Friday, May 31, 2013

Four Houston Firefighters killed fighting motel fire

4 firefighters killed in Houston motel fire
CBS News

Four firefighters were killed while battling a fire that engulfed a Houston motel and restaurant on Friday, and at least five other people were hospitalized, authorities said.

Flames were shooting from the roof of the Southwest Inn, along one of Houston's most heavily traveled expressways, and black smoke was blanketing the area are firefighters tried to extinguish the blaze.

Three firefighters were killed at the scene, while the fourth died at a hospital, according to the mayor's office and local medical examiner. Five other people were injured and are hospitalized for chest pains or leg injuries.
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Arkansas flash flooding kills sheriff, sweeps away officer, official says

Arkansas flash flooding kills sheriff, sweeps away officer, official says
By John Newland and Elizabeth Chuck
NBC News
May 31, 2013

Severe thunderstorms packing high winds, heavy rains, large hail and possibly tornadoes threatened eastern Oklahoma and much of Arkansas Friday, where flash flooding killed a sheriff and left a wildlife officer missing.

The death of Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter was confirmed Friday by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which said it was still in search-and-rescue mode for missing wildlife officer Joel Campora.

Carpenter had been responding to a swift water rescue near the Fourche La Fave River in western Arkansas, close to the Oklahoma border, when flash floods overcame him, according to the Game and Fish Commission.

Thursday’s storms also injured nine.
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Air Force’s first African American female colonel buried

Air Force’s first African American female colonel buried
By Patricia Sullivan
Published: May 29, 2013

The first African American woman to be promoted to colonel in the Air Force was buried on a sultry Wednesday afternoon in Arlington National Cemetery, surrounded by scores of airmen in dress blues and about a dozen friends and family in somber summer suits and within sight of the soaring Air Force Memorial.

Ruth Alice Lucas, 92, who died March 23, “never accepted the injustice and prejudice of her time, and today we too must look for new ways in which we can better our world,” an Air Force chaplain, Maj. Robin Stephenson-Bratcher, said at the graveside.

Lucas worked the field of research, education and training, with particular interest in literacy.

In the November 1969 issue of Ebony magazine, she noted that among the servicemen then entering the military annually, “about 45,000 of them read below the fifth-grade level, and more than 30 percent of these men are black. Right now if I have any aim, it’s just to reach these men, to interest them in education and to motivate them to continue on.
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Actress turns husband in over ricin mail

Texas Army veteran quizzed over poison letters sent to Obama and Bloomberg after his actress wife 'finds ricin in their FRIDGE'
Nathan Richardson's wife raised the alarm after finding a substance in refrigerator and internet searches for ricin, the Mayor and Obama
Richardson is an Army veteran and works at an army depot in Texas
Letters warned Bloomberg and Obama to stay away from gun law debate
Daily Mail
31 May 2013

A Texas Army veteran is being questioned in connection with poison letters sent to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg after his wife found a container in their refrigerator filled with what appeared to be ricin.

The man, who neighbors identified to KSLA as father-of-five Nathaniel Richardson, is a civilian employee of the Department of Defense who works at the Red River Army Depot. Sources said he is being treated as a person of interest.

His wife, actress Shannon Glass, told officers that as well as the container in the fridge, she also found internet searches related to ricin production, Obama and Bloomberg on their computer.

The development comes two days after it emerged that Bloomberg and his anti-gun group were sent two ricin-laced letters. On Thursday, it was revealed that another, identical letter was sent to Obama.
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Camp Leatherneck Marines steamed by loss of hot meal

The drawdown diet: Marines steamed by loss of hot meal at Afghanistan base
By Bill Briggs
NBC News contributor
May 31, 2013

Marines at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan will lose a key daily meal starting Saturday, causing some to forgo a hot breakfast and others to work six-plus hours without refueling on cooked food, according to Marines at the base and Marine Corps officials.

The midnight ration service — known there as “midrats" — supplies breakfast to Marines on midnight-to-noon shifts and dinner to Marines who are ending noon-to-midnight work periods. It's described as one of the few times the Marines at Leatherneck can be together in one place.

The base, which is located in Afghanistan’s southwestern Helmand Province, flanked by Iran and Pakistan, also will remove its 24-hour sandwich bar. It plans to replace the dishes long offered at midnight with pre-packaged MREs, said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Cliff Gilmore, who has been deployed in Afghanistan since February.
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Victim's family wants body of killer removed from honored burial place

Victim's family wants Army vet's body exhumed, moved from military cemetery
May. 31, 2013
By Dan McFeely
The Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS — Just weeks after his daughter-in-law was brutally gunned down during a shooting spree, Frank Koehl learned that her killer, who had committed suicide, was buried with military honors.

The remains of Michael LeShawn Anderson are resting beside other military veterans — many of them decorated heroes — at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Mich.

That’s a violation of federal law, and as the first anniversary of the tragic killing arrives Thursday, Koehl is on a mission to have Anderson’s remains dug up and removed.

“It was just a total insult,” said Koehl. “It just rips at your heart.”

The shooting spree shocked Indianapolis and residents of an apartment complex on the northeast side of the city where the shooting took place. Anderson shot four people and a dog that day before shooting himself. There was no known motive, no evidence of drugs in his system and no signs that he was suffering from any mental disorder.

While family members were still in shock over the sudden loss of Alicia Koehl, 45, a wife and mother of two who was shot 13 times and bled to death in her office, her killer’s body had been claimed by his family members and taken back to his hometown of Albion, Mich.
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Chandler brings resilience, accountability message to Fort Hood

Everyone has that one buzz word that can send their blood pressure up in a nanosecond. For me, that word is "resilience" because I believe it is more responsible for military suicides than anything else. It is almost as if they do not understand what that word even means while they produce program after program using it. There are over 900 Suicides Prevention Programs all based on this "abhorrent" approach.


The program was designed for school age children and the creator didn’t think there was a single reason it wouldn’t work on the military. Experts started to line up and explain that to put a “program” into this kind of setting without being tested were not justified to justify the Army program.

Bryant Welch was a bit harsher but closer to telling the truth about what many experts had confirmed in a nicer way.

“They had schoolchildren, each night, write down three positive things about themselves. And then they noticed in a follow-up study that those children felt better about themselves. But to go from that to saying that we can have a soldier in a foxhole who says positive things about himself and follows the precepts of this program, is going to watch his buddy blown to smithereens and spend four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and come out feeling better about himself, there is a shallowness to the assessment that, from my vantage point, I find abhorrent.”

DR. BESSEL VAN DER KOLK, Boston University School of Medicine: “It doesn't make sense from a neuroscience point of view, because -- and what all of our research shows is that trauma affects cognition. And the very piece that you need to think clearly and to be optimistic gets severely impacted by being traumatized. So, traumatized people cannot think straight because their brains are sort of locked in horror and terror.”

“Recently, the Army released an evaluation of the program, which said, in part, "There is now sound scientific evidence that Comprehensive Soldier Fitness improves the resilience and psychological health of soldiers.” But there is disagreement over that statement in psychiatric circles from doctors and Ph.D.s who say the evaluation is flawed and doesn't prove anything. Meanwhile, the Air Force is in the process of implementing its own version of the program.” (Army Program Aims to Build Troops Mental resilience to Stress, PBS News Hour, Judy Woodruff, December 14, 2011)

That word does not make them unbreakable and as for being resilient, they were long before the military got their hands on them. It takes a special person to be willing to go through what they do for the sake of someone else. Think about it. Would you go through job training the way they do? Leave your family and friends behind for some other country? Would you be willing to go through what they do while deployed? This isn't even addressing the risks of combat itself. They were resilient already. What they were not capable of is being machines. The fact they actually push past all of it until the members of their unit are all home safely is a testament to how resilient they truly are but that has more to do with them and less about the brainwashing the military did to them.

