Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Marines Left Stranded Thanks To Congress

Marines weighing having members hitch rides on foreign warships
FOX News
Jennifer Griffin Lucas Tomlinson
June 29, 2015

The Marines are weighing whether to have members hitch a ride on foreign warships, citing a shortage of U.S. Navy vessels due to recent budget cuts -- raising bipartisan security concerns about the leverage this could give other countries.

A key concern is whether a warship from a host nation could deny Marines permission to come ashore.

"Ceding our amphibious ships to other countries -- it's almost silly and I can't believe it is even an option for the Navy," said Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who served as a Marine in Iraq. "Now we are going to have to ask other countries, much less financially stable countries than America, to loan us their ships so that we can base our Marines on their ships. It's almost embarrassing."
read more here

Marine From Massachusetts Died In Florida

Weymouth mourns US Marine’s unexpected death
Boston Globe
By Rosa Nguyen
JUNE 29, 2015

A US Marine from Weymouth who was about to graduate at the top of his class died June 20 at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.

The death of 19-year-old Private First Class Peter J. Handibode was not related to training, said First Lieutenant Matthew Rojo, a Marine Corps spokesman. 

An investigation into the specific circumstances of his death is ongoing, and no additional information is available at this time, Rojo added.

“It’s a tragedy whenever we lose a young service member,” said George Pontes, director of veterans services in Weymouth.
read more here

Confederate Flag Removed From Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial

Confederate flag hung from Boston memorial for black soldiers 
Boston Globe
By Niko Emack-Bazelais and Jennifer Smith
JUNE 29, 2015
“It makes me angry to have to do this in my own town,” she said. “I was like, really? Is that for real?”
Melissa Carino pulled down a Confederate flag from the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial across from the State House on Sunday.

A Confederate battle flag was attached Sunday night to a Boston memorial that commemorates one of the first all-black regiments to fight for the union during the Civil War, hanging there for over an hour before a woman removed it.

Melissa Carino, 37, of Lowell said she saw the flag hanging from the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial across the street from the State House at about 8 p.m. Carino said she left and returned to the location later, angered that it had not been removed.

The 54th Regiment was commissioned by Governor John A. Andrew shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the inspiration for the 1989 movie “Glory.’’

Late Sunday night, the flag appeared ripped and torn from attempts to remove it. But it remained tied to the monument until 10:30 p.m., when Carino finally untied it and took it down, placing it in a trash can.
read more here
Linked from Military.com

Army General Talks About Gay Marriage Ruling

Gay Army General Reflects on Supreme Court's Historic Ruling 
by Bryant Jordan
Jun 29, 2015

The first general officer to come out as gay following the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 2011 says the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the country makes "a positive difference in many service members' lives" for practical and heartfelt reasons.

"The practical impact is uniformity in the recognition of family," Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith told Miltary.com. "The heartfelt impact is that every family matters, regardless of who you marry."

Smith, who married Tracey Hepner in 2012 at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, was at Brooks Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, as the keynote speaker marking Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month when she received word on Friday that the high court made same-sex marriage the law of the land.

Smith paused long enough to ask her wife -- a woman who had to remain invisible before the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- up to the podium while she announced the high court's ruling and read a portion of it.
read more here

Battle of Tarawa Medal of Honor and Other Marines Remains Found

Discovery of WWII remains brings long-sought peace to Boulder County family
Lost since 1943, remains of Alexander 'Sandy' Bonnyman unearthed on Pacific isle
Daily Camera
By Shay Castle
Staff Writer
POSTED: 06/29/2015

In Highland Memorial Park in Knoxville, Tenn., a large marble headstone stands in honor of 1st Lt. Alexander "Sandy" Bonnyman Jr., a Marine killed in action Nov. 22, 1943, during World War II's Battle of Tarawa.

Etched upon its surface, the only reference to the empty earth beneath it, are the words "buried at sea."

For nearly 70 years, Bonnyman's family — members of which now live in Boulder County — remembered the handsome, adventurous man they had lost with what few artifacts they had left: his Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously for his efforts to hold back a Japanese counterattack; a large portrait, commissioned from an Italian oil painter; and a few black-and-white photographs taken during the assault on Betio.

After his death, the military issued a letter stating that most of the Tarawa war dead were presumed lost at sea near the island.
read more here

Clay Evans Talks About His Grandfather, MOH Recipient Alexander Bonnyman Jr.

First Lieutenant Alexander Bonnyman, Jr., of Knoxville, Tennessee, who gallantly gave his life in the battle for Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, on 22 November 1943, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, for heroism.

The Medal of Honor was presented to his teen-aged daughter by Secretary of the Navy James F. Forrestal during ceremonies at the Navy Department, Washington, D.C., 22 January 1947.

Alexander "Sandy" Bonnyman, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on 2 May 1910, but when he was two years old, his family moved to Knoxville. His father was president of the Blue Diamond Coal Company of Knoxville.

As a youth, he attended Mrs. J.A. Thackston's School in Knoxville and graduated from Newman School in Lakewood, New Jersey, before entering Princeton University. He was a "first-stringer" on Princeton's football team until he left school in 1930.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a Flying Cadet on 28 June 1932 and was sent to the Preflight School at Randolph Field, Texas. He was honorably discharged 19 September 1932.

Following his discharge he went to work with his father, whose firm was one of the largest coal mining companies in the United States. In 1938, he acquired his own copper mine in the mountains about 60 miles from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

When he decided to join the Marines in July 1942, he enlisted as a private in Phoenix, Arizona. Subsequently he received his recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, and in October of that year, Pvt Bonnyman sailed for the South Pacific aboard the USS Matsonia with the 6th Marines, 2d Marine Division.

Combat in the final stages of the Guadalcanal campaign followed for the 6th Marines and he had his first encounter with the Japanese. In February 1943 Cpl Bonnyman received a field promotion to the rank of second lieutenant. He was promoted to first lieutenant on 1 September 1943.
read more here

UPDATE Newly identified remains of World War II Marine killed at Tarawa heading home Associated Press Published September 25, 2015
Sept. 24, 2015: United States Marines salute during a ceremony in Honolulu for the departure of 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman's remains. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

"Serious Disconnect Between Average American and Military" Gary Sinise

Sinise: ‘Serious Disconnect’ Between the Average American and Military
"This is a dangerous 21st century...and the military is going to be called many, many times in the coming decades."
PJ Media
Nicholas Ballasy
June 29, 2015

Actor Gary Sinise said there is a “serious disconnect” between the average American citizen and its military, emphasizing the need to educate the public about lasting effects of war.

