Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vietnam veteran in search of stolen wheelchair

Vietnam veteran in search of stolen wheelchair
By Alex Cabrero
Posted Nov 29th, 2016

WASHINGTON TERRACE — A lot of veterans don't like to talk about what they've experienced at war, especially those who served in Vietnam. But for some, even 45-plus years later, it seems bad things keep happening.

Life hasn't been easy for Jason Cody.

"I'm pushing myself, living alone like this," the Washington Terrace resident said, gesturing around the basement apartment he's called home for the past four years.

A Vietnam veteran, Cody suffers from several health issues: heart disease, bad lungs and post-traumatic stress disorder, to name a few.

"Bad dreams, that's the worst part," Cody said.

But through it all, he's kept on going — until he just couldn't go anymore.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Cody's new black-and-yellow wheelchair was stolen from outside his home.

"I kind of suspect somebody just decided they needed that wheelchair more than I did, or maybe (thought) they could sell it and make some money," Cody said.
read more here

Two Fort Campbell Soldiers Charged with Murder of Female Soldier

Two Soldiers Charged with Murder in Connection with Disappearance of Fellow Soldier Shadow McClaine
NBC News
November 29, 2016

Shadow Branice McClaine U.S. Army
Criminal Investigation Command
Two soldiers have been charged with murder in connection with the September disappearance of Fort Campbell soldier Shadow McClaine.
Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray and Specialist Charles Robinson, both part of the 101st Airborne Division, face charges of conspiracy, kidnapping and premeditated murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to NBC affiliate WSMV.
Williams-McCray is Shadow's ex-husband. It's unclear if Robinson knew Shadow.

The two soldiers are being held in pre-trial confinement pending a preliminary hearing, the station reported. Authorities have not commented on whether Shadow's body has been found.
read more here

Veteran's Body Left in Shower Room After He Died?

10Investigates: Veteran's body forgotten about
Noah Pransky
November 29, 2016

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida – 10Investigates discovered a scandal – and attempted cover-up – at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center has cast a shadow over the facility’s otherwise reputable hospice unit.

A whistleblower tipped 10Investigates off to a Feb. 16, 2016 incident where an elderly veteran passed away, then forgotten about for nearly 10 hours in a shower room after his body was prepared for the morgue. According to an agency review, employees then lied and falsely documented the process to cover-up the mistakes.

The report, which was heavily-redacted by the VA, concluded “negligence” and a “lack of respect” for the deceased veteran.

“We honor America’s veterans,” said Bay Pines spokesperson Jason Dangle. Dangle is also a retired veteran. “We view this finding unacceptable and have taken appropriate actions to mitigate and correct the issue."

Dangle confirmed discipline for the employees involved, but the VA redacted all names and specifics as well for “privacy” reasons. So the public will never know where those employees might resurface.
read more here

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

WWII Female Marine "Determined not to stay behind"

Boston honors female WWII marine
Veteran cited as inspiration
Boston Herald
Dan Atkinson
November 25, 2016
Family portrait of World War II veteran Elizabeth Mackay Howden Denekamp
In 1943, Betty Denekamp watched the men of West Roxbury going off to war, and was determined not to stay behind.

Denekamp joined the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, and more than 70 years later, friends and family are going to see her service permanently commemorated outside the house she lived in nearly all of her life.

“That was the thing I always admired about her, she couldn’t hang around doing nothing,” said Edwin “Bud” Waite, a fellow World War II veteran and longtime friend of Denekamp who led the charge to memorialize her. “She had to do something.”

Her daughter Linda Denekamp said, “I thought it was so outstanding that a woman in those times would leave home at her age and go off and join the Marines. Everyone said the Marines were the best and that’s what she wanted to be.”
read more here

Vietnam Veteran, Stephen Carl Reiman Family Member Found

Coroner finds sister of Vietnam veteran who will be buried Tuesday near Casper
Casper Star Tribune
Elise Schmelzer
Updated 3 hrs ago
After more than a week of searching, the Natrona County coroner has found a sister of the Vietnam veteran set to be be buried Tuesday morning near Casper. The sister plans to attend the funeral at the state veterans cemetery and will accept her brother’s flag.

Coroner Connie Jacobson said she spoke with the sister Sunday night and that the sister will fly into Casper from southern California on Monday evening.

Last week, Jacobson asked for help finding family members of Stephen Carl Reiman, a homeless Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War. Reiman died Nov. 17 in Casper, shortly after moving to Wyoming from California for unknown reasons.

The sister, Diane Reiman, hadn’t heard from her brother for at least two years, Jacobson said. The sister began to cry on the phone during their brief conversation, Jacobson said.

