Friday, January 31, 2014

Headline on military suicides misleading

This headline on military suicides misleading for several reasons. The first is that there are less in the Army than there were in 2012, and as bad as 2012 was, there were less serving then compared to 2011.

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)


These are the number of suicides for those same years
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)

Suicides among younger veterans has also increased 44%.

The department said the suicide rate increased nearly 44 percent for male veterans between the ages of 18-29 from 2009 to 2011. During the same period, the rate among female veterans increased more than 11 percent.

Now they claim suicides are down 19% but fail to mention the fact there are less serving and fewer deployed into Afghanistan. They also did not count the number of National Guards and Reservists. As of today the DOD has not released the Army yearly suicide numbers or the December numbers. I have seen no data on the other branches. The DOD has not released the Suicide Event Report for 2012 or 2013 containing detailed information including attempted suicides and all branches.
Suicides in the Army decline sharply
Gregg Zoroya
January 31, 2014

A historic pattern of rising suicides among soldiers that tormented the Army for nearly 10 years reversed dramatically in 2013.

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Suicides in the Army fell by 19% in 2013, dramatically reversing a rising trend plaguing the Army for nearly 10 years.

There were 150 suicides among soldiers on active-duty status last year, down from a record 185 in 2012, according to Army data. The numbers include both confirmed and suspected suicides.

Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, chief of Army personnel, says he is cautiously optimistic in seeing success in Army programs to avert suicides by giving soldiers coping strategies for keeping a positive or optimistic outlook.

"I'm not declaring any kind of victory here," Bromberg says. "It's looking more promising."

Within the ranks, it has meant that people such as Levertis Jackson, an Afghanistan War veteran whose despair led him several times to try to kill himself, have chosen life.

"It was like before, all my doors were closed, and I'm in a dark room," says Jackson, 41, married and father of four. "(Now) I look for reasons why I need to continue to live."
read more here

Four Homeless Vietnam Veterans laid to rest with honor

Four Homeless Veterans Finally Receive Burial
By: Greg Palmer
Jan 31, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) Four more homeless veterans were honored Friday for their service to their county and laid to rest with full military honors at The Leavenworth National Cemetery.

13 news first covered this story last month, when we received a tip that the body of veteran Charles Thompson had been in the Shawnee County Morgue, unclaimed by family for four months.

The names of the four Vietnam veterans are

Clarke Paul Gould

Robert Lee Norris

Ramsey Phillips

James Allen Young.
read more here

Fort Bragg Staff Sgt.'s death under investigation

Fort Bragg soldier found unresponsive in Hope Mills home, later dies
Fay Observer
January 31, 2014

A soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division was found unresponsive at his Hope Mills home early Tuesday and was later pronounced dead.

The cause of death is under investigation, Fort Bragg officials said Thursday in a news release.

Staff Sgt. Alton Jefferson II, 36, of Lancaster, Calif., was a military intelligence systems maintainer/integrator with Delta Company, 127th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.

Jefferson joined the Army in October 2000, attended basic combat training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and advanced individual training at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. He joined the 82nd Airborne Division in February 2012, the release said.
read more here

Indiana National Guardsman gave away Purple Heart

Soldier surrenders 'Purple Heart' to WWII veteran at his funeral
Greene County Daily World
By Nick Schneider, Co-Editor
Friday, January 31, 2014

Rural Bloomfield resident Leonard Wayne McIntosh was a World War II hero and on Wednesday afternoon he was buried in possession of one of the nation's highest military decorations that can be awarded to any soldier.
First Sgt. Gregory Swanson
The Purple Heart didn't come the usual way from the United States government.

It came more than 50 years late, but the honor and recognition was shining brightly on the cold day at the rural Greene County church.

The long-due award came as a precious gift from a young family friend, who had earned his Purple Heart while a member of the Indiana Army National Guard's 387th Military Police Company unit out of New Albany in Afghanistan for injuries sustained in 2012.

Minutes before McIntosh's funeral service began at Tulip Church of God, First Sgt. Gregory Swanson, of rural Bloomfield, walked to the casket where he was greeted by his close friend, Kenny McIntosh, the youngest child of Wayne and Oaklene McIntosh.

The two embraced and Swanson handed him the Purple Heart he had earned. It was a gift to the McIntosh family in honor of their deceased father and husband.

It was his personal gift of love and respect to a war-injured veteran who deserved to be honored by his country, in his opinion.

It was a selfless gift, thinking only of his elder soldier comrade -- wanting to give him the well earned honor that had eluded him.
read more here

Veteran went from homelessness to introducing President Obama

First on CNN: Once-homeless Iraq vet will introduce Obama at unemployment event today
Posted by
CNN Senior White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar
January 31, 2014

(CNN) - At Friday morning’s White House event on the issue of long term unemployment, President Obama will be introduced by a California man named Erick Varela who served as a combat infantryman in the 82nd Airborne in Iraq, according to a White House official who shared Erick’s personal story with CNN.

When Erick, a skilled heavy equipment operator, left the Army in 2008 and returned home to Manteca, in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the housing crisis was in full swing and he was unable to find work. He applied at fast food restaurants and in retail but couldn’t find a job. His financial situation became so dire that he and his wife, Katey, lived out of their car when they could no longer afford to pay their rent.

read more here

New Zealand Military Admits They Don't Understand PTSD

Military admits: We don't understand trauma
New Zealand Herald
David Fisher Senior reporter of the year
Saturday Feb 1, 2014

Military chiefs have admitted they do not have a "well-developed" understanding of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder.

It comes as Weekend Herald inquiries reveal low levels of reported PTSD in the New Zealand Defence Force and no statistical collection of the mental health problem by Veterans Affairs.

There have been just 13 cases of PTSD relating to New Zealand deployed to combat zones in the last 10 years.

The number equates to half of the level established by Australian Defence Force research which pegged the level at 2 per cent for each deployment.

Research found 8 per cent of current serving members suffered PTSD.

PTSD is caused by exposure to stressful events and can lead to anger, aggression, flashbacks, sleeplessness and a range of other mental and physical health issues.

It follows figures from NZDF showing there have been five suicides in the past two years, against five in the previous eight years.

New Zealand's military partners are having fallout from years of combat in Afghanistan with increased mental health problems and a soaring suicide rate among veterans.
read more here

Winter Park Florida and Budweiser welcomed home Lt. Charles Nadd in style

AP may have finally paid this story attention but you saw it here first.

Jan 9, 2014
Winter Park Florida and Budweiser welcomed home Lt. Charles Nadd in style on January 8, 2014. He flew from Afghanistan to Fort Drum and then flew to Florida arriving late due to the weather. This parade will be part of a documentary and commercial for Budweiser.

Fla. soldier, his hometown star in Super Bowl ad
By Associated Press
January 31, 2014

WINTER PARK, Fla. — Lt. Chuck Nadd knew something was up when Anheuser-Busch’s private jet flew him from Fort Drum in New York to his hometown in central Florida within hours of his return from a tour in Afghanistan in early January.

The 24-year-old Army helicopter pilot and operations officer had been told he was on a public affairs assignment to give a speech to a Veterans of Foreign Wars group in his hometown. But when he got to downtown Winter Park, hundreds of residents, relatives, teachers and friends greeted him with a surprise parade complete with tickertape and Anheuser-Busch’s Clydesdale horses.

The brewer, which played a central role in putting the parade together, has fashioned an ad around the event. It will run during Sunday’s Super Bowl, and Nadd says he hopes it gets people talking about honoring returning soldiers.

