Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Army suicide numbers speak louder than words ever could

This is the last day of 2013. As I look back on the year that is finally over, it is ever more crushing that there have been too many suicides. As the number of troops serving has gone down, the numbers prove one thing. All the time, all the money and all the pleading of families to change what the outcome has been, have all been ignored. I tried to warn of what was coming in April. Few read The Warrior SAW, Suicides After War.

Now I am letting the numbers speak for themselves.

For 2010, 156 potential active-duty suicides and 145 "among reserve component soldiers."

CY 2011: 166 and 116 (80 Army National Guard and 36 Army Reserve)

For 2012, there have been 182 and 143 potential not on active-duty suicides (96 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve) (Revised to 185 in December of 2013)

For calendar year 2013, there have been 139 potential active duty suicides and 139 potential not on active duty suicides (89 Army National Guard and 50 Army Reserve (Up to November)
As of March 31, 2012

Total as of December 31, 2012
535,247 (-22,533)

Total as of July 31, 2013
530,382 (-4,865)

The numbers went down for these branches as well but I have not included the number of suicides because I have seen no hard data for 2012 or 2013. The DOD has not released the Suicide Event Report for 2012 and the total number of suicides for these branches has not been released for 2013.







Air Force



Vietnam veteran gives child hero Bronze Star

Three-Year-Old Collects 900 Teddy Bears for Fellow Hospitalized Children
by Lauren Enriquez
Houston, TX
A Vietnam veteran who chose not to be identified to the media noticed Bennett’s heroism in the face of his own battle against illness, and his selflessness in focusing on other children who were going through the same thing, and decided to give Bennett his own Bronze Star from the war.

He told Bennett that he could keep it as long as he promised to brave his medical battle like a real hero– a promise that little Bennett seems to have no trouble living up to.
read more here
linked from Bizpac Review

Afghanistan War less supported than Vietnam War?

Afghanistan war less supported than Vietnam War?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 31, 2013

This is a shocking piece of news. War in Afghanistan, started because of an attack on this country, is now less supported than the Vietnam War.
CNN Poll: Support for war in Afghanistan dips below 20 percent
Dec. 30, 2013

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Support for the war in Afghanistan is less than 20 percent, making the longest U.S. military conflict the least popular, a CNN poll released Monday indicated.

Results of the CNN/ORC International survey also indicates a majority of Americans would like to see U.S. combat troops leave Afghanistan before the December 2014 deadline.

Only 17 percent of Americans say they support the 12-year-long war, the poll indicated. Opposition is at 82 percent.

"Those numbers show the war in Afghanistan with far less support than other conflicts," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

"Opposition to the Iraq war never got higher than 69 percent in CNN polling while U.S. troops were in that country, and while the Vietnam War was in progress, no more than six in 10 ever told Gallup's interviewers that war was a mistake."
read more here

They say that Americans do support the troops and veterans even if they do not support wars. They say it, but it seems that support comes from not having to actually pay attention to the troops or veterans.

This year the US lost 127 in Afghanistan, 52 due to IEDs. The Department of Defense reported yesterday that up to the end of November, the Army has lost 139 to suicide, as well as 139 Army National Guards and Army Reservists. 278 from the Army alone. There has been no official release from the other branches. Most Americans have no clue what is happening there, has happened there or is happening right here after they come home.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Army reports 14 soldiers, 6 National Guardsmen and 4 Reservists suicides for November

 How can there be the same exact number for Army and "not on active duty" for the year?
Army Releases November 2013 Suicide Information
Release No: NR-100-13
December 30, 2013



The Army released suicide data today for the month of November 2013.

Among active-duty soldiers, there were 14 potential suicides: 1 has been confirmed as suicide, and 13 remain under investigation.

For October 2013, the Army reported 10 potential suicides among active duty soldiers: 2 have been confirmed as suicides, and 8 are under investigation.

For calendar year 2013, there have been 139 potential active duty suicides: 74 have been confirmed as suicides, and 65 remain under investigation.

Updated active duty suicide numbers for calendar year 2012: 185 (184 have been confirmed as suicides, and 1 remains under investigation).

During November 2013, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 10 potential suicides (6 Army National Guard and 4 Army Reserve): 1 has been confirmed as suicide, and nine remain under investigation.

For October 2013, among that same group, the Army reported 12 potential suicides; however, subsequent to the report, 3 more cases were added, bringing October's total to 15: 5 have been confirmed as suicides and 10 cases remain under investigation.

For calendar year 2013, there have been 139 potential not on active duty suicides (89 Army National Guard and 50 Army Reserve): 94 have been confirmed as suicides, and 45 remain under investigation.

Updated not on active duty suicide numbers for calendar year 2012: 140 (93 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve): 140 have been confirmed as suicides and none remain under investigation.

Florida veterans group shifts efforts to aid homeless veterans

Veterans group shifts focus to the southern Brevard and beyond
NVHS has made progress in northern part of county
Written by
R. Norman Moody

After helping more than 600 veterans this year, many of them homeless in the northern half of the county, George Taylor wants his force of volunteers to concentrate on areas in south Brevard and beyond.

Taylor, founder and president of National Veterans Homeless Support, said that in 2014 more of the organization’s search and rescue volunteers will seek out veterans in the southern part of Brevard, where there is now a larger concentration than in the north.

They also will look beyond the county to Sebastian in the south and west into Orange County, where they have already been working.

“We’re putting more boots on the ground there on the south end,” said Taylor, a Vietnam veteran who was homeless himself for a time after returning from the war.
read more here

Veteran charged with boarding plane with loaded gun?

This has me all confused. She is charged with "boarding a plane" but how did she get on the plane with a gun in the first place? I can't even get past the security with a pack of cigarettes in my pocket. The foil sets off the alarm every time.
Veteran charged with trying to board plane with loaded gun at Midway
Chicago Sun Times
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter
December 29, 2013

A military veteran is accused of trying to bring a loaded handgun onto a plane at Midway Airport during the busy holiday travel weekend.

