Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fort Benning Sergeant defends Olympic gold in men’s skeet

Sergeant defends gold in men’s skeet
By Gary Mihoces
USA Today
Posted : Tuesday Jul 31, 2012

LONDON – Army Sgt. Vince Hancock became the first American man to defend an Olympic gold medal in skeet shooting by winning the event Tuesday afternoon at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Hancock, of Eatonton, Ga., shot a 148 to hold a two-clay advantage over silver medalist Anders Golding of Denmark. Nasser Al-Attiya of Qatar won the bronze with a 144 after winning a shoot off over Russia’s Valeriy Shomin.

With Hancock's result Tuesday and Kim Rhode’s on Monday, the United States swept the skeet gold medals.
read more here

Vietnam veteran and Mom in hospital after attack

Elderly Woman, Vietnam Vet Son Beaten In Cobbs Creek Invasion
July 31, 2012
By Nicole Brewer

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An open heart led an elderly woman to open her door, which in turn opened her up to a brutal attack.

“Shocking, very shocking. Couldn’t understand it, don’t understand it,” said neighbor Robert Rivers.

To make matter worse, police say 87-year-old Yvonne Gaines knew the suspect, possibly an old next door neighbor, who neighbors believe asked to use her bathroom, around 3:30 Tuesday morning.

“This is a neighborhood, people trust each other. They help each other,” explained State Representative James Roebuck.
read more here

Battlefield Home

Nadia McCaffrey sent me the link to this film. I am very glad she did. The second title of this blog is Battle Stations Home because if you read this blog, you know the battles are too often much harder back here than there.

Battlefield Home
The Backstory....

Battlefield: Home is a feature-length documentary about the transition home by our troops and families after combat is over.

Each personal story unfolds the challenges that warriors, families and survivors often face in their attempt to "return to normal," amidst the systemic breakdowns faced by each service member. Whether faced by the challenge of medical, judicial or economics, "Battlefield: Home" shares their stories of survival when the war is over.

With a skeleton crew, and the desire to help, we traveled across the United States to hear these stories and give our Veteran and their families a voice.

Our warriors and families recognize that the war is not always the one fought overseas, sometimes the war is at home.

We are now looking for assistance in completing this most important story. Talented friends have contributed their time and skills to assist, but we are still lacking some essentials.

The film will be released on-line so that it will reach those who can help. The focus and goal of this film is to increase awareness, and help support those who have supported us a nation.

This is a film of strength, courage, honesty, heartbreak, and hope...it is the story of us.

'One percent of our population serves in the military, one percent defends this nation, is it too much to ask that we take care of that one percent?'

Thank you.

Anita Holsapple, MS - Director/Producer/Creator (USMC BRAT) read more here

Fort Hood Sgt. died after high speed chase

Local Man Killed When Truck Hit Tree During Police Chase Identified
July 30, 2012
A man who died when his truck crashed into a tree as he attempted to elude Harker Heights Police early Saturday morning was identified Monday as Fort Hood Sgt. Timothy Stephens, 28, of McMinnville, Ore.

Stephens died after a chase that started just after 2 a.m. Saturday when Harker Heights Police attempted to pull over a speeding and swerving truck in the 300 block of Indian Trail Drive.

At first the driver appeared to be stopping, but then the truck sped up and headed onto Clore Road, police said.
read more here

Death of Fort Hood soldier under investigation after fourth deployment

Shooting Death Of Fort Hood Soldier From Central Texas Under Investigation
July 31, 2012


An investigation was underway Monday into the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Fort Hood Sgt. Clinton Truman Kunze, 29, of Moody, who was a veteran of four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kunze died of a gunshot wound on Thursday at Fort Hood, but no further details were provided.
read more here

Marine from Palm Bay Florida killed in Afghanistan

Brevard County Marine killed in action
July 31, 2012
By Arelis R. Hernández
Orlando Sentinel

A Central Florida Marine was killed Sunday during combat operations in Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.

Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford, 34, of Palm Bay was killed in the Badghis province of the country where his Marine battalion was stationed.
read more here

PTSD families still last to know when their battle begins

On June 24, 2012 I had to ask Why did we let Trever Gould die? because after all these years, it was a matter of why they are still committing suicide.

Trever's Mom was asking the same question. She left this comment on the post I did.
Hello I am Sheri Johnson Trever Gould's mother. A person does not know how hard they can ache until they lose a child. It hurts even more knowing my son did not get the help he need when he asked for it. He always acted strong around me because he was trained that way and thought he was my protector. We need to help our soldiers that come home and even the ones that are deployed. They need to be heard we need to be heard. I would give anything to hold my son one more time and tell him how much I love him, but I can't do this anymore and I want to change things so other parents and spouses can hold their loved ones every day.

I tried to comfort her, let her know that it was not her fault and then she left this comment.

I do blame myself and feel I failed him. My son should be sitting here right now with his family not in a urn. I feel I should of forced him to go get help, but I thought he was dealing with things he acted so tough. When I seen those papers and it was in black and white that he did ask for help and I did not know it. It makes me ache even more. I pray that things change so other parents do not need to feel this pain I feel. I do know now there are others out there that want the same thing and together we can make a change. This is my sons memorial site on Facebook I am working on getting the word out there and making a difference.
Trevor Gould Memorial
I am sorry you and your husband lost a nephew to PTSD also and that your husband suffers from it also.
Sheri Johnson

But if this story has any lessons it is the fact that when combat veterans survive combat but cannot survive being back home, the families blame themselves. That's a fact.

Trever's sister Brittney DeBlieck sent me another email about a petition they have to try to prevent other families from suffering the same way.

Trever Gould
by Brittney DeBlieck

(edited email)
On June 21, 2012, our brother, our mom’s one and only son, and a wonderful uncle took his own life. There would be no more family get-togethers, no more holidays, no more parties for him, and no more of us being able to see his great smile. He held the weight of the world on his shoulders and it became too much. Iraq changed him and the military changed him. We didn’t understand how much it had changed him until it was too late.

A week before he took his life our mom tried real hard to help and get him the help that he needed. Unfortunately, justice failed him. But what from what we know now, it would have been hard to save him. We didn’t understand what had been going through his mind and how much he was truly hurting.

We were very shocked and didn’t understand. The day after he was gone, we tried going through his military paperwork he had in his room and what we found was even more shocking. While being stationed in Texas with the U.S. Regular Army he had threatened to attempt suicide multiple times. However, no one was ever told us this, no one told our mom and the military did not follow-up with his condition. We found paperwork stating that he had threatened suicide. However, on the same paperwork it stated he was not suicidal even with him stating he was. He didn’t receive help he needed. We were never aware of this and wished we knew we did, because maybe it would have been possible to help save Trever’s life. We know that he had asked for help, but are unaware how much he really got.

While he was stationed in Texas he wanted to be home with his family and we recently were told by one of his close friends who was stationed with him, that if a soldier said they needed help that they wouldn’t be able to go home. This doesn’t make sense. While give them the choice of either being able to go home and not get the help versus having to stay at the base to get the help. A soldier is going to want to go home to be with his family not many others would want to choose to stay. They have been away from their families for so long, and want to be with them again. He like many soldiers had trouble getting back into the civilian life and never got the full chance to be able too. Many soldiers like Trever, have trouble getting jobs, being able to sleep right, enjoy life, and be the person they used to be. He would keep to himself more.

