Thursday, May 31, 2018

Why did reporters ignore such a massive failure?

The Ugly Truth About Memorial Day
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 31, 2018

Why did reporters ignore such a massive failure?

It seems as if the American public is only paying attention to what they are told by members of the media pretending that suicides tied to military service is important. We missed the ugly truth about how many should have survived what our government did and what reporters ignored. 

The truth is, none of them have paid attention. We read about the "number" of veterans they want us to believe are committing suicide every day, but they do not want us to look at the facts.

We hear about members of the military committing suicide, in our local papers or among social media sites. What we do not get, is a true idea of exactly how many are being ignored...unless you actually know where to look.

This is six years of the Department of Defense Suicide Report that shows after all of the "training" in prevention, publicity on "efforts" by members of Congress to "prevent" suicides within the military and in the veterans community, all the money spent, all of the "awareness" raised, this is the result of all of it.

Department of Defense Quarterly Suicide Report

Now compare that to how many were killed in Afghanistan 

This is the one topic that should cross over political lines but we failed to see this massive failure was happening and no one did anything about it!

Too many are gone and we cannot bring them back. All we can do is hold all of our politicians accountable so that next Memorial Day we will not have more graves filled because of service than combat itself!

When your member of Congress talks about the Bills they wrote to "address" suicides, remember the deadly results after they "did" something without ever figuring out what the hell they needed to do!

By the way, I tried to do something about making people aware of what was going on back in 2007!

Kevin Williams adapted from citizen to solider, but not the other way around

Basildon army veteran sent to Iraq on 18th birthday killed himself after battling with PTSD
Essex Live
James Gregory
31 MAY 2018
He struggled to adapt to civilian life and was homeless for a period
A former soldier deployed to Iraq on his 18th birthday killed himself after a long battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an inquest heard.

Kevin Williams, 29, was found hanging by police in his home at Waterville Drive, Basildon, on March 18.
He was the youngest rifleman to ever to serve in Iraq and was deployed on his 18th birthday in November 2006 as part of the now defunct Royal Green Jackets, going on to fight in Basra as part of the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles.

But after leaving the army, he found it difficult to adapt to civilian life and took his own life.
read more here

Newborn daughter embraced by love from "brothers"

Newborn daughter of soldier killed in Afghanistan photographed with fellow soldiers
KENS 5 News
Author: Meilin Tompkins
May 31, 2018
"No matter where the army takes them all, I will be able to show Christian how they all came together for her."

FAYETTEVILLE, NC -- A photo of a newborn baby photographed with soldiers in North Carolina is quickly going viral on Facebook.

Britt Harris was ecstatic when she learned she was pregnant back in October. Her husband, SPC Christopher Harris, was just deployed to Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, Harris would never get to meet his daughter. He was killed in a suicide bombing just a week after he learned of the pregnancy.
read more here

If these pictures do not bring a tear to your eye....

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Time to put suicide awareness groups out of business

Help veterans stay alive awareness 
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 30, 2018

I read an article early this morning that stuck with me especially when I saw this adorable face!

Deana Martorella Orellana, joined the Marines.
"Then, in 2010, she deployed to a particularly combat-torn part of Helmand Province in Afghanistan." 
She survived the deployment and hardships, risking her life for the sake of those she served with, but part of it came back with her according to Battling Depression And Suicide Among Female Veterans on NPR May 29, 2018
"After she returned to North Carolina in 2013, her rental home burned down, and a man she knew was charged with arson. She wasn't home, but the incident shook her."
A few months after being discharged, came this "transition" after being trained to serve, tested by Afghanistan, and above all, trained to be "resilient" according to the Department of Defense.

"But just hours after the VA appointment, Deana asked a friend to drop her at the house where she had lived with her boyfriend, who wasn't home. She went in the bedroom and retrieved a .45-caliber handgun." 
Since 2009, every member of the military had received "resilience" training to make them "mentally tough."

With all the groups out there raising awareness about veterans taking their own lives, why have they not changed the outcome? They use only the number that will get them the most attention from a report they failed to read, or even take seriously enough to want to make a difference.

Actually, it seems as if they have done more harm than good.

"The suicide rate for female veterans has soared 85 percent in recent years, leading the military, VA and advocacy groups to try new ways to improve women's mental health care during and after service."
The military trained them, then refused to change when the result was higher suicides while the number of enlisted went down.

