Monday, April 30, 2012

Veterans with hidden wounds face service dog harassment

Veterans with hidden wounds face service dog harassment
by Phil Anaya /
Posted on April 28, 2012

For many people across Texas, having a service dog to help them with their disability is a great tool, as well as a great companion. However, for some being out in public with their service dog doesn’t come without some sort of scrutiny.

Most service dogs are trained to help those who are deaf, blind or physically handicapped. But there are also those with invisible wounds or disabilities. For example; Veterans that suffer from PTSD.

In recent months KENS 5 has come across several people questioned and/or harassed about their disability because their service dog doesn’t look like your typical service K9, or because the person handling the dog doesn’t appear to be disabled.

San Antonian Carrie Ann Partch suffers from PTSD. She has a toy poodle named Bella who is her service dog. Partch claims she’s been harassed about her service dog twice this semester at the UTSA downtown campus, as well as at other places around town.
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Fort Bragg WTU needs to give better care

Report: Bragg WTU needs to give better care
By Joe Gould -
Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Apr 29, 2012

An investigation into claims of maltreatment of soldiers at the Fort Bragg, N.C., warrior transition battalion found the post needs to improve the way it selects and trains its staff, and that the staff needs to communicate better with the troops in their care.

“From our position, the perception of that soldier and his wife is reality,” said Brig. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, the departing 18th Airborne Corps chief of staff, referring to publicized complaints about the WTU. “And so we’re trying to figure out, how do we better connect with him? How do we better keep him informed? How do we better prepare leaders for what I would argue is one of the most difficult tasks in our Army?”

Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, the commanding general of 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, ordered the investigation after an advocacy group told him in February that soldiers in the battalion were being overmedicated, poorly treated and unfairly discharged.

The inspector general’s report was not released, but Garrett summarized the inspector general’s findings in a news conference on the post April 17. He told reporters they can request the report from the Inspector General’s Office at Army headquarters under the Freedom of Information Act. Army Times has made that request but had not received the report by press time.
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Parents say Fort Bragg soldier charged with shooting at firefighters has PTSD

Parents want Army to care for shooting suspect
By Joe Gould
Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Apr 29, 2012

The parents of a Fort Bragg, N.C., soldier charged with shooting at police and firefighters who responded to a fire at his home said he suffered from combat-related stress and believed he was being attacked by insurgents.

The soldier, Staff Sgt. Joshua “Ike” Eisenhauer, 30, shot at emergency workers who came to fight a small fire on his deck Jan. 13. No emergency workers were seriously injured in the shootout, but Eisenhauer was hospitalized for gunshot wounds.

He has since recovered and was charged with 15 counts of attempted murder, nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and six counts of assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm.

In separate letters to Army Times, Eisenhauer’s parents — Mark Eisenhauer and Dawn Erickson — said their son was traumatized after two deployments and called on the Army to “assume responsibility” and take over the prosecution from the state.

Mark Eisenhauer said in the letter, “the Army should take care of its own even when that means prosecutions of its own. The Army has the facilities to provide the physical and psychiatric care or soldier needs to recover and become a useful member of civilian society again.”

According to Eisenhauer’s father, his son said he had “flashbacked to combat in Afghanistan.” He awoke to the sound of footsteps on the stairs outside his apartment, saw flames, smelled smoke, and “fired on the ‘insurgents’ who were actually firemen and police officers.”
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Fort Carson Soldiers come home

Fort Carson Homecoming from Patti Moon on Vimeo.

VFW to restore memorial cross in Mojave Desert

Court settlement paves way for veterans to restore memorial cross in Mojave Desert
Published April 29, 2012
Associated Press

A veterans group can restore a memorial cross in the Mojave Desert under a court settlement that ends a decade-old legal battle, the National Park Service said Tuesday.

A federal judge approved the lawsuit settlement on Monday, permitting the park service to turn over a remote hilltop area known as Sunrise Rock to a Veteran of Foreign Wars post in Barstow and the Veterans Home of California-Barstow.

The park will give up the acre of land in exchange for five acres of donated property elsewhere in the 1.6 million acre preserve in Southern California.

The swap, which could be completed by the end of the year, will permit veterans to restore a cross to the site and end a controversy that became tangled in the thorny issues of patriotism and religion and made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.
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In Blacksburg parade, veterans hear a hearty 'thanks'

In Blacksburg parade, veterans hear a hearty 'thanks'
Hundreds of New River Valley residents gathered on South Main Street on Sunday to clap, wave flags and greet veterans who paraded by.
By Mason Adams

Col. Wesley Fox, one of fewer than 85 living Medal of Honor recipients, talks with compatriots before the Welcome Home Veterans Parade in Blacksburg. Fox was in the Marines for 43 years and is a former deputy commandant for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. BLACKSBURG -- Generations of military veterans marched together Sunday in a parade that culminated with the annual Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets' change of command ceremony.

Hundreds of New River Valley residents gathered on South Main Street to clap, wave small American flags and say "thank you" as the veterans walked or rode by.

As one vet passed by in the back of a car, Peggy Eaton of Montgomery County rushed out to shake his hand. Eaton said she lost three fathers -- her birth father, her stepfather and her father-in-law -- to World War II, and said it was important to be at the parade to pay tribute to their sacrifices.

Gary Harris of Radford had the same idea. He has been driving a recreational vehicle called "A Soldier's Spirit" for years to pay tribute to those who have perished in wars. Harris, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 776, served in the Army and fought in the Vietnam War in 1970.

"My friend Steve Traynor, we had 48 days to come home from Vietnam, and he got killed," Harris said. "So when I retired, I bought this old bus and put that mural on the side. When I went out camping or on trips, other people want to put a name of their loved one on the side."
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At 102, female WWII veteran keeps doing good deeds

At 102, female WWII veteran keeps doing good deeds

Bea Abrams Cohen has worked for more than seven decades supporting philanthropic organizations and the U.S. military.

By Ann M. Simmons
Los Angeles Times
April 30, 2012

It's all about "mitzvah," said Bea Abrams Cohen as she sought to explain one possible secret to her longevity. The meanings of the Hebrew word include an act of human kindness or a good deed. That's what Cohen, age 102, has spent a lifetime doing.

"Pay back. It works," said the chatty centenarian, who served her country during World War II and has worked for more than seven decades supporting the U.S. military and philanthropic organizations.

A resident of Westchester, Cohen is believed to be California's oldest female veteran, according to the California Department of Veterans Affairs. She was recently recognized at a state Capitol celebration during Women's Military History Week honoring the achievements of women in the armed forces.

"I don't want anyone to ever forget our veterans," Cohen said. "They are our heroes."
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Tampa VA veterans awaiting appointments hiked from 30 to 120 days

VA standard for veterans awaiting appointments hiked from 30 to 120 days
By William R. Levesque,
Times Staff Writer
Monday, April 30, 2012
Tampa Bay's two veterans hospitals have changed a much-watched measure of their performance by increasing from 30 to 120 days the time a patient must go without an appointment before being placed on a waiting list, interviews and documents obtained by the Tampa Bay Times show.

Critics of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs say the change is part of a wider VA trend of fudging statistics showing how well facilities serve veterans.

The VA denies the charge.

But at James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, a switch from 30 to 120 days this month left the hospital's waiting list for outpatient appointments much improved. It dropped from March's 4,981 patients to 1,800 this month, Haley figures show.
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Son of Vietnam Veteran to receive Silver Star

Soldier from Houston to receive Silver Star for heroism
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Katie McCall

A local soldier will be honored this week at Fort Polk in Louisiana.

U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Laughery of Houston will receive the prestigious Silver Star, the third-highest combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of military for valor in the face of an enemy.

"It is a really big honor for valor for bravery under fire, and not many people get it, and I am very proud of him for getting it -- definitely," the soldier's father, Christopher Laughery said.