“She’s relieved and grateful that he’s going to have a decent burial with honor,” Jacobson said. “I’m just glad it’s all coming together. And maybe she’ll get some answers.”
read more here

Monday, November 28, 2016

'A war within myself': One veteran's struggle for life after combat

'A war within myself': One veteran's struggle for life after combat
Gregg Zoroya and Tony Leys

Chapter 1: 'Fog of another war'

On July 7, the day he saw psychiatrist Anthony Miller, agency officials in Washington released preliminary findings from a sweeping analysis of suicides among veterans. Scientists pored through 50 million death records from 1979 to 2014, counting every suicide. There were 7,403 in 2014 alone. They learned that, on average, 20 veterans commit suicide each day.

Donald Trump called the findings shocking. President Obama told a Disabled American Veterans convention in August that the suicide trend was a national tragedy. "We all have to do better," he said.

The VA analysis found that most suicides are among its largest constituency of veterans: those from the Vietnam era. But the highest rate of suicide was among younger veterans who served during the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — Ketchum's generation. Veterans ages 30-39 committed suicide at rates four times the national average and those 18-29 at nearly six times that average.

Caitlin Thompson, a clinical psychologist who runs the VA's suicide prevention program, recalled the wrenching experience of losing three veterans to suicide. They were patients of hers and a team of health care workers.

"That's why I dedicated my life to veteran suicide, because I see those three young men over and over and over," she said. “We know there is hope … we know that people do get better.”

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars were unique in physical and emotional demands. Because the wars lasted so long, large numbers of troops were required to serve multiple deployments that added up to years of cumulative combat duty. Ketchum did three tours.
read more here

Missing in America Project Helps Honor The Forgotten

Homeless Vet Who Died in Casper is One of Many
K2 Radio
By Roger Gray
November 27, 2016

Stephen Carl Reiman was a veteran of the United States Navy.

He served during the tail end of the Viet Nam War on board the missile cruiser USS Long Beach.

And he died in Casper on November 17th.

But, no one knew where he was from, where his family was, or anything else, other than his military service.

He was in a motel room in Sheridan when he fell ill, and died at the Wyoming Medical Center.

And except for the doctors and nurses in attendance, Stephen Reiman was alone.

A group called the Missing in America Project is dedicated to finding these vets who die homeless and alone. And there are a lot of them.

“As of today, we have contacted about 2000 funeral homes out of about 23,000 in the nation, so we are still only at the start of our project,” said Fred Salanti, who heads up the project.

“We have found cremains in those 2000 funeral homes of 14,202 unclaimed people. Of that number, we have identified veteran’s cremains of 3,206. Of that number, 2,947 are already buried. And the rest are waiting for a service to be held in the area.”
read more here

Stolen Valor Texas Marine Pleads Guilty

Texas Marine pleads guilty to stealing dead veteran’s war story, defrauding government
New York Daily News
Sarah Grochowski
November 28, 2016

A former Marine who cashed in on false claims of a wounded combat veteran's story is now facing 21 years behind bars.
A federal investigation has accused Brandon Blackstone with taking another veteran's tale of survival as his own. (MIKE FAVAZZA VIA YOUTUBE)
Brandon Blackstone, a Texas Marine, for years told the heart-wrenching tale of a Humvee that drove over an active landmine during his service in the Iraq War, claiming he sustained traumatic brain, head, and leg injuries.

A federal investigation has accused the Marine with taking another veteran's tale of survival as his own. Blackstone pleaded guilty to all of the charges, ABC affiliate WFAA reports.

Blackstone garnered monthly stipends from the U.S. Veteran's Association and secured a mortgage-free home from charity in 2012, according to the report.
read more here

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Marine Riders of Michiana Spent Thanksgiving with "Family"

Local Marines open doors for homeless vets on Thanksgiving
WNDU 16 News
Shaun Gallagher
November 24, 2016
"A lot of us when we were in the service, a lot of us couldn't go home, couldn't afford to go home or couldn't make a drive," Castillo said. "We all got together and that was Thanksgiving. It was as good as being with family without being with your family."
ELKHART, Ind. --- Thanksgiving is a day to enjoy time with family and some great food but for some local veterans, they don't have that option. Some homeless veterans from Miller's Vets had the opportunity to experience Thanksgiving with a family of a different kind; their extended military family.

"We've all had our Thanksgiving with our families," Paul "Goose" Patillo, Squad Leader of Marine Riders of Michiana said. "Every year, it's the same thing. Well, we'd like to start taking care of the veterans on Thanksgiving Day to have the full effect of Thanksgiving."

Patillo is a member of Marine Riders of Michiana, a local motorcycle club of marines. Patillo says many times people hold dinners for veterans down on their luck a week or two after Thanksgiving but it loses its luster. So he wanted to hold something day of to give them the full effect of the holiday.