Josephine M. Coleman, 25, of Country Club Hills, is charged with boarding an aircraft with a weapon, and Cook County Judge James Brown ordered her held Sunday in lieu of $25,000.
read more here

Georgia National Guardsman gunned down by 14 year old

Family demands peace after soldier's shooting death
WSB 2 News
By Rachel Stockman
December 29, 2013

ATLANTA, Ga. — Family members hope a local soldier's death sparks a movement to root out senseless crime in a northeast Atlanta neighborhood.

"This could have been anyone's son. They took my son ," said Nichole Villafane, the mother of 21-year-old Xavier Arnold.

Atlanta police said Arnold was killed during an attempted robbery on a bike path between Rogers and Warren streets in Kirkwood.

"Our victims, their behavior had nothing to do with what happened to them," said Atlanta Police Capt. Paul Guerrucci. "It appears to be a senseless robbery."

On Saturday police said a juvenile had been arrested in connection with the Thursday night shooting death of a local soldier.

"A 14-year-old killed my son," said Villafane, "I am glad that someone that didn't have the scruples to think about life and consequences is off the street."
read more here

Iraq Veteran, triple amputee attacked on Facebook

Screenshot of union leader to disabled vet: You’re all worthless burdens, deserved to lose limbs, die
Bizpac Review
by Michael Dorstewitz
December 29, 2013

Debate over the decrease in veterans’ benefits included in the Murray/Ryan budget deal recently passed by Congress has been heated, but not vicious — until now.

Air Force Sr. Airman Brian Kolfage Jr., a triple amputee and Iraq war veteran, said he received a vile message on his Facebook page from union executive Janet Vrotsos, according to the conservative news site, Pat Dollard.

Here’s a screenshot of the message:(go to link for image)

The entry reads:
You disabled veterans are worthless and all should have died, shame on you for fighting in a republican war, you deserved to lose all you limbs and I hope all veterans lose their benefits. I hope you die a miserable death you worthless fake hero. You and your family will be a burden on tax payers for your entire life. (sic)
read more here

Almost half of veterans do not qualify for VA healthcare

Glad someone is addressing this.
Nearly half of Maine veterans don’t qualify for health care through VA
Morning Sentinel
Rep. Ann Dorney and Rep. Stanley Short
December 30, 2013

Not having access to health care is problem our returning veterans shouldn’t encounter, but we’ve heard stories that cause us great concern.

A young veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq begins struggling with school and work months after his return to Maine because of post-traumatic stress, but lacks insurance for counseling from a local provider. A Desert Storm veteran will lose MaineCare coverage next month and worries how he will move ahead without the security of health care coverage.

When the Legislature convenes next month, Maine will have another opportunity to expand health care to our friends and neighbors, including 25,000 individuals who currently have MaineCare and will lose it on Jan. 1 because we have not accepted the federal dollars to expand eligibility. In addition, 45,000 Mainers, including nearly 3,000 veterans, would gain access to coverage if we choose to expand eligibility.

Contrary to popular belief, not all veterans qualify for comprehensive health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many elements, including duty status, income and service-related disabilities, go into determining eligibility for VA services.

Even veterans who qualify for services face barriers to care. In our large and rural state, many veterans live far away from the closest VA facility or have difficulty with transportation. Some work low-wage jobs and struggle with homelessness. Others are unaware they are eligible. And some are daunted by a complex process.
read more here

Vietnam veteran starts New Year in customized home

Canton veteran welcomed back to his renovated home just in time for the holidays thanks to Purple Heart Homes
Farmington Valley Times
Published: Monday, December 30, 2013

Volunteers from Purple Heart Homes and the Canton community welcomed back Joe Recupero, a Vietnam veteran, back to his newly renovated, handicap accessible, safe barrier free home on Saturday after weeks of work.

Recupero, 62, suffers from severe Parkinsons Disease, one of 14 known diseases the Veterans Affairs department has identified as a result of exposure to the defoliant chemical Agent Orange used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.

Recupero’s home at 7 Forest Lane was renovated to include a new roof, handicap accessible bathroom and bedroom and a ramp out the front door. Volunteers also moved his driveway so he could gain easier access to the home.

The group working on the home included volunteers from Travelers insurance, the Canton Fire Department, church groups and work crews from Manchester. The project was led by Regional Director Vicki Thomas and Project Manager Marlene Figueroa.

The group also donated sheets, towels, pillows, blankets and other necessities that were given to Recupero during Saturday’s welcome home “Shower for Joe.” Thomas said they wanted to “shower Joe not only with love, but also needed household items.”
read more here

Military Veteran families can still get business loans

Veterans lose one and gain one, maybe
Herald Tribune
Published: Monday, December 30, 2013

It reads like a bad novel, but I can't put down.

I know who the heroes are, but I'm not sure if there is a villain. Furthermore, it appears that the heroes are becoming victims, and the outcome is uncertain.

The story begins on June 22, 2007, when the U.S. Small Business Administration launched its Patriot Express Pilot Initiative. With much hoopla, SBA said it would help finance small businesses for our heroes, the warriors returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The loan program also includes veterans, their spouses, widows, widowers and still enlisted military transitioning to civilian life. Any company that is at least 51 percent owned by the targeted groups can apply for up to $500,000 to start, expand or buy a small business.

Just like with all SBA-guaranteed loans, approved banks and non-bank lenders make the loans using their own money. In the event of default, the agency agrees to reimburse the guaranteed amount, as long as the bank follows the agency's rules.
read more here

Sunday, December 29, 2013

This is how you get Christmas cards to wounded war fighters

State Rep. Joe Dorman delivers Christmas cards for Wounded Warriors
The Express-Star
December 27, 2013

— Several thousand handmade Christmas cards for wounded warriors at Fort Sill were delivered recently by state Rep. Joe Dorman.

The holiday greetings were made primarily by children from various schools and churches, the Rush Springs Democrat related. In addition, adults making out their Christmas card lists were asked to remember a soldier unable to be home with his or her family this holiday season.

“We delivered the cards to the post chaplain on Thursday,” Representative Dorman said.

