experience is not valued
By Roy Strom

NAPERVILLE, Ill | Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:41pm EDT

NAPERVILLE, Ill (Reuters) - When Matthew Burrell left the U.S. Army after eight years of service, he landed a job as a public relations contractor in Iraq. With a salary of $170,000, he figured military experience had finally paid off.

But five months after returning home to Chicago, 33-year old Burrell is unemployed and said his job search has been strange. Despite having six years experience as a public relations officer in the Army, companies treat him as if he just graduated from college.

"I can tell you for a fact that definitely in my field in public relations and marketing, private sector companies do not value (military experience)," Burrell said.

read more here

Body of Fort Campbell soldier found in Oak Grove

Body of Soldier found in Oak Grove
11:57 AM, Oct. 31, 2011
Written by
The Leaf-Chronicle

Oak Grove Police found the body of a Fort Campbell soldier on the 100 block of Waterford Drive Sunday.

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Wisconsin Marine Brings Spirit of Halloween to Afghanistan

Written on October 31, 2011 at 7:13 am by jtozer
Wisconsin Marine Brings Spirit of Halloween to Afghanistan
by Lance Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez
Regimental Combat Team-5, 1st Marine Division

CAMP DWYER, Helmand province, Afghanistan – Homesickness is a common enemy of U.S. Marines in a combat zone. Keepsakes from loved ones and photographs of treasured memories help keep this foe at bay.

But when holidays like Halloween come around, it’s not always enough.

Sergeant Michael A. Kinne, a 27-year-old assistant fires chief with Regimental Combat Team 5, found a unique way to fight this sickness:

He carved a Batman-themed Jack-O-Lantern, in the spirit of his favorite holiday and comic book character.

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Female Vet and a Dog Made All the Difference

For Local Vet, a Dog Made All the Difference
Faith Harris suffered PTSD after serving in Iraq, but Stiggy's Dogs -- an organization that matches service dogs with vets -- changed her life.
By Kristi Ceccarossi

It's been years since Faith Harris left the Air Force, years since her deployment to one of the most volatile regions in Iraq and years since she developed her first symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The Dunstable Street resident is still haunted by nightmares, she's still vulnerable to feelings of panic and she can get anxious, even today, in a crowd.

But Harris has Honor, a service dog that was trained specifically to help her cope with and overcome PTSD. And Honor, a sweet black lab mix, has made all of the difference.

"She's given me my life back," Harris, 29, said, during a recent chat over coffee at Zume's.
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Recent Veterans in College Engage in Riskier Health Behaviors

Going from combat to college is not easy. While most of their peers went into college right out of high school, most serving in the military go into that instead. While their peers are worrying about tests, getting the classes they need and parties, servicemen and women are worrying about learning how to fire their weapon, take care of it and then worry about one of their buddies dying or having their own families have to claim the flag covered casket at the airport.

When they come home, they think it should be easy to adjust to college life but they soon discover a whole different mindset with their civilian peers. They also experience a disconnected public unaware of anything going on in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If you attend or plan on attending Valencia College, there is a group there to help you find other veterans just like you on campus.

I created this video for a Motion Class and it is done with stop-motion. Why? Because sometimes it is hard finding what you want to know on the college website. This is the easiest way for you to find out how to join from your Atlas account.

Find support, find understanding and someone to talk to instead of getting involved with anything that can get in the way of your education.

This is coming from a 52 year old student in Digital Media. I waited until my daughter finished her education before I went back and it is easy to spot a veteran.

Recent Veterans in College Engage in Riskier Health Behaviors

Release Date: October 31, 2011

Veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq enrolled in college are more likely than other college students to use tobacco products, binge drink and be involved in physical fights.
College students who are also veterans are more likely to engage in strength training and refrain from using marijuana than non-veteran college students.

By Carl Sherman, Contributing Writer
Research Source: American Journal of Health Promotion
Health Behavior News Service

College students who have served in the U.S. conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely than their non-veteran peers to use tobacco, drink in excess and engage in other behaviors that endanger their health and safety, according to a study that appeared in the latest issue of American Journal of Health Promotion.

“We also found some protective behaviors where veterans showed particular strengths,” said lead author Rachel Widome, Ph.D., of the Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Minnesota.

In the study, 8,651 Minnesota college students—7813 nonveterans, 405 veterans who had served in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom or OEF/OIF) and 410 veterans who had not served in OEF/OIF—completed a survey of health-related behaviors.

More OEF/OIF veterans said they were currently cigarette smokers or had recently used smokeless tobacco, compared with non-veteran students. Higher percentages of these veterans also reported binge drinking—more than five drinks at one time—during the previous two weeks, and riding in a car driven by an intoxicated person during the prior year. Other hazardous behaviors, including fighting and carrying a weapon, were also more common among veterans, though the study notes that weapon possession may be in relation to their military service.

On the positive side, OEF/OIF veterans reported being more physically active than other students: a significantly higher percentage engaged in strengthening exercise regularly, and fewer spent over two hours a day watching TV or playing video or computer games. They were also less likely to use marijuana. Among current cigarette smokers, more OEF/OIF veterans planned to quit before graduation than non-veterans.
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Unemployment for female veterans is higher than the national average

After serving her country, female veteran struggles to find a job
By Shirley Henry and Athena Jones, CNN
updated 2:09 AM EST, Mon October 31, 2011

Unemployment for female veterans is higher than the national average
In September, the national unemployment rate was 9.1%
For female veterans, jobless rate was 14.7%
Former Navy officer Kenya Smith is one of those unemployed female veterans

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Kenya Smith only has good things to say about the U.S. Navy, where she served a total of 14 years before leaving in 2009.

It's the only profession she's ever known. "I love the Navy," she said during a recent interview in suburban Maryland. "If you split me open, I'm blue and gold."

Smith, a former lieutenant and medical service corps officer, first enlisted right after college but by the time she left had earned two master's degrees, deployed to Iraq and racked up substantial experience in healthcare and administration -- experience she thought would impress potential civilian employers.

"I ran projects. I was an HR manager. I was a logistics manager," she said. But despite all that, Smith now is unemployed -- two years after leaving the military. A single mother with two teenage children, she lost her home to foreclosure in September and is currently living in transitional housing.

Kenya Smith served in the U.S. Navy for 14 years. Now, because she cannot find a job, she is homeless.

"I'm a female homeless vet with children, and I mean that, that's horrible, that's the worst, I think.
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Report rips platoon boss behavior in fratricide

Report rips platoon boss behavior in fratricide
By Joe Gould - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Oct 31, 2011 7:03:12 EDT
A new investigation into the 2008 friendly fire death of Pfc. David Sharrett II in Iraq blasts the platoon leader who shot Sharrett and abandoned him as he lay dying, saying the officer displayed “serious personal judgment errors.”

After a botched pre-dawn raid, then-1st. Lt. Timothy Hanson left the battlefield on a helicopter while Sharrett and two of his soldiers were still missing, the report stated. Sharrett was found clinging to life at least 10 minutes after Hanson left.

“[Hanson] failed to uphold the Soldier’s Creed to include the Warrior Ethos,” wrote the chief investigator, Brig. Gen. David Bishop, chief of staff of Third Army, U.S. Army Central, “and he displayed a lack of regard for completing his assigned mission and ensuring the welfare and safety of his Soldiers which calls into question his leadership.”