Since we lost Trever we have learned so much more about him now than we did before. We really didn’t know how much he was truly hurting inside and how much Iraq changed him. My brother wanted others to believe he was strong and didn’t want to be seen as weak and was too proud to ask for help. He didn’t want to be seen as broken. After coming home he never went to anyone to get help. He wanted to be seen as a strong soldier like many of them do. We have learned our soldiers are not getting the help they need and deserve. My brother was suffering inside from many troubles. When my brother came home from Iraq he was different but tried to not let a lot people know. Very few people knew he had troubles. Unfortunately, with him passing we have truly learned how much our soldiers are truly affected. It is just so sad that it takes something like my brothers story to make us realize what we need to change. We miss Trever very deeply and in his honor, our mom and our family and friends hope to help others and save other soldiers by getting my brother’s story out and show how much soldiers need the help and give them a chance at life and show them they are truly loved and cared about.

We didn’t tell Trever as much as we should have how much he was truly loved and I feel like I failed him as a big sister and have helped him like he should have. There are so many of the “what if’s”. What if we were there with him, what if we could have gotten him the help he deserved, what if we knew how much he was truly hurting inside could have we helped save his life. That will probably never change, but we want to get something changed so this does not happen to others.

Our soldiers are changed in the military and the Purple Star Veterans and Families Organization couldn’t have said it any better. They explain, “Military training does a thorough job of conforming and compressing the hearts and minds of young adults entering the armed forces...Because Veterans are trained to be self-reliant and to “complete the mission” at all cost, it is unacceptable for many of them to ask for help or to receive assistance when offered. Historically, this has been a major barrier to receiving care and continues to be the case with present day Veterans”Veterans Families.org.

We wish to help other soldier’s who helped protect and serve for our country, especially the regular Army. We believe they deserve to have more help given to them. This needs to be stopped. More military related suicides are occurring more than ever. Many like Trever, are proud and do not want to admit they need the help. And when we spoke to a VSO we were told it is the soldier’s responsibility to get the help. This is wrong. Many soldiers’ feel they need to be strong and do not want to accept they need help. However, if we can show them and help them get the help they need, maybe we may be able to help save a soldier’s life that helps to defend and protect our lives. We do not want this to happen to other parent’s or significant others, to have them lose their loved one from taking their own life. They have the right to know if their soldier is thinking about hurting themselves and are hurting inside. By family members knowing of their soldier’s condition, they have a chance to help and possibly save their loved one.

Families are the last to know how much they are hurting but they are also the last to know what they need to in order to avoid losing them after war. So why did we let Trever Gould die? Because families have been the last ones given the weapons to fight for the warriors.

Girls laughed at Vietnam Veteran they slashed with knife

UPDATE Girls Plead Not Guilty to Attacking Vietnam Vet on 6 Train
What’s so funny?! Girl gang ‘laughed’ at Vietnam vet stab
Last Updated: 2:14 AM, July 31, 2012

The wolf pack of drunken girls who slashed a Vietnam vet on the subway after he told them to pipe down were “all laughing” when they attacked him, the man recalled yesterday.

“I’m born and raised in New York City, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said stabbing victim Ralph Carnegary, 63, who already suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from his Vietnam War service.

“They were so young, I would have never thought it would escalate like this,” he said of the seven girls busted in Sunday’s brutal attack.

“I just kept backing away from [the one with the knife], and she kept slashing at me, and then I grabbed the knife out of her hand,” Carnegary said.

“They were all laughing, they thought it was funny.” Read more

Military suicides up, Pentagon pushes program that failed them

Military suicides up, Pentagon pushes program that failed them
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
July 31, 2012

OH MY GOD! They are never going to get it. They will never understand that their "Resiliency" program is the biggest reason there is such an increase in suicides as well as attempted suicides. The second is sending them back over and over again.

Go the top of Wounded Times Blog and type in the search box "resiliency" and read how bad this program is. Then type in "military suicides" to read some of their stories.

Don't expect congress to do anything about any of this since they've been having hearings all these years, listening to the same stories of families suffering but never doing anything about it that works. They pass bills that spend money on programs that have proven to be failures while ignoring programs that actually do work. Most of them cost very little money.

They spend money on research, then never use what the research provided. Most of the studies being done and paid for today were done in the last 40 years over and over again. What did they learn from them? Mental health professionals learned a lot but they do not work for the government. They used the research so they could help the people they treat. Too bad none of it is good enough for congress.

Pentagon Report: Active Duty Military Suicides on the Rise
by Nicole Porter
Last updated on July 30, 2012

Earlier this summer the Pentagon released some startling statistics. The suicide rate with active military members sky rocketed and this year, we could have the most cases since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The government says it's stepped up efforts to tackle this battle. It's safe to assume most of these thoughts come from post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD is a problem that veterans have been facing for years now. Before, it often went undiagnosed. Now, they are working to make sure that all veterans who come back from war are told where they can get any kind of help they would need.

As of June, there were 154 suicides among active duty troops. That was about one a day. There was only 130 during that same time period last year. There was 124 deaths in Afghanistan from January to July. That means there was about 30 more suicide deaths than war deaths in the first part of this year.

The VA acknowledges that the troops coming back now are battling a different type of PTSD. A lot of it is newer and fresh on their minds. That's why they have special liaisons at the hospital just for these vets and they have plenty of options for different kinds of treatment for PTSD.
read more here

Oklahoma top Veterans Affairs officials out after investigations

Top veterans affairs officials out amid neglect, abuse investigations
World Staff Writer
Published: 7/31/2012

Frances Minter displays photos of her and her husband, Jay, who died in May after being scalded in a whirlpool bath at the Claremore Veterans Center. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World

Nearly three months after an 85-year-old veteran died after being scalded in a whirlpool bath at the Claremore Veterans Center, the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs has retired and the administrator of the center abruptly resigned.

A veterans affairs official said executive director Martha Spears retired Friday, citing her husband's ongoing medical issues. Claremore Veterans Center administrator Cynthia Adams did not give a reason for her resignation, said Larry Jordan, administrative programs officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Claremore division.

Neither Adams nor Spears could be reached for comment.

The War Veterans Commission, which appoints the department's executive director and administers veterans programs in the state, has set an emergency meeting Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

Family members of the man who died, Jay Minter, as well as family of others who have been at the Claremore facility say this is not the first instance of neglect or abuse at the center. A state legislator has created an interim study to review the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Minter's widow, Frances, said she wants people to know about what happened to her husband, whose death was first reported by The Journal Record.

"I'm hoping that through the death of my husband there will be some changes to the system and this never happens again to anybody," she said in an interview with the Tulsa World.
read more here

Monday, July 30, 2012

South Carolina Governor's husband deploying to Afghanistan

TRENDING: Gov. Haley's husband to deploy to Afghanistan
July 30th, 2012
Posted by
CNN Political Unit

(CNN) - South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's husband received orders from the South Carolina National Guard on Monday and is expected to deploy to Afghanistan in January, a spokesman in her office said.

1st Lieutenant Michael Haley will deploy to Afghanistan, spokesman Rob Godfrey said.

Michael Haley said in a Monday statement that "this deployment is the reason I joined the National Guard."

"It is important to me to be able to give back. So, in that regard, I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve with a great team from South Carolina," he continued.
read more here

Army acquits Sergeant in Pvt. Danny Chen's suicide

Army Jury Acquits Sergeant of Driving Private to Suicide in Afghanistan
Published: July 30, 2012

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A military jury on Monday acquitted a sergeant on the most serious charges in the death of Pvt. Danny Chen, a Chinese-American from Manhattan who killed himself last year while deployed in Afghanistan.

