Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Humans of New York Reminder Troops Are Still Only Human

Humans of New York decided to profile veterans. The response has been overwhelming.
Washington Post
By Dan Lamothe
August 31, 2016 

At the outset of the project, Stanton said on Facebook he expected that the project would show conflicting feelings: “patriotism, disillusionment, pride, regret, gratitude, and grief.” 

Zachary Iscol appears in the picture in a light-blue shirt and tousled hair, a 5 o’clock shadow on his face. In accompanying text, he mourns the loss of his friend “Ronnie Winchester,” a first lieutenant with the Marine Corps who died in Iraq in 2004, just a few years after graduating from the Naval Academy.

“He was the nicest guy you can imagine,” Iscol said. “My 22nd birthday was during our officer training course. None of us had slept. We were all starving. We were only getting one ration per day. But Ronnie wanted to give me a memorable birthday. So he put a candle in his brownie and gave it to me. That’s how nice of a guy he was. Ronnie ended up getting killed in Iraq. And if a guy like Ronnie got killed, you can’t help but wonder why you deserve to be alive.”

It’s one of many sentiments that have been shared recently by veterans on Humans of New York, the popular social-media group that was created to document the lives of New Yorkers and now has nearly 18 million followers on Facebook and 5.8 million more on Instagram. The series has seen numerous veterans and military family members share their observations of the world with photographer Brandon Stanton.

At the outset of the project, Stanton said on Facebook he expected that the project would show conflicting feelings: “patriotism, disillusionment, pride, regret, gratitude, and grief.” Many of the veterans involved have post-traumatic stress, Stanton said, but the hardships they shared in interviews with Humans of New York are too nuanced for that diagnosis to capture everything involved.
read more here

Police Officer Gave Homeless Veteran Clothes, Food and Shelter

Franklin Sergeant helps homeless veteran who was exploited by thief
FOX 17 Nashville

Richards not only made these accommodations for the homeless veteran, he brought him to the motel, went to Walmart and bought t-shirts, underwear, socks, shorts and non-perishable food and water. Richards also bought the veteran a new bag to carry it all in.

Franklin Officer Of The Month.PNG Chief Deborah Faulkner
Kris Krabill (Toyota, Cool Springs), Sgt. Charlie Richards
Leo Linkov (Franklin Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram) 
Photo: Franklin Police
FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WZTV) — Franklin Police Sergeant Charlie Richards was named officer of the month for going above and beyond his duties to help a homeless veteran "who was exploited by a thief and left with nothing but the clothes on his back."
read more here

Marines Honor Fallen Hero Cpl. Michael Ouellette

Marines honor fallen corporal who kept fighting after IED blast
Marine Corps Times
By: Charlsy Panzino
August 30, 2016

A new headquarters building at the Marine Corps' Advanced Infantry Training Battalion will honor a fallen noncommissioned officer who earned the Navy Cross during the battle that took his life.

Marine officials will dedicate the new facility named for Cpl. Michael Ouellette at Camp Geiger, North Carolina, on Wednesday. The infantry squad leader was posthumously awarded the service's second-highest valor award for actions during a 2009 deployment to Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines.

read more here

LONDONBERRY, N.H. (Nov. 10, 2010) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus presents the Navy Cross to the family of Cpl. Michael Ouellette during a ceremony at the Marine Reserve Support Center in Londonderry, N.H. Ouellette, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, died March 22, 2009 during a firefight in the Now Zad district of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The Navy Cross is the highest medal for valor awarded by the Navy and is second only to the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien/Released)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Two Tours Of Duty, Veteran Faces Homicide Charges After Car Accident?

Reports Say Suspect in Fatal Shooting Was Veteran With PTSD
Aug 30, 2016

A man charged with murder for fatally shooting a woman after a traffic accident near Cleveland served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, records show.

Matthew Desha, 29, of North Ridgeville, is being held on a $1 million bond in Solon, where the slaying occurred. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Bedford Municipal Court.

Solon police said Desha ran a red light at an intersection on Saturday morning and struck a car driven by 53-year-old Deborah Pearl, of Twinsburg, who was headed to work. The impact caused Desha's sport utility vehicle to roll over several times. Police said Desha fired multiple rounds at Pearl with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

A witness who saw the crash said Pearl's arms were raised when she was shot. A Solon police lieutenant said there are no indications that Pearl and Desha knew each other.

Desha's court-appointed attorney didn't return telephone messages on Tuesday.

A minister from Pearl's church attended Desha's initial court appearance on Monday and spoke for her family.

"We're baffled that something as basic as a car crash could turn into a homicide," Pastor Mel Kendall McCray told after the hearing. "It's just beyond our comprehension."
read more here

Marine Corps Reserve turned 100 years old

Hundreds gather to celebrate Marine Corps Reserve’s centennial
Stars and Stripes
August 30, 2016

The Marine Corps Reserve turned 100 years old Monday, and hundreds of active-duty, former and future Marines celebrated with a mass gathering in New York City’s Times Square.

“This gathering is a reminder to all Marines who ever served that you are still a member of the Corps.” Lt. Gen. Rex McMillian
read more here
The Marine Corps Reserve turned 100 years old Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, and hundreds of active-duty, former and future Marines celebrated with a mass gathering in New York City’s Times Square.