For the veterans in attendance, they're familiar with missing holidays like Thanksgiving while serving overseas. So they depend on each other as family to enjoy Thanksgiving.
read more here

Navy Capt. Paul "Bud" Rogers to be buried at sea

Navy veteran, who was supposed to be on USS Thresher, to be buried where submarine sank
The Day
By Julia Bergman Day staff writer
November 26, 2016

Groton — A Navy veteran will soon be laid to rest at the bottom of the ocean, more than 200 miles off the New England coast. A submarine from the Naval Submarine Base will fulfill the wish of deceased Navy Capt. Paul "Bud" Rogers to be buried at sea. During routine operations, the submarine will transport Rogers' cremated remains to where the USS Thresher (SSN-593) sank. The Navy is not releasing the name of the submarine or the date the burial will take place, since it does not discuss submarine operations.

Rogers, who spent much of his 41-year career serving on submarines, was supposed to be an observer on the Thresher during the boat's sea trials, but his supervisor, at the last minute, decided that he didn't have enough experience and replaced him with someone else.

It was just a day or two later, according to Rogers' wife, that on April 10, 1963, the Thresher sank — killing all 129 men aboard.

Rogers was devastated, and felt survivor's remorse for much of his life.

"Bud felt that he should've been the one to go down with the Thresher, not this other man," his wife, Barbara "Bobbye" Rogers, 86, said from her home in Wernersville, Penn. "All those years, it bothered him."
read more here

Massachusetts College Removed American Flag? Seriously!

The state where the Revolutionary started raised a bunch of whiners afraid of the flag patriots died for? And the college gave into them, taking it down...can't publish the rest of what I'm thinking right now.
Veterans to Protest at College That Stopped Flying US Flags
Nov 27, 2016

Veterans are planning a protest at a western Massachusetts college facing criticism from around the country for its decision to stop flying U.S. flags after students allegedly burned a flag in protest of Donald Trump's presidential election.

Local veterans and others intend to place hundreds of U.S. flags on the streets around Hampshire College in Amherst on Sunday, as part of what organizers are calling a "peaceful demonstration of freedom."
read more here

Hampshire College In Amherst Stops Flying All Flags
CBS News Boston
November 22, 2016
“There were a range of views on campus, including people whose experience growing up have made the flag a symbol of fear,"

A worker takes down an American flag on the campus of Hampshire College. (WBZ-TV)
AMHERST (CBS) — It’s been a week of flag-related controversy for Hampshire College, after the school’s Board of Trustees made the decision to lower the U.S. flag on campus to half-staff in the wake of the presidential election–and then decided to remove the flag entirely after a wave of backlash.

Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker he knows it’s a controversial decision to remove the flag, but he wanted to create a dialogue among those with differing opinions about the symbol.
read more here

It is ridiculous to talk about their suffering and committing suicide

History Has Proven You Wrong
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 27, 2016

Did you know if you are using veterans committing suicide, most veterans are making fun of you? It is ridiculous to talk about their suffering when you are doing absolutely nothing to prevent them from taking their own lives. It is like taking a video on your smart phone while you operate it dumb as dirt, filming someone dying on the side of the road, so you get to say you're raising awareness they did, instead of using that phone to call 911 and try to save their life. KNOCK IT OFF!
“Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke

If you're thinking you have done any good, history has proven you wrong. Aside from the simple fact all this awareness of "22 a day" or "20 a day" being quoted as if they are real numbers, or as the military puts it for current service members as "one too many" it has gotten worse. But hey, just keep talking about their suffering.

The time to raise awareness happened decades ago when it was happening to veterans but you didn't notice. I've been noticing for over three of those decades when there were more veterans in the country. Yep, much more veterans suffering while fighting for the right to live after war.

If you doubt any of this, then look at the numbers the VA released in the misquoted report of 2012 when the number was released as "22 a day" since apparently you didn't read the report. You didn't notice that the "number" came with a notice that it was taken from just 21 states, that they knew they missed many, or the other overlooked fact that most of the veterans they did know about were over the age of 50.
Currently available data include information on suicide mortality among the population of residents in 21 states. Veteran status in each of these areas is determined by a single question asking about history of U.S. military service. Information about history of military service is routinely obtained from family members and collected by funeral home staff and has not been validated using information from the DoD or VA. Further, Veteran status was not collected by each state during each year of the project period.
And you must have missed this part as well, since none of you are even mentioning it,
Information reported on state death certificates indicates that the ages 50-59 years is also an important group for addressing risk for suicide.
And on page 18 of the report, you must have missed this too,