The jury found the sergeant, Adam M. Holcomb, not guilty of negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat and violations of a military statute that prohibits hazing. Sergeant Holcomb was convicted of two counts of maltreatment and one count of assault consummated by battery.

The verdicts suggested that prosecutors had difficulty convincing the military jury that Sergeant Holcomb’s treatment of Private Chen, which the prosecutors said included brutal hazing and racial taunts, had led directly to the private’s suicide.
read more here

Refusing to quit, disabled veteran aims to inspire others

Refusing to quit, disabled veteran aims to inspire others
By Rebecca Angel Baer
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Mon July 30, 2012

Noah Galloway served two tours of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army
During his second deployment, Galloway's Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb
He lost his left arm above the elbow and his left leg above the knee
He now competes to inspire others and raise awareness for injured veterans

(CNN) -- Noah Galloway's daily workouts could intimidate the most seasoned athlete. He runs, climbs, does pull-ups and push-ups, and lifts weights for nearly two hours at a time. But what really sets this 30-year-old father of three apart is that he does it all with one arm and one leg.

In the aftermath of September 11, Galloway felt called to serve his country. At 19, he withdrew from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and enlisted in the United States Army.

"After we were attacked, I felt like it was what I needed to do. I quit school and started off on a new journey."

Galloway was deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in 2003. After becoming a husband and father, he returned for a second tour in 2005. "They put us in an area that was known as the triangle of death. It was southwest of Baghdad. The units that had been there before us had taken a beating. It was just a rough area."
read more here

VA Hospital costs in Orlando are on track

VA Hospital costs in Orlando are on track, officials tell Mica
By Marni Jameson
Orlando Sentinel
July 30, 2012

Veterans' Affairs officials overseeing the construction of the new Orlando VA Medical Center told U.S. Rep. John Mica today that project costs are actually well under budget, and that the agency won't be asking Congress for any more money.

"This is the best feeling I've had in a long time about this project," said Mica (R-Winter Park). "It's not as grim a picture as has been painted."

In a Congressional hearing in March, representatives from Brasfield & Gorrie, the main contractor for the project, testified that the project was running at least $120 million over budget.

Congress has appropriated $665 million for the 1.2 million-square-foot medical center, which was supposed to open this October, but is delayed.

In the meeting to update Mica on the project's status, VA officials committed to a summer 2013 completion. "The work can physically be done within that time frame," said Bart Bruchok, senior resident engineer for the VA project.

Brasfield & Gorrie has targeted completion for the end of 2014.
read more here

New Talk Therapy Shows Promise for PTSD

If what you are getting for treatment does not work, don't give up. Talk to your doctor to try something else. Everyone is different.

New Talk Therapy Shows Promise for PTSD
Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
July 30, 2012

University of South Florida (USF) researchers report that brief treatments with Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) substantially reduces symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

ART is a form of talk therapy that uses back-and-forth eye movements as an individual fluctuates between talking about a traumatic scene, and using the eye movements to help process that information.

In ART, the eye movements are thought to be conducive to sorting out problems quickly through increasing the integration of activities in the left and right sides of the brain. The eye movements also seem to help an individual process information by producing a deep feeling of relaxation.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), PTSD has become an epidemic in the United States. Recent NIH statistics show more than 7.7 million American adults and as many as 31 percent of war veterans suffer from PTSD. They experience mild to extreme symptoms, often with greatly impaired quality of life and physical and psychological functioning.
read more here

Credit company to pay $12 million to troops for violating Civil Relief Act

Credit company to pay $12 million to troops for violating Civil Relief Act
Stars and Stripes
Published: July 30, 2012

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Capital One will pay $12 million to servicemembers and their families to settle claims that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, according to documents filed in federal court Thursday.

The bank and credit card issuer unlawfully foreclosed on homes, repossessed property and charged servicemembers at interest rates beyond the maximum 6 percent rate they were entitled to under the act, according to a settlement agreement with the Justice Department filed in Alexandria, Va.

The agreement sets aside $7 million for servicemembers who unlawfully lost their homes during foreclosure proceedings with Capital One or either of two acquired subsidiaries, ING Direct USA and HSBC Holdings.

An additional $5 million will go to servicemembers who did not receive correct interest rates or other benefits on credit card accounts and loans.

“Servicemembers will be identified and compensated, with no action required on their part, on accounts dating back to July 15, 2006,” according to a Justice Department statement.
read more here

Reaper drone pilot talks about "kill shot a world away"

A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away
Published: July 29, 2012

HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. — From his computer console here in the Syracuse suburbs, Col. D. Scott Brenton remotely flies a Reaper drone that beams back hundreds of hours of live video of insurgents, his intended targets, going about their daily lives 7,000 miles away in Afghanistan. Sometimes he and his team watch the same family compound for weeks.

“I see mothers with children, I see fathers with children, I see fathers with mothers, I see kids playing soccer,” Colonel Brenton said.

When the call comes for him to fire a missile and kill a militant — and only, Colonel Brenton said, when the women and children are not around — the hair on the back of his neck stands up, just as it did when he used to line up targets in his F-16 fighter jet.

Afterward, just like the old days, he compartmentalizes. “I feel no emotional attachment to the enemy,” he said. “I have a duty, and I execute the duty.”
read more here

Fort Carson clinic named after Pfc. Eric P. Woods

Colorado Army clinic named for Omahan killed saving fellow soldier's life
By Matthew Hansen

An Army medic from Omaha who died trying to save a fellow soldier's life will now be remembered at a famed Army base.

On Friday, Colorado's Fort Carson officially renamed a medical clinic in honor of Pfc. Eric Paul Woods, who died in a 2005 bomb blast in Iraq. Now, when a soldier's spouse or child needs medical help they will go to the Pfc. Eric P. Woods Soldier Family Care Center on the base.
read more here

Marines Catch ‘Deserter’ … 5 Years After His Honorable Discharge

Marines Catch ‘Deserter’ … 5 Years After His Honorable Discharge
By Dave Maass
July 30, 2012

SAN DIEGO, California — On Jan. 26, 2011, a pair of U.S. Marines put Alan Gourgue in handcuffs and a restraint belt and hauled him across the country to face trial as a deserter. Gourgue was distraught and completely confused; he had been honorably discharged in 2006 and finished his reserve obligation four months earlier.

Gourgue’s ordeal provides a glimpse into a rarely seen, slow-moving, stiflingly bureaucratic world of military desertions, where one administrative mistake can result in a catch-22 that Joseph Heller couldn’t have invented.

In the military, there are two types of unauthorized absence: Absent without leave (AWOL) and desertion. The key difference between them is that AWOL is a misdemeanor, while desertion is a felony that assumes the missing soldier abandoned the service with the intent never to return. To employ a school analogy: AWOL is like cutting classes, while desertion is dropping out altogether. If a soldier is gone for more than 30 days, the charge is automatically converted to deserter status, according to Victor Hansen, a professor specializing in military law at New England Law, Boston. It’s like a teacher striking a missing kid from the rolls after a few absent weeks to make room for another student.
read more here

This is what happened to soldier

9 years after leaving Army, veteran mistakenly declared AWOL is arrested, jailed

Air Force chaplain quits Southern Baptist Convention over gay wedding

Air Force chaplain quits Southern Baptist Convention over gay wedding
July 29, 2012
Justin Griffith

On Friday, The Associated Press ran a story chronicling the fallout over the first gay wedding on a military base, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Chaplain Col. Timothy Wagoner has abruptly left the Southern Baptist Convention, even though he didn’t conduct the ceremony.