OEF OIF 3 Tour Veteran Lost Leg Then Right to Ride At Amusement Park?

Why is this news? Read the headline, got upset, then I read the article.  Now I wonder why this turned into a news report......Never mind, just got my answer. It made me go to the link and watch the video.
3-time war Veteran says he was mistreated at Darien Lake Amusement Park
By News 4 Staff
Published: August 30, 2016

In the guidelines for “Shipwreck,” the park says guests wearing prosthetics may not ride and could be asked to remove their prosthesis if they want to get on.

DARIEN, N.Y. (WIVB) – A local Veteran says he is being discriminated against for having a prosthetic leg. David Cross from Amherst has served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He went to Darien Lake Amusement Park with his family Sunday, and says he wasn’t allowed on a water ride. He says injured vets need to know their rights at the park.

He was asked to remove his prosthetic leg if he wanted to go on “Shipwreck” a water ride at the park.

On his last tour serving in Iraq, Cross was hit by a large IED and got shrapnel in his leg. Since then it has been a struggle.

He said, “I went six years with chronic pain and I had heard about elective amputation.” He decided removing his leg electively was his best shot at a pain-free life.
read more here

Monday, August 29, 2016

Colin Kaepernick Can Sit On It!

Ok, so a guy gets millions to toss around a football but refused to stand up during the National Anthem.
Colin Kaepernick Sits During National Anthem Before Packers vs. 49ers
By Adam Wells
Featured Columnist
Aug 27, 2016

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

That must have made sense to him anyway.

Well if that is what he chooses to focus on, then ya the country, in his mind, would suck.  Bet it sucks that he's been so oppressed to have to be able to hire someone to go to the bank for him. But hey, he doesn't want to be selfish, so I bet he's donating all his millions to communities around the country. After all, he's got plenty of it.

Colin Kaepernick signed a 6 year, $114,000,000 contract with the San Francisco 49ers, including a $12,328,766 signing bonus, $61,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $19,000,000. In 2016, Kaepernick will earn a base salary of $11,900,000, a roster bonus of $2,000,000 and a workout bonus of $400,000. Kaepernick has a cap hit of $15,890,753 while his dead money value is $19,697,260.

So since those things mattered so much to him, he decided to make that much money? Did he join any community centers to make lives better or volunteer for any of the charities out there trying to make a difference everyday?

See that's the biggest problem. Some people would rather sit back, complain and then refuse to do anything to make anything better.

There are men and women risking their lives everyday while they are either hated or ignored until someone needs them to show up. They still do it for a lot less money. Here is just one of them.

Once an NFL running back, now he's on the Army Ranger School staff

Spec. Glen Coffee works in the boat house at Army Ranger School's installation at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. He joined the Amy after starring as a football running back at Alabama and playing for the San Francisco 49ers. DAN LAMOTHE/THE WASHINGTON POST

Vietnam: Medal of Honor quest for Maj. George Quamo

A breakthrough in Medal of Honor quest for Maj. George Quamo
Times Union, Albany, N.Y.
By Paul Nelson
Published: August 29, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) — Friends and family of George Quamo hope two more testimonials — one from a former military medic and another penned by one of his fellow special service members — will bolster the case that the Green Beret from Averill Park deserves a Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Vietnam War.

Two notarized letters — from William Harris of North Carolina and Richard Mullowney Jr. of Alaska — bring to three the supporting documents that supporters will be submitting to the Defense Department requesting that Quamo be posthumously awarded the nation's highest military honor.

The Army Major who graduated from Averill Park High School in 1958 was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for leading a dangerous helicopter mission in 1968 that rescued 14 Green Berets and dozens of others who were invaded by two North Vietnamese battalions and were pleading for help at the Lang Vei Special Forces Camp in central Vietnam.

Quamo (pronounced Cuomo) died in a plane crash on April 14, 1968.
read more here

VA Reports Attempted Suicides Went Up Too

Before more people decide to raise awareness without reading the report like they did the last time, here is the link to the VA Suicide Report.

Veteran Suicide Facts and Data

But while we're talking about it, notice a few facts. Notice the number of attempted suicides and then notice the numbers in the charts below along with seeing how not much has changed. How about you make folks aware of that fact?

A history of non-fatal suicide attempts is recognized to be among the most robust risk factors for suicide.

Among VHA patients, reports of suicide attempt can be identified through review of external injury codes associated with health services (i.e., obtained from medical records) or from the Suicide Prevention applications Network (SPAN), VHA’s internal suicide event case management and tracking system. As shown in Figure 5, monthly reports of non-fatal suicide attempts based on SPAN data increased between 2012 and 2014, ranging from just over 600 reported attempts in May 2012 to almost 900 in August 2014.

VHA’s health care system includes an increasing number of patients with factors, such as a history of suicide attempts, associated with risk for suicide

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Teenager's Life Cut Short By Accident, Soldier's Life Extended By Love

Teen who died following ladder fall donates kidney to veteran
by Suzanne Phan
August 26th 2016

SILVERDALE, Wash. (KOMO) - A Kitsap family is preparing to bury their beloved teenage daughter on Saturday, but they find hope and promise that a part of her lives on.