So when the VA did a larger study and released that report in 2016, you must have also missed this part.
The final report will be publicly released later this month. Key findings of the analysis will include:
65% of all Veterans who died from suicide in 2014 were 50 years of age or older.
Veterans accounted for 18% of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults. This is a decrease from 22% in 2010.
Since 2001, U.S. adult civilian suicides increased 23%, while Veteran suicides increased 32% in the same time period. After controlling for age and gender, this makes the risk of suicide 21% greater for Veterans.
Since 2001, the rate of suicide among US Veterans who use VA services increased by 8.8%, while the rate of suicide among Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 38.6%.
In the same time period, the rate of suicide among male Veterans who use VA services increased 11%, while the rate of suicide increased 35% among male Veterans who do not use VA services.
In the same time period, the rate of suicide among female Veterans who use VA services increased 4.6%, while the rate of suicide increased 98% among female Veterans who do not use VA services.
As you can see, back in 1999 when no one was raising funds doing pushups, taking walks or making speeches, when we had over 5 million more veterans in this country, the number reported by the VA was 20 a day. So, what good have you done any of them? Keep making this about you wanting to raise awareness instead of raising a reason to enjoy living again, and it will keep getting worse for them as you gain more publicity for yourself.

If your guessing I got another email from yet another "awareness raiser" wanting me to publicize them, you're right and they are still way too wrong!

Marine Veteran Honors Fallen Friend, With Country Music at Cemetary

Veteran plays music at grave of fallen comrade
ABC News 10
Anne State
Nov 23, 2016
SAN DIEGO - A Marine veteran continues to give thanks at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Simon Sandoval visits the cemetery often, and he plays music for fallen service members. While he has lost many friends during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his good friend, Lance Cpl. Jason Hill, is his only friend buried at Fort Rosecrans.

"I play a little bit of country music for him since he's a country boy," said Sandoval.

10News was there as Sandoval cued up the music on his phone, adding, "I think he still likes listening."

Sandoval said of Hill: "He was one of my fine young men."

Hill, a native of Poway, was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. Shortly after his death, his friends gathered at the family home and described Hill as loyal, funny and charming. They said he was proud to serve his country.
read more here

UK: Paratrooper Fell to His Death Waiting For Help For PTSD

Paratrooper who saw 'very severe action' in Afghanistan fell to his death from a hotel rooftop in Vietnam while waiting for a psychiatrist to decide whether he had PTSD, inquest hears
Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 15:21 EST, 25 November 2016
Peter O'Sullivan was assessed by a nurse who felt he might of had PTSD.
Nurse decided to refer him to psychiatrist but was a 4 month waiting list.
Former soldier did not survive until then, falling to his death in Vietnam.
Peter O'Sullivan, who had seen 'very severe military activity' in Afghanistan during ten years in the Parachute Regiment, had been assessed by a mental health nurse
A former paratrooper fell to his death from a hotel rooftop while waiting for a psychiatrist to decide whether he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, an inquest heard yesterday.

Peter O'Sullivan, who had seen 'very severe military activity' in Afghanistan during ten years in the Parachute Regiment, had been assessed by a mental health nurse from the Combat Stress charity who felt he might have PTSD.

The nurse decided to refer him to a consultant psychiatrist - but there was a four month waiting list for an appointment and Mr O'Sullivan did not survive until then.

Two months before the appointment he took crystal meth while on holiday in Vietnam and fell to his death from the top of the Liberty Hotel in Ho Ch Minh City on Feb 13th this year, the Gloucester inquest was told.

His family, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, are now hoping the authorities will recognise Mr O'Sullivan's death as a direct consequence of PTSD resulting from his service in the elite Pathfinder platoon of the Parachute Regiment.
read more here

Afghanistan Veteran Recovering After Disc Surgery

Veteran gets first type of spinal surgery in Upstate
Index Journal
By: Ariel Gilreath
Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2016

When Marcus English first got back from his service with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, he not only had to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder from watching his squadmate die right in front of him from an improvised explosive device (IED), but he also dealt with the pain of a herniated disc from the blast for six years.
As of Sept. 21, he is the first patient in the Upstate to receive the BRYAN artificial disc surgery on two disc levels.

The BRYAN surgery uses artificial discs to alleviate herniated discs rather than the traditional operation spinal surgeons use, which fuses the two discs together.

English was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and was part of front line infantry. His squadron was doing a foot patrol to secure a compound in 2010 when one of them set off an IED.

“There was actually two guys in front of me -- the one guy kind of leaned up against the side of the building, hit a pressure plate IED and it went off,” English said. “I caught the blast that kind of threw me back, but when I landed, I actually landed on my neck and shoulders. So the blunt of the force was actually when I landed.”

English said the soldier who leaned against the pressure plate died.

“Then the gentleman behind him, he caught some fragments to his face from the fellow that was in front of him, and he went blind, and he actually had, I’d say, seven or eight different eye surgeries and they finally restored his vision,” English said.

