Wednesday, October 31, 2012

National Guard troops mobilized for Sandy response

3 minutes ago
National Guard troops mobilized for Sandy response
Tribune Washington Bureau
Published: October 31, 2012

WASHINGTON — More than 10,000 National Guard troops in 13 states have been mobilized to assist in the response to Hurricane Sandy, including more than 2,200 who are assisting with recovery efforts in New York, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Eric Durr, a spokesman for New York’s Division of Military and Naval Affairs, said that 650 National Guard soldiers and air personnel are deployed on Long Island, while another 400 are in New York City, with another 400 on the way.

The Guard is using Humvees and trucks to clear debris, rescue stranded people and to help transport local officials in flooded areas.

“They’re taking cops and fireman around in Humvees helping to rescue people,” Durr said.

Thirty guard personnel are helping to lug fuel to the 13th floor of Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where the facility’s emergency generators are located, he said.

Ten Black Hawk helicopters and other aircraft are being used for aerial surveillance and are assisting local first responders, he said.
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Marine veteran, former boxer, battling male breast cancer

Marine veteran, former boxer, battling breast cancer
The Salem News
Published: October 31, 2012

PEABODY, Mass. — Peter Devereaux didn’t even know men could get breast cancer.

So when his doctor called to give him the news, Devereaux thought he had called him by mistake.

“I said, ‘Doc, it’s Peter Devereaux,’” he said, thinking his doctor would apologize and hang up.

He didn’t, and within days Devereaux was back at the hospital, getting a bone scan and chest X-ray to see how far the cancer had spread within his body.

A Peabody native and North Andover resident, Devereaux, 50, was diagnosed with stage 3B invasive ductal carcinoma in January 2008. For the past 4½ years, he has been battling the disease, which doctors discovered had spread to his hips, ribs and spine in 2009.

He is one of 82 men who have been diagnosed with male breast cancer believed to have been caused by water contamination at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina.

“It’s the largest cluster ever recorded,” Devereaux said.
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National Guard lending a much-needed hand after Sandy

National Guard lending a much-needed hand
Traffic, rescue operations are among the calls of duty
By William McMichael
The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal
Posted : Wednesday Oct 31, 2012

A steady stream of cars coming north through Fenwick Island on Del. 1 came face-to-face with a Delaware National Guard Humvee blocking both travel lanes and soldiers directing them into the left turn lane.

Another Humvee blocked the left turn onto the roadway from Lighthouse Road. A Delaware State Police cruiser parked across northbound Del. 1 completed the blockade.

It was a scene repeated Tuesday across the lower half of the state, particularly in Sussex County, which appears to have gotten the worst of Superstorm Sandy. Guardsmen worked in support of police and other civil authorities to control traffic, assess damage and rescue stranded residents.

“Last night, we were taking people to the Cape Henlopen High School shelter,” said Spc. Matthew Underwood of the 198th Signal Battalion’s A Company, citing evacuations in Long Neck, Georgetown and elsewhere.

Underwood had stopped at a Rehoboth Beach checkpoint before he moved on to help state police with damage assessments.
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Heroes of Hurricane Sandy

When politicians talk about cutting the debt and public employees, we all need to remember what kind of people we are "getting rid of" because when you needed them, they showed up. When you don't need them, you don't care if they are there or not. Take a look at what they did when Hurricane Sandy hit. Remember what they did on 9-11. Remember what they did every time they showed up after storms, in all kinds of emergencies and remember how they made the terrible easier to get through.

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Everything we're seeing on Combat PTSD is in this book

Everything we're seeing on Combat PTSD is in this book
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
October 31, 2012

In 2002 I tried to warn veterans and their families about what they were getting into when they came home from combat. I was right. Everything we're seeing is in this book. Now you can know what was known way back then.
I need help to be able to help veterans and their families! I am stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. While I started working with veterans and their families long before most people, I am now last on the list for support.

I am taking care of families and out of my mind busy doing what I love but I am also flat broke. If I find a job to support what I do, I won't be able to do it as much as needed. If I don't find financial support, or a job, I won't be able to do any of this anymore.

After 30 years of working on PTSD and what it does to the veterans and their families, I am an expert. When it comes to raising funds to do it, consider me stupid. I stepped up when families needed me, now I need someone to step up and help me to continue doing it.

Will you help me by making a donation and passing on this plea for help?

Make a donation in any amount and get an ebook of FOR THE LOVE OF JACK, HIS WAR/MY BATTLE.

Point Man of Winter Park is a 501c3

Texans, volunteers present Marine widow with new home

Texans, volunteers present Marine widow with new home
by Kevin Reece
KHOU 11 News
Posted on October 30, 2012

HOUSTON—The widow of a fallen Marine received the keys and a mortgage-free deed to her new home in Alvin Tuesday.

It fulfilled a promise made by the Houston Texans and a home-building organization called Operation Finally Home.

Marine Staff Sgt. Scott Wood served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device while he was on duty led to several painful surgeries. His family said he also suffered from PTSD. While he was at home in Alvin visiting family and friends he died unexpectedly in his sleep on Nov. 20, 2011.

He was 35 years old.

Four weeks later, his widow Sara Wood and their son Landon were invited to Reliant Stadium to be guests of the Houston Texans at a game against the Carolina Panthers.

They were told they would receive free Christmas presents, especially for 5-year-old Landon. Landon did get several presents. But the Texans, and Operation Finally Home CEO Dan Wallrath in a presentation broadcast on the stadium’s video screens, also surprised them with the promise to build her a new home.

Fast forward 10 months to Tuesday in the Kendall Lakes subdivision in Alvin, and dozens greeted Sara and Landon Wood at their new 2,391-square-foot home.

“We owe this to this family,” said Operation Finally Home founder and CEO Dan Wallrath.

“As Americans we owe this to this family.”
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New program helps wounded vets get back on their feet

New program helps wounded vets get back on their feet
Loudoun Times
Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012
by Andrew Sharbel

ServiceSource has been helping thousands of Americans with disabilities over the last 40 years with employment, training, rehabilitation, housing and other support services.

Now, they are doing their part to help wounded veterans returning home from the War on Terror with a new program, which has become a serious issue for the armed services.

According to a study conducted by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, approximately one in five soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

Warrior Bridge is a program designed to help those wounded veterans bridge the gap between the military and employment.

Mike Costanzo is a 90 percent disabled veteran and now is serving as the only employee with ServiceSource working on just Warrior Bridge.

Costanzo, a U.S. Army retired sergeant and a resident of Ashburn, has been working on Warrior Bridge since he was hired in September.

“Warrior Bridge started as a concept about two years ago down in Florida and it migrated up to North Carolina,” Costanzo said. “We received some funding [from the Bob Woodruff Foundation] over the summer to start a position here in Fairfax and I was hired in September.”
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Benjamin Moore gives Iraq Veteran with PTSD fresh outlook

Boise veteran's home gets a paint makeover
by Kim Fields
Posted on October 30, 2012

BOISE -- An Army veteran living in Boise is enjoying a freshly painted home, thanks to some local volunteers. It's their way of giving back to a man who's given so much to our country.

Nicolas DeNinno served 15 months in Iraq in 2007. He was diagnosed with PTSD when he returned home. And this week, local volunteers spent a couple of days at his house, painting every room, to help make life a little easier for him.

It's part of Benjamin Moore's Color Care Across America.
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Ex-cop found dead in cell hours before sentencing

'Suicide by hanging' official cause of ex-cop's death
Anthony Orban, facing life in prison for rape and kidnapping, killed himself Friday just hours before his scheduled sentencing.
Oct. 30, 2012
A former Westminster detective found dead in his jail cell Friday died of suicide by hanging, authorities said Tuesday.

The official cause of death of Anthony Nicholas Orban, 33, was announced by Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Orban, formerly of Irvine, was found unresponsive in his cell at 2:49 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at the West Detention Center in San Bernardino. He was scheduled to be sentenced later that day to an effective term of life in prison for the April 3, 2010 kidnapping and rape of a former waitress at Ontario Mills Mall.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monument honors military service dogs

Monument honors military service dogs
By Sue Manning
The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Oct 30, 2012

LOS ANGELES — The act of Congress is in the books, the bills are paid, the sculptures are being cast, and one of the biggest parades in the world will start a glory tour and countdown to dedication.