“I hope the visibility it gets starts a conversation about recognizing those who have served and served in a greater capacity than I have,” Nadd said Thursday. “I would hope this commercial helps people look for those heroes in their communities.”

Nadd’s involvement in the ad started when his girlfriend, Shannon Cantwell, nominated him for a VFW contest to honor a soldier with a tickertape parade in the soldier’s hometown.
read more here

PTSD Researchers already know how to forget with lab rats

PTSD Researchers already know how to forget with lab rats
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 31, 2014

New rodent lab at Detrick could advance PTSD research, but by even thinking it is new proves that too many researchers all ready know how to forget what they do not want to remember.

Center for Environmental Health Research’s newest lab. Called a vivarium, the 2,145-square-foot space will be used to house up to 4,000 mice or 900 rats for research and observation.
In an ever growing list of wasted funds the military is repeating what has already been done. This time at a cost of $2 million to start another rat study on PTSD. Rats? Yes, rats. In one of the first studies reported since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars there was this report.
Last year, in a landmark experiment in rats, LeDoux opened a path to doing just that. He showed that it's possible to obstruct the memory of a specific traumatic event without affecting other memories. He also demonstrated that when the memory was stifled, the fear it roused vanished as well.

When was that report released? 2007!

Even that research was a repeat of what was done before.
"United States and China announced last week that, for the first time, they had found a means of selectively and safely erasing memories in mice, using the signaling molecule ╬▒CaMKII. It's a big step forward, and one that will be of considerable interest to the military, which has devoted efforts to memory manipulation as a means of treating post-traumatic stress disorder. But some military research has moved in another direction entirely.

In the 1980s, researchers found that even low-level exposure to a beam of electrons caused rats to forget what had just happened to them (an effect known as retrograde amnesia — the other version, anteretrograde amnesia, is when you can't form new memories). The same effect was also achieved with X-rays. The time factor was not large — it only caused memory loss about the previous four seconds — but the effect was intriguing."

They tried this in 2008
Cognitive restructuring, which entails rebuilding the thoughts and responses to a traumatic event to be more accurate and beneficial for the patient, is one common form of therapy to help prevent PTSD in those with acute stress. Exposure therapy is another therapy used to this end in which the patient is re-exposed in some way to the source of the trauma, in the hopes of habituating the patient and thus decreasing the response. There is some evidence that many clinicians do not use the latter form of therapy because it can cause distress for recent survivors of trauma.

Magnets to treat PTSD was yet another research project. "The treatment could blunt the effects of PTSD by strengthening the synaptic connectivity between patients' prefrontal cortex -- the region of the brain responsible for more logical thinking -- and their amygdala -- the region of the brain that processes the deep emotions associated with PTSD, Zangen said."

This also came out in 2008
"The Army and the National Institute of Mental Health have begun a five-year, $50 million research program into the factors behind soldier suicides and how to prevent them, Army Secretary Pete Geren told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday. Geren said the new partnership with NIMH, the Army Science Board and the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs would build on work that already is under way to conduct the most far-reaching and comprehensive research project ever undertaken on suicide and its prevention."
Studies using Ecstasy trials for combat stress came out in 2005 but studies using LSD started long before. Treating trauma connected to war is not new and has not improved enough simply because researchers failed to use findings from long ago.
Since the First World War the medical and psychiatric profession has mobilized to treat the psychological trauma suffered by participants of war. Initially the military and the mental health profession considered military psychiatry to have two important roles in a war setting. The first was to treat soldiers who suffered a mental breakdown as a result of combat and when possible, return them to their units as quickly as possible. The second and equally important - and infinitely more difficult - job of the psychiatric profession was to aid the military in preventing combat related mental trauma. Through intense study, first-hand experience, and trial and error mental health professionals learned over the course of the twentieth century effective ways to treat and sometimes prevent severe traumatic breakdown.

This is about WWII
Shades of Gray (ca.1940s) WW2 Shell Shock Film
Oct 26, 2013
This is a rare film on the subject of shell shock.
Shades of Gray (1940s) - This is a dramatized documentary on the subject of being shell-shocked and seems to be geared towards psychologists.

So now comes yet another waste of time and money to study rats and getting them to forget. Seems that researchers should study why they have forgotten everything. Suicides tied to military service keep going up even as they do more.

Camp Pendleton Marine Wife Spouse of Year

Face of Defense: Top Marine Spouse Serves Others
Department of Defense
By Marine Corps Cpl. Laura Gauna
1st Marine Logistics Group
Jan. 30, 2014

The men and women in uniform are not the only ones making a difference in the 1st Marine Logistics Group here.

Dannielle Maxwell, a family readiness assistant with 1st MLG, dedicates her time to ensure the Marines and their families within Combat Logistics Regiment 17 transition smoothly into military life.

Dannielle, wife of Gunnery Sgt. Dustin Maxwell, Landing Support Co. Gunnery Sergeant, CLR-17, 1st MLG, distinguished herself throughout 2013 for her hard work and dedication to her family, community, and her husband’s unit. She was honored as the 1st MLG Spouse of the Year.

“It feels wonderful to be named the Spouse of the Year,” Dannielle said. “I am really grateful. My advice for other military spouses is just to get out there, meet people and volunteer.”

Throughout this year, she not only found time for her family life, but also used her experience as a Marine spouse to help 1st MLG families prepare for upcoming deployments.

She logged more than 600 volunteer hours supporting the Family Readiness Officer, volunteered as an aide at her son’s school, coached her children’s sports teams, assisted with Marine Corps Ball fundraisers and became the curriculum team leader for the Leadership Education Seminar, which educates spouses on taking leadership roles.

“I’m really proud of what she does,” said Dustin, her husband of almost 10 years. “She volunteers, works hard and sincerely likes helping Marines.”
read more here

Marine trying to get home on leave slept at airport

Marine Sleeps At Airport When Bad Weather Prevents Trip Home
Jan 30, 2014

Dozens of flights out of our three local airports were cancelled due to the weather this week.

The Pitt Greenville Airport is back to normal operations as of Thursday afternoon, but the Jacksonville airport is still closed.

New Bern's airport was hopeful to get flights out by Thursday night.

WITN spoke to a local marine from Camp Johnson who is really hoping to get home.

Private First Class Derek Stiles has order to Japan on February 6th. Stiles had a flight on Tuesday so he could visit his family and fiance before two years of service in Okinowa.
read more here

School keeps secret as Marine Dad comes home early

Marine Dad Gives Kids Heartwarming Surprise With Early Homecoming
CBS Los Angeles
January 30, 2014

MURRIETA ( — A local Marine dad gave his two children the surprise of their young lives Thursday.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Clement was not expected to be home from a five-month deployment in Afghanistan for another six weeks, but when the military father arrived home early he used the opportunity to surprise his son and daughter at school.

CBS2′s Tom Wait reports Jayda Clement, a student at Shivela Middle School in Murrieta, walked toward the stage expecting the principal to deliver her honor roll certificate.

Instead, she found her dad waiting with open arms, telling her, “I’m so proud of you.”

The father and daughter were overcome with emotion.

“You’re making me cry, stop,” he told her.

The school’s principal, the district and family worked hard to keep the secret to make sure the moment was possible.
read more here

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Military suicide rate is 'out of control'

We need to stop pretending and hoping more legislation will do any better than the last 7 years worth have done. The AP put the spotlight on military suicides in 2007. "Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years" because there were 99 suicides. 2007 brought the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act signed by President Bush. It was also the same year members of the clergy were getting educated on Combat PTSD. A year later, the VA Suicide Hotline announced it had received 37,000 calls and saved 720.