Christopher Laughery is a Vietnam veteran who has watched his 27-year-old son serve two tours in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, leaving behind two daughters and a wife to serve his country.
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fort Lauderdale Air Show Cancelation Causes Disappointment

Air Show Cancelation Causes Disappointment
April 29, 2012 6:07 PM

(CBSMiami) – Due to weather conditions, organizers of the Ft. Lauderdale Air Show were forced to cancel Sunday’s performance.

“After consulting with city officials in regards to public safety, the Lauderdale Air Show has been canceled for Sunday,” show officials posted on their Facebook page.

“It was devastating,” air show worker Leo Abate said after he learned the news. “There were a lot of sad faces, a lot of work in preparing for this, we’ve been preparing for this like six months.”

But Abate realized the right decision was made.

“We had rain bands coming just like our hurricanes and it just was not safe to put people out there on the beach,” said Abate. “They had an issue on the beach with water, standing water, and the tents and things like that.”
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The thrill is back: Air show wows the crowds, despite gray skies and drizzles
By Robert Nolin
Sun Sentinel
April 28, 2012
Afterburners flaming, contrails streaming from wingtips, the gray F-18 Navy Hornet appeared out of nowhere and roared over Fort Lauderdale beach.

The crowd below roared back.

The wild blue yonder just got wilder.

After five years, warbirds and civilian stunt planes returned to lace the skies Saturday with heart-in-your-throat aerobatics as the newly resurrected Lauderdale Air Show soared into town. The show continues today, from noon to 4 p.m. on Fort Lauderdale beach.
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Vietnam Veterans Reunion 2012

While the media loves to say that Afghanistan is the longest war, they forget when the US started to lose lives in Vietnam.

Yesterday we went to the Florida Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion. If reporters bothered to look at the Wall whenever they covered it, they'd know that the years on it began in 1959 and kept claiming lives until 1975.
July 8, 1959 - Two U.S. military advisors, Maj. Dale Buis and Sgt. Chester Ovnand, are killed by Viet Minh guerrillas at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. They are the first American deaths in the Second Indochina War which Americans will come to know simply as The Vietnam War.

The last died in May of 1975 Capture and Release of SS Mayaguez

At Afghanistan hospital, Texas troops treat the wounds of war

Bagram hospital helps keep survival rates at record highs even as it sees horrible injuries from roadside bombs. 
By Jeremy Schwartz
Sunday, April 29, 2012

BAGRAM AIR BASE, AFGHANISTAN — Just after 9 a.m., the helicopter descends past jagged, snowcapped mountains, and the crew rushes a soldier with a gunshot wound to his leg into the trauma center. Nurses, doctors and medical technicians, clad in camouflage scrubs, flood into the room, unwrapping his bloody bandage, checking vital signs and inserting lines for intravenous fluids.

The injury is minor compared with what these military medical workers see on a regular basis. In addition to a growing number of gunshot victims, the trauma center sees many NATO troops whose legs and arms have been blown off by land mines hidden in the Afghan countryside, victims of what the military has termed dismounted complex blast injury. On busy days, staffers treat dozens of patients, as they did on a recent Saturday when insurgent forces staged a series of attacks around Kabul.

By nighttime, the soldier will have been carefully bundled onto a stretcher, or "packaged," and along with a dozen other wounded service members, put on a C-17 cargo plane and flown to the Army's military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.
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Orange Park soldier, military dog handler, dies in Afghanistan

Orange Park soldier dies in Afghanistan
2 Army sergeants killed while serving in Ghanzi Province, Afghanistan 
Published On: Apr 27 2012

Two soldiers supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, one from Orange Park, died Thursday while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Sgt Dick A. Lee Jr. and Staff Sgt. Brandon F. Eggleston died Thursday in Ghanzi province from injuries suffered when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

Lee., 31, of Orange Park, was assigned to 95th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Sembach, Germany.

Lee is survived by a wife and two sons.

His commanding officer called Lee a great soldier and military dog handler and that everyone who knew Lee considered it an honor to serve with him.
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American Hero Fest today in Old Town

American Hero Fest

Biker killed after hitting deer in Ocala National Forest

Biker killed after hitting deer in Ocala National Forest

By Kevin P. Connolly
Orlando Sentinel
April 28, 2012

A South Florida motorcyclist heading north on State Road 19 in the Ocala National Forest was killed Saturday after his bike hit a deer that jumped out of the woods and into his path.

Bruce L. Pelish, 57, of Miramar was killed after the 10:20 a.m. crash at S.R. 19 and Sunset Strip, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The crash happened in a part of the forest located in north Lake County.
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More than 500 Volunteers Join Rebuilding Together Boston

More than 500 Volunteers Join Rebuilding Together Boston to Renovate Homes and Non-Profit Facilities on National Rebuilding Day

April 28, 2012
PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Volunteers, including New England Patriots employees and alumni and an all women skilled tradesperson team, are repairing homes and renovating housing for formerly homeless veterans, women and children at nine sites across the City.

Today, Rebuilding Together Boston (RTB), an affiliate of Rebuilding Together, the nation's leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable housing and revitalize communities, is engaging more than 500 local volunteers and civic leaders to rehabilitate six homes in Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury; Pine Street Inn Veterans' housing and a residence for formerly homeless women, and the Nazareth Residence for Mothers and Children on National Rebuilding Day.

This work is made possible by the generosity of sponsors: Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bullhorn, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, Gilbane Building Company, Grand Circle Corporation, the Jacobs family, Mirassou Winery, Sears Holdings and Starbucks. Also, the Home Depot Foundation made a generous community impact grant to Rebuilding Together Boston for the donation of supplies to support the renovation work on National Rebuilding Day.

Projects this year include the renovation of an 89-year old widow's home by an all women crew who are providing plumbing, electricity, and carpentry services at her home in Mattapan where she has resided in for more than 40 years and has cared for her grandson who has cerebral palsy.

Also, volunteers will be working on several other projects including providing home modifications and energy-efficiency upgrades for a World War II Veteran and his wife. RTB volunteers will complete needed repairs in the basement; reconstruct the front porch with new windows and paint; repair the railing and lattice work on the back porch and paint; install a new walkway from the driveway to back yard; install drainage for down spouts; and make any needed home modifications for the couple to ensure safety.

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Tacoma VFW Post 91 helps Bales family get through nightmare

Tacoma VFW Post 91 helps Bales family get through nightmare
Kari Bales and her two young children stayed hidden in plain sight at the Daffodil Parade on April 14. They were among about a dozen people waving at the crowd from a float entered by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 91 in Tacoma.

HOW TO HELP VFW Post 91 is accepting donations for Kari Bales and her children at its post building, 2000 S. Union Ave. in Tacoma. The money will supplement the family’s living expenses while they pay mounting bills. Donations can be placed in a secured box located just inside the post’s front door. Checks should be made out to VFW Post 91. Call 253-759-6995 to see if the building is open.

Published: 04/28/12

Kari Bales and her two young children stayed hidden in plain sight at the Daffodil Parade on April 14. They were among about a dozen people waving at the crowd from a float entered by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 91 in Tacoma.

Despite the international coverage of their plight, only two friends in the crowd recognized the wife and two children of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier who’s charged with murdering 17 Afghan civilians, said Elmer Clark, the VFW post commander.

Clark made the arrangements for the Bales family to ride the float – one of many ways the post is wrapping its arms around family members during their nightmare that began seven weeks ago today.
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Veteran's mission continues even after his return from combat

Veteran's mission continues even after his return from combat
Saturday, April 28, 2012

James Casey, a U.S. military veteran, had trouble finding an identity in society when he returned home from Iraq.