A few days before the wedding, Col. Wagoner decided to attend as a show of support to the base community, and to Tech. Sgt. Erwynn Umali.

Umali no longer has to hide his sexual orientation from his peers in the Air Force. He’s also paving the way for many other gay and lesbians in the military to demand a similar level of equality. He met his partner in a church that now considers them apostates. They both remain religious, and having a chaplain’s presence was very important to them.
read more here

Maine VA employee suspected in murder-suicide

Former Jacksonville resident killed girlfriend, then himself, Maine State Police say
Posted: July 29, 2012
By Associated Press

HAMPDEN, Maine — Maine State Police identified the man who shot his girlfriend and then killed himself at a Hampden house where a state police SWAT team had assembled.

The shooter was identified Saturday as 53-year-old Lawrence Beaute, who had lived in Jacksonville.
Police say Beaute was a medical technician at a Veterans Affairs facility in Bangor. read more here

McCain jumping on "it's Obama's fault" when Republicans pushed for it.

McCain jumping on "it's Obama's fault" when Republicans pushed for it.

This line of attack has angered Democrats, who argue it is hypocritical for Romney to blame Obama when congressional Republicans were the driving force behind a compromise to cut $1.2 trillion from the budget, split evenly between defense and domestic non-defense programs.

We've all seen the ads on TV with politicians making all kinds of claims to score points hoping the American people don't really know what is going on. They count on our ignorance.

The ad by Romney and company say that Obama cut $500 billion from Medicare but they left this part out.

Obama administration claims record $4.1 billion in Medicare fraud savings
By Julian Pecquet

The Obama administration saved the federal Medicare program $4.1 billion last year thanks to its investments in efforts to prevent fraud, waste and abuse, according to a new report from the Justice and Health and Human Services departments.

That's almost twice the $2.14 billion in fraudulent claims recouped in 2008, according to the report, while the number of individuals charged with fraud increased 75 percent — to 1,403 — over the same time period.

The report credits investments made in the healthcare reform law, including tougher sentencing guidelines, enhanced screening for Medicare providers and suppliers, better coordination between health and law enforcement officials and technological investments.

So where did the $500 billion claim come from? This.

Q. So Medicare will remain untouched at least until next year?

No. The 2010 health law made some potentially important money-saving changes to the program. It saved $500 billion in Medicare spending over 10 years, in part by cutting rates to private Medicare Advantage plans and by reducing payments to hospitals and other medical providers. It also requires higher-income seniors to pay more for their care. In addition, the law created a yet-to-be-constituted panel of experts, called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, to cap federal spending on Medicare at no more than the growth rate of gross domestic product plus 1 percent.

Does McCain explain why he wanted Sarah Palin over Romney when he had to pick the person he'd most like to see take his place?

Where is McCain who constantly claims to be all about veterans on any of this? Does he know most Vietnam veterans are on Medicare now? They are paying attention to what is real and they know McCain has voted against them most of the time.

Barack Obama/Jim Webb vs John Mccain - Veteran GI Bill

At 1:50, then Senator Obama took on McCain and President Bush because they said the GI bill was too good and would cause the troops to leave the military.

Is anyone in Washington honest anymore? For heaven's sake, this country has enough differences on what is real. Why do they have to make stuff up when they are the ones who caused it in the first place? How can they expect us to trust them enough to elect them after they lie to us? If they don't respect us now enough to tell the truth, they sure won't do it after they get what they want!

Doctors often miss PTSD if they don't look for trauma

I read a lot of mental health news reports that do not get posted here because they do not involve veterans. This one is something anyone living with PTSD should know about. Psychiatrists can and often do misdiagnose PTSD as something else. If they are are not looking for a traumatic event in a life, they usually diagnose it as something else. The only way to end up with PTSD is after trauma but the symptoms can look like other forms of illness. This is the story of a woman diagnosed by different doctors.


Psychiatric patients can be labeled with numerous conditions during their treatment, labels that come to define them and their insurance status. Now psychiatry is revamping the mental-disorder book, further jumbling the picture.
By Stacey Burling
Inquirer Staff Writer

Over her life, June Sams has been told she has schizophrenia and four mental health disorders: bipolar, post-traumatic stress, major depressive, and personality. The 60-year-old Chester woman's current diagnoses - she thinks these fit - are major depressive and generalized anxiety disorders plus PTSD due to childhood trauma.

A doctor told Elisa-Beth Gardner, 51, of Swarthmore, that she had borderline personality disorder (BPD) in 1996. Three months later, she was told she had bipolar disorder. Then a doctor said she had both. Her current doctor thinks she has BPD and PTSD, but not bipolar.

When Sonia Weaver, now a 43-year-old Lancaster resident, got sick in 1997 - as a new mother and University of Chicago divinity school student - a psychiatrist said she had postpartum depression.
Read more

Military Dog Up for Hero Award

Military Dog Up for Hero Award
Jul 28, 2012
Knight Ridder

On Oct. 6, Gabe, a weapons sniffing dog at Fort Jackson who conducted 210 combat missions in Iraq -- and has more than 20,000 Facebook friends -- will be cooling his paws at the Beverly Hills Hilton with the likes of Betty White and Whoopi Goldberg.

The 10-year-old lab mix -- who was rescued as a puppy from a Houston shelter just one day before he was to be euthanized -- is the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog in the military category. Now he and his handler, Sgt. 1st Class Charles "Chuck" Shuck, will face off against other service dogs, from guide dogs to search and rescue dogs, for the title of American Humane Association Hero Dog of the Year before the panel of celebrity judges.
read more here

Marine finds Dad after Internet search

Marine finds Dad after 15 year search made the news and it is a good story. It reminded me of a little known other story that happened because another Marine was searching for his Dad as well. Here in Orlando, there was another story of a Marine finding his Dad because of the Internet and the fact I posted the story because I was so touched by what happened.

The Marine's Dad was Vietnam Vet Andrew Elmer Wright and he found a home as a homeless vet with a church and was loved.

I ended up knowing about this because Chaplain Lyle Schmeiser from Orlando DAV Chapter 16 made sure I did. Andrew was being laid to rest. Lyle knew I cared about homeless veterans. Andrew's funeral was different than any other homeless veteran's funeral I had ever seen. Andrew's service was a full of people grieving for the loss.

56 seconds into this video Pastor Joel talks about another Marine finding his Dad but was serving overseas and his Dad, well, his Dad was a homeless Vietnam Veteran and by the time his son found him, he had already been laid to rest. I did the story he found.

This is the update to the story
The Story of Vietnam Veteran Andrew Elmer Wright, Proof of Love

At about 9 minutes in you'll hear how this Marine found he also had brothers and sisters he never knew about.

The Internet, for all of the good things it can be used for, like the above stories, can include acts of love all the time as well as acts of evil that get more attention. All you have to do is look for them. If you only search for what is bad, you'll usually miss what is good.