The first national monument to pay tribute to military dogs will be unveiled in California in just two months. The U.S. Working Dog Teams National Monument will honor every dog that has served in combat since World War II.

Some cities, cemeteries and military bases across the country already have such memorials. But none has been elevated to national monument level, where it will be in the company of the Statue of Liberty, Yosemite National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

In 2000, John Burnam, a 65-year-old veteran military dog handler, wrote a book called “Dog Tags of Courage.” A year later, he got an email from a reader wondering why there were no national monuments to the dogs of war.

In “Dog Tags” and a 2008 book, “A Soldier’s Best Friend,” Burnam wrote about his time with the Army’s 44th Scout Dog Platoon when he was in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968.
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Operation Homefront Launches Annual Holiday Meals for Military

Operation Homefront Launches Annual Holiday Meals for Military Program
By Operation Homefront
Published: Monday, Oct. 29, 2012

Operation Homefront, the national non-profit dedicated to providing emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our nation's military, has announced today that it is launching its annual Holiday Meals for Military program.

The Holiday Meals for Military Program began Thanksgiving 2009 as a result of a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Ft. Drum. A soldier, his wife, and infant had a handful of grocery items they could not afford, so a Beam Inc. employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. Since that time, the program has grown from initially providing 500 meals kits to military families in 2009 to providing 5,200 this holiday season.

The 5,200 meal kits, which include all the grocery items necessary for a full holiday meal, will be distributed to lower and mid-grade ranking military families, E-1 thru E-6, at seventeen bases nationwide in December 2012, including Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Knox, Ky.; Great Lakes Naval Base, Ill.; and MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
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Riverine success in Iraq shows need for naval quick-reaction force

Riverine success in Iraq shows need for naval quick-reaction force
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 29, 2012

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jobey French, a boatswain's mate assigned to Riverine Command Boat 803 from Riverine Squadron 2, mans an MK-44 mini machine gun while conducting security escort operations for ships transiting out to sea through the Intracoastal Waterway in North Carolina, during Exercise Bold Alligator 2012 on Feb. 1.

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — When the U.S. Navy’s Riverine forces were resurrected six years ago to secure Iraq’s rivers and coastal waterways, they functioned much as the highly decorated river rats of the Mekong Delta did in Vietnam. Their success has given new life to the unit and the strategy.

In Iraq, Riverine forces became a quick reaction force — capable of search-and-seizure, insertion or extraction — on swift, agile boats with heavy-caliber weaponry. Between March 2007 and October 2011, the Riverines carried out more than 2,000 missions, trained Iraqi River Police, screened detainees and discovered weapons caches while flying 667 unmanned aerial vehicle hours.

Army and Navy river units were dismantled after the Vietnam War ended in 1975 and the Riverines’s future was in limbo when the Iraq war wound down last year. The Navy, however, has decided it has an enduring need for these quick and lethal small boat fighters.

``Just because you don’t need a tool right this second, why would you throw it away?’’ asked Chief Petty Officer William Squires, who is training to command one of the boats. ``It gives us capability to dominate inland waterways… It’s mind-boggling what we can do with four boat patrols and the weaponry we have.’’
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Hurricane Sandy's impact: State by state

Sandy's impact: State by state
By the CNN Wire Staff
October 30, 2012

New York: More than 50 houses burned down in Queens
West Virginia: A woman was killed in a car accident after the storm dumped 5 inches of snow
New Jersey: Sandy has killed at least three people in the Garden State
Pennsylvania: Two people were killed by falling trees

(CNN) -- States along the East Coast were pummeled as superstorm Sandy came crashing ashore.

The storm officially made landfall along the coast of southern New Jersey, but it is affecting a much wider area.

By early Tuesday, more than 7 million customers were without power in the mid-Atlantic region, according to the latest CNN estimate.

At least 16 people have died.

President Barack Obama has declared states of emergency for at least five states and the nation's capital.

Here's a look at how Sandy has impacted U.S. states, as well as Canada.
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Navy Ball remembers War of 1812

Navy Ball remembers War of 1812
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
Story by Lance Cpl. Scott Whiting

NEW BERN, N.C. - Food, drinks, birthday cake, dancing and camaraderie filled the extravagantly-decorated convention center in New Bern, as United States Navy sailors aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune celebrated their 237th birthday Oct. 20.

Sailors and Marines starting packing the large dining area at approximately 5 p.m. as couples took photos to commemorate the occasion, found their tables and caught up with friends. The ceremony commenced at approximately 7:30 p.m.

This particular Navy Ball had a large emphasis on the history of the War of 1812 in its 200-year anniversary. The Navy fought in many decisive battles in the war and played an important role in the United States’ ability to effectively fight the British naval forces.
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Romney’s lax regulation may have fueled meningitis outbreak

While smaller government always sounds good to most people, this is what can happen when the smaller government does not do what they are supposed to do.
Romney’s lax regulation may have fueled meningitis outbreak
A meningitis epidemic that has killed 25 is linked to a Mass. company Romney's administration failed to regulate
OCT 30, 2012

The fatal meningitis epidemic sweeping the United States can now be traced to the failure of then-Gov. Mitt Romney to adequately regulate the Massachusetts pharmaceutical company that is being blamed for the deaths.

At least 344 people in 18 states have been infected by the growing public health crisis and 25 have died so far.

But the epidemic may also play a role in the presidential campaign, now that state records reveal that a Massachusetts regulatory agency found that the New England Compounding Co., the pharmaceutical company tied to the epidemic, repeatedly failed to meet accepted standards in 2004 — but a reprimand was withdrawn by the Romney administration in apparent deference to the company’s business interests.

“It goes all the way up to Mitt Romney,” said Alyson Oliver, a Michigan attorney representing victims of the outbreak. According to Oliver, on at least six occasions, NECC was cited by authorities for failure to meet regulatory standards and almost subjected to a three-year probation. “It goes directly to the heart of what Romney says about regulation, ‘Hands off. Let the companies do their thing.’”
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National Guard Called Into Hoboken

National Guard Called Into Hoboken; 15,000 Without Power
Mayor Dawn Zimmer called in the national guard around 10 p.m. on Monday night. As of 3 a.m. on Tuesday they had not arrived in Hoboken.
By Claire Moses
October 29, 2012

UPDATED 2:45 a.m.—Flood water started receding in Hoboken around midnight, but not after causing major flooding, power outages and damage all over town.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer called in the National Guard on Monday night for extra assistance as raging floodwaters from Tropical Storm Sandy ravaged Hoboken. Roughly 15,000 people were without power as of 9:45 p.m. on Monday night, with two substations in town underwater.

The national guard did not make it to Hoboken, as of 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Much of the west side was in the dark, as of 10:30 p.m. It's unclear when power will be restored.

Zimmer said Public Service Electric and Gas workers were attempting to get to Hoboken to restore power, but weren't able to enter the city due to widespread flooding, Zimmer said.

A swollen Hudson River overflowed on Newark, First and Second Street from Garden through Grand.

"It was like a river," according to one city employee. "In all my life, this is the worst I have seen it."
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Whistleblower VA doctors lost jobs after news report

Fact Finder: Union Says V.A. Retaliated Against Whistleblowers
Reported by: Joe Hart

Doctors Ralph Coppola and Vidur Mahadeva both worked at the Reno V.A. Hospital, unitl last month. Coppola as an E-N-T surgeon, Mahadeva in the emergency room.

Both doctors, who worked part time, recently received the exact same letter, telling them they'd been terminated.

The letter did not give a reason.

"The letter of termination was 2 days after your report was on TV," Coppola told News 4.

The letters to Doctors Coppola and Mahadeva were each dated September 13th: two days after News 4's Fact Finder report aired uncovering the results of an investigation conducted at the V.A. Hospital by the Office of the Medical Inspector. The O.M.I. report produced 53 recommendations to improve patient care at the V.A.

Both Coppola and Mahadeva met with O.M.I. representives during their investigation to voice their concerns about staffing, patient care timelines and other quality of care issues at the V.A. Hospital.