The new investigation, dated March 31, is the third since Sharrett was killed. It backtracks on the first investigation’s widely reported conclusion that Hanson “misidentified” Sharrett as an insurgent and shot him because Sharrett failed to switch on his infrared beacon.
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Iraq Veteran Killed in Grain Elevator Explosion

Iraq Veteran Killed in Grain Elevator Explosion
Carey Wickersham, FOX 4 News
Christie Walton Web Producer
4:30 p.m. CDT, October 30, 2011

ATCHISON, Kan.— The families of three victims of the grain explosion in Atchison received tragic phone calls in the middle of the night. Gary Keil and his family went to the Bartlett Grain Elevator with hope still in tact.

His youngest son Travis is a grain inspector for the state of Kansas and one of the three people initially reported missing.

Travis Keil's three children looked toward the twisted top of the grain elevator with thoughts of their father who was an Iraqi war Veteran who wasn't afraid of anything.
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Vietnam Veteran ordained as Minister

West Waldoboro Community Church ordains minister
Oct 30, 2011
WALDOBORO — The West Waldoboro Community Church of Waldoboro ordained its minister Wayne Wesley Woodman of Round Pond on Oct. 22.

The church had a full attendance for the ceremony, with David Fields, president of the church, leading the service. Speakers and ministers who conducted the laying on of hands were, Rev. Michael Murphy, Rev. Owen Bundy, Rev. Wesley Woodman.

Woodman grew up in Warren and graduated from Rockland District High School in 1966. He is a decorated war veteran of the 101st Airborne, and served in VietNam in 1968-1969.
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Suicide bomber kills 13 Americans in Afghanistan


NATO: Afghan Bombing Kills 5 Troops, 8 Contractors

October 29, 2011
Associated Press|by Amir Shah

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into an armored NATO bus Saturday, killing 17 people, including 12 Americans and a Canadian in the deadliest attack on the U.S.-led coalition in Kabul since the war began. It was a major setback for the alliance as it begins to draw down combat troops.
The explosion sparked a fireball and littered the street with shrapnel and twisted metal hulks. Heavy black smoke poured from burning wreckage at the site along the four-lane highway frequently used by foreign military trainers in the southwestern section of the city.
Underscoring the difficulties ahead, the brazen assault occurred on the same day that top NATO and Afghan officials were meeting elsewhere in Kabul to discuss the second phase of shifting security responsibilities to Afghan forces in all or part of 17 of the country's 34 provinces.
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Suicide bomber kills 13 Americans in Afghanistan
By AMIR SHAH - Associated Press | AP – Sat, Oct 29, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a van into an armored NATO bus Saturday, killing 13 American troops and four Afghans in the deadliest attack on coalition forces in Kabul since the war began — a major setback for the U.S.-led coalition as it begins to draw down combat troops.

The explosion sparked a fireball and littered the street with shrapnel and twisted metal hulks. Heavy black smoke poured from burning wreckage at the site along the four-lane highway frequently used by foreign military trainers in the southwestern section of the city.

read more here

Miracle waiting to happen for hungry in Orlando

I am asking you for help for a change

If you belong to one of the groups I've helped over the years, you know it has been a labor of love from me. It is what I have been called to do, no matter how small or large. I wouldn't have it any other way. All the good work being done, especially in the Orlando area matters and should receive more attention than all of your hard work gets.

One of the groups holding onto my heart needs your help. As you can see by the screen grab below, they have been supporting the work I do.

First Unidted Church of Christ Orlando

Today in church Pastor Joel announced the food pantry was running out of food and the church has had to buy what they lack. This is a small church but they feed on average 200 people a week. Please watch this video and then you'll understand what I have to say next.

Pastor Joel met Staff Sgt. Wright because of the food pantry. His son had searched for him for most of his life but didn't find him until he read a blog post I wrote about his Dad's funeral. His son, a Marine, also a Staff Sgt. named Andrew, was serving in Iraq at the time. Imagine being so far away from home and seeing the words homeless veterans funeral linked to your father's name. What came after was that the son came to the church, was given the flag from his Dad's funeral and so much more. See, his son never knew the story about how he ended up without his family, but above that, he never knew how much his father loved him or the fact he had never given up on finding him.

Young Andrew ended up finding the rest of his family because of a blog post but that is only what some claim. See, I take very little credit for this because it had more to do with God's hand at work and the love of this church for total strangers.

First United Church of Christ needs your help to feed the hungry, like the homeless Vietnam veteran they loved. They need simple things like peanut butter and anything with protein in it. They are expecting more hungry senior citizens during the winter because of the cost of their prescription medications.

We always seem to pray for miracles wanting to be reassured God still pays attention to us yet when He sends someone to help, we fail to see it was His hand at work. When we feel we don't matter all it takes is someone to spend some time talking to us, smile or just say hello. When they show up to help, it makes a world of difference. Please show up to help this church feed people in need. You never know when your tiny contribution will end up causing a miracle for another family like Andrew's or how far your help will go.

U.S. Planning Troop Buildup in Gulf After Exit From Iraq

U.S. Planning Troop Buildup in Gulf After Exit From Iraq
Published: October 29, 2011

MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats. That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.

The plans, under discussion for months, gained new urgency after President Obama’s announcement this month that the last American soldiers would be brought home from Iraq by the end of December. Ending the eight-year war was a central pledge of his presidential campaign, but American military officers and diplomats, as well as officials of several countries in the region, worry that the withdrawal could leave instability or worse in its wake.

After unsuccessfully pressing both the Obama administration and the Iraqi government to permit as many as 20,000 American troops to remain in Iraq beyond 2011, the Pentagon is now drawing up an alternative.
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A bank robber, a hero and a tale of healing

A bank robber, a hero and a tale of healing

OCTOBER 28, 2011

Cecile Wehrman Krimm wants to know how and why two brothers could become completely different people.

One brother, Jimmy Krimm, became a notorious serial bank robber who stole from at least 35 banks in a 14-year span. He committed suicide near Fortuna, N.D., just hours after he robbed a bank in Williston.

The other brother, H. Rob Krimm, served his country for 20 years through the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Air Force.

Cecile Wehrman Krimm and Rob Krimm were at the Estevan Public Library on October 22 to promote her true crime novel "The Brothers Krimm: The bank robber and the hero." Wehrman Krimm wrote the book; Rob Krimm and his mother, Charlene, contributed to the story.

Wehrman Krimm first learned of the Krimm family on September 14, 2009. A couple hours after she arrived home from work at the Crosby Journal – where she is the editor – she was told by her mother-in-law that a fugitive bank robber was on the run near Wehrman Krimm's farm after the theft in Williston.
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Disabled veteran gets first look at volunteers’ work on Duluth home

Disabled veteran gets first look at volunteers’ work on Duluth home (with video)
Sitting in his new motorized scooter Saturday, Warren Scott St. John rolled outside onto his home’s new access ramp and for the first time was able to see the work dozens of volunteers have done on his behalf the past few days.
By: News Tribune staff,

Sitting in his new motorized scooter Saturday, Warren Scott St. John rolled outside onto his home’s new access ramp and for the first time was able to see the work dozens of volunteers have done on his behalf the past few days.