“Education, as I was saying, is such a critically important part of letting our young people understand why it’s important to support this 0.1 percent of our population that serves in the military. It’s a very, very small percentage of over 300 million people serving in uniform, defending our country,” Sinise said at the National Press Club.

“A lot of young people, if they don’t have a personal connection to somebody who is serving in the military, there’s a disconnect, there’s a serious disconnect between the average American citizen and its military so keeping awareness up, education, that’s why I’m supporting the Medal of Honor Foundation museum.”

Sinise, the national spokesperson for the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation, said the museum is going to serve as a “beacon of education for what service, selflessness and character is all about.”

“We want our young people to understand something greater than themselves of service,” he said.
read more here

Sinise: ‘Serious disconnect’ between the average American and its military

Sandford Veteran's Home Ransacked

Wounded vet's donated home ransacked, burglarized in Sanford, police say No arrests made 
Wesh 2 News
By Adrian Whitsett
Published 10:29 PM EDT Jun 29, 2015
SANFORD, Fla. —A wounded combat veteran’s home was burglarized Sunday, according to the Sanford Police Department.

Jackie Irving said he went to church with his wife and kids and when they returned they found the home ransacked. The house was donated to the Irving family three months ago.

Police said the intruders were able to enter the home through an unlocked door and stole $6,000 worth of electronics and four guns, including an antique pistol.

“My Purple Heart was stepped on. It’s bad when a soldier thinks he’s over there defending his country and his country don’t give a God darn about him,” Irving said.

He said he is working with neighbors to provide the police with new leads.
read more here

Monday, June 29, 2015

Vietnam Veteran Dies Days After VA Sent HIm Home

Veteran dies two days after VA hospital visit, widow blames poor treatment as cause
Times Leader
By Jerry Lynott
Last updated: June 29. 2015

Something told Olga Pryjmak to be with her husband on his final doctor’s visit, and it wasn’t him.

Stephen Pryjmak was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, and a Newark, New Jersey police officer who retired after 25 years on the force.

He had been diagnosed with a blood clot in his heart. His wife was at his side during a visit with a cardiologist at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 27, 2013.

“Normally my husband didn’t want me to go in with him to see the doctor, but this time I insisted,” she said of accompanying him that day.

He had been complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain, signs of a serious problem to his wife, who started her nursing career in the U.S. Army and continued it for nearly 40 years in intensive care units in New Jersey hospitals.

The doctor prescribed medication to strengthen his heart and scheduled a follow-up visit for a month later instead of sending him immediately to a hospital for the cardiac catheterization his wife said he needed.

Two days later, her 65-year-old husband suffered a massive heart attack at home and died in a Hazleton hospital.
read more here

Missing Fort Carson Soldier Found Safe

OHS Grad Missing from Army Found Safe 
Only Oswego
Steven Jack
Jun 29, 2015
SPC Danny Domres, the Oswego High School graduate, who was reported AWOL in May from Fort Carson, Colorado, has been found.

According to the Missing Warrior Alert Facebook page, Domres turned himself into Fort Carson officials late Sunday evening.

"We have worked hard to find him: the volunteers, the private Investigators, our family. We will NEVER give up on him," Danny's father Tom Domres said in a Facebook post from early Monday morning.
Danny, a 2012 graduate of Oswego High School, had been considered AWOL from Fort Carson, since Monday, May 11, when he apparently walked off the base after an alcohol test. Danny may be suffering from post traumatic stress disordered after serving for nine months in Afghanistan in late 2012 and early 2013. read more here

Veterans of Last Battle of Vietnam Remember Koh Tang

Koh Tang: Survivors of last Vietnam battle go back to honor missing comrades
Stars and Stripes
Matthew M Burke
June 28, 2015

KOH TANG, Cambodia — Forty years ago, scores of inexperienced U.S. servicemembers waged a largely forgotten battle in a largely unknown place to rescue a mysterious ship from an unfamiliar enemy.

Forty-one American servicemembers were killed in the operation, including three Marines who were left behind, ending the dark chapter of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia — one that many seemed more than willing to forget.

In May, veterans of the battle of Koh Tang, also known as the “Mayaguez Incident” or the last battle of the Vietnam War, returned to the small, jungle-blanketed Cambodian island in the Gulf of Thailand for the anniversary of the ill-fated mission.

They disregarded persistent health problems, braved the unrelenting demons that have plagued their thoughts since 1975, and carried a message to the U.S. government and the American public at large: We will never forget.
read more here

Return to Koh Tang: Veterans of Mayaguez Operation Return for the 40th Anniversary
Jun 24, 2015

On May 12, 2015 veterans and members of their families returned to Koh Tang, a small island off the Cambodian coast to commemorate what is considered by many to be the last battle of the Vietnam War.

Produced by Matthew M. Burke/Stars and Stripes

Sgt. Maj. Michael Jarnevic Still On Duty Since Vietnam

Is this Green Beret the last Vietnam vet on active duty? 
Marine Corps Times
By James K. Sanborn, Staff writer
June 28, 2015
Sgt. Maj. Michael Jarnevic, seen here in 1995, will retire from the Army on July 8. He is believed to be the last Vietnam War veteran serving on active duty.
(Photo: Courtesy Michael Jarnevic)

In the 1970s, he was among the last Marines sent to Vietnam.

In the '80s, as an Army Green Beret, he deployed into Honduras during the Contra Wars.

In 1991, he was gassed in Iraq.

And after 9/11, he fought terrorists in Afghanistan.

He's an environmental conservationist and holds a master's degree in creative writing.

He is not the Most Interesting Man in the World.

But with 42 years in uniform, 59-year-old Michael Jarnevic is likely the saltiest sergeant major serving in the U.S. military. And when he retires July 8, he'll likely be the last person in uniform whose service record includes a tour during the Vietnam War.

"I don't know how you could actually prove it," Jarnevic told Marine Corps Times, "but the onus would be to disprove it."

He knows of a few warrant officers serving until recently who also had Vietnam deployments. And the last Vietnam War draftee, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Ralph E. Rigby, retired in November.

Jarnevic is now on terminal leave, having fulfilled a 16-month assignment as the senior enlisted adviser for the U.S. Joint Reserve Intelligence Support Element, part of U.S. Special Operations Command, at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. There, he was involved in one last war effort — coordinating analyst work against the Islamic State group.
read more here

Veterans Angry After Contractor Claimed To Be One Of Them

Veterans want apology from Sheriff's candidate 
The Advertiser
Claire Taylor
June 28, 2015
Mark Garber appears in military garb on campaign material used in his race for Lafayette Parish Sheriff.
(Photo: Claire Taylor, Daily Advertiser)

Mark Garber, a candidate for Lafayette Parish Sheriff who was awarded the Bronze Star for his work as a civilian interrogator with the Air Force in Iraq, has angered a couple of local military veterans who say he is pretending to be one of them.