"Both of us tried to offer constructive cricitism and were under the impression we were helping our vets at the time. Both of us lost our jobs soon thereafter," said Dr. Mahadeva.

Jeanine Swygman is the vice president of the union which represents Doctors Coppola and Mahadeva. She says its clear the firings were retaliation by the V.A.

"Absolutely. The timing was two days after your story aired on the O.M.I. Report," said Swygman.
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Thousands of Arizona veterans face backlog on disability claims

Thousands of Arizona veterans face backlog on disability claims with VA
Monday, Oct. 29, 2012
Cronkite News

VA backlog: Number of veterans in Arizona: 600,000
Number of pending veterans disability claims: 23,000
Number of claims with a wait time over 125 days: 17,000
Average number of days a claim is pending: 320
Average number of days a claim takes to complete: 365
Sources: Phoenix Veterans Affairs Regional Office and Arizona Department of Veterans Services
PHOENIX – Peering through the new prescription glasses he just got from the veterans hospital, Korean War veteran Gilbert Torres sifted through a stack of papers detailing claims he’d had pending with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs since July 2011.

Torres is asking the VA re-evaluate the 30 percent disability he was awarded in the 1960s for injuries to both feet during a training exercise and to grant him disability for lingering gastrointestinal problems from food poisoning.

Torres said he’s happy with the services the VA has provided him over the years like free medical and vision care, but said he doesn’t understand why he’s been waiting more than a year for answers.

“I can wait, but I’d like to have some sort of notice,” he said. “I deserve what I’m asking for.”

Torres is part of a backlog of 17,000 disability compensation claims in Arizona as of October, according to the VA’s Phoenix Regional Office, which processes disability compensation for the state. These are claims that have been pending longer than 125 days.

There were 587,800 claims pending in the backlog nationwide as of September, according to the VA.

Despite efforts by the VA to ramp up processing times, officials say the department can’t keep up with the volume of claims, which have risen nearly 50 percent since 2008.

Part of the increase has to do with the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down and many new veterans filing, but is also due to a class-action lawsuit that added ischemic heart disease, hairy cell and other forms of B-cell leukemia and Parkinson’s to a list of diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange, according to John Rowan, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America.

“We’ve got a backlog because of a perfect storm,” Rowan said.
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Cherry Point Marine rushes to teen’s aid after car accident

Marine rushes to teen’s aid after car accident
By Cpl. Tyler J. Bolken, U.S. Marine Corps
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012

Cpl. Joshua Murphy, an airframe mechanic with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, stands in front of one of the squadron’s KC-130J Hercules on the Cherry Point flight line Monday. Murphy, a native of Colton, Calif., recently rushed to the aid of a 19-year-old woman who was in a car accident near his home in Newport. Murphy applied pressure to a wound on the young woman’s head until paramedics arrived. She was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Cpl. Tyler J. Bolken/U.S. Marine Corps

CHERRY POINT – A Marine and his wife were chatting as they prepared for bed around 10 p.m. Oct. 23 when they heard the sound of squealing tires not far from their home in Newport.

“It was an extremely loud screeching sound, followed by a few bangs and crashes,” said Cpl. Joshua Murphy, an airframe mechanic at Cherry Point. “We stopped in mid sentence and just kind of stared at each other.

“My wife and I both knew it was an accident.”

Murphy, a native of Colton, Calif., immediately told his wife to dial 911 before quickly grabbing his keys to drive toward the sounds of chaos.

According to police reports, a vehicle ran off the right side of a sharp curve on Lake Road, striking a street sign before impacting a tree and overturning onto its passenger side. No other cars were involved.

Murphy arrived at the scene and saw a totaled minivan less than a quarter mile from his home. It was pitch black outside, and he could only see what was in front of his headlights.

“You couldn’t even tell where the front end was,” said Murphy, adding that at this point, he was very concerned.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Sailor found dead at Japanese train station

Sasebo sailor found dead at Japanese train station
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 29, 2012

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A Sasebo-based sailor — possibly breaking a curfew for U.S. servicemembers in Japan — was found dead Sunday morning at a train station, according to Japanese police.

A worker found Petty Officer 2nd Class Samuel Lewis Stiles, 25, lying face down on a platform at Japan Railways’ Haiki station in Sasebo city about 5 a.m., a Haiki police spokesman said Monday, adding that cause of death was under investigation. Japanese media reported he fell and hit his head after climbing atop a train, where he was electrocuted by an overhead power line.
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Pararescuemen walk line between fierce warrior, caring savior

Pararescuemen walk line between fierce warrior, caring savior
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 29, 2012

CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan — The Afghan boy lay naked and trembling beneath a woolen blanket in the dimly lit helicopter cabin, bleeding from a gunshot wound. The smell of fuel and dirt hung in the air as the deafening sound of the engine and rotors churned around him.

His father crouched nearby, watching with curiosity and fear as three pararescuemen worked methodically to save his son’s life. Though warlike in appearance, their calm, gentle demeanor reassured the father.

As the helicopter tore through the night sky on its way to the military hospital at Camp Bastion in Helmand province, a second one flew in tandem. Two helicopters, four pilots, four gunners and six pararescuemen all with a single mission: Save the boy.

They did.
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Grieving Mom takes on Spice to save others

El Paso mom campaigns against drug linked to sailor's death
El Paso Times, Texas
Published: October 29, 2012

EL PASO, Texas — Adam R. Hernandez, 28, had been in the U.S. Navy for eight years and planned on making a career out it.

He was fearless and full of life, eager to go skydiving, scuba diving, or kayak shark fishing in Hawaii where he was stationed.

But on June 20, Hernandez took his life, likely the result of his smoking Spice, a product that is sold as incense but is becoming known nationally as a potentially dangerous drug that has some of the same effects as synthetic marijuana.

Spice paraphernalia was found in Hernandez's home in Hawaii. A groundskeeper found his body on a soccer field on base.

In spite of her pain over the loss of her oldest son, El Paso educator Ruth M. Rivas feels compelled to share his story and "a put a face" to her message about this dangerous product.

She has launched a website and campaign, "Spice is Not Nice," in memory of her son.
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The Old Guard, keeping watch over the tomb no matter what storm comes

Old Guard stays at Tomb of Unknowns amid storm
The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Oct 29, 2012
ARLINGTON, Va. — In the face of Hurricane Sandy, the Army continued to guard the Tomb of the Unknowns on Monday but not with the familiar, choreographed 21 paces that the public typically sees.

A photo that went viral on social media of three soldiers from the Army’s Third U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard, keeping watch over the tomb was actually taken during a September rainstorm. The Army became aware of the photo and said on its Twitter account and to media that it was from September.
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General Carter Ham's replacement not tied to Libya

Dempsey: AFRICOM change not tied to Libya
By Robert Burns
The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Oct 29, 2012

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. military officer is denying reports that Army Gen. Carter Ham’s planned departure as head of U.S. Africa Command is linked to the Sept. 11 attack in Libya.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey issued a written statement Monday calling speculation about the reasons for Ham’s move “absolutely false.”
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Thankful for General Carter Ham

States activate National Guards ahead of Hurricane Sandy

National Guard soldiers activated for Sandy
750 Pennsylvania National Guard troops called
The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Oct 29, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — The Pennsylvania National Guard has activated 750 soldiers and expects to have a total of 1,600 placed on active duty to deal with damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Guard spokesman Staff Sgt. Matthew Jones said 50 guardsmen had already been on duty since Friday and 800 more based in Pittsburgh and Scranton expect to be activated by noon Monday.

Forecasters predict winds up to 75 mph and as much as 10 inches of rain to hit parts of Pennsylvania as Sandy slams into the mid-Atlantic.









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More troubling signs in military suicide prevention

Sgt. Maj. Sanders talks about the hardest time in his life and on that, he has done a remarkable thing. When someone in his position talks about not only wanting to commit suicide, but tried to twice, that very well may save lives.

Soldier prevents suicide
3rd Medical Deployment Support Command
FORT GILLEM, Ga. - “I live to save lives,” said Sgt. Maj. E. Joseph Sanders, 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) MDSC.