And no one was put out of business for failing to come up with something that would actually help them survive surviving.

No one was put out of business raising awareness for something they do not understand, lying about "making a difference" and not even bothering to address the highest percentage of veterans committing suicide, at least the ones they know about, and that is veterans over the age of 50!

No news source has been put out of business for covering these people, spreading the lie of how many veterans decided to die or even attempt to ask questions. Questions like why these groups need the money, what they are doing with the money or even why they deserve any of it considering they have not proven anything to anyone.

The really puzzling thing is, if they are making their living off talking about veterans killing themselves, then if they lived, these groups would be out of business and their income would vanish.

Isn't it time we actually paid attention to these facts?

If veterans live, heal and help each other, I may actually get to retire after 36 years and have time to watch TV after working for a paycheck on my day job!

You can start by actually reading the reports they didn't bother with.

VA SUICIDE REPORT 2012 Limited data from just 21 states
VA SUICIDE REPORT 2016 Limited data because states like California and Illinois did not track military service on the death certificates until they passed legislation in 2017 to add it. 

Also all limited data because, anything less than honorable discharges, did not get counted. Veterans living in other countries were not counted.

In some states, if they were not deployed into combat, they were not counted.

In some states if they were in the National Guards and Reserves, deployed for humanitarian missions, they were not counted.

The factors go on and on, but as long as people are selling suicides, we're never, ever going to make enough of a difference to help veterans survive surviving service.

Now, if all that did not bother you enough, consider one more thing.

How is it that life mattered so much to every one of them, they were willing to die to save others, but their own life was not worth living?

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Bannister passed away

Coroner releases cause of death for Army general who died while on leave
Major General Jeffrey Bannister, 57, who was on transition leave in Lake Murray, died Sunday due to natural causes, coroner Margaret Fisher said.
Retiring Army general dies while on leave in South Carolina
Published: May 30, 2018

The Rome, Ga., native served in Iraq and led divisions at Ft. Carson, Colo. He commanded the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., from 2015 until May of last year. His time there included an 11-month deployment to Afghanistan.
An Army general died Sunday while on leave in South Carolina and his death is being investigated, according to a statement from Shaw Air Force Base.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Bannister, 57, was on the verge of retirement and on transition leave when he died at Lake Murray near Columbia, S.C., base officials told WIS-TV.

Bannister, who served in the Army for 34 years, was assigned to Shaw as a special project officer for the Chief of Staff of the Army, the report said.
read more here

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Retired Military Working Dogs received Medal of Courage

These four military dogs just received the nation’s highest honor
Military Times
By: Charlsy Panzino
9 minutes ago

Four veterans were honored with Medal of Courage awards on Capitol Hill on May 22.
Army veteran Dennis Dow with Jag, from left, Marine veteran Kevin Zuniga with Taker, Air Force veteran Micah Jones with Summer and Taba, who was adopted by a former K-9 police dog handler and his family. (American Humane)

They didn’t give any speeches, but not just because they were humble — the four vets are retired military working dogs.

The American Humane Lois Pope K-9 Medal of Courage is the highest honor for military dogs that displayed extraordinary valor and service to their country.

“These remarkable dogs have given us their best,” veterans advocate Lois Pope said at the ceremony. “They have put their own lives on the line to protect us, to defend us, and to save us.”
read more here

Man arrested for murder of missing veteran Stan Norman

Friendship, torture and murder - military veteran accused of killing another vet ABC 13 News
Those in the American Legion Riders motorcycle group are stunned by the details of Norman's murder and that a fellow veteran and rider may have done it.
The two were seen drinking together at a bar the night the murder took place.

Suspect arrested for murder of missing Vietnam veteran Stan Norman
The Union
Liz Kellar
May 27, 2018

On Sunday night, law enforcement arrested Sean Bryant — the man last seen with missing veteran Stan Norman — for his murder.

Bryant has been in custody in county jail since mid-May, when he was arrested at a residence on Sadie D Drive in Cascade Shores. At the time, Bryant, 51, was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize and inflicting corporal injury, all felonies.

After human bones were discovered in a burn pile on the property, and after interviews with witnesses, Bryant was re-booked on charges of murder and torture, and likely will be arraigned Tuesday in Nevada County Superior Court.