The Southwest Louisiana Veterans Coalition board wants an apology, while one Lafayette veteran said Garber should withdraw from the Sheriff's race.

Garber is pictured in campaign material dressed in military gear with a gun; his Bronze Star medal also is shown. To make it worse, local veterans said, Garber stood up at a banquet recently when military veterans were recognized.

"He slapped the face of every veteran in Lafayette by portraying himself as a veteran," said Daniel J. Bentley, commander of American Legion Post 69 of Lafayette. "He is not a veteran."

Garber told The Daily Advertiser , "I have never, ever claimed to be a military veteran."

But the website for his private legal practice with attorney C. Ray Murry recently stated: "Mr. Garber and Mr. Murry are military veterans."

The statement was changed Thursday after The Daily Advertiser brought it to Garber's attention. He said the statement was written long ago and was worded improperly because his law partner is a veteran of the military.

While in Iraq, Garber wore a uniform and carried weapons like military personnel, and was deployed on missions with soldiers. He considers himself a veteran of Iraq, but not a military veteran, he said.
read more here

Life Changed For Alabama Doctor After Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon bombing survivor, Alabama physician shares how invisible scars still impact his life
By John Talty
June 27, 2015
Dr. Scott Weisberg is a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing. He suffers from significant hearing loss, and deals with both post-traumatic stress disorder and memory problems. Weisberg, a family physician in Birmingham has become an advocate for those survivors with invisible injuries. (Joe Songer AL.com)

When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two Boston Marathon bombers, broke his silence this week for the first time since the 2013 bombing, it didn't provide much relief for Birmingham physician Scott Weisberg.

Dr. Weisberg, who had just crossed the finish line when the first bomb went off, didn't believe Tsarnaev was sincere in his apology in court on Wednesday. Tsarnaev, who has been sentenced to death, killed three and injured 264 others when he and his brother Tamerlan planted pressure-cooker bombs near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. He said he was sorry for the "irreparable damage" he had caused, but refused to face his victims in attendance.

Even if Tsarnaev were sincere, it wouldn't ameliorate all the suffering Weisberg has endured the last two years.

"The overall sentence is irrelevant because what he took away from me I'm never getting back, nor is any other survivor," Weisberg said. "This is the closing of this initial chapter in the recovery."

Weisberg looks like your average family physician. He's smart, sincere and his patients at Homewood Family Medicine like him. But beneath the surface Weisberg is suffering.

Every day he must grapple with that fateful April day.

He now wears hearing aids because of significant hearing loss from the blast.

He has to deal with both post-traumatic stress disorder and memory problems.

His marriage crumbled and is currently in the process of a divorce.

He's had to fight to keep his business afloat and adjust as a physician who can no longer use a stethoscope.
read more here

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Army Veteran Runs 100 Meters as Double Amputee

Wounded but still fighting, only this time on a different field of battle 
Cronkite News Arizona
PBS By Nick Wicksman
POSTED: Jun 26, 2015
WASHINGTON – Less than two years after doctors said he might never run again, Safford native Terry Cartwright is proving them wrong.

The Army specialist is competing in multiple events this week in the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games, weeklong games that pit 250 athletes representing all branches of the military against one another.

Cartwright is one of 11 athletes in the games that are being held at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, who listed an Arizona hometown, said Victoria Long, a Marine Corps spokeswoman who is dealing with the games.

Athletes from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command, as well as the British armed forces, compete for medals in everything from track events to wheelchair basketball, archery to rugby.

As of Friday afternoon, Army had the overall medals lead, 41 to 33 over the second-place Marine Corps, in the games that run through Sunday.

The Warrior Games started in 2010 as “a competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans held annually,” according to the U.S. Paralympics website. The games had been hosted at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, until moving to Quantico this year. read more here

Homeless Veteran Found Shelter at Lake Nona VA, Shocker to VA

Homeless veteran found living in VA Medical Center in Lake Nona
Vet was living in unoccupied part of center
Click Orlando
Author: Amaka Ubaka, Reporter
Published On: Jun 26 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. - Veteran Affairs officials found an apparently unexpected guest at the new VA Medical Center in Lake Nona -- a homeless veteran staying in an unoccupied part of the center. A VA spokesperson said they are now investigating.

The multimillion-dollar facility is opening in phases, with most inpatient services not opening until October. But Local 6 has learned a homeless veteran was found Thursday living in an unoccupied inpatient room.

VA spokesperson Heather Frebe isn't saying how long the homeless veteran had been living there, but a source told Local 6 it may have been up to two weeks. read more here

There is a homeless veterans center at Lake Nona that is supposed to be really great. Hope he got to stay there.
Veteran-inspired Domiciliary opens at Lake Nona
Department Veterans Affairs
By Mike Strickler
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

From the outside the multi-angular building stands resplendent with its oversize windows reflecting blue skies back upon a warm Florida morning. The carefully landscaped facility is tranquil and inviting, and seems apportioned to serve the most distinguished of clientele.

Inside Daniel Cool is hard at work on his resume, typing among a series of computer terminals set within a nouveau coffee shop atmosphere. As he sips and thinks the picture windows behind him open on a sparkling Floridian lake that stretches its wet fingers into wooded thickets beyond. Black bass feed on top water offerings as Cool’s resume takes form, all among a scene best described in James Michener novels.

Yet this place is neither a country club nor beach resort. The new domiciliary, located on the grounds of the Lake Nona-based VA Medical Center, houses Cool and nearly 60 other men and women just like him. They are homeless Veterans who suffer from the effects of their military service, and thanks to the new facility and its dedicated staff, all of that is changing for the better.

“Everything is state of the art here, very modern with great rooms and classrooms,” Cool said, gesturing about the newly built first floor atrium. “It is much more secluded than the Lake Baldwin facility, and has great lakes and wildlife that provide a much more therapeutic environment.”
read more here

Camp Lejeune Marine Killed In North Carolina Accident

Police: Camp Lejeune Marine killed in wreck, two charged
Jun 27 2015

RALEIGH, Wake County - A US Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune was killed Friday night in a car accident according to Raleigh Police.

Police said 20-year-old Nathan Scott Bizzell of Camp Lejeune was driving on Glenwood Avenue Friday around 10 p.m. when he rear ended another car. 

Investigators say Bizzell got out of his car to check on the damage and the other driver.

He was then hit by another car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
read more here

Fort Hood Soldier Killed In Killeen Accident

Man Struck, Killed After Running Light On Bike At Local Intersection
By: Brandon Marshall

KILLEEN (June 27, 2015)

Michael David Carrasco, 26, who was identified as a Fort Hood soldier, died at a local hospital Saturday after a car struck him as he rode his bicycle through a red light at a Killeen intersection.