When I read the following headline, it felt as if my brain was going to explode. I am grateful the word was used without being tied to this program. Chandler talked more about military sexual assaults and being accountable than what I thought this was going to be all about.

Chandler brings resilience, accountability message to Fort Hood Soldiers, civilians
May 31, 2013
By Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile
Public Affairs Detachment

FORT HOOD, Texas (May 31, 2013) -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III spent three days here this week, and managed to cover a good portion of the largest military installation in the country during that time.

"I came to Fort Hood to meet with Soldiers and their families, talk to leadership, and see what's going on at the 'Great Place,'" he said, noting he has been stationed here a few times in his military career.

"It was important for me to come down and listen to what Soldiers have on their minds, and deliver some messages from the Army leadership about where we are, where we're going, and what we need to focus on."

Chandler's busy schedule took him from one event to the next nonstop, from a Memorial Day commemoration in Georgetown, Texas, to a 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment tank range, to assemblies, meals and functions in dining facilities and meeting rooms.

Along the way, he had positive things to say about the Soldiers he met.

"If you think about it, most of these young men and women came in the Army after 9/11," he said. "They volunteered to serve their nation in a time of war, knowing they were probably going to be deployed in harm's way. I came in the Army in 1981, during the Cold War. We mostly did training. I'm not sure, if I was 18 again, if I would choose to join the service knowing that."

"All of the services add up to about 3.1 million people," he noted. "There are about 330 million people in our country. You got the top one percent of the American people out here doing amazing things each and every day. If you can't get excited by that, I don't know what's going to get you motivated."
"What I want to relay to every Soldier is that it's preventable," he continued. "If we choose to be professionals, who are engaged with each other, if we're a person of character willing to do what's supposed to be done even when no one is looking, if we're committed to each other and our Army, then we'll be successful in preventing sexual assault from happening. It's not someone else's problem. It's an Army problem."
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Family of unarmed Camp Pendleton Marine killed by police to receive $4.4 million

Family of Camp Pendleton-based Marine who was fatally shot by a San Clemente deputy to receive 4.4M
DA's office determined shooting was justified
ABC News
Posted: 05/30/2013

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - The family of a Camp Pendleton-based Marine who was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a deputy in San Clemente will receive $4.4 million from Orange County to settle a federal lawsuit.

Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31, was shot early Feb. 7, 2012 in the parking lot of San Clemente High School, where authorities said he had crashed his GMC Yukon through a gate. At the time, Loggins had his daughters, 9 and 14, in the SUV and had been regularly taking them to the school to do prayer walks around its athletic field.

Loggins was standing outside of his vehicle when he was shot. His daughters remained in the SUV, away from the line of fire.

Orange County supervisors voted April 23 to authorize their attorneys to negotiate a settlement. Officials did not release any details about the settlement beyond the sum, said Howard Sutter, a spokesman for the county chief executive's office.

When supervisors voted to pursue the settlement, Orange County Board Chairman Shawn Nelson said, "Obviously it's a terrible tragedy every way around... It's just a tragedy and there isn't anyone involved who wouldn't agree."

Nelson said the supervisors had a "duty on behalf of the taxpayers" and "to do right by the people who put in a claim."

The Loggins family's attorney, Brian Dunn, was not immediately available for comment.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced Sept. 28 that his office determined Deputy Darren Sandberg was justified in fatally shooting Loggins.
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Pendleton Marine Shot During Traffic Stop ID'd

George W. Bush Bikes With Injured Vets

George W. Bush Bikes With Injured Vets
Reflects On White House Decisions, Life After The Presidency
Huffington Post
Jon Ward
Posted: 05/30/2013

CRAWFORD, Texas -- George W. Bush had been riding his mountain bike for almost four hours, and he was out of gas.

I was 12 riders behind the former president as we cycled, single file, along a winding trail cut through Bush's 1,500-acre ranch. We had been riding almost nonstop, in 90-degree heat, for 30 miles, over terrain that was at times technical, challenging and potentially hazardous. Rocky sections delivered a pounding to both bike and rider. Roots threatened to upend us. At one point, a narrow path along a ridge line dropped off steeply to the right, 50 to 75 feet to the gorge below. Bush had called the section "hairy."

It was the second day of Bush's third annual Warrior 100K, a three-day mountain bike ride that he has hosted at different locations since leaving the White House, to which he invites military veterans, many of whom had been seriously wounded in the wars he initiated. It's a ritual of thanks and bonding that might seem fraught from the outside, but that everyone who takes part seems to enjoy.

This year, 75 riders participated in the event over Memorial Day weekend, 13 of them veterans wounded physically or psychologically, or both. The rest of the peloton was made up of a few guests of the veterans, Secret Service agents, mechanics, medics, an assortment of people who have ridden with Bush over the past several years, and a few odds and ends, like me, the only reporter along for the entire ride.
Bush is aiming to push veterans aid efforts away from a focus solely on sending money to those in pain, toward a goal of helping as many as possible stand on their own two feet, be they flesh or metal.

An undercurrent flowing through remarks by Bush and others during the three days was a concern that returning veterans not be turned into charity cases, whether injured in the body or the spirit. During a press conference, the former president said the Bush Institute's "first focus is on helping vets find jobs."

"I mean, after all, these men and women have shown incredible courage, they've understood what it means to accomplish a task, and they'll be great employees," Bush said, the 13 wounded warriors standing on either side of him. "And so that's what we're doing at the Bush Center. It's all aiming to make sure that the outpouring of support that is pretty predominant in our country is channeled in a way that is effective."

I asked him about that comment the next day when we spoke.

"Yeah, see here, one of my concerns at the Bush Institute is that the outpouring of support for our vets, while impressive, could be misguided," he said.

He talked for a moment about making sure that financial donations go to organizations that are spending money on veterans, not overhead, and that are having a real impact. Then he talked about post-traumatic stress disorder.

"If you talk to some of these vets, if they level with ya, they'll say one of our biggest concerns is that PTSD is viewed as a disability and employers don't want to hire a disabled person. So one of the things we're going to try to do is help destigmatize the injury," Bush told me.

Of the 13 veterans invited to the ride, only four of them had visible wounds (Gade, who also rode last year, was not one of the designated veteran riders for 2013). A number of others listed PTSD as an official diagnosis.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Manuel Colon, 39, was out on patrol with an Afghan Army unit in Lwara, Afghanistan, in 2004 when improvised explosive devices injured several of the Afghan soldiers.

"When you're talking about coming back and trying to figure out body parts to specific people that are still alive, they're yelling and all this stuff, and putting them all down and trying to figure out what was going on. The burning of the skin, the smell, the blood," Colon said. "That one specific thing just kind of sticks to my mind over and over again."

"Can PTSD be treated? I believe possibly," Colon said. "I'm not a doctor. But it all depends on the individual themselves … How much did they endure? How much was implanted in their mind that just can't be erased? And some of us are dealing with it better, and some of us are not dealing with it that well."
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Army admits Staff Sgt. Robert Bales given steroids and alcohol

Lawyer: Army plied JBLM soldier behind Afghan massacre with booze, steroids
May 30, 2013

The lawyer for the JBLM soldier accused of massacring 16 villagers during a bloody rampage in Afghanistan says his client suffered post traumatic stress disorder and was on steroids at the time. Seattle attorney John Henry Browne told CNN Thursday special forces troops "pumped" Sgt. Robert Bales with steroids and alcohol regularly before the March, 2012 rampage.