Norman was last seen after he went with friends to McGee's in Nevada City April 14 and was positively identified at Bonanza Market in Nevada City that night. He then reportedly went to Bryant's home in Grass Valley. No one reported seeing him since the early hours of April 15.
read more here

Sending disabled veterans away from the VA is not good for them

If you still think sending disabled veterans away from the VA is good for them, think again. After all, they should never, ever be treated like the rest of us. Especially when the same politicians tell us how lousy our healthcare system is!

(Gee, wonder why they forget about that part?)

Viewpoints: In Commitment To Veterans’ Special Needs, Be Wary Of Using Private Doctors

Editorial pages focus on these and other health care issues.
Boston Globe: For Many Vets, The War Goes OnIn the course of my active military career, I had troops under my command on three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. I have lost more of my soldiers to suicide than I lost in combat. That may sound shocking to you — it is shocking to me. But I have yet to meet a veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan who doesn’t know someone who took their own life. That is staggering. I can recite the numbers. An estimated 20 veterans commit suicide every day, losses that are piled upon the nearly 7,000 US troops that have been killed in our ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Jack Hammond, 5/28)

Eddison Hermond National Guardsman and Air Force Veteran found

National Guard member, Air Force veteran found dead in Patapsco River, police say
Stephen Pimpo Jr
May 29, 2018

Eddison Hermond. (Photo, Howard County Police)

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (ABC7) — The body of the Air Force veteran and National Guard member who went missing during Sunday's floods, was found in the Patapsco River Tuesday, according to authorities.

Howard County Police say searchers found the body of 39-year-old Eddison Hermond in the river just across the Baltimore County line.
read more here

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day, we must commit to honoring those who died BY PAYING ATTENTION

Memorial Day Omission Mission
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 28, 2018

Well, here is something you do not see everyday...just almost all of them. Someone decided that attacking the VA on Memorial Day, passing it off as factual, just got attention for omission mission.

Here is a lesson on how history does not begin when someone decides to pay attention to it.

The title of the opinion piece I just read is,
Memorial Day 2018 — let's remember those who died as a result of VA's lack of accountability
but you cannot have accountability unless you actually know what that is and how long veterans have been waiting for it!

Every Memorial Day, our news and social media channels are filled with images of heroic veterans, reminding us that “all gave some, but some gave all.” Typically, when we are honoring those who died in service to our country, we conjure up images of soldiers who died nobly on the battlefield, taking their last breath while shots blaze and bombs go off all-around them.

However, this Memorial Day, we must commit to honoring those who died for their country, albeit in a much less glamorous and unnecessary way — those who died as a result of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ lack of accountability.

By now, the VA’s woes since the patient wait-time scandal of 2014 first broke have been well-documented, including the fact that as many as hundreds of thousands of veterans have died as a result of inability to access VA care. From the current drama over the appointment of a new Secretary to Congress’s cold feet on choice and caregiver expansion legislation (the latter of which looks like it will soon be remedied), veterans issues have enjoyed, albeit somewhat reluctantly, a top spot in the Trump administration’s list of more here

"...patient wait-time scandal of 2014" seriously may have been the only time this person paid any attention to what has been going on since men and, yes, even women returned to their homes after the Revolutionary War! 

I did not plan on spending Memorial Day actually getting people to remember the facts. Looks like I have to yet again. This article is a joke! And so is every other one trying to make it seem like any of this is new to prove a political point.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I think that all politicians should apologize!

January 2008
600,000 in the backlog

This is from February of 2008 reported by Hope Yen for the Associated Press. It not only shows how members of Congress were asking for accountability, they were also acting as if they cared.
Peake wants to reduce wait times from roughly 180 days to 145 days by the start of next year. He cited aggressive efforts to hire staff, noting the VA will have 3,100 new staff by 2009. VA also is working to get greater online access to Pentagon medical information that he said will allow staff to process claims faster and move toward a system of electronic filing of claims.
Electronic filing of claims...but veterans are still waiting for that to happen efficiently. 