The citizen-soldier recalled a time when he felt that his life was not worthy of living.

“I now call it my year from hell,” he explained. “I was serving as the 1st Sgt. and had recently experienced several deaths in my family. I was going through a divorce and custody battle for my children. With stress added on from my civilian job, I had a mild stroke and was depressed because my disability had been denied. The Army also wanted me to take a non-medical discharge,” he shared.

During the time of his dilemma, a mental health professional in his Reserve unit recognized the warning signs of depression in the young 1st Sgt. Sanders.

“Had it not been for Col. Emil Risby, I wouldn’t be here today, he saved my life,” Sanders thoughtfully revealed.

Coping skills for dealing with his life’s issues were not yet fully developed. The mental and physical exhaustion led Sanders into a troublesome state of mind. He had considered suicide as his only way out.

In detail Sanders explained, “I had an out of body experience when I decided to play Russian roulette with my life. Thank God that the revolver ended up on an empty chamber. I had to find a reason to live for someone other than myself.”

Crisis intervention and first aid for mental health helped him to realize that suicide is considered a selfish act and he had not grasped the fact that, “So many people depended on me. I thought that I would be doing them a favor by not being here anymore for them to worry about,” he declared.

His family and friends proved him wrong during both of his attempts to commit suicide.

Sanders prematurely withdrew from his counseling sessions and unfortunately reverted to more life stressors that escorted him back down that same dark road. It led him to a second suicide attempt. He survived through help from his friends.
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By reading this, it is clear that the "selfish" push is still on when trying to convince soldiers suicide is only done as a "selfish act" and not one done out of pain they can no longer believe they can endure. This is very troubling. Talk to survivors of attempted suicides and they tell you that they didn't' want to be a burden to anyone. Ask MOH Dakota Meyer when he said he didn't want to become a burden to his family when he pulled his truck over the side of the road, pulled out his gun, put it to his head and pulled the trigger.

Do they still believe telling these soldiers suicide is selfish will work? It won't.

Sanders tried to commit suicide twice. This is after years of "resiliency training" and many claims of the military addressing it.

The suicide prevention hotline calls go up at the same time the rate of successful suicides does along with multiple attempts like Sanders.

The other troubling sign is the fact the DOD wanted Sanders to take a non-medical discharge.

Some things are working as Sanders' story shows but too many other things are not working.

A new program, Horse in Miracles for combat veterans

Horses comfort veterans suffering from combat-related stress
By Gary Green
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012

While Marion County takes pride in being known as the Horse Capital of the World, locals also are very proud of the many military veterans who call the area home.

A new program, Horse in Miracles, now offers a way to unite equines and veterans in a relationship that can help the humans cope with or overcome the ill effects of combat-related stress.

Horse in Miracles operates out of the Sugar Plum Ranch in Ocklawaha.

“This program is absolutely wonderful when it works. And when we get out of the way, it always works,” said Jennifer Elliott, a registered nurse and owner of the ranch.

Elliott was referring to the basic principle of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, Inc., therapy program, through which healing takes place by the therapist stepping aside and allowing the client/horse experience to take its natural course.
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Deployed Strike Group Cmdr. Canned

Deployed Strike Group Cmdr. Canned
Oct 28, 2012
Associated Press
by Robert Burns

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Navy said Saturday it is replacing the admiral in command of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Middle East, pending the outcome of an internal investigation into undisclosed allegations of inappropriate judgment.

Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette is being sent back to the USS John C. Stennis' home port at Bremerton, Washington state, in what the Navy called a temporary reassignment. The Navy said he is not formally relieved of his command of the Stennis strike group but will be replaced by Rear Adm. Troy M. Shoemaker, who will assume command until the investigation is completed.

It is highly unusual for the Navy to replace a carrier strike group commander during its deployment.

The Navy did not reveal details of the allegations, citing only an accusation of "inappropriate leadership judgment" that arose during the strike group's deployment to the Middle East. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy's chief spokesman, declined to discuss the investigation.
read more here

Military Bracing for 'Frankenstorm'

Military Bracing for 'Frankenstorm'
Oct 27, 2012
Daily Press
Newport News, Va.
by Hugh Lessig

The Navy isn't taking any chances with a weather system nicknamed Frankenstorm.

Nearly 25 ships homeported in Hampton Roads, including the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, are heading to sea in advance of Hurricane Sandy, the Navy announced Friday.

The hurricane, which is moving up the East Coast, could combine with a cold front from the west to create an even larger monster storm, forecasters have said.
read more here

Who takes care of veterans and who just claims they do

New ad for Obama features a 20 year Navy veteran, Tyre Nelson. There are many things he says in this video, but one thing stands out that we need to pay attention to. The difference between how the "military" is viewed by politicians.

There is the side of the military budget dedicated to contractors. They build and supply the equipment and weapons. Then there is the side of the budget dedicated to troops.

Just to give you an idea, this is from IAVA and gives the grades for members of congress on how they voted for our veterans.



A small but vocal opposition in Congress argued that the benefit was too generous. In an effort to derail the popular and bipartisan Post-9/11 GI Bill already a part of the war supplemental funding, a motion was made to advance a meager and ill-conceived “alternate” GI Bill before the Post- 9/11 GI Bill had the opportunity to be passed and signed into law.


Then there was this bill that tried to help out families when they had to stay home to take care of a disabled veteran. There are more bills that took care of the veterans and our troops coming back, but you get the idea. This Caregivers Bill shows they were thinking about the families.

May 05, 2010 Remarks by the President at Signing of Caregives and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act

This will give you a better idea what happened when Republicans took over the House. Notice a name in this article. It is Paul Ryan.

Republicans Seek To Cut Benefits for Disabled Veterans
Posted April 16, 2011 by Benjamin Krause in Ben's Blog
Remember Michele Bachmanns’s attempted $4 billion cut from disabled veterans compensation? Well, “they’re ba-ack…” Except this time they are looking to cut away at our VA healthcare.

Republican Paul Ryan and the House of Representatives are looking to end VA healthcare benefits for disabled veterans – that’s for over 1.3 million veterans who are Priority 7 and 8. These veterans are the least disabled veterans using the system, usually with disability ratings of 0 percent or no service-connected disability.

According to the Congressional Budget Office “Option 35,” the cuts would leave 130,000 veterans with no healthcare alternative. This means veterans with conditions not recognized by the VA, like certain diseases from Agent Orange exposure, would have to pay for healthcare out of pocket if they had not other service connected disability.

Currently, the VA spends over $4 billion yearly on benefits for disabled veterans to treat them, despite co-pays intended to offset the expense. Ryan’s cuts are intended to save $6 billion off the VA’s tab and $62 billion over the next 10 years. Instead of merely increasing the co-pay or taxing Wall Street, Congress wants to just cut your benefits out, all together.

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is fighting the across the board cut because many of the veterans in question have come to rely on VA healthcare over the years. In times when healthcare costs are astronomical, these veterans will go without the care they were promised, if the proposal becomes law. DAV voiced additional concerns that this attempt is just the start of a gradual and specifically focused erosion of veterans’ benefits.

But while this Congress loves to play games and has done little to fix any of the problems they complain about, they are blocking bills that would help veterans even more. This is the record for the 112th Congress.

14 reasons why this is the worst Congress ever

So when you hear this veteran talk about why he is voting the way he is, now you'll know why he says what he does.

Red Cross filling backpacks to help veterans

Evansville's Red Cross filling backpacks to help veterans
By Richard Gootee
Posted October 28, 2012

EVANSVILLE — The Evansville-Wabash Valley chapter of the American Red Cross again is asking for the public's help for homeless and low-income veterans in honor of Veterans Day through the group's annual "Totes for Hope" campaign."At any given point in time there are nearly 400 veterans (in the area) who are homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless. That is just a heartbreaking number," said Julie Krizen, a Red Cross spokeswoman. "So this is just a way the community can give back (and) help out our veterans who have given so much."