It seems like every year another politician comes out with another bill without ever understanding if it will work or not.

Veterans group says military suicide rate is 'out of control'
Written by
Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Suicide prevention is the No. 1 legislative priority this year for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, says Paul Rieckhoff, the group’s founder and CEO.

His New York-based organization, with 270,000 members, also supports the effort by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York to have military prosecutors rather than commanders make decisions on whether to prosecute sexual assault cases in the armed forces.

Gillibrand expects a Senate vote on her proposal in the next couple of weeks.

As chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, Gillibrand also plans to convene a hearing this winter on the link between sexual assaults in the military and suicides.
read more here

Ex-Canadian General, now contractor detained in Afghanistan

'Ex-Canadian top general in Afghanistan detained'
(AFP) – 1 hour ago

Ottawa — A former Canadian brigadier-general and head of Canadian forces in Afghanistan is being detained in Afghanistan for alleged gun smuggling, media said Thursday.

Daniel Menard resigned from the military after pleading guilty in 2011 to having an affair with a female corporal under his command on active duty.

He now works for security firm Garda World, whose spokesman Joe Gavaghan told the Toronto Star newspaper Menard was picked up by Afghan authorities on or about January 12 after a meeting with Afghan officials.

"He was leaving a meeting at the ministry office and a couple of officials approached him. They said, 'We've got a problem with something and we'd like you to come with us to clear it up.' Off he went and the next thing he knew he was going to be detained until they cleared it up," said Gavaghan.

Gavaghan said his detention relates to an "administrative misunderstanding" over the private security firm's licensing to operate in the country.

"It's been cleared up and we believe that the individual is going to be released very shortly," he added.
read more here

'We need to do more' for veterans, college's president says

Eastern Florida State College opens center for vets
'We need to do more' for veterans, college's president says
Florida Today
R. Norman Moody
Jan. 29, 2014

COCOA — Gulf War veteran Roger Estep found that he needed help when he arrived at Eastern Florida State College two semesters ago.

“They guided me to classes,” said Estep, who is living in a transitional apartment for homeless veterans in Cocoa. “I have some disabilities and they guided me to some people that can help.”

Now, Estep and other student military veterans needing assistance with benefits, mentoring, tutoring, counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues can find it at the college’s new Veterans Resource Center.

The center officially opened its doors Wednesday afternoon in the student center.

Eastern Florida State College President James Richey said the college has a history of embracing veterans and veterans’ issues and will continue to do so.

“It’s a great opportunity to do what we can to help our veterans the best we can,” he said before speaking to the audience at the open house.
read more here

Army kicking out soldiers and silencing advocates

Is the Army silencing those who intervene in questionable discharges?
Aljazeera America
by Dave Philipps
January 29, 2014

A downsizing Army is discharging more soldiers for misconduct — and, some say, retaliating against those who cry foul

John Bettencourt the day he was discharged from the Army for misconduct. The discharge on such grounds meant Bettencourt, who was injured in Afghanistan, was ineligible for medical benefits.
Dave Philipps

FORT CARSON, Colo. — John Bettencourt, an infantry soldier who served two tours in Afghanistan, tested positive for marijuana at the military base here in 2012. Drug use is against Army rules, and though the soldier went to drug treatment programs and never had another positive test, he was told he’d be kicked out for misconduct.

But Bettencourt had suffered head injuries in a truck bombing in Afghanistan that, he said, had left him sleepless, depressed and suffering from debilitating headaches. He appealed for medical help and for further evaluation that would have made him eligible for medical care and possibly disability benefit checks. He enlisted the help of two soldier advocates to make his case, went to a brain-injury doctor who told commanders the soldier needed medical attention, and contacted an Army hospital ombudsman who tried to stop the discharge.

The Army kicked him out anyway. And then local commanders fired the doctor, banned the advocates from the military base and opened two investigations into the hospital ombudsman. (The Army said that it followed procedures and that soldiers need to be held responsible for their actions.)

Bettencourt, who was decorated for valor in combat, left Fort Carson with no medical benefits and a lifetime ban on access to health care through the Veterans Administration. He even owed the Army $120 because he was kicked out before his enlistment was up. At last contact, five months ago, he was living in an abandoned trailer in Arizona with no water or electricity.

“This is how they treat us, even after we risk our lives,” he said. “And the only people that tried to help, the Army went after them.”

“This is how they treat us, even after we risk our lives,” he said. “And the only people that tried to help, the Army went after them.”

The Army is kicking out more soldiers for misconduct than ever before. Congress has ordered the military to cut 80,000 troops now that a decade of war is winding down; in the four years since 2009, the number of misconduct discharges rose annually by more than 25 percent Army-wide. At the eight Army posts that house most of the service's combat units, which include Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, misconduct discharges have surged 67 percent since 2009. All told, more than 76,000 soldiers have been forced out of the Army this way since 2006.
read more here

Fort Carson issues list of banned items to avoid sending to troops

Fort Carson brigade to families: Don’t send porn, Nerf guns to troops
The Gazette
By Tom Roeder
January 29, 2014

“Items that are NOT okay to send
alcohol beverages of any kind
pornography in any format
bow and arrow-type devices that includes slingshots
knives with a blade length over six inches (such as switch blades, ballistic, gravity, or stilettos)
brass knuckles
throwing stars
throwing spikes
samurai swords
riot clubs
night sticks
lead or iron pipes
explosives including fireworks
pepper spray
stun guns
drugs of any kind
firearms or missile launching devices including air rifles or pistols, spear guns, blowguns, paint-ball guns
Nerf guns squirt guns.”
read more here

Suicide rate for young veterans three times higher than active duty

Suicides for young veterans three times higher! This after years of "resilience" training. Now do you believe me? They are in more danger after combat than during it. This danger is greater after they leave the service.
State Funded Program Mentors El Paso Veterans
By Crystal Price
January 29 2014

EL PASO, Texas -- The Department of Veterans Affairs recently released a report that shows suicides among young veterans just getting out of the military are three times higher than active-duty soldiers. The report shows that in 2011 the annual suicide rate for young veterans was 80 for every 100,000 of the population.

In 2009, 46 out of 100,000 committed suicide. Suicide rates among Army soldiers peaked in 2012 with 185. However, the overall suicide rate for active-duty soldiers stayed the same at 22 per 100,000 from 2009-2011.

Donna Nesbit, suicide prevention coordinator at the El Paso VA Health Care System, said one contributing factor to the rise in young suicides is due to a rising number of young veterans coming out of the military. "It's difficult to make that transition," Nesbit said. "It adds up to a great amount of difficulty. There are financial stresses, relationship issues and the experiences that they may have had during their active duty service." Nesbit said they have seen a decrease in suicide rates among all veterans engaged in mental care at the VA. Since 2007 they've been working to improve their suicide prevention program. "Part of the program is to pay closer attention, to track suicide data so that we can provide more effective treatments and provide programs that will impact the suicide rate," Nesbit said.
read more here

Greater love has no man, or woman

When they are willing to die for the sake of someone else, it is based on courage but it is also based on a whole different spiritual level than most of us will ever experience. When an average person thinks of what it may be like for folks in the military, those thoughts usually do not carry onto thinking about veterans after military life. As we've seen, suicides among veterans shows the danger does not end after combat. It is actually worse because their friends are not facing any enemy they can see. The enemy is inside of them.