English still has flashbacks of that moment and said he has since been diagnosed with PTSD.

From 2012-16, he lived with the pain of a herniated disc from the IED blast until almost exactly six years later, Dr. Michael Kilburn, with Self Regional’s South Carolina Spine Center, performed the BRYAN artificial disc surgery on him.

“The pain itself was gone immediately,” English said. “It made a world of difference immediately.”
read more here

Dying Vietnam Veteran Continues to Fight VA For Benefits

After fighting in Vietnam, he struggles with PTSD, the VA – and a terminal diagnosis
News and Observer
Michael Doyle
November 23, 2016
“I did the very best I could for my country,” Sosa said.
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Judge Mary J. Schoelen
The Gulfport, Mississippi, resident couldn’t escape them. Shards of what happened in South Vietnam in 1966 burst inside the 78-year-old Army veteran, shredding his peace of mind, he says.

For years, though, Department of Veterans Affairs examiners repeatedly denied Sosa’s claim of suffering from service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder. Inadequate evidence, one examiner said. Too vague, said another. Unsupported by “objective test results,” ruled a third.

Now, a specialized federal court for veterans has given Sosa another fighting chance to obtain the diagnosis he’s been seeking. If he succeeds this time, his VA benefits will increase, as will, perhaps, this terminally ill man’s belief in the system that so far has frustrated him.

“I am sorely disappointed in the VA,” Sosa said in a telephone interview. “They didn’t do nothing for me.”

Time, for Sosa, is getting short.

The retired commercial artist has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He says doctors have given him just several months to live.

At one point, thinking about a potential increase in VA benefits, he imagined taking a vacation with his wife, Sheryl. Now, having given up morphine because of the hallucinations, he ranks his pain at 8 on a 10-scale, and future planning is stripped to the bone.

“My main concern: not to leave my wife in (bad) financial circumstances,” Sosa said.

Sosa started seeking post-traumatic-stress disability compensation benefits more than a dozen years ago, launching a prolonged process that has since carried him through myriad medical exams, administrative hearings and court proceedings.

“The court notes that (Sosa’s) claim has been pending since 2004 and has been remanded by the board three times for additional development,” Schoelen wrote, adding pointedly that she “regrets that this claim must be remanded to the board but expects that the secretary (of veterans affairs) will handle this claim in an expeditious manner.”

Judge Schoelen, in her 12-page ruling, called that assessment inadequate, in part because it failed to properly consider Sosa’s own account of what he’d experienced. Her decision bounces Sosa’s application back to the Board of Veterans Appeals, where a new review will have to race against Sosa’s decline.
read more here

Veteran Forced Out of PTSD-Rehab Committed Suicide At Alvin York VA

Friends: Soldier who took his life outside VA is tragic example of vets desperate for help
FOX 17 News
"My only three options now or go back to jail, be homeless or check myself into the psych ward they knew the extent of my problems with PTSD depression,” Toombs says in the video.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WZTV) -- Friends say a soldier who took his life before Thanksgiving is a tragic example of veterans desperate for help.

Authorities found the soldier's body on the Alvin York campus in Murfreesboro where he'd been recently discharged from a drug treatment program.

Veterans helping veterans as the Military Vets Motorcycle Club is camping for 48 hours.
read more here

From YouTube
My friend John Toombs last testament before he committed suicide after the VA refused to help him. Justice For Toombs

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sister Begs For Help While Vietnam Veteran Brother Sits in Jail With PTSD

Veterans 911: What’s Being Done to Combat Suicide After Service
FOX 40 News
NOVEMBER 23, 2016
On July 28, right after he was released from Doctors Behavioral Health Center in Modesto, Scott went to Costco. He was shot by an off-duty police officer after lunging at him with a knife, according to investigators.
He survived and is now in the Stanislaus County Jail.
It's a bond that began when they were kids, growing even stronger as they got older. Suzanne Perez said she tried everything.

"It was very hard. I wanted to make him better,” she said.

As the big sister, she felt a sense of responsibility.

“It was out of my control, and that was hard to accept,” Perez said.

Her brother, Gary Scott, is a Vietnam veteran who she said is battling severe depression and early signs of multiple sclerosis.

“He felt like it was hopeless, like nobody could help him. So he wanted to end his life,” Perez explained, fighting back tears.

She said she knew her brother was going to do something, but she didn’t imagine what was about to happen.
read more here

Army Veteran With PTSD Faces Deportation?

ABC 7 News
By Evelyn Holmes
Thursday, November 24, 2016
"He offered his life for this country for this nation and he has a right to live in the country that he fought for," said Miguel Perez, Sr.
CHICAGO (WLS) -- An Army veteran who served two tours of duty could be deported as soon as next week.