Ten years later we have this piece of news.
VA inks $10 billion contract with Cerner for new electronic health record
Peake promised to “virtually eliminate” the current list of 69,000 veterans who have waited more than 30 days for an appointment to get VA medical care. Such long waits runs counter to department policy, and a group of Iraq war veterans have filed a lawsuit alleging undue delays. He said VA plans to open 64 new community-based outpatient clinics this year and 51 next year to improve access to health care in rural areas.
 Ten years later, we have this,
The $51 billion bill provides for a newly combined “community care” program that includes Choice and other VA programs of outside care. It could face escalating costs due to growing demand from veterans seeking the convenience of seeing private physicians. Some House Democrats warn the VA won’t be able to handle a growing price tag, putting the VA at risk of unexpected budget shortfalls next year. 
A veteran had waited for four years. And then there is this from GovExec in 2008
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.
Baker said VBA must have the funds necessary to upgrade its IT infrastructure to handle the backlog and a growing caseload. Anything short of an increase is "a recipe for failure," he added.
Carl Blake, national legislative director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, said VBA needed $121 million in its fiscal 2009 budget for its information technology. According to VA budget documents, VBA requested an IT budget of $109.6 million for its compensation and benefits programs, down $23.8 million from $133.4 million in 2008. VA requested an overall 2009 IT budget of $2.53 billion in 2009, up from $2.15 billion in fiscal 2008, with the largest portion earmarked for the Veterans Health Administration.
In June of 2009 it was proven that all that really did not mean much at all.
The VA's claims backlog, which includes all benefits claims and all appeals at the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Board of Veterans Appeals at VA, was 803,000 on Jan. 5, 2009. The backlog hit 915,000 on May 4, 2009, a staggering 14 percent increase in four months.
The issue has become so dire that veterans now wait an average of six months to receive disability benefits and as long as four years for their appeals to be heard in cases where their benefits were denied.
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said during a hearing in March that the VA is “almost criminally behind in processing claims.”
I could keep going on this with over 29,000 posts on this site, but I think you get the point now.

Politicians create veterans when they send them to fight our battles...then make them fight Congress to repay the debt. 

If anyone ever tells you that sending veterans into the private healthcare system the rest of us deal with is good for them, ask them why. Why would anyone ever think disabled veterans should be treated like the rest of us?

If anyone wants to blame one political party over another, ask them when they started to pay attention to what they do. Veterans have never had a VA that is able to take care of all the veterans Congress created because Congress failed them first!

They have had jurisdiction over how our veterans are treated since 1946! If it still sucks to be a veteran in this country, ask politicians why they never apologized to them!

As for veterans dying waiting for care, that is not as simple as some want to think it is. Most veterans do not use the VA until they get a diagnosis from a private doctor that ties the illness to service. Then, they go to the VA, expect to have their claim approved and treated, but never look at the long line already ahead of them.

But again, nothing new considering ten years ago there were 8,763 veterans died waiting for their claims to be approved.

Why do they wait? Most think the VA is for veterans who cannot work, some think the VA is terrible because of stories they have heard and others, well, they did not think they would ever need them. Some are still getting trapped in the system with years of waiting.

Watch this video I did a couple of years ago to get even more ticked off!

Korean War veteran dying wish, for others to get healing help

Korean war vet honored for his service just hours before his death
Marshall Independent
Jody Issackson
May 28, 2018

WOOD LAKE — Korean War veteran Harlan Schwerin was honored the morning of May 21 in his hospital bed at Avera Morningside Heights. Staff members presented him with a flag pin and a thank-you card for his service to country.
Later that day, Schwerin died at the age of 90, having been haunted by post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for much of his adult life.

Schwerin wasn’t one to seek out personal glory, his daughter Kay Wothe, said Thursday. However, he would want to encourage younger veterans to seek the help they need with PTSD, as he had years ago.

Back then, PTSD hadn’t been labeled yet, and it was unheard of to ask for help. People who did ask for help often carried a stigma about them because no one understood what they were going through, Wothe said.