Sixteen-year-old Emily Ramm was a bold, daring, and outspoken teen with big dreams and a lot of ambition, according to her family. Her life was cut short after she fell from a ladder at a construction site at Silverdale Elementary School on Aug. 13.

Loved ones say she was climbing to find higher ground and a better place to watch the meteor shower that night with friends.

KOMO News has heard from a military veteran who received Emily's kidney right after she passed.

"There's no words to describe how grateful I am. For the family, the loss is huge. I can't say thank you enough,” said Daniel Mendoza from his home.
read more here

No Evidence Navy Veteran Entered VA Before Suicide?

No Evidence Help Denied to Vet before Suicide: VA Director
NBC 4 News New York
August 27, 2016

Surveillance video shows that the 76-year-old veteran never entered the medical center before committing suicide in the parking lot, the facility's director says

"While at this time, it appears that the individual did not seek any medical attention we will continue to review additional surveillance cameras near the entrance of our emergency room, and all of our telephone records to see if the individual contacted our facility within the last week," he wrote.
There is no evidence that a former Navy gunner who killed himself earlier this week outside a veterans medical center on Long Island was denied treatment that day, says the facility's director.

Philip Moschitta, director of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, states in an Aug. 26 letter to Congressman Lee Zeldin that the facility's preliminary review of the incident uncovered no indication that Peter Kaisen had entered the center before his body was found last Sunday in the parking lot.

"It appears the details of the tragic incident may have been misrepresented in the media coverage," he wrote.
read more here

Idle Gossip Is Not Helping Any Veteran

PTSD Suicide Awareness or Gossip?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 28, 2016

Last night I had the strangest dream, to borrow a line from Simon and Garfunkel. I was at an event for veterans when I came upon a table with a sign saying PTSD Awareness and a picture of a veteran with his head in his hands.

I stopped to talk to the man behind the table and asked him what his goal was. He looked at me and said "I'm raising awareness that veterans have PTSD."  I asked him if he was a veteran, he said we was not.  I asked him if he was the parent of a veteran but again, he said he was not. Then I asked if he was a mental health professional? Minister? Trained in any other way? He said he was not to all of them as well.

Puzzled and perturbed, I proceeded to try to get some type of clarification of whatever possessed him to think he would be making any kind of difference for our veteran. Turned out he didn't think much at all about any of it other than he wanted my money.

This is exactly what the problem continues to be.
Gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act of is also known as dishing or tattling. Gossip has been researched in terms of its evolutionary psychology origins.

Gossip has been researched in terms of its evolutionary psychology origins. This has found gossip to be an important means by which people can monitor cooperative reputations and so maintain widespread indirect reciprocity. Indirect reciprocity is a social interaction in which one actor helps another and is then benefited by a third party. Gossip has also been identified by Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary biologist, as aiding social bonding in large groups.

Social media has also provided a much faster way to share gossip. In only a matter of minutes, harmful gossip and rumors can spread online from one place in the world to another.

The term is sometimes used to specifically refer to the spreading of "dirt" and misinformation, as (for example) through excited discussion of scandals.
All this PTSD Awareness is nothing more than idle gossip.  Keep talking about the problem is only raising awareness that something is happening. Veterans and families already know all about it.

Good place to start maybe to stop talking about their problems unless you are offering solutions!

Military suicide data is not the same as Veteran suicide data, but some of these ne'er-do-wells blend both of them together using just the number of what they think are all there is.

Over the past decade the military has been using unproven training in "resilience" and "prevention" which produced a rise in the number of non-deployed forces. The prevalence of suicides among the non-deployed the DOD continue to focus on should have been a clue the training was worthless. If it did not help the non-deployed, how did they think it would help any of those with multiple deployments?

Finding a solution to Military Suicides cannot be accomplished until they stop doing what has not worked. 

In 2008 the Department of Defense Military Health System launched a website that was supposed to help clear things up. 
"More than 1.5 million troops have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.  The DOD estimates that up to 15-20 percent of returning troops have problems returning home. Irritability, depression, increased stress and relationship difficulties are typical concerns faced by service members and their families following deployment."
Too bad it didn't work.
This came out in 2009 several years after "prevention" started to make news reports.

In past years, the Army, which consists of 1.1 million active and reserve troops, has been just below or on par with the national suicide rate, Geren said.

But this year, with 128 confirmed and 15 pending, an estimated 20.2 suicides occurred per 100,000 soldiers, the highest since the Army began recording the figure in 1980. The figure is higher than the national suicide rate, which is less than 20 victims per 100,000 people.
It turned out they should have been worried because following that piece of news, the Army reported a 25% increase in the number of suicides from 2007 to 2008. By September the problem was so bad the DOD set up a task force to "prevent" suicides. It also turned out that as the number of enlisted went down, it also meant the percentage of suicides went up. 

While the Army thought the record had been surpassed in 2006 at 99 soldiers, along with 948 attempted suicides, the percentage was 17.3 out of 100,000. In June of 2016, USA Today reported that experts were concerned the high military suicide rate was the "new normal" and then added this. "The Army's suicide rate for active-duty soldiers averaged nearly 11-per-100-000 from Sept. 11, 2001, until shortly after the Iraq invasion in 2004. It more than doubled over the next five years, and, with the exception of a spike in 2012, has remained largely constant at 24-to-25-per-100,000, roughly 20% to 25% higher than a civilian population of the same age and gender makeup as the military."