Security guard at Olympics called soldier "baby killer"

G4S Olympic security guard faces sack after calling soldier who had served in Afghanistan a 'baby killer'
Asian guard is also said to have spat at the serviceman during confrontation
Pair were working at the archery contest at Lord's Cricket Ground
G4S has begun urgent internal investigation into claims
PUBLISHED: 03:13 EST, 30 July 2012

Under-fire private security firm G4S was at the centre of another embarrassing Olympics scandal today after an employee allegedly called a soldier a 'baby killer' as they worked at a Games venue.

The Asian civilian guard, who faces the sack, is said to have spat at the serviceman and made the abusive remark at the archery contest at Lord's Cricket Ground.

The remark is believed to have been a reference to the soldier's service in Afghanistan.
Read more:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Flip side of a group home and neighborhood

I thought this was going to be about another neighborhood trying to keep people in need out but wow, was I wrong on this. If you ever wanted to know the flip side of the story, here's one that will leave your blood pressure boiling.

Group homes stir anger in quiet Normandy Park
July 29, 2012
Normandy Park residents accuse for-profit care provider Hanbleceya of secrecy and deception in housing mentally ill and drug-addicted clients in their neighborhoods, and were even more dismayed when told state and local authorities have no power to step in.
By Christine Willmsen
Seattle Times staff reporter

One person heard the rumor at a Normandy Park book club. Another got wind of it chatting with neighbors on a walk. Then residents saw strangers moving in next door.

By the time citizens of this small, tight-knit suburb, just south of Seattle, realized that a private, for-profit California company was buying houses and moving in the severely mentally ill and drug-addicted — well, it was too late.

In the past six months, the La Mesa-based company, called Hanbleceya, has opened a treatment clinic in Normandy Park, bought three homes and rented two others. The company has plans to expand in Normandy Park, and also possibly to Burien and Des Moines.

When residents sought answers from Hanbleceya, which charges about $100,000 a year per client for treatment and housing, they say they encountered secrecy and deception. What has disturbed them most is that there appears to be no government oversight of this new breed of long-term mental-health treatment that couples semi-independent living with off-site clinical care.

Because Hanbleceya doesn't provide treatment inside the homes, they are not considered residential treatment facilities, which are regulated by the state Department of Health (DOH). And because Hanbleceya doesn't provide other supervised care inside the homes, they most likely do not fall under Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) regulation.
read more here

Aurora shootings survivor says Navy training saved her life

Aurora shootings survivor says Navy training saved her life
Akron Beacon Journal
Published: July 28, 2012

AKRON, Ohio — Carli Richards instinctively knew the smell.

The former Summit County woman had learned all about tear gas in Navy basic training.

And so when a tear gas canister was tossed at her and her boyfriend inside the dark theater in Aurora, Colo., during the midnight premiere a week ago of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, her “fight or flight” instinct kicked in.

“I dropped my purse on the way out with all of my cards — insurance, ID, bank card as well as my cell phone and car keys,” Richards, 22, said of her escape as a gunman fired into the crowded theater.

Authorities say James Holmes killed a dozen moviegoers and wounded nearly 60, including Richards.

The Akron native ran for the exit as soon as the gunfire started with her boyfriend, also a Navy veteran, following close behind.
read more here

Army captain dies serving in South Korea

Army captain dies serving in South Korea
The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Jul 29, 2012
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe says an Army captain from Maine has died while serving in South Korea.

Snowe said in a statement released Saturday that 30-year-old David Haas, of Brunswick, died Friday. She didn’t release his cause of death.
read more here

Would Private Chen have lived with hope given back to him?

While I have not been posting on the information coming out on Private Chen's death, this one really caused me to be infuriated enough to post it. Had someone given Chen hope of getting away from his tormentors, given him a reason to try one more day, he may have decided to live one more day.
2 minutes ago
Pvt. Danny Chen killed himself not knowing of planned transfer
The Los Angeles Times
Published: July 29, 2012

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Pvt. Danny Chen, a Chinese American infantryman who prosecutors say was hazed and abused by fellow platoon members in Afghanistan, was scheduled to be moved out of the unit less than two days after he killed himself last Oct. 3, his company commander testified at a court-martial Saturday.

Capt. Sean Allred said Chen was to be removed from the unit because he was performing poorly as a soldier and was unfit for combat at the dangerous outpost. Allred said he was unaware that Chen was suicidal or that platoon members were accused of hazing the private and humiliating him with ethnic slurs.

Allred said he would have immediately provided help for Chen if he’d known how troubled he was. “I wish that information had been provided to me,” the captain said.

Chen did not know about the transfer plans, according to testimony.
read more here

SCHARF: The power of his story

Pay really close attention to this for now.
SCHARF: The power of his story

Last year, I attended a seminar on treatment for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. The speaker was Capt. Paul Hammer, the psychiatrist who was in charge of that unit at Balboa Naval Hospital. What he said was very simple and revolved around two themes. The first is that only a psychopath can go into battle and come out unchanged. Some people come out devastated, some people come out stronger, for most, it's a combination of the two.

The second was that the road to mental health for those experiencing PTSD was simple: Let them tell their story repeatedly until it loses its power.

We have lost another hero in this Valley, Army Sgt. Eric Williams of Murrieta. There is power in his story, his sacrifice and his blog (myfriendthemedic.blogspot.com) are his testament.

He talks of the change our warriors undergo under the force of the uncertainity, the atrocities of war, the chaos, "the sting of losing someone we tried hardest to save" and how, when they come home, they take with them "the weight of a thousand missions" ---- something that few civilians will ever understand, at least on the visceral level Williams describes.

Williams then talks about the world to which he's returning and how alienated he feels from the country he fought for.

"The truth is that the general American public couldn't give a (expletive) about us. They want their Starbucks and celebrity gossip, and their '16 And Pregnant.' We are breeding a generation of young people who have no idea what this country is founded on or what its citizens had to go through to make this country great and more about what time Jersey Shore is on."
read more here

Between 2008 and 2010 I was certified as a Chaplain and trained in crisis intervention with almost every group down here in Florida for this reason. Everything I read from trusted experts said talking after trauma is vital to healing from it. This was all a reenforcement of what I grew up with. My family, unaware of it, did what psychologists have been doing. They got me to talk. I had their time, patience and naturally their two cents but what I didn't have was their judgment. I talked until I didn't have to talk anymore.

I saw a psychologist when I was younger, dealing with the way my father was when he was a violent alcoholic but stopped drinking after the damage was done. When I was done talking, I stopped going. The last time I went to a psychologist was when no one in my family could understand what Vietnam did to my husband anymore than they could understand PTSD. Again, I talked until I was done talking, well almost. My psychologist had me write in between appointments. The last time I saw her I promised what I wrote would be turned into a book and I did it, but it proved I really wasn't done talking even though I didn't need anyone to "hear" me.

You don't have to take my word on how important it is to talk, especially after combat. You can hear Medal of Honor Sammy Davis for that.

The only problem with this comes when no one is talking right after the event. Talking is still necessary in healing but it gets more complicated as time goes by.

When Combat PTSD has taken hold, it has invaded every part of the veteran. Anyone treating these men and women has to address the whole person or nothing will really work.

For veterans, I wait until I have their trust, then ask them what their worst nightmare is. It is usually centered on something that happened for real. I have them talk about it and tell me what happened. I listen carefully as they try to piece it all together. I give them time to go back and put in things they had forgotten about. When they are done, I'll ask them about something I think is missing from what they told me, usually it is the beginning of their remembrance of the event. Getting them to look at everything from start to finish opens the door for me to help them get to the point where they can either forgive themselves or someone else. In other words, they make peace with it. They cannot change what happened but they can change what "it" turns into. When they actually say the words, the power hold is broken. Needless to say, I love the article I read above.