The cards will be handed out to soldiers recovering at Fort Sill’s Reynolds Army Hospital and the post’s Warrior Transition Unit.
read more here

Combat veterans share their best shots for charity

At a gun range, combat veterans share their best shots for charity
Charity donors get to try heavy firepower and hear tales from elite combat veterans at Shooters World in Tampa, Fla.
By Ken Dilanian
December 28, 2013
Scott Neil, left, and Tyler Garner, both special forces combat veterans, share their knowledge with donors at Shooters World in Tampa, Fla. Participants also get to fire powerful weapons. Proceeds go to organizations that help veterans.
(Ken Dilanian / Los Angeles Times / November 17, 2013)

Haley Koko shouldered an AK-47 and aimed uncertainly at the human silhouette on a paper target 25 yards away.

Standing next to her, Lt. Col. Chris Robishaw, an active-duty Green Beret, leaned in to offer a word of advice about handling the Russian-designed assault rifle, raising his voice to be heard over the rapid explosions of heavy weaponry in the shooting gallery. Brass shell casings littered the floor, and an acrid whiff of gun smoke sneaked past the air filtration system.

Koko, a 21-year-old bartender, fired off a few rounds — blam! blam! — and then swung around to look at her group with a broad smile.

"That big gun was absolutely insane," she said later.

Here at Shooters World, a Tampa-based temple of American gun culture, Koko and about 50 people took turns on a recent Saturday firing pistols, military assault weapons, an Uzi machine gun and a .50-caliber sniper rifle.

It was a charity event called Shooting With SOF, which stands for special operations forces. Organizers say they have raised $75,000 for military and veterans causes by allowing car dealers, insurance brokers, makeup artists and other ordinary folks to live out fantasies firing some of the world's deadliest guns while being tutored by 20 current and former commandos — seasoned, seen-it-all veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places they can't talk about.
read more here

Vietnam Vet Marine shares courage to heal old wounds

Purple Heart donation to bar inspires help for others
Northwest Herald
Jeff Englehardt
Published: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013

CRYSTAL LAKE – For the small fraternity of Purple Heart recipients, the award is often seen as a symbol of courage and pride.

But for Lakewood’s Pat Fimon, the medal was nothing more than a trinket in the bottom of a cardboard box in an attic. For decades he buried it as far as he could. His parents died without ever knowing he received the honor.

Fimon served as a machine gunner in the Marines during the Vietnam War on two tours. The last thing he wanted to do was to revisit the memories he had from 1967 to 1971.

“I hated the Marine Corps. It ruined my life,” Fimon said. “May 28. I didn’t go to work on that day for 30 years for a reason.”

But now Fimon is proud of the Marines and his medal. He donated it to Brink Street Restaurant and Bar, where it is displayed prominently behind the bar. It has helped bolster donations for the restaurant’s Toys for Tots drive and, more importantly to Fimon, brought awareness to the services that restored his life.

Three years ago, Fimon met people such as Ted Biever at the Woodstock Armory and counselors through Veterans Affairs who helped him realize there was a better way to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder and receiving help was OK.

The services even saved his life after a doctor’s visit revealed he had cancer, which was attributed to Agent Orange exposure during the war. He will begin radiation treatment next year.
read more here

New Dad learning to walk on new legs

New legs, new goals for Olympia soldier
Bellingham Herald
December 29, 2013

In his earliest memory, Sgt. Luke Cifka recalls stumbling in front of his dad as a toddler figuring out how to put one foot in front of the other.
Sgt. Luke Cifka spends time with his son Wyatt. After suffering critical injuries during a patrol in Afghanistan on May 31, he’s receiving care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
The memory came back to him this fall when he began learning to walk again. This time, he’s recovering from a blast in Afghanistan that claimed his legs above the knees.

Last month, Cifka, 26, took his first steps with prosthetic limbs, walking without toes, calves or knees.

“All the muscles are different,” he said. “It takes a minute to get used to it, but it’s all incredible.”

The soldier from Olympia is almost seven months into his recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. The Olympian first told his story in June, eight days after the May 31 blast that changed his life.

Lately, Cifka is feeling the momentum of reuniting his family and taking those steps.

“When I look back at how I was maybe just four months ago, I wasn’t able to feed myself, I was barely able to keep track of what was going on because I was under this blanket of painkillers and anesthesia,” he said. “It’s very humbling to take a measure of how far we’ve come.”
read more here

Fort Carson Army Wife died before London trip to save her

Army wife dies before chance at experimental treatment in London
The Gazette
By Garrison Wells
December 28, 2013
Melissa Klein, 21, rests on a couch Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, inside her Fort Carson home. Klein suffered from mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalopathy, a rare genetic disorder with no known cure. She died from complications of the disease on Friday. Melissa received life-sustaining fats, carbohydrates and proteins through a port in her chest. The thought of dying "is terrifying", she had told The Gazette

When Melissa Klein died, she was holding her husband's hand.

John Klein was there at the beginning.

He was there at the end.

She died like she lived, fighting, wrestling, arguing with the rare genetic condition that threatened her daily.

Melissa died at about 10:30 p.m. Friday at Memorial Hospital from complications following surgery to remove a port in her chest that had become infected, John said.

The port was her lifeline, through which she received a mix of fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

The Army wife's plight was described in a series of Gazette stories and blogs in recent weeks.

"Her heart stopped three times," John said. "She was resuscitated. She was asleep through all of it and it was just going to keep happening and the time between resuscitations was just getting shorter."
read more here

Iraq War veteran Tomas Young decides to live for loving wife

Injured Veteran Keeps Up His Fight, Deciding To Live
December 28, 2013

"If you're in life and you start to think things are a little too rough to handle," he says, "just think of me and what I go through, and you realize that hey, I don't have it so bad."

A spinal injury left Iraq War veteran Tomas Young paralyzed below the waist in 2004. Further medical complications a few years later made him quadriplegic.

Although Young had enlisted two days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he became an outspoken anti-war activist.

KCUR's Frank Morris spoke with him in April, after Young announced he would refuse medication and his feeding tube until he died.

"I decided that I was no longer going to watch myself deteriorate," Young said at the time.
"I just came to the conclusion that I wanted some more time with my wife," he tells NPR's Arun Rath.
read more here

Bad guy with gun stopped by Vietnam Vet Marine with a cane

Retired Marine foils robbery with cane
Miami Herald
December 28, 2013

When two men tried to rob Windell Haynes at gunpoint on the porch of his Liberty City home on Saturday, the 60-year-old Vietnam veteran fought back with a cane.