As for our veterans it suicides have gone up 30% since 2001.
The study found that between 2001 and 2014, veteran suicides increased by 32 percent, while civilian suicides increased by 23 percent in the same time period. After controlling for factors like age and gender, this meant veterans faced a 21 percent greater risk for suicide than those who had not served in the armed forces.
So for all the money spent, years of excuses and awareness raising, we seem to be doing a lot more burying and a lot less healing. Maybe tonight I'll have a dream that we'll stop grieving as soon as everyone stops talking and starts doing something about all this!

Message From Veteran's Mom After Funeral "Don't give up on them"

Family lays loved one to rest, hopes to spread awareness of addiction
Your Erie
By Jaclyn Seymour
Published 08/27 2016

"There are many people struggling and it's a vicious cycle. And they need help, they all need help. And I would advise families to not give up on them because no one hates themselves more than the addict does." Diane Robinson
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and drug addition affects millions of men, women and soldiers every day.

One family buried their loved one Saturday - Justin Hoffman Robinson - who lost his life due to both.

Escorted by the Patriot Guard riders, 31-year-old Robinson was laid to rest Saturday at the Erie Cemetary by his military brothers.

Robinson passed away from an accidental overdose on heroin.

Robinson joined the U.S. Army National Guard after graduating high school.

He volunteered to serve two tours in Iraq, and almost a third, after 9/11.

Staff Sergeant Troy Lallemand says, "He always had the values set first honor, loyalty both to his country, his community and his friends and family."

But when he returned home, the battle wasn't over.

Robinson suffered severe PTSD and addiction to heroin, but his mother says he just recently completed a PTSD program and made great progress.
read more here

Fallen Air Force Sgt. John Chapman Possible Medal of Honor

Air Force Seeks Medal Of Honor For CT Native Who Died In Afghanistan, NY Times Reports
Hartford Courant
Kristin Stoller
August 27, 2016
Valerie Chapman holds a photograph of her husband, Air Force
Tech Sgt. John Chapman. Chapman was killed on March 4, 2002
during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. (Tracy Wilcox / Hartford Courant)
The secretary of the Air Force is pushing to award a Medal of Honor to the first Connecticut native to die in the war in Afghanistan, based on new evidence 14 years after his death, the New York Times reported.

Sgt. John Chapman, 36, a standout athlete and 1983 graduate of Windsor Locks High School, was killed in combat after military action began in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

He died on March 4, 2002, while attempting to retrieve the body of a Navy SEAL who had fallen from a helicopter during an attack by al Qaida and Taliban fighters, according to previous Courant reports.

But new evidence unearthed by the Air Force about Chapman's final hours suggests that a senior chief petty officer may have been incorrect when he declared Chapman dead during the attack, the New York Times reported.

Instead, the Air Force said, Chapman lived for an hour after his teammates had retreated, fighting enemy troops alone, according to the newspaper report. New technology used in an examination of videos from aircraft flying overhead indicate that Chapman killed two Al Qaida fighters before "dying in an attempt to protect arriving reinforcements," the newspaper reported.
read more here

Combat Stress Forced To Make Cuts Over Donor Fatigue?

Veterans left in cold by ‘donor fatigue’
Sunday Times UK
Andrew Gilligan
August 28, 2016

Thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other problems are to be “abandoned” by Britain’s main mental health charity for ex-service personnel.

Military veterans say that Combat Stress provides a unique service
Combat Stress is to close its welfare service and make its welfare officers redundant in a move affecting up to 3,000 traumatised veterans. The charity says the cuts have been forced on it by “donor fatigue” and falling income.

Welfare officers at Combat Stress say they are the only regular point of contact for many mentally ill veterans, visiting, talking to and helping them access non-medical services such as housing, benefits and work.
read more here

Gee this makes sense,,,not. In the last decade all the new charities are getting all the attention, and money, for the new generation, but it is the older ones taking care of all generations of veterans being left behind.
Combat Stress History
We were founded in May 1919, just after the First World War. Our original name was the Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Society and we opened our first "recuperative home" in 1920 on Putney Hill in South West London.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Police Officer's Body Camera Captures Saving Man from Burning Car

Video: Hero Athens cop risks life to save man from burning vehicle
Online Athens
Joe Johnson
August 26, 2016

Braving intense heat from a roaring fire, Senior Police Officer Daniel Whitney would not be deterred from rescuing a man who was trapped inside an SUV that had crashed and was burning.

Athens-Clarke County Senior Police Officer Daniel Whitney
The Athens-Clarke County police officer pulled and pulled on the vehicle’s stuck door, even as an explosion from under the hood rocked the SUV and knocked off his hat. When Whitney finally got the man out and brought him to safety, it wasn’t a moment too soon. Within minutes the back of the vehicle where the man had been was gutted. Without the officer’s quick actions the victim would have suffered the same fate as the 20-year-old driver, who perished.
Whitney, 36, is a native of Athens who graduated from Cedar Shoals High School. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army who served with the 101st Airborne Division. He joined the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in 2002, and is a member of the department’s Strategic Response Unit.
read more here

101st Airborne Soldier in Custody After Opening Fire At Fort Campbell

Officials ID Soldier Accused Of Firing Shots At Ft. Campbell

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - Officials have identified the soldier who allegedly fired shots at Fort Campbell.