Chick-fil-A holier than cow

Chick-fil-A holier than cow
Chaplain Kathie

Chick-fil-A has caused a lot of pain in this country and attacked "gays" they seem fine with hating. I listened to a lot of people claiming to be Christian while knowing very little about what Christ said. (Good Lord do these people own a Bible with Red Letters?) Do they ever read the Sermon on the Mount?

This is the most famous and loving thing Christ had to say about how we treat each other and how we should live our OWN lives.

The Beatitudes

He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Christ talked about adultery and divorce but you don't hear any of these people talk about either one of them even though Christ also said no one sin is worse than another, with all equal in the eyes of God. He talked about forgiving, giving to the needy, keeping your word, and "True and False Disciples"
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

While Christ had a lot to say while He walked the earth, who gets quoted on the gay issue is Paul. Paul, you know the same guy who spent his days hunting down Christians because he was so sure he was right and everyone else was evil when they followed Christ until he was on the road to Damascus and Christ set him straight on all he got wrong. As Saul, he was a know it all. As Paul he was learning, then teaching, but he was still "Saul" deep inside with his own ideas.

The bottom line in all of this is we can intend to do good and get it wrong so we all need to actually look at what Christ said. He never said one word about being gay even though we know there were gay people at the time.

So this is how you may be able to make sense out of all of this.

If you believe that being gay is a sin, it is not. Adultery is. So it is not the fact that gay people have sex, but more they are having sex with someone they are not married to. If a straight couple gets divorced and marries someone else while their ex-spouse lives, they are committing adultery. I'm guilty of that because while my first marriage was annulled by the church, my husband's first marriage was not by his. A lot of marriages ended yet you don't see a company like Chick-fil-A coming out and condemning divorce and adultery because society has accepted it as part of what is normal in most households.

There is what society says is fine and what Christ said was not, so how can we justify one sin over another? We can't, or we shouldn't.

When in doubt, I turn back to the Sermon on the Mount and try to live the way Christ said I should and treat people accordingly. Not perfectly in anything because right now I am judging Chick-fil-A and have not missed that point. They have the right to do and not do with their business just as people have the right to believe what they believe. Too bad they don't think others have the same right.

I am not gay but I am a sinner in other ways. What they do in their own lives does not hurt me but what I do and say can hurt them and hurting someone else is not what Christ preached.
first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

There are gay men and women risking their lives in the military right now wondering how that can be forgotten just because they are gay.

On a personal note, the only thing I like at Chick-fil-A is their fries but just like their position on gay people, their fries are flat and full of holes.

A veteran in search of validation

Emily Yates: A veteran in search of validation
By Gary Peterson
Contra Costa Times

OAKLAND -- Sometimes it's as subtle as an arched eyebrow. Other times it's a full-on, in-your-face confrontation. No matter how the message is delivered, it grates on Emily Yates:

You are not a "real" veteran.

"I want to be given credibility where credibility is due, that's all," said Yates, an Oakland resident and UC Berkeley student who served two tours in Iraq during her six years as an Army public affairs specialist. "I'm not asking for anyone to put me on a pedestal. I just don't want anyone to discredit me when I haven't done anything to earn it."

Upon her discharge in 2008, Yates hopped in her car and embarked on meandering cross-country journey. She hasn't slowed down since. In addition to her education -- her major is Near Eastern Studies -- she has immersed herself in activism, music, photography and writing.

But to her, the coming-home experience is diminished when her military service is dismissed as something less than legitimate. She has some theories why that is sometimes the case -- why some have trouble reconciling her anti-war stance with her Army career, or why people in the VA office look at her "like, so who's your father?", or why she was told during a heated debate at a recent Cal Veterans Group meeting to "get the (expletive) out" if she didn't like the way the group was being run.
read more here

Rep. Tim Scott gave veterans a piece of paper and a load of BS

Scott's vets event an insult to veterans, says Rose
JULY 28, 2012

In a historic march conducted 80 years ago today, 17,000 military veterans were joined by 26,000 other Americans in valid protest; instead of receiving promised pay and benefits, these American war heroes had only been given paper certificates.

In a complete slap in the face to that historic event, this evening Rep. Tim Scott gave local World War II veterans a paper certificate, and after he voted for a budget that cut $11 billion from veterans' benefits.

This apparent disrespect left congressional candidate Bobbie Rose with a bad taste in her mouth.

“I respect them, I honor their sacrifices and I hold them in highest esteem. I applaud any event held just to say ‘thank you’ to our bravest men and women,” says Rose, Scott’s Democratic challenger.

“But is this event enough to replace the benefits they’re about to lose?”

Rose refers to Scott’s support of the fiscal year budgetary bill recently proposed by the Republican Party, which substantially reduced funding for veterans’ benefits.

“While our veterans certainly deserve all the accolades Scott offers, they need proper benefits more, which our congressman is working to take away, based on his vote for the Ryan Budget.”

Deriving its name from its primary sponsor, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the bill contains substantial cuts in military benefits, some of which will leave 130,000 veterans without needed healthcare.

“The Ryan Budget is an insult to every American veteran. It’s 98 pages long and does not even contain the word ‘veteran.’ It contains over $11 billion in cuts that adversely affect our veterans, yet never mentions them by name.”
read more here

Flags Line Berne In Honor of Fallen Soldier

Flags Line Berne In Honor of Fallen Soldier
By Stephanie Parkinson
By Eric Dutkiewicz

July 28, 2012

BERNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The body of Army Spc. Nick Taylor will return to Northeast Indiana Sunday, and preparations for his procession home are already being made.
More than 100 people gathered at South Adams High School to place an estimated 2,200 flags along the procession route in Berne.
read more here

Soldier's Angels responds to Michael Yon

I am not sure what this is all about and frankly, I don't know enough about Michael Yon or Soldier's Angels to have an opinion. I've been too busy with what I do but I know some readers support Soldier's Angels and may not know about this.

Charity Ratings and Board Response

An Open Letter to Our Friends and Volunteers

Below is a letter from the Chairman of our Audit Committee and Member of the Board of Trustees, Richard Lowe. The Board of Trustees has recommended that this response get as wide an audience as possible, so we encourage you to share the message.
Wingtip to Wingtip,
Patti Patton-Bader
Soldiers' Angels Founder and CEO

It has come to the attention of Soldiers' Angels Board of Trustees that allegations have been raised by Michael Yon regarding the stability of our organization. We understand that some of our volunteers and supporters are disheartened by these charges, and we would like to take the opportunity to respond to them. We would also like to take this time to explain the ratings that were given to Soldiers' Angels by Gloria Wise/Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Charity Navigator, two independent rating organizations.

First, let me address organizational stability. Mr. Yon’s allegations are baseless at best. Soldiers' Angels has worked with over 400,000 highly-motivated volunteers since in its inception. In any organization of this size there will always be interpersonal conflicts and hard feelings between some of the volunteers; that is only normal. As our charity evolves in its mission to support service members and their families, organizational priorities change and some individuals may feel that their particular program isn’t being given the proper amount of attention. Rest assured, the Board weighs every issue and does its level best to make sure that everyone is accommodated, but our focus is on delivering the maximum benefit to those who are serving or have served in harm’s way. While most of our volunteers understand and support this concept, a handful of them have opted to air their grievances publicly, which has created fodder for Mr. Yon, who in turn has elevated concern among our other volunteers.