"Of course nobody forces him to take it but that's how he got it. The Army admits that," Browne said.
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After Staff Sgt. Bales' arrest, military tried to delete him from the Web

Dr. Frank Ochberg talks about Sgt. Robert Bales and the nature of PTSD

Military Scrambles To Limit Malaria Drug Just After Afghanistan Massacre

A Military Spouse’s Tale: Criminalizing PTSD

A Military Spouse’s Tale: Criminalizing PTSD
By Virginia Lloyd
May 31, 2013

AURORA, Colo. — After fighting for his country in Iraq in 2004 as a member of the U.S. Air Force, and as a civilian contractor for nearly three years from 2007 to 2010, Maurice Lloyd — my husband — is now fighting the same government that sent him to war.

After being honorably discharged from the military in 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs saw signs that Maurice had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder.

But, like many vets, Maurice was in denial. He accepted a contracting job in Iraq a few months after exiting the military. He worked there for nearly three years. Upon returning to U.S. soil in August 2010, his PTSD worsened rapidly. He ended up chosing alcohol over continued visits to the VA.

The liquor fueled his increasing vivid nightmares, high anxiety, and paranoia. His inability to sleep soundlessly through the night, and the recurring nightmares, kept him up until all hours of the night.

Many mornings, I would wake up for work around 6 a.m. and find him either asleep on the couch downstairs, with all of the lights on, or still awake, sometimes drinking alcohol. This put a huge strain on our marriage. We began arguing more frequently.

In October 2011, Maurice left the house late one night. He would often drive around and listen to music to help clear his mind and relax. However, that night ended differently than his usual late-night drives. I received a call during the early morning hours informing me that my husband was in jail.
I was stunned and scared.
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Soldier Killed Days Before Daughter’s Birth Honored

Local Soldier Killed Days Before Daughter’s Birth Honored
by Anthony Kurzweil
May 29, 2013

SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (KTLA) – More than 1,000 people gathered in South Pasadena Wednesday to honor a fallen soldier who never had the chance to hold his newborn daughter.

Spc. William J. Gilbert, 24, was killed on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan May 14, just a week before his baby girl, Michaela, was born.

“There are tears for Michaela when we think to the future,” Monsignor Clement Connolly said during Gilbert’s funeral.
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

New VA Controversy over Sleep Apnea

Attorney urges Congress to end sleep apnea claims 'abuse'
By Tom Philpott
Stars and Stripes
Published: May 30, 2013

In 2001, the year U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan, 983 veterans began to draw disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs for sleep apnea, a disorder linked to obesity and characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep that can cause chronic drowsiness.

Last year, 25 times that number of veterans and military retirees (24,791) were added to VA compensation rolls for service-connected sleep apnea, raising the number of vets and retirees drawing apnea payments to 114,103, double the number VA reported just three years earlier.

VA compensation for sleep apnea now exceeds $1.2 billion annually under the most conservative of calculations. Michael T. Webster, a former naval aviator and family law attorney in Shalimar, Fla., calls this boom a scam and an offense to veterans who suffer from “real disabilities.”

Webster seeks to shine a spotlight on what he sees as “widespread abuse” of the VA claims system, mostly by recent retirees. He began with a May 6 letter to his congressman, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

“Virtually every single family law case which I have handled involving military members during the past three years has had the military retiree receiving a VA ‘disability’ based upon sleep apnea,” Webster wrote. “A recently retired colonel told me that military members approaching retirement are actually briefed that if they claim VA disability based on sleep apnea, then they receive an automatic 50 percent disability rating thereby qualifying for ‘concurrent’ payment status.”
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Why does society have to deal with what military created?

Why does society have to deal with what military created?
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
May 20,2013

There should have been a rule that any member of the military suffering because of their service be the responsibility of the military since they created the problems veterans face.

Physical wounds are part of it and we take care of them, rightly so, but what about the troops suffering because of chemicals the DOD uses and drugs they issue? Should that become a military problem and then hold the contractors responsible? After all, the contractors have to supply all the chemicals and drugs. Why is it the responsibility of the VA to pay for what contractors did? Tax payers are paying for what they did and then paying to care for the troops they did it to. So why haven't members of Congress thought about this when they are always screaming about the deficit?

If Congress really cared about money then they would be true caretakers and make sure companies were held accountable, but they are not really serious.

They haven't been serious on PTSD or suicides either. They find billions a year to fund the programs behind most of the problems we see when war fighters come home after the umpteenth deployment. We are always told that the DOD has been paying attention to it but then we are reminded of what they are not doing when the number of suicides rises as well as veterans getting into trouble. All of this shows that the military has not taken the responsibility for any of it. They just pass the damage done off for someone else to take care of. After all, when they are discharged, they are no longer the military's problem. They don't have to account for them committing suicide or getting into trouble or ending up homeless. They just pass it off as behavioral issues even though they do not seem to have the ability to prove any of them had any issues before we sent them off to fight where congress sent them.

Woodside veteran with PTSD committed to hospital
Daily Journal Staff Report
Milo Imrie
May 30, 2013

A 24-year-old military veteran from Woodside accused of assaulting his cousin with a shovel and grabbing for a responding sheriff deputy’s gun was formally committed yesterday to a state mental hospital.

Milo McIntosh Imrie had already pleaded not guilty to the charges of assault and trying to remove an officer’s firearm but in April was found mentally unfit for trial. He will now be treated at Napa State Hospital rather than potentially incarcerated. If doctors ever find him restored to competency, Imrie will return to San Mateo County for prosecution. If instead he reaches the three-year mark without change, the county can seek a conservatorship. Imrie agreed to be involuntarily medicated if necessary while hospitalized.

Prosecutors say Imrie is thought to have post-traumatic stress disorder.
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The Congress has been very good at writing checks but not holding anyone accountable for the results. No one has been held accountable for the rise in suicides and attempted suicides. No one has been able to explain to families why they didn't have a clue what to do to help them stay alive so they wouldn't blame themselves when they had to visit the grave of a serviceman or woman home from combat but couldn't survive here. Is anyone paying attention to any of this?

Data shows VA fiscally sound despite mismanagement

Data shows VA fiscally sound despite mismanagement
By Scott MacFarlane
May 29, 2013

WASHINGTON — Despite the scandal over a series of deaths at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, a review by Channel 2 Action News shows the hospital isn't short on cash.

The federal government is being strangled by a budget crisis, except the VA and its medical centers nationwide, including the VA medical center in DeKalb County.

Data provided to Channel 2 Action News sources show the Atlanta region's VA offices got a $100 million funding increase for 2013.

There were similar boosts nationwide, perhaps a necessity with so many new veterans needing treatment, after a decade fighting two wars.

How are they using the money? At least some is being earmarked to reduce the crushing backlog of veterans' claims.

The VA told Channel 2's Scott MacFarlane it's setting aside money for overtime pay and extra claims officers to reduce the waits.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs told Channel 2, “Under the leadership of Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, the Department of Veterans Affairs has increased Veterans’ access to earned care and benefits, reduced the number of homeless Veterans by 17 percent, and implemented an aggressive plan that eliminates the decades old compensation claims backlog in 2015.”
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Obama's speech could help push for Ft. Hood victims

Rep. Rooney: Obama's speech could help push for Ft. Hood victims
FOX News
By Justin Sink

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) said Friday that President Obama's discussion of the Ft. Hood shooting during his counterterrorism speech on Thursday would buoy efforts to have the Department of Defense reclassify the Fort Hood massacre “workplace violence” rather than terrorism.

"When he put Ft. Hood in the same breath as Boston … he was basically making our case for us," Rooney told Fox News.

Thirteen people were killed and 29 others were wounded in the shooting by Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was allegedly radicalized by al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. But the victims of the attack have been denied Purple Hearts and certain combat-related benefits because the massacre was determined to be "workplace violence" rather than combat violence.
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WWII Veterans Honor Flight Erupts Cheering Crowd

WWII Vets with Honor Flight spontaneously cheered by travelers at Reagan National Airport
May 23, 2012

On May 23, 2012, World War II veterans on an Honor Flight from South Carolina arrived in Washington DC to visit the WWII Memorial.

