Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

War veteran Jesse Bird took his own life after system failed him

Afghanistan veteran who died surrounded by his own medals was 'failed by the system' when his PTSD wasn't recognised, coroner rules

7 April 2020
War veteran Jesse Bird took his own life after system failed him, a coroner ruled
Found dead in his home in 2017 after department rejected pleas for help
Coroner ruled there was 'a lack of care, attention and proactive support for him
Department of Veterans' Affairs will consider and respond to Coroner's findings

Mr Bird's ex-girlfriend Connie Boglis (pictured with Jesse) has previously slammed the Department of Veterans' Affairs over the lack of support to him. He took his own life after the system failed him, a Coroner has ruled
'There appeared to be a lack of care, attention and proactive support, leaving Jesse with the belief that the only choice he had was to give up,' the Coroner said.

A young war veteran who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder when he returned from serving in Afghanistan took his own life after the system failed him, a coroner has ruled.

Former Australian Army private Jesse Bird, 32, was found dead in his Melbourne home in June 2017 after the Department of Veterans' Affairs knocked back multiple pleas for assistance.

He had $5.20 in his bank account at the time of his death, which came weeks after he was informed by the department his permanent impairment claim had been rejected.
read it here

Friday, May 3, 2019

USS Frank E. Evans crew not on Vietnam Memorial Wall?

'A slap in the face': Naval disaster was too far from Vietnam to honor victims on memorial wall

Green Bay Press-Gazette Published
Paul Srubas
May 3, 2019

You might as well just say they died in the Vietnam War. If you were related to one of them, that’s what you’d say.

The Australian aircraft carrier Melbourne after its collision with the USS Frank E. Evans during training in 1969. Courtesy of USS Frank E. Evans (DD 754) Association, Inc.

But you’ll find none of the names of the 74 American sailors who died, including three from Wisconsin, on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. That’s because it was a training accident, a terrible mistake, a crash between two naval vessels that happened about 100 miles from the combat zone.

The USS Frank E. Evans, nicknamed the “Gray Ghost” for its ability to slip in and out of the mists during the Korean War, had been shelling the Vietnam coastline a couple weeks earlier. On this particular day, June 3, 1969, the destroyer was engaged in practice maneuvers on the South China Sea with 40 other ships from the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization.

That night, the Evans collided with the Australian aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne, that it was practicing guarding. The Evans was cut in half, and most of the occupants of the front half of the ship drowned. That's 74 men, including James R. Cmeyla, 24, of Luxemburg; Michael A. Orlikowski, 28, Milwaukee; and Jon W. Thomas, 22, of Delavan.

None of the 74 names have been included on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., supposedly because it was not a combat mission and it was outside the designated combat zone.
read more here

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Australia: Afghanistan veteran found dead in hotel room on Anzac Day

Army veteran who struggled with 'demons' after returning from battle in Afghanistan is found dead in his hotel room on Anzac Day

Daily Mail
27 April 2019

"Things got so bad, I got so desperate. At the end of the day the system doesn't know how to handle PTSD. The doctors, they just prescribe drugs because they don't know how to handle it."

'It's become an epidemic with our boys. It's tragic. Then to watch your own son (go through it). The demons in their heads is intense. It took a long time before anything happened. These boys are juggling drug abuse, alcoholism, but the biggest thing they are battling is their PTSD.'

An army veteran who struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Afghanistan was found dead in his hotel room on Anzac Day.

Bradley Carr, 34, lived in Cairns but had been on the Gold Coast seeking mental health treatment when he was found in his hotel room bed at about 10am on Thursday, according to The Age.

The cause of death has yet to be determined, however, his mother, Glenda Weston, has spoken about her son's lengthy battle to readjust to life after war.
read more here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Recruitment campaign cost $2.6 million...and the Guardsman in poster

Scots Guardsman quits army over controversial ‘snow flakes’ recruitment poster Australia
January 8, 2019

A guardsman says he is planning to quit the army after his picture was used in a controversial $2.6 million ad campaign.

A Scots Guardsman says he is planning to quit the army after his picture was used below the words “snow flake” in a controversial ad campaign.

Stephen McWhirter, 28, slammed the army advertisement posters and told colleagues he was not told his photo would be used in this way.