In the ensuing confusion, one of the attackers apparently shot the other, sending the wounded man to Jackson Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The second robber ran away.

The Haynes family and a neighbor were having lunch on the porch of his home in the 900 block of Northwest 47th Terrace in Liberty City when two men approached from the back yard and one of them pointed a gun at the Marine Corps veteran.

According to a woman who identified herself as Haynes’ sister, the other man tried to snatch a chain from around the veteran’s neck. Haynes responded by hitting the man with a cane.

That's when the man with the gun accidentally shot his accomplice in the stomach, according to Haynes’ sister .

Catherine Loud, Haynes’ neighbor could only see a man in a gray hoodie running away when he heard the gunshot and came to see what had happened. The injured man lay on the ground.

"He was shot. He didn’t move," said Loud, adding that the wounded man looked to be about 18 years old.
read more here

Congress doesn't want to talk about veterans paying debts

Congress doesn't want to talk about veterans paying debts
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 29, 2013

The Defense Budget for 2001 before 9-11 was $329 billion. 2002 it was A $350.7 billion. 2003 $396.8 billion was requested. The money for two wars went up after that. No one thought to pay for any of it. No one thought about the men and women they would be sending to fight these wars or taking care of them when they became veterans. It was all borrowed money along with the lives borrowed to fight.

The VA budget has gone up but what Congress doesn't want us to think about is the simple fact. 22,328,000 veterans in the US as of 9-30-12. As of March of 2013 the VA had 8.76 million veterans in their Health Care System but were only compensating 3.61 disabled veterans.

What happened to the others? What happened to veterans serving this country but do not seek anything in return? Do they get sick? Do they deal with wounds no one can see like PTSD and TBI on their own refusing to go to the VA?

We don't want to talk about military/veteran families on food stamps when Congress cut the budget.
About 900,000 veterans and 5,000 active duty troops face cuts in their food stamp benefits beginning Thursday as $5 billion is automatically trimmed from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program for low-income families.

"The coming benefit cut will reduce SNAP benefits, which are already modest, for all households by 7 percent on average, or about $10 per person per month," according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

We don't want to talk about veterans being long term unemployed when Congress cut them off. In a report from May of 2013 the Bureau of Labor Statistics had 18-24 year old veterans at over 20% followed by 11% "Post 9/11 veterans" with many of the "long term" unemployed.

We don't want to talk about millions of veterans needing true affordable healthcare insurance when Congress was doing all in their power to kill the Act instead of doing all in their power to make sure it worked.

When members of Congress shut down the government over health insurance, some went to memorials to stage scenes of pretend outrage over them being closed. As we look at the facts of what the Congress does not want us to remember, it is clear the damage done belongs to them. Now they want to make it even worse.

They decided that aside from the cuts they have already done, it was necessary to go after one more. Military Retirement.
That item would produce some $6 billion in savings by shaving a percentage point off annual cost-of-living adjustments, and it would apply only to military pensions. Not all military pensions — just the retirement paid to veterans younger than 62.
First they sent troops into Afghanistan and then into Iraq but didn't fund the wars. Now they don't want to fund what these men and women thought was part of the deal. Why did congress do it? Because the debt was so high and someone had to pay for it. So yet again, it is the citizens of this country stepping up to fight the battles and veterans paying the price for doing it.

One veteran on a mission helped 500 South Florida veterans

One veteran's mission to honor other veterans
Sun Sentinel
By Attiyya Anthony
December 27, 2013

Long retired from war, Tom Kaiser's current battle is to get every veteran the honors they've earned.

Kaiser, 86, a Delray Beach resident and World War II veteran, has helped more than 500 South Florida veterans receive government awards and medals for their military service.

"My goal is to get to every veteran an honor as long as I breathe," he said.

Kaiser honors veterans from World War II to those who have served in Afghanistan at the Boynton Beach Civic Center or Veteran's Park in Boynton Beach.

Many of the World War II veterans are pushing 100 and some have age-related illnesses, like Alzheimer's and dementia. Still, Kaiser won't give up.

Leuchter is a Holocaust survivor, who made it out by joining a French resistance group before moving to America to serve in the Korean War. Leuchter thanks Kaiser for helping him get the award.
read more here

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ohio Gulf War veterans face clock running out on $1,500 money for them

Ohio veterans face Tuesday deadline for bonuses
WBNS News 10
Saturday December 28, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Military veterans who served during the Persian Gulf War era have until Tuesday to claim Ohio bonuses of up to $1,500.

Ohio voters in 2009 approved a $200 million bond issue to fund bonuses for veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq war eras. Iraq War veterans have another year, until Dec. 31, 2014, to apply. No deadline has been announced for Afghanistan War and all veterans who served after Oct. 7, 2001.
read more here

Founded of Ruck for Warriors faces service and fraud claims

Michael Lattea, Founder Of Ruck For Warriors, Lies About Service And Commits Fraud
Guardian of Valor
December 27, 2013

We have been getting emails for a while about the legitimacy of the organization called “Ruck For Warriors”. People were concerned that donations they were giving, and money being spent on items they were selling, not being sent to any Veterans organizations.

Well the owner of Ruck For Warriors, Michael lattea, claimed he was a SSG who served two tours in Iraq. He also sported a CIB(Combat Infantryman’s Badge) with one star, meaning he had to have also seen combat somewhere other than Iraq/Afghanistan to earn his second CIB. He is also claiming Airborne and Air assault as well.

Some of you may have seen him and his Organization in some news articles, where they were covering his ruck’s. Below are some, where he has also been claiming two combat deployments to Iraq.
read more here

This was also on the site

Army Spc. Shannon Chihuahua's family will accept a Silver Star in his honor.

Fallen soldier to receive Silver Star
By Troy Washington
Posted: Dec 27, 2013

A South Georgia soldier killed in action will be awarded one of the nation's highest military honors.

Army specialist Shannon Chihuahua's family will accept a Silver Star in his honor.