Veterans need to be reminded of the goodness inside their spirit that compelled them to risk their lives. They did it for love. You can help by buying a t-shirt and taking the tax deduction. All the money for these T-shirts supports Point Man International Ministries and the work I do with veterans everyday.

They pay the price everyday and Never Forget Price Paid is a way for you to show you noticed. You noticed why they are willing to risk their lives. You also noticed that when it comes to healing because of combat, they need help from us.

Veterans receive help by reading the information on Wounded Times, by email and phone calls from across the country. If they are local they also have the ability to meet in person if they need to see me. Events across central Florida are filmed and shared so they know they matter.

Each and everyday they come first because they deserve no less from me. I am the daughter of a Korean Veteran, niece of WWII veterans and wife of a Vietnam veteran. They have always been in my life so I have dedicated my life toward giving them a better life and helping them heal.

Canadian inquest shows military ethos prevents seeking help for PTSD

It is the same thing in the US.
‘Military ethos’ prevents veterans from getting help, ex-soldier testifies at Prince George inquest
JANUARY 29, 2014

A “military ethos” is preventing Canadian veterans from seeking the help they need for such problems as post-traumatic stress disorder, a coroners inquest into the death of Greg Matters heard Wednesday.

Tim Laidler, who served in Afghanistan in 2008 before leaving the military, said “very thorough” support is available through such organizations as the Veterans Transition Network, a non-profit group that provides counselling services.

“The problem is it’s not within the military ethos and the veterans’ culture to actually access that service, to stand up and ask for help,” Laidler said in giving testimony at the Prince George courthouse via telephone from Vancouver, where he attends the University of B.C.

Matters was a 15-year veteran of the Canadian military who did a tour in Bosnia before receiving an honourable discharge in 2009. It was not until late 2010, however, that he began receiving counselling for PTSD, the inquest has heard.

An RCMP emergency response team shot and killed Matters on his family’s Prince George property on the evening of Sept. 10, 2012, some 40 hours after he ran his brother off the road. Matters’ possible state-of-mind at the time of his death has been a major topic during the inquest.
read more here

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Canadian military billed husband after wife committed suicide?

After veteran's death, government demands $581 benefits repayment
CTV News
January 28, 2014

Just days after the funeral of a Canadian veteran who died of suicide on Christmas Day, her husband received a letter from Veterans Affairs saying the family must repay a portion of her monthly disability cheque.

The letter, dated Jan. 9 -- a day after retired Cpl. Leona MacEachern’s husband publicly revealed that her death was in fact a suicide -- expresses condolences to the family while asking for a repayment of $581.67.

In an email to CTV News, Tom MacEachern called it “a slap in the face.”

“(I) didn’t know whether to laugh or cry…was breathless actually,” he said.

The letter from Veterans Affairs begins with: “We have recently been advised of the death of Mrs. MacEachern. Our most sincere sympathy is extended to you and your family at this time.”

It goes on to say that “Earnings Loss benefits paid under the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act are payable up to the day of Mrs. MacEachern’s death.
read more here

California VA Law Enforcement Officer sent naked selfie?

VA Hospital Officer Allegedly Sends Nude Selfie
Jan 28, 2014

A federal law enforcement officer in California is being investigated for allegedly sending a woman a nude photo after she came to him for help, officials said.

The victim, a 31-year-old West Los Angeles resident did not identify, said she visited an area Veterans' Affairs hospital in November searching for her uncle, who was missing. There, she encountered officer Jason Fougere, who offered to help in the search for her uncle.

The two exchanged information, including their personal cellphone numbers.

The woman said the following day she received a text from Fougere asking if she would meet him for a cup of coffee and if she had a boyfriend. That was followed by a photo of himself in uniform with the note "here's something to remember me."

"I quickly responded that I was in a meeting and I couldn't talk right now," the woman said.
read more here

Sneak Peak of Super Bowl Ad with Soldier

The Orlando Sentinel was a bit late on reporting on this. Everyone there knew what was going on and to tell the truth, most of us would have shown up even if it wasn't going to be a commercial.

I was delighted to see such a huge gathering and you can see what went on so that when you see the wonderful version Budweiser plays, you'll know the rest of the story. As usual Wounded Times was right in the middle of all of it.

Winter Park veteran will star in Super Bowl ad
Orlando Sentinel
By David Breen
January 28, 2014

A local veteran — and the city of Winter Park — will star in their very own Super Bowl commercial on Sunday.

The spot, titled "Hero's Welcome," was filmed Jan. 8 in downtown Winter Park. Army Lt. Chuck Nadd, newly returned from deployment as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, took a flight to Sanford and was driven into Winter Park.

Nadd had been told by his commanding officer that he'd be filmed for a documentary on returning veterans. His girlfriend, Shannon Cantwell, was in on the deception and accompanied him from the airport.

He arrived in Winter Park to find the Budweiser Clydesdales, a marching band, cheerleaders and hundreds of flag- and sign-waving spectators awaiting his arrival.

Nadd and Cantwell rode the parade route atop the Budweiser wagon, pulled by the Clydesdales, as confetti rained around them.

The brewer was tightlipped at the time about where the footage would be used, but confirmed Tuesday that it will run during Super Bowl XLVIII, pitting the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Sunday on Fox.

Nadd was chosen to represent all returning veterans in the commercial after being nominated by Cantwell for the honor through the VFW, Budweiser said. The commercial was originally planned to be 30 seconds, but during the editing process, the company decided to expand it to 60 seconds.

"There was just so much good footage, we couldn't resist expanding the spot to include more of Lt. Nadd's homecoming," said Budweiser Vice President Brian Perkins.

Winter Park Mayor Kenneth Bradley was pleased to hear his city would play a prominent role on Super Bowl Sunday, calling the exposure on a worldwide stage "priceless."
read more here

Police cleared in killing of Iraq veteran with PTSD

Lynn police cleared in fatal shooting of Iraq veteran
Victim had taken gun from officer
Boston Globe
By John R. Ellement
JANUARY 28, 2014
Denis Reynoso had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lynn police Officer Joshua Hilton was justified in using deadly force against an Iraq war veteran who had managed to grab hold of another officer’s gun and fire two shots at police during a desperate struggle, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett concluded Tuesday.

Hilton acted to protect himself and others from Denis Reynoso, 29, who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was behaving irrationally, Blodgett said in a statement and report on an investigation into the Sept. 5 incident.

“When Mr. Reynoso gained control of an officer’s gun and fired two rounds in close proximity to two police officers despite their attempts to get the gun away from him, he put their lives in imminent danger, thus justifying the use of lethal force by a third officer,’’ Blodgett said in a statement.

Reynoso continued to laugh and scream even after he was shot once in the left flank, the report said. He died at Lynn Union Hospital about five hours after the incident began. According to the report, Reynoso’s 5-year-old son was in the living room during the fatal confrontation.
read more here

The rest of the story of Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg

UPDATE, The video on the DAV speech given by President Obama went viral since last night.

I was on a temp job yesterday and had to leave work a little early to go to a memorial service. The service was attended by mostly veterans gathered together to remember the son of one of the veterans. I was not able to watch the whole State of the Union speech President Obama gave. I won't be able to find out what else he said until much later today.

What I did see was the end. That was when President Obama talked about the troops and our disabled veterans.