The ramp wasn’t quite finished, and St. John still was getting used to operating his new ride, but there was no doubt that the improvements will be life-changing for the disabled Vietnam War veteran and his family.
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Severely injured Idaho soldier feels blessed

When something life changing happens to any of us, we can focus on what we lost. Or we can focus on what is important. I've met several amputees from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. In the beginning it is horrible for them to think about what is left of their lives. Then, the rest of their lives becomes all that matters.

Severely injured Idaho soldier feels blessed
A military rehabilitation center in Texas has lent Idaho National Guard Staff Sgt. Jason Rzepa some perspective.

By Daniel Person
The Spokesman-Review

A military rehabilitation center in Texas has lent Staff Sgt. Jason Rzepa some perspective.

As he continues to recover from injuries he sustained in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq last July, Rzepa, of Coeur d'Alene, said he sees fellow soldiers missing entire legs and arms. Soldiers scarred by severe burns. Soldiers who go home to an empty apartment and spend evenings alone watching television.

"I'm blessed, really," Rzepa said Friday afternoon. "I have both knees and a wife and son with me down there. ... That in itself makes all the difference."
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Spc. Luis Puertas lost both legs in an explosion in Iraq in 2006. Homes For Our Troops is finishing off his house. In May the Nam Knights held a fundraiser for him. He is interviewed in this video. Notice the smiles and the love he has for his future wife Amber.

At about 3 minutes into this video, Joshua Cope, also an amputee, talks about his life. Two other survivors of IED's speak about their lives and what they are doing.

Meeting men like them leaves me feeling like a complete whiner when my life isn't going so good. When problems make day to day tough. They have the same problems the rest of us do in our "normal" lives. What is amazing about them is how they rise above all of it.

Spc. Jesse Snow received the Silver Star posthumously

Fairborn native died in Afghanistan as he saved lives of his fellow soldiers.

By Kelli Wynn, Staff Writer
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO U.S. Army Spc. Jesse Adam Snow, 25, a Fairborn native, was killed Nov. 14 while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He received the Silver Star posthumously.
Updated 1:03 AM Saturday, October 29, 2011
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — On Nov. 14, 2010, while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in northeast Afghanistan, U.S. Army Spc. Jesse Snow crawled past enemy fire, dragged two wounded soldiers to safety, used his body as a human shield and became a hero.

On Friday, more than 1,000 people gathered at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to see Snow, 25, posthumously receive the Silver Star medal for valor.

Army Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Fort Campbell, Ky., presented the medal to Snow’s parents.

“It’s going to show everybody that this guy was a true American soldier and he was brave and he’s being recognized and we’re so proud of him,” said Snow’s father, retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John Snow Sr., prior to the hour-long ceremony.

“(Snow) has a big crown on his head right now in paradise,” Gov. John Kasich said during the ceremony. “He is going to be honored for eternity because he laid down his life for his friends.”
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Bicycle trek helps veterans down road to recovery

Bicycle trek helps veterans down road to recovery

By Eloísa Ruano González, Orlando Sentinel
7:11 p.m. EDT, October 29, 2011
Photo: Veterans' bicycle ride
( TIFFINI JONES VANDERWYST, RIDE 2 / October 29, 2011 )
Cyclists make their way to Winter Haven from Orlando during the Ride 2 Recovery Florida Challenge. More than 200 cyclists, mostly injured veterans from across the country, took part in the 350-mile seven-day trip from Jacksonville to Tampa.
More than 200 cyclists, mostly injured military veterans, set out to cross Florida coast to coast in seven days. They took part in the 350-mile Ride 2 Recovery Florida Challenge from Jacksonville to Tampa to raise money for veteran rehabilitation programs across the country.

The group stopped this weekend in Orlando. They had dinner at the American Legion Post 286 on Friday and rode 44 miles to Winter Haven on Saturday. They plan to end their trek today in Tampa.

"Yes, we're injured and gave up part of our life. But we're still living our lives to the fullest," said Army Sgt. Nathan Hunt before setting off Saturday from the Sheraton Safari Hotel near Walt Disney World.
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Navy commander gets prison in rape of 2 female officers

Navy commander gets prison in rape of 2 female officers
Published: October 29, 2011
A Navy ship commander pleaded guilty Friday to sexual assault and rape of two female sailors, and a military judge ordered his dismissal and sentenced him to more than three years in prison, The Associated Press reported.

Cmdr. Jay Wylie was given a 10-year term but will serve 42 months as part of a plea agreement, said Sheila Murray, Navy spokeswoman. He also forfeits all future benefits.
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An American war story

An American war story

By John G. Hubbard, special to the Times
In Print: Sunday, October 30, 2011


He is finally home. He is a soldier in the Army. He went to Afghanistan for 15 months the first time. He went to Afghanistan for 12 months the second time. It now appears that he has been assigned to a stateside position that will probably keep him in the States for the next three years.

He is about as nice a young man as you could find. He is as decent and caring a person as you could know. He is an Army doctor and has seen the effects of war and the results of armed conflict on U.S. soldiers and on the people of Afghanistan.

On his first tour of duty he was stationed on the side of a mountain in Afghanistan bordering Pakistan where he was regularly subjected to mortar attacks. I was talking to him one night and in the middle of our conversation he told me he had to interrupt the telephone call because he had to go get in a trench since the base he was in had just come under mortar attack. He was there for 15 months and saw things that no one who is not, or ever has been in the military service should ever have to see.

His name is Scott and he is married to my daughter, Jennifer. They presently have a 3-year-old son who was born in the middle of his first tour in Afghanistan. The Army gave him leave so that he could come home and be present at the birth of his child. I thought that was a great kindness and showed a compassionate side of the Army that I did not know existed. Four days after his son's birth, Scott had to return to Afghanistan.
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Dad finds out leaving Starbucks Marine son killed in Afghanistan

Marine Sgt. Stephen Dunning, of Milpitas, killed disarming bomb in Afghanistan

By Linda Goldston
Posted: 10/28/2011

Staff Sgt. Stephen Dunning tried to live a selfless life, a life that put him in danger to save the lives of others. He volunteered to be one of the Marines who dismantled the crude bombs insurgents laced along the treacherous trails of Afghanistan.

Dunning, 31, of Milpitas, was killed by one of those bombs -- called an improvised explosive device by the military -- on Thursday. His parents talked to him by phone just two days before he died.

"He was joking around, he was in great spirits," said his father, Robert. "He was talking about the mud hut he was living in and a villager's donkey they had made friends with."

A career Marine with nearly 13 years of service, Dunning was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. He had been back in the country for about a month and a half when he was killed in Helmand Province.
"We were walking out of Starbucks when they called," his father said. "At first, I thought maybe they just wanted us to donate to the military."
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Marine Corps Officer surprises his girlfriend on the Ellen DeGeneres Show

Ellen DeGeneres Gives Love to SD Couple
A San Diego Marine Corps Officer surprises his girlfriend on the Ellen DeGeneres Show
By Elena Gomez
Friday, Oct 28, 2011

Source: Ellen DeGeneres Gives Love to SD Couple
NBC San Diego
It’s a typical story of love at first sight.

“The first time we met I knew she was the one,” says Kyle Davis, a Marine Corps Officer at Camp Pendleton.