It's been three years since Kristen Chihuahua lost her husband and their two daughters lost their dad. Now, he's being honored for his bravery and sacrifice.

Six year old Sophia Chihuahua may not fully understand the sacrifice that her father made for her country, but she does know that daddy was a hero.

"Sometimes when I get scared in the dark at night, alone with my sister and I can't sleep I just snuggle with my bear and I just fall asleep," said Sophia.

The bear that Sophia and her three year old sister Annabelle are holding so closely is made from pieces of their father's uniform. Shannon Chihuahua was an army medic, who died in Afghanistan in 2010 after his unit was attacked by insurgents. He was fatally wounded while trying to help a fellow soldier.

"He had no regard for what might happen to him he was just trying to get to the person that needed help," said Kristen Chihuahua.

It's that kind of courage that earned him two Purple Hearts, numerous other awards, and most recently a Silver Star, the second highest military honor.

"He truly deserves it, if any soldier deserves it would be him, for not thinking about himself or what may happen to him, but instead thinking that someone else needed him," said Kristen.

On February 7th the entire family will travel to Fort Campbell in Kentucky to receive the soldier's award.
read more here

Airman from Idaho killed in Afghanistan

DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty
Release No: NR-098-13
December 28, 2013

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Capt. David I. Lyon, 28, of Sandpoint, Idaho, died Dec. 27, 2013, from wounds suffered when his vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device in Kabul, Afghanistan.

He was assigned to the 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

Going beyond PTSD to help soldiers who have suffered a 'moral injury'

The military is going beyond PTSD to help soldiers who have suffered a 'moral injury'
PRI's The World
Reporter Susan Kaplan
December 27, 2013

The trailer for the new Peter Berg movie “Lone Survivor” says it all: for soldiers, there are decisions that truly change your life.

In one scene, the small Navy SEAL team assigned to kill an al-Qaeda leader is surrounding a young Afghan goat-herder in the middle of the Hindu-Kush Mountains. Taylor Kitsch’s character says, “The way I see it, we got two options: one, let 'em go, roll the dice. The second that they run down there, we've got 200 on our backs. Two, we terminate the compromise.”

Mark Wahlberg’s character cuts in: “…Not killing kids, not feeling it. This is not a vote, we're gonna cut them loose and we're going home.”

Those choices often haunt veterans for the rest of their lives. Today, officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs say psychological damage from particularly egregious war violence — like killing children or seeing friends killed — can create an affliction of the soul. And they call it moral injury.

Serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, Army Sergeant First Class Robin Johnson's platoon was running a routine checkpoint, hoping to nab people carrying car bombs or explosives in their vehicles. Suddenly, Johnson says, a car comes out of a side street and speeds up, heading straight towards them.

“The window [of time] of signaling shooting for a warning shot, shooting to disable and then engaging can be milliseconds,” he says. “You have to make that judgment call of ‘Is this a threat?’”

Johnson's platoon engages. He's one of the first to fire.

“Once it was done … it was just a family. You know, a mother, father and infant, in the mother's lap, and then two little girls in the back seat,” he says.

Johnson re-lives that day over and over again in his mind, and often finds himself angry at the father driving the car.

“You know, 'why didn't you just stop, like, why didn't you stop?'” he asks. “What was his logic? Was he trying to get down the next side street? Did we scare him? What was going on in his head at that moment? Now, this whole family is gone — they got up that morning and they ate breakfast together, they talked and they laughed and they planned out their day, and now, they're gone.”

Retired Navy psychiatrist William Nash says, “What makes a warrior a warrior is taking personal responsibility. And when they fail to live up to that enormously high ideal, that's moral injury.”
read more here

Sounds all too familiar. Almost the same thing happened to a young Iraq veteran I was helping a few years back. He was a member of the National Guards. All he could remember were the kids in the back seat of the car. He forgot what he tried to do to prevent it from happening. It took about 5 phone calls before he opened up on what was destroying him emotionally. Every time he looked at his own kids, he saw their haunting, lifeless faces.

Once he was able to remember everything that happened that horrible night, forgive the Dad for causing it to happen and forgive himself for having to make the choice of pulling the trigger, he began to heal.

This isn't magic. It isn't about pills as the answer to all. It isn't about fame or money or anything other than understanding human nature and what makes servicemen and women so different from the rest of us.

Veterans can get help instead of jail time but not in all states

Why should it matter where a veteran lives? They serve this one nation side by side. They come home to different states in this one nation. So why are veterans courts not in all states? There are 104 veterans courts. California has the most veterans and they have 11. Texas has the next highest veterans population. They also have 11. Florida has the third highest. We only have 3.
Veterans can get help instead of jail time
By Erin Delmore

No one said coming home would be easy.

Nick Stefanovic, a Marine combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, had been warned by a Vietnam War veteran who let him know about the combat wounds that never heal.

“You made a sacrifice,” Stefanovic recalls being told. “This is something you have to live with.”

For Nick, that meant living out of his car, homeless and alienated, with a crippling addiction to the painkillers he popped to keep the demons away.

“I’m just going to take these pills until I die,” he remembers thinking.

Out of cash and pills, the former sergeant E-5 walked into a bank in 2009 with a stolen checkbook. He flashed his own ID and signed his name on the check at the counter.

Nick was busted. It saved his life, he says. “Being arrested is the first way of getting help.”

Rather than serve time jail, Stefanovic, along with the thousands of other veterans suffering from addiction and mental health problems, was offered a lifeline. Like the civilian drug and mental health courts that pull offenders with documented medical issues out of the traditional criminal court dockets, veterans treatment courts apply the same principles to former service members. Judges across the country are allowing the growing number of ex-military men and women to choose a treatment program instead of serving time.