The soldier was identified as 23-year old Spc. Bryan Castillo, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter repairer. He arrived at the post in September, 2013.

According to a release, Castillo allegedly entered Hangar 8 on the airfield at 11:30 a.m. Thursday and fired two shots.
read more here
Soldier Arrested After Active Shooter Incident At Fort Campbell
News Channel 5
August 25, 2016

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - A soldier with the 101st Airborne Division has been arrested after an active shooter incident occurred at Fort Campbell. No injuries were reported.

Authorities confirmed the incident happened Thursday afternoon. The post was placed on lockdown; however, the situation ended and the post was made secure.

Base officials said the shooter entered Hangar 8 on the airfield at around 11:30 a.m. and fired two shots.

Law enforcement was notified and immediately responded. Police chased the soldier after they fled the hangar in his personal vehicle.

During the chase, the soldier hit another vehicle, but then tried to get away on foot once the soldier got to his on-base residence.

That's when police took the soldier into custody. They also found additional weapons and ammunition.
read more here

Death is Not the Answer Film on PTSD and Suicides

It is heartwarming to some when you think of all the people out there trying to make a difference in the lives of others. It is depressing as hell to know wanting to do good and doing it are two totally different things.

I'm not going to rehash the numbers not changing on the suicide reports since 1999.  (You can look them up for yourself if you haven't already read them here.)

There are things that do work. Trauma hits all of you. Your eyes, ears, nose, throat, heart, nerves, organs and especially your mind. It strikes the part of your brain holding your memories and emotions. All of what makes you "you" is changed in an instant.

Healing requires all of "you" to be treated properly.  You need trauma expert doctors to care for your mind and help you put it back in balance again.  You need help on an emotional/spiritual level to help you heal, which all too often is left out of treatment.  You also need physical help because your body needs help to calm down again.

When you live through the thing it isn't just "it" but it is also the fear of it happening again. That is why there are higher numbers of veterans with PTSD after multiple deployments. The Army figured that out in 2006 when they studied the effect of redeployments discovering it raised the risk by 50% for each time being sent back.

Reading an article on physical efforts there is a stunning reminder for anyone thinking any of this is new. Veterans share stories of depression, suicide for film is a great example of veterans doing physical "therapy" to keep them going. 
Recently, Gaudet was one of many veterans who joined the Visionalist Entertainment Production crew as they filmed a portion of their documentary, "Death is NOT the Answer,"

Also in the article there is a Vietnam veteran participating as he has every day since 1982.
Vietnam War veteran Michael Bowen, who ran the track with the students while carrying a prisoners-of-war flag. Bowen, known as “Flag Man,” runs 5 miles to 8 miles almost every day since 1982 to spread awareness about how veterans are affected by suicide.
Yep, 1982. Over three decades because there were many folks working on PTSD by then. I know because I learned from those out there before me so that I could help my own husband. Experts knew back then that help had to involve the whole part of the veteran so they could change again after trauma but this time, for the better.

"Death is not the answer" after war any more than it was the answer during it. How do they do everything humanly possible to survive during combat but find it is more difficult to ask for help afterwards? Doesn't make sense at all.  

In combat, you ask for everything you can get when you need it because lives are depending on all the support you can get. After combat, your life depends on all the help you can get to heal so that you can help others defeat their own demons and their lives depend on someone being there for them.

So what are you thinking? If you leave this earth because of your own actions, how many lives could you have changed fighting for them instead of giving up on yourself?

Pearl Jam Raising Veterans Voices

Pearl Jam to help fund ‘Veterans’ Voices’ project
The Recorder
Diane Broncaccio
Recorder Staff
August 26, 2016

“The Veterans’ Voices program takes participants out of the broken places, the darkness, the hopelessness.” Robin Lane
SHELBURNE FALLS — For 15 years, rock musician/singer-songwriter Robin Lane of Shelburne Falls has been using music to help people recover emotionally from sexual assault, child abuse or domestic violence. Through her nonprofit, Songbird Sings, Lane has also worked with military veterans, using music to help soldiers reconnect to feelings that have been numbed by war trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and mental health problems.

This summer, “Veterans’ Voices” will get extra help from the proceeds of two Pearl Jam concerts held this summer in Boston’s Fenway Park.

Veterans’ Voices is one of four local programs picked by Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation to receive $1 for every ticket sold for the Fenway Park concerts held on Aug. 5 and 7. The Pearl Jam donation is to be followed by another contribution to be made by “The Foundation to be Named Later,” (FTBNL), which provides ongoing support to Songbird programs.

According to Vitalogy, the Fenway baseball park concerts broke attendance records with 72,722 tickets sold over two nights. That means Songbird Sings will receive $18,180.

