Showing posts with label Armed Forces Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Armed Forces Day. Show all posts

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Third Saturday in May, Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day
Among the many military holidays celebrated each year is Armed Forces Day. Celebrated the third Saturday in May, Armed Forces Day falls during Military Appreciation Month and joins Memorial Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) as another May military-themed holiday.

The History of Armed Forces Day
On Aug. 31, 1949, Defense Secretary Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the armed forces under one agency -- the Department of Defense.

In a speech announcing the creation of the day, President Truman "praised the work of the military services at home and across the seas." He said, "It is vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a desirable peace."

In an excerpt from the Presidential Proclamation of Feb. 27, 1950, Truman stated:

"Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America's defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, toward the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense."
read more here

Friday, May 17, 2019

I am ready to fight the enemy of PTSD.

Tomorrow Watch Fire starts burning hope

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 17, 2019

What started out as an opportunity to go and film this, plus the Watch Fire, ended up being much more than I planned on. Tomorrow I will be speaking at a ceremony to honor members of the Armed Forces. 

All week I have been trying to figure out what I should talk about. With 37 years crammed into my brain, there were too many topics to choose from.

I decided the one topic that does not get enough attention are military/veteran families.
Suicides keep increasing even though it is the hot topic of the decade. While it seems as if everyone is trying to change the outcome, the facts prove that they have gotten it wrong. 

I'll have to start out with the bad news. Suicide Awareness will not prevent them from happening. We have a decade of data to prove that.

Current military numbers are at a ten year high, including member of Special Forces. While the number of known veterans committing suicide have remained in the 20s since 1999, the percentage has gone up.
All this proves that raising awareness does not prevent them in the military community or in the civilian population.

Suicides are at the highest rate in decades, CDC report shows
According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47,000 Americans died by suicide in 2017. Put another way, the suicide rate was 14 people in every 100,000 — up 33 percent from 10.5 people per 100,000 in 1999.

The suicide rate is at a 50-year peak, according to the AP. The new data shows that there were 2,000 more deaths from suicide last year than in 2016, the year when suicide became the second-leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 10 and 34 and the fourth-leading cause for middle-aged Americans.
The thing is, it is also up in the veterans community, current military, law enforcement, firefighters and other first responders.

For civilians, most of them were dealing with some kind of mental health issue, and it was the same for those who respond to everyone else. The one thing that everyone had in common was, the simple fact they lost hope that one more day would make a difference in their life to make living worth it. They lost hope because we failed to give it back to them.

When you consider that PTSD plays a huge part in all of this, that should be the place where we begin to change the outcome.

As long as the people in charge of making the decisions and funding "efforts" keep asking the same questions to the same people, they will continue to support what has proven to have failed.

If we are going to change the outcome, we need to change what we put into it. The best place for that to begin is in our own homes.

Part of what I do is track news and government reports from around the country, as well as internationally. Over the last decade, it has gotten worse while raising awareness about numbers has prevented healing awareness from reaching those in need of hearing it.

Point Man understood this back in 1984 when they established Out Post for veterans and Home Fronts for families. We are on the front lines and that is where healing begins. So how did a Seattle Police Officer figure all this out way back then? Simple, he came back from Vietnam and knew what he needed, so it was an easy thing for him to understand other veterans. 

It was understood that veteran belong with veterans, in small groups, much like the units they served in to receive true peer support. 

Families needed it too!

We know them better than anyone else and that is why it grieves me so much to hear a family member say that they did not know how much pain someone they loved was feeling or what to do to help them.

We need to be made aware of the power families do have to change the outcome, especially for those who serve others.

The event tomorrow is in Tarpon Springs Florida. Thinking about what the topic should be, I was reminded of the Spartan women and what their job was. 

When the warriors were out fighting battles, it was the job of the Spartan women to take care of their families, crops and livestock. It was also their job to defend the homeland from invaders.

They were highly educated and trained to do battle with any enemy coming to their home front.

We need to be ready to fight this battle when they come home to us. Prepare our minds to get into gear while telling our emotions to take a nap when necessary. To know when to take something personally and when it is coming from a place of pain instead of anger.

We need to be able to wisely pick our battles with those we love, as well as when it is time to walk away and chill out.

We need to know when we need to just listen, and when it is time to communicate what they need to hear.

We need to see them though the eyes of our hearts that fell in love with them...and know that all the qualities they had, are all still there.

We need to prepare for battle the same way they prepared to fight the nations battles on other shores as well as within our communities as responders.

We need to be like minded but the only way to become ready to fight for those we love, is to stop listening to what failed long enough so we can start to hear what worked for other families.
I am Spartan
I am ready to fight the enemy of PTSD.
I will defend my home front from any and all invaders.
I will learn what I need to understand.
I will train for what I need to do.
I will ask for support as willingly as I offer it to others.
I am Spartan and my greatest power lives for those I love.
#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

There will be more of what needs to be heard but necessary if we really want to change the outcome, we have to change what we are putting into it!