This is the fourth year for the drive. This year's goal is to provide up to 600 veterans with containers full of necessities and other items, which will be distributed at the Evansville Vet Center and the city's Veterans Affairs clinic on Nov. 9. Last week, employees from Vectren Corp. donated 1,200 totes — enough to supply the campaign for two years.
read more here

Alcohol treatment programs used by more veterans than civilians

Veterans More Likely to Access Alcohol Treatment Programs Than Non-Veterans
Research presented at the 2012 APHA meeting indicates that help is available to both groups, but civilians less likely to seek it out.
By The Healthline Editorial Team
Published Oct 28, 2012
by Jenara Nerenberg
The Gist

Veterans who are heavy alcohol users are more likely to access a wide range of alcohol treatment programs as compared to their civilian counterparts, according to research presented today at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting.

While veterans are using formal and informal programs such as self-help groups, Alcoholics Anonymous, and employee assistance programs, "less than 10 percent of the younger, persistently-heavy [civilian] drinkers were accessing the services that the veterans used," lead researcher Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, PhD told Healthline.

The findings suggest that the social support found among formal, organized groups such as veterans groups, may encourage heavy alcohol drinkers to seek out help as compared to those who are more isolated.
read more here

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Romney can't make up his mind state to state on anything

A long time ago, in a land far away from Florida, I lived in Massachusetts and there was a Governor with a very bad speech problem. He never seemed to understand, when he talked, people were listening. Not just listening, but recording what he said.

It used to be funny at times if you happened to be channel surfing as Governor Romney said one thing on one channel and then something else the next day on another. At least he understood that different news stations were watch by different audiences but he never understood the rest of what it takes to be committed to a core set of values.

Here are just a few of the changes in what he said showed up depending on who he knew was listening.

This is the video that what he said was clearly meant for his rich friends but someone had a camera rolling.

Against the 47% speech he gave when he thought only like minded folks were listening. Keep in mind that it was pointed out who the 47% are. Deployed troops, veterans, the elderly, poor, handicap citizens, just to name a few.

This is what he said when he thought the people of Massachusetts would want to hear these words.

Mitt Romney Addresses National Right to Life Convention
At 1:21 he talks about abortion "treating human embryos as research material." He said he couldn't support that but it turns out he not only supported just that same thing, but made money on it.

0:27to have the endorsement of national right to life
0:30if you ever question whether your advocacy changes hearts and minds
0:35let me show you
0:36that it does
0:38i'm just one of many americans
0:40from every walk of life
0:41who found themselves asking an important question
0:44an afterthought salute deliberation
0:47came to a heartfelt conclusion
0:49innocent life
0:51must be respected and protected
0:53from its beginning to its natural and
0:56when i first ran for office i said that i would retain the laws relating to
1:00abortion the were already in place despite my personal belief that abortion
1:04is wrong
1:06but after being elected governor of massachusetts i was confronted with
1:11they're called on me to expand the legal taking up onboard life
1:15treating human embryos
1:16as mere research material to be experimented upon
1:20and then destroy it
1:21i could not support that
1:23government's action of abortion
1:25devalues human life
1:27as a governor then
1:29whatever the question of life came before me by answered that we must
1:32protect it
1:34i thought the benyamin cloning
1:35i thought the ban embryo farming
1:38i thought to define life is beginning to conception
1:41i fought for abstinence education in our schools
1:44and i vetoed a bill that would have given young girls abortion inducing
1:49without prescription
1:50or parental consent
1:52i thought those fights because of the quiet of conscience
1:56and it was the right thing to do
1:58and i will always be grateful for advocates like you
2:00who stand to protect
2:04the damn running for a different and higher office
2:06it comes with an even greater set of responsibilities
2:09and even tougher challenges i face is governor
2:12more than twenty three million americans are unemployed
2:17or left the workforce altogether
2:20new business start-ups
2:21artist thirty-year low
2:23our nation is running trillion dollar deficits every year
2:27food and energy costs have soared
2:29while home values it incomes have plummeted
2:32president bombers economic policies
2:35have failed
2:36he said his chance
2:38now it's time for change in leadership
2:40if i'm fortunate to be elected this november
2:43putting america back to the right track
2:45and getting americans back to work
2:47will be my priority from day one
2:50but i will not forget that a strong country needs more than a strong economy
2:55it needs strong families
2:56and strong values as well
2:59present obama once said the decisions about abortion are
3:02above his pay grade
3:04i'll never be so cavalier about life
3:06i will be a pro-life president
3:08a read state the mexico city policy
3:11a cut off funding for the united nations population fund
3:14which supports china's aboard
3:16one-child policy
3:18alin sure that abortion advocates like planned parenthood get no taxpayer
3:23and i'll reversal bomber regulations
3:26that attack our religious freedom
3:28and threaten innocent life
3:30nominate judges who respect the constitution
3:34opponents of judicial restraint
3:36and know the difference between personal opinion
3:38and the law
3:40if elected president
3:41i will work with you to foster respect for innocent human life
3:45with understanding that a culture that fails to do so
3:49altar boy becomes a culture
3:50in which respect for all fell a demon beings
3:53is diminished
3:55i'm heartened by the advances made by the pro-life movement over the last
3:58several years
4:00the ranks of our pro life partners
4:02are growing everyday
4:04that progress would not be possible without your passion
4:07and your dedication
4:08god bless you for it
4:10and god bless united states of america
4:12thank you so much

but this is where some of his money came from, hundreds of millions of dollars,

Oh well but as with any grim fairy tale, it seems as if Halloween presented this country with a trick or treat question. Depending on what you wanted to hear, he said it all. So here's what he said when he thought pro-life people were not listening.

Romney: Abortion Not On My Agenda
Comment to Iowa paper's editorial board sparks criticism from Obama campaign.
By Sarah Huisenga
Updated: October 10, 2012 | 4:01 p.m.
October 9, 2012

Mitt Romney said on Tuesday that he has no plans for abortion legislation if elected president, a statement that is more moderate than ones he's made on the issue in the past.

“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda," Romney told the Des Moines Register editorial board.

In an interview with an Ohio TV station during the heat of the Republican primary in February, Romney said he was “in favor of a pro-life policy.” He noted that “the legislation that relates to abortion is something which is going to have to be approved by the Supreme Court,” a body to which he would appoint nominees to fill any vacancies if he is elected.

Asked to clarify the Republican nominee’s position, Romney spokesman Andrea Saul sent an email saying that Romney "is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president." She also said that Romney "would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."
read more here from National Journal

I have no problem with people believing what they want as long as they believe in something. It seems Romney only believes in what people want to hear and that is very sad.

Military women take birth control to regulate their cycle along with preventing pregnancy until they want to have a baby or not at all. They are also raped but they have to hear some members of congress talk about the "right to life" when it was even something as evil as rape, topped off that they want to end birth control altogether. It seems it is time for these folks to answer some real questions and actually repeat them because they believe in them and not just saying what they want select groups to hear.

Can you imagine being in Afghanistan right now and hearing all this going on by the people wanting to be in control of this country? Can you imagine being there and knowing the media doesn't have a clue? They know what Congress is responsible for and they also know what they have been doing over the last two years. None of it has been good.

We owe them at least an honest reporting on the facts. Hell knows they didn't get that when they were being sent into Iraq. Reporters failed them then and are still failing them.

Operation Homefront real help for veterans and families

Operation Homefront real help for veterans and families
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
October 28, 2012

On Friday as I was getting ready to meet a Mom struggling with trying to get her Iraq veteran son help with PTSD, my cell phone rang. An elderly woman called from Naples. She wanted to know where she could donate money to and didn't "want to donate to some frivolous charity" but wanted to make sure her money did some good for these men and women. I told her that Point Man Ministries of Florida doesn't need much money to do what we do but we do need some money to keep going. We need help with traveling and buying books/bibles, buying a meal for a veteran in need of spiritual comfort, paying ever rising phone bills and computer expenses, but not much else. We don't advertise, so no expense there. This work takes more time than anything else. Well, Christ did say, "Freely it was given to you, freely give" so considering words of comfort, understanding and compassion have no dollar sign, it doesn't cost me much.

There are a lot of people out there wanting to help but not sure where the money is going. I'd like you to take a look at a group here in Florida and take a look at what they do for what they claim the money goes to. They are actually making a real difference in veterans' lives!