After suffering a knee injury in 2009, however, Casey was forced to return to St. Louis. It was during this time that he developed post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It was being idle and not doing anything,” Casey said, “I was going through a major loss in my life. I was losing an identification of self because for almost a decade I had identified with being a combat soldier.”
He needed to find the focus and purpose back home that he had during his three tours of duty in Iraq. The Mission Continues helped provide that purpose.

On Saturday, The Mission Continues — a nonprofit organization that challenges post-9/11 military veterans to be leaders in their communities — teamed up with Fox Sports Midwest as part of the Summer Service Slam to spearhead a refurbishment of Rainbow Softball Center at Cosmopolitan Park.

"Many veterans struggle to find the same purpose at home as they found in the mission, camaraderie and structure of the military. The Mission Continues does not offer charity, rather, it challenges returning service members to utilize their tremendous skills and leadership to continue serving our country at home," the organization's website says.

Saturday was an opportunity for veterans such as Casey to give back to their community with the help from civilian volunteers.
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Soldier accused of selling stolen arms on eBay from Iraq

Feds: Soldier sold stolen arms on eBay from Iraq
Fidel Ignacio Cisneros is accused of violating federal arms export laws, according to the Homeland Security investigators.

By Arelis R. Hernández
Orlando Sentinel
April 28, 2012

A U.S. Army soldier with connections to Orlando sold stolen arms to buyers on eBay while he was deployed in Iraq in 2010, according to Homeland Security investigators.

Fidel Ignacio Cisneros is accused of violating federal law regarding the export of sensitive technology such as night-vision equipment, rifle scopes and high-powered infrared lasers that were not intended for the public, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Orlando.

Using the eBay name of "silentpro2010," Cisneros told buyers he was retired from the military and based in Orlando selling surplus equipment, investigators said.

His listing touted the arms as being extremely rare and "impossible to find on the international market," the affidavit said.
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Camp Lejeune Marines justified in killing home invaders

DA: Deaths were justified
April 28, 2012 6:15 AM
Prosecutors announced Friday they will not press charges against two Camp Lejeune Marines and a civilian who fought for their lives and killed two local men who were burglarizing their Jacksonville home earlier this month.

Maurice Skinner, 33, of Banks Street, and Diego M. Everette, 33, of Graytown Road, were shot and killed by residents of 107 Country Club Drive around 2 a.m. on April 15.

District Attorney Ernie Lee refused to publicly identify the residents involved in the shooting.

He said it was clear from the evidence that the state’s Castle Doctrine, which allows for deadly force in defending one’s home, and self-defense laws apply in the case.

“After investigation by the Jacksonville Police Department and reading the statements of the witnesses, it is clear that Everette’s and Skinner’s death were justified because of the actions of Everette and Skinner in burglarizing the residence and assaulting, robbing and threatening to kill the occupants of the residence,” Lee said.
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First Gay Marriage Proposal on Military Base at Camp Pendleton

How would anyone know this is the first one?
First Gay Marriage Proposal on Military Base at Camp Pendleton
Friday, April 27, 2012
By Beth Ford Roth

A Navy veteran and active-duty Marine may be the first gay couple ever to have gotten publicly engaged on a military installation. It happened this week when Cory Huston proposed to Avarice Guerrero at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.

San Diego LGBT Weekly broke the story, and was there when Huston got down on bended knee to ask Guerrero to marry him. Guerrero had just returned from a ten-month deployment to Afghanistan.
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Vietnam Veterans in Nashville PTSD group ends?

For ten years these men have been able to meet and support each other. Does the VA have any clue how much these Vietnam veterans need it? Do they even have a clue how they are an example of what does work when it comes to PTSD?
Vietnam veterans worry VA to end local PTSD support group
Posted: Apr 27, 2012
Reported by Jonathan Martin

A group of veterans fear the Nashville VA Medical Center is turning its back on them.

The Vietnam veterans said living with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is tough enough. Now, they are worried that a support group for those dealing with anxiety from the Vietnam War could be cut.

"It's not good. It's not a good feeling," said veteran Jack Fann.

"This group is my livelihood. Without these people, I don't know how much longer I'll be alive," said veteran John Baglin.

For more than 10 years, the group of about 15 men has been meeting to talk through their issues with help from a VA facilitator.
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Marine no one helped now helping others

One Marine veteran's story: Rick Collier
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
By Mike Francis
The Oregonian

My name is Rick Collier. I'm a Marine Iraq Veteran and Founder of No Soldier Left Behind, a 501 (c)3 nonprofit for Military Veterans. I’m writing you today in hopes to share my story, and help thousands of Veterans like myself. Stories like mine aren’t shared often and I think it’s time we speak up and start healing together. Helping me share my story might also save lives. Here’s a small version of my story.

9/11 was where it all started. I was a senior in high school as I stood and watched the news coverage in my school's library. The horror of the planes hitting the twin towers shocked all who watched and we just stood silent. The pain I felt watching our own be attacked and murdered lit a fire inside. Within six weeks of the attacks I was fully contracted with the Marine Corps. Infantry was my job.

Not one person wanted to help me; my time in Iraq meant nothing. I meant nothing.

Finally in 2009, 6 years later, I found a Veteran Service Officer willing to help me. He not only took my case, he fought for me like my command should have. I took some time to build my case but I worked hard every step of the way. I collected letters from over a dozen Marines I served with in Iraq, letters from friends and family, from local teachers to Sheriffs and even a fighter pilot in the USAF. I even went as far as getting a Congressman to back me in my fight.

By summer of 2010 I was not only reinstated with VA benefits, but I was diagnosed with several injuries including Severe PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury). I was then back paid and enrolled into mental health treatment. I was finally able to start healing. I also gained recognition for my service, and that was something I lived without for many years. I even utilized my VA home loan and bought a house, despite my Bad Conduct Discharge. I started to defy all odds and overcame what others said I couldn’t.

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Army announced plans Thursday to improve discipline at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Army bringing more management to troubled JBLM
April 26, 2012 

The U.S. Army announced plans Thursday to improve discipline at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, an installation that has been linked to a string of recent violence.

Associated Press

The U.S. Army announced plans Thursday to improve discipline at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, an installation that has been linked to a string of recent violence.

Army Secretary John McHugh said a layer of management will be added in a reorganization that will bring a new division headquarters to the troubled base.

McHugh said the move was largely in response to the massive growth Lewis-McChord has seen over the past decade. But he also acknowledged a recent string of high-profile cases and indicated that stronger oversight might have assisted in containing those issues.
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Is military training so intense it causes PTSD too?

Inside a military training exercise in Yuma Royal Canadian Regiment trains in Ariz. desert
Published : Thursday, 26 Apr 2012
“Yeah I think some of the soldiers might get PTSD from being here, but it is a great training environment, it simulates the common environment we are all faced with, its great.”

YUMA, Ariz. - It’s not just US Armed Forces taking on terrorism around the world. We get a lot of help from our allies.

FOX 10 cameras were watching as the Royal Canadian Regiment went into action recently, capturing a high-value target.

A battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment launches its air assault in clouds of swirling dust, as a platoon ropes into the hideout of a high value terrorist target.

“Our unit has deployed several times and I have as well,” said Major David Hill, Royal Canadian Regiment.

But this isn't Afghanistan. It isn't Iraq. That tire burning next to a saguaro cactus means only one thing. This is Arizona. To be exact, the US Army's Yuma proving ground.

“The landscape is a similar type of landscape to places we could potentially deploy in the future,” says Hill.

It's a mock Middle East village built years ago to help U.S. forces train for overseas missions. This month it helped Canadian forces sharpen their skills.

“It’s a great opportunity for the solders to get a chance to see the sights and smells and sounds of places in the future they might find themselves.”