“When you come home, what helped you survive on the battlefield doesn’t turn off immediately,” said Col. David Sutherland, co-founder of the Dixon Center and a former special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury are “the signature wounds of these wars,” Sutherland told msnbc. Nearly a third of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans treated at V.A. hospitals have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and one in six suffers from a substance abuse disorder.
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The History Justice for Vets

The first Veterans Treatment Court was founded by the Honorable Robert Russell in Buffalo, New York in January, 2008, after he noticed an increase in the number of veterans appearing on his Drug Court and Mental Health Court dockets. Judge Russell saw firsthand the transformative power of military camaraderie when veterans on his staff assisted a veteran in one of his treatment courts, but also recognized that more could be done to ensure veterans were connected to benefits and treatment earned through military service. In response, Judge Russell asked his local U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and volunteer veterans in the community to join in creating a new court docket that would focus exclusively on justice-involved veterans. 
As of June 30, 2012 there are  104 Veterans Treatment Courts in our country with hundreds more in the planning stages. They involve cooperation and collaboration with traditional partners found in Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts, such as the
Judge Russell ensures veterans in court receive the treatment and services they have earned
Judge Russell ensures veterans in court receive the treatment and services they have earned
prosecutor, defense counsel, treatment provider, probation, and law enforcement. Added to this interdisciplinary team are representatives of the Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefit Administration– as well as State Departments of Veterans Affairs, Vet Centers, Veterans Service Organizations, Department of Labor, volunteerVeteran Mentors, and other veterans support groups. Veterans Treatment Courts admit only those veterans with a clinical diagnosis of a substance abuse and/or mental health disorder.

Soldier in Afghanistan watches son's birth in Florida via SKYPE

Soldier Witnesses Child’s Birth via Skype
FOX 8 Cleveland
by Monica Volante
December 27, 2013

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL — A determined dad on the Treasure Coast vowed to be there when his new baby boy was born. The only problem, that father was currently serving our country on the other side of the world in Afghanistan, according to WPTV.

U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Rasik was stationed in Afghanistan, but was not going to miss the birth of his son, Benjamin, last month at Martin Memorial in Stuart, Florida.

“It was the happiest moment of my life, followed by the saddest moment of my life when I found out he couldn’t be there,” said Genevieve Rasik, Benjamin’s mother.

Her husband is in the middle of a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

It was known that Mr. Rasik wouldn’t be able to be physically present for Benjamin’s arrival. That is where a strong internet connection and Skype came in.

“I was skeptical that it would even work,” said Genevieve.

But the couple gave it a shot anyway.

During Genevieve’s planned c-section, her husband’s voice and image were beamed into the hospital room — live via Skype.
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MeetMe man faces charges after toying with Marines

Second Marine claims to be victim in Jacksonville sex extortion case
WCTI 12 News
By WCTI Staff
Dec 27 2013
A second Camp Lejeune Marine is claiming to be a victim of a Jacksonville man already charged for allegedly coercing one Marine into performing a sex act.

The second Marine, who is 20 years old, called NewsChannel 12 Friday afternoon and said he was also a victim of 24-year-old Patrick Francois Georges.

Jacksonville Police have already charged Georges with extortion and crime against nature for allegedly pretending to be a woman on MeetMe.com to lure a young Marine into Georges' home on King Street Tuesday night. Georges then accused the Marine of breaking into the home, and threatened to call police if the Marine didn't perform a sex act with Georges, according to warrants. That Marine said he eventually complied.

The second Marine said he was targeted by Georges in the same way. The Marine said he was also on MeetMe.com when he got a message from someone who claimed to be a woman.
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Friday, December 27, 2013

Train to heal like you trained to go into combat

You had to be trained to listen
Train your body to do more than you thought you could
Trained to use the weapons
So why is it so hard for you to understand
you need to train to become a veteran?

Don't try to get over it.  Make peace with it instead.
Don't try to fit back in because veterans are only 7% of the population.  
Try to do what you can for others.
Don't shut down.
Don't lock people out.
Don't hide or try to drink your problems away.
Don't stop looking for what it is that will help you and not just numb you.
You survived combat so why is it so hard for you to fight just as hard now?

PTSD On Trial:Considering the Toll of War in a Death Penalty Debate

Considering the Toll of War in a Death Penalty Debate
Texas Tribune
by Brandi Grissom
Dec. 27, 2013

The car would not stop. Flares did not stop it. Shots fired into the engine didn't stop it. Exaggerated hand gestures and hollering surely didn't. As far as the four Marines stationed at a roadside checkpoint in Iraq knew, the sedan hurtling toward them was a bomb on wheels.

Tim Rojas flashed a thumbs-up at his fellow lance corporal, John Thuesen, 21, the quiet Texan manning the machine gun on the Humvee’s turret. Bullets ripped through the car. The driver slumped over the steering wheel as the sedan crawled to a stop.

There was no explosion. The Marines were alive, and in that moment, Rojas recalled, the four men felt like heroes.

Then, the car’s rear door opened, and a boy, covered in his family’s blood, terror all over his face, ran screaming toward them.

“It was a terrible feeling,” Rojas said, his eyes glassy with tears, recalling the day that he said forever changed their lives.
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Wife's loving letter earns disabled veteran new wheels

Wheelchair-Bound Iraq War Veteran Wins Specially-Equipped Silverado(VIDEO)
By Emma Koch
December 27, 2013

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- Earlier this year, Summit City Chevrolet received a deluxe 2013 Chevrolet Silverado that was specially-equipped with a wheelchair lift and special hand controls to enable a wheelchair-bound person the ability to easily board and drive the vehicle.

Realizing that this vehicle was special, John Garcia and Jane DeHaven, Summit City's owners, decided that, rather than selling the $65,000 vehicle on the open market, the dealership would instead donate it to a deserving disabled vet as a way of saying thank you for their sacrifice.

Following is an expert from the winning nomination:
I nominate my husband because he is an amazing man. He has taken what happened and completely turned it around and used it to lead himself to his dream!

He lost his leg in Iraq in 2006 above the knee. He can't wear a prosthetic because of a back fusion that was a result of the attack. He had metal plates put in both forearms, an amputation, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, broken facial bones, broken vertebrae and the list goes on. He was an avid runner. In high school and college he ran track and cross country.

His dream was to be an olympian. When he joined the military he was best in his physical tests and was one of the fastest guys to rise through the ranks. The night of June 3, 2006 took his dreams away- HE THOUGHT! While at Walter Reed Army Medical Center he was introduced to hand cycles.

This was one way to get his physical life back. He has been hand cycling for 2 years now with a goal of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. He is an amazing husband and father. He goes out and with stares he coaches our kids teams.