According to friends, the guardsman, based at Wellington Barracks in Westminster, has been inundated with mocking messages and left open to ridicule, the Daily Mail reported.

The soldier expressed his fury on Facebook while speaking to other troops about the £1.5 million ($A2.68 million) campaign.

One soldier wrote: “Imagine the army taking a photo of you and writing “snow flake” in massive letters above your head. I’d be signed straight off.”

Guardsman McWhirter responded: “Don’t f***ing worry mate, I am.” He added that he would formally submit his resignation as soon as he could.
read more here

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Veteran with PTSD overcome by flyover during Invictus and comforted

Tears of a hero: The heartwarming moment Invictus competitors comfort a veteran whose PTSD was triggered by a helicopter flying overhead

Daily Mail Australia
Mark Brook
October 23, 2018
  • A heartwarming moment at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney has left spectators in tears
  • Paul Guest, who suffers from PTSD became visibly upset during his wheelchair tennis match on Monday 
  • The 54-year-old Navy serviceman was frightened by a helicopter flying overhead and became upset 
  • Guest, who was comforted by his Dutch teammate Edwin Vermetten, was injured serving in Northern Ireland

Paul Guest (left) was so overcome with emotion he was unable to play and needed to be comforted by Dutch teammate Edwin Vermetten (right), who realised he was suffering
The touching moment an Invictus Games competitor comforted a fellow veteran suffering from PTSD has left spectators in tears.
British mine warfare specialist Paul Guest was visibly shaken when a helicopter flew by during his wheelchair tennis doubles match at Sydney Olympic Park on Monday.
The 54-year-old, who was injured serving during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, was so overcome with emotion he was unable to play and needed to be comforted by Dutch teammate Edwin Vermetten, who realised he was suffering.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

First America woman to die in Vietnam jumped with 101st!

Inside the Daring Life of a Forgotten Female War Photographer
National Geographic
Nina Strochlic
August 17, 2018
But her tally of conflict zones would end in Vietnam, where she became the first American woman correspondent to die in action. Years later, other journalists reported that Vietnamese Airborne troops were still reminiscing about the small, foul-mouthed woman who’d jumped with them.
Dickey Chapelle was one of history's most fearless conflict journalists—and the first American woman to die on the job.
THE 36 HOURS before Dickey Chapelle leaped off a tower with the Screaming Eagles were terrifying. She was 41 years old and parachute jumping for the first time. But fear never lasted for the pioneering war correspondent, and she quickly proclaimed it among “the greatest experiences one can have.”

It was 1959 and Chapelle had hooked up with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, on the border between Tennessee and Kentucky. She’d been working as a war correspondent since 1942 and had reported on dozens of conflicts. She’d been called “the polite little American with all that tiger blood in her veins” by Fidel Castro; held in solitary confinement during the Hungarian uprising; and affirmed as the first correspondent accredited by the Algerian rebels. After learning with the Screaming Eagles, she became the only woman authorized to jump into combat with paratroopers in Vietnam.
read more here

Friday, June 1, 2018

VA fired worker trying to help a Australia

Ya can't make this stuff up! This is out of Australia. The VA fired someone for trying to help a veteran?

Veterans Affairs worker fired for helping disabled soldier
The New Daily
John Power
June 1, 2018

A Department of Veterans Affairs contractor abruptly fired after trying to reinstate a disabled veteran’s payments has accused the department of sacrificing its mission to bureaucracy and ego.
Andrea Gynn was attempting to help a veteran in difficult financial circumstances. Photos: Supplied / Getty

Andrea Gynn was let go earlier in May after asking a supervisor if she could restore and backpay benefits to a veteran in dire financial straits who had demonstrated eligibility since February.

To her amazement, Ms Gynn says she was told she had breached the “chain of command” by not speaking with her team leader, despite the team leader telling her to contact the higher-ranking supervisor.

“I got the call that afternoon from the labour hire place saying you’re being let go based on this reason: failure to integrate and failure to follow the chain of command,” Ms Gynn, who was dismissed from her temporary position at the DVA office in Brisbane on May 16, told The New Daily.

“I accepted the fact that I’d be dealing with government bureaucracy, but there’s a big difference between dealing with government bureaucracy and dealing with people who allow a system to perpetuate an individual’s claim for longer than what is a reasonable period of time.”