As some background, the person holding the newspaper and men by the flags were the small handful of volunteers officially greeting the veterans. The photographer and videographer seen in the video were actually on the flight and came off the plane first. The gate attendant joked when they came out of the jet way that Honor Flights come with their own Paparazzi.

The woman seen escorting the first veteran was the same US Air gate attendant who made the original announcements. What you didn't see was two airport firetrucks did an amazing "water cannon salute" making an arch of water as the jet arrived. The gate attendant told the crowd that such a salute is typically reserved for a pilot returning from their last flight before retiring.

Disposable Soldiers

Disposable Soldiers
Huffington Post
May 29, 2013

As PTSD cases in the military are skyrocketing, so too are discharges for misconduct, where a small infraction could lead to a lifetime loss of much needed benefits. We need to re-evaluate the military discharge system to match current challenges.

The Storyteller, new film on Korean War veteran with PTSD

Actor Christopher Atkins discusses his film 'The Storyteller' and post-war PTSD
MAY 29, 2013

Fans probably best remember actor Christopher Atkins as a curly-locked boy, running around the beach with a teenage Brooke Shields in the 1980 film "The Blue Lagoon." Or perhaps soap fans remember him in the original run of series "Dallas" as Peter, a college student and camp counselor who has an affair with a much-older Sue Ellen Ewing.

With those images in mind, fans will no doubt have no idea they are looking at that blonde, blue-eyed actor in a loin cloth when they see the character of Walter, an elderly man suffering from the ravages of his time in the Korean War, in Atkins' new film "The Storyteller."

The 52-year-old actor sat down with Riverside Soaps on May 28 to talk about the making of this emotional new film.

Atkins plays Walter, a once-revered children's book writer who regresses to the world of a child after the ravages of the Korean war, and the loss of his wife and youngest daughter to a car accident, leave him reeling from grief and agony.

Walter's remaining daughter, Susan, in a poignant performance by Gabrielle Carteris, is a bitter and lost soul, left to care for her shell-shocked father, now in his 70's. With hope fading for ever reaching her father, Susan makes the decision to put him in a home; however, she is forced through tragedy to experience a miracle that will change her life forever.
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Point Man 'Healing the Wounds of War' Prayer Breakfast

Point Man International Ministries
Point Man Ministries organizes the 'Healing the Wounds of War' Prayer Breakfast
Special to the Post

Point Man Ministries organizes the “healing the wounds of war" prayer breakfast for Veterans each Tuesday at 8:30 am at the Buffalo Inn (164 N Pagosa Blvd).

Who is Point Man?

Since 1984, when Seattle Police Officer and Vietnam Veteran Bill Landreth noticed he was arresting the same people each night, he discovered most were Vietnam vets like himself that just never seemed to have quite made it home. He began to meet with them in coffee shops and on a regular basis for fellowship and prayer. Soon, Point Man Ministries was conceived and became a staple of the Seattle area. Bill's untimely death soon after put the future of Point Man in jeopardy.
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Staff Sgt. Bales plea deal could cause retaliation in Afghanistan

This story leaves so many questions. Why did Bales go on the rampage? What medication was he on? There are stories circulating he had PTSD but PTSD does not usually cause anything close to this. There are reports about others committing crimes after being given Mefloquine and the Bales case caused the military so scramble to stop using it after this. There are also reports Bales had TBI and PTSD but so far there have been few answers as to why this happened. Now with troops still in Afghanistan, this plea deal could inflame retaliation against them. There needs to be answers and fast or this could get a lot worse.
Bales to plead guilty in Afghan massacre
Proposed deal would allow Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier to avoid the death penalty.
Seattle Times staff and news services
May 29, 2013

In a proposed deal to avoid the death penalty, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has agreed to plead guilty to killing 16 Afghans during a March 2012 tour of duty with an Army unit from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

John Henry Browne said his client has “tremendous remorse” and would enter the plea at a court hearing at the base scheduled for June 5.

“The commanding general (at the base) has approved this so the only thing left is for the judge on the 5th to accept this plea,” Browne said Wednesday.

The Army judge has set aside a day for the plea agreement, and Bales is prepared to talk about the crimes.

Bales, 39, is accused of carrying out the most serious U.S. war crimes to emerge from more than a decade of American military involvement in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, the plea deal could inflame tensions. In interviews with The Associated Press in Kandahar in April, relatives of the victims became outraged at the notion Bales might escape the death penalty and even vowed revenge.

“For this one thing, we would kill 100 American soldiers,” said Mohammed Wazir, who had 11 relatives killed that night, including his mother and 2-year-old daughter.
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Load gun at Arlington National Cemetery accidentally wounds visitor

Accidental Shooting Reported at Arlington Cemetery
May 29, 2013
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Va. - One person was injured after an accidental shooting in the parking lot at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.

A spokeswoman for Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, which responded to the incident, says the shooting occurred Monday, hours before President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Sharon Walker says the gun fell out of a cemetery visitor's car. Walker says the gun fell under the car and as the man tried to retrieve it, a shot went off and struck one of the passengers from his vehicle in the leg.
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Graphic shows veterans commit suicide every hour

The graphic from Huffington Post is amazing but as powerful as it is, it does not include members of the National Guards or Reservists.

2012 Military Suicides
Source Department of Defense

There is something else that is very important to notice. The fact that the majority of veterans committing suicide are over 50. Most of them are Vietnam veterans.

People working on helping veterans are freaked out over the numbers of OEF and OIF veterans we see suffering today because of what happened when Vietnam veterans came home. Nothing was being done for them before they pushed for everything available today, yet the number of Vietnam veterans committing suicide took years to go up after the Vietnam War was over. It is all happening too fast for the new generation.

The numbers of suicides and attempted suicides following years of "efforts" and billions spent every year to "prevent" them with over 900 suicide prevention programs coupled with what is still happening to Vietnam veterans has us all in fear that these numbers are only the beginning and the military still doesn't have a clue what works because they are too busy pushing what has already failed.
Veteran Suicides Outpace Combat Deaths, Child Gun Deaths
Huffington Post
Jan Diehm
Posted: 05/24/2013

Memorial Day commemorates the U.S. soliders who lost their lives in service. It's also a time to recognize a growing but less visible group of fallen soliders who chose to end their own lives while serving or after returning from war.

There are about 22 veteran suicides each day, a rate higher than previous estimates, based on a report released by the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year. Many veterans who take their own lives are over 50, but the hundreds of thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan also struggle to adjust to civilian life while dealing with the mental and physical effects of war on top of a weak job market.

One an hour.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Family hangs onto hope after Spec. Kelli Bordeaux declared dead

Missing soldier's family holds out hope for news
May. 28, 2013
The Associated Press

ST. CLOUD, FLA. — Relatives of a missing soldier the Army has declared dead say they believe she’s still alive.

Brig. Gen. David K. MacEwen declared 23-year-old Spc. Kelli Bordeaux deceased as of May 20. That will allow her family to receive military death benefits.

Bordeaux was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. It’s been more than a year since the central Florida native left her apartment on April 13, 2012, and headed to Froggy Bottoms, a bar about a half-mile from her home. Early the next morning, witnesses reported seeing her leaving the bar with a homeless sex offender. He has denied any role in her disappearance.

Searches by groups of volunteers looking for Bordeaux’s remains in secluded areas near the base have been unsuccessful.

No one has yet been criminally charged in the case.