On Thursday, his parents joined with members of Rainbow Push and called for help to keep their son here.

Miguel Perez, Sr., and his wife Espranza said they have a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving although their son, Gulf War veteran Miguel Perez, Jr., could be deported soon.

"It's very hard for us," said Esperanza Perez, Miguel's mother.

Perez is one of the thousands of so-called green card soldiers, undocumented immigrant men and women who served in the American military, but still face deportation.

Relatives say the 36-year-old has lived in the Chicago area most of his life and is father to a 18-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, who are both born U.S. citizens.

His family pleaded his case while attending the Rainbow Push Thanksgiving Day dinner for veterans, their families, the homeless and anyone else in need of a hot meal.
Miguel's parents said his troubles began after he returned home after completing two tours of duty overseas. They said after being diagnosed with PTSD, their son had a hard time finding a job.
read more here

OEF-OIF PTSD Veteran and Family Get New Home to Heal In

EXCHANGE: Veteran given a new house as he confronts PTSD
Belleville News Democrat
Marie Wilson
November 26, 2016
"I was in shock," Chobanov said, recalling his reaction to the news he'd be getting a debt-free house and a lot fewer financial worries. "I didn't have words for it at first."
ADVANCE FOR USE SATURDAY, NOV. 26, 2016, AND THEREAFTER - In this Oct. 6, 2016 photo, Army Spc.Tony Chobanov, who served two tours of combat duty, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, is seen with his wife Abby, right, and their children, from left, Olivia, 6, Milan, 8,and Faith,11, in Lisle, Ill. Chobanov can't wait to get his family into their new home. They will be a recipient of a new house to be built by a charity by an Arlington Heights-based nonprofit called 'A Soldier's Journey Home' with help from District 214 high school students. Daily Herald, via AP Paul Michna

The burden of spending roughly half his family's income on rent isn't even lifted yet, but Army Spc. Tony Chobanov of Naperville already feels better.

He's been working on getting better for the past two years, and this most recent step is proving a giant help.

An Arlington Heights-based nonprofit called A Soldier's Journey Home chose Chobanov, his wife, Abbey, and their three children as the 2017 recipients of a new house, built free for the family with donated materials and labor. The house, on 1.3 acres in Spring Grove donated by First Midwest Bank, should be complete by next June - just in time for the family's lease on a house near Abbey's parents in Lisle to expire at the end of the month.
Chobanov, 32, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury stemming from his four years in the Army, which took him through two tours of combat duty - one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
read more here

Native American Veteran: “As a soldier, it's our duty to protect the people of this country."

New Mexican veteran heading back to Standing Rock
KOB 4 News
Joy Wang
November 25, 2016

Protesters aren't taking any holiday breaks as they continue demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

There are a number of New Mexicans up at Standing Rock to help fight for that cause.

Many, including New Mexican and Veteran Jason Joe, are saying what's happening up there is unconstitutional

Joe was in Iraq about ten years ago. Joe says he sees a lot of similarities with what’s happening in North Dakota and what happened while he was in the military.

He says it's his duty as a veteran and an American to protect this land.

In September, Joe traveled 16 hours with his girlfriend from New Mexico to North Dakota.

“I am a Native American Veteran,” said Joe. “As a soldier, it's our duty to protect the people of this country. I took an oath just like many of my brothers and sisters took that oath.”
read more here

Navy Veterans Help Others Ride "One More Wave"

Surfing veterans ride the wave to recovery
San Diego Union Tribune
Pam Kragen
November 22, 2016
“Getting people out of the hospital, off the meds, out of the dark place they’re in, treating them like the men they are and not talking to them like kids ... I mean, really, depending upon where some guys are at, it could save their life,” McFadden said.
One More Wave volunteers Micah Shanahan, left, Kyle Buckett and Alex West at Shanahan's Addict Surfboards in Sorrento Valley.
(Peggy Peattie / San Diego Union-Tribune)
Alex West and Kyle Buckett didn’t become friends until two years ago, but their lives have long followed parallel paths. Each of the San Diego men has served more than 15 years in the Navy, each completed more than a dozen deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and each is passionate about the healing power of surfing.

Together, they’re now the volunteer force behind One More Wave, an 18-month-old San Diego nonprofit that provides free custom-designed surfboards to wounded military veterans.

Over the past year-and-a-half, West, Buckett and surfboard shaper Micah Shanahan have delivered boards to 31 veterans who’ve lost limbs in combat, suffered disabling injuries or struggle with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Another 14 boards are now in the finishing stages at Shanahan’s Addict Surfboards in Sorrento Valley.
read more here

204,000 women are serving in the armed forces right now

Female service members find their identity through Ms. Veteran America
10TV CBS News
November 24, 2016
“When people look at my uniform, they see Major Boothe; they don’t see me as a wife, they don’t see me as a mother. We have to somehow erase a little bit of our identities as women in order to blend in and serve in the military.” Maj. Jas Boothe
More than 204,000 women are serving in the armed forces right now, making up nearly 16 percent of service members. When women retire from the military, they often don’t get the same treatment or access to services that men do. But an event featuring hundreds of active and retired military women is trying to change that.