“The funding provided … will be used to create songwriting workshops for veterans with PTSD and will allow Songbird Sings to expand programming and reach more survivors, in order to ease suffering caused by PTSD,” Lane said, in a news release. “A huge thanks to Pearl Jam and FTBNL for their support. We couldn’t be more grateful.”
read more here

Friday, August 26, 2016

Man Charged After Attack on PTSD Veteran and Dog!

Wilton man accused of assaulting family member, veteran with PTSD
Central Maine
Lauren Abbate
Staff Writer
August 26, 2016

WILTON — A Wilton man was arrested twice this week for allegedly assaulting two elderly men who lived with him, including a family member and a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox said in published reports Thursday that both victims are dependent on care and have limited resources. She told the Lewiston Sun-Journal the veteran was been taken to a shelter.

She said that police were told the veteran’s dog was kicked across a room. She said the dog has been removed from the home until housing can be found for the owner.

read more here

317 Florida Veterans Get Medals in Bradenton

Governor presents awards to 317 veterans in Bradenton
Bradenton Herald
James A Jones Jr.
August 25, 2016
William Thompson, 91, and Ned Teves, 82, came through the award line together. Thompson served in the South Pacific during World War II, while Teves served as an Army doctor in a military hospital in Japan during the Vietnam War.

Teves said he had been a recent immigrant from the Philippines and not yet a citizen when he was drafted into the Army.

He called his draft notice a “love letter” from the U.S. government.

Teves, like other vets from the Vietnam War era, welcomed the appreciation expressed for their service in recent years.
Rick Scott had already presented Governor’s Veterans Service Awards to more than 300 veterans on Thursday when he spotted Jackson Carson, 86, sitting at the back of the room.

The Bradenton National Guard Armory had just about emptied out, and Carson seemed unable to come forward to be recognized.

The governor walked back to Carson with Major Gen. Michael Calhoun, Florida’s adjutant general, at his side. Scott placed the award around Carson’s neck, thanked him for his service and asked him when he served.
read more here

Community Refuses To Give Up On Blind, Homeless Vet

Grace In Action: Community Refuses To Give Up On Blind, Homeless Vet
CBS News
By Robbie Owens
August 25, 2016

DALLAS (CBS11) – With hugs and smiles all around, Willie Curtis King, Jr. is enjoying a homecoming of sorts.

“I had thought there weren’t no more really good people in the world,” said King. “I was so down on my luck. But, every day, I woke up. Every day I woke up, these people helped me.”

His visit to the MLK Community Center Thursday was made even more special when you consider that this time last year, King had no home. He was a card-carrying member of the angry, hard-to-help homeless, existing on the kindness of those at the center.

“I didn’t have to be outside that dumpster,” said King. “I was just belligerent… out of control.”

Those at the MLK Center would be inclined to agree.

“I reached out to his brother,” said Officer Terry Brookins. “He cursed his brother out. Everybody tried to help him; but, he refused.”

But, Officer Brookins was patient… and he was persistent, telling CBS11 that it was “heartbreaking” to see the veteran “digging in the trash cans, trying to find food to eat.”
read more here

WWII Navy Photographer Shares Images From USS Astoria

Navy photographer wanted his work to be shared
Jay Levin, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record
August 25, 2016

Fewer than 700,000 of the nearly 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive today, according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. More than 400 veterans of that era die every day, almost 160,000 this year.
HACKENSACK, N.J. — Herman Schnipper, a mild-mannered Navy photographer who chronicled the danger and drudgery of war while on board the light cruiser USS Astoria, died Wednesday at his home here, where his vast trove of World War II images is stored.

He was 92.

Herman Schnipper of Hackensack, N.J., was a Navy photographer aboard the USS Astoria during World War II, shown Dec. 9, 2014. He made copies of every picture he took and categorized them.
(Photo: Mitsu Yasukawa, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record)
“I don’t want them to be put in a box and forgotten. I want to show people the war,” Schnipper told The Record in 2014, referring to the black-and-white prints he has held on to since his military discharge a few months after the war’s end.

At the time of the interview, Schnipper was in declining health and his family felt an urgency to decide what to do with the photographs, which they want to be accessible to the public.
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Canadian Couple Heartbroken, Separated After 62 Years of Marriage

The Heartbreaking Story Behind Photo of Elderly Couple Crying
ABC News
Aug 25, 2016

An elderly couple from the town of Surrey in British Columbia, Canada, was recently photographed crying after apparently being moved to separate nursing homes a few months ago.

Anita Gottschalk, 81, and Wolfram Gottschalk, 83, have been heartbroken since they've been forced to live in separate nursing homes, according to their 29-year-old granddaughter Ashley Bartyik.
The emotional photo was taken Monday during a visit between the couple. Ashley Bartyik, the couple's granddaughter, told ABC News today she's worried that their "heartbreak and the stress could literally kill them."

"This is the saddest photo I have ever taken," Bartyik, 29, wrote in the photo's caption. It has been shared nearly 3,000 times on Facebook.