Bordeaux’s brother, Matt Henson, told WFTV in Orlando that he’s still in touch with North Carolina investigators. A reward has grown from $25,000 to $33,000
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Vietnam KIA receives posthumous PHD from University of Pennsylvania

Posthumous Ph.D. to be awarded at Grad Commencement
Monday, May 13, 2013

This year, in addition to conferring standard degrees on our graduates, the department will grant a Ph.D. posthumously to Mortimer Lenane O’Connor, who was a doctoral student in English at Penn from the late 1950s through the mid 1960s. Mort, as he was known, had completed his courses and exams and was nearly finished with his dissertation when he was deployed to Vietnam.

He served there as Lieutenant Colonel in command of the Army’s 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry. He was killed in action in the Iron Triangle north of Saigon on April 1, 1968.
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received via email from Paul Sutton

‘Invisible’ veterans to be seen on PBS this fall

‘Invisible’ veterans to be seen on PBS this fall
New Castle News
Nancy Lowry
May 28, 2013

NEW CASTLE — They’re called invisible but there are more than 280 of them in the immediate area.

“They” are the homeless people who live under bridges and in woodland campsites of the nation. Many are veterans. Some of the veterans have mental health issues.

“People don’t want to think about them except that they don’t want them in their neighborhood,” said Sandi Hause, executive director of Patches Place. The agency deals with people who have mental health issues. Many of them are homeless; many of the homeless clients are veterans.

Hause and her “family of clients” at the facility at 217 N. Mill St. were visited last week by Lou Cordera and Don Wright of CortronMedia. The Pittsburgh-based production company is filming a documentary on veterans. Their product, to be shown on PBS, is expected to air this fall.
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Marine Prayer Request for Darkhorse

Darkhorse Marine documentary For the 25

Marine Veteran Of Darkhorse Battalion Makes Documentary ‘For The 25’ (Video)
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

Marine veteran Logan Stark was a member of Camp Pendleton's 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, known as Darkhorse Battalion. Now a student on the G.I. Bill, Stark has made a documentary called "For the 25" - a tribute to the 25 Darkhorse Marines killed during their seven month deployment.

According to Stark's YouTube channel, the 48-minute film was made as part of the Professional Writing program at Michigan State University.

The 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan in September of 2010. The 3/5 endured the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit in the Afghanistan War. In addition to the 25 men killed, roughly 200 were injured.
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Military should learn Army of civilians show up after tornadoes

From 2008 to 2010 I took as much training as possible to be able to hit trauma head on as soon as it happens. Why? Because it works. It takes the survivors out of the event and into safe places. It removes them from what they just went through instead of just leaving them there in shock.

My family did that for me using common sense and wisdom. One time it was a bad car accident. When my parents picked me up at the hospital, my Dad drove us to see what was left of the car I walked away from. We stood there until I didn't need to look at it anymore. My Dad handed me the keys to his car. I thought he was out of his mind after what happened but he explained to me that I needed to get back to "normal" and drive or I may never drive again. He was right.

He took me out of that moment when I was sure I was going to die as the car was out of control heading for the guard rail. Not thinking right, I relaxed, covered my face with my arms and crashed. As I stood looking at the car my parents didn't need to say anything or "fix" me right then and there. They waited for me to talk with their arms around me. Then I said it trying to make sense out of surviving all that with bruises and friction burns. "I survived that!"

As I drove down the same highway I almost died on hours earlier, my hands were shaking as I stayed in the slow lane of traffic tensing up as soon as another car came up behind me. It wasn't a fun ride but when I pulled into the driveway, I was relieved.

Civilians have been doing this for decades but the military hasn't. That is really inexcusable considering war is what clued civilians into responding to traumatic events. Vietnam veterans came home suffering the way all other generations did but they refused to just go home and die. They fought the government and service organizations to fund research. Those efforts led to mental health providers and crisis intervention teams much like trauma centers treat traumatic wounds after what the military learned. So how is it the military is the last to learn what they taught everyone else?
Army of mental health volunteers search for tornado victims
May 28, 2013
by Ed Doney

MOORE, Okla. – The streets of Moore and other communities devastated by the May 19 and 20 tornadoes are filled with residents who have yet to process the mental toll those storms took.

“This lady was saying ‘My husband won’t cry, I need him to cry.’ Well, maybe it’s not time for him to cry,” Jackie Shipp said, with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS).

Shipp wants to hear more of those stories while walking the streets of Moore.

She’s offering the simplest of things, water and food, hoping people will open up and let her offer them psychological first aid.

She said, “They need someone to ground them and say, ‘What are the two things you need to do today? Did you eat today? When’s the last time you had something to drink?’”

It’s an effort by more than 400 mental health professionals and volunteers from across Oklahoma and several states to help as many people as they can.
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Wife's death, wartime PTSD tore at Orosi shooter

This story has it all. All the things tied together producing a sad ending. Alvarez, a Vietnam veteran was dealing with a lot from Vietnam. PTSD and Agent Orange plus a daughter born with Spina Bifida. He also had a marriage that survived over 40 years until his wife passed away in 2012.

It is a story about a veteran wanting to heal and seeing VA doctors to take an active part in getting better.

He cared about his daughters and grandkids. So what happened? Aside from having a gun in the house some will want to point to, when there was no sign of Alvarez being dangerous before, there was no need to remove his weapons. Some will want to blame PTSD but again they will be missing the point that this veteran was getting help as well as the part of the article pointing out that violence is hardly ever a part of PTSD. Most of the time they are a greater danger to themselves than someone else.

All the way around, this story has a lot of sadness.
Wife's death, wartime PTSD tore at Orosi shooter
By Lewis Griswold
The Fresno Bee
Tuesday, May. 28, 2013

OROSI -- His family meant everything to Anthony "Tony" Alvarez Sr., a 63-year-old Vietnam war veteran who was devastated when his wife died last year. He shared his home with his two daughters, Valerie Alvarez, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, and Jennifer Kimble, who moved back home last summer with her husband and three children.

So what made this family man take a gun and shoot his daughters, killing Kimble and critically injuring Valerie Alvarez, before killing himself early Monday morning?

His wife's death, and the post-traumatic stress disorder that was the legacy of his wartime service, may have been too much for him to bear, his son said Tuesday.

Alvarez spared Kimble's three children, an 8-year-old girl and two boys ages 11 and 13, who were in the home at the time of the shootings.

"His grandchildren meant the world to him," Anthony Alvarez Jr. of Corcoran said Tuesday outside the home where the murder-suicide took place.
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The silent scream of PTSD

The silent scream of PTSD
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
May 29, 2013

Wounded Times Blog
Let them know you need to be rescued this time.
You'd do it for them.

There is a great commercial to raise awareness on how to spot a stroke. It is called F.A.S.T. Face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to call 911. In the commercial a friend approaches someone having a stroke. With every question, you hear a voice "I'm having a stroke." The friend can't hear those words. They come from inside the head of the one suffering. Words just don't come out.

Some needs to do a commercial like that for PTSD since most of the time the words just don't come out. I need help. My head won't rest. I can't stop seeing stuff. I can't calm down. My heart feels like it is going to explode. There are so many things they suffer from but their words just don't come out.

It is not that they are unable to speak. They are unable to communicate what they are feeling.

For some at first they believe they will eventually get over it. They think about other times they survived something horrific and they'll just be able to do it again. As time goes by, some manage to stuff it into the back of their heads, get busy with other things and avoid doing anything about it.

The nightmares come. Then they come more often. Soon it is a matter of finding anything to help them sleep. Sometimes that "something" is getting drunk enough to pass out and they pass that off as falling asleep. Even then the nightmares come.

Sometimes the flashbacks get stronger to the point where they are not sure where they are when the past comes back. They are feeling it all over again. Their bodies react the same way as if the bombs are blowing up, fire is burning and bullets are flying. They feel all of it. They smell the same scents.

When nightmares and flashbacks come, if you have no clue what they are going through it is like the stroke commercial. You know something is wrong but they just can't communicate with you.