Through poise, grace and service, the competition for Ms. Veteran America unites them all for a common mission, reports CBS News correspondent Dana Jacobson.

“When I was really struggling with PTSD and I just got out of the military, I felt a bit worthless,” Molly Mae Potter said.
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Fort Campbell Welcomes Home 101st Airborne from Iraq

Soldiers return home to spend Thanksgiving with families
ABC 3 News
Posted: Nov 24, 2016

WSIL -- This Thanksgiving, members of the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky can celebrate with their families after returning home from the battle to retake Mosul in Iraq.

Fort Campbell troops are greeted by no shortage of cheers after returning from a deployment in Iraq last week. Family and friends embrace these soldiers who spent nine grueling months training and advising Iraqi troops, under the command of Major General Gary Volesky.

Volesky says the 101st Airborne Division leaves the Middle East with no regrets.

"We said it was a marathon but we are going to sprint the whole way and they hit that tape sprinting so I couldn't be more proud of them," he said.

Their focus was on helping the Iraqis retake the key city of Mosul from Islamic State.

"The enablers we bring the fires and the advise assist and the training clearly are getting them where they need to be," said Volesky.

Much of the training from U.S. and coalition forces focused on Iraqi commanders.

"Leadership matters you can have the best unit, but if you don't have great leaders they won't be as effective," added Volesky.
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WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Friday, November 25, 2016

Election is Over But Will We Hold Them Accountable?

What Do Veterans Hope For?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 25, 2016

In 2008, when most of the bad reports of how our veterans were being failed by members of Congress came out, it was stunning. That is, stunning for some folks. The rest of us had been living with all the problems for decades. 

To this day, there is absolutely no excuse for any disabled veteran to be unaware of all of this. Civilians, sure they have an excuse, considering they have better things to do than think about veterans, especially when they are too busy complaining about how "offended" they are over tiny little things. No time to care about the men and women risking their lives to make sure they keep those rights of free speech and the right to protest.

The thing is, with all the social media capabilities the younger veterans have in the palm of their hands, they seem more interested in what is happening to them right now than what has been happening all along.

Veterans are mostly Republican, according to reports, yet they are fast becoming more Independent than Democratic.

The stunner came when Military Times delivered poll results with this message to the would-be next Commander-in-Chief
In a new survey of American military personnel, Donald Trump emerged as active-duty service members' preference to become the next U.S. president, topping Hillary Clinton by more than a 2-to-1 margin. However, in the latest Military Times election survey, more than one in five troops said they’d rather not vote in November if they have to choose between just those two candidates.

Most of us figured out a long time ago, that it really doesn't matter much which party controls what because historically, both have been bad for veterans. This is something I wrote back in 2008 when there was another Presidential election with politicians yet again, making promises they didn't keep. Oh, no, this isn't just a slam against those seeking the highest office, but against all politicians we elected, then neglected to hold them accountable.
With all the hearings by the House and the Senate, why is there so little being done to correct these problems while the veterans are suffering? Good motives and plans do not put food on their table or a roof over their heads. Building new hospitals does not take care of the veterans facing wanting to end their lives today or having to deal with having their wound go untreated. Can't they understand that these veterans need help yesterday? They still need to work on the future but they have to take care of today first!
Not much has changed. Back then John McCain was talking about how bad the VA was and the need to privatize it instead of demanding the Congress be held accountable for fixing it. After all, since they have had since 1946, you'd think everything would be running perfectly because veterans like him deserved nothing less. Ya, right!