We assure you that the organization is in good standing and we sincerely hope that the actions of a few people who have placed personal agendas above service do not tarnish the feelings you have for all the amazing work you do. We want to once again thank all of our volunteers for giving so much of themselves to our men and women in uniform.
read more here


Not knowing enough about Soldier's Angels is not a bad thing. It just means I have not heard complaints about them from the veterans or the troops. When I spend time checking out a charity like Disabled Veterans Foundation (not the DAV) or Wounded Warrior Project, it is caused by complaints from the veterans they claim to be doing everything for. If I get a few complaints, I let it go but when I get a lot, then I check them out so that people will know the flip side of great PR advertising and can make an informed decision to support them or not. Always check out a charity to see if they deserve your money.

The two groups I am involved with are the Disabled Veterans of America
The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) charity dedicated to building better lives for America’s disabled veterans and their families.
The DAV was founded in 1920 by disabled veterans returning from World War I to represent their unique interests. In 1932, the DAV was congressionally chartered as the official voice of the nation’s wartime disabled veterans.

And Point Man International Ministries taking care of veterans with PTSD since 1984.

Both of these groups were established a long time ago and help all generations of veterans.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Military Suicides leave DOD and NRA at odds

Why would this happen? The number one choice of suicides connected to military service is a firearm. Does the NRA care about any of this? No one is talking about taking away their guns. As I've pointed out a thousand times I'd rather see a veteran with a gun and getting help than not getting help. Besides, if you take away their guns they use the next in line for ways to commit suicide. Still what is wrong with talking to them about all this? If the DOD wanted to prevent suicides then they would drop the BS program called "resiliency" and finally open up their ears to hear what they can do. This is about to get a lot worse the long troops are in Afghanistan and still not getting the right kind of help. The NRA should be more involved in saving their lives than stopping the commanders from even talking to them!

Amid suicide 'epidemic,' military at odds with NRA over law
Published: July 28, 2012

To help combat suicide in the military, leaders would like greater leeway in talking to a servicemember about it and whether they personally own a firearm. Standing in their way, is a new law backed by the National Rifle Association that is frustrating things.

Some U.S. military commanders are at odds with the National Rifle Association over a relatively new law that bars them from talking to a servicemember about their personal firearms if the individual lives off base, according to a Christian Science Monitor article.

The NRA-backed law, which went into effect in early 2011, includes language that prohibits them from talking to their charges about weapons and safety, particularly when they live off base. The article relied heavily on Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the Army's former vice chief of staff.
read more here

Hundreds attend funeral for Capt. MacFarlane

This morning at Glen Haven Memorial Park in Winter Park Florida, hundreds of people gathered together to honor the life of Capt. MacFarlane. The Orlando Nam Knights and Patriot Guard Riders formed a wall of flags.

Oviedo soldier dies in Afghanistan
July 8, 2012
By Leslie Postal and David Breen
Orlando Sentinel

A U.S. Army captain from Oviedo died in Afghanistan on Friday about three months after his Army Reserve unit was mobilized.

Bruce A. MacFarlane, 46, died in Kandahar, according to the Department of Defense, which did not provide information on how he died.

He was assigned to the 1186th Transportation Company, 831st Transportation Battalion, which is based in Jacksonville.

"He was a great guy, good family guy," said Keith Marang, who lives next door and said he met MacFarlane when both families moved into their new homes in 2008. "I was just floored when I heard the news."

He said MacFarlane, befitting his military career, was clean-cut and fit and looked younger than his age. He and his wife have two children, a son and a daughter, Marang said, adding that he thought they were in their early teens. He said the family moved to Oviedo from DeLand.

A person who answered the door at the family's large, modern home Sunday afternoon said they were not available, and she was not authorized to release any information. She said she was a friend of the family, and they'd been devastated by the news.

MacFarlane, who spent 12 years on active duty, was very patriotic, with an American flag always flying from his home, his neighbor said. Several small flags and red, white and blue pinwheels decorated the flower pots at the front door Sunday, presumably from the Fourth of July holiday last week.
read more here

General says "suicide is the toughest enemy I ever faced"

Army leaders hear concerns from troops
Posted: Jul 27, 2012
By DeAnn Smith, Digital
By Sandra Olivas, Reporter

Top leaders in the U.S. Army on Friday met with soldiers at Fort Riley to hear their concerns.

Reporters were not allowed to videotape the Army leaders meeting with the soldiers and the military declined to provide any video taped by its own photographers, saying they wanted to ensure the discussions were open and honest.

Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the Army chief of staff and who previously oversaw the armed forces in Iraq, said the war in Afghanistan is the top priority.

"We want to finish that mission successfully, but equally important and mutually supporting mission is the health of our force," Austin said.

Austin and others toured this week six Army posts, including Fort Riley. The focus is ways to improve the lives of soldiers and their families. The focus is the solders' physical and mental well being.

"I have been deployed to Iraq three times and once to Afghanistan and been in good fights with tough enemies," Austin said. "And I will tell you: suicide is the toughest enemy I ever faced."
read more here

PTSD The Final Battle After War

"America I gave my best to you." is part of the song American Anthem from Ken Burns The War. I never really understood this growing up because I was surrounded by veterans. My Dad was a Korean War veteran and my uncles were WWII veterans. To me, they were normal. When my friends told me their family members didn't serve, I thought they were the odd ones. As I got older, I knew I had it backwards.

Still I didn't have a true sense of what came back with the men and women sent to fight in combat until I met a Vietnam veteran. We've been together for 30 years and it is because of him I know that when it comes to the population of America, we are odd but when you consider 8% of the population can call themselves veterans, we are not so odd among them.

What shall be our legacy?
What will our children say?
Let them say of me
I was one who believed
In sharing the blessings
I received
Let me know in my heart
When my days are through
I gave my best to you

When it comes to Combat PTSD, we are not odd at all. The heart/soul/spirit of a man/woman, so committed to another human they would die for them, is magnificent. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. which is the most courageous love there is. Felt so deeply by so many that it is also the thing that burdens them the most. It is what causes the cut so deeply within them they cannot heal it without help.

Battles fought together acts of conscience fought alone, these are the seeds from which America has grown.
If there was ever an anthem for Combat PTSD, this should be it.

Marine sentenced to death on spy charge in Iran

Family of ex- Marine sentenced to death on spy charge in Iran receiving little news of case
By Associated Press
Published: July 27

FLINT, Mich. — The family of an ex-U.S. Marine sentenced to death for spying in Iran said Friday that members have received little information about his case months after a new trial was reportedly ordered.

Amir Hekmati was accused of working for the CIA and sentenced to death in January, the first American to receive a death penalty since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. His family and the U.S. government have denied the allegations.
read more here

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wisconsin National Guard Sergeant not guilty reason of insanity

Iraq veteran not guilty reason of insanity
Article by: BILL McAULIFFE
Star Tribune
Updated: July 27, 2012

A two-time Iraq war veteran who was denied admission to the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center hours before going on a car-jacking spree and jumping in front of highway traffic has been found not guilty by reason of insanity by a Dakota County judge.

Blake Uddin, 31, a Wisconsin National Guard sergeant who worked on communications equipment during two deployments to Iraq, was found guilty of three counts of attempted robbery and one count of theft for the string of incidents last Aug. 23.