They are able to speak but they can't find the words that will get you to understand them. If they pick the wrong words, how can they be sure you won't be afraid of them? If they push you away so you won't be able to figure it out, how can you know they are in pain instead of just being a jerk? If they tell you what is happening inside, how can they be sure you won't run away from them?

In 2007 the military was pushing Battlemind. A brainwashing cluster dump masquerading as preventing PTSD. The theory was the troops could train their brains to become mentally tough. Well that put them at great risk. Telling them that was like telling them if they didn't train right, they were mentally weak. Suicides went up. This program was replaced with "resilience training" equally harmful leaving them with the impression PTSD had more to do with being weak and not training right than being a human capable of strong emotional ties to what they saw and what they had to do.

The military needed to do something but ended up increasing suicides, attempted suicides and suffering instead of healing.

It fed the stigma, thus feeding reasons to remain in denial. Then came anger. Anger they couldn't get over it. Anger they couldn't forgive. They couldn't forgive themselves for not getting over it, forgive others or forgive themselves for what they had to do. No one was reminding them of the fact being able to feel after all that was not a sign of weakness but one of strength, not evil but one of goodness still remaining despite everything hell had to shove at them.

No one told them that pushing away the people in their lives would not protect their pride because they didn't want to admit they were suffering and their friends had no clue what they were seeing. Having no knowledge, friends assumed the veteran simply turned into a jerk, a drunk, a drug user instead of a friend in need of help.

If you want to know what is going on, that is a start but you also have to accept the fact that as we talk about the men and women in the military, these men and women follow generation of veterans living with PTSD and still waiting for someone to know the signs of PTSD as much as they need to know the signs of a stroke to save their lives.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Movie Terrible Love Turns into Healing Hearts with PTSD

There are so many times I want to scream about some of the wonderful people I have met along the way but most of the time, I have to keep their secrets. In this case, it was a secret about working as a consultant on a wonderful movie that is very close to my heart.

For over a year I have been working with the screenwriter and director of Terrible Love, a movie about what it is like for a family when veterans come home from combat changed by where they were sent. Someone once said that there is no turning back into a civilian after combat and that has turned out to be very true. What few talk about is, there is no turning back for the families. We can't just flip a switch and suddenly be transported out of our world and into theirs. We try to figure it out as we go along but as hard as it is on us, it is harder watching them suffer, wanting to help them but not really knowing how.

I was a young wife but my husband had been home for over ten years from Vietnam. I don't know what it is like to live as these young families do, worrying about them while they are gone and then facing the changes they bring home inside of them. What I do know is, none of this is impossible as long as you believe in the love you had and know that what is not normal to the rest of the country, veterans are only about 7% of the population so even without PTSD, we are not normal to them at all.

When Chris came to me with this idea, I could hear the passion in his voice and I knew it would something wonderful. I know all the hard work and long hours he and his wonderful cast put in on this because the subject matters to all of them.

When you watch the trailer at the bottom know that this came out of love so others may remember what love really is even when it can feel terrible at times.
Terrible Love Turns into Healing Hearts with PTSD
Christopher Thomas
May 28, 2013

Terrible Love Trailer from Helmsman Studios on Vimeo.
I did not grow up in a military family, and honestly knew very few Veterans growing up.

In college, one of my female friends married an Army Reservist, and I found myself with a new perspective on military family life. They were a true wonder-couple. Perfect for each other, everyone seemed to envy their stability and their chemistry.

During her husband's first deployment, I watched her struggle to carry on with daily life. All the phases of grief and longing. My heart ached knowing how difficult it was for them, and how intensely they wanted to be together. I was full of sorrow just thinking about it, and occasionally lost sleep. I can't imagine what she had to go through. I had the luxury of turning my sympathy on and off, while she had to deal with the ache every day.

One Sunday, I happened to see the couple reunited at church. This caught me off guard. It must have been his second or third day back. They were sitting together, perhaps a little too close for a church service, but I was completely overwhelmed with joy. I was more happy for them than I had ever been happy for myself. They were beaming like newlyweds. I couldn't make eye contact with them because I was already crying.

After that church service, this veteran family fell off the radar. I didn't hear much from them for a month or so, and I thought I should respect their privacy as they reconnect. However, less than 90 days after his return, I found out from a friend that this couple was now living in separate houses. There were rumors of traumatic brain injury, there were rumors of abuse. I could not ask what kind. My brain could not process it. This was a beautiful couple. I watched them while they were apart. They wanted to be together more than anything, and now that he was finally back, they couldn't even tolerate being in the same room.

What could possibly keep them from being together? What could possibly have stolen their love, their family, their stability, their future?

This was my introduction to PTSD. And I hate it.

I had to research this topic. I had to find some explanation for this disaster. After watching many documentaries, and reading a lot of stories on Wounded Times, I discovered that my friends' story was not an anomaly. There were countless families with the same story. I became aware of an entire world of divorce, suicide, bankruptcy, and broken hearts.

The question that I could not get out of my head was, "Why didn't anyone tell me about this?"

And that is how the film Terrible Love was born.

There is a house on my street. Outside of it is a car with three bumper stickers:

The wound you can't see
The goal of Terrible Love is to help the civilian population imagine what may be happening inside of that house. To give them an intimate look at the wreckage of PTSD. And if they ever get the chance to reach out to a veteran family (and with 1.2million having served in the Middle East, this is not far-fetched) hopefully the knowledge gained from Terrible Love will help end the awkwardness, ignorance, standoffishness, or patronization of those encounters.

I have never talked to this family on my street. I don't know what issues they may have, if any. But ultimately Terrible Love exists to let that family know: they are not alone in whatever they may be facing. There is hope.
Christopher Thomas
Helmsman Studios
Contact email

Drummer Lee Rigby's murder prompted a rush of donations to Help for Heroes

'Help For Heroes' Site Crashes From Donations After Drummer Lee Rigby Murdered Wearing Charity T-Shirt
The Huffington Post
By Ron Dicker
Posted: 05/28/2013

The website of the Help for Heroes military charity in Britain crashed last week -- but for a worthy cause: Donations flooded the site after British soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered wearing a "Help for Heroes" shirt.

A spokeswoman told The Huffington Post that site glitches were recently smoothed over after Wednesday's tech failure.

Rigby, a 25-year-old father who served in Afghanistan, was allegedly hacked to death by two men with extremist links before horrified onlookers Wednesday in the Woolwich section of London.
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Soldier butchered in London was Afghanistan veteran

Freight train derails in Maryland; half-mile area evacuated

Freight train derails in Maryland; half-mile area evacuated
By CNN Staff
May 28, 2013

One person is thought to be trapped after a freight train derailment Tuesday near Baltimore, fire officials say.

(CNN) -- A freight train derailed Tuesday in Rosedale, Maryland, and one person is reported to be trapped, Baltimore County firefighter Jonathan Meehan said. A truck was involved in the incident, and a resulting hazardous-materials situation is prompting the evacuation of a half-mile area, according to a Baltimore County police official who declined to be named, citing department policy.
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Army leaders less than honorable way to treat soldiers

Army sidesteps questions about discharged soldiers
The Gazette
By Dave Philipps
Published: May 24, 2013

The Army sidestepped questions on Friday about whether a marked increase in the number of soldiers discharged for breaking Army rules is connected to their invisible injuries and systemic problems in the service.

The Gazette investigative series "Other Than Honorable," published this week, used Army data to show how the number of soldiers getting discharged for misconduct has surged to its highest levels in recent times.

Those discharged include wounded soldiers, some of whom have served in multiple deployments during a decade of war, who are more likely to break Army rules and then be denied benefits.