He deals with people not wanting their kids to play for someone in a wheelchair. He gives his testimony of how God saved him that night on June 3, 2006 and how being in a wheelchair doesn't have to stop your dreams, it just changes the course. I would love to see him win something that he needs/wants. This would make transporting his bike and chair easier on him! He's very independent and will not let others help him put his chair in the car so just being able to lift it up and over the back would be awesome! Thank you for listening to my story!
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Marine in custody after standoff with San Diego Sheriff's Deputies

Marine Arrested in Vista Standoff
Chris Johnson, 26, of Vista, surrendered to deputies just before 5 a.m.
NBC San Diego
By R. Stickney and Monica Garske
Thursday, Dec 26, 2013

A U.S. Marine was in custody Thursday following a 5-hour standoff with San Diego County sheriff's deputies which began after the Marine allegedly fired multiple gunshots from inside his Vista apartment.

Just before midnight on Christmas Day, deputies were called to an apartment complex located at 911 Taylor St., near East Vista Way.

A neighbor told deputies she heard shots fired inside her apartment and noticed a bullet hole in the window of her dining room. She also said she heard someone knocking on her door. Deputies told her not to open the door.

Deputies soon determined that Christopher Johnson, 26, of Vista, had allegedly fired multiple rounds from his .44 caliber magnum revolver handgun while inside his apartment.
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Platoon of Marines moved to Uganda After Four Navy SEALS Wounded

Platoon of Marines moved to Uganda amid South Sudan crisis
Stars and Stripes
By Jon Harper
Published: December 26, 2013

WASHINGTON — A platoon of U.S. Marines was moved from Djibouti to Uganda on Tuesday in the event the fighting in neighboring South Sudan deteriorates further.

“This forward posturing provides the Combatant Commander additional options and the ability to more quickly respond, if required, to help protect U.S. personnel and facilities,” U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.

AFRICOM said this contingent of some 40 Marines and a KC-130J aircraft are now in Entebbe, the capital of Uganda.

The KC-130J transport plane has airborne assault capabilities, and is also used for medevac, search and rescue, and aerial refueling.

“These movements were made with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Ugandan authorities,” AFRICOM said.

A Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response unit was moved Monday from Moron, Spain, to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, after an incident in which four Navy SEALs were wounded during an aborted rescue operation in South Sudan.

The SEALs were trying to evacuate American citizens from the city of Bor on Saturday when the Osprey aircraft they were flying in came under small arms fire while they were trying to land.

Three of the SEALs were transported to Landstuhl earlier in the week; the fourth was stabilized at a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, and was moved to Landstuhl on Christmas day.
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Fort Cason Officer killed step-daughter accidentally

Stepdad who shot teen girl is decorated Fort Carson officer
The Gazette
By Lance Benzel
Updated: December 26, 2013

A man who told police he shot and killed his 14-year-old stepdaughter after mistaking her for a burglar is a 29-year-old Fort Carson officer with multiple deployments behind him and a Bronze Star for service.

Sources on Wednesday confirmed that 2nd Lt. Daniel R. Meade is at the center of the tragedy that has drawn headlines across the world.

A dispatch recording suggests that Meade opened fire on the girl about 6 a.m. Monday as she was crawling through a window of a home in the 4000 block of Ascendant Drive, off North Carefree Circle and Peterson Road.

She died of her wounds at a Colorado Springs hospital later that day.
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Veteran faces felony charge for pointing a gun

Veteran charged in Missoula assault held on $30K bail
The Missoulian
By Rob Chaney
December 26, 2013

A visibly shaking suspect in a felony assault case said he needed treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder during an appearance in Missoula County Justice Court on Thursday.

Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech ordered Richard Heilman, 44, of Missoula held pending $30,000 bail but said he could seek treatment at the Veterans Affairs hospital at Fort Harrison if he posted bond. Heilman is in the Missoula County Detention Center on a charge of felony assault with a weapon.

According to an affidavit filed by Deputy County Attorney Jordan Kilby, Missoula police officers came to a Hillview Way house early Wednesday morning after getting a call from a woman who said Heilman had pointed a gun at her.
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Veterans are not public property

Veterans are not public property
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 26, 2013

VA hospital refuses to accept 'Merry Christmas' cards was the headline of a piece written by Todd Stames about Dallas VA hospital refusing to take Christmas cards from school children.

According to Stames, the VA said,'That's great. We're thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can't accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas' or ‘God bless you' or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.'" And that is true but he should have told Stames that the Chaplain could deliver them because he would know the "patient" well enough to be able to judge if the card would be helpful or not.

Any religious item, not matter how innocently it was sent, is not welcomed by everyone equally.

This is a huge issue for our veterans in the hospital. People want to let them know they care and that is a wonderful thing but assuming what they want to give is right is actually wrong. How many times have you wanted to do something for someone only to discover it was not what they needed from you? Just think of yesterday when you gave someone a gift and they took it back to the store today.

If you really want to do something for them, write letters to members of Congress to make sure they are taken care of. Donated to great charities like Fisher House so they can take care of family members near where their loved one is recovering. In 2012 they cared for 19,000 families. They operate 62 houses near hospitals. Since 1990 they have saved families $200 million dollars they would have spent on lodging. The list goes on.

You can donate to the Home Depot Foundation or help to repair a home for a veteran in need. Or give your money and time to Homes For Our Troops to make sure that disabled veterans have a home that is adapted/built for their wounds to make their lives better.

You can volunteer at a VA hospital to spend time with them. You can also do what is advised. If you want to send cards or letters, do it in a generic way so that they know you care about them.

These men and women are not our property and they are individuals. What we may want to do for them may not be what they need or want. It isn't up to us to decide for them.

I would love to take Veterans Bibles to all of them but all of them will not receive them the same way. It isn't up to me to decide who should or should not get one and I take no offense when I am told what I can and cannot do. It is much better to ask first.

This Congress has learned nothing on military sexual assaults

December 27, 2013
Military Sexual Assault Reports Jump By 50 Percent

This Congress has learned nothing on military sexual assaults
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 26, 2013

First the news,
HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed into law a comprehensive defense bill that cracks down on sexual assault in the military.