If you want to know how you can learn the easier way what this battle is like and how to win it, you can read part of my life here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Armed Forces Day: 14 facts you may not know about the U.S. military

Armed Forces Day: 14 facts you may not know about the U.S. military
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Debbie Lord
May 21, 2016

On August 31, 1949, the Secretary of Defense, Louis Johnson, had an announcement to make.

Following World War II, the U.S. military hierarchy was being reorganized and redundancies, at least some of them, were being eliminated. The departments of War and of the Navy had been combined in 1947 and called the National Military Establishment. In 1949, the name was changed to the Department of Defense.

To build morale and to put a new focus on the combined forces, Johnson would announce the creation of a single-day celebration to honor all the members of the military no matter the branch. It was known as Armed Forces Day.
read some very fascinating facts here

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Oklahoma veteran grateful to the corpsmen who saved his life in 1969

Oklahoma veteran grateful to the corpsmen who saved his life in 1969
Saturday is Armed Forces Day, and Jerry Compton, of Tulsa, is still most grateful to the U.S. Navy corpsmen who saved his life during a 1969 battle in Vietnam.
Published: May 19, 2012

TULSA — On that day in Vietnam in 1969, blood was everywhere. It was Jerry Compton’s blood.

The U.S. Navy corpsmen performed CPR and worked on Compton like there was no tomorrow, because there almost wasn’t.

Now on Saturday, the annual observance of Armed Forces Day, Compton is still so grateful they said, “You’re not going to die on us.”

“My eternal thanks to those who pulled me through that time when death was positioned to claim me,” said Compton, of Tulsa.
read more here

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Armed Forces Day, armed with food stamps

"A Tradition of Heroes"
Armed Forces Day History

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department -- the Department of Defense. Each of the military leagues and orders was asked to drop sponsorship of its specific service day in order to celebrate the newly announced Armed Forces Day. The Army, Navy and Air Force leagues adopted the newly formed day. The Marine Corps League declined to drop support for Marine Corps Day but supports Armed Forces Day, too.

In a speech announcing the formation of the day, President Truman "praised the work of the military services at home and across the seas" and said, "it is vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a desirable peace." In an excerpt from the Presidential Proclamation of Feb. 27, 1950, Mr. Truman stated:

Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America's defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense.

The theme of the first Armed Forces Day was "Teamed for Defense." It was chosen as a means of expressing the unification of all the military forces under a single department of the government. Although this was the theme for the day, there were several other purposes for holding Armed Forces Day. It was a type of "educational program for civilians," one in which there would be an increased awareness of the Armed Forces. It was designed to expand public understanding of what type of job is performed and the role of the military in civilian life. It was a day for the military to show "state-of-the-art" equipment to the civilian population they were protecting. And it was a day to honor and acknowledge the people of the Armed Forces of the United States.

According to a New York Times article published on May 17, 1952: "This is the day on which we have the welcome opportunity to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces ... to all the individuals who are in the service of their country all over the world. Armed Forces Day won't be a matter of parades and receptions for a good many of them. They will all be in line of duty and some of them may give their lives in that duty."

While the neglect from the DOD and the VA for medical treatment has been on the front pages of most newspapers, these are not the only issues our Armed Forces have to deal with that they should never, ever have to deal with at all.

Did we live up to it when they had to go on food stamps?

President Bush last term and President Clinton's first term
As Military Pay Slips Behind, Poverty Invades the Ranks

Published: June 12, 1994
Like other airmen at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, 21-year-old Jason Edwards worries about tensions far away in North Korea that could erupt into fighting and involve his supply base.

But Airman Edwards has more immediate concerns, too. He is worried about how to feed his 22-year-old wife, Beth, and their two small children on his total pay and allowances of $1,330 a month. In desperation, the Edwardses last month began drawing $228 a month in food stamps to get by.

"It's a very tight squeeze for us," Mrs. Edwards said. "We haven't bought any steaks since we've been here, and whenever I want to cook something with ham, I substitute Spam for it."

In a trend that has senior Pentagon officials deeply troubled, an increasing number of military families are turning to food stamps to make ends meet. Three-quarters of America's enlisted forces earn less than $30,000 a year, and the gap between civilian and military wages is growing.

To be sure, no one ever joined the military to get rich. But neither did they expect to have to go on welfare. Military officials worry that a growing demand for food stamps and other Government assistance may signal larger personnel problems in a culture that preaches self-reliance and self-discipline.

The overall number of military personnel on food stamps is small and difficult to measure because the Government does not track military recipients.