The accident happened at around 12:50 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard and W.S. Young Drive.
read more here

Veterans Fueling Bernie Sanders Surge

Bernie Sanders’ surge is partly fueled by veterans
By Annie Linskey
JUNE 28, 2015
Veterans are a group long courted by politicians. In the early primary states, New Hampshire is home to 113,000 veterans, Iowa has 226,000, Nevada has 227,000 and South Carolina has 392,000 — according to US Census figures.
DES MOINES — Vermont’s Bernie Sanders railed against the Vietnam War. He voted against invading Iraq — both times. He wants to cut the defense budget.

He might not be a friend to the military, but many veterans believe he’s gone to war for them. And that’s why they’re out there cheering for a socialist as he launches a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

There’s the former Marine who drove about six hours to hear Sanders speak in Des Moines. There’s another former Marine, this one a registered Republican, going door-to-door to collect signatures so Sanders’ name will appear on the ballot in Indiana. Entire Reddit threads are dedicated to how veterans can best pitch Sanders to other veterans.

“He is revered,” said Paul Loebe, a 31-year-old who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan during eight years of active duty and spends three hours a day updating a Facebook page promoting Sanders to veterans. “He’s very consistent with where he stands. He’s the first politician that I’ve believed in my life.”

Sanders battled over veterans issues as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee from 2013 until early this year, giving him an easy pitch to a crucial voting bloc of veterans, particularly in South Carolina where veterans make up more than 11 percent of the voting-aged population. There’s stiff competition for these voters, with front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton wooing them this month during a round table in Nevada.
read more here

Scallywag PTSD Awareness Day

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 28, 2015

Yesterday was PTSD Awareness Day. I didn't post on it simply because there was nothing new learned about PTSD from last year of the year before or even back to the generations coming before this one.

The only thing we learned is there are a bunch of scallywags popping up all over the country raising funds to raise awareness about something they don't even understand.
scallywag - a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel

Some of them are actually doing more harm than good. Some of them have huge social media followings because they spend most of their days gaining an audience instead of gaining real knowledge of what they are supposed to be an expert on.

Others repeat what they read online as fact because they don't bother to actually learn the history of this scourge plaguing humanity.
scourge- a cause of affliction or calamity:

The "22 a day" claim is false but has been repeated over and over again. A Google search for that topic yields "About 6,440,000 results" but when you Google search the truth of veteran suicides double civilian population you get only "About 372,000 results."
Veteran Suicides Twice as High as Civilian Rates - News21 backhome.news21.com/article/suicide/ Aug 24, 2013 - Veterans are killing themselves at more than double the rate of the civilian population with about 49,000 taking their own lives between 2005 ...
Suicide rate for veterans far exceeds that of civilian population www.publicintegrity.org/.../suicide-rate-vetera... Center for Public Integrity Aug 30, 2013 - Veterans are killing themselves at more than double the rate of the civilian population with about 49,000 taking their own lives between 2005 ... You've visited this page many times. Last visit: 3/9/15
Male Veterans Have Double the Suicide Rate of Civilians www.nimh.nih.gov/.../male-veterans-h... National Institute of Mental Health Jun 12, 2007 - Male veterans in the general U.S. population are twice as likely as their civilian peers to die by suicide, a large study shows. Results of the ...
Veteran Suicides Apocalypse Now - Wounded Times woundedtimes.blogspot.com/2015/.../veteran-suicides-apocalypse-now.h... Jan 14, 2015 - The rate of veterans committing suicide is double the civilian population with the majority of them being over 50. Then there is the other figure of ... You've visited this page many times. Last visit: 6/13/15
Detailed study confirms high suicide rate among recent ... www.latimes.com/.../la-na-veteran-suicide-20150115-... Los Angeles Times Jan 18, 2015 - Recent veterans have committed suicide at a much higher rate than ... the rate among other civilians with similar demographic characteristics. You visited this page on 6/13/15.
News21: Veteran suicides twice as high as civilian rates ... cronkitenewsonline.com/.../news21-veteran-suicides-twice-as-high-as-civ... Sep 20, 2013 - Veterans are killing themselves at more than double the rate of the civilian population with about 49,000 taking their own lives between 2005 ...

Is the 22-Veterans-Per-Day Suicide Rate Reliable? | Dustin ... www.huffingtonpost.com/.../veteran-suicide-rate_b_... The Huffington Post Jan 5, 2015 - There's no doubt that the rising veteran suicide rate is one of the most serious ... status as a veteran, it is likely their death will be reported as a civilian one. ... "Suicide rates within the veteran population often were double and ...
Did you see how far back that result went? It was 2007 long before the VA report showed limited data from 21 states and offered a disclaimer about the data they collected. Reporters jumped on that number. They failed to provide the truth about how many veterans they were talking about as well as failure to mention the fact even if they discovered all the death certificates tied to military service and suicide, they would still not know all of them.

There are too many variables. Drug overdoses-accident or on purpose? Car accidents-accident, or on purpose or driven by a flashback? Veterans facing off with police and SWAT teams-tragic outcome to a veteran in crisis or planned suicide by cop?

With all the nonsense flooding the internet and social media sites, there is also great work being done. Folks telling the truth about realities of PTSD as well as the facts needing the most attention.

PTSD is not a mental illness. You were not born with it even though the moment of your birth was traumatic. The only way you ended up with PTSD was by surviving traumatic events. In other words, the trauma did it to you.

PTSD is not even an anxiety disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder -- or PTSD -- was considered to be a type of anxiety disorder in earlier versions of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
But in 2013, PTSD was reclassified as its own condition.
It describes a range of emotional reactions caused by exposure to either death or near-death circumstances (such as fires, floods, earthquakes, shootings, assault, automobile accidents, or wars) or to events that threaten one's own or another person's physical well-being. The traumatic event is re-experienced with fear of feelings of helplessness or horror and may appear in thoughts and dreams. Common behaviors include the following:
Avoiding activities, places, or people associated with the triggering event
Difficulty concentrating
Difficulty sleeping
Being hypervigilant (you closely watch your surroundings)
Feeling a general sense of doom and gloom with diminished emotions (such as loving feelings or aspirations for the future)

Symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness, fainting, and weakness should not be automatically attributed to anxiety and require evaluation by a doctor.

Aside from the event itself, too many researchers waste valuable time and funds studying stupidity.

They research animals and rodents by causing trauma and then see what works. What they never seem to factor in is what makes humans different. They forget about survivor's guilt and the process we go through between rational and emotional thought.

