Showing posts with label Arkansas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arkansas. Show all posts

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fort Hood new General survived Vietnam War

New one-star is U.S. military's first general born in Vietnam
Military Times
By Michelle Tan
Staff writer
August 6, 2014
Brig. Gen. Viet Luong's family escaped Vietnam when he was 9, shortly before the fall of Saigon. He is the first Vietnamese-American general officer in the U.S. military's history. (Army)

“My family made the escape the day before the fall of Saigon,” he said. “We barely escaped.”

They were taken to the USS Hancock, a now-decommissioned Navy aircraft carrier, and eventually to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, which was set up to receive refugees from Vietnam.

Col. Viet Luong pinned on his first star during a ceremony Wednesday at Fort Hood, Texas, becoming the first Vietnamese-born general officer in the U.S. military.

Luong, the 1st Cavalry Division’s deputy commanding general for maneuver, and his family escaped Vietnam in 1975 as political refugees. The infantry officer and 1987 graduate of the University of Southern California has commanded a battalion of 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers in Iraq and led the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, the storied Rakkasans, into combat in Afghanistan.

“It’s a personal honor for me to be promoted to the rank of general officer, but I don’t want the promotion to be too much about me,” Luong told Army Times. “It’s a tribute to my soldiers and [noncommissioned officers], the folks who’ve worked to get me where I am.”

Luong said he is grateful for the opportunities granted to him as a U.S. citizen.

“It’s a testament to what this nation stands for, and her ideals, and the opportunities my family has gotten,” he said.
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

“He was a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.”

Soldier remembered for ‘indomitable spirit’
Fort Hood Sentinel
By Gloria Montgomery, WTB Public Affairs
MAY 15, 2014
WTB Soldiers render a final salute to Capt. Jeremy Linn during an April 30 memorial service at the 73rd Street Chapel. Linn, 33, died April 8 from a terminal illness.
Photo by Gloria Montgomery, WTB Public Affairs

Warrior Transition Brigade Soldiers, Family and friends celebrated the life of Capt. Jeremy Linn during a memorial ceremony April 30 at the 73rd Street Chapel.

Linn, who was assigned to Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit-Arkansas, died April 8 from a terminal illness.

“Captain Linn was an exemplary military police officer. He was a mission-first Soldier – a lethal, focused package of competence,” said Lt. Col. Roberto Marin, WTB’s executive officer. “Whether on dangerous missions on patrol in Iraq or on the mountains of Afghanistan, Linn was a leader to the core. He had an indomitable spirit.”

Linn’s company commander, Capt. Kanika Haynes, also praised Linn for his mission-first attitude.

“The challenges he faced were very difficult and tiresome, yet Capt. Linn remained positive and faced his challenges with strength and courage,” she said. “He was a model Soldier who lived the Army Values despite his condition,” adding that even in his sickness, he maintained his arms, his equipment and himself.

“He stood ready to deploy, engage and destroy the enemy in close combat,” she said. “He was a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.”
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Friday, May 16, 2014

Veteran’s suicide stuns family and friends

Veteran’s suicide stuns Hill Country family and friends
My San Antonio
Posted on May 15, 2014

His friends say that D.J. was the kindest person you’d ever want to know. That makes his death all the more difficult to bear.

“He went out of his way for everybody. He always put them first,” says Anne Robinson, President of the Texas Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America. Robinson is one of those mourning his loss.

Donald Charles Redden – D.J. was his nickname – was an Army veteran who seemed well-adjusted despite a spinal cord injury. He had his downtimes, according to Veronica Espinosa, the 32-year old girl friend with whom he planned to spend the rest of his life. But the 31-year old hid his troubles well, “sucking it up” like the good soldier he was.

“There were moments when he would share his emotions with me…but for the most part…he was a man’s man, you know, too tough to cry,” Espinosa says. She is still in tears every day.

D.J. was in the midst of a difficult divorce, Espinosa says. He hadn’t seen his kids in months. She also says he had “bad insomnia, PTSD, a traumatic brain injury and was 100 percent disabled.” Still, she says on most days he joked around and seemed okay.

She met him at her parents’ home in New Braunfels where she had moved after her own divorce. D.J. was a close friend of Espinosa’s father, Alvin Guerrero, who is also disabled. Guerrero is an Air Force veteran who was paralyzed from the waist down after an accident at a base in Blytheville, Arkansas where he was stationed from 1982 to 1984.