The report suggested that a number of factors are at play in the discharges, including a mandatory troop reduction, an estimated 500,000 troops with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, an overwhelmed medical discharge process and decades-old Army policies that don't always accommodate or account for behavior resulting from injuries suffered by today's soldier.
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Servicewoman Feels Betrayed by Military After Sexual Assault

Former Air Force Servicewoman Feels Betrayed by Military After Sexual Assault
May 23, 2013

Former Airman 1st Class Jessica Hinves' career in the Air Force was cut short after suffering from PTSD stemming from an assault by a fellow airman. This is her story. See the full report of sexual assault in the military on Thursday's PBS NewsHour.

Jessica Hinves grew up in a military family. Her first stepfather was a Marine. Her current stepfather is in the Army. Her uncle did three tours in Vietnam. When she was growing up, her grandfather, an Air Force mechanic, took her to see Delta planes on the tarmac. Even her babysitter was a former Air Force commander.

"Since my childhood they taught me every citizen should serve if you could, it's your duty. So I grew up hearing that." Hinves said.

When she turned 25, she left her job at a vineyard in east Texas and acted on her sense of duty to serve. She joined the Air Force. She had every intention of having a lifelong military career.

"It was very clear this is your job. This is what you do. You do it well, you train in it. You go up in rank, and you retire in 20 years," said Hinves. "To me it was so easy. It was so doable. I loved it."
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Pizza delivery Guinness Record from Chicago to Afghanistan

Pizza Delivery to Afghanistan Troops Sets Guinness Record
ABC News
Susanna Kim
May 22, 2013

A pizza mission to U.S. military service members in Afghanistan has made the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest pizza delivery.

Pizza 4 Patriots, a 501(c)3 registered non-profit based in Illinois, has been sending pizzas to military service members abroad for the last five years.

Last summer, Pizza 4 Patriots and shipping company DHL organized their biggest delivery yet: 30,000 pizzas to service members in Kandahar, Bagram and Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in celebration of Independence Day. The delivery began June 21, 2012. DHL donated its services and loaded the pizza shipments at a service center in Chicago.
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Saving our warriors from themselves

Saving our warriors from themselves
Suicides have risen among active military personnel and veterans. It's vital that officials reach out.
By The Times editorial board
May 27, 2013

As the nation marks Memorial Day, here is a statistic that offers sobering insight into the lives of the military men and women who have, over the decades, sacrificed so much for so many: Last year, 349 active servicemen and women committed suicide, more than the number who died in battle and the highest number in a decade of war.

The incidence of suicide has also risen among veterans. A report released in February by the Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that 22 veterans committed suicide in this country each day in 2010. That's slightly higher than in 1999, when the estimate was that 20 veterans a day committed suicide.

For the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, this is a grim epidemic that has eluded easy or obvious fixes. Experts say the first step toward preventing suicide is knowing who does it, how they do it and why. The military does a good job of collecting those statistics. Since 2008, the Department of Defense has issued an annual Suicide Event Report that lists in meticulous detail the number of suicides and attempted suicides and the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
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There still is a war at hand

There still is a war at hand
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
May 28, 2013

This morning reading True meaning of Memorial Day stressed at ceremony by Chantal Lovell right after reading about another veteran committing suicide it seemed so fitting what a keynote speaker for Memorial Day service had to say.
An unusually rainy Memorial Day made for somber remembrance at the Veterans Home of California at Yountville, where a few hundred gathered Monday morning to remember America’s war dead.

The annual ceremony was held just outside the gates of the home’s decorated cemetery, where more than 5,500 veterans are buried including many who served in the Civil War, the war which led to the designation of what is now known as Memorial Day.

Similar ceremonies were held throughout the Napa Valley, including one at Veterans Memorial Park in American Canyon. There, keynote speaker retired Army Sgt. Jeremy Profitt asked everyone to remember service men and women who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, and the increasing number of suicides in the military.

“There still is a war at hand. This war has claimed many lives,” Profitt said, “with no Medal of Honor, Purple Heart or Silver Star given to these great sacrifices.”

“With headlines reading: ‘Suicide claims more U.S. military lives than the Afghanistan War,’ (and) ‘Suicides outpacing the war deaths of today’s troops’ ... I’m talking about the war of mental health,” Profitt, the son of American Canyon Troop Support founder Sindy Biederman, said.
There are no medals for these scared by battle war fighters even though they carry their wounds for the rest of their lives. There is no term for ex-veteran. Sure there are titles like ex-POW but a veteran is a veteran for the rest of their lives. They never return to being a civilian as they were before.

When they come home they need help but more they need the damage done to them undone. They are told before they go fight our battles they can "train their brains" and become resilient. That message is received as they are weak if they end up with PTSD and didn't train right. Whatever else the military tells them, is blocked out after they hear that. Telling them they should ask for help afterwards means to them they have to admit they are mentally weak, yet the DOD pushed this type of approach harder. With over 900 prevention programs producing more and more suicides, it is obvious to the rest of us this approach is doing more harm than good, yet they spend billions a year. What makes this worse is, they fail to see what they have done to the men and women they claim to want to help.

Other than honorable discharges are still happening even though clearly most of them are dealing with self medicating because of PTSD. If they can't admit they need help then they seek whatever means possible to numb themselves. Even when they do seek help most of the medications they are given cause more problems than they had before.

During Vietnam they stenciled "front toward enemy."

The M18A1 Claymore mine has a horizontally convex green plastic case (inert training versions are blue). The shape was developed through experimentation to deliver the optimum distribution of fragments at 50 m (55 yd) range. The case has the words "Front Toward Enemy" embossed on the front of the mine.
While it was something that should have been obvious, the DOD thought it was a good idea to remind the troops. The truth is, the DOD didn't do the same thing when it came to their weapons to fight PTSD. Every program they came up with should have come with a warning. Reenforcing the stigma is the biggest enemy they face.

Sergeant Brad Farmer lost his battle with PTSD

Mother of Golden veteran wants more suicide prevention
Colorado 9 News
May 27, 2013
written by:
Dave Delozier

On May 22, Sergeant Brad Farmer lost his battle with the psychological wounds of war when he took his own life. He was 30 years old.
GOLDEN - When Sergeant Brad Farmer entered the United States Army he received extensive training to prepare him for combat in Iraq. When he was discharged after two tours of duty in Iraq, his mother says he wasn't as equally prepared to return to civilian life.

"They have boot camp going in [to the army]. They don't have a return boot camp," Kathy Farmer said.

The Brad Farmer who returned from Iraq struggled to deal with the memories of war. His mother says she immediately noticed a difference in her son, but he chose to deal with the problems alone.

"When he first came home and we suggested that he get help he denied that he needed it," Kathy Farmer said.

"I knew he was suffering," said Jonathan Pomeroy, a friend and fellow member of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Pomeroy and Farmer served both tours of duty in Iraq together.
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Ken Wahl Supports Veterans on Memorial Day

Ken Wahl Supports Veterans on Memorial Day
Ken Whal Hounds for Heroes Extra
Ken Whal
Stars Give Back
May 27, 2013
Actor Ken Wahl has a special message to veterans this Memorial Day:

“My main objective is to help veterans connect with service rescue animals as a way to help those afflicted with PTSD and other maladies. The connection between human and animal is symbiotic. I was incredulous to learn that the suicide rate of veterans exceeded the rate of combat deaths. As a grateful American and a staunch supporter of our military, as well as an animal lover, it was natural for me to want to try to help by getting the animals and the military together.”

“On Memorial Day, I would like people to remember the struggles of our afflicted service members, and the struggles of our rescue animals. Putting them together will reduce the struggle for both. As such, I would like to ask you to assist me in spreading this message loudly, and as far and as widely as possible. Thank you very much for your help. Sincerely, Ken Wahl”

Veterans Fight War on Suicide

Veterans Fight War on Suicide
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle
May 27, 2013

HARRISONBURG -- A recent study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

"There is a lot of soldiers these days that are committing suicide because of the many deployments that they go through," said Sergeant Bruce Webb, the Post Chaplain of the American Legion in Harrisonburg.