Operation Homefront
Operation Homefront provides emergency assistance and morale to our troops, to the families they leave behind, and to wounded warriors when they return home. Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers in 30 chapters nationwide. Since its inception, Operation Homefront has provided critical assistance to more than 105,000 military families in need. Some of our most outstanding accomplishments are: more than 5 million dollars provided to military families in crises; goods and services valued at more than 6.5 million dollars to assist military families; and an excess of 20,000 care packages delivered to soldiers abroad with an additional 2,500 packages delivered to military families at home.
Charity Navigator Operation Homefront
Score (out of 70) Rating
Overall 66.06
Financial 64.43
Accountability and Transparency 70.00

Income Statement
(FYE 12/2011)
Total Contributions $24,462,035
Program Service Revenue $0
Total Primary Revenue $24,462,035
Other Revenue $110,814
TOTAL REVENUE $24,572,849

Program Expenses $23,280,889
Administrative Expenses $568,731
Fundraising Expenses $828,370

Payments to Affiliates $0
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $-105,141

Net Assets $9,696,674

Operation Homefront Florida

I sure wouldn't turn down a donation from anyone. (As a matter of fact right now I'm in dire need of it just to cover what I've already spent.) Point Man International Ministries needs donations, that's for sure but we don't need a lot. Operation Homefront needs more donations because what they do costs more. Considering they are helping families financially what they do is not free but it is priceless.

We've all heard about other groups out there interested more in making money by advertising everywhere and getting corporations to sponsor everything they end up doing, but here's a place that gives out of heart and that's an organization I can support. As a matter of fact, I have since 2008.

PTSD support for spouses

Disabled veterans suffer when the check is not in the mail

Wounded soldiers become homeless waiting for benefits

Operation Homefront moving in wounded and families

There are more but you get the idea.

4 Army Rangers honored for valor

4 Army Rangers honored for valor
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 27, 2012

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. — On a day when the Army’s top general was on hand to recognize an entire battalion for gallantry in Afghanistan, four soldiers stood out.

Sgt. Craig Warfle was pinned with the Distinguished Service Cross, marking him as the first Army Ranger in the post-9/11 era to earn the nation’s second highest honor for valor in combat.

Three Silver Stars were awarded to Sgt. Michael Ross, Staff Sgt. Dominic Annecchini and Sgt. Christopher Coray.
read more here

With Allen West, less means zero

If comments left on this are an indication of how people really feel about Allen West, he won't have to go back to Washington.

Allen West: We used bayonets in Iraq and horses in Afghanistan
Washington Post
Posted by Ed O'Keefe
October 23, 2012

STUART, Fla. — Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) knows a thing or two about how the U.S. military uses bayonets, because he sent soldiers into battle with them in Iraq.

Speaking to about 100 senior citizens Tuesday afternoon in this golfing and retirement community, West joined legions of conservatives and Republicans criticizing President Obama’s performance during Monday night’s presidential debate on foreign policy and seized especially on the exchange between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney over the declining strength of the U.S. Navy.

“I can tell you that when I was a battalion commander, we did still issue bayonets to our troops when we deployed to Iraq in 2003. The second thing I will tell you is that in 2001, Special Forces soldiers were on horseback riding with the Northern Alliance to fight against the Taliban,” West said. “So obviously we have a president who does not understand the full capabilities and capacities and what we do in the United States military.”

During the debate, Obama responded to Romney’s concerns about U.S. naval power by noting that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”
read more here and be sure to read the comments left

West does understand a thing or two, but not more than that. Does he actually not get that Obama is the Commander-in-Chief?

You don't notice them as veterans everyday

In 2006 I created a video saying that veterans were veterans everyday as a reminder to the rest of us.

We honor them on November 11th every year but we should honor them everyday.

They carry the wars they fought inside of them for the rest of their lives. Some have memories. Some are haunted by them. Some civilians hear PTSD and think it is a new illness but the truth is, every generation of veterans faced what war did to them and every generation will. Just because you didn't know about it, they were coming home much like today. They had PTSD. They committed suicides more than they committed crimes but reporters didn't notice. They tried to build families as much as they suffered when the families fell apart. They ended up living on the street almost as much as they ended up serving those streets in law enforcement and in fire departments.

We talk about the homeless veterans now but didn't notice when 300,000 of them had no place to call home. We talk about the claims backlog now in the VA but no one noticed how many of them had fought for years to have their own claims approved and processed in greater numbers.

You don't notice them as veterans everyday because they ask for little for themselves. They fight harder for others.

Veterans Everyday from Kathleen "Costos" DiCesare on Vimeo.

Khe Sanh Vietnam Veteran sheriff recalls experiences

Worcester sheriff recalls Vietnam experiences
Oct 24, 2012
Written by
Brian Shane
Staff Writer

SNOW HILL — Facing death was a way of life for Marines in Vietnam, but for 77 days, Cpl. Reggie Mason had a front-row seat.

The Pocomoke City, Md., native joined the Marines in 1966 at age 18. He spent most of 1967 in DaNang, as a bodyguard and driver for a colonel. He had been putting in transfer requests to be in a combat unit.

In January 1968, he had re-enlisted and joined the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, an infantry unit nicknamed “The Walking Dead” for having so many men killed in action.

“I’ll never forget when I checked in,” said Mason, 66. “The staff sergeant said, ‘You’re that crazy-ass bastard from division that wants to go in the field. Get your gear — you’re going to see all you want to see.’ At 1300 hours, I was on a chopper bound for the DMZ.”

When they landed at Khe Sanh, Mason was given a new detail: Casualties.

His job was to shadow medics working with the wounded and dead, and bring them out of the Demilitarized Zone. He would radio in dog tags about who was wounded and how badly. For Marines killed in action, he would collect their personal effects from the body.
read more here

101st Airborne Division Celebrates 70 Years of Valor

101st Airborne Division Celebrates 70 Years of Valor
Oct 18, 2012
by usapatriotism
Soldiers of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) gather during the "2012 Week of the Eagles" to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their great division with a truly storied past with active members carrying on this noble proud legacy and adding to its historic heritage of valor.
U.S. Army video by Maj. Robin Ochoa, August 15, 2012

Government and personal property stolen at Fort Campbell

Stopping thieves: Police advise Soldiers to secure gear
October 25, 2012
by Michele Vowell
Courier assistant editor

A Fort Campbell Soldier walks down the hall from his barracks room to visit with his buddy, leaving his door unlocked. A mere five minutes later, when the Soldier returns, his cell phone and laptop are missing.

Although this scenario is fictional, incidents of theft on post happen too often, according to installation law enforcement officials.

In September alone, 57 incidents of larceny (nonviolent theft of personal property) were reported to the installation’s Military Police. Of those incidents, 24 were reports of stolen government property. Thirty-three of the incidents were reports of stolen private property.

“Theft is a crime of opportunity,” said Fort Campbell Police Chief Keith Shumate. The reported thefts occurred at several different locations across post, including 20 at administrative buildings, 16 in parking lots, nine in on-post quarters, eight at barracks, two in motor pools and two in miscellaneous areas.
read more here

Fallen soldier Brittany Gordon as 'uncommonly brave and uncommonly kind'

Mourners recall soldier Brittany Gordon as 'uncommonly brave and uncommonly kind'
Tampa Bay Times
By Kameel Stanley
Times Staff Writer
October 28, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG — Cedric Gordon spent many days alone in his living room, hoping he would never see a stranger in uniform walking to his door.

As the father of a deployed soldier, it could only mean something bad.

But Gordon, St. Petersburg's assistant police chief, tried to put it out of his mind. He learned to comfort himself.

His baby served in an elite unit. People were praying for her. What were the chances she wouldn't make it home in December from her first overseas assignment?

On Oct. 13, Army Spc. Brittany Bria Gordon, an Army intelligence analyst, was killed when a suicide bomber attacked her unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan, becoming the first female soldier from Tampa Bay to die in the recent wars.

The 2006 St. Petersburg High graduate, the only daughter of Cedric Frank Gordon and Brenda Thompson Gordon of St. Petersburg, was 24.