Espinosa said D.J. was always fun to be around. They were close in age and had so much in common. Shortly after they met, he moved into the guest house in her parent’s back yard. They saw each other every day.

“He was like a member of the family,” she says. ”I thought he was happy.” She believed he had long since won the toughest battle of his life – preventing his own suicide.

“Two years before, he had tried it. He said he would never do it again. He said he knew it was not the way out. It wasn’t the way to erase the pain,” she says through her tears.
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Hero After War from Kathleen "Costos" DiCesare on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Iraq Veteran-National Guardsman Died Saving Family During Tornado

Tornado Victims Were Dads and Daughters, Brothers and Sons
NBC News

The victims include an Iraq veteran and two young brothers. A widow and a father and two of his daughters.

The deadly tornadoes buffeting the South since Sunday have killed 34 people across six states. The storms may still bring more devastation, leaving behind not just a trail of destruction, but entire communities grieving.

Here is what we know about some of the victims:
Daniel Wassom, 31, Vilonia, Ark.

Wassom, a father of two daughters — Lorelei, 5, and Sydney, 7 — died Sunday sheltering his family from the tornado. The man who everybody called "Bud" was with his wife, Suzanne, and his girls in a hallway in the center of their home when a large beam came toward him, crushing him to death.

Wassom, who served in the Arkansas Air National Guard as a load master moving cargo in and out of planes and had been deployed to Iraq, died shielding Lorelei from the beam.
read more of their stories here

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tornadoes:16 people in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma died

'Chaos' reigns as deadly tornadoes slam several states
By Ed Payne, Joe Sutton and Devon Sayers
updated 5:19 AM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014

'It's chaos here," Vilonia mayor says
In Mayflower, a highway was littered with crushed and overturned vehicles
Emergency dispatcher: 'Please tell the public to stay away'

Mayflower, Arkansas (CNN) -- A brutal band of severe weather battered the central Plains and mid-South late Sunday, killing at least 16 people in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma.

Some of the worst damage was north of Little Rock, Arkansas, where reported tornadoes devastated the towns of Mayflower and Vilonia.

"It's chaos here," said Vilonia Mayor James Firestone. "Our downtown area seems like it's completely leveled."

The nightmare is all too familiar for the community of about 3,800 people. Another storm ransacked the town almost three years ago to the day and followed essentially the same path, the mayor said.

"There's a few buildings partially standing, but the amount of damage is tremendous," Firestone said Sunday.

"There's gas lines spewing. Of course, power lines down. Houses are just a pile of brick."
read more here

Monday, March 24, 2014

'Flat Stanley' home after decade in soldier's wallet

'Flat Stanley' home after decade in soldier's wallet
The Arizona Republic
Maria Polletta
March 24, 2014
PHOENIX -- "People don't write letters anymore," according to third-grade teacher Luella Wood.

But 10 years ago, in the painstaking scrawl of an 8-year-old, Alan Orduna did.

The Huntsville, Ark., boy, along with other students in Wood's class, penned a note to accompany a paper cut-out modeled after the title character in the popular children's book "Flat Stanley." After being smashed by a bulletin board in his sleep, the book's protagonist makes the most of his new 2-D state by mailing himself to friends.

Wood asked her students to send their Stanley cut-outs to relatives or friends, who would then take them on a journey and detail the characters' exploits in a letter back.

Alan didn't have a friend in mind — or at least not one who would take Stanley on an adventure worthy of a third-grader's imagination. So, Wood sent Alan's packet off to an Army unit stationed in Baghdad and asked Alan to wait.

Alan did wait, patiently, through the rest of the school year.

He waited through the rest of elementary school.

He waited so long that he forgot he was waiting.

Then, shortly before Veterans Day last year, the 17-year-old high-school senior was called into the library with the rest of his class.

"There were a lot of people surrounding the library, and I was like, 'What's going on?' " he said. "They called me over and said, 'Some soldier sent mail for you.' "

Stanley was home.
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Spiritual healing added to Arkansas PTSD Veterans treatment

Arkansas program helps vets connect with community via spiritual, mental treatment
All Voices
BY Mirjana Pantic
Jan 26, 2014

A community-based program in that began in 2009 in Arkansas is helping veterans with the tools and skills they need to reconnect with their local communities.