“He would want to help other veterans get the help they deserve,” she said. “He wants younger veterans not to be stopped from getting the help they need and to increase awareness through education.”
read more here

Reporter focused on Vietnam veterans with PTSD and Agent Orange

On Memorial Day, this is a pleasure to post. A reporter actually did a fantastic job regarding our Vietnam veterans.  
Sherry Barkas, The Desert Sun, wrote 'I need help.' Vietnam veteran in Palm Springs had been living for decades with PTSD and Agent Orange exposure
A comprehensive study of veteran suicide rates was released in 2016 by the Department of Veterans Affairs and showed that, on average, 20 veterans a day died from suicide in 2014. While it doesn’t break down results by wars, approximately 65 percent were 50 and older – which would include those who served in Vietnam and Korea.
David Carden served as a medic in Vietnam after volunteering for the draft in 1968. (Photo: Courtesy Photo)
The dates are right too,
By choosing the Army, Carden knew he would wind up on the battlefield where he said the lifespan of an infantryman was 30 to 60 days, but enlisting in the Navy or Air Force meant four years of service vs. two.

The Vietnam War started in November 1955. The U.S. had ships off the gulf in 1964 with the first ground troops sent in on March 8, 1965, landing in Da Nang. Direct U.S. military involvement ended on Aug. 15, 1973, though the war continued until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.

Those who served came home to a cold reception from a nation angered by U.S. involvement in the war – a far cry from the “Welcome Home” banners and parades that greeted veterans of wars before and since Vietnam.

And this is yet another important part to remember,
Carden recalled 1990 and the first Gulf War under President George H.W. Bush, when people were hanging yellow ribbons in trees.

“I remember driving through a neighborhood in Long Beach and they had all these yellow ribbons hung on both sides of the street with big yellow bows, and I thought they’re having a big neighborhood party. Then I went to another neighborhood and there were more of them.

“I was listening to the radio and they were saying the American public tied these ribbons around the trees for the Gulf War guys to come home safely” and as an expression of gratitude, Carden said.

“I pulled the car over and I started crying. I said, ‘What about me? What about us?’ We didn’t get this kind of reception, and I always resented that,” he recalled.

At the time, the VA and government weren’t helpful to the Vietnam vets either, he said.

“I never talked about the war. All of my pain and anxiety – PTSD issues – were just kept inside,” he said.
Please read more from the above link.

PBS National Memorial Day Concert Had Tribute to Military Women

PBS National Memorial Day Concert

Tribute to military women

Allison Janney pays tribute to Women in Service on the 2018 National Memorial Day Concert

And yes, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker being the only woman to wear the Medal of Honor, was mentioned. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day does not have to include you next time

Leaving Pain Behind You
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 27, 2018 
Commuter: Drives down same road without change.
Sightseer: Just looking at what others found.
Adventurer: Drives down new road to see where it goes.
Pioneer: Makes the roads everyone else takes.
What type of driver are you? Do you look forward to the next part of your journey, or do you constantly look in the rear view mirror?

If you escaped death in the service of others, why wonder where it is now? Why think that the others were worth saving, but you are not? Why look at things through the darkness surrounding you as if there is all there is?

It depends on where your light source is.

These pictures were taken at Glen Haven Memorial Park, at the same time, with the same camera and the same settings. 

There are things we see, then, there are things we just imagine. You may imagine that the pain you feel right now is all there is. Do you want to see things with a different light source?

Then look at the reasons you were willing to die for others to find the reason to live for yourself.
read more here

Life and death struggle for veterans, lost on reporters

PTSD potentially a life and death struggle for veterans
Lima Ohio News
By Bryan Reynolds
MAY 26, 2018
Veterans with PTSD face second life and death struggle

LIMA — Barney Hovest of Pandora last saw his son alive on Easter 2016 while driving him home to Chicago after spending the holiday in Ohio.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hovest had served two tours of duty in Iraq with the Army Rangers 82nd Airborne from 2002 to 2003 and in 2006. He returned home from his first tour showing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Barney Novest holds a photograph of his son Benjamin with his jacket and flag. Benjamin was an Army Ranger in the Iraq war that suffered from PTSD and took his life in 2016.
“He was different when he came home after his first tour,” his father said. “We talked on the way home and he actually talked about committing suicide. And I said, ‘You know you can’t do that. That would just kill us all.’ He goes, ‘I know, I just started going to this veterans group and talking.’ I really thought, ‘Finally, he’s talking to somebody at least.’”

On June 5, 2016, Hovest received the call no parent should ever receive. His son had turned his suicidal thoughts into action. After 13 years of dealing with PTSD, Benjamin Hovest wrote letters to each family member, got the military paperwork together his family would need for organizing a funeral, walked behind the place he was living and shot himself in a deserted alley.