His girlfriend Sarah Luymes, a nurse in the ICU, felt the same way about their first date.

“Something about him," she said. "I just thought I might be with this man for the rest of my life.”

And as the love grew over the year, it was time for the next move in the relationship.

Except, Davis thought big and took his proposal idea to Ellen DeGeneres, his girlfriend's favorite TV host.

“I knew she was a huge fan of the Ellen Show and I thought this would probably be a good thing but probably wouldn’t happen … but I thought I’ll write to the show and tell them how great she is,” she said. “Just tell them about us and see where it goes.”

Not expecting to hear back, he was shocked when he got a phone call.

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Emotional return from Afghanistan for Michigan National Guard soldiers

Emotional return from Afghanistan for Guard
Last Updated: October 29. 2011 1:00AM
Candice Williams/ The Detroit News
Taylor — A sense of joy and relief was thick in the air Friday as a gymnasium full of tearful family members and friends welcomed home 158 soldiers after a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

Isaiah Bryant, 26, stood patiently as he waited for his wife, Bianca, one of the soldiers. In his hand was a bouquet of roses and her wedding ring.

"I feel happy," he said before the homecoming ceremony at Truman High School in Taylor. "I feel it's been a long time. I can't wait to see her."

Bryant, of Belleville, was among the families and friends who packed the gymnasium to welcome the 158 Michigan National Guard soldiers from the 1776th Military Police Company. Their mission in Afghanistan had been to watch 2,600 detainees. The United States has some 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and plans to bring most forces home by the end of 2014.

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Survivor of Fort Hood shootings among Ride2Recovery riders

Wounded military pedal for purpose
Ride2Recovery Florida Challenge spins its way through Brevard
11:17 PM, Oct. 28, 2011
Written by
Lyn Dowling

Kennedy Space Center
CAPE CANAVERAL — It was a bit windy Friday morning along State Road A1A, and rain clouds threatened from the west. For the 200 men and women who mounted their bicycles for the next stage of the Ride2Recovery Florida Challenge, that didn’t even amount to a minor test.

They are soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and others who are recovering from war injuries and conditions related to their service. They cycle to rehabilitate and renew themselves, raising funds as they go for the Fitness Challenge Foundation, which works with the military and Veterans Administration. This ride began Oct. 24 at Mayport Naval Station, near Jacksonville, and is scheduled to end Sunday in Tampa.

“This is my fifth ride, and I do it because there’s a lot of camaraderie and it’s a great challenge," said Spec. 4 Matt Cooke, formerly a truck driver and now with the Army’s Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Hood, Texas.

"For example, one day you get in a covered vehicle and the next day you’re doing everything you can to prevent yourself from taking that covered vehicle."

Cooke, who recently re-enlisted and is a prior Marine, served two tours in Iraq, but he was not wounded by a foreign enemy.

He was shot four times by Nidal Hasan, who is charged with killing 13 people in 2009 at Fort Hood, and his job now is to assist other troops with the transition from a violent atmosphere.

"I was there to have my blood tested and I waiting for a ride when Maj. Hasan started shooting," Cooke said.

"I heard about the program last year and picked up the first four rides. It helps the healing process.

“You see amputees … and even a blind soldier, who are not sitting around waiting for something to happen. It’s better than staying in your room, staring at four walls and feeling sorry for yourself."
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Wounded warriors ride bikes from Jacksonville to Tampa

Vets ride bikes from Jax To Tampa
Wounded Warriors To Make 350-Mile Journey In 6-Day Span

Posted On Oct 25 2011

Wounded warriors ride bikes from Jacksonville to Tampa as part of the Ride 2 Recovery.

It's kickstands up for a couple hundred veterans wounded at war who are riding bikes from Jacksonville to Tampa as part of their road to recovery.

The men and women share a bond from the battlefield. They are veterans, many of them wounded at war.

"The reason I'm riding a recumbent (bicycle) is I was, early in my career, I hurt my back rappelling out of a helicopter," local veteran Craig Greenhill said.

Some of the soldiers are amputees. Others have traumatic brain injuries and have lost the ability to maintain balance.

Despite those challenges, they'll make the 350-mile ride in six days.
read more here

Media made injured Iraq veteran is face of Occupy movement

Now someone is claiming the police aimed at him?
“Before gas goes into a crowd shield bearers have to be making no progress moving a crowd or crowd must be assaulting the line. Not with sticks and stones but a no bullshit assault. 3 warnings must be given to the crowd in a manner they can hear that force is about to be used. Shield bearers take a knee and CS gas is released in grenade form first to fog out your lines because you have gas masks. You then kick the canisters along in front of your lines. Projectile gas is not used except for longer ranged engagement or trying to steer the crowd ( by steering a crowd I mean firing gas to block a street off ). You also have shotguns with beanbags and various less than lethal rounds for your launchers. These are the rules for a WARZONE!!

How did a cop who is supposed to have training on his weapon system accidentally SHOOT someone in the head with a 40mm gas canister?
Simple. He was aiming at him.
read more here

This is from Veterans For Peace Executive Director Mike Ferner. I would be shocked if it is ever proven a cop would know Olsen was an Iraq veteran and aimed right for him.

It isn't as if the Occupy groups need any extra sympathy from the rest of us since we've all been suffering too with the way things have been. So what is all of this really about?

Outrage over veteran injured at Occupy Oakland was the headline I used for a rant I had the other day. I was angry over the media blowing this all up and putting a spin on it as if the police targeted Olsen. As I wrote then, I sympathize with the protestors and what they stand for. They are taking a stand for average people in this country. What I don't get is the fact the media reports have all been about Olsen. Why is that? Is it because he's an Iraq War Veteran? If that were the case then they should be reporting on everything else going on with them. Shouldn't they? Would they have reported on this if Olsen was not a veteran? There have been others hurt and it isn't a far leap to understand how hard this is on police officers. So where are the full reports on everyone involved in all of this?
Injured Iraq veteran is face of Occupy movement
By Moni Basu, CNN
updated 8:15 PM EST, Fri October 28, 2011

A vigil is held for Marine Lance Cpl. Scott Olsen, who was injured during an Occupy movement protest in California

Scott Olsen returned from two tours of Iraq without injury
But he suffered a fractured skull in the Oakland protests
The videos went viral, and Olsen became the face of the movement
His uncle says Iraq changed his nephew's views on war

(CNN) -- The chaotic scene unfolded with flash-bang grenades, rubber bullets and clouds of smoke.

Canisters whizzed through the air amid deafening booms.

Marine Lance Cpl. Scott Olsen went down.

"Medic! Medic!" someone yelled.

Olsen, 24, had seen his share of war in two tours of Iraq as a Marine. He was lucky, returning home physically unscathed.

But Tuesday evening, near the corner of 14th Avenue and Broadway in Oakland, California, Olsen went down.

The video images went viral: streams of crimson flowing down Olsen's head, his black T-shirt adorned with a white dove of peace, the war veteran carried to a hospital.

And with that, the Occupy movement had a face.

"We are all Scott Olsen," declared its website.

"It's ironic," said his uncle George Nygaard, that Olsen should be the poster child for this movement.