The DOD and VA instest billions on PTSD "prevention" but have failed to use the most common practice of Crisis Intervention right after the event.
practical-mindful of the results, usefulness, advantages or disadvantages, etc., of action or procedure.

It is not practical to send in crisis teams right after an IED explodes. Yet during the Korean War, that is exactly what happened, or damn near close to it. The problem is, what they were doing did not prevent PTSD but just got them to stuff it instead of treat it.

Treatment After the Vietnam War
Before the Vietnam War, psychiatric consensus held that soldiers who recovered from an episode of mental breakdown during combat would suffer no adverse long-term consequences. Psychiatric disability commencing after the war was believed to be related to preexisting conditions. As a consequence, military psychiatrists devoted relatively little attention to postwar psychiatric syndromes. A major shift in psychiatric interest in war-related psychiatric disability took place after the Vietnam War. Fifteen years after the United States withdrew from Vietnam, an epidemiological survey concluded that 480 000 (15%) of the 3.15 million Americans who had served in Vietnam were suffering from service-related PTSD. In addition, between one quarter and one third (nearly 1 million ex-service personnel) displayed symptoms of PTSD at one time or another.

As we've read over the last few years some have reverted back to blaming the veteran instead of the combat. After all it has to be them since the DOD had done everything they could for them,,,at least that was their excuse. They seem oblivious to the fact each recruit goes through physical and mental health evaluations right from the start. Either their testing is flawed or their prevention programs are. All 900 of them!

There are over 16 million combat veterans in this country. We don't talk about the others because social media is dominated by the OEF and OIF generation. What was learned over decades of research has been buried and what failed has been repeated. We've seen the deadly outcome as more and more is being done but less and less of what works has been provided.

Medications used were designed to level the chemicals of brains but they have been used as the answer-all take a pill and call it a day treatment. Too many professionals taking care of troops and veterans did not take specialized training on trauma, so they don't have a clue what to do. Far too many mistreat it as if it was some type of defect instead of looking at the survivors changed by traumatic events.

PTSD treatment has to be provided by trauma experts.  It has to include mind-body and spirit or they will continue to mistreat veterans like animals.

The other thing is that there has been fabulous work done on brain scans showing what trauma does and how far it spreads.
Following a trauma, we see the world through different eyes.

While many people intuitively agree with this statement, a new MRI study offers some hard evidence in support of this belief.

Remembering a near-plane crash they had experienced, a group of participants showed greater responses in brain regions involved in emotional memory — the amygdala, hippocampus, and midline frontal and posterior regions.
Trauma Changes Your Brain’s Response To New Events, Increasing Activity In Emotional Memory Regions, Medical Daily Jun 23, 2015

We need to question who is doing what and if what they are doing is working or not. How many bills do members of congress need with their names on it before they take a look back at what has already failed? How many times do they get to repeat mistakes of the past before they are held accountable for the rise in tragedies families are left with? How many more graves have to have a name carved in stone before someone says "enough" of doing something and it is time to get that something right?

We've been flooded with far too many gaining awareness for themselves after looking up terms on the internet and too many politicians getting more terms in office for achieving notoriety then avoiding accountability.

It is time to give our veterans the ammunition they need to fight this battle after war and that has to start with facts, not popular headlines.

WWII and Korea Kept Veteran From Prom, He Finally Got One 66 Year Late

Riverview couple goes to prom for first time at age 89 
ABC Action News
Christie Post
Jun 24, 2015
Now 66 years later, the couple finally got their chance at the Hillsborough County Aging Services Senior Prom.
A lot of us probably remember going to our high school prom, finding the perfect dress or corsage and maybe renting a limo to impress classmates.

If you never got a chance to go, you’re not alone.

For a Riverview couple it ended up on their bucket list.

At age 89, Ralph Wozniak still asks his wife, LaVerne, to go on romantic walks at their favorite park.

“Married to the same girl, and I'm happy for it,” Ralph said.

But he never got to ask her to the prom.

“We didn't have a prom because it was war time,” LaVerne said.

In 1944 Ralph enlisted in the Marine Corps then was deployed overseas during World War II.

“I couldn't make the prom, and I couldn't finish high school,” Ralph said.

When he got back he missed it again after getting a call this time to fight the Korean War.
read more here

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Vietnam Veteran Searching For Nurse From Casper Wyoming

Vietnam Veteran Searching for Nurse Who Helped Save His Life 50 Years Ago 
KULR 8 News
Penny Preston
Posted: Jun 26, 2015
A Vietnam Veteran is trying to find and thank the woman who helped save his life almost fifty years ago
A Vietnam veteran is trying to find and thank the woman who helped save his life almost fifty years ago. The problem is, he can't remember her face, or her name. He's hoping to get help from someone who may know her.

As he walks in front of the Vietnam Memorial in Cody, Wyoming, Larry Baker is looking for names of people he knew when he served in Vietnam in 1968. He recognizes a couple of names of Wyomingite's who died there, but he's also looking for someone else from the Cowboy State who survived the war – someone who helped save his life after he was injured by a bomb blast. He suffered numerous injuries, including a broken back and burned eyes. He was not expected to live.

"And they didn't know if I would be able to see or not and they wanted to prepare me for that." And so a nurse started taking the bandages off of my eyes, and she asked me where I was from and she said, 'Where are you from soldier?', and I said, 'Cody, Wyoming.' She said, 'Oh really. I'm from Casper, Wyoming.'"

Baker said he saw the nurse, but can't remember what she looked like. He can't remember anything about his service in Vietnam, because the blast also injured his brain.
read more here

War Veteran Inspires Fellow Marines As Triple Amputee Athlete

Triple Amputee Afghanistan War Veteran Inspires Fellow Marines 
Stars and Stripes
by Carlos Bongioanni
Jun 27, 2015
A good dose of humility also seemed to reside inside the triple-amputee athlete who was a bit evasive, giving a generic reply when asked how he typically performs at the Games. "I do pretty well. I just go out there and try to give it my all."

Anthony McDaniel congratulates his former wheelchair basketball teammates Tuesday
June 23, 2015 after the Warrior Games championship matchup at Quantico Marine Base
Virginia. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia -- Anthony McDaniel had just been lowered into his wheelchair from a platform where he had been seated for throwing the discus at the Warrior Games.

Nearby, a folded tripod leaning against a chair fell to the ground. In gentlemanly fashion, McDaniel instantly maneuvered his wheelchair into position to retrieve the tripod for the reporter who dropped it.

McDaniel, 26, may have lost two legs and part of his left arm from war injuries, but he hasn't lost a strong conviction about being polite.