A Vietnam era marine, who just like many other vets has been disconnected from the military and hadn’t been in touch with the Veteran Affairs (VA), finally gets his life back in order. Four decades ago, he was a cook in Vietnam. Now he has a similar job – he cooks for a local prison in Arkansas. He is one of some 1,000 veterans who have participated in the VA/Clergy Partnership for Rural Veterans, a program established in Arkansas aimed at reintegrating veterans into the communities where they live.

“Being a part of one of our local partnership boards gave him a consistent sense of purpose over the last few years,” Steve Sullivan, the director of the VA/Clergy Partnership for Rural Veterans told Allvoices.

"His persona seemed almost resurrected when he was given an opportunity to cook breakfast for more than 100 service members on a drill weekend through one of our outreach events. Other veterans have become connected or re-connected to church life through the patience and veteran-friendly acceptance of one of our local churches.”

As it is widely known, many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and have difficulties getting their life back on track after coming home from war. To tackle this and other problems veterans face, a pilot project was launched in 2009 in El Dorado, Ark. What is unique about that project is that it combines spiritual care and mental treatment. Moreover, the project uses a community-based participatory method, so it is different at each site and tailored to the needs of every community.

According to Sullivan, the project brings changes in veterans’ lives in a few important ways. For example, there is a large number of Vietnam vets who have gotten access to the VA for the first time in more than 40 years. “They have lived in suspicion of VA services and were unaware of the nature of PTSD and its treatability. They are now getting to a time when they realize that they really have had problems all these years and that it’s okay to get help. Most of them come seeking benefits initially, but then receive mental health assessments and get the help they need,” he said.
read more here

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Back from Afghanistan Dad surprises son in remission from Leukemia

Dad returns from Afghanistan, surprises son in remission from Leukemia
THV11 News
Marlisa Goldsmith
Nov 7, 2013

JESSIEVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - Jessieville School District held a Veterans Day program to honor men and women are have served and are serving our country.

Fourth grade student, Jordan Lyle, was surprised to see his father show up on stage as he gave the introduction.

Lyle's father serves in the United States Air Force and just served a year in Afghanistan.
read more here

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Department of Defense investigating death of Marine

DOD Identifies Marine Casualty
July 16, 2013

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Benjamin W. Tuttle, 19, of Gentry, Ark., died July 14 at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center following a medical evacuation from the aircraft carrier the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) during a scheduled port visit in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. This incident is under investigation.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs employees sue state

Employees sue state Veterans Affairs department
Arkansas Times
Posted by Leslie Newell Peacock
Jun 17, 2013

Employees and former employees of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs have filed suit in Pulaski County Circuit Court alleging wage and hour violations at the now-closed Little Rock Veterans Home and the incident-plagued Fayetteville Veterans Home.

The numbers of people in the class could exceed 50, lawyer John Holleman said today. Holleman represents named plaintiffs Darlene Okeke, Debra Jackson, Rita Culberson, Patricia Burton, Sandra Stewart, Linda Hopkins and Peggy Johnson in the suit against ADVA. Their complaint, filed June 18 in Pulaski County Circuit Court, makes several allegations: That they were required to work off the clock and then falsify records to indicate they had not, were not always allowed to take promised compensatory time, and that comp time was awarded on an hour per hour basis rather than the hour and a half that is the rate of pay for overtime.

The complaint says the “policy of failing to compensate Plaintiffs for all hours worked” had been in place for more than three years and “is continuing and ongoing.” Plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages equal to the unpaid back wages at the overtime rates as well going back three years as well as “liquidated damages” (back pay).

Holleman said one of the plaintiffs, for example, had accumulated 400 hours of comp time but was not allowed to take a day off to go to her child’s wedding. Management was also deducting a half hour from pay for lunch, he said, though employees had to work through lunch to get their jobs done. He said the facilities were understaffed and “mismanaged.”
read more here

Friday, May 31, 2013

Arkansas flash flooding kills sheriff, sweeps away officer, official says

Arkansas flash flooding kills sheriff, sweeps away officer, official says
By John Newland and Elizabeth Chuck
NBC News
May 31, 2013

Severe thunderstorms packing high winds, heavy rains, large hail and possibly tornadoes threatened eastern Oklahoma and much of Arkansas Friday, where flash flooding killed a sheriff and left a wildlife officer missing.