She explained that after 62 years of marriage, her grandparents have been separated for eight months "due to backlogs and delays by our heath care system."
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Stolen Valor: Iraq Veteran Collected Over $700,000 In Benefits

Veteran,48, lied about being injured in combat in Iraq to claim over $700,000 in disability benefits and a Purple Heart
PUBLISHED:25 August 2016
Darryl Lee Wright pleaded guilty to two counts 
of felony wire fraud earlier this year
A veteran in Washington state claimed over $700,000 in federal benefits after lying about being severely disabled.

Darryl Lee Wright pleaded guilty to two counts of felony wire fraud earlier this year for fabricating claims of disability and receiving payment from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The 48-year-old claimed that he was severely disabled from being wounded in combat in Iraq, and as a result, collected $751,400 in federal benefits.

Wright was found living well in Snoqualmie, dating two women simultaneously and working a steady job, despite claiming that he was incapacitated by wounds physical and psychological that he suffered in Iraq while serving in the Idaho National Guard in Iraq, reported.

He was caught telling a war story that wasn't true about his 2005 tour in Iraq.
In order to prove the lie, he created fake documents and pressured government workers in an effort to force his way into thousands of dollars of benefits that are meant to help Americans who were actually injured while serving.

Wright filed the bogus paperwork with the Army under the names of people he actually served with, Jennings said.
read more here
From ABC News

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

WWII Navy Veteran Gets Anchors Aweigh Tribute Sitting on Porch

Tribute to WWII Veteran Goes Viral When Group Sings 'Anchors Aweigh' at His Doorstep
ABC News
Aug 24, 2016,

When one WWII veteran could no longer visit his local battleship to relish in stories of his days at sea, a special group brought the memories of his Navy days right to his doorstep.

Ernest Thompson, of Gardena, California, got the surprise of a lifetime when the Chief Selects of the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center showed up on his neighborhood street to serenade him with “Anchors Aweigh.”

The unsuspecting Thompson, 98, stood on his front porch in salute.

“Neighbors came out of their houses to witness a once in a lifetime experience. My grandfather told me that it was one of the best days of his life!” Thompson’s grandson, Jonathan Williams, wrote in a Facebook post explaining the story behind the video, which has now gone viral with nearly five million views.
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76 Year Old Veteran Killed Himself At VA After Being Turned Away

Veteran Kills Himself in Parking Lot of V.A. Hospital on Long Island
New York Times
AUG. 24, 2016

“He went to the E.R. and was denied service,” one of the people, who currently works at the hospital, said. “And then he went to his car and shot himself.”
A 76-year-old veteran committed suicide on Sunday in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island, where he had been a patient, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.

Peter A. Kaisen, of Islip, was pronounced dead after he shot himself outside Building 92, the nursing home at the medical center.

The hospital is part of the Veterans Affairs medical system, the nation’s largest integrated health care organization, which has been under scrutiny since 2014, when the department confirmed that numerous patients had died awaiting treatment at a V.A. hospital in Phoenix. Officials there had tried to cover up long waiting times for 1,700 veterans seeking medical care. A study released by the Government Accountability Office in April indicated that the system had yet to fix its scheduling problems.

Why Mr. Kaisen decided to end his life was not immediately known, but two people connected to the hospital who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his death said that he had been frustrated that he was unable to see an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health. “He went to the E.R. and was denied service,” one of the people, who currently works at the hospital, said. “And then he went to his car and shot himself.”
read more here

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Vietnam Veteran Shocked to Receive Purple Heart After 50 Year Wait

After nearly 50 years of waiting, T-Bones help surprise metro Vietnam veteran with Purple Heart
AUGUST 20, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A metro Vietnam veteran has been waiting nearly 50 years for his Purple Heart.

Milton Shelley served in Vietnam in the 60s and was injured while serving. The veteran gave up hope, but Saturday night he got the surprise of a lifetime while at a T-Bones game.

Milton Shelley waited in a line of military veterans. Then he stepped up to the mound and threw the first pitch of the game.

Shelley thought his job was done and started to walk back to his seat, when he was told to stand on home plate.

The announcer began to tell him he wasn't just there to throw the first pitch.

Milton served in Vietnam in the 60s, he was shot and injured. For nearly 50 years, Milton wondered why he didn't get a Purple Heart.

"I never thought I'd get it," Shelley said. "I tried several times. Mailing stuff in."
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Heroes Among Us, Pensacola Vietnam Veteran

Pensacola Vietnam veteran featured at Heroes Among Us event
Pensacola News Journal
Melissa Nelson Gabriel
August 23, 2016

"At the time, I didn't think about how dangerous it was. In retrospect, I feel fortunate to have come out alive," said McArthur, who credits his wife of 49 years for helping him deal with the trauma of war.
In 1998, members of The Last Patrol are reflected in the stone panels
of The Wall South as they pay tribute to their fallen comrades from the
war in Vietnam during Memorial Day observances organized by The Vietnam
Veterans Motorcycle Club of America.
(Photo: Pensacola Historical Society)
Decorated Vietnam veteran Gary McArthur doesn't come from a military family and never dreamed of joining the military as a child.

But the draft made military service a reality for McArthur, 71, and thousands of other young American men in the late 1960s.

"Back then, you were drafted as soon as your student deferment ended," said McArthur, a University of Florida graduate who joined the Army in 1968, and served as an officer in the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

The Pensacola native will share stories of his time as a "civilian soldier" during Thursday night's Heroes Among Us speaker series in downtown Pensacola.