"Regardless if you've got all your limbs or you have none at all, politeness comes from within," said the medically-retired Marine with southern roots who names Pascagoula and Gautier, Mississippi, as his home towns.
read more here

NPR Located More Veterans Exposed To Mustard Gas

Senators Call For VA To Explain Why It Couldn't Find Mustard-Gassed Veterans
How NPR Located More Veterans Exposed To Mustard Gas Than The VA
Caitlin Dickerson
JUNE 26, 2015

Working through the alphabetical list, Van Woerkom discovered that about 95 percent of the test subjects had died.

This week, NPR reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to live up to a promise to contact 4,000 veterans who were exposed to mustard gas in secret military experiments. In 1993, the VA promised it would reach out to each of those veterans to let them know that they were eligible for disability benefits. Instead, over the past 20 years, the VA reached out to only 610.

Brad Flohr, a VA senior adviser for benefits, told NPR the agency couldn't find the rest of the test subjects, because military records of the experiments were incomplete. "There was no identifying information," Flohr said. "No Social Security numbers, no addresses, no ... any way of identifying them. Although we tried."

That response from the VA surprised NPR Investigations Research Librarian Barbara Van Woerkom, who spends a lot of time tracking down sources for NPR stories.

"It just struck me as such a low number, knowing all the ways that I look for information to try and locate an individual," she says.
Family members of veterans are sometimes eligible for benefits as well. In February 1993, VA Secretary Jesse Brown told the Richmond Times-Dispatch his agency would reach out to living veterans and their surviving spouses.
read more here

VA Budget Shortfall Again No Big Shocker To Us

VA: Two agency officials retired ahead of in-house reprimand
VA also embarrassed by $2.5 billion cq budget shortfall as it tries to deliver healthcare to veterans
The Denver Post
By Mark K. Matthews
POSTED: 06/25/2015

WASHINGTON — Two top Veterans Affairs officials retired from the department this spring just as an investigative board was preparing to lambaste them for their role in the disastrous effort to build a VA hospital in Aurora, Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said Thursday at a U.S. House hearing.

But now that attorney Phillipa Anderson and construction chief Glenn Haggstrom have left the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is unlikely they will face any punishment for their part in developing the over-budget medical complex. It's now estimated to cost $1.73 billion.

Gibson said the wrongdoing was not criminal in nature and that it's impossible to take administrative action — such as demotion or suspension — against people who no longer work at the VA.

"Once a person is resigned or retired, they are no longer an employee and we have no basis for taking any disciplinary action," Gibson said in an interview.

The admission did not sit well with members of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, which organized the hearing to examine budget problems at the sprawling government agency.

"Years-late, bureaucratic knuckle-rapping will not suffice for accountability, especially when the two officials retired unscathed with their full pensions and bonuses," U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, said in a statement.
read more here

Sorry but I can't stop laughing at this part.
"Lawmakers were incredulous at both the size and the late notice of the shortfall — the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30 — and they took the VA to task for its budget management."

President Reagan's draft budget for the fiscal year 1987 would cut spending on veterans' health care benefits by reducing the number of people treated and, for the first time, by requiring insurance companies to help pay the costs.

Harry N. Walters, the Administrator of Veterans Affairs, warned that cutbacks in spending and staff could ''ultimately result in a reduced quality of medical care'' for veterans. He made the comment in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, which wrote the proposals.

The draft 1987 budget, to be submitted to Congress in early February, would require many veterans to show financial need to receive care. It would also provide no money for new nursing homes for veterans even as the number of older veterans is rising rapidly because of the large number of men who served in World War II.

Veterans. The panel included $38.1 billion in budget authority for the VA, including $19.5 billion in mandatory spending, mainly for VA compensation and pension programs.

The biggest boost in the agency's discretionary spending was in the VA medical care account, which was to get $17 billion, an increase of $747 million. Veterans groups lobbied hard for the additional medical care appropriation, as did Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Stump, R-Ariz., and Gerald B. H. Solomon, R-N.Y., chairman of the Rules Committee and a former Marine.

But the subcommittee proposed deep cuts in funding for VA construction projects, recommending $183.5 million — about one-half the existing appropriation and slightly more than one-third of what the Clinton administration sought. It eliminated funding for planned hospitals in Travis, Calif., and Brevard County, Fla., and recommended building no new VA hospitals, preferring that the VA focus on outpatient clinics.

Funding Cuts Prompt Veto of Bill for Veterans Affairs (VA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Library of Congress
With the Veterans Affairs Department getting no budget increase this year, Gutierrez said that in effect amounts to a $1.4 billion cutback because the agency's costs continue to rise. The savings, he said, would come from "unspecified management efficiency and savings" and a reduction of 6,900 employees. Chicago Tribune
The restriction, which would have kept 320,000 veterans out of the health care system, was scheduled to take effect Saturday.

Principi had proposed the limitation to close part of a $400 million budget shortfall in the VA's health care system. Card told Principi the administration would find the money to cover the shortfall.

Principi then walked into the meeting with leaders of veterans organizations and delivered the good, rather than the bad, news. Those in the room, he recalled later, burst into applause. "It made my day," Principi said.
Veterans Get Reprieve on Health Care, Washington Post
Just last week, the VA revealed that the rise in demand for VA health facilities had caused a $1 billion shortfall in operating funds for the current year. That would more than double in the coming year without congressional intervention.

Senate Republicans, embarrassed and angered over the revelations, yesterday announced plans to pass emergency legislation this morning to add $1.5 billion to the fiscal 2005 appropriation. The move is designed to appease angry veterans groups and preempt a Democratic proposal calling for $1.42 billion in increased VA spending.
VA Faces $2.6 Billion Shortfall in Medical Care, Washington Post
2007 Nicholson resigned
The agency has faced considerable criticism for its treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as they move from the military health-care system to VA's, and for its chronically slow processing of disability claims by injured or sick veterans from all eras. Critics complain about lost paperwork, a shortage of VA caseworkers, a caseload of 400,000 pending disability claims and long waits for initial appointments in the VA health-care system. VA Secretary Is Ending a Trying Tenure, Washington Post
Also in 2007
Veterans Affairs
By Joseph Shapiro
The president's budget requests nearly $87 billion in fiscal year 2008 for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Most of the money would go to health care and disability compensation. The White House said that represents an increase of 77 percent over the VA's budget when Bush took office.

But some veterans groups said the increase is not as big as it looks — and not enough to care for troops returning from Iraq. The president asked for almost $3 billion more than last year to fund medical care for veterans. The White House proposes increasing the co-payment for medications from $8 to $15 per monthly prescription.

And there would be a new enrollment fee: It would cost $250-$750 a year to get care in the VA system. That enrollment fee would apply only to those whose disability is not a result of military service.