We need to relieve the burden on the VA from routine health care,” McCain told the National Forum on Disability Issues last month. “If you have a routine health care need, take it wherever you want, whatever doctor or health care provider and get the treatment you need, while we at the VA focus our attention, our care, our love, on these grievous wounds of war.”
The Republican senator argues that giving veterans a VA card that they can use at private doctors would shorten the long wait times many veterans face in seeing government doctors, who are nearly universally viewed as among the best in the world.
McCain and veterans groups aren’t always on the same page and he was yet again pushing for it. Guess it didn't matter that only about 20% of our veterans go to the VA, as it is, while the majority are in fact seeing private healthcare providers.
While about 40 percent of veterans get some health care from the VA, only about 20 percent of all veterans rely totally on the VA, according to a 2015 government survey of health and health care use.
Let that sink in for a minute.  Only 20%, yet every session of Congress, and every President elected, has promised to do the right thing for our veterans. We noticed. For the younger veterans, it is time you got caught up to what we've been living with for decades. This veteran was waiting 17 years.
POST FALLS, Idaho - It was a shocking scene outside a large church in Post Falls Sunday as hundreds of worshipers were gathered at Real Life Ministries, when a Gulf War veteran took his own life right outside the church doors. 59-year-old Dale Belieu had suffered from debilitating illness for years and spoke out against the lack of help from the Veteran's Administration.
Here are a few more reports to get you more informed on how things got so bad for your generation.
VBA's pending compensation and claims backlog stood at 816,211 as of January 2008, up 188,781 since 2004, said Kerry Baker, associate legislative director of the Disabled Veterans of America, during a Wednesday hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will treat about 333,000 sick and injured veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2009, according to VA statistics released last week. That number is a 14 percent increase over this year's casualty total. Yet, despite the Bush administration's promises to prioritize the VA even as other domestic departments' funds are cut, its annual budget request for next year places more financial burdens than ever on many returning soldiers.
Now what are you going to do about it? Will you hold the folks you just sent into office accountable or, will you once again, find it regrettable you didn't pay attention all along?

DAV Chapter 1 Delivers Gift Cards to Disabled Veterans

Disabled American Veterans present gift cards to VA Medical Center
Cranston Herald
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2016
DISABLED AMERICAN VETS SUPPORT VA: From left to right are Raymond Denisewich, John S. Hill Sr., Donna Russillo, Kenneth R. DiLeone, Alfred “Gus” Pagel, Charles R. “Chuck” Palumbo Sr., Debra Veasey, Pasco R. “Pat” Rinaldi and Joseph R. Gagner.
Continuing their long standing tradition of supporting Veterans and their families, members of the Giovanni Folcarelli Chapter #1 Disabled American Veterans visited the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) to make their annual holiday season donation. Meeting with Donna Russillo, Chief of Voluntary Services for the Providence VAMC and Debra Veasey, Program Support Assistant, members of Chapter #1 made a presentation of $1,000.00 in Stop and Shop and $1,000.00 in Best Buy gift cards.

These cards will be given to Veterans and their families during the holiday season. According to Donna Russillo, many of the cards will find their way to the medical centers annual giving tree. While the Stop and Shop cards are generally focused on the food needs of Veteran families, the Best Buy cards are specifically directed to the holiday needs of the teenage children of Veterans who, according to Donna Russillo, are routinely forgotten during the holiday season. Members conducted fundraising events during this year to raise money for this annual donation and for other programs supporting the needs of Veterans. 

The most recognized fundraising symbol used was the little blue Forget-Me-Not flower, first introduced to the public by the Disabled American Veterans on February 24, 1926 as a symbol commemorating those who had fallen in war. This small flower means simply Please don't forget me. Members of the DAV believe that the blue Forget-Me-Not flower is an appropriate symbol of remembrance and a reminder of the service and sacrifice made by Veterans and their families that make our American way of life possible.
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UK: Afghanistan Veteran Wins Q Fever Disability Claim

Afghanistan veteran wins landmark Q fever compensation claim
The Guardian
Owen Bowcott
November 24, 2016

Ruling may pave way for MoD payouts to others affected by illness that left ex-Royal Marine Phillip Eaglesham in wheelchair
Phillip Eaglesham competed for Ireland in the Rio Paralympics.
Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile via Getty Images
An Afghanistan war veteran who contracted Q fever has won a landmark compensation claim against the Ministry of Defence that could pave the way for payouts to others.

Phillip Eaglesham, a former Royal Marine commando corporal, contracted the chronic condition two days before he was due to return home from a tour of duty in 2010.

He developed flu-like symptoms, fatigue and sweating, which developed into muscular weakness and he is now in a wheelchair.

Eaglesham, 35, who lives with his wife and children in Taunton, Somerset, is likely to receive a significant sum in damages, possibly more than £1m. He regularly requires care to help him with needs as basic as brushing his teeth.

Q fever, caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii, is spread when spores from animals are dispersed by the wind. It was first identified in Australia in the 1930s.

Eaglesham’s lawyers argued that the MoD should have known that the infection was present in southern Afghanistan and that it could have prevented it causing serious illness.
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Fort Hood Soldier Found Dead at Home

Army identifies Fort Hood soldier found dead at home
Army Times
By: Charlsy Panzino
November 21, 2016

A Fort Hood soldier who was found unresponsive in his off-post home on Friday has been identified.

Officials at the Texas post said Spc. Korey Deonte James died in Killeen, Texas, according to an Army press release.

The 21-year-old had been assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood since January. He had served on active duty since August 2014 as a food service specialist, according to the release.
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