Ironic, said Olsen's Marine buddy and current roommate Keith Shannon, that a young man who fought for American freedoms should be injured exercising those same freedoms at home.
read more here

In fairness to CNN, they have been doing the best reports on veterans and telling their stories but as good as they've been, they seem to only want to report on what they think will get them the most attention and not what will do the most good for these men and women coming home.

They come home with wounded bodies and minds. They come home to no more money coming in when they leave the military, no jobs to find and more cuts to social services. To a VA system overloaded trapping them beneath a mountain of other claims as if their ability to survive combat should satisfy them when they can't pay their bills. Stand Downs for homeless veterans happen almost every weekend but there haven't been many reports on CNN about these.

It is almost as if the cable news stations have nothing better to report on than anything ties to politics. The troops are not a political issue. They are a national one. Considering what happens to them when they come home, it should be the biggest story CNN has because it crosses all political lines. They are willing to die for one of their buddies and that is all that matters to them. Not politics. It's time for the media to do the same and stop fueling the political fire.

Trent Lloyd Thorp shot 9 times by police and 1 time by himself

I don't know how many times I'll read stories like this.

Police: Lewis soldier shot himself in head
The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Oct 28, 2011 11:48:06 EDT
LAKEWOOD, Wash. — A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier who was shot by Lakewood officers this week also had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police said.

A preliminary autopsy report showed Trent Lloyd Thorp, 26, was hit nine times by police gunfire, police said.
read more here

Police kill armed soldier
Soldier shot himself before officers

When some people read about men like Thorp, they don't want to think about the fact that this is the same man willing to die for the sake of someone else. After all, that is what they know could happen when they decide to serve in the military, just as it could happen when they enter into law enforcement. It takes a very special type of person to be willing to do that. Some may not even begin to wonder how things could get so terribly twisted around this same person would be willing to take a weapon onto streets back home. They won't wonder when they commit crimes. It doesn't matter to them this same person put the life of someone else first. Maybe they don't want to think about it, think about what was behind all of the terrible outcomes, just as they don't want to think about the tiny fraction of veterans ending up facing off with law enforcement. Over 2 million served in Iraq and Afghanistan alone yet the reports are rare.

When I try to think of how many stories like this have been reported, I can't remember all of them but their families remember their stories well. Their victims and families remember. Their communities remember. The rest of us move onto something else. We forget that war does terrible things to people. People born just like the rest of us with flesh, bones and souls. With dreams and obstacles. With joys and heartaches. The difference between them and the rest of us is we focus on our own lives but they think about others first. When their lives end up with reports like this, the entire nation should be wondering what can be done to stop having to read reports like this and mourn.

Fort Bragg soldier charged with murder in shooting of girlfriend in May

Fort Bragg soldier charged with murder in shooting of girlfriend in May
Oct 28, 2011
A staff report

Fayettevile police Friday arrested a Fort Bragg soldier on charges that he murdered his girlfriend in May.

Sgt. Michael Lloyd Williams, 46, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend of seven years, 24-year-old Stephanie Thompson, police said.

Williams was arrested Friday after being released from a hospital for injuries he sustained when he shot himself in the head in the attempted murder-suicide, police said.
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Hundreds turn out to honor soldier killed in action

Hundreds turn out to honor soldier killed in action
7:02 PM, Oct. 28, 2011
Written by
R. Norman Moody

Family, friends, community and veterans gathered for the funeral of Army Specialist Jeremiah “Jerry” Sancho today. Sancho, 23, of Palm Bay, was killed in a roadside bombing Oct. 13 while on foot patrol in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. / TIM SHORTT/FLORIDA TODAY

MELBOURNE -- Family, friends, veterans and even some who didn't know Army Specialist Jeremiah “Jerry” Sancho gathered for his funeral today. Sancho, 23, of Palm Bay, was killed in a roadside bombing Oct. 13 while on foot patrol in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

In front of about 200 people, Sancho was eulogized as someone who was a free spirit but who had a lot of love for his friends and family.

"Jerry was an impressive young man," said Rob Medina, who led the service. "Yes, he was called Hurricane Jerry but he loved."

Family members were coping as well as can be expected.
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Family, friends reflect on soldier's life: Family, friends, veterans and even some who didn't know Army Specialist Jeremiah “Jerry” Sancho gathered for his funeral Friday. Sancho, 23, of Palm Bay, was killed Oct. 13 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Video by Breuse Hickman

Fallen Pay Bay Soldier Returns Home

Friday, October 28, 2011

8 servicemembers file lawsuit seeking benefits for same-sex spouses

8 servicemembers file lawsuit seeking benefits for same-sex spouses
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 27, 2011

WASHINGTON — A group of eight gay servicemembers sued the federal government Thursday for military and veterans benefits for their same-sex spouses, arguing that ignoring their marriages amounts to discrimination.

The move comes a little more than a month after the end of the military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, which for 18 years prohibited gay troops from publicly acknowledging their sexual orientation.

Since the change, activists have said they’d turn their attention to overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions for purposes of federal benefits.

read more here

Carson park named after fallen soldier, dog

Carson park named after fallen soldier, dog
By Dan Elliott - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Oct 28, 2011 14:46:35 EDT
FILE PHOTO Army Cpl. Kory D. Wiens, 20, and his Labrador retriever partner, Cooper, were killed in July 2007 by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Muhammad Sath, Iraq.

DENVER — An Oregon soldier and his military working dog who were killed together in Iraq were honored Friday when a Colorado Army post named a dog park in their honor.

Cpl. Kory Wiens and the Labrador retriever named Cooper were killed by an improvised bomb while on patrol in 2007. Their ashes were buried together in Wiens’ hometown in Dallas, Ore.

His father, Kevin Wiens Sr., brother Kevin Jr. and sister Lindsay watched as the Cpl. Wiens and Cooper Dog Park was dedicated at Fort Carson, an infantry post just outside Colorado Springs.

Wiens had no formal tie to Fort Carson, but officials there wanted to honor his memory, a spokesman said.

Pat McAlister, Wiens’ grandmother, said the family was moved by the gesture.
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Police need help after former Penthouse Pet found dead at Camp Pendleton

Anneka de Lorenzo

Former Penthouse Pet found dead at Camp Pendleton
Mon, Oct 24, 2011 - KFMB San Diego 3:17
Navy investigators are asking for the public's help as they look into the death of a former Penthouse model.
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Philadelphia Marine Receives hero's welcome home

Local Marine receives hero's welcome home
Thursday, October 27, 2011
PHILADELPHIA - October 27, 2011 (WPVI) -- It was a welcome home with panache for a Morrisville, Pa. Marine Thursday afternoon.

Marine Sergeant Brett Flavin will be home for less than a week, but he told me he'll savor the celebration in his honor at the airport, the precious time he will have with his family.

Sergeant Flavin arrived early on US Airways, flight 150 Thursday afternoon. His mom was the first to wrap her arms around him.
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Clergy Helping Vets

Clergy Helping Vets
By Lauren Green
Published October 28, 2011

When American service members come home, smiles can quickly turn to sadness. The emotional wounds of war have become an invisible epidemic.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) ARE SAID TO affect 31 percent of America’s service members, or 300,000 men and women who have served their country.

Colonel David Sutherland recounts, "When I came home I had difficulties fitting in and I had difficulties connecting."