The death of Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter was confirmed Friday by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which said it was still in search-and-rescue mode for missing wildlife officer Joel Campora.

Carpenter had been responding to a swift water rescue near the Fourche La Fave River in western Arkansas, close to the Oklahoma border, when flash floods overcame him, according to the Game and Fish Commission.

Thursday’s storms also injured nine.
read more here

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Accused Conway Cop Killer is Veteran with PTSD

Attorney: Accused Conway Cop Killer is Veteran with PTSD
By: KARK 4 News Updated: February 11, 2013

We've learned Monday the man accused of hitting and killing a Conway police officer is reportedly a war veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The suspects' attorney says his client is a celebrated war hero, one who was discharged from the military and is considered disabled for PTSD.
read more here

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Desperate Arkansas Veterans paying for help with claims

The DAV and VFW offer help for free!

Ark. Veterans Affairs: Don't pay for benefits assistance
Sep 26, 2012
Written by
Lindsey Tugman

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) issued a caution to veterans today in an effort to prevent them from paying for benefits assistance.

According to the agency, there is a growing trend of individuals and businesses charging veterans to help them apply for various VA benefits, including filing disability claims.

"There are veterans paying large sums of money for services that, because of their military service, should not cost them a dime," said ADVA Chief of Claims and Appeals Tony Gordon. "Navigating the benefits system can be challenging but our service officers are accredited to assist veterans in doing so, one-on-one and free of cost."
read more here

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Army admits mistake in Special Forces MOS OEF OIF veteran

Army Pulls Candidate's Mistakenly-Awarded SF MOS
by Bryant Jordan
Jul 04, 2012

The Army has revoked the Special Forces military occupational specialty of an Arkansas political candidate who claimed he served as a Green Beret in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kenneth Aden, a Democrat running against incumbent Rep. Steve Womack for Arkansas' 3rd District, has said in interviews he served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Green Beret, though a DD-214 and other documents he released to substantiate the claim only raised questions.

In a statement Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Special Warfare Training Center at Fort Bragg, N.C., said Aden was dropped from Special Forces training in April 2008 "after failing twice to pass the Light Weapons Exam and Hands-on Mortar Exam."

Nevertheless the center in June 2008 erroneously issued an order awarding him the 18 B MOS – Special Forces Weapons Sergeant – and then failed to catch the mistake. When told last week that the Army called Aden's MOS order a mistake and had revoked it, campaign spokesman Vincent Leibowitz said Aden never received orders pulling the MOS.

That turns out to be true, since the Army only noticed and corrected its mistake after media attention focused on Aden's military background, according to training center spokeswoman Janice Burton.

Retired Special Forces Master Sgt. Jeff "JD" Hinton, who has exposed many phony veterans or troops who embellished their records, says Aden had to know all along that he never was Special Forces.
read more here

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

6 Boy Scouts, 2 troop leaders missing in Arkansas National Forest


Missing Boy Scout troop found in Arkansas national forest
May 3rd, 2011

A Boy Scout troop from Lafayette, Louisiana, which was missing after a weekend camping trip in an Arkansas national forest, was found safe on Tuesday, officials said.

The campsite of troop No. 162 in the Ouachita National Forest was spotted by a National Guard helicopter, said Jerry Elizandro, spokesman for the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency.

The scouts were being transferred by helicopter to a command post, said Art Hawkins, scout executive for the Evangeline Area Council of Boy Scouts of America. All the boys are fine, he said. Officials hope to find out what happened from the scout master later, he said.

Hawkins said Monday officials were confident the troop was safe, saying the scout master with the troop was very experienced and serves as a backpacking trainer. The average age of the youths is 14, he said.

Arkansas State Police were prevented from conducting an aerial search on Monday because of the weather, Hawkins said. A lack of cell service in the area was also hampering search efforts, he said.

The area being searched was near the scene of a fatal flood last year. Twenty people died in flash floods during the summer.
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6 Boy Scouts, 2 troop leaders missing in Arkansas National Forest
By Rick Martin, CNN
May 2, 2011 10:08 p.m. EDT

Arkansas authorities are searching the Ouachita National Forest for a missing Boy Scout troop from Louisiana.