Before the assault, we put a portable camera on one of the bad guys. Our volunteer, plus other Canadians and some U.S. Marines, play terrorist bodyguards.

They are protecting a high value target: another Canadian soldier. She's dressed to look like a terrorist leader.
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10,000 new patients with PTSD checking in at VA every three months

Montana poised to benefit from increase in VA mental health staff
April 26, 2012

At a time when the VA Montana Health Care System is struggling to recruit psychiatrists to treat veterans with mental health problems, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has announced an immediate, nearly 10 percent increase in mental health staffing across the country.

VA Montana has not yet been told how many new staff members it will receive or the specific type of mental health professionals it will receive, but VA officials are heralding the notification.

Some 1,600 mental health clinicians, including nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, as well as nearly 300 support staffers, will be added to the existing mental health workforce of 20,590. The expanded mental-health services will include professionals from two additional health care fields: marriage and family therapists and licensed professional mental health counselors.

The infusion of mental health professionals coincides with the scores of men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The VA currently treats 1.3 million veterans for mental health problems, including an estimated 400,000 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since 2007, VA has seen a 35 percent increase in the number of veterans receiving mental health services. There are 10,000 new patients with PTSD checking in at hospitals every three months, according to the VA.
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Dr. Phil Issues “Apology” and blames media for "monster" title

This just goes to show that the title was meant to get attention and they just didn't care who got hurt using it.
Dr. Phil Issues “Apology”
April 26, 2012
By Marcus the Redshirt
Cassy highlighted the gross disservice provided by The Dr. Phil Show to PTS sufferers last week. Ever since we have campaigned for the show to issue an apology. That “apology” came yesterday after thousands of people contacted Dr. Phil, the producers, and the sponsors.

We’ve received a lot of response about last week’s show, “Heroes in Pain,” which focused on the epidemic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition that torments so many lives, including soldiers who’ve put their lives on the line serving our country.

Some viewers expressed concern, and even disappointment, with the show’s original title, “Heroes to Monsters?” Our intent was to acknowledge the question so often cited in the media, not to make a statement, and to emphasize the severity of the pain and suffering our guests say they experience. In doing so, we unintentionally offended some of our viewers, and have therefore changed the title to more accurately reflect the show’s content.

I’m glad the show stirred so many of you to respond. Our goal is, and always will be, to call attention to the challenges our returning soldiers face, including PTSD. I really wanted you to hear firsthand the effects that PTSD can have on war heroes and their families, and I’m grateful to our guests for being so candid and honest about their experiences. I hope other media outlets will join us in talking openly about these challenges and our need as a society to respond with compassionate action. Two of my three sisters married fighter pilots (Vietnam era), and my nephew flew many missions as a Navy fighter pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan, so the lives of our veterans hits very close to home.
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original story
Dr. Phil didn't care who he hurt with his "monsters" PTSD connection

Active Duty Marine Shot 37 Times by Deputy Will Go To Trial

Wife of Active Duty Marine Shot 37 Times by Local Deputy and CHP Can Proceed to Trial
Thursday, April 26, 2012

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A wrongful death suit against a San Diego deputy sheriff is proceeding to trial after the deputy along with a group of California Highway Patrol officers killed an active duty Marine who was a veteran of the Iraq war, by shooting him 37 times after pinning his car at the side of the freeway.

After an argument with his wife, Robert Medina led 18 officers and 13 police cars on a slow-speed chase down the I-5 through Oceanside, which is near Camp Pendleton, before he was eventually trapped and penned in near Encinitas a few miles south.

Medina was an active-duty, 22-year-old Marine who had recently returned from a tour in Iraq and suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome, according to a federal court ruling. The syndrome often develops after a person experiences a violent personal attack or traumatic event, such as being in a war zone. Military personnel are especially at risk for developing PTSD, which includes symptoms like flashbacks, depression, and difficulty functioning in social situations.

In the early morning hours of November 16, 2006, Medina had a fight with his wife and left the house even though she asked him not to go.
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Iraq Veteran with PTSD saved by Vietnam Veteran

Iraq Veteran Credits Vietnam Veteran With Saving His Life
By: Nick Winkle

An Iraq war veteran on the verge of suicide says a stranger miraculously stepped in and helped get him the benefits needed to save his life.

Michael Saniti says the VA did little to help him with the guilt, nightmares, and sleepless nights he suffered from after two tours in Iraq.

Saniti says he put a loaded gun to his head several weeks ago and was ready to end it all.

That is, until a stranger stepped in.

Saniti had secretly written his own obituary, which was published in a newspaper by mistake, and was subsequently featured in an article.

A Senior Claims Representative at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Laguban, saw the article and reached out to help.

Within a few days, Laguban had Saniti enrolled in a weekly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder counseling program at the VA. More importantly, Laguban's help and support gave Saniti hope.

Saniti credits Laguban with saving his life.
go here to watch video

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why are soldiers dying in their sleep?

Why are soldiers dying in their sleep?
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Steve Daniels


The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created heartbreak and anger for Stan and Shirley White.

"There's still a lot of raw emotion there. We've lost two sons," explained Shirley.

First, the Charleston, West Virginia couple's first son Bob - a Fort Bragg paratrooper - was killed in Afghanistan.

"There's nothing like the pain of losing a child," said Shirley.

Then, son Andrew survived his deployment to Iraq with Camp Lejeune Marines - only to die in his bedroom.

"It was like a double-whammy all over again, twice the pain," said Shirley.

The couple have kept Andrew's bedroom as it was the day he died as a memorial to him.

"He did a lot of things in 23 years," said Stan.

In the room are his Eagle Scout certificate, an award from his days in the Junior ROTC, his Marine medals, and pictures from his time in Iraq. But the walls do not tell the story of Andrew's psychological trauma from nine months in Iraq.

"He died because of his PTSD, because of what he saw in the war zone. The medication is what killed him. We consider him as being a casualty of war," Stan offered.
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Fort Benning families walk for suicide awareness

Suicide awareness walk on Fort Benning
WRBL News 3
Published: April 26, 2012

Walkers organized on Fort Benning Thursday to bring awareness and education to the risk of suicide.

Tricia Radenz’s 12-year-old son committed suicide during his dad's deployment in 2009. The mom from Fort Hood, Texas wants to help other parents look for warning signs.
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Suicide awareness walk on Fort Benning
Walkers organized on Fort Benning Thursday to bring awareness and education to the risk of suicide.

1 out of 4 OEF OIF veterans are disabled

A cost of war: Soaring disability benefits for veterans
By Aaron Smith
April 27, 2012
After more than a decade of continuous warfare, the cost of disability compensation for wounded veterans is surging to mammoth proportions.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects to spend $57 billion on disability benefits next year. That's up 25% from $46 billion this year, and nearly quadruple the $15 billion spent in 2000, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

"This is the cost of going to war," said Larry Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as assistant secretary of defense during the Ronald Reagan administration. "We've made so much progress in medicine [that] you're going to have a lot of people survive their injuries who didn't in the past."

About 4,500 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq and about 1,800 have been killed in Afghanistan. Some 633,000 veterans -- one out of every four of the 2.3 million who served in Iraq and Afghanistan -- have a service-connected disability, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Band of Brothers Hero John McGrath dies at 92

Soldier depicted in 'Band of Brothers' dies at 92
The Record
(Hackensack N.J.)
Published: April 26, 2012

John McGrath, a reluctant World War II hero whose derring-do became well known after his depiction in the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” died on Tuesday. He was 92.

For decades, McGrath’s local claim to fame was his service to the Elmwood Park Fire Department in New Jersey, which he joined in 1952. He was chief in 1970 and 1971, when the borough was called East Paterson. After retiring as a truck driver, he worked as the borough’s part-time fire code official.