But District Court Judge David Knutson, who heard the case instead of a jury, also ruled that Uddin was so mentally disturbed at the time that he didn't know what he was doing, or that it was wrong.
read more here

Sequestration could mean another 100K-troop cut

Sequestration could mean another 100K-troop cut
By Rick Maze
Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Jul 26, 2012

The possibility that sequestration could lead to an additional reduction of 100,000 active-duty troops has been seized upon by a key House Republican as the newest reason why the Defense Department needs special protection from across-the-board cuts.

The estimate of personnel cuts came from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday during a hearing about military transition programs, in response to a question from Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., about the impact of sequestration on the unemployment rate for veterans.

McKeon’s office is widely circulating the statement as a sign of the potential damage posed by the automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts known as sequestration that could happen in January.

“It would obviously add another 100,000 that would have to be reduced, and the impact of that on top of the reductions that are currently going to take place would place a huge burden on the systems to be able to respond to that,” Panetta said. “I think it would be near-impossible to try to do the kind of work that we are trying to do and make it work effectively.”

It was McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who first suggested the possibility of the 100,000-troop cut. “We know that there’s high unemployment among our veterans, our young veterans, and we know that, with the $487 billion cut in defense, we will have 100,000 leaving the military. We will have another 100,000 if the sequestration takes effect,” he said.
read more here

Charges sought in Wisconsin veterans cemetery trash dump

Charges sought in veterans cemetery trash dump
By Scott Bauer
The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Jul 27, 2012

MADISON, Wis. — The state Department of Justice has been asked to bring charges against a former maintenance supervisor at a veterans cemetery for allegedly using the grounds as his private dump, burying everything from lawnmower blades to refrigerators.

The Department of Natural Resources on Thursday referred the case to the DOJ for alleged violations at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery outside of Union Grove. The cemetery has been designed as a national shrine.

The Associated Press is not naming the former worker because he has not been formally charged. The worker resigned in November, three months after loads of garbage were removed from the cemetery.
read more here

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD more likely to commit suicide than others

I thought about this title for while, trying to figure out how to get as much attention as possible. This one seemed to fit best. While I used PTSD and this report used "mental health condition" we really know what the majority of the "mental health" conditions really are all about. PTSD is the major one followed by, TBI. The rest, well if you listen to most experts they tell you that when a veteran has PTSD and a psychologist is looking for something else, they are usually able to link what is PTSD to other illnesses. If they are actually looking for PTSD, all they need to do is find a traumatic event. Why? Because the only way to end up with PTSD is after trauma.

Study examines suicide among OEF, OIF vets
By Patricia Kime
Staff writer
Posted : Friday Jul 27, 2012

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are no more likely to commit suicide than other veterans — unless they have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.

Then, their risk is four times higher than veterans who have not received any mental health diagnosis, according to a study published in the June Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

While psychiatric disorders are a known risk factor for suicide in the general population as well as in veterans, researchers sought to determine whether those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were especially vulnerable.

They cross-referenced the Veterans Health Administration’s National Patient Care Database with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Death Index for answers. In fiscal 2007 and 2008, there were 1,920 veteran suicides, 96 of whom served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Analysis showed that having a mental health condition correlated with increased risk: a mental health diagnosis increased the suicide risk in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans four-fold, while other veterans with a mental health condition were 2½ times more likely to commit suicide.
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Support for Homeland Heroes

Support for Homeland Heroes
by SHELLY on JULY 27, 2012

Did you know that around 38% of Fire Rescue personnel and 32% of Emergency Dispatchers suffer from symptoms of PTSD? Or that every 17 hours a law enforcement officer takes his or her own life? The suicide rate among correctional officers is estimated to be even more than double that rate. These devastating statistics are provided by Serve & Protect’s website.

Serve and Protect is more than just an online presence. It is an organization dedicated to providing emotional, educational and spiritual support to Homeland Heroes (law enforcement, fire/rescue, corrections and emergency dispatch personnel) across the country and around the world. “The emotional trauma of the job, post traumatic stress, depression, and emotional isolation are killers,” says S and P. “Serve and Protect is there to care, help, and listen rooted in experience on the job and a rock solid network of partners and affiliates”.

Senior Chaplain Robert Michaels founded Serve & Protect in 2011. He knows all too well how first responders and criminal justice professionals put their lives on the line and the trauma they witness in the line of duty. Before embarking on his pastoral training, Michaels served for the 229th Military Police Battalion of the Virginia National Guard and as an officer and detective for the Norfolk Police Department. Serve and Protect’s board of directors, advisors and staff are also made up of individuals who have served as homeland heroes. For example, Dr. Melissa Riley, who has extensive experience counseling individuals suffering from PTSD, and other forms of mental illness, has 19 years experience working in fire/rescue.
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This PTSD I Grieve about National Guards and Reservists coming home and risking their lives back here after they risked them in combat. I did it for them but it turned out it was helping police and firefighters.

Sheriff can't get help for PTSD shooter because the VA said NO

Here we go again! We tell law enforcement to get their act together so they treat veterans with PTSD as if they are troubled and need help. This Sheriff listened. He paid attention. He didn't kill this veteran. He took him into custody and tried to get him help. What happened? Nothing! The VA said they would't help!
Sheriff can't get help for PTSD shooter
VA denied mental treatment, lawman says
Updated: Thursday, 26 Jul 2012
Ian Schwartz

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A heavily armed veteran who caused quite a scare Wednesday remains jailed on Thursday.

Torrance County Sheriff Heath White told KRQE News 13 the man needs mental help, so he turned to the agency he thought would be most likely to provide it but came up empty.

White said, Morris Haviland, the ex-soldier, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, after being badly wounded during peacekeeping duty in Bosnia.

On Wednesday he fired a dozen shots inside his house in Mountainair, and after surrendering, claimed it was booby trapped with explosives.

"He started deteriorating throughout the week," White said. "He started reliving his experience through the military while he was overseas."

White said during his PTSD episode Haviland, 54, started firing his AK-47 inside his home getting the attention of a lot cops and then the bomb squad.

"He definitely needed some type of mental health assistance, whether it be medication, counseling," White said.

After deputies took Haviland into custody, White called the Veterans Administration hospital in Albuquerque.

He wanted to get Haviland immediate mental help for his PTSD, help he could not get in jail.
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Michael saluted, raised a gun to his head and pulled the trigger

For too many veterans, the ultimate defeat
By Phil Stewart
updated 7/26/2012

CHAMPION, Ohio — On a warm summer afternoon in Champion, Ohio, Michael Ecker, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, called out to his father from a leafy spot in their backyard. Then, as the two stood steps apart, Michael saluted, raised a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

"His eyes rolled back," his father, Matt, said softly as he recounted the 2009 suicide.

"There was just nothing I could do."

Weeks before he killed himself, Michael received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs accusing him of "over-reporting" the extent of his psychiatric problems. It was the culmination of a long struggle that Ecker, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury related to his service, had waged since returning home from the war to try to hold down a steady job, obtain VA disability benefits and resume a life as close to normal as possible.

"I've often thought about finding that doctor and saying, ‘Over-reporting?!' and giving him the death certificate," Matt Ecker said.

About once every half hour in America, a veteran within the VA healthcare system tries to commit suicide, according to VA figures for fiscal year 2011.
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