It's not the first time the Bush administration has proposed such a fee, which is unpopular with veterans. Such fees have been rejected in the past by Republican-controlled Congresses, and the Democratic Congress is expected to do the same.

Veterans groups say that even with the fees, the VA would be about $2 billion short of what it needs to provide current levels of health care to veterans.
Bush Budget Calls for Big Boost in Defense Spending, NPR

Do politicians think we're dumb enough to forget how long all of this has been going on or are they too dumb to remember?

"No Longer Be a Doubt That All Men Are Created Free and Equal"

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 27, 2015

Believe it or not, there are still level headed folks in this country. So far it seems most of us agree that the Confederate Flag should not fly over any government building. Either we are the United States of America, under one flag, or we are the divided states.

We agree that as far as private citizens having or buying anything tied to the Confederate side of the Civil War should be their choice to have or not. As for the companies refusing to sell these items, they need to explain why they sell other things that are offensive to many.

When men and women step up to serve in the military, they come from all parts of this nation yet they come together willing to die for each other. If you read the newspapers lately, it seems too many Americans are not even interested in getting along with each other.

We keep hearing the slogan "Black lives matter" and they do however some folks behind that seem to think that they matter more than anyone else.
"I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal."

Consider the simple fact that we read about veterans being killed by police after calls for help to save them. We don't see any protests over any of these deaths.  Do we see #veteranslivesmatter being tweeted? Do we see any calls for accountability or do we see them being used by politicians trying to destroy the VA no matter how many generations of them have to suffer? We seem to agree that politicians desire to destroy that VA is why there has been so little done to get it right for their sake.

The groups tied to peaceful protests are being taken over by hotheads blaming all police officers for what a few do and never once acknowledging those few usually treat everyone badly. We seem to agree that bad cops need to go but most cops are good and willing to put their lives on the line for the rest of us.

We seem to agree that the war memorials all over the country being vandalized are criminal acts.

These memorials are part of our history, bought and paid for by other citizens and the lives sacrificed for a cause no matter if these criminals agree with the cause or not. The vandals can't understand they are not above the law so how can they understand the price these monuments were built on?

Memorial Day began because of the Civil War when Southern women decided to honor their own fallen as well as the graves of Union soldiers.

Memorial Day History
One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.
Official Birthplace Declared In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Some States Have Confederate Observances Many Southern states also have their own days for honoring the Confederate dead. Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, and Georgia on April 26. North and South Carolina observe it on May 10, Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day January 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day.

History of Memorial Day (4 min) TV-PG
Take a look at the holiday marking the official beginning of summer and America's most solemn occasion.

Text of Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
"Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure."

We saw two different examples from the same tragedy. The murderer stated he almost didn't do it because the members of the Bible Study were too nice to him.
Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten identified the nine shooting victims as follows: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59.

Eight of the victims died at the scene, and the ninth victim died at a hospital.

As we witnessed from the response from parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church love won and was not destroyed by hatred. They forgave the shooter.
Victims' Families Meet Dylann Roof: 'I Forgive You, And Have Mercy On Your Soul'

Others don't seem to be able to find their own power to overcome evil.

Monuments, remembrances of lives gone during worst times than these days are being defaced and destroyed. They are part of our history. A history that began before Twitter and Facebook. A history begun before the internet that attempts to share history at the same time others attempt to rewrite it.

We seem to agree that far too many folks in this country are historically illiterate because they are too busy watching reality TV shows instead of learning about the reality of how this nation was not only formed but how it has been defended for all these years. Too busy playing computer war games to pay attention to the men and women dying and being wounded fighting in real wars. Young men and women willing to die for those they are with no matter what the color of their skin is, no matter how they vote or if they vote at all, no matter where they come from when where they are going is all that matters.

Divisions among races are easy to acknowledge while hatred because of ethnicities seems too hard to pay attention to yet they are part of our history as well. There are many other issues that could have destroyed the fabric of this nation yet we managed to overcome them because good people were willing to say no and inspire others to do the same.

Contrary to what the media has been trying to use as news, the truth is not as simple as they wish it would be. After all the complexities of the experiences cannot be reduced to a headline.

There are more good people in this country than bad.

There are more acts of kindness and love than evil acts fueled by hate.

There are more people doing all they can to have a better life than those blaming others for what they fail to do for themselves.

Love won yesterday as the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act because far too many were suffering simply because they lacked the resources to seek medical care but others said it was wrong to see so many suffer for it. It won again when Gay people were given equal rights to marry those they loved legally while the rest of the protections for religious groups remain intact to acknowledge them or not based on what they believe.

Love won yesterday at the Memorial for those murdered during a Bible Study of love.
"The doors of the church are open," declared the Rev. Norvel Goff during prayers. "No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God's church," he proclaimed.

Army Nurse Went From Helping Patients To Being One

Army nurse goes from helping wounded warriors to racing them for gold 
United States Army
By Tim Hipps
June 25, 2015
Being an Army medic for 13 years and a medical provider for wounded warriors, she knew her road to recovery would be long and painful.
Army nurse goes from helping wounded warriors to racing them for gold Army Capt. Kelly Elmlinger, a surgical nurse with the Warrior Transition Unit on Fort Sam Houston, Texas, wins her division of the 100 meters in the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games track competition on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., June 23...

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (Army News Service, June 24, 2015) -- Two years ago, Army surgical nurse Capt. Kelly Elmlinger was helping wounded warriors recover from battle scars at the San Antonio Military Medical Center.

Now, she's competing alongside wounded warriors at the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Quantico this week.

Elmlinger, 35, planned to compete in all of the track events and three of the four swimming events.

She got off to a roaring start, June 23, by winning her divisions of the 100- and 800-meter wheelchair races before the remaining track events were postponed because of a severe thunderstorm.

In March 2013, Elmlinger was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare tumor in her lower leg, while she was taking care of wounded warriors in San Antonio.

"I ended up finding myself a patient on my own floor," she said. "In January and February of 2014, I was able to start doing rehab."

By June, she was competing again - this time in a wheelchair.

"I've always been involved in athletics," said Elmlinger, who competed in track and field, cross country and basketball in high school and college. "I stayed active through the military [before being diagnosed with cancer] in different events, so when I got to San Antonio to take care of the wounded warriors, I knew a little bit about the adaptive sports and some of the things they did.

"We very much enjoyed when our patients who left our inpatient services came back to show us they were on their prosthetics - they were walking, they were competing, they were going on trips - and the milestones they were able to achieve. It was absolutely wonderful to see them come back much healthier and in much better spirits, so that got me introduced to the adaptive community."
read more here

Friday, June 26, 2015

How Many Prevention Bills Does Donnelly Need That Don't Work?