Obama pointed out one of the guests, Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg. It was not the first time I heard him talk about this Army Ranger. His story was told to thousands at the DAV convention in August.
Aug 11, 2013
Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg  The Army Ranger was injured in Afghanistan in 2009 on his 10th tour of duty.

I filmed President Obama at the DAV convention and you can hear the entire 45 minutes of his speech broken up by subject.

Rightly so, Cory was given a standing ovation.

Cory Remsburg's Heartwrenching Story Draws Standing Ovation At The State Of The Union Address
The Huffington Post
By Paige Lavender
Posted: 01/28/2014

Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg received a standing ovation after President Barack Obama told his story during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Remsburg, who sat next to First Lady Michelle Obama during the speech, was injured by a roadside bomb during his 10th deployment. Remsburg was in a coma for three months and partially paralyzed. Obama noted in his speech the soldier is still blind in one eye and "struggles on his left side."

"[S]lowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again," Obama said. "'My recovery has not been easy,' he says. 'Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.'"

"Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit," Obama continued.
read more here

During President Obama's speech at the DAV he saved Cory's story for last part of his speech. There was the same reaction to Cory there as well. Michelle Obama talked about a Marine, Cpl. Perez and how so many risked their lives to get him to the help he needed with a live RPG in his leg.
Aug 10, 2013 First Lady Obama spoke at the DAV convention in Orlando today and told about the men and women she has met in the military and how they inspire her. She also talked about Marine Cpl. Winder Perez wounded with a live RPG in his leg. Of the Marines risking their lives to save his, of the helicopter crew risking their's and the bomb tech risking her life.

I believe they do care about the troops and our veterans. Michelle has been very active for them and their families. President Obama vowed to do whatever he could to reduce suicides. That is the most depressing thing in all of this because as more has been done for them, what is happening to them has not been met with solutions that work and no one has been held accountable. Suicides among the troops and veterans has gone up during a time when there has never been more to help them heal.

As I listened to the rest of President Obama's speech, I was waiting to hear that things were going to change for them but the speech ended and so did the lives of at least 22 veterans yesterday.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Settlement reached in police shooting of Iraq war veteran

Settlement reached in police shooting of Iraq war veteran
KOB News4
Elizabeth Reed
January 28, 2014

A judge's approval is needed to finalize the city of Albuquerque's nearly $8 million settlement with the family of an Iraq war veteran who was fatally shot by an officer.

In 2010, APD officer Brett Lampiris Tremba shot and killed Kenneth Ellis while Ellis held a gun to his own head.

Last March, a jury awarded a total of $10.2 million to the son of the Iraq war veteran.
read more here
I could keep posting these stories but here are just a few more on how often this happens.
May 11, 2010 Joshua James Gerard (wife) watched in horror as a deputy sheriff shot her husband Sunday as he pointed a shotgun at the law-enforcement officer.
July 10, 2010 James F. Popkowski " former U.S. Marine fatally shot by law enforcement officers near a veterans hospital Thursday was remembered by friends Friday as a generous, considerate man who struggled heroically to overcome a rare form of cancer and believed strongly in his right to carry a gun."
August 29, 2010 Brandon Barrett, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, was wearing full battle gear and carrying a loaded rifle when a police officer confronted him in downtown Salt Lake City on Friday afternoon. A police spokeswoman said Barrett opened fire, striking the officer in the leg. The officer returned fire, killing the 28-year-old soldier, whose bloodied body fell in a patch of grass behind the Grand America Hotel, near one of the city’s busiest intersections.
September 2, 2010 Edward Zevola Sr.

Free medical coverage for some VA service dogs of veterans

New health coverage for vets' service dogs
Army Times
By Karen Jowers
Staff writer
January 27, 2014

Free medical coverage for the service dogs of veterans is now being handled under a new Veterans Affairs Department contract with pet health insurance company Trupanion.

The program pays 100 percent of the costs for veteran-owned service dogs for ongoing preventive care as well as emergency care and other medical treatments and prescription medications.

The coverage is available only to veteran-owned service dogs that VA has determined are eligible for the program, as well as VA-owned PTSD dogs. The contract is expected to speed up the process for reimbursement to veterinarians.

VA provides the information about eligible dogs directly to Trupanion. Information was not immediately available about how many dogs are eligible.
read more here

Vietnam Veteran MOH Sammy Davis talks about PTSD

Forrest Gump Rerun

Vet whose Medal of Honor ceremony was used in 'Forrest Gump' tells of PTSD struggles
World-Herald staff writer
By Steve Liewer
January 28, 2014

Sammy L. Davis and his wife, Dixie, said they still feel the effects of the trauma of Sammy Davis' service in Vietnam more than 45 years ago. He is still tormented by nightmares. “I fight that battle almost every night,” he said. “It doesn't go away.”

The man in the military dress uniform blew a mournful “Shenandoah” on his harmonica, his audience in a ballroom at the CenturyLink Center still and silent.

Sammy L. Davis, a Medal of Honor recipient, learned to play the song as a young Army private in Vietnam for a sergeant in his unit who loved the river and the song. The sergeant told Davis it “renewed his heart.”

Years later, he would start a tradition of playing the tune at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. — in front of the spot on Panel 50E, Row 13, where the sergeant's name, Johnston Dunlop, is etched on the wall.

“I hope it finds a place in your heart and renews your soul,” Davis told the crowd of 540, who had gathered to hear him speak at a $50-a-plate fundraiser for At Ease USA, an Omaha-based veterans support group.

They gave him a standing ovation.

At Ease USA started in 2007, when a group of volunteers organized to aid both veterans and families suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Since then, the group has opened counseling centers in Bellevue, Grand Island and North Platte.

“From a neighbor's basement, to the farthest corners of the state, there are veterans who need our help,” said Tim Burke, the group's president.

It also is funding research on PTSD treatment at Creighton University, in partnership with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska.
read more here
730 N. Fort Crook Road
Bellevue, NE 68005

Great Western Bank Building
1811 W. Second St., Suite 365
Grand Island, NE 68803

Clifford L. Johnson Center for Healthy Families
120 E. 12th St.
North Platte, NE 69101

Sammy talks about what it was like coming home after being wounded and earning the Medal of Honor

Sammy and Dixie have message to all veterans and their families

Sammy talks about his experience in Vietnam and why he plays Shenandoah

Monday, January 27, 2014

After waiting 46 years, Vietnam veteran's claim approved and heading to Washington

Vietnam vet a symbol of overcoming VA delays
Fort Lauderdale man will be in audience for Obama's State of Union address
Sun Sentinel
By William E. Gibson
Washington Bureau January 26, 2014

A Vietnam War veteran from Fort Lauderdale who suffered severe burns in combat and financial hardship back home will be watching from the House gallery Tuesday night when President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address.

Jeff Colaiacovo will represent all American service members, but especially the hundreds of thousands who endure bureaucratic snags and delays when seeking disability benefits.

His saga began 46 years ago with a mine explosion in Vietnam that left him temporarily blinded. A firefight a few months later burned a third of his body. After nearly a half-century of health problems, he began receiving $3,014 a month in disability payments this year with a boost from U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel and her staff.

Colaiacovo said he "almost fell to the floor" when Frankel, a Democrat from West Palm Beach, invited him to the Capitol to attend the president's address as her guest. "I feel so blessed," he said. "I will do whatever I can to help any vet."