It is understood that the veteran, who has severe mental health and mobility issues and is living on a boat in Cairns, was cut off from payments in July after failing to attend medical appointments. It is understood he has been meeting DVA requirements since February.
read more here

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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, April 7, 2018

Almost half of Australia's veterans suffer inner wounds

Report: Almost Half of Australian Military Veterans Suffer Mental Health Conditions
Voice of America
Phil Mercer
April 07, 2018
FILE - A veteran is pushed in a wheelchair during the ANZAC Day parade, in Sydney, Friday, April 25, 2014, commemorating the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during the First World War.

Almost half of the Australian military personnel who've left the defense force in the past five years have some sort of mental disorder, according to a new study. The Australian government says it is the most comprehensive study ever undertaken in Australia of the effect of military service on the mental, physical and social health of veterans, including those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For many former Australian service men and women, adapting to civilian life can be tough. According to a new study by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, about half suffer debilitating conditions that include anxiety and depression. Some retired soldiers, however, believe the true number of those affected is much higher.

Robin Lee was in the Australian army for 14 years, and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder before he left the military in 2015.
read more here

Friday, February 16, 2018

Australia Vietnam Veterans Tracking Fake Heroes Too

The national will pause to remember those who fought in the Vietnam war. Picture: GLENN FERGUSON

A Vietnam veteran in Australia came across a post on Combat PTSD Wounded Times that went up back in 2014 on Robert William Richardson. He offered this update from ANZMI, a site dedicated to their own Stolen Valor folks. 

I have no way of tracking down what they have on the site, only because time is too limited. Here is the link to what they found

As always, check what you are reading and find the sources. I just thought it was good to know that other nations are tracking down their fakes too!

UPDATE from New Jersey on one of our own fakers....

Man arrested for allegedly impersonating a veteran for money

Veterans Services then began looking into Bonet's military history and discovered he was court-martialed and dishonorably discharged at the rank of PV1 from the Army in 1977. The organization also discovered that Bonet had contacted various veterans organizations throughout Bergen and Passaic counties for assistance. The Bergen County Division of Veterans Services sent its findings to Cresskill Detective Charles Franke. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Suicide Awareness Stunts Don't Work in Australia or Anywhere

A year ago, this was the headline from Australia.

More Australian Defence Force veterans have killed themselves this YEAR than those who died in combat in Afghanistan due to post-traumatic stress disorders
  • More soldiers committed suicide in 2016 than were killed in Afghanistan
  • The Department of Veteran Affairs have been slammed by former soldiers
  • They said the Department force them into lengthy battles for support
So they pulled stunts, just like here in the US. The headline from 2017 is this.

Veterans' 2017 suicide toll is 84, say activists

Loren Ries drew this on a road in Huonville, Tasmania, for the Veteran Chalk Challenge to draw attention to 84 Australian veterans' suicides in 2017.  Photo: Supplied
Mr Steley said the 84 figure "is a conservative estimate and only the deaths that veterans themselves can confirm as the government is still unwilling to even attempt to keep a record of the number of deaths". 
Mr Steley said the veterans had "offered so much to Australia and our government to protect them; now when they need help they are being either ignored or actively targeted by an uncaring, inflexible system." read more here

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Australia: PTSD Navy Veteran Has Dog as Co-pilot...on motorcycle?

Bundy, the biker dog who has clocked up 1 million kilometres to raise funds for charity
Sydney Morning Herald
Julie Power
December 10, 2017

How do you teach an Australian stumpy-tailed cattle dog to ride a million kilometres behind the wheel of a motorcycle?
Tex O'Grady and Bundy, who have ridden 1 million kilometres by motorbike for charity. Photo: Helen Nezdropa
Start by pushing the dog sitting on the motorbike up and down the driveway, said Tex O'Grady who owns the dog, Bundy. Then a lap of the block. Turn the engine on next time. "Eventually that block becomes a lap of Australia," Mr O'Grady said.
Bundy is a registered assistance animal, who received training from non-profit Young Diggers, which trains therapy dogs and veterans suffering from PTSD. 
Bundy is the only dog in Australia who has permission - except in the Northern Territory and South Australia - to ride between the handlebar and the driver of a vehicle.
read more here

Friday, September 29, 2017

Australia Veterans Get "pills with four legs" for PTSD

Man's best friend aids Australian military vets with PTSD

September 29, 2017

"Ex-servicemen were also about 14 percent more likely to kill themselves than men in the general population."
© Facebook Sarbi, an Australian military dog trained in explosives.
They are nicknamed "pills with four legs" -- highly-trained dogs helping ex-Australian military veterans overcome the mental scars of war.