“I was shocked because I thought he just sounded like he was different. He’s finally getting some help talking to these other vets,” Hovest said. “I don’t know what happened that day or that night. It’s a phone call I’d rather
not ever get again.”
read more here

Did you notice the date? How is it that the press still settles for what they think is happening instead of ever researching how it got worse than they can imagine?

Isn't that what they are supposed to be doing?

This is Memorial Day weekend, and tomorrow is the official day we are supposed to be honoring the lives lost keeping this nation free.

Some died in combat and others died because of it. It is for them we have got to get this right...and long overdue.

'He Had A Very Sad Heart': This Memorial Day, Remembering The Overlooked Heroes on NPR seemed like a good story to read.
In 2012, Army Spc. Robert Joseph Allen took his own life while serving in the U.S. military. At the time, the suicide rate for active-duty troops was at its highest ever, with more soldiers dying from suicide than in combat. Since then a law enacted in 2014 requires all service members to undergo one-on-one mental health screenings once a year and there's been growing attention to reducing military suicide.
It looks like NPR failed to read this report before doing this story. Department of Defense Quarterly Suicide Report which shows that after the "law was enacted in 2014, it did no good at all. Keep in mind that as the number of suicide remained about the same, the number of enlisted went down.

The "training" to prevent suicides started over a decade ago and the "law" that said they had to have mental health screenings did not happen. All NPR had to do is review the videos on C Span during hearings with the Committees and hear Generals say they were not doing "post" deployment screenings and the Senators held none of them accountable for ignore the law.

Maybe if all the reporters paid attention all along there would be fewer veterans in their graves instead of in their homes.

Veteran Peer Support and Healing Waters

Peer programs key to helping vets move forward
Metro Daily News
By Jeff Malachowski
Daily News Staff May 27, 2018
Young, who spent 42 years in the National Guard, served for 24 months in Iraq and said there was heavy fighting during his second deployment, which took its toll. Young learned of Project Healing Waters while on a group hike with Manson and felt the companionship of his fellow veterans would help be a distraction from his PTSD.
SUDBURY — The tranquility of a peaceful spring evening at Josephine Pond is a far cry from the battlefields of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead of hearing the pop of gunfire, more than a dozen veterans last week listened to the birds chirp and traded stories as they cast their lines into the small pond behind the Wayside Inn in hopes of landing a trout - a welcome respite for some of America’s heroes.

“It’s very rewarding and uplifting,” said George Kincannon, a retired Army first sergeant.

A national program with small chapters across the country, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing brings together disabled veterans from all branches of the military twice a month for an evening of fly fishing and conversation that doubles as a form of rehabilitation. The organization is one of many aiming to ease the transition back to civilian life and help veterans deal with grief and loss they experienced while serving in combat.

“It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in an activity that needs your focus and not think about anything else,” said Bill Manson, program leader for Project Healing Waters’ Fitchburg chapter. “It’s something that pays dividends.”

Many of the close to 20 veterans that participate in the Fitchburg chapter suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Joe Young, a retired sergeant major with the Massachusetts National Guard, is one of those veterans. He said spending an evening fishing and socializing with his fellow veterans keeps his mind away from his memories of the battlefield during two deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2005.
read more here

Daughter says Paramedic Dad had no one to help him

When my father needed help, no one was there
Sydney Morning Herald
By Cidney Jenkins
27 May 2018

Many of us assume that the most traumatic part of a paramedic’s job is what they find when they respond to an emergency call. What many of us failure to consider is what happens to paramedics once they leave a scene.
For many of us, an experience requiring an ambulance is often limited to a single unfortunate event. An event that will never be repeated or forgotten. For our paramedics, this is their daily life. My father, Tony Jenkins, was one of them.

As I sat at my laptop a few weeks ago, fumbling around with words for my father’s eulogy, I was left questioning how it had come to this.

How could a man, who preached about his good fortune, his loving family and his remarkably happy life, be driven to take his own life, without warning?

How could a husband, father and friend who had never spent a day in bed leave the world that he had so openly enjoyed and loved every single day?