For Frankel, the mother of a retired Marine, it's a chance to showcase service to constituents, especially veterans. For Colaiacovo, it's a way to signify that veterans can and should get what they deserve.
read more here

Never shall I fail my comrades, Army Ranger and suicides of brothers

They are willing to accept the risks facing whatever comes in combat. Some pass it off as part of the deal when they joined. I guess that way citizens can just ignore their pain. To lose a friend in combat is something they are ready to endure even though it breaks their hearts. To lose a friend after combat because of what was asked of them is something no one should be willing to accept under any conditions. So why do we?

Why do we allow them to suffer the way this Army Ranger did taking the blame upon his shoulders wondering what he could have done differently? Isn't that the question we should have been asking of ourselves years ago?

A Former Army Ranger Copes with His Friends' Suicides, and Asks What He Could Have Done to Help Them
The Daily Beast

Every day 22 veterans commit suicide. Former Army Ranger Ted Janis struggles with the suicides of his own friends and affirms the role that veterans can play in helping each other.

Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters
I will never forget the first day I heard the Ranger Creed, the motto of the Army Rangers that every soldier learns by heart before joining the famed unit. It was the fall of 2006, and my class of United States Army officers, the first to have joined out of high school after the attacks of 9/11, was preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. The hallowed passage laid out what was expected of us in the years to come, as we fought in Anbar deserts and the labyrinth of Baghdad, battled from Pashtun poppy fields to the valleys of the Pech River. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the third stanza would forever haunt me: Never shall I fail my comrades. While tragic and testing, losing friends in combat was expected. It wasn’t until I had left the military and friends kept dying, taking their own lives, that I felt I failed.

On this past Veterans Day, I contemplated writing about the epidemic of veteran suicide, in honor of two friends. They had come home from fighting overseas and killed themselves. I decided against it. I did not want to darken their lives by bringing their deaths into the harsh glare of the media. I wanted to avoid causing any more pain to their grieving families, to avoid the renewed anguish that the sight of their names in print would bring.

Three weeks later, a third friend joined their ranks. Again, the pain was fresh and the shock numbing. And again the scouring for clues and agonizing over what I could have done.

This third friend and I had learned the Ranger Creed together all those years ago; then he went overseas and tested what it really meant. He served for six years before leaving the military and joining the civilian world. Wrestling with demons born in Afghanistan, he had lost his job, quarreled with his girlfriend and given away his dog. He hanged himself the day after Thanksgiving.

‘It wasn’t until I had left the military and friends kept dying, taking their own lives, that I felt I failed.’
read more here

Florida Marine Vietnam Vet honors fallen

Meet a Marine Vietnam veteran who creates busts of fallen warriors
Air Force Times
By Gina Harkins
Staff writer
Jan. 27, 2014
Cliff Leonard, a sculptor and Vietnam veteran, makes life-sized busts of fallen Marines and Navy corpsmen from his home state of Florida. He also sculpts fallen Marines from his old unit, like Cpl. Nicholas Uzenski. Leonard said it takes about two months to create a life-sized bust of a Marine or Navy corpsman.
(Holly Clarke Gardner)

A former lance corporal who served in Vietnam is using his artistic skills to honor Marines and Navy corpsmen who’ve been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Cliff Leonard, who served with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, teamed up with the Semper Fidelis Society in Jacksonville, Fla., to provide a memorial for a local cemetery a few years ago. He offered to sculpt a life-sized bust of Pfc. Nathan Clemons, a local Marine who was killed in Iraq in 2005. He contacted the Clemons family and got started.

When plans to place the bust in the cemetery fell through, Leonard said he didn’t have the heart to tell the family he wasn’t going to carry out the project. So he persevered and donated the finished sculpture to the Clemons family.

“Once I saw how much they appreciated it, I thought I would sculpt all the fallen Marines from Jacksonville, Florida,” Leonard said.

Then he kept going. He sculpted some of his buddies who were killed in Vietnam, and a Marine from his old unit who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

His new mission: To create a bust of every Marine and Navy corpsman from Florida who was killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, some 81 men. He has completed 17 so far.
read more here

Spiritual healing added to Arkansas PTSD Veterans treatment

Arkansas program helps vets connect with community via spiritual, mental treatment
All Voices
BY Mirjana Pantic
Jan 26, 2014

A community-based program in that began in 2009 in Arkansas is helping veterans with the tools and skills they need to reconnect with their local communities.

A Vietnam era marine, who just like many other vets has been disconnected from the military and hadn’t been in touch with the Veteran Affairs (VA), finally gets his life back in order. Four decades ago, he was a cook in Vietnam. Now he has a similar job – he cooks for a local prison in Arkansas. He is one of some 1,000 veterans who have participated in the VA/Clergy Partnership for Rural Veterans, a program established in Arkansas aimed at reintegrating veterans into the communities where they live.

“Being a part of one of our local partnership boards gave him a consistent sense of purpose over the last few years,” Steve Sullivan, the director of the VA/Clergy Partnership for Rural Veterans told Allvoices.

"His persona seemed almost resurrected when he was given an opportunity to cook breakfast for more than 100 service members on a drill weekend through one of our outreach events. Other veterans have become connected or re-connected to church life through the patience and veteran-friendly acceptance of one of our local churches.”

As it is widely known, many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and have difficulties getting their life back on track after coming home from war. To tackle this and other problems veterans face, a pilot project was launched in 2009 in El Dorado, Ark. What is unique about that project is that it combines spiritual care and mental treatment. Moreover, the project uses a community-based participatory method, so it is different at each site and tailored to the needs of every community.

According to Sullivan, the project brings changes in veterans’ lives in a few important ways. For example, there is a large number of Vietnam vets who have gotten access to the VA for the first time in more than 40 years. “They have lived in suspicion of VA services and were unaware of the nature of PTSD and its treatability. They are now getting to a time when they realize that they really have had problems all these years and that it’s okay to get help. Most of them come seeking benefits initially, but then receive mental health assessments and get the help they need,” he said.
read more here

Greyhound PTSD Service Dog has Marine's Back

Hero Project pairs greyhounds with wounded warriors
Trained to serve, the dogs help keep their new owners calm
Sun Sentinel
By Susannah Bryan
January 26, 2014
Leonardo A. Salas, plays with his children, three-year-old twins, Leonardo, Jr., and Emily, as his dogs, Scout, and Lilo stick close by at their Coral Springs home on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Salas, a father of three, suffers from PTSD and social anxiety after serving 11 years in the Marine Corps. Scout has been trained by Service Dogs 4 Service Men to keep him calm in crowds.
(Amy Beth Bennett, Sun Sentinel)

Marine Corps veteran Jesse Bergeron used to do his grocery shopping at 2 a.m. — just to avoid the crowds.

Family trips to Disney World put the former machine gunner on red alert, searching for escape routes. Baseball games were out of the question.

That's all changed thanks to Doc, a retired racing greyhound trained as a service dog specifically for Bergeron, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Instead of seeing a sea of people, they just focus on the dog and it almost makes the sea of people disappear," says Daniel De La Rosa, director of training for Service Dogs 4 Servicemen.

North Lauderdale resident Sara Donadei-Blood founded the local nonprofit in May 2011 in honor of her late grandfather, a World War II veteran. Late in life, he adopted two racing greyhounds that wound up being service dogs all on their own, she said.

So far, De La Rosa has trained 10 greyhounds for what he calls the Hero Project. The dogs are trained at Petropolis Park in Hollywood at no cost to the veteran.

