How many veterans do we have to lose before we actually do better?
February 4, 2020
Why do I still believe we will do the right thing to stop men and women, who risked their lives to save others, will finally risk their pride to save themselves? Because I have seen it happen too often to dismiss what is possible.
Air Force Suicides went up last year. "The U.S. Air Force says 137 airmen across the active duty, Guard and Reserve died by suicide in 2019, a 33% increase over the previous year." The annual report released last year for 2018, showed that suicides have gone up to the highest on record.
Col. Michael A. Miller, commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, reportedly commented that "killing yourself is a chickenshit way to go" during a 1.2 mile "resiliency day" run with personnel...The problem is, leaders like him are part of the problem itself! "Marine colonel calls suicide ‘shameful,' cites ‘godless age’ and calls on Marines to ‘read some scripture’"
Since the start of Gen. Robert Neller’s tenure as commandant in 2015, nearly 224 Marines have ended their own lives. That’s more Marines than an entire rifle company, he noted in a recent two-page letter on mental wellness.Those messages have been delivered at the same time the Department of Defense has been publicly saying the troops need to seek help without fear.... and kicking out far too many who needed help, the wrong message has gotten through.
In 2018, 354 active and reserve Marines attempted suicide, and 77 Marines died, numbers that are greater, Neller wrote “than any previous year recorded."
In his letter to the entire Corps, posted via Twitter in May, Neller called on Marines to address “collective mental wellness," spiritual fitness and to seek help to combat the suicide epidemic across the Corps.
But they are not alone with that type of thinking. It has been happening for decades because "leaders" refuse to learn about what PTSD is and what it does. They cannot accept that the men and women they command valued the lives of others so much so, they were willing to die for their sake, but could not risk their pride to admit they needed help to stay alive. These "leaders" cannot even recognized they have supported silence instead of encouraging service members to #BreakTheSilence so they can heal the wound of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
We should know the end of this month how many were discharged without honoring their service.
Now, according to court documents, the timeline for the documents to again be visible is clear: at least 90 percent of the pre-April 2019 Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard decisions will be reposted on the website by Jan. 31, as will all Army decisions from 2009 to April 2019. By Feb. 14, the remaining Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard decisions will be reposted, and by Feb. 28, all Army decisions prior to 2009 will be reposted.
And by March 31, the services, including the Coast Guard, will repost all decisions through Dec. 31, 2019.
But I do still believe that one day, we will arrive at a time and place where no one will ever be ashamed of PTSD, especially when it was caused by their heroism. I believe because of these leaders.
Commandant Gen. Robert Neller
"Marines are in a fight to save their fellow comrades, and they must approach that fight with the same intensity they apply to other battles," he added. In the nearly four years Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has led the Marine Corps, the service has lost a rifle company-worth of Marines to suicide, and he says it's time to have a frank conversation about what's causing that.
"Let me be clear up front, there is zero shame in admitting one's struggles in life -- trauma, shame, guilt or uncertainty about the future -- and asking for help," he said in a two-page letter about mental illness addressed to Marines, sailors and their families.
Blumenthal to bring uncle of Marine who committed suicide to State of the Union
By Julia Bergman Day staff writer
February 03. 2020
"Our nation has abjectly failed to provide the care our heroes need to fight these invisible wounds — mental health services to diagnose and treat them effectively. The loss of Tyler Reeb as well as his courage and strength should inspire us to do better." U.S. Sen. Richard BlumenthalThe uncle of a Marine Staff Sergeant Tyler Reeb, who died by suicide last fall October following multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be the guest of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., at the State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Tyler Reeb, a decorated Marine Corps sniper who grew up in New Canaan, died in October. He led more than 100 combat missions against the Taliban, according to a news release from Blumenthal's office. His uncle, Christopher Reeb of Weston, will represent the family at the State of the Union.
"Our nation has abjectly failed to provide the care our heroes need to fight these invisible wounds — mental health services to diagnose and treat them effectively," Blumenthal said in a statement. "The loss of Tyler Reeb as well as his courage and strength should inspire us to do better."
Last week, the U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee approved legislation, authored by Blumenthal, that would establish targets to evaluate the efficacy of the VA's mental health and suicide prevention outreach campaigns and would create a process to oversee these campaigns.
The proposal adopts several recommendations from a Government Accountability Office report publicly released in December 2018, which found the VA's suicide prevention outreach activities had "dropped off in 2017 and 2018, and the office responsible for these activities lacked consistent leadership."
read it here
When you read about Tyler Reeb in days to come, think about what you just learned and then ask yourself what you can do to deliver the message to others, that Tyler Reeb should have heard.