Sutherland is the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Warrior and Family Support. He's the point man for the for coordinating a myriad of non-governmental agencies including faith-based initiatives. He's open about his own experiences in hopes that other service members will seek help as well.

He says "My issues manifested themselves in front of my family. My wife of 25 years didn't understand what I was going through and neither did my kids and I used to isolate myself or lash out and I had to ask for help."

The military has reached out to clergy members like the Rev. Tom Carter, for help.
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Mental health care not meeting VA standards

Mental health care not meeting VA standards

Friday - 10/28/2011, 1:30pm ET

Mental health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs "is as good as or better" than the care the private sector provides civilians with comparable conditions. However, a new report from the RAND Corporation said the care still doesn't meet standards set by the VA.
read more here

Soldier from Winthrop Harbor dies in Saudi Arabia

Soldier from Winthrop Harbor dies in Saudi Arabia
28-year-old's death was noncombat-related, Army says
Sgt. 1st Class David G. Robinson, a 28-year-old father of two, died Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, while supporting Operation New Dawn, the U.S. rebuilding effort in Iraq. (October 27, 2011)
By Andrea L. Brown, Special to the Tribune
October 28, 2011

As they awaited more details about how he died, relatives of a soldier from Winthrop Harbor remembered him Thursday as a fun-loving family man who was dedicated to the Army.

Sgt. 1st Class David G. Robinson, 28, a father of two, died Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, while supporting Operation New Dawn, the U.S. rebuilding effort in Iraq. An Army spokesman said only that Robinson's death was noncombat-related and under investigation, and family members said they had gotten no additional information.

Robinson had a wife, Emily, 28, and sons Matthew, 7, and Jackson, 4. The family was stationed in El Paso, Texas.
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Veteran defies death to serve in a different way

Veteran defies death to serve in a different way
By Phil Fairbanks

Updated: October 27, 2011, 11:57 AM
"I really hope in my heart that they find a place for me here." Frederick Goldacker, Afghan War veteran now training with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Charles Lewis / Buffalo News

As bad as it was -- and it was bad -- it could have been worse, a lot worse.

"I could be talking to the wizard," said Frederick Goldacker. "I could be on a couch somewhere."

Only one thing stood between the former Army sergeant and an emotional crisis -- and that was his focus on the men in his infantry unit coming home alive and well from the war in Afghanistan.

The sergeant came home, too -- Goldacker is now living in Niagara Falls -- but thanks to a freak combat incident, he arrived with thyroid cancer and a permanent disability.

"The doctor said, 'I have some bad news for you,'" Goldacker recalls. "And I jokingly said, 'I have cancer.'

"And he said, 'Yes, you do.'"

So what does Rick Goldacker, just 18 months away from combat and still in the midst of cancer treatment, do next?

He signs up to become a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent.

For anyone who knows Goldacker, it's probably no surprise that the combat infantry leader is now patrolling the rivers and lakes around Buffalo. And doing it just a year after undergoing thyroid surgery and being declared disabled by the Army.

It's an uncommon tale of a soldier who saw a lot in Afghanistan, probably more than most men should, and could understandably have walked away from it.

Goldacker did just the opposite. He asked to serve his country again.
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Outrage Over Veteran Injured at ‘Occupy’ Protest

When an Iraq veteran ends up in the hospital because of what police did, it makes news. It is not as if the police targeted him but that is the way this has been spun. Why? Because it causes people to get pumped up over it. If anyone should understand doing what you have to do because it is your job, it should be a veteran. The police did what they had to do no matter if they side with the protestors or not. Stop and think about the simple fact many of the members of police force have lost their jobs too. It is doubtful an officer tried to hit someone and even more doubtful they wanted to hit a combat veteran.

While I totally sympathize with the protestors, especially since I have been out of work for over three years, appalled no one in the media every stopped to think of who is responsible for even more jobs being cut with the "budget" talks or how much people have been suffering while the wealthy are more protected than anyone else, I do feel their pain, but this story has been spun.

These cops, many of them veterans, have a job to do and they are doing the best they can. If they don't do what they have to, then one of their own could end up hurt. Why can't the media understand that? Why can't they report on what is behind all of the anger the protestors feel? Why can't they stop and ask cops how they feel having to face off with citizens trying to make things better for everyone including the police losing their jobs too?

I am glad that Olsen is doing better and hope he recovers soon but this story is not the whole story about what happened.
Outrage Over Veteran Injured at ‘Occupy’ Protest
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A sign Wednesday in Oakland, Calif., refers to Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran who suffered a fractured skull Tuesday in an Occupy Oakland clash with the police
Published: October 27, 2011

OAKLAND, Calif. — For supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, whose diffuse anger has been a defining and sometimes distracting characteristic, the wounding of an Iraq war veteran here has provided a powerful central rallying point.

The veteran, Scott Olsen, 24, was critically injured on Tuesday night when he was hit in the head with a projectile thrown or shot by law enforcement officers combating protesters trying to re-enter a downtown plaza that had been cleared of an encampment earlier in the day. Mr. Olsen, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine, suffered a fractured skull.
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Tampa VA lost equipment and camera with breast cancer patients data

I-Team: Tampa VA lost private medical photos of breast cancer patients

By: Alan Cohn

The camera disappeared from the Plastic Surgery Clinic. The VA's reports says it also contained “The social security information from the patients" whose photos were on it.

TAMPA - The I-Team has uncovered hundreds of thousands dollars' worth of expensive equipment and property at VA hospitals in Tampa and Bay Pines has been lost or stolen in the last two years.

The list includes televisions, laptop computers, and microscopes. But the most serious loss was not the most expensive item.

A camera, used to photograph women before and after surgery for breast cancer, was discovered missing from a clinic at the James A. Haley VA Hospital last November.

"The photos in question,” an investigative report obtained by the I-Team reads, "may potentially be graphic and personal in nature."
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Retired Major shoots to save lives

For a military man, he's had to shoot with weapons. This time, the weapon is a video camera. This time the target is not an enemy he can see in the scope. This time, the enemy invisible but the camera can help people "see" it very clearly.

Retired Infantryman Writes, Directs PTSD Film

October 28, 2011
Army News Service|by Cheryl Rodewig
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Sometimes people face a turning point -- a choice between heading down a wrong path or looking up for help. That's the central theme of "The Turning Point," a film written and directed by retired Maj. Ty Manns and filmed in the tricommunity over the past six days.

Drawing from 24 years of service as an Infantryman, during which he was always interested in filmmaking, Manns said he knew he wanted to create a movie focused on the military. Two events combined to give him the inspiration for the 40-minute feature, which deals with a sergeant's struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The title of the movie came directly from the title of a sermon preached by Farnsworth Coleman, the pastor of New Birth Outreach Church and executive producer of the film.

"By the time I left church that day, I pretty much had in my head exactly what I wanted to do with this movie," Manns said. "I went home that day and started writing, and it turned out I ended up writing a story about a Soldier who returns home from the war and unbeknownst to him, he's actually suffering from PTSD. And in order to overcome all the things in his life that are starting to crumble apart, he eventually finds his way back to the church."
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Soldier shot himself before officers opened fire

Lakewood police: Soldier shot himself before officers opened fire
Lakewood police on Thursday said a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier fatally shot by officers early Sunday shot himself in the head and pointed a gun at police when they arrived to investigate.