De La Rosa meets with the veterans first, then trains the greyhounds — former race dogs at the Palm Beach Kennel Club — to meet their particular needs, from mobility issues to PTSD.
read more here

Sunday, January 26, 2014

IN THE NAME OF GLORY PTSD Poem 30 years old

Reading thru some emails I came across something that reminded me of a poem I wrote 30 years ago in 1984. I wrote it after listening to Vietnam veterans talking after a memorial dedication.

If you replace a few words, it still applies to the veterans of the wars today and that is the saddest part of all. The words and experiences were belonged to them.  I just arranged what they said.
The things I’ve seen and done would boggle your mind.
I’ve seen the death and destruction created by mankind in the living hell that I walked away from but could not leave behind.
It all comes back to haunt me now and makes peace impossible to find.
The ghosts of the past that find me in the night
make me wonder if my life will ever be right.
I have tried to forget what I have done,
and now there is no place left to run.
All this in the name of glory!
There is no end to this horror story.
It still does not make sense even now that I am older,
why, when I was so young they made me a soldier
and why I had to be a part of that war
when I didn’t even know what we were there for.
At eighteen I should have been with my friends having fun
not patrolling through a jungle with a machine gun.
I did my part just the same, just for my country
and stood helplessly watching my friends die all around me.
I felt a surge of hate engulf my soul for people that I did not know
and saw children lose their chance to grow.
All this in the name of glory! There is still no end to this horror story.
There was no glory for guys like me
only bitter memories that will not set me free.
I can never forget the ones who never made it home
some of them dead and others whose fate is still unknown
and the stigma that we lost what was not meant to win
most of us carry that extra burden buried deep within.
All this in the name of glory!
Will there ever be an end to this horror story?

I signed the poem W.T. Manteiv for We Trusted and Vietnam backwards.

They heal when they make peace with the ghost and that has been my mission for all these years.

National Guardsman's Dad Going to State of Union after son's suicide

Dad of Army suicide victim going to State of Union
WBNS 10 News
Sunday January 26, 2014

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly is entitled to invite one guest to the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The person Donnelly chose to give the ticket to — Farmland resident Jeff Sexton — confirms that Indiana's junior senator is serious about preventing military suicide.

Saxton's son, Army Spc. Jacob Sexton, 21, shot himself to death in October 2009 at a Muncie movie theater, where he was watching a show with his two brothers and a friend. A veteran of combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sexton was home on a 15-day leave when he died.

"His parents are coming out for the State of the Union," Donnelly said during a visit to The Star Press on Thursday, the newspaper reported ( ). "We asked them to come out and be with us for it. I think they're American heroes. His dad will watch it in the (House) chamber. I only get one ticket. His mom (Barbara) will watch it back in our offices."

Last year, Donnelly introduced the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2013.

"His parents contacted us saying they wanted to try to be of help," Donnelly said. "This is an issue I have been working on. It's so searing and important. In 2012, we lost 349 (active) service members to suicide and 295 in combat. So we've lost more to suicide than we did to combat."

The bill would require mental health assessments to enhance detection of behaviors indicating a risk of suicide in members of the Armed Forces.

"Jacob's story was heartbreaking," Donnelly said. "I have spoken time and again on this issue ... and his family wanted to try to solve this problem, too. We met with them at Bruner's (Family Restaurant) here in Muncie, and they also came out to Washington. They don't want anybody's son or daughter to have to end their life."
read more here

This is the original report from 2009

October 14, 2009
Indiana National Guardsman committed suicide at movie theater
Spc. Jacob Sexton died because of war and because the military didn't make sure they were prepared to return home.

Guardsman home from war kills self in Ind. theater
Associated Press
7:12 p.m. CDT, October 13, 2009

MUNCIE, Ind. - The father of an Indiana National Guardsman who fatally shot himself inside a movie theater said Tuesday that the families of service members returning home from war need to closely watch them for signs of stress.

Spc. Jacob Sexton, 21, showed no signs of being suicidal before shooting himself in the head, the guardsman's father, Jeffrey Sexton of Farmland, said.

"We just need to watch these boys and the girls coming back home. Something's just not right. Too much is happening," Jeffrey Sexton told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Muncie police said Jacob Sexton had argued with theater employees on Monday night over having to show identification to see the R-rated horror comedy "Zombieland."

Twenty minutes into the film, a friend handed Sexton a 9 mm handgun, at the guardsman's request, and he then shot himself in the head, police said.

After 14 years, soldier wins law suit over lost job

Soldier fired from post office wins fight over pay
He gets his due, wants others to do so, too
Written by
Marisa Kendall
Jan. 25, 2014

A Cape Coral man last month won a victory 14 years in the making, when a federal board ruled he was wrongly fired in 2000 after taking time off for military service.

The U.S. Postal Service must rehire Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson, 50, and pay him 14 years of back pay, interest and benefits, according to a Dec. 31 ruling by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. The board ruled firing Erickson was a violation of the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act. Erickson could be entitled to $2 million, including legal fees and compensation for missed promotions.

Now Erickson wants to encourage soldiers in similar situations to fight for their rights.
read more here

Fort Hood Soldier's death leaves Florida Mom searching for answers

EXCLUSIVE: Soldier's family searches for answers after death
Bay News 9
By Paul Mueller, Reporter
January 25, 2014

The mother of a soldier is desperately searching for answers in the death of her son.

Specialist Glenn Moore, III, was based in Fort Hood when he died in a car crash on Wednesday morning.

The next day his parents received the terrible news from the Army, but it’s what they haven’t heard that has them wanting more.

"He was likable," said Danielle Moore, Glenn’s mother when asked how she remembers her son. “He was funny. Everyone that met him instantly became friends with him."

Moore went into the Army three years ago as an intelligence imagery analyst. He was deployed to Afghanistan for a year and was a decorated soldier.

Now, the family is not only in mourning but also left asking questions.

They want to know why their son would lead officers on a deadly high-speed chase through two counties.

"And I'm not saying my son wasn't at fault,” said Danielle. “That's not what I'm saying. I just want to know what happened, and I just think it's taking too long. I know investigations take long but every little bit that they find out along the way, we have a right to know."
read more here

Battle on to help homeless Vietnam Veteran in Georgia

Hundreds step up to help homeless Vietnam Veteran just got even bigger with this update.

Bank asks court to toss homeless veteran’s lawsuit
Marietta Daily Journal
by Leo Hohmann
January 26, 2014

MARIETTA — A mega-bank being sued for wrongful foreclosure by homeless Vietnam veteran John Chambers has asked the court to toss out Chambers’ lawsuit but his supporters continue to raise money in an effort to buy back his house.

Wells Fargo Bank filed a motion to dismiss in Cobb Superior Court on Jan. 15, claiming it acted entirely within the laws of Georgia when it foreclosed on Chambers’ Marietta house and sold it to an investor on the courthouse steps at a Sept. 1, 2009, foreclosure auction. Chambers was evicted on Jan. 9, 2013, by the investor.

Chambers lived for the next 12 months out of his Toyota minivan, parked at the Wal-Mart on Cobb Parkway off Roswell Street. His only companion was his dog, a 7-year-old male border collie named Scout, who helped keep him warm on cold winter nights, including one night earlier this month when temperatures dipped to 5 degrees.

Through it all, Chambers’ mantra was “I just want my house back” and he paid out thousands of dollars in legal fees to lawyers who found themselves overmatched by attorneys working for the big banks.

Chambers’ mortgage had been sold from one lender to another, but Wells Fargo continued to service the loan and had the right to foreclose when Chambers fell into default, according to the bank’s recent court filings.
Help on the way?