True to the Greatest Generation, the humorously gruff McGrath, who was known as Jack, seldom spoke about what he did in the war.

Stephen E. Ambrose blew his cover.

The historian and biographer immortalized the soldiers of Easy Company, the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, in his 1992 book “Band of Brothers.” McGrath belonged to the legendary company, whose successes stretched from D-Day to the capture of Hitler’s Bavarian outpost. The Carlstadt-born soldier had his moment on page 100, where Ambrose describes how McGrath blew up a German tank with a bazooka shot — “the critical moment,” Ambrose writes, in the Allied forces’ taking of Carentan, France, during the invasion of Normandy.

“Band of Brothers” became a critically acclaimed miniseries in 2001, and McGrath’s exploits were officially out in the open.

“I had no idea of his war record until the miniseries — he never said anything,” said Richard Mola, a longtime friend and Elmwood Park’s mayor since 1972.
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Florida homeless veterans get help

Governor's $1 million grant helps homeless veterans
A grant by the governor will give veteran support groups in the state of Florida a $1 million boost.
By Craig Rubadoux, Malcolm Denemark and Tim Walter
Posted April 27, 2012

Heroic Vietnam veteran always there for comrades

Heroic Vietnam veteran always there for comrades
Luc Pieterbourg Jim Basta, right with Barry Spear, helped put together the Vietnam War Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park.

The Tampa Tribune
Published: April 26, 2012

Jimmy Basta hovered the Huey helicopter gunship over a mountainous stretch northwest of Kon Tum, a provincial capital in Vietnam, laying down a barrage of rockets and bullets at the enemy below.

Known by the call signal "Tornado White," Basta was doing what he did best in the jungle: protecting buddies regardless of risk.

"It was his hallmark," said Charlie Rayl. Now a lawyer in Kansas, Rayl was then a fellow member of the Ruthless Riders, 7th Armored Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry. Rayl's chopper had crashed. Basta was saving his life on March 9, 1968.

Years later, Basta would move to Tampa, where he was part of what eventually would become the Joint Communications Support Element at MacDill Air Force Base. He helped put together the Vietnam War Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park, off U.S. 301 in Tampa, volunteered for Meals-on-Wheels and became known as the guy who would cart around the little scout helicopter to parades and schools.

On Tuesday, Basta died after a long bout with lung cancer. He was 72.

His family and friends remember him as a straight shooter who ignored danger, be it to his life in the form of enemy fire or to his career in the form of general officers he was not afraid to criticize.

Before leaving Vietnam, where he did three tours, Basta would be shot down six times, said his wife, Marie, also 72. He earned the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and, because he flew so many missions, 55 Air Medals.
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Blind Iraq Veteran taking Walk for Vision

Moorhead man who lost sight in Iraq War to take part in Walk for Vision

By: Helmut Schmidt,
April 26, 2012

Eric Marts made it a point to take care of the soldiers he led in battle in Iraq, even as repeated roadside blasts were robbing him of his eyesight.

Now blind, the 50-year-old former Army National Guard master sergeant is still helping others, hoping to give people in the same situation – whether veterans or lifelong civilians – the same advantages.

Marts plans to walk with his guide dog, “Corporal” Deacon, at North Dakota State University on Saturday in the Fargo version of “Walk for Vision,” the main fundraiser for the North Dakota Association of the Blind.

“I’m pretty blessed,” Marts says matter-of-factly.

After all, the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs helped get him the training and the technology to make a life without sight more navigable, as well as his big, friendly English Labrador guide dog.

He wants to be part of the walk to raise money so that those without his support system can go to camps and get the same sort of help to ease their way through the world.

“So I guess that’s a good cause,” Marts said.
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Lance Cpl. Cory Killgore 'use this tragedy for good'

Marine whose wife was killed wants to 'use this tragedy for good'
April 26, 2012

The husband of the slain Brittany Dawn Killgore said in a statement Thursday that he is searching for a way "to use this tragedy for good."

"Brittany's death cannot be in vain," Marine Lance Cpl. Cory Killgore said in a statement released by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. "At this point I don't know how to use this tragedy for good, but others have found their way, and I hope to do the same. Brittany meant too much to do any less."

Killgore was deployed in Afghanistan when his 22-year-old wife went missing April 13. Her body was found dumped near Lake Skinner in Riverside County on April 17. He is now home on emergency leave arranged by the Red Cross and the Marine Corps.
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Man pleads not guilty in death of deployed Marine's wife
By the CNN Wire Staff
Fri April 27, 2012

Marine sergeant pleads not guilty in woman's death
Authorities have said he was with Brittany Killgore when she was last seen alive
Killgore's body was found in a rural area; authorities haven't said how she died

(CNN) -- On the day one of two suspects in his wife's death was arraigned, a deployed Marine said Thursday he was devastated but wanted to ensure her death was not in vain.

"My wife, Brittany, was beautiful beyond words and her murder has left me devastated. My duty to her memory is now to ensure her good reputation remains intact, and help law enforcement and prosecutors secure justice for the person or persons who took her away from me," Lance Cpl. Cory Killgore said in a statement.

Marine Staff Sgt. Luis Ray Perez, 45, was arraigned on a suspicion of murder charge in San Diego County, California, in the death of Brittany Killgore, 22. He pleaded not guilty, according to CNN affiliate KGTV.
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Marine so badly hurt he filmed himself giving himself the Last Rites

Ex-Marine aims camera at self to heal from the war
By John Rogers
Associated Press
April 27, 2012

This Feb. 2006 photo provided by Josh Echeverria shows U.S. Marine Garrett Anderson in a prone firing position in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Anderson, an ex-Marine filmmaker whose unit carried pocket digital cameras into some of the worst fighting in Iraq is using that footage, and post-war interviews, to open viewers' eyes about combat and help himself deal with the lasting emotional impact. (AP Photo/Josh Echeverria)

LOS ANGELES—An ex-Marine filmmaker whose unit carried pocket digital cameras into some of the worst fighting in Iraq is using that footage, and post-war interviews, to open viewers' eyes about combat and help himself deal with the lasting emotional impact.

The videos are stark. One Marine is so badly hurt he filmed himself giving himself the Last Rites.

Some of the fighters seem unaffected years later in civilian life, while others have gone through severe bouts of post-traumatic stress and one man, who in Iraq saved fellow Marines' lives, wound up in prison back home.

Garrett Anderson hopes to show this all up close with "And Then They Came Home," a documentary he is making from footage he and his comrades gathered on Nov. 22, 2004, one of the bloodiest days of fighting during Iraq's second battle of Fallujah.

One of Anderson's comrades died that day and six others in his platoon were wounded as they fought building to building in the city of Fallujah, searching for snipers. One of those shot was so badly wounded that he pulled out his digital camera and hit the record button as he gave himself the Last Rites so his family would have a record of it. Anderson plans to include that footage in his film.

"We were probably the first group of people who were allowed to go into combat with a digital camera in your pocket," Anderson said recently from his home in Portland, Ore.
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New Hampshire VA psychopharmacologist was intoxicated while providing patient care

“Why I Quit the VA”
April 26, 2012

Nicholas Tolentino spelled out the reasons he resigned from New Hampshire’s main Department of Veterans Affairs health center Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

While his prepared remarks also detail just how flexible the VA’s data are when it comes to showing that vets are getting adequate mental-health care, it’s why the 14-year Navy vet says he left the VA last December after two years that may be most illuminating – and frustrating:
I could detail other instances of unethical practice at the Manchester VAMC that contributed to my decision to resign, but the final straw occurred when the medical center failed to take meaningful action in response to the discovery that a VA clinical psychopharmacologist was intoxicated while providing patient care. On October 31st, 2011 the Mental Health Service Line Manager discovered that a psychopharmacologist at our facility was noticeably intoxicated and slurring his speech. The Service Line Manager became aware of this situation when a veteran reported that the clinician had failed to appear for an appointment. Looking into the matter, I discovered that he had written numerous prescriptions during that day, presumably during the period of his intoxication.
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Hundreds of Fort Carson soldiers came home

Soldiers, Families Reunited After Months Apart

Hundreds of Fort Carson soldiers were welcomed home from Afghanistan Thursday morning, after almost a year away.