Search continues for Louisiana Boy Scout troop
Weather has prevented air search
Location has no mobile phone service

(CNN) -- A Boy Scout troop from Lafayette, Louisiana, is missing after camping this weekend in a national forest in Arkansas.

Arkansas emergency official Tommy Jackson said the search by the Montgomery County Sheriff's office for Troop No. 162 continues in the Ouachita National Forest.

"We're very confident the kids and adults are safe," scout executive Art Hawkins of the Evangeline Area Council of Lafayette said. "The Scout master with them is very experienced and serves as a backpacking trainer. The average age of the youth is 14 and they are the more experienced hikers of his organization."

Arkansas State Police have tried to conduct an aerial search, but due to the weather have not been able to, Hawkins said.

Arkansas authorities describe their search as being near the scene of 2010's fatal camp flood where 20 people died in flash floods during the summer.

"We're dealing with all kinds of floods in the state," Jackson said. There's no cell service in the area and it's hampering search efforts, he said.
read more here
6 Boy Scouts, 2 troop leaders missing

Friday, April 29, 2011

300 dead vs. royal wedding

UPDATE 4-30-11
Volunteers rush to help after tornadoes
By Ben Smith, Mariano Castillo and Phil Gast, CNN
April 30, 2011 6:26 p.m. EDT
NEW: Sunday declared a day of prayer in Alabama
Death toll from South's latest tornado outbreak tweaked to 337
Storms caused at least $2 billion in insured losses, catastrophe expert firm says
Alabama death toll adjusted to 249

(CNN) -- As emergency responders continued to count the dead on Saturday, states pulverized by this week's tornado outbreak encouraged volunteers to help -- but in an orderly way.
In Alabama, where at least 249 people died, a call center is receiving 2,000 to 3,000 calls a day.

Officials working with the United Way are urging people to go to or call 2-1-1 statewide to offer their assistance.

After the search and recovery efforts, people will be needed for months to help with specific tasks, said Jon Mason, director of the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

"We're overwhelmed in a positive way by the willingness to help from within the state and the rest of the United States," he said.
read more here
Volunteers rush to help after tornadoes

This morning, every station was covering the royal wedding. It was almost as if the world had stopped. The people surviving the tornadoes were not interested in William and Kate this morning. They were thinking about their family members no longer here and everything else they lost. The death count went up again. The search for more bodies goes on.

Obama to visit Alabama as South reels in tornado aftermath; 300 killed
By the CNN Wire Staff
April 29, 2011 7:39 a.m. EDT

NEW: 35 emergency response teams deployed across Alabama
NEW: Motorists beware, officials say, gas may be hard to find in northern Alabama
Death toll reaches 300 in six southern states
Nearly 1 million customers are without power

Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN) -- President Barack Obama plans to visit Alabama on Friday, the hardest-hit of six states ravaged by a series of storms and tornadoes that killed 300 people and left entire neighborhoods in ruins.

The president's scheduled visit is taking place as emergency responders in Alabama and five other states continue to assess the damage wreaked by one of the worst outbreaks of violent weather in the southeastern United States in decades, experts said.

The severe storms and tornadoes pounded the region between late Tuesday and Wednesday. They leveled entire neighborhoods, rendered major roads impassable and left nearly 1 million customers without power.

Alabama suffered the greatest of loss of life with 213 fatalities in 19 counties. The storms also left 34 people dead in Tennessee, 32 in Mississippi, 15 in Georgia, five in Virginia and one in Arkansas since late Tuesday.
read more here
Obama to visit Alabama

Friday, June 11, 2010

16 dead in Arkansas flooding

16 dead in Arkansas flooding
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 11, 2010 6:18 p.m. EDT

NEW: Obama orders FEMA to be in contact with local officials
36 people remain missing after campground flood
Hospital treating five flood victims
Scores could be trapped in area, authorities say
Local coverage of flash flood from KARK

(CNN) -- At least 16 people died at a federal campground in Arkansas after heavy rain and flash flooding Friday, and many more could be trapped in the area, state authorities said.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said there's word from the Red Cross that there could have been as many as 300 people in the rugged Albert Pike campground area, a part of the U.S. Forest Service, in western Arkansas, but he said there is no registration that would show the precise number. Emergency management officials had put the death toll at 20 but revised the figure to 16 later Friday.