But the final hours of my father’s life were spent behind closed doors with incompetent and insensitive managers, whose response to my father’s plea for help was to drive him back to his station, where he was left to walk off into the street, by himself. The next morning, police and ambulance workers came to our house, to tell us they had found his body.
read more here

Saturday, May 26, 2018

UK Veterans Battle Bosses After Combat PTSD

Veterans battling PTSD are being sacked by heartless employers, top army officer claims
Portsmouth News UK
Tom Cotterill
May 26, 2018

TRAUMATISED veterans battling a silent war against mental health are still facing an uphill struggle against fearful employers, a decorated army officer has claimed.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Parker has hit out saying ex-soldiers, diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are still being penalised by employers. This comes despite a national drive for companies to sign up to the armed forces covenant, which is a pledge to offer fair treatment for military veterans and their families.

The retired officer – who was chief of staff of the 8,000-strong 7th Armoured Brigade in the Middle East during the Iraq War – said scores of troops were being sacked or pushed out of roles after admitting to their condition. Lt Col Parker, who grew up in Cowplain and is the chairman of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment Association – which looks after troops across the area – said things needed to change.

Speaking to The News, the nine-time combat veteran said: ‘There is clearly evidence that, although the public is very positive and say when asked they will support the military, it can be a very different story with employers.
‘The sad news is once employers find out their employees have PTSD or have had mental health issues in the past, very often we find people lose their jobs. ‘There seems to be a fear that someone will turn into an axe murderer. This certainly isn’t an issue.
read more here

Soldier attempted suicide, kicked out and saw hope killed

Veterans with offenses struggling to find jobs
The Associated Press
May 26, 2018
"You may as well be a felon when you're looking for a job," said Iraq War veteran Kristofer Goldsmith, who said the Army gave him a general discharge in 2007 because he attempted suicide.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Military veterans who were discharged for relatively minor offenses say they often can't get jobs, and they hope a recent warning to employers by the state of Connecticut will change that.
In this May 9, 2018 photo, Iraq War veteran Kristofer Goldsmith, sits in a campus park after his last final exam of the semester at Columbia University in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
The state's human-rights commission told employers last month that they could be breaking the law if they discriminate against veterans with some types of less-than-honorable discharges. Blanket policies against hiring such veterans could be discriminatory, the commission said, because the military has issued them disproportionately to black, Hispanic, gay and disabled veterans.

At least one other state, Illinois, already prohibits hiring discrimination based on a veteran's discharge status, advocates say, but Connecticut appears to be the first to base its decision on what it deems discrimination by the military.
read more here

We suck at risking anything for them

We build monuments to honor the lives lost of those who risked all for us. 

We have ceremonies talking about all they gave.

We have politicians making speeches about how much our heroes matter.

When do we finally acknowledge we suck at risking anything for them?

Police officers fight to save victims of crimes and accidents...and each other.

Firefighters fight to save victims of fires and accidents...and each other.

Reserve and National Guard members fight to recover victims and save survivors of natural disasters...and each other. 

Servicemembers risk their lives for strangers...and each other.
The price they pay for all they do for us will never be repaid by us. It haunts them and they forget they did not do their jobs alone, but fight this alone.

Friends do not let friends decide to give up. They fight for them when they cannot fight for themselves.

Friends to not let friends suffer in silence. They speak up for them.

Friends do not walk away because they do not know what to say. They find someone who does.

Friends do not let friends repeat lies. The number of these men and women, who did all they could to save lives of strangers, but not their own, is unknown. 

If you do not know why, then you have not bothered to take the time to research anything.

Stop spreading something that is simply not true. It is the least we can do.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Social media slip cracked drug ring in Air Force...guarding nukes?

U.S. troops guarding nuclear missiles took LSD, Air Force records show
CBS News
May 24, 2018
A slipup on social media by one airman enabled investigators to crack the drug ring at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in March 2016, details of which are reported here for the first time. Fourteen airmen were disciplined. Six of them were convicted in courts martial of LSD use or distribution or both.
WASHINGTON -- One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the vibrant colors. A third Air Force member admitted, "I absolutely just loved altering my mind." Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in America's arsenal who used LSD both on and off base.
Air Force records obtained by The Associated Press show they bought, distributed and used the hallucinogen LSD and other mind-altering illegal drugs as part of a ring that operated undetected for months on a highly secure military base in Wyoming. After investigators closed in, one airman deserted to Mexico.

"Although this sounds like something from a movie, it isn't," said Capt. Charles Grimsley, the lead prosecutor of one of several courts martial.
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