Apr 26, 2012

Reporter: KKTV

After nearly a year, hundreds of Fort Carson soldiers are back in the arms of their loved ones.

For months, the only contact these soldiers had with their families and friends were phone calls and e-mails. For months, loved ones felt the painful absence as they navigated their daily lives with their father, daughter, spouse an ocean away.

That's all over for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who returned to Fort Carson early Thursday morning.
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The Russians are coming?

Russia Is Sending Troops To The US To Learn American Military Tactics
Eloise Lee
Apr. 25, 2012

Russian paratroopers will meet up with American forces next month for an unprecedented military exercise in Colorado, according to RT News.

It's the first time Russian service members will be invited into the United States for a joint drill.

A Russian airborne task force will "exercise with U.S. special service weapons," an announcement by Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Aleksandr Kucherenko revealed.

The official purpose of the joint training is to practice airborne tactics and anti-terror operations, such as dropping into a hostile area and conducting a "terrorist camp raid."

"Soldiers of the two countries will hold a tactical airborne operation, including reconnaissance of an imaginary terrorists' camp and a raid," said Kucherenko.
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lance Cpl. Philip Bushong was days away from leaving Marines

Family remembers slain Marine
April 25, 2012

The father of a Camp Lejeune Marine killed over the weekend in Washington, D.C., said his son was just days away from leaving the Corps and beginning a new life with his girlfriend.

Lance Cpl. Philip Bushong, 23, died Saturday after being stabbed in the heart with a pocket knife.

The Marine charged with second-degree murder in Philip Bushong’s death has said he acted in self defense. Pfc. Michael Poth, 20, told police the stabbing was because Philip Bushong punched him in the head. Police detectives did not notice any wounds, and Poth did not request medical treatment, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The altercation occurred at around 2:30 a.m. Saturday on the Barracks Row end of 8th Street in southwest Washington, which has several bars and restaurants where Philip Bushong had been a well-known and popular patron, said his father Michael Bushong, of Broad Brook, Conn.
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Original story Marine kills another Marine

Veterans refused to attend group labeled as “non-compliant” for treatment

This is about as bad as it can be since groups do fine for some veterans but for others, it makes PTSD worse!

From Marine Times
Whistle-blower blasts VA mental health policies
By Patricia Kime -
Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Apr 25, 2012

Testimony from a former employee at a New Hampshire Veterans Affairs hospital confirmed what the VA’s inspector general noted in a scathing report released Monday — that VA embellishes its success rates of helping veterans with their mental health care needs.

Taking it further, Nicholas Tolentino, a former mental health administrator at the Manchester VA Medical Center, said VA culture encourages administrators to game performance metrics, lie on VA-wide surveys and emphasize quantity over quality.

For example, at Manchester, the hospital was able to say it was providing therapy to numerous veterans in a timely manner by placing those who needed intense individual psychotherapy into group sessions.

If veterans refused to attend group, they were labeled as “non-compliant” for treatment.

Worse, Tolentino added, this strategy spread to other regional VA hospitals, ensuring that administrations met their performance metrics by failing needy veterans.

“The system is too open to putting numerical performance goals ahead of veterans’ mental health care needs — too susceptible to gaming practices to make facilities ‘look good’ — and too little focused on overseeing the effectiveness of the mental health care,” said Tolentino, a former Navy corpsman and combat veteran.
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Warning Signs of Suicidal Airmen

Moody: Warning Signs of Suicidal Airmen
Two airmen died this month in possible suicides; one is still under investigation.
Apr 25, 2012
Reporter: Greg Gullberg

Valdosta, Ga.

Two recent deaths are now putting Moody Air Force Base on high alert for suicidal behavior.

Two airmen died this month in possible suicides; one is still under investigation. It's been about two and a half years since the last suicide at Moody.

"People are not made to stand up to that kind of grueling activity. And that's one of the reasons we see as much Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as we have today," said Ed Kent.

Kent is a Gulf War veteran and member of the Georgia State Department of Veteran's Services. He helps military personnel with PTSD cope with everyday life.

Kent sees first hand how suicide is an ever lingering fog over our armed forces. He says our men fighting today face challenges like nothing his generation ever knew.
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Gary Sinise playing Albany show to help build house for disabled vet

Actor-musician Gary Sinise talks about crash and upcoming benefit concert
Actor-musician Gary Sinise playing Albany show to help build house for disabled vet
By Tom Keyser
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In his first concert tour since being injured March 30 in a car wreck, Gary Sinise and his band will perform Saturday at the Washington Avenue Armory to raise money to build a home for a disabled veteran from Nassau.

A concert tour? Sinise is an actor, not a musician, right? Actually, he is both, and the name of his band encapsulates that — Lt. Dan Band. In the role for which he is best known, Sinise played Lt. Dan Taylor in the Oscar-winning movie "Forrest Gump."

But beyond the acting and performing, Sinise, star of the CBS series "CSI: NY," is a tireless supporter of veterans, first responders and children in ravaged parts of the world. When he was involved in the accident in Washington, D.C., he was on his way to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to spend time visiting veterans, and the next day the Lt. Dan Band was to play in Martinsville, Va., to raise money for a triple-amputee veteran wounded in Afghanistan.
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More Soldiers Face Homeless Homecomings Due To Economy, PTSD

More Soldiers Face Homeless Homecomings Due To Economy, PTSD
By Sarah Pusateri

When Stacie King finished up 10 years of service in the United States Navy, she was assured by her Navy TAP class instructor – a class that helps soldiers transition into civilian life and find jobs – that she would be a hot commodity for many employers.

“They were just like, ‘everyone wants to hire a veteran,’” recalls King. “Everyone wants to hire a veteran. You’re so marketable!”

King says for her, the exact opposite was true. She applied for dozens of jobs but got no response.

Finally, the single mother of three did manage to land a job at McDonald’s but quickly realized she wasn’t going to be making enough money to support her family. She packed up her children and belongings and moved to Florida to live with her brother’s family. Several months later, she still hadn’t found a job.

“I was on the brink. I was technically considered homeless because I was doubled up with my family, but even at that point, it wasn’t good. It wasn’t a good situation.”

She’s not alone. King’s family is among hundreds in Hillsborough County experiencing the threat of homelessness.

“With the current troop draw downs, we’re seeing an increase in request for services,” says Sara Romeo the Executive Director of Tampa Crossroads. “We have been really overwhelmed by the needs in the community.”
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Did you know Johanna Dilag?

Homeless Vallejo woman found dead, along with her dog
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen,
Vallejo Times-Herald

Some of the people who gave her food periodically offered Johanna Dilag and her dog Muggles a quiet send-off Tuesday after the two were found dead in their tent in a wooded area behind a Vallejo car dealership on Sunday.

"We held a little memorial for her," said Maria Guevara, founder of Vallejo Together who was familiar with Dilag and Muggles through the agency's Care to Share arm that feeds the homeless.

"We said a prayer and read The Rainbow Bridge -- a poem about deceased pets reuniting with their owners -- for the dog, and we had a moment of silence for her as a soul living on the planet; someone we cared for."

Fairfield native Mike Wagner, 35, a former waiter and carpenter who's been homeless in Vallejo about eight years, said he's known Dilag for several months. He and several others discovered the 37-year-old woman and her dog dead after not having seen the pair for about two days, he said.

"She lived by us," he said. "She liked to be left alone."