Published: 10/27/11

Lakewood police on Thursday said a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier fatally shot by officers early Sunday shot himself in the head and pointed a gun at police when they arrived to investigate.

It was first release of information concerning the death of 32-year-old Trent Loyd Thorp since he was killed in a confrontation with officers up the street from his house in the 4800 block of Yew Lane Southwest.

He was previously stationed at Fort Lee, VA and returned from Afghanistan in May after an 11-month deployment.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Marines face court-martial stemming from suicide

Three Marines face court-martial stemming from suicide

By Jorene Barut
Oct 27, 2011 5:40am EDT
(Reuters) - Three U.S. Marines were ordered on Wednesday to face court-martial on charges they physically abused and humiliated a fellow Marine who later killed himself while they were serving in Afghanistan.

The case stems from the suicide of Lance Corporal Harry Lew, 21, who shot himself with his automatic rifle during a patrol in April after he was allegedly beaten and hazed by others in his unit for falling asleep while on sentry duty.

A suicide note that read, "May hate me now, but in the long run this was the right choice I'm sorry my mom deserves the truth," was found scrawled on Lew's arm, according to an investigative report cited by the Marine Corps Times newspaper.

Lew and the three men charged with abusing him -- Jacob Jacoby and Carlos Orozco, both lance corporals, and squad leader Sergeant Benjamin Johns -- were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

The unit is stationed at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu, which is probably where the three men will be tried.
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Soldier Serves Wife Chick-fil-A Surprise

Soldier Serves Wife Chick-fil-A Surprise

Husband Surprised Wife After Returning From Deployment

EUSTIS, Fla. -- A Central Florida wife got a surprise she never imagined while dining at the Chick-fil-A in Eustis.

Amy Reed, 24, knew her husband, Staff Sgt. Chris Reed , would be returning home from service in Afghanistan soon, but what she didn't know was when.

Amy's dad hatched a plan to stage a reunion at Chick-fil-A on a Tuesday night. The Reeds say Tuesday family nights at the restaurant helped Amy survive her husband's third deployment.

On Oct. 14, Amy thought an employee would bring out the meal she had ordered, but instead, it was her husband, Chris.
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Fallen Palm Bay soldier returns home as hero

Fallen Palm Bay soldier returns home as hero
Palm Bay soldier, 23, killed by bomb in Afghanistan
10:50 AM, Oct. 26, 2011
Written by
R. Norman Moody

PALM BAY — “I love you the ‘mostest,’ ” Army Specialist Jeremiah “Jerry” Sancho told his wife the last time they talked.

“I would say, ‘I love you,’ ” his wife, RaiAnne Sancho told FLORIDA TODAY this week, fighting back tears. “He would say, ‘I love you the mostest.’ ”

Sancho, 23, of Palm Bay, who was serving with the Army’s 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, died Oct. 13 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, when a roadside bomb hit his patrol.

“I’m missing him horribly, I’m screaming inside,” his mother, Janet Diaz, said this week. “I was proud to say that was my son.”

Sancho returned home Tuesday, his body met at Melbourne International Airport by family and a police-led escort of more than 100 veterans on motorcycles, plus two dozen cars and trucks. Police maintained rolling roadblocks for the motorcade’s seven-mile trip to Buggs Funeral Home.
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Fallen soldier taken to final resting place: The body of Jerry Sancho is led by a veterans procession from Melbourne Airport to Buggs Funeral Home in Melbourne. By Tim Shortt Posted Oct. 25, 2011

Coffee shop is talk therapy for vets in distress

Coffee shop is talk therapy for vets in distress
By Barry Petersen
October 26, 2011
(CBS News) TACOMA, Wash. - Deborah Flagboam is still traumatized by a sexual assault during during boot camp, and needs a post-traumatic stress disorder therapy dog to help her cope with her thoughts of suicide.

"It wasn't just a cry of help, it was real," Flagboam tells CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen. "My life really wasn't the same, I couldn't really find a way to live any more."

But the former Marine was told by military officials there was a two-month waiting list for long-term psychiatric therapy. So she came to Coffee Strong, a coffee shop just outside Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Iraq war veteran Jorge Gonzales is executive director of Coffee Strong. The veteran-owned shop opened three years ago to serve free coffee to soldiers and Marines. Over time, it became a place for troops to share their problems and treat the mental scars of war. Veterans at Coffee Strong found help for Flagbom within 24 hours.

"I dont think i would be alive today to be honest," Flagboam said, "I could have ended up like Sgt. Jared Hagemann. Army Ranger Jared Hagemann killed himself this past June. He was facing his eighth combat deployment as a member of the Special Forces.
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Did "friendly fire" kill Lance Cpl. Benjamin Schmidt?

'Friendly fire' may have killed Camp Pendleton Marine in Afghanistan
October 25, 2011
Photo: Lt. Col. William Vivian, commanding officer of the Two-Four, at a memorial service in Afghanistan for Lance Cpl. Benjamin Schmidt. Credit: Marine Corps
A Marine from Camp Pendleton who died in combat Oct. 6 in Afghanistan may have been killed by "friendly fire."

The father of Lance Cpl. Benjamin Schmidt told the San Antonio Express-News that a Marine and an embedded reporter, in separate conversations, told him that his son was apparently killed by fire from a tank that had mistaken Schmidt and other members of his platoon for Taliban fighters during a firefight.
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Returning Troops Facing New Battle: PTSD

Returning Troops Facing New Battle: PTSD

Published : Tuesday, 25 Oct 2011
HOUSTON - Forty thousand US troops are expected to return from Iraq by the end of the year.
Thousands have already returned home, but their struggle has not ended. The horrors of war may haunt many military veterans for years.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a very real monster plaguing the men and women in uniform.
"A soldier has to deal with the fact that he's taken somebody's life because somebody was trying to take his or somebody took your buddies life," Alvin Roy said.
The 54-year-old is a local artist now, but used to be an 18-year-old Marine fighting for his country and his life during the Vietnam War.
"It's a life and death struggle among people. I think at some point you can become cold,” Roy said. “It's not like a light switch where you can just turn it off. You never turn it off."
Nearly 40 years later, the war veteran says he still suffers from PTSD.
"There are people who experience agitation, anger, folks who internalize and suppress those experiences. (What did you experience?) All of the above. Depression, anger. I didn't get along with my family, my friends."
The returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to suffer the same thing.
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Returning Troops Facing New Battle: PTSD:

10th Mountain Division soldier killed in a vehicle rollover at Fort Drum

Calif. soldier died in crash at NY's Fort Drum

Associated Press

FORT DRUM, N.Y. — Officials at Fort Drum have released the name of the 10th Mountain Division soldier killed in a vehicle rollover during training at the northern New York Army post.

Officials say 35-year-old Pvt. Michael Koepfle (KOHP'-fuhl) of San Bernardino, Calif., was in a Humvee with two other soldiers who were injured when it crashed Sunday at a training range.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Disabled vet killed in Brockton accident helped pioneer spinal-cord medicine

Disabled vet killed in Brockton accident helped pioneer spinal-cord medicine

By Maria Papadopoulos
GateHouse News Service
Posted Oct 26, 2011

Taunton —
Edwin Nelson survived fierce battles as a Marine serving in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, the height of the war, his family said.