"I kept asking God: Why Brittany? Why my daughter? Why my baby girl?" Gordon told a standing-room only crowd gathered for his daughter's funeral Saturday at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. "But I know that knowing God is better than knowing why."
read more here

Spc. Brittany B. Gordon "Her Dream was to serve"

PTSD service dogs trained since the 70's

Charity provides service dog for injured veteran
North County Times
Craig Shultz

Since retired Marine Cpl. Nathan Peck arrived home from a tour of duty in Iraq in 2009 with lower back injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, his life has not been easy, he said.

But thanks to a local charity, things are looking much brighter.

This week, Peck, 27, was given Cali, a 2-year-old golden retriever from 4 Paws 4 Patriots, a Menifee-based charity that matches injured veterans with service dogs.

“These two years, I’ve been in a very dark place,” Peck said. “Working with Cali, she calms me down, helps me out. She’s like my best friend, like my kid. Most importantly, she knows how to calm me down in those dark moments. Without Tim’s organization, I don’t know where I’d be today.”

Tim is Tim LeBlanc of Menifee, who formed the charity two years ago with fellow Menifee resident Greg Fletcher and John Banks of Temecula.

LeBlanc and Banks are military veterans and Fletcher said he has family members who served in the armed forces.

“These guys don’t get as much help as they should,” Fletcher said before Friday’s presentation at Sam’s Club in Murrieta. “We want to take the talents we have so we can give them a better life.”

LeBlanc has been training dogs since the 1970s and said statistics show that having a service animal helps wounded troops, especially those with PTSD.
read more here

Oct. 26, 2012
Iraq War veteran points to benefits of service dogs
By Kyle Martin
Staff Writer
Veteran Daniel Smith hugs his service dog, Jefferson. Jefferson assists in Smith's recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries from his 2005 service in Iraq. The black lab is trained to notice panic attacks and other symptoms.

Latest by JimS 8 min 50 sec ago
The Department of Veterans Affairs recently suspended a study that could have opened the door to funding service dogs for veterans with mental disorders.

Iraq War veteran Daniel Smith understands the reason for their delay but wishes more service members could receive the benefit of a service dog like his.

Before Smith brought his black Labrador, Jefferson, home in early 2011, he could barely make it through the crowds of Walmart without a panic attack.

Four months later, Smith was confidently walking through New York’s Grand Central Station with Jefferson by his side.

“I would have never thought a dog could help me like that,” Smith said.

From the VA’s perspective, Jefferson is a prosthetic because he assists in Smith’s recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries he suffered during his deployment to Iraq in 2005. The VA pays for dogs to assist veterans with physical disabilities, including vision and hearing problems. A study was commissioned in 2010 to examine the possibility of funding service dogs for veterans with PTSD, but it was suspended Sept. 5 amid concerns over the consistency of training by private kennels. The VA also says there is a lack of scientific evidence to show the dogs are capable of healing and treating PTSD. It’s unclear whether the study will resume.

Veterans across the country with service dogs are protesting the VA’s decision and providing their own anecdotal evidence.

Smith, of Beech Island, got his dog free from America’s VetDogs in 2011 because of his mobility impairments and seizures. The VA’s only involvement was signing off on the paperwork that verified his medical condition and a chaplain’s recommendation.
read more here

Homeless Yakima veteran on benefits fair: 'Means a lot'

Homeless Yakima veteran on benefits fair: 'Means a lot'
By Michael Spears
Published: Oct 27, 2012

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A giant fair in Yakima went a long way at helping local veterans Saturday by offering everything from job help to free clothes and food.

Some veterans return home and find it hard to adjust back to civilian life while others find themselves falling on hard times with nowhere to go.

KIMA spoke with one veteran who said he struggles every day to survive.

"Get back on my feet. That's what I want to do: get back on my feet and this helps,” said Mark Hansen.

Mark Hansen was enlisted in the U.S. Army for 9 years. His time in the military took him overseas to places like Korea and Germany.

But after Hansen hung up his uniform for good he found himself struggling to make ends meet.

"When I first came back I was living with my mother and a series of unfortunate accidents took place and that's what found me homeless,” said Hansen.

With nowhere to go, Hansen turned to a group home with other homeless vets. He's now looking for a job with the help of Work Source.
read more here

Express Lube steps up after woman steals donations for Homeless Veterans

This was caught on security video. The woman is seen looking around to make sure no one was watching. Then she just takes the box of money intended for homeless veterans.

This could have been one more of the terrible stories out there about heartless people, but Express Lube turned it into a heartwarming story. They replaced the donations that were estimated to be about $100 with $500!

Woman Steals Donation Box for Homeless Veterans
FOX 29 San Antonio
By: Robert Price

A woman is caught on camera stealing a donation box full of money for homeless veterans.

Surveillance video shows the woman taking the money from the counter of an Express Lube at Babcock and Hillcrest.

Employees say the box had about one hundred dollars in it.

Express Lube has the donation boxes at sixteen of its locations around town. To make up for the lost money, it has donated five hundred dollars to the campaign.
read more here and see video

Saturday, October 27, 2012

One city, two policemen, one Afghan tour

One city, two policemen, one Afghan tour
By Mark Caudill
Mansfield, Ohio

News Journal Posted : Saturday Oct 27, 2012

MANSFIELD, Ohio — Mansfield police officers Randy Carver and Nelson Kilgore didn’t cross paths during their recent tours of Afghanistan.

Kilgore was relieved they didn’t.

He was on the fallen comrade detail at his base when he got word three members of Carver’s unit had been killed this spring.

“He was freaking out when he heard about it because he knew where I was at,” Carver said.

Carver and Kilgore returned safely from Afghanistan recently. They will be back on their regular jobs in mid-November.

Carver, 33, is a staff sergeant with an Ohio Army National Guard unit near Toledo. Kilgore, 40, has been with the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard for 22 years. He is a master sergeant.

Both Carver and Kilgore joined the city police department in 2005.
click link for more

4 Tours, Bronze Star Fort Drum Soldier Armed Standoff

Friday: New Details In Armed Stand-off
Story Published: Oct 26, 2012

A domestic dispute between Fort Drum soldier Jason Love and his wife turned into an armed standoff.

With 30 to 40 police officers surrounding his house during the five-hour standoff, Love, wearing full body armor, allegedly fired a rifle three or four times.

Eventually, police talked Love into surrendering.

He was charged with menacing a police officer, first degree reckless endangerment, second degree criminal possession of a weapon and unlawfully wearing a body vest.

Love is a Bronze Star recipient who served four combat tours.

The obvious question is, was post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - a factor? "The situation last night, there was alcohol involvement," said Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns.

"Was there any post-traumatic?" he said. "We're not sure." go here for more and video

Police Identify Man Involved In Armed Standoff

Story Published: Oct 26, 2012

A five-hour armed standoff in the town of LeRay Thursday ended with the arrest of one man, but no injuries.
Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies say 33 year old Jason Love was charged with menacing a police officer, first degree reckless endangerment, second degree criminal possession of a weapon and unlawfully wearing a body vest.

This is what Turner calls an apology for "good suicides"

This is what Turner calls an apology for good suicides
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
October 27, 2012

Yesterday I had to ask Did Ted Turner say military suicide "is good" because I thought there had to be some kind of stroke or maybe he was drinking but I read the transcript. It is what he said. What was worse is that Morgan then came back without a followup question.

I would have loved to have heard, "How dare you?" "Do you have a single clue what it is like for them to come home after surviving combat but can't survive being home?" "Have you totally lost your own mind?" But Morgan's next question was about Turner giving money away. Nice way to suck up to the boss and slam all the veterans leaving behind grieving families.
This is what Turner calls an apology.

During my recent interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, I inadvertently used the word ‘good’ when asked for my thoughts on the increasing rate of suicide among U.S. military soldiers in the Middle East. It was certainly not my intent to imply that suicide is ‘good.’ Rather, I was implying that it is good that the public is more aware of these tragedies and is more averse to war and war-related fatalities,” Turner responded.