Wagner describes Muggles as a 4- or 5-year-old, short-legged, medium-sized orange and white animal of unknown breed.

Vallejo Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jeff Bassett confirmed Dilag's death and said there were no signs of foul play or suicide at the scene, though the matter is under investigation by the Solano County Coroner's Office.
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Members of mortuary affairs have some of the highest percentages of PTSD

HOME FROM WAR: One of the toughest military jobs
April 25, 2012
by Scott Wise and Greg McQuade

EDITOR’S NOTE: CBS 6 reporter Greg McQuade is telling the stories of veterans who have returned to Central Virginia after serving their country in Iraq or Afghanistan. Look for Greg’s reports each Wednesday on the CBS 6 News at 11 or click here to view them on If you know a veteran whose story Greg should tell, let Greg know on his Facebook page.

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – She is just 20 years old, but Specialist Jennifer Martinez can say her job is one of the most challenging in the armed forces. Martinez just returned to Virginia after serving her second tour in battle. During her six month deployment, Martinez missed a great deal while serving overseas.

Members of mortuary affairs have some of the highest percentages of PTSD in the military. Jennifer said she has the right mental and physical makeup for a most difficult mission.

“This deployment was in Afghanistan and my first one was Iraq,” she said. “I just got back maybe two weeks ago. I missed food! Food! Driving my car things like that.”

Jennifer is exhaling at Fort Lee after spending a long six months in a war zone. Her five foot one frame had many questioning her ability in a theatre of war.

“Because I’m so short and small they say oh you can lift that.. ‘Yes I can lift that,’” she said.

As a member of the 54th Quartermaster Company, this 20-year-old soldier was tasked with one of the toughest jobs in the military.

“We have infantry people come in special forces come in and say I couldn’t do the job you’re doing. I guess it takes a special person. We basically process the soldiers so they can come home to their families with respect and honor,” she explained.

Not just process any soldier, but those who gave their lives serving their country.
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Castle's Jon Huertas Talks PTSD at the 16th Annual PRISM Awards

Castle's Jon Huertas Talks PTSD at the 16th Annual PRISM Awards
April 23, 2012
by Wetpaint Entertainment Staff

Castle star and military veteran Jon Huertas opened up about the importance of raising awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder at 16th Annual PRISM Awards on April 19, 2012. He and fellow Castle co-star Stana Katic were honored with the award for Performance in a Drama for tackling PTSD in Season 4, Episode 9: "Kill Shot."

Another veteran discovers VA ID card not good enough to vote

Wisconsin veteran ‘pissed off’ that he couldn’t vote with Veteran ID card
By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gil Paar, a veteran living in Racine, Wisconsin, said he upset to learn on election day that he couldn’t use his Veteran Identification Card to vote.

In a video produced by the United Steelworkers, Paar explained that when he tried to vote in a school board election, he was told that his Veteran ID card was not an acceptable form of identification.

“I can use it anywhere in the United States at a V.A. hospital,” he said. “It is good enough for everything else, but it amazes me that it is not good enough to use as identification to vote. It pissed me off.”
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Iraq vet battling PTSD pedals his way to recovery

Iraq vet battling PTSD pedals his way to recovery
By Matthew Hansen
April 26, 2012

Marine Sgt. David Wright of Omaha will climb on his mountain bike today in northern Texas, take a couple of deep breaths to calm his nerves, and begin to pedal through the second-largest canyon in the United States.

He'll be pedaling away from a past of daily roadside bombs in Fallujah and then the daily drinking binges to numb the panic attacks and the flashbacks.

He'll be pedaling alongside former President George W. Bush, who was Wright's commander in chief during two tours of duty in Iraq. Wright is one of 20 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans picked to participate in the second-ever Warrior 100K, Bush's three-day, 100-kilometer ride through the picturesque Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo.

The ride is meant to honor those injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. It serves as one of the former president's most public events — Bush has remained generally out of the public eye since ending his second term in office.

For the 32-year-old Wright, the ride through the largest U.S. canyon not named the Grand Canyon serves as another milestone in his recovery from a traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

That recovery had been slowed by misdiagnoses and his long-held belief that Marines don't ask for assistance, Wright said before leaving for Texas.
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Manager at VA said "we don't want to know or we'll have to treat it"

Veterans Affairs' mental-health system denounced at hearing
Wednesday's hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs followed the release of an inspector general's report Monday that found the VA has greatly overstated how quickly it provides mental-health care for veterans.
By Steve Vogel
The Washington Post

One manager directed the staff to focus only on the immediate reason for an appointment and not to ask the veteran about any other problems because "we don't want to know or we'll have to treat it," according to Tolentino.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs' mental-health-care system suffers from a culture where managers give more importance to meeting meaningless performance goals than helping veterans, according to testimony before a Senate committee Wednesday.

The hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs followed the release of an inspector general's report Monday that found the VA has greatly overstated how quickly it provides mental-health care for veterans.

"They need a culture change," Linda Halliday, the VA's assistant inspector general for audits and evaluations, told the committee.

"They need to hold facility directors accountable for integrity of the data."

VA practices "greatly distorted" the waiting time for appointments, Halliday said, enabling the department to claim that 95 percent of first-time patients received an evaluation within 14 days when, in reality, fewer than half were seen in that time.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairman of the committee, said the findings show a "rampant gaming of the system."

Nicholas Tolentino, a former mental-health administrative officer at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., told the committee that managers pressed the staff to see as many veterans as possible while providing the most minimal services possible.
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'Take the warrior mask off...get help' for PTSD

Latino soldier to fellow troops:
'Take the warrior mask off...get help'
April 25th, 2012

Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of CNN In America's documentary series on American voters. J.R. Martinez narrates the documentary airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET May 13 on CNN.

By Sonya Hamasaki,
CNN Los Angeles

(CNN) - When Army Master Sergeant Mike Martinez arrived in Saudi Arabia for his first assignment 22 years ago, he knew his experience in the infantry would make him “real tough, tough like nails.” But little did he know back then just how much those words would resonate now, in his new role as a voice for the invisible wounds of war.

Martinez, 42, shared his story in the USO’s first Invisible Wounds public service announcement to address post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries - the masked wounds encountered by many of the 300,000 troops returning home. He’s on a mission to educate Latino troops, in particular, whom he says are likely to feel a cultural stigma surrounding mental health treatment.

“I tell my Hispanic brothers that are still serving, don’t let pride get in the way," Martinez said. "Pride’s going to kill you. Take that warrior mask off and if you need to, get help. Get it in the beginning stages, and not later.”

Even veterans seeking help might not be getting a quick response from those who would care for them, according to an report released by the U.S. Office of Veterans Affairs this week. While the number of former service members seeking mental health care increased by 39% from 2005 to 2010, according to the Veterans Health Administration, the agency hasn't been meetings its goals to evaluate them within 24 hours and begin treatment within two weeks.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Soldier killed, five others injured in autobahn accident near Bamberg

Soldier killed, five others injured in autobahn accident near Bamberg
Stars and Stripes
Published: April 25, 2012

A U.S. Army Humvee lies in shambles after it was struck by a civilian truck on the autobahn near Bamberg, Germany, on Tuesday. A U.S. soldier was killed and five others were injured. The truck driver, from Nuremberg, was slightly injured. Courtesy of Ronald Rinklef

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — One U.S. soldier was killed and five others were injured when a large truck slammed into the rear of their slow-moving military convoy Tuesday afternoon on the autobahn south of Bamberg, German police and U.S. Army officials said.

The soldiers were part of the same company within the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and are stationed in the Schweinfurt area, said Army Capt. Gregory Jones, a spokesman for the 21st TSC in Kaiserslautern.