Australia's servicemen and women have in recent times been posted to danger zones in Iraq, East Timor, and Afghanistan -- the nation's longest-running military conflict.

With some undertaking multiple tours of duty, psychologists are concerned traditional treatment such as counselling do not sufficiently address the trauma of combat.

"I lost my home, my marriage," Ken Lloyd, an experienced former special forces commando who has battled severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), told AFP.

"Thankfully I am still in contact with my sons, thankfully I'm better," he added.

The Afghan veteran found he was able to better understand PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety and anger, when he began training his pet labrador Jaeger to help him with tasks.
read more here

Monday, August 21, 2017

Australia Commander Opens Up About PTSD

Going public: How PTSD broke AFP commander and Australia’s strongest man
Debbie Schipp
August 21, 2017

AS Australia’s strongest man, former Australian Federal Police Commander Grant Edwards’ physical strength was pure, brutish, inarguable, indisputable power.
So he was as astounded as anyone when he splintered apart mentally.
The unravelling, when it came, left him sobbing uncontrollably. And once the tears started, the flood would not stop. The stone man broke.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was the toll on a man who had been at the forefront of child exploitation and trafficking investigations.
It was 2003, the early days of the spread of internet, and it was grim, sickening, gut-wrenching work.
You didn’t talk about it, he told ABC’s Australian Story in a report on Monday night.
You hardened up. Maybe had a few drinks. And then a lot more. The hangover would mask it.
As AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin concedes: “You didn’t talk about your weaknesses, you didn’t talk about your vulnerabilities, because that was a sign you weren’t doing your job, you weren’t strong enough or cut out to be a police officer,” Commissioner Colvin said.
Earlier this year, the suicide of an officer at the AFP’s Melbourne headquarters led to a flood of complaints from former and existing AFP officers, chronicled by’s Megan Palin.
read more here

Friday, August 18, 2017

Veteran Jesse Bird Pleaded For Help From Australia VA--Before Suicide

Jesse Bird warned Veterans' Affairs he could become suicide statistic days before his death

ABC News Australia
Michael Atkin
August 18, 2017

Combat veteran Jesse Bird pleaded with the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) to urgently help him, warning he was suicidal just days before his death, according to official records.
But the Department did not budge and in June, after losing his 18-month battle for compensation for war-related injuries, Jesse took his own life.
Disturbingly, money from Veterans' Affairs finally came through after his death and his parents have asked the department for an explanation.
His devastated family is campaigning for an urgent overhaul to how DVA handles compensation claims to prevent more veteran suicides.
His mother, Karen Bird, told 7.30 her son's file shows his concerns were not taken seriously.
"It triggers a really emotional response, to realise my boy was in so much pain," Ms Bird said.
"He obviously felt that he couldn't contact us for more money and he was really just pushed into the corner and he didn't see any other way out."

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Combat PTSD Veterans Learn They Can Survive To Thrive

I can't count how many times someone has sent me a link to what they are doing on PTSD, or how many times I simply close the email without responding at all. Something about an email from Jess Abernethy of Survive To Thrive Nation got my attention. I am glad I opened this one.

After ten years on this site and 35 doing this work, I got to the point where the problems with efforts by a new group smacked me across the face. I used to take the time to slam them. Then, well, it just wasn't even worth responding to them. 

I'm emailing this group because I am impressed. They cover most of it. The effects of PTSD on those who love them and live with them comes out strongly with the interview of Iraq Veteran Dane Christison's wife. She talks about how it was when things were bad and then offers hope.

They get into the importance of treating every part of the veteran, mind-body and spirit.

The other thing is that this is not yet one more group raising awareness in the US. This is a group trying to make veterans aware of the fact there is nothing to be ashamed of and they can heal to go on and live happier lives. They are out of Australia!