Excuse me but WTF! Maybe Turner didn't pay attention after Vietnam Veterans came home, suffered in silence with PTSD that, yes, was called PTSD in the 70's, or the fact they were being locked up because they tried anything and everything to stop the pain they had. Maybe he didn't notice when the jails were filling up with those veterans because they used drugs or drank too much to get numb. He sure as hell missed the numbers climbing of Vietnam Veterans committing suicide to the tune of 150,000 to 200,000 along with the fact that by 1978 500,000 Vietnam Veterans had PTSD. Homeless Veterans were walking the streets long before he made his fortune even though they didn't hang out in his neighborhood. He sure as shit didn't notice that everything available for OEF and OIF veterans was established because of the Vietnam veterans coming home and fighting for it!

That's the biggest offense of all in all of this. Turner is a "newsman" and as a newsman he should have given a damn about knowing what was going on even though he finds it reprehensible for this generation of men and women to feel so compassionately courageous they are willing to die to save someone else. Once again he missed that point. They don't join to kill. They join to save. They have to train how to kill because that is exactly what the other side is doing. They don't pick the battles they are sent to fight. Politicians do. Politicians are also the ones that are supposed to know WTF they are sending these men and women to risk their lives for. Just because they drop the ball, don't care to make sure they are 100% right about the necessity, and sure as hell don't bother to plan for any of the wounded coming home, that is not the fault of those who go.

Turner said he's all about peace but never once contemplated how peace was achieved and maintained throughout the history of this country.

Now he says it is good that the American people are aware? It would have been nice if Turner had fought to make sure the American people knew what I was reading everyday. Knew how families grieved because someone they loved came back so changed they no longer wanted to live. Knew what it was like for a Mom to stand by her son's grave and blame herself for not doing enough. Know what it like for them to learn that everything they needed to know was known but no one told them. Knew what it was like to discover the "resiliency" training they were getting was the reason why their sons and daughters thought it was because they were mentally weak and too ashamed to ask for help.

Ya, sure Turner can come out with another boatload of excuses for what he said this time but the truth is, he's had years to prove how he really feels.

WWII veteran died penniless, but rich with friends

He died penniless, but rich with friends
Kevin Fagan
October 26, 2012

It was just before sunrise when Bernie Kern wheeled himself to an outdoor plaza at Laguna Honda Hospital for his usual morning cigarette. He'd been living in the hospital for five years, but four decades of homelessness before that had left him with an enduring affection for the early morning chill and quiet.

The cigarette was done in a few minutes. It was his last.

Kern was found peacefully slumped in his wheelchair just outside the elevator, his heart given out from the long years on the streets.

That was Oct. 9. He was 90.

Having long outlived every relative he knew, there was no family to claim him. The normal city policy in such cases is to cremate him along with other unclaimed indigents, then scatter his ashes into the ocean with all the others on a routine run by a city-hired boat.
read more here

In veteran-heavy states, military issues magnified

This is an easy one to explain. Stop listening to what they say and start looking up their records. That's the only way to figure out what they will end up doing. Romney will cut the VA and privatize it. Aside from the Ryan budget he approved of we have his record in Massachusetts. He cut state VA funds, ended hiring preferences for veterans and cut public employees, most of the were veterans. Remember, veterans enter into law enforcement, fire departments and public service more than they return to the private sector. They always want to give more and serving makes them happy.

John McCain proved that it is not what they say but what they do as well. Look up his record on everything from the GI Bill, which he not only voted against but fought against it and go all the way back to when he was first sent to the Senate. He loved to say he was "one of us" until we weren't looking.

For President Obama, even the most staunch Republicans I know have admitted he has done a lot for veterans and to right some wrongs done against them. Gulf War veterans and Vietnam veterans were included in on all the changes for the better when the media was just paying attention to the newer veterans. Think of how many years that went on and no one did anything. Then think of the new veterans bill the Senate tied up that would have trained the OEF OIF veterans to be police officers and firefighters and you get a good picture of what is really going on.

In veteran-heavy states, military issues magnified
Associated Press
(AP) The far-flung swing states that have the most sway in the presidential election have something else in common a large share of military veterans who are getting special attention from the fiercely dueling campaigns.

In a White House campaign this hard-fought, no interest group can be ignored. But veterans are an especially prized group since so many live in battlegrounds including Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia.

Backing those who have served the country also sends a feel-good patriotic message to the electorate at large. And although veterans traditionally lean Republican, both candidates see an opening to win over veterans this year.

The next president will face U.S. troops returning from Afghanistan and a continuing budget crisis with veterans benefits under scrutiny.

Navy veteran Rob Meurer fears for his own livelihood at a northern Virginia aerospace manufacturer if military spending cuts are enacted during a second administration for President Barack Obama. Defense cuts "could devastate our military and our business," Meurer said.

At the other end of the state, Hampton Roads area Air Force veteran Lawrence Ewing fears the quality of his health care will suffer should the government privatize benefits under Republican Mitt Romney.

"We simply cannot afford cuts to the VA," Ewing said.
read more here

Why would VoteVets spend $1 million against GOP?

VoteVets, Progressive Veterans Group, Spends $1 Million Against GOP Candidates
For Final Stretch
The Huffington Post
By Sabrina Siddiqui
Posted: 10/26/2012

VoteVets Action Fund, a progressive veterans group, announced a $1 million push on Friday against Republican congressional candidates in Virginia, Indiana and Montana for the final days of the 2012 election cycle.

The effort includes a television ad targeting U.S. Senate candidate George Allen's voting record on veterans' benefits and care. "There are over 800,000 veterans, like me, living in Virginia," says Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran David Nasse in the commercial. "Time and again, George Allen has turned his back on us."

"George Allen said, 'Whatever the government program is, no matter how essential it is, it is a waste,'" he continues. "If George Allen thinks veterans programs are a waste, maybe voting for him is the real waste."

The spot will run on broadcast and cable networks in Virginia for one week as part of a $200,000 ad buy.
read more here

Military family loses son to PTSD and blames themselves

How many times do we need to read about what the military is doing before it dawns on all of us most of it is just talk? How many times do we have to read they are not only repeating the same mistakes but doing more of them, before we fully grasp the outcome proves they failed?

The hardest thing we all need to face is that parents have to watch the casket carrying the body of their sons and daughters while blaming themselves for what happened. What the hell is wrong with us?

Military family loses son to PTSD
Reported by: Danica Lawrence
Published: 10/26 10:10 pm

The family of a United States Marine Corp. corporal who killed himself on Sunday wants to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Cpl. Wade Austin Toothman suffered from PTSD for three years. He served two tours in his four years with the Marine Corp. He deployed to Afghanistan from January 1, 2008 to August 31, 2008. Then he toured in Iraq from May 1, 2009 to October 31st of 2009.

He was held for three months after his return from Iraq to be officially medically discharged.

Cpl. Toothman’s aunt, Debi Hendrix said “When he came home the first time I looked in his eyes and he wasn’t there. He lost his best friend in an accident where he was blown up and I think that pretty much started everything.”

She said he got some help but not enough.

“He should have stayed longer but he just wanted to come home,” said Hendrix. “But he literally told them what they wanted to hear so he could come home. “

Hendrix was the first to read Cpl. Toothman’s suicide note. She said she feels guilty for not realizing how much he was suffering.

“I missed it,” said Hendrix. “We aren’t qualified. We aren’t doctors. We aren’t supposed to be; that’s why we have to find a way to help these people.”
read more here

It doesn't matter how many years I've been doing this because most of the time the people I am talking to have no clue what PTSD is or what they can do about it. They know the term but no one told them what it all means.

They know their veteran is suffering. As Cpl. Toothman's aunt said, she could see it but she didn't totally understand what she was seeing. Toothman did what most of them do when they want to come home. They lie about what is going on inside of them.

While we hear about the training they get on "being resilient" their parents are trained on how to plan for a funeral.

Now this family is doing what most end up doing when it is too late for them. They try to help someone else with what they learned so they don't have to go through the same pain. Why? Because no one else did it for them. No one told them. They know what it feels like. That is the most damaging indictment on the military "prevention" push that has yielded the opposite result by making them hopeless instead of "resilient"!