But a 1992 survey by the Defense and Agriculture Departments found that about 3 percent of the 1.7 million service members qualified for food stamps and that 1 percent, or about 17,000 people, received them monthly. The Agriculture Department manages the food stamp program.

The Defense Department said the total value of food stamps redeemed at military commissaries increased to $27.4 million last year from $24.5 million in 1992. That amount included those redeemed by retired military recipients. Food donation centers are bustling at bases from Hawaii to Florida.

President Bush's first term
The Odd Warfare State

By Barbara Ehrenreich, The Progressive. Posted April 5, 2004.

Frontline battle troops earn less than $16,000 a year. So when the Bush administration hurts the working poor, you can count the troops among them.

Here's one way our President proposes to "support our troops": According to his 2005 budget, the extra pay our soldiers receive for serving in combat zones -- about $150 a month -- will no longer count against their food stamp eligibility. This budget provision, if approved, should bring true peace of mind to our men and women on the front lines. From now on, they can dodge bullets in Iraq with the happy assurance that their loved ones will not starve as a result of their bravery.

Military families on food stamps? It's not an urban myth. About 25,000 families of servicemen and women are eligible, and this may be an underestimate, since the most recent Defense Department report on the financial condition of the armed forces -- from 1999 -- found that 40 percent of lower-ranking soldiers face "substantial financial difficulties." Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, reports hearing from constituents that the Army now includes applications for food stamps in its orientation packet for new recruits.

President Bush's second term
Storms may have spurred jump in food-stamp use

By Karen Jowers -

A 10-percent spike in food-stamp redemptions at military commissaries is likely a lingering aftereffect of Hurricane Katrina and other storms, commissary officials said.

Across the commissary system, food-stamp redemptions were up by about $2.3 million, to $26.2 million in fiscal 2006 compared to the previous year.

Officials have not definitively verified the causes for the spike, said Defense Commissary Agency spokesman Kevin Robinson, but three stores affected by Hurricane Katrina and other storms accounted for about 83 percent of the increase, at levels that were five or six times the previous year’s redemptions for those stores.

Those commissaries, which usually are not close to the top of the list when it comes to quantities of food stamps, were in the top five of all commissaries. Fort Polk, La., had the highest total of all.

At Fort Polk, where a number of people were evacuated after the storm, the commissary rang up $973,544 worth of food-stamp redemptions in fiscal 2006, five times the previous year’s total of $190,682.

The fiscal years run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30; Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005.

The New Orleans Naval Air Station store, which is relatively small, redeemed $687,585 worth of food stamps in fiscal 2006, nearly six times its 2005 total of $116,329. It ranked number five among commissaries for food-stamp redemptions in 2006.


Bill to help military families get food stamps

By Karen Jowers - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday May 8, 2007 12:27:33 EDT

A bipartisan bill supporting the administration’s request to permanently exclude combat-related pay from income calculations for food stamps was introduced in the House on May 3.

“Feeding America’s Families Act of 2007,” a bill introduced by Reps. James McGovern, D-Mass., and Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., has a provision that would exclude from food-stamp eligibility calculations any additional payment received by a service member as the result of deployment to a designated combat zone, for the duration of the member’s deployment. The additional pay must be the result of deployment to or service in the combat zone.

The proposal likely will be considered as lawmakers craft a new farm bill, which provides spending authority for federal nutrition programs. The current law will expire at the end of this fiscal year.

The administration requested this exclusion in its budget proposal earlier this year, noting that combat pays could reduce a family’s benefits or make them ineligible. “This policy change recognizes this problem and would ensure that military families are not penalized for doing their civic duty,” according to the Department of Agriculture’s farm bill proposal released in January.

The proposal has been a part of the budget for several years and was first enacted in the 2005 Appropriations Act, but it has been handled on a recurring annual basis. The new farm bill proposal would make the annual policy fix permanent, agriculture officials stated.

Most military families are not eligible for food stamps because of their housing allowance, said Joyce Raezer, chief operating officer of the National Military Family Association.

In early 2007, Air Force National Guard Tech. Sgt. Timothy Springer and his wife, Teresa, took out a second mortgage for $30,000 at 10.5 percent interest because they had money problems for a variety of reasons related to Timothy deploying, Teresa losing her job because of medical problems and child care issues, along with costly home repairs. Timothy is home now, but will probably deploy again in May.

The lender valued the Springers’ house over the phone at $132,000, without an appraisal, before giving them the $30,000 second mortgage, Teresa Springer said.

A rate of 10.5 percent is on the high side for a home-equity loan; Navy Federal Credit Union, for example, offers equity loans with fixed rates as low as 6.15 percent. But home equity rates are based largely on an applicant’s credit history; those with shaky finances pay more.