Meanwhile, a nonprofit formed by local Realtors Melody Unger and Rose Hochman has raised just over $16,000 over the past two weeks to help Chambers get his house back. That’s still well short of their goal of raising $50,000, the minimum it will likely take to buy back the veteran’s former home and deed it over to Chambers.

Nationwide media attention came Chambers’ way after MDJ first reported his story more than two weeks ago. While much support has been gained, including a helping hand from Marietta’s American Legion Post 29, which paid for Chambers to be put up in a local hotel for about 10 days, the goal of getting him back in his house will take legal aid and at least $30,000 more in donations, Hochman said.

The outpouring of help “has been great, but I think is misleading in that we still have a really long way to go” in raising the $50,000, Hochman said. “Also, we really do need some legal help at a very reduced rate.”

Unger and Hochman are with Keller Williams Cityside in Smyrna. They reported Friday they have collected 107 checks along with some cash donations. Another 11 people have donated using PayPal transactions on the website they have set up,

A woman from Minnesota read about Chambers’ plight and offered to set up the website for free, Unger said.

Donations have ranged from $10 sent in by an elderly World War II veteran to a $2,000 check sent from a family trust in Naples, Fla.
read more here

Marine reservist sent to collection agency by the Marines?

Marine reservists the latest left on the hook for 'erroneous payments'
Stars and Stripes
By John Vandiver
Published: January 25, 2014

STUTTGART, Germany — For two years, Marine Corps Reservist Lt. Col. Rollin Jackson served on active duty in California, some 2,000 miles from his Missouri home.

During that time, he was required to live in a hotel near his duty station in San Diego, where he worked as a mobilization officer.

Then, without warning, the Marines told Jackson he had been overpaid. Based on a technicality — that Jackson signed his mobilization orders upon arrival in San Diego rather than at his home in Missouri — the Marine Corps determined that Jackson owed $85,000 that he was paid for hotels and per-diem during his tenure in California.

The Marines also sent his government travel card statement, carrying a balance of $9,996.25, to a collection agency, Jackson said.

He and other Marine Corps reservists are the latest group of servicemembers and civilian Defense Department employees in dispute with the military over whether certain allowances were properly paid or have to be repaid.
read more here

To lay down his life for the sake of his friends

The number one post on Wounded Times is connected to a tattoo "For those I love I will sacrifice" and it has been read over 35,000 times. It is not so much about the tattoo itself but more about Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry wounded and being cared for in a medevac helicopter.

Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry, of 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Infantry Regiment, 1st Heavy Combat Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, who was injured in an improvised explosive device attack near Haji Ramuddin, is treated by flight medic Cpl. Amanda Mosher while being transported by medevac helicopter to the Role 3 hospital at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan on June 15, 2011. Laura Rauch/Stars and Stripes

"For those I love I will sacrifice" pretty much sums up how they all feel. They are ready to face danger and ready to save a life even if it means they lose their own. If you want to see how much they care about each other, go to the link above and see the pictures going with this article. If you want to know why they are willing to do all of this, read it and know this isn't about killing. It is about caring.

Join the fight to save veterans from suicide

September 26, 2007

To lay down his life for the sake of his friends.

Do you think God abandoned you still? Come on and admit that while you were in the center of the trauma, you either felt the hand of God on your shoulder, or more often, never felt further from Him. In natural disasters, we pray to God to protect us. Yet when it's over we wonder why He didn't make the hurricane hit someplace else or why the tornadoes came and destroyed what we had while leaving the neighbors house untouched. We wonder why He heals some people while the people we love suffer. It is human nature to wonder, search for answers and try to understand.

In times of combat, it is very hard to feel anything Godly. Humans are trying to kill other humans and the horrors of wars become an evil act. The absence of God becomes overwhelming. We wonder how a loving God who blessed us with Jesus, would allow the carnage of war. We wonder how He could possibly forgive us for being a part of it. For soldiers, this is often the hardest personal crisis they face.

They are raised to love God and to be told how much God loves them. For Christians, they are reminded of the gift of Jesus, yet in moments of crisis they forget most of what Jesus went through.

Here are a few lessons and you don't even have to go to church to hear them.

Matthew 8:5-13)
As he entered Caper'na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress." And he said to him, "I will come and heal him." But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; be it done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.

This sounds like a great act Jesus did. You think about the Roman Centurion, powerful, commanding, able to lead men into combat, perhaps Jesus even knew of the other men this Centurion has killed. Yet this same man, capable of killing, was also capable of great compassion for what some regarded as a piece of property, his slave. He showed he didn't trust the pagan gods the Romans prayed to but was willing to trust Jesus.

Yet when you look deeper into this act, it proves that Jesus has compassion for the warriors. The life and death of Jesus were not surprises to Him. He knew from the very beginning how it would end. This is apparent throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. He knew He would be betrayed, beaten, mocked, humiliated and nailed to the cross by the hands of Romans. Yet even knowing this would come, He had compassion for this Roman soldier. The Romans had tortured and killed the Jews since the beginning of their empire as well as other conquered people. The Roman soldiers believed in what they were doing, yet even with that, there was still documentation of them suffering for what they did.

Ancient historians documented the illness striking the Greeks, which is what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is evidence this illness hit every generation of warriors. Jesus would be aware that saving the Centurion's slave, because of the faith and trust He placed in Jesus, would be reported from soldier to soldier. Jesus showed compassion even to the Romans.

How can we think that He would not show compassion to today's soldiers? How can we think that He would look any differently on them than He did toward the soldiers who would nail Him to the Cross?

God didn't send you into combat. Another human did. God however created who you are inside. The ability to be willing to lay down your life for the sake of others was in you the day you were born. While God allows freewill, for good and for evil, He also has a place in His heart for all of His children. We humans however let go of His hand at the time we need to hold onto it the most.

When tragedy and trauma strike, we wonder where God was that He allowed it to happen. Then we blame ourselves. We do the "if" and " but" over and over again in our own minds thinking it was our fault and the trauma was a judgment from God. Yet we do not consider that God could very well be the reason we survived it all.

PTSD is a double edge cut to the person. The trauma strikes the emotions and the sense that God has abandoned us strikes at the soul. There is no greater sense of loss than to feel as if God has left you alone especially after surviving trauma and war. If you read the passage of Jesus and the Roman, you know that this would be impossible for God to do to you. Search your soul and you will find Him still there.

For the last story on this we have none other than the Arch Angel Michael. The warrior angel. If God did not value the warrior for the sake of good, then why would He create a warrior angel and make him as mighty as he was?

Michael has a sword in one hand and a scale in the other. God places things in balance for the warriors.

And in John 15:
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

When it comes to waging war, issuing orders, God will judge the hearts and minds of those who sent you and He will also know your's. If you feel you need to be forgiven, then ask for it and you will be forgiven. Yet if you know in your heart the basis of your service was that of the willingness to lay down your life for your friends, then ask to be healed. Know this. That if Jesus had the compassion for a Roman how could He have any less compassion for you?

Because the military is in enough trouble already trying to evangelize soldiers for a certain branch of Christianity, understand this is not part of that. It's one of the benefits of having I don't care what faith you have or which place of worship you attended. If you were a religious person at any level before combat, your soul is in need of healing as well. There is a tremendous gift when the psychological healing is combined with the spiritual healing. If you have a religious leader you can talk to, please seek them out.

Kathie Costos