The White House says Obama signed the bills Thursday while vacationing in Hawaii.

The bill provides $552.1 billion for the regular military budget, plus $80.7 billion for the Afghanistan war and other overseas operations. It gives military personnel a 1 percent pay raise, but also reflects deficit-driven efforts to trim spending and the drawdown in Afghanistan after more than a decade of fighting there.

The bill signing caps a yearlong campaign led by the women of the Senate to address the scourge of rape and sexual assault in the military. Under the bill, military commanders no longer will be permitted to overturn jury convictions for sexual assault.
Now the truth. We've heard it all before. Not by President Obama or this congress. But back in 2007 in a report going back to 2006.
Nearly 3,000 women reported last year that they were sexually assaulted while serving in the military, according to the Department of Defense's 2006 annual report on military sexual assault.
That was what the news was when a "new program" out of the "Cincinnati VA was getting national attention." You are not alone if you are wondering why after all these years we are where we are that a defense budget bill has to have sexual assault changes in it.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a Monday letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates that harassment and assault of military women, especially in combat zones, is a “scourge” that needs to be eliminated.

Casey is particularly interested in how the military handles complaints from women in the National Guard and reserve, whose cases may be harder to investigate than those of women on full-time active duty and in the federal civilian workforce.

Not this past Monday but back in 2008. Also reported by Reuters in 2008 was this piece of news.
Nearly 15 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking medical care from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department have suffered sexual trauma, from harassment to rape, researchers reported on Tuesday.

And these veterans were 1.5 times as likely as other veterans to need mental health services, the report from the VA found.

But if you not adequately angry by now, this should drop your jaw.
V.A. Plans Review of Billing for Care in Sexual Assaults
Published: May 6, 2009

The Department of Veterans Affairs will review the billing practices of veterans health centers around the country amid concerns that some are improperly charging for care relating to sexual assault in the military, officials said Wednesday.

The department is required to provide free care, including counseling and prescription drugs, to veterans who were sexually harassed or assaulted while in military service. Sexual assault includes rape and attempted rape.

But the Office of Inspector General at the department found this year that an outpatient clinic in Austin, Tex., had repeatedly charged veterans, mostly women, for those services. Based on concerns that the practice may be more widespread, the office decided to expand its review to a sampling of veterans health care centers and clinics nationwide.

An official in the office declined to comment, saying it does not discuss pending reviews. The official said the review would be made public when it was completed, possibly by October.

In a statement, the Department of Veterans Affairs said the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, which oversees the Austin clinic, was reimbursing patients who had been improperly billed. “Patients seen for military sexual trauma should not be billed for payment,” the statement said. “We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.”
Can we please stop pretending that things are going to change?

Church and VA team up to help veterans heal

Church, VA partner to help rural veterans tackle PTSD, other problems
Arkansas Times
by Evin Demirel
December 26, 2013

For some veterans, reintegrating into civilian life is a rocky process. Many suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), estimated to afflict 400,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Sometimes, depression and even suicide follow (It's estimated 22 veterans commit suicide daily). Some return with brain injuries. Vets in rural areas may have a tougher time getting help. They tend to be uncomfortable contacting mental health care providers, preferring instead to share problems with VA clergy or their church's pastor.

Enter the VA/Clergy Partnership for Rural Veterans, a North Little Rock-based program that aims to reconcile science-and spirituality-based approaches to treating mental illness. It began with a pilot program in El Dorado and has expanded to Russellville, Pine Bluff, Searcy, Mountain Home and Jonesboro. At each site, clergy, representatives of non-profit organizations, veterans and mental health providers meet monthly to discuss ways to help veterans in their area of the state.

Most who take part, such as William Flynn, pastor of Grace Chapel Pentecostal Church in Russellville, are volunteers. Flynn came aboard in 2010 after hearing about the suicide of a local veteran who had returned from Afghanistan. "It's just sickening to think that a person who sacrificed that way would come home and feel that there was no hope for them," Flynn said.
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Home from war should never be a gray area

Home from war should never be a gray area
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 26, 2013

In 1993 I was among the millions discovering the amazing ability to search news reports from all over the country when I got my first PC. (For younger folks, that was a time when there was a freaky noise connecting the PC to the internet as the connection was made thru a phone line.)

I freely admit to being a new junkie but as the years passed, I was frustrated searching for information on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I wondered why these reports were not all in one place. I did what I usually do. I complained. Then I thought about the national news reports I watched faithfully. It became clear that the producers make decisions based on what they think will get the most attention instead of what should have the most attention.

The numbers of veterans taking their own lives proves that it is a national crisis but how many reports have you seen on national news? How many families have you seen begging for someone to do something? How many reports have you seen on what works and how long it has worked for? How many reports on veterans stepping up to make sure more are saved?

Across the nation the best reporting being done on veterans issues has come from local news outlets. Heart tugging stories of suffering, inspiring stories of overcoming and people trying to make a difference, all important stories to the rest of us were ignored by the major news stations. Print was dying a slow death. It has been on life support for years but good reporting has not stopped.

If you read your local paper, tell them what you value. If they write a good story on veterans, thank them and encourage them to do more. Have an event? Make sure they know about it. Have a story to tell? Make sure you tell it. If the story is important enough they will usually do it. If they don't, then tell your story to your friends online and make sure they share it. The more attention it gets online, the more they will be inclined to jump on it and get their share of the attention. If you read a great story, send me the link in case I missed it.

Your lives should never, ever be a gray area. You deserve to know what is going on across your city, your state and the rest of the country. Otherwise, the major news stations will keep telling you what they want you to know instead of what is really going on.

Major Gen. McConville praises troops in Afghanistan

Major Gen. McConville Praises U.S. Forces in Afghanistan

For the 13th year in a row, U.S. troops are spending Christmas in Afghanistan. For the 7,500 of them based in the eastern part of the country, Major Gen. James McConville is providing the closest thing to a visit from Santa.
MCCONVILLE: What I want to do is thank you for your service for being out here. And there's going to be a lot of people waking up during Christmas morning who are going to have a nice safe and good Christmas because of what you all do out here. discover more here