Teresa Springer acknowledged that the interest rate was high. “All we did was delay the inevitable,” she said, by putting off a problem that they knew was looming large for them.

The combination of their primary mortgage and new second mortgage propelled the Springers’ monthly payments from $775 to $1,400.

A few months later, when the Springers had no choice but to put their house on the market, real estate agents told them the house was worth just $59,000 — half of what they owe.

So in addition to the house being in foreclosure, Teresa Springer said, “We’re not going to have any option other than bankruptcy.” That’s on top of a previous bankruptcy as a result of medical bills.


Additional challenges related to housing and homelessness we face here that require the support of NYS include:
The return of servicemen and women from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan- especially those who are members of local National Guard and Reserve units. These vets are beginning to show up in our emergency shelters and our Addictions Crisis Center, and their family members are struggling as well. We have also had incidents with vets suffering from PTSD threatening the public or their family members with weapons. Funding for affordable housing is critical for this group- especially for those who are homeless: we have already asked for your support in this area and we are looking to the VA and HUD for additional support.
Where we need additional help from NYS to support our returning veterans is with upgrading our support service knowledge and skills. Community mental health and other front line human service workers here and elsewhere around the state are currently unequipped to identify, treat, and/or refer veterans’ for care for their mental health and related issues. They need training and technical assistance. Appropriate early intervention is most the effective approach, and will lead to long term cost savings in Medicaid, corrections budgets, hospitals, and other social welfare agencies.
Given the number of soldiers returning to our community with posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other mental health problems, it is critical that we prioritize funding for the training of community mental health providers in the treatment and identification of these disorders. A large proportion of deployed and returning soldiers are National Guard and Reserve who return directly to their communities, families, and jobs, and whose federal VA benefits expire after two years; it is crucial that they can access quality mental health care in the communities where they live, especially in areas like ours that are remote from VA healthcare facilities. Furthermore, adequate training of other frontline workers such as police officers, doctors, physicians assistants and nurse practitioners, and social service staff will assist communities in intervention and prevention of crisis situations involving veterans with PTSD.
By training our human service and healthcare provider workforce in identifying and treating trauma-related disorders up front, we can avoid the long-term costs of ignoring such problems, such as emergency room utilization, incarceration, emergency housing, and intensive inpatient treatment. For the cost of one emergency room stay, or a week of inpatient substance abuse treatment (often paid for by Medicaid), we could train a mental health provider for a lifetime.
We ask for your support to fund a statewide training and education initiative to support community mental health providers and front line human service and law enforcement workers who are currently unequipped to identify, treat, and case-manage veterans’ mental health issues.

They end up homeless for a lot of reasons but the National Guards face the loss of income while deployed.
Please tell me why we still want to talk about supporting them, when clearly we do not? A day to honor them does not come close to really honoring them by taking care of their needs while they take care of us. It is not abandoning them when they come home with wounds and allowing them to have to fight to have those wounds cared for and their financial needs met.

We can do better, so why haven't we? Why did it take so many years of these problems to build up while being ignored at the same time "support the troops" seemed to be all we heard?

Senior Chaplain Kathie Costos

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation."

- George Washington

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anti-war veterans group banned from Bremerton parade

Anti-war veterans group banned from Bremerton parade

06:24 PM PDT on Tuesday, May 13, 2008


BREMERTON, Wash. - They're expecting good weather and big crowds in Bremerton this weekend for the annual Armed Forces Day Parade.

This year organizers expect two dozen bands, 165 entries and nearly 6,000 people on parade.

If the weather heats up, it could draw 40,000 spectators

But one veterans group says they're not invited. The North Olympic Peninsula Veterans for Peace say they're being kept out of the parade this year because of their anti-war stance.

The anti-war group marched last year. This year the Chamber of Commerce sent them a rejection letter.

David Jenkins, who served four years in the Navy, says they have no interest in causing problems on parade day.

"We believe sincerely that we need to find peaceful solutions to all international problems, national problems, local problems," Jenkins said.

The North Olympic Peninsula Veterans for Peace say they're being kept out of the Bremerton Armed Forces Day Parade because of their anti-war stance.

But organizers say the group is too political and that's not what the parade is about.

"This is not set up for politics," said Cris Larsen, chairman of the Armed Forces Festival.

"Veterans groups are allowed to march and walk, it's the whole idea of the parade was set up 60 years ago to honor all those brave men and women who have served in our armed forces."

Jenkins says his group will be there and be visible Saturday even if they don't march.

Larsen says he'd be glad to sit down and talk and see if they can work out some kind of compromise.

So in this particular battle, maybe there is a chance for peace.

In this case I have to agree. This is the Armed Forces Day Parade and should be one day to unite as all members of the Armed Forces.