Isn't that what all of us should be doing?

Survive To Thrive Nation on Facebook

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jesse Bird's Battle Ended But Fight For Justice Goes On For His Family

Gold Coast soldier Jesse Bird’s last goodbye after lengthy struggle with post-traumatic stress

Gold Coast Bulletin
Jack Harbour
August 6, 2017

Family and friends say Jesse spent the best part of seven years dealing with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to recognise his post-traumatic stress disorder and to put him on a pension so he could move on with his life and become a teacher after deployment to Afghanistan in 2009 and ’10.
Family and friends at Surfers Paradise beach. Picture: Mike Batterham.
FOR months Karen and John Bird have campaigned for justice for their son, a post-traumatic stress-affected war veteran they say took his own life after being turned down for compensation. 

But yesterday, the two grieving parents took a moment with Jesse Bird’s closest mates to reflect on the good times and properly say goodbye to their son. The TSS graduate and accomplished swimmer and surf life saver’s friends paddled out from Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club at Surfers Paradise to scatter the 32-year-old’s ashes in the surf.
read more here

Australia: Police Commission Says Cops Need Better Support for PTSD

Outgoing WA Police Commissioner says mentally injured cops need better support

ABC News Australia
By David Weber
August 11, 2017

"I think the second thing is being able to maintain contact with those people, and I think that part of the solution here will be the advent of workers compensation and redress for the people who haven't received it."

The WA Police Commissioner has admitted the service has not been good at identifying officers' mental health issues, and said he regrets not getting a workers compensation scheme up and running for victims in the state before leaving his post.

The union has long fought for a compensation scheme to cover medically-retired officers, who are currently dealt with under loss of confidence provisions.

Karl O'Callaghan said it had taken too long to publicly acknowledge the impact of mental health problems.

"We have not been good at acknowledging the role that mental health plays in an officer's ability to continue work," he said.

"One of the pieces of feedback we got from a lot of officers is they felt that once they weren't able to continue, that they were not part of the family.

"They were not kept in contact [with] and people didn't actually care about them.

"We could've done more to help those police officers feel like they still belonged and manage their movement out of the organisation into civilian life."

Commissioner O'Callaghan said a compensation scheme would also go some way towards assisting people forced to retire because their mental health was injured on the job.
read more here

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Three Marines Missing After Another Osprey Crash


"The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps suspended the rescue operation and launched a recovery effort instead, the Marine base Camp Butler in Japan said in a statement, essentially confirming the military does not expect to find the missing Marines alive."

3 US Marines missing after aircraft crashes off Australia

By ASSOCIATED PRESSPublished: August 5, 2017

SYDNEY — Search and rescue operations were underway for three U.S. Marines who were missing after their Osprey aircraft crashed into the sea off the east coast of Australia on Saturday while trying to land.
Twenty-three of 26 personnel aboard the aircraft have been rescued, the Marine base Camp Butler in Japan said in a statement.

The MV-22 Osprey involved in the mishap had launched from the USS Bonhomme Richard and was conducting regularly scheduled operations when it crashed into the water, the statement said. The ship's small boats and aircraft immediately responded in the search and rescue efforts.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Australia Suicide Report on Boots Left Behind by Their Veterans

Veteran Jesse Bird, who took his own life, spent years asking for help, says mate 
Laura Armitage, Lilydale and Yarra Valley Leader 
July 16, 2017
"On June 27 — on National PTSD Awareness Day, and three weeks after getting the letter — the 32-year-old took his life." A FORMER soldier from Boronia says a fellow veteran who committed suicide did so only after spending seven years trying to get officials to recognise his post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Phil Hodgskiss said his mate and fellow veteran Jesse Bird, from St Kilda, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and returned in 2010. Mr Hodgskiss said since his return, Mr Bird tried to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to recognise his PTSD and other conditions, but it was a recent rejection letter for permanent impairment compensation that was the final straw. 

A copy of the rejection letter was posted on a Facebook page of The Warrior’s Return — a group that provides services for returned servicemen and is run by veterans and their families. The post said Mr Bird’s claim was rejected “because there is evidence the impairment you suffer from … post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, alcohol abuse, is not considered permanent and stable at this time”. read more here