Then, in 1975, Nelson broke his neck in an accident that occurred during military maneuvers in North Carolina, said his former wife, Josephine Yungk of Enfield, Conn. The spinal cord injury led to other complications, including the amputation of both of his legs, she said.

“It was a freak accident. He’s been in a wheelchair ever since,” said Yungk, 61.

Nelson’s challenging life came to a tragic end Monday afternoon, when Nelson was struck and killed by a Hyundai Elantra as he tried to cross Belmont Street, Route 123, in his motorized wheelchair.

Police identified the driver as Frank Dernoga, 26, of 11 Stanley Ave., Taunton, who was alone in the car. Police said Tuesday they did not know yet if Dernoga would face charges.

Nelson, 65, had started crossing the street against the streetlight, witnesses said. He was knocked off his wheelchair near the crosswalk and rolled into the street. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

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original report

Iraq war veteran in critical condition after police clashes

Occupy Oakland: Iraq war veteran in critical condition after police clashes
Scott Olsen, 24, in hospital with fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile in Oakland

Adam Gabbatt, Wednesday 26 October 2011

An Iraq war veteran has a fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile.

Scott Olsen is in a "critical condition" in Highland hospital in Oakland, a hospital spokesman confirmed.

Olsen, 24, suffered the head injury during protests in Oakland on Tuesday evening. More than 15 people were arrested after a crowd gathered to demonstrate against the police operation to clear two Occupy Oakland camps in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Jay Finneburgh, a photographer who was covering the protest, published pictures of Olsen lying on the ground.

"This poor guy was right behind me when he was hit in the head with a police projectile. He went down hard and did not get up," Finneburgh wrote.

Olsen was taken to Highland by fellow protesters.
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Video from YouTube

Death highlights women’s role in Special Ops

Death highlights women’s role in Special Ops
The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Oct 25, 2011 16:22:38 EDT
WASHINGTON — Army 1st Lt. Ashley White died on the front lines in southern Afghanistan last weekend, the first casualty in what the Army says is a new and vital wartime attempt to gain the trust of Afghan women.

White, like other female soldiers working with special operations teams, was brought in to do things that would be awkward or impossible for her male teammates. Things like frisking burqa-clad women, for example.

Her death, in a bomb explosion in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar, underscores the risks of placing women with elite U.S. special operations teams working in remote villages.

Military leaders and other female soldiers in the program say its rewards are great, even as it fuels debate over the roles of women in combat.

“We could do things that the males cannot do, and they are starting to realize that,” says Sgt. Christine Baldwin, who like White was among the first groups of women deployed to Afghanistan this year as specially trained “cultural support” troops.

Male soldiers often cannot even speak to an Afghan woman because of the strict cultural norms that separate the sexes and the tradition of women remaining behind closed doors most of the time. Forcing the issue has yielded only resentment, military officials say, and has jeopardized the trust and cooperation of villagers. From the start of the war 10 years ago, Afghans have especially resented the practice of “night raids” in which male foreign soldiers enter and search homes, the traditional sanctum of women.
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More of the 2.6 million living veterans from OEF and OIF getting mental healthcare

More vets getting mental health care from VA
Laura Phelps - Medill News Service
Posted : Tuesday Oct 25, 2011 15:55:50 EDT
More Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are receiving mental health care from the Veterans Affairs Department, but officials in a recent report still cited barriers that may be preventing some from getting the care they need.

Only a little more than 8 percent of those who served in those wars sought help from VA from 2006 to 2010, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.

The number of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan getting treatment increased from about 34,500 in 2006, or 4 percent of the total, to just more than 139,000 in 2010, the GAO reported. That means 12 percent of the 1.2 million veterans who sought mental health care last year are veterans from the latest wars.

Some veterans may not seek care because they’re concerned about their privacy, they may not know the services exist, or they simply cannot get to a treatment center if they live somewhere rural, the report said. VA officials also believe younger veterans may have a perception that the system caters to older veterans, the report said. Plus, veterans just starting out in their civilian lives are often balancing priorities such as school, family and work, and seeking help doesn’t always make the list.

There are an estimated 2.6 million living veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and 23 million total veterans dating back to World War II, according to the GAO.
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Marine accused of choking wife at hotel

Marine accused of choking wife at hotel
October 26, 2011 3:51 AM
A Camp Lejeune Marine remained in the Onslow County Jail late Tuesday after being charged over the weekend with choking his wife in front of the couple’s young child.

Lance Cpl. Mark David Reinhold Jr., 21, was charged by the Jacksonville Police Department with assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury with a minor present, assault on a female and failure to store a firearm to protect a minor.

Reinhold is accused of grabbing his wife around the neck and punching her in the face. His alleged grip supposedly left red marks on her neck, according to arrest warrants on file at the Onslow County Courthouse.
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Does he have PTSD? Not sure but on thing is clear, he isn't the only one being charged with a crime.

There are more and more reports coming out about veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan coming home and being involved with law enforcement for the wrong reasons. Flashback to the years after Vietnam when many of them were arrested and jailed instead of being helped to recover from where we sent them. The percentage of Vietnam veterans compared to these new veterans ending up in jail will be a lot worse. Why? Because of all the redeployments increasing the risk of PTSD by 50% for each time redeployed. Most Vietnam veterans served one year and then they were done. There was a recent report of an Army Ranger killed in action on his 14th deployment. Think about that the next time you don't want to understand the constant threat to their lives ten years after troops were sent to Afghanistan and eight years after they were sent into Iraq.

Do we have a huge problem? Yes. Last night on Current TV I came across these reports putting together news stories like the ones I've been tracking here since 2007. Does it mean they are all in trouble with the law? Hell no. When you consider there were 2 million deployed into these war zones, you realize the vast majority of them are not involved with any kind of criminal charges. What we do have is a lot of suffering veterans at all different levels with just as many different outcomes.

If you take nothing else away from these videos, consider that these men and women were willing to die for the sake of someone else but when they came home, things ended up much differently.

Colorado Springs Is PTSD City: Scenes From Vanguard
In this scene from Vanguard's "War Crimes," correspondent Kaj Larsen investigates why Colorado Springs has become ground zero in what may be a coming tsunami: the alarming rise in the number of soldiers who have been traumatized by war and are now accused of bringing the violence home. Since the start of the Iraq War, 17 soldiers from nearby Fort Carson have been charged with murder or attempted murder.

Of the more than 2 million men and women who have served in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as many as a third of them may now have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. A growing number of these vets are being charged with violent crimes, and Kaj travels to prisons and mental health facilities in Arizona, Colorado and Oregon to hear their stories.
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You Can't Take the Army Out of the Boy: Scenes From Vanguard
In this scene from Vanguard's "War Crimes," Clark Fish, an inmate at Maricopa County Jail in Arizona, tells correspondent Kaj Larsen about his time in Iraq as an Army medic. Fish, who has been convicted of murdering his girlfriend but still awaits sentencing, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kaj investigates the alarming rise in the number of soldiers who have been traumatized by war and are now accused of bringing the violence home. Of the more than 2 million men and women who have served in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as many as a third of them may now have PTSD. A growing number of these vets are being charged with violent crimes, and Kaj travels to prisons and mental health facilities in Arizona, Colorado and Oregon to hear their stories.
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