The monthly outdoor speakers series in Pensacola's Veterans Memorial Park is sponsored by the Marine Corps League and draws on the war stories of the area's many veterans to raise money for projects that help veterans.

McArthur, a Pensacola native who served in the Army from 1968 to 1971, said he has a unique perspective because he was not a career military officer.
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Vietnam Veteran Finds Foster Family

James Island family fosters, falls in love with Vietnam veteran
Charleston Regional Business Journal
By Ashley Heffernan
August 18, 2016

“I didn’t know we were going to fall in love with him so (much) and the kids would. We thought we’d be taking care of somebody, but he’s just one of us now.” Lacresha Cromwell
Harry Vaughan enjoys watching television with the Cromwell family, especially Western films with 10-year-old Ashlyn Cromwell.
(Photo/Ashley Heffernan)
Harry Vaughan joined the military because it was his “brother duty.”

The 76-year-old, who grew up in Virginia, entered the Army in 1959 to be near his older brother. Two years in and “tired of walking,” he left the Army and joined the Navy to take care of his younger brother. They both served on the USS Valley Forge aircraft carrier, and Vaughan went on to spend a year sweeping rivers in Vietnam for mines.

After 22 years in the Navy, Vaughan transitioned to a career as a fence builder in North Charleston. But when his memory started deteriorating and doctors gave him a diagnosis of dementia, Vaughan moved into Agape Senior, an assisted living facility in North Charleston.

As of 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported nearly 130,000 Vietnam veterans were living in South Carolina, bringing in a median personal income of $34,436. About 62% of those veterans were between the ages of 65 and 74, while 9% were 75 or older.

Long-term-care costs can quickly eat into a veteran’s income.
read more here

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

PolitiFact Not So Factual on Veteran Suicides

When it comes to rating what a politician says, there is a pesky thing called actual research to see if what they claim is true or not. On this one, I rate Politifact mostly lazy.
Kamala Harris slightly off in claim about veterans suicides
By Chris Nichols
August 23rd, 2016

"It is unconscionable that 22 veterans take their own lives each day. We must ensure that they have support to adjust to civilian life," Harris, a Democrat, said on Twitter on August 18, 2016.
The VA examined about 55 million veterans records from 1979 through 2014. It found that in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, 7,403 veterans took their own lives, or an average of about 20 a day.
You can read the rest here
Fact one missed is that within the reports cited is an all too often missed fascinating piece of information.

1999 the VA said there were 20 veterans a day committing suicide.  That was before Afghanistan and Iraq veterans entered into they military and while there were still WWI, WWII, Korean War veterans along with a lot more Vietnam veterans, plus Gulf War veterans. 5 million veterans less to count, the VA said in 2016 there are, yep, 20 a day committing suicide.

(Past articles had 7 million less veterans but the cut off date was before this latest report)

Look at the graph from the VA.

and this is by age

This is how we reached the abysmal finding that the percentage of veteran suicides has in fact gone up. This is after a decade of raising awareness, raising funds to talk about something few actually took the time to understand and a lot of politicians doing a lot of talking about how they will change the outcome when all they have done is repeat what already failed, it looks as if nothing will change.  It won't change until reporters actually tell the truth about what has been going on.  Yet again, a pesky little thing like using a number to make it easy to remember, when history is obliterated.  Hmm, just like the number of lives that could had been saved if we actually held people accountable.

Here is the report from the VA for the 2012 figure where they had the number at "22" and link to the 2016 report where they had the number at "20"

The stunning part on that report is they use the CDC number of suicides at 41,425 but stated rate of suicide from almost every state puts the number of veterans committing suicide at double the civilian population.  Figure that one out?

Here is the link to the 2000 Census 26.4 million veterans

Here is the link to the 2015 Census with 21,369,602 veterans and as you can see the majority of the veterans are over the age of 50 with the largest group, you guess it again, Vietnam veterans.

Disabled Iraq Veteran With PTSD Faces Eviction After Being Victim of Fraud

Disabled combat veteran, family forced from home
I-TEAM uncovers real estate scheme affecting at least 25 local properties

News 4 Jax
By Lynnsey Gardner - Investigative reporter
Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
Eric Wallace - Senior Producer, I-TEAM
August 22, 2016

After paying $1,100 a month in rent, they could be evicted because the company renting the house, RHMG Inc. (Residential Home Management Group, Inc.), never technically owned it but still got their money.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A disabled military veteran and his family contacted the I-TEAM for help after learning they are just days away from being evicted from their Jacksonville home -- even though they have paid their rent and have a lease.

We've uncovered it is part of a statewide scheme that could impact more local families, costing them tens of thousands of dollars. We found it happening right now in Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns Counties. It's so troubling and pervasive, we alerted Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is now involved.

Each house that gets caught up this scheme can have multiple victims -- whether you lose your money, your credit or even your house practically overnight. That's what happened to James and Tiffany McCollum's family, who could soon be homeless.

"We just want a place to lay our head at night," said James. "I wonder how many other families are out there in the same situation, staying up at night, wondering how they will feed their families, the stress of it, the fears."
read more here