"I was losing my marriage, I was highly intoxicated. I had done isolated myself. I was taking pain pills because of the injuries I sustained in Iraq," said Webb describing why he attempted suicide.

Webb was recently diagnosed with a severe case of Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He attempted suicide on June 10, 2010.

Sergeant Webb is now an ordained minister. He wants other veterans considering suicide to know they're not alone. He still struggles to cope after over three decades in the army.
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Missing Marine found by police and getting help he needs

Missing marine found safe, now being treated for PTSD
FOX News
Dana Rebik

SEATTLE — For weeks, Sandy Pablik feared the worst. Her son, a 23 year-old Marine from California, was missing and was last seen in the Seattle area. On Saturday, Sandy got a phone call.

“The nurse of the hospital called me and it was a bit surreal because I thought it was just somebody calling in for a tip,” said Pablik.

Police found her son, Jonathan, outside a local grocery store. The vet reportedly suffers from PTSD, after tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was lucid enough to talk to his mom on the phone.

“He said he missed me a lot. I reassured him I loved him dearly and he said he loved me, too. It was such a sigh of relief, I can’t even tell you,” said Pablik.
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Marine Combat Vet Jonathan Pablik missing

Monday, May 27, 2013

Camp Lejeune Marine body found in motel after shooting spree

Marine linked to deadly Texas shooting spree, body in NC motel room
By M. Alex Johnson and Tracy Connor
NBC News
May 27, 2013

A Marine who went on a deadly shooting spree across two Texas counties before being killed in a firefight has also been linked to a woman found dead in a North Carolina motel room, officials said.

Authorities gave no motive for Sunday’s rampage by Esteban J. Smith, 23, who was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

It began about 4:30 a.m. local time when Smith, who was driving a pickup truck, opened fire on a vehicle in Eden, Texas, wounding an unidentified woman, police said.

He then made his way to a convenience store in Brady, in McCulloch County, where he shot and injured two people as they sat in their vehicle, police said. They were treated and released.
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Soldiers with PTSD make disturbing masks to express their feelings

The agonizing face of war
Soldiers with PTSD make disturbing masks to express their feelings of horror and frustration
26 May 2013

A unique therapy initiative for soldiers returning from war has produced a number of face masks created by veterans still coping from the stress and trauma they've witnessed.

The art program is for soldiers returning from active-duty who have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries or other psychological health problems.

The center of the treatment is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where many of the soldiers are recuperating following their tours abroad.
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The soldier who created this mask wanted to show his trouble with opening up to his emotions. (Nicoe)

Vietnam vet inspires Calif. town to help the wounded

Vietnam vet inspires Calif. town to help the wounded
By Carter Evans

A Vietnam veteran has literally been on the march to help severely injured vets from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while this former marine has embraced those wounded warriors.

The tiny town of Murphys, Calif., has embraced him.

For Ric Ryan, it began with a quest: Walking every day, hoping to escape the demons of Vietnam.

"I'm the walking man of Murphys," he said.

In Murphys, people began to notice. Their attention first surprised, and then inspired.

"What's going on?" one neighbor asked.

"Same old thing," Ryan replied. "Walking for the vets"

Each time someone waved, Ryan would wave back and donate 25 cents to a UCLA program called "Operation Mend" for soldiers disfigured by war.

"It's something that's helping him mentally and physically and emotionally," said Ryan's wife, Joanne.

"This is our man, this is our hero," a neighbor remarked.
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How Team Rubicon honors Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, we pause to remember what this day signifies: a time to commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country and those veterans lost here at home.

Amidst door-buster sales for flat-screen TVs and backyard barbecues, it is too easy to forget the true importance of this holiday. For many of the volunteers of Team Rubicon however, we spend this final Monday in May the same way we did two years ago in Joplin: serving a population in their time of need.

With nearly one hundred volunteers deployed to Moore, OK, we are honoring our fallen brothers and sisters through continued service. And it is through your generous support that we are able to do so.

May 27, 2013
On Memorial Day, we pause to remember what this day signifies: a time to commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country and those veterans lost here at home. This year the volunteers of Team Rubicon choose to honor their fallen brothers and sisters by serving the people of Moore, OK in their time of need.

Death of Brave Hearts

Death of Brave Hearts
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
May 27, 2013

This morning I was searching for the total number of lives lost fighting for this country since the Revolutionary War. I was stunned to discover the lack of information to be found. Most sites have not updated their information.

Civil War stopped at the Gulf War. Memorial Day Foundation stopped reports in 2010. The headline for their site is THE PRICE OF FREEDOM Military Casualties-Source Department of Defense. The Department of Defense has the totals of fallen from Iraq at 4,422 with 3,489 KIA and 933 Non-Hostile. Operation New Dawn has 66 deaths, 38 KIA and 28 Non-Hostile. For Afghanistan as of May 24, 2013 there have been 2,220 deaths, 1,746 KIA and 470 Non-Hostile.

According to PBS these fallen joined these "battle deaths" of the 4,435 lives lost from the Revolutionary War, 2,260 from War of 1812, 1,733 from Mexican War, 140,414 from the Civil War, 385 from the Spanish American War, 53,513 from WWI, 292,131 from WWII, 33,651 from the Korean War, 47,369 from Vietnam and 148 from the Persian Gulf War.

Remembrance Cypress Grove Memorial Day

How can it be that there has been so little interest in the number of men and women giving their lives for this country that they do not merit updating? As bad as that is, the truth is even worse. No one will ever really know how many lives have been lost because they were brave enough to risk their lives for this country.

The most recent report is 22 veterans a day take their own lives. Even that is wrong since far too many are not accounted for. We will never know the true numbers but their families do.

It is not that suicides after service are new. Suicides after the risk to their lives should have ended have claimed more lives than the wars since the beginning of time. Just as illnesses associated with combat have claimed lives but we do not factor them into the total. While Non-Hostile deaths during combat are counted, deaths from Agent Orange were not. Even if they knew all the Vietnam Veterans dying because of this, few would include how many children also died. I once heard a Vietnam veteran say that if they included every death associated with the Vietnam War, it would circle Arlington National Cemetery. Exaggeration? Perhaps but also points to the simple fact that we continue to hold Memorial Day services across the nation in tribute to the brave hearts that stopped beating so the rest of us could go on.

It is not hate that drives them in battle. It is not hate that inspires risking their lives for someone else. It is love that does it. Greeks have different words to describe the different types of love. For these men and women it is Philia
(φιλία philía), which means friendship in modern Greek, a dispassionate virtuous love, was a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. In ancient texts, philia denoted a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers. This is the only other word for "love" used in the ancient text of the New Testament besides agape, but even then it is used substantially less frequently.

They served because they loved. They died because they cared. When they feel so much pain inside, it comes from caring deeply. When they are not helped to heal, that pain is too much for them to carry. These are a few of the lives lost to suicide since last Memorial Day.
Paul Adams
John Bates
Jordan C. Bordelon
Chris Bourque
William Busbee
Danny Chen
James Cho
Michael Ecker
Brad Farmer
Scott Ganz
Trever Gould
Robert Guzzo
Eric Lewis Harm
Kirk Walter Harris
Justin Junkin
Gavin Kopponen
Jerald Kruse Neil Landsberg
Peter J.N. Linnerooth
John Lutz
Michael McCaddon
Robert Marinaro
Cole Miller
Joseph Kim, Elias Monge
Ryan George Nelson
Johnnyray Nevarez
Edward S. Passetto
Jason Pemberton and Tiffany, his wife
Job Price
Jordan Riddle
Courtey Rush
Marvin Kenneth Scott
Derek Smith
Wade Austin Toothman