Nick Hofert awoke just after 2 a.m. to screams from families, some with children as young as 4, hurrying up a hill toward his cabin, looking for higher ground. He filed them into his home and went back out, trying to find those family members who were separated from the group.
read more here
16 dead in Arkansas flooding

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

50 years after he was chained and set afire, WWI veteran is honored

50 years after he was chained and set afire, WWI veteran is honored
By Wayne Drash, CNN
April 7, 2010 10:01 a.m. EDT

Isadore Banks gets military honors 90 years after he served nation in World War I
Banks was chained to a tree and set on fire in June 1954
His case is one of the nation's oldest unsolved civil rights killings
"This has been a long time coming," a granddaughter said
Marion, Arkansas (CNN) -- A traditional three-shot volley salute and the solemn sound of taps echoed across the black cemetery in the Delta flatlands of Arkansas, just across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee.

The military honors were followed by the jubilant singing of "Amazing Grace." The service had been five decades in the making.

Everyone was here to honor Isadore Banks, an African-American veteran of World War I who was chained to a tree in June 1954, doused in gasoline and burned beyond recognition.

The slaying -- a year before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to whites on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama -- remains one of the nation's oldest unsolved civil rights cases.

"This has been a long time coming," said Marcelina Williams, a granddaughter who worked with the Army to arrange Monday's ceremony after she found her grandfather's military records. "Bless our country with freedom and righteousness."
read more here
50 years after he was chained and set afire WWI veteran is honored

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Iraq War veteran, mother battle the odds

Iraq War veteran, mother battle the odds

B.J. Steed

Steven McFarland is a decorated war veteran who served as a gunner along the front lines in the War on Terror.

After returning home in 2006, his mother, Jan McFarland, noticed something about her son had changed.

"Tossing and turning, he was hyperventilating; if you came up behind him he would jump and scream. He didn't like being cornered in," says McFarland.

Jan, a former nurse with UAMS, recognized her son's symptoms as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

"He would re-enact a person dying that he saw, and the death scene," McFarland says.

The 21-year-old began seeking treatment for the disorder, taking medication prescribed by his doctor.

But his mother says those doses couldn't block the terrible things he had experienced in battle.

He began medicating himself with multiple drugs.

In February, just two months after returning from battle, McFarland's lawyer, Chip Welch, says things took a turn for the worst.
read more here


Iraq War veteran, mother battle the odds
Steven McFarland is a decorated war veteran who served as a gunner along the front lines in the War on Terror.

"We've had 7 suicides in 2009."
Watching this video provides a lot of hope that many in leadership are understanding PTSD a lot better than ever before. The story of Steven McFarland should not have happened but it did because when it comes to PTSD, there is a very long way to go but this video should restore hope that we are closer than we ever were before of getting these men and women help to heal.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reservist Arkansas Army National Guard Capt. John Vanlandingham Earns Silver Star in Iraqi Save

Reservist Earns Silver Star in Iraqi Save
November 06, 2009
Stephens Mediaby Lewis Delavan
Bullets, grenades, shrapnel and smoke seared the desert. Danger lurked where reed-lined ditches hid ambushers on the narrow, isolated dirt road.

"You couldn't see anything from the dust and the smoke as we moved through the explosive area," Capt. John Vanlandingham recalls. "I saw a black object coming through the air over the reeds. It landed about five feet from me in a tire rut. Luckily, it rolled away. I dove down by a wounded soldier and the grenade blew."

It was Nov. 14, 2004, and the insurgency was rocking the Sunni Triangle. Leader of a 10-vehicle convoy that came under attack, the 37-year-old Arkansas Army National Guard captain from tiny New Blaine, 97 miles northwest of Little Rock, refused to leave behind the Iraqis he had trained to become guardsmen.

Twenty miles short of safety at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) ripped motors, trucks and human bodies during the enemy attack.

One explosion pitched 25 Iraqis from an unarmed troop carrier into a ditch. Three dead and others wounded. None, however, would be left behind.

Smoke hid the carnage. Some 200 yards toward safety, Vanlandingham realized one Iraqi vehicle was missing. He told his sergeant to reverse the Humvee and ordered a Mark-19 grenade launcher to cover one roadside, two 50-caliber machine guns to cover the other.

Vanlandingham then ran into the kill zone.
read more here
Reservist Earns Silver Star in Iraqi Save