Donnelly: ‘Combatting Stigma is Critical Step to Addressing Mental Health’
Supported resolution that passed Senate to designate June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly co-sponsored and the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution today to designate June 2015 as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. The designation would increase awareness among the Armed Forces, veterans, military families, and the public about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Donnelly joined U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp and 21 colleagues in introducing the resolution. This is the third consecutive year that the Senate has designated a full month for national PTSD awareness.

Donnelly, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee said, “Combatting stigma is a critical step to addressing mental health challenges among troops and veterans. By designating June as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, we continue to bring this and other mental health issues out of the shadows. Post-traumatic stress affects the best and bravest among us.

We need to let our Hoosier heroes know that they have our unwavering support and that seeking help is a sign of courage and strength.”

Donnelly has continuously worked to advance legislation to improve mental health care for servicemembers, veterans, and military families. In March, he introduced the “Servicemember and Veteran Mental Health Care Package” (“Care Package”), three bipartisan bills to help improve mental health services for troops and veterans. Military mental health provisions from the “Care Package” recently passed the Senate as part of the national defense bill.

The “Care Package” would help ensure there are a sufficient number of and the best trained mental health providers for servicemembers and veterans. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has committed to considering veterans-related provisions of Donnelly’s “Care Package” in the months ahead. This legislation would build on the progress made by Donnelly’s Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act, which was signed into law late last year and requires an annual mental health assessment for all servicemembers—Active, Guard, and Reserve.
from Joe Donnelly

Air Force Veteran Helped Fellow Vets Overcome Ended Own Fight

'I tried'… Final message of transgender Air Force veteran who helped fellow vets through suicidal struggles kills herself
PUBLISHED: 04:50 EST, 26 June 2015

Jess Shipps, of Hampton, Virginia, was found dead on Tuesday, friends say
Served in the military for 10 years before leaving to pursue life as a woman
Wrote 'I tried' on Facebook on the day she died, according to her friends
She saved 'countless' lives by helping LGBT veterans with their problems

A transgender Air Force veteran who helped fellow vets overcome their own suicidal struggles wrote 'I tried' on Facebook before killing herself, it has been revealed.

Jess Shipps, of Hampton, Virginia, was found dead on Tuesday, two years after leaving the military to pursue a life as a woman.

Her last note on Facebook - written the same day as her death - was revealed as friends remembered her work with other LGBT servicemen and women battling their own demons.
read more here

24 Years of Marriage on July 4, Couple No Longer Homeless

Vegas veteran, wife go from tent to home
June 25, 2015

Air Force veteran Mark McGrath was among the ranks of Southern Nevada’s 692 homeless veterans until he and his wife, Jennifer, made the move to permanent housing in April thanks to a HELP USA program.

“If it wasn’t for this program we would still be sleeping in the desert,” Jennifer, 45, said Thursday, sitting on a couch at the nonprofit’s Genesis Apartments on North Main Street.

“We were across the street from the Salvation Army in a tent. So we went from having two backpacks. Now we’ve got a bed, we’ve got a couch, a TV. We’ve got dishes, and I’ve still got him,” she said.

The couple will celebrate 24 years of marriage on July 4, a thought that brought tears of joy to Mark’s weathered face while she spoke about how they are trying to live independently again after a series of setbacks that included job losses and surgeries since the recession took hold six years ago.

A former F-4 fighter jet crew chief stationed at the now-closed George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif., he moved to Las Vegas 25 years ago to work in the plaster trade. His last union job ended when his workplace was shut down in 2009, about the time Jennifer was laid off from her job in an auto parts store.

A caseworker for the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System’s Community Resource and Referral Center placed them in HELP USA’s transitional housing program Dec. 1. They “graduated” April 21 under a program that allows them to pay 30 percent of his VA-supported income toward permanent housing while they build savings and seek employment.
read more here

Chief Master Sergeant Edwin E. Morgan Sr Escort Home

Vietnam veteran's remains return to NC
Dan Yesenosky
June 25, 2015
The Patriot Guard is escorting the remains to a funeral home in Rockwell.
(Photo: NBC Charlotte)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Vietnam War veteran missing in action for close to 50 years is back on U.S. soil. The remains of Chief Master Sergeant Edwin E. Morgan Sr. landed in Charlotte Thursday afternoon just after noon.

"This is a man who at 17 years old joined the service, actually he started in the Navy, then he went to the Army and then to the Air Force," said Patriot Guard C.W. Smith.

Edwin Morgan had been Missing In Action for 49 years.

"In 1966 his plane went down," Smith said.

Today he is home. The organization "Rolling Thunder Washington, D.C." says Morgan's remains had been identified through a match in dental records and landed at Charlotte Douglas Airport. The remains were carried from the plane and put into the hearse.

A massive procession of over 100 motorcycles escorted him 47 miles to Rockwell in Rowan County, where he'll be buried next to his wife.

"This is a man who wrote his name on a blank check," Smith said. "It was filled out to pay to the order of the United States of America. Unfortunately on the amount paid was the ultimate sacrifice of his life."

Morgan was 38 years old at the time in 1966, but through all these years he was never forgotten.
read more here

Fort Knox Soldier Killed Near Fort Campbell

Soldier struck, killed by car near Fort Campbell 
Army Times
By Kevin Lilley, Staff writer
June 26, 2015

A 25-year-old soldier stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, was struck and killed by a car in Clarksville, Tennessee, on Tuesday while undergoing training at nearby Fort Campbell.

Sgt. Kenneth Ronald Berry attempted to cross U.S. Route 79 on foot "for an unknown reason," according to a Clarksville Police Department news release, causing the driver of an oncoming SUV to swerve in an attempt to avoid him.
read more here

Tourist Learns To Not Challenge Queen's Guard

News UK News
Soldiers Dramatic moment Queen's Guard soldier draws gun at show-off tourist pestering him 
Mirror UK
26 JUNE 2015

The Ministry of Defence supported the soldier's judgement and said he was 'there to protect himself, the sentry position and the Queen'
Almost immediately, the guard stops his march, pulls his weapon on the tourist and shouts: "Step back from the Queen's Guard," causing the man to swiftly back away in terror. Keeping an air of professionalism, the guard then replaces his weapon on his shoulder before continuing with his march.
This show-off tourist found out exactly why you should never pester a Queen's Guard while he's on official duty - because you might get a gun pointed in your face. In the clip, a man marches alongside the soldier as he paces up and down outside the royal residence. As he turns, a tourist in the background is heard commenting: "His gun is jammed." Unbelievably, the tourist starts marching alongside the soldier, then puts his hand on his shoulder - the same shoulder he is carrying his bayonet tipped rifle. read more here