Two of the soldiers received life-threatening injuries, one was seriously injured and two were slightly injured, according to German police. The truck driver had minor injuries, German police said.
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Grade-schoolers in trouble for wearing wounded warrior tees

This came from one of my friends on Facebook.

Grade-schoolers in trouble for wearing wounded warrior tees
by Mayra Moreno /
Posted on April 23, 2012 at 6:26 PM

CONVERSE, Texas - They thought it would be a harmless gesture to wear a t-shirt in support of their father who is a wounded warrior. But two elementary school girls got in trouble for it.

According to the Judson ISD spokesperson, the girls got in trouble for breaking the dress code before, but this time, their mom said, they were just supporting their father.

First grade student, Savannah and fourth grade student, Taylor, were raised in an Army family.

"I'm paralyzed. I have a TBI," said Army Spc. Justin Perez-Gorda.

The girls' father was injured by a road-side bomb in Afghanistan. The family moved to San Antonio not long after Perez-Gorda was injured in 2011.

"This organization may build us a home that is safe for my husband to be safe in," said Josie Perez-Gorda.

Last week, the family learned they could soon get help from a non-profit organization. They received t-shirts with their logo on Thursday, so on Friday the two girls wore the shirts to school in support of their father. They got in trouble with their principal at Masters Elementary.

"We do have a standardized dress code," said Judson ISD spokesperson, Aubrey Chancellor. "We certainly support the military, but we do have to be consistent across the board when it comes to following the dress code."

Mom and dad are upset and wondering why the school allows students to wear t-shirts with college logos but not one with an organization that supports wounded warriors like their father.

"These guys are fighting for our country and they should be able to wear something that honors their parents, especially if they are wounded," said the girls' mother.

The district spokesperson said if a parent feels the dress code needs to be changed they are always welcome to attend board meetings to address their concerns.

The Judson Independent School District dess code requiremenst for grades pre-k to 8th are as follows: Polo-style shirts (any color - solid or stripes), t-shirt with college or JISD campus spirit logo.

send letters to:
Judson ISD
8012 Shin Oak Drive
Live Oak TX 78233
210-945-5100 Receptionist

Criminal hazing: Raped by his fellow soldiers

Criminal hazing: Raped by his fellow soldiers
‘Crazy Troop’ NCOs court-martialed after initiation ritual in Iraq went too far, Army victims say

By Michelle Tan - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Apr 25, 2012
Warning: Some details of this story are graphic and may be disturbing.

FORT HOOD, Texas — Minutes after returning to his room after a long day of training Iraqi soldiers, Spc. Jarett Wright heard the door open.

Three of his fellow soldiers entered and pushed him down on the bed. Wright struggled, but the other soldiers were too strong.

Two of them — both sergeants — held him down by the shoulders. Another grabbed his legs.

The soldiers ripped off Wright’s belt and tore off his pants and underwear.

Taking turns, the sergeants grabbed Wright’s genitals while the third soldier repeatedly shoved a finger into his anus.

The attack lasted about a minute. But Wright was not the first, nor the last, soldier in C Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, to endure this kind of assault. The unit calls itself “Crazy Troop.”

Wright, who spoke to Army Times about what happened to him, said all the new guys in the troop experienced some sort of initiation. However, the initiations escalated with attacks on him and two other specialists, he said. The two other victims also described identical attacks in interviews with Army Times.
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Marine Who Criticized Obama On Facebook, Other-Than-Honorable Discharge

Gary Stein, Marine Who Criticized Obama On Facebook, Will Receive Other-Than-Honorable Discharge

SAN DIEGO — A sergeant will be discharged for criticizing President Barack Obama on Facebook in a case that called into question the Pentagon's policies about social media and its limits on the speech of active duty military personnel, the Marine Corps said Wednesday.

Sgt. Gary Stein will get an other-than-honorable discharge and lose most of his benefits for violating the policies, the Corps said.

The San Diego-area Marine who has served nearly 10 years in the Corps said he was disappointed by the decision. He has argued that he was exercising his free-speech rights.
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Obama surges in campaign donations from military members

Report: Obama surges in campaign donations from military members
Published: April 25, 2012

The U.S. military has long been closely linked with the Republican party, particularly when it comes to presidential candidates, but that may be changing.

In March, President Barack Obama took in the most campaign contributions from those within the military and the Department of Defense, trumping the previous leader, conservative candidate Ron Paul, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. Despite essentially locking up the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney lags far behind.
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Army encourages new way of looking at combat and PTSD

I can't believe I am finally reading something like this after all these years of screaming about it!

Army encourages new way of looking at PTSD
Traditional definitions of post-traumatic stress disorder may not fit in the case of a trained warrior, a new policy document states.
By Kim Murphy,
Los Angeles Times
April 25, 2012

In a move to improve treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, the Army is discouraging the use of traditional definitions such as feelings of fear, helplessness and horror — symptoms that may not be in a trained warrior's vocabulary. It also is recommending against the use of anti-anxiety and antipsychotic medications for such combat stress in favor of more proven drugs.

The changes are reflected in a new policy document released this month, one that reflects a growing understanding of the "occupational" nature of the condition for many troops. For them, the symptoms often associated with combat stress — hyperarousal, anger, numbness and sleeplessness — may be signs of illness at home but also responses crucial to survival in a war zone.

Doctors who adhere strictly to traditional PTSD definitions could withhold lifesaving treatment for those who need it most, Army doctors now warn, passing over soldiers or accusing them of faking problems.

"There is considerable new evidence that certain aspects of the definition are not adequate for individuals working in the military and other first-responder occupations," such as firefighting and police work, according to the policy, developed by the U.S. Army Medical Command.

"They often do not endorse 'fear, helplessness or horror,' the typical response of civilian victims to traumatic events. Although they may experience fear internally, they are trained to fall back on their training skills [and] may have other responses such as anger."
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I don't think I'd call it "new evidence" since most studies on combat and PTSD go back 40 years!

FSU grad still recovering from 2009 Fort Hood shooting

FSU grad still recovering from 2009 Fort Hood shooting
Apr. 25, 2012
By Doug Blackburn
Democrat senior writer
FSU graduate Patrick Zeigler survived two tours in Iraq but was nearly killed during the Nov. 5, 2009 massacre at Fort Hood.

Zeigler, a Florida State graduate who was gravely wounded during the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, has relocated to a civilian hospital in California. His daily rehabilitation continues, 30 months out and counting.

He is hopeful he will be able to walk without a cane by August, when he is scheduled to testify in the murder trial of former Army psychiatrist Malik Hasan, charged with killing 13 men and women at Fort Hood. He also continues to work on his left arm, which remains mostly paralyzed after it suffered two bullet wounds.

Zeigler remains a positive, focused man. He and his wife, Jessica, who married at Fort Hood in December 2010, are expecting their first child in late October, within weeks of the third anniversary of the Fort Hood tragedy.
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Marines Brace for Cuts From Pentagon

Local Marines Brace for Cuts From Pentagon

More than 600 Marines filled Camp Pendleton’s base theater to learn how the Marine Corps will decide who will stay and who will go

By Lea Sutton
Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012
NBC San Diego

Major cuts in the defense budget are making their way to San Diego as the Marine Corps prepares to cut the size of its overall force by 20,000 Marines.

On Tuesday, officials from Headquarters Marine Corps were on Camp Pendleton to brief Marines on that drawdown plan.

Anxiety was in the air on base as many Marines braced themselves for how those personnel cuts will affect them.

"We know that the drawdowns are happening, so I think everybody's kind of anxious trying to figure out how that affects them. You know, for their personal life - not only for their own career, but for their families”, said Major Mark Paolicelli, who attended the brief.

More than 600 Marines filled Camp Pendleton’s base theater to learn how the Marine Corps will decide who will stay and who will go.
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