Showing posts with label Coast Guard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coast Guard. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

While you were sleeping, Coast Guard was pulling bodies from the water

25 Victims Found, 9 People Missing After Diving Boat Catches Fire In California

Vanessa Romo and Merrit Kennedy
September 2, 2019

"This is probably the worst case scenario you could possibly have. You have a vessel that's on the open sea ... in the middle of the night." Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown
Updated at 1:31 a.m. ET Tuesday
Twenty-five people are confirmed to have died in the weekend dive boat disaster, according to The Associated Press, citing the Coast Guard. Nine people remain missing. A total of 39 people were on board the boat.
In this photo provided by the Ventura County Fire Department, firefighters respond to a boat fire off the coast of Southern California on Monday. The U.S. Coast Guard said it launched several boats to help over two dozen people "in distress." Ventura County Fire Department via AP

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll told The AP that at least 25 people died in the accident. Kroll said five victims have been found but their bodies have not yet been recovered due to unsafe conditions under the boat. He said authorities will continue to search overnight for the nine people still missing.

Five crew members were rescued, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters at a news conference Monday afternoon.

The vessel was identified as the Conception, based out of Santa Barbara Harbor, and was on a three-day dive trip to the Channel Islands. It was operated by Truth Aquatics. Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester told a news conference Monday that the company has been in full compliance with regulatory standards.
read it here

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Coast Guard, FEMA and TSA budgets hit for Trump's wall during hurricane season?

Homeland Security raids Coast Guard coffers to pay for border programs

The Associated Press
By: Colleen Long
August 27, 2019
"Taking money away from TSA and from FEMA in the middle of hurricane season could have deadly consequences." House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson

Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Puerto Rico personnel attach hurricane shutters on Monday in preparation for Tropical Storm Dorian. (Ricardo Castrodad/Coast Guard)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security is moving $271 million from other agencies such as FEMA and the U.S. Coast Guard to increase the number of beds for detained immigrants and support its policy forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases play out.

The news comes as hurricane season is ramping up and Tropical Storm Dorian is heading toward Puerto Rico.

The sprawling 240,000-person Homeland Security Department includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard and the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in addition to immigration agencies.

It is not uncommon for unassigned funds to be transferred between agencies under the same department as the fiscal year ends. Last year around the same time, about $200 million was transferred, including $10 million from FEMA that prompted major criticism from Democrats.

Homeland Security officials said in a statement Tuesday they would transfer $155 million to create temporary facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border for holding hearings with the aim of moving asylum cases through the system faster.
read it here

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Search for missing firefighters continues by sea and air

update:‘Extremely tough decision' made to suspend search for missing boaters, officials say read it here

Search for missing firefighters will continue Thursday: 'Time has become our enemy'

Missing boater grew up in Cocoa; mom remains optimistic as search continues

Florida Today
Tyler Vazquez
Aug. 20, 2019

Carla McCluney knows what her son has been through and just how capable he is.

Although Brian McCluney has not been seen since Friday, his mother and the rest of his family are as optimistic as ever.

There's no reason yet to give up on the lifetime fisherman and Navy veteran who was born in Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital and grew up in Cocoa, Carla said.

Since the extensive manhunt was undertaken to find Brian, 38, a firefighter in Jacksonville, and his friend Justin Walker over the weekend, tens of thousands of square miles of Atlantic Ocean have been covered by the U.S. Coast Guard and civilian volunteers.
read it here

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Stunning Coast Guard crew video shows them in action stopping narco sub

Dramatic video shows Coast Guard leaping onto submarine carrying 17,000 pounds of cocaine

NBC News
By Doha Madani
July 11, 2019
Crew members can be seen jumping onto a moving narco-sub and busting open the hatch in the USCG video.

The U.S. Coast Guard released video Thursday of service members leaping onto a submarine carrying 17,000 pounds of cocaine as part of a months long, $569 million cocaine bust.

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro can be seen in the video yelling at an unidentified aquatic vehicle to stop as it moved alongside the cutter at the surface of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Crew members then jump onto the top of the mostly submerged vessel as it's moving and bust open the hatch.

A person inside the vessel can be seen briefly just as the hatch opens at the end of the minute long video.

About 17,000 pounds of cocaine were found inside along with five suspected smugglers, the U.S. Coast Guard told NBC News on Thursday. The estimated street value of the drugs is $232 million.

Self-propelled submersible vessels, often called “narco-subs,” are sometimes used by cartels and traffickers to smuggle drugs across borders.

The operation, which occurred June 18, was one of 14 drug-smuggling vessels intercepted off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by three Coast Guard cutters between May and July of this year. A total of 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana, were seized in that time, for an estimated worth of $569 million, according to a press release Thursday.
read it here

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Maryland Coast Guard Lieutenant wanted to kill?

‘I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth’: A self-proclaimed white nationalist planned a mass terrorist attack, the government says

The Washington Post
Published: February 20, 2019

A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-identified white nationalist has been arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home that authorities say he stockpiled to launch a widespread domestic terrorist attack targeting politicians and journalists.

Christopher Paul Hasson called for "focused violence" to "establish a white homeland" and dreamed of ways to "kill almost every last person on earth," according to court records filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland. Though court documents do not detail a specific planned date for an attack, the government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since 2017 at the latest, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and searched the internet using phrases such as "best place in dc to see congress people" and "are supreme court justices protected."

"The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," the government said in court documents filed this week, arguing that Hasson should stay in jail awaiting trial.

Hasson, of Silver Spring, is expected to appear before a judge for a detention hearing in federal court in Greenbelt on Thursday.
read more here

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

MOH Marine Maj. Henry Courtney Jr. belongs in hometown

Nonprofit in dispute over Marine’s Medal of Honor agrees in principle to hometown display

Published: February 20, 2019
The foundation’s board includes Medal of Honor recipient Army Col. Walter Marm Jr., who received the award for actions taken during the Vietnam War, and Doug Sheehan, the nephew of Doug Munro, the Coast Guard’s only medal recipient.
Marine Maj. Henry Courtney Jr. received the Medal of Honor posthumously for leading a daring assault on Okinawa's Sugar Loaf Hill on May 14-15, 1945. COURTESY OF COURT STORY
A Pennsylvania nonprofit dedicated to educating Americans about citizenship and community service has agreed — in principle — to send a Marine hero’s Medal of Honor back to his hometown for display following a protracted fight.

The family of Marine Maj. Henry Courtney Jr. has been seeking the return of his medal from the Valley Forge-based Freedoms Foundation since around 2015, family members previously told Stars and Stripes.

They accused the foundation of breaching the agreement over how the medal would be used and requested it be sent instead to the St. Louis County Historical Society’s Veterans Memorial Hall in Duluth, Minn., which has a substantial Courtney display.

At first, the Freedoms Foundation, which was founded in 1949 by a group that included future President Dwight Eisenhower, refused. Courtney’s family members then took their fight public.
read more here

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Those who serve...paying beyond what is acceptable

Supreme Court rejects appeal over military burn pits

Published: January 14, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is rejecting appeals from military veterans who claim they suffer health problems because of open burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The justices on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that more than 60 lawsuits over the burn pits could not go forward.

The lawsuits said military contractor KBR dumped tires, batteries, medical waste and other materials into open burn pits. The suits claimed the resulting smoke caused neurological problems, cancers and other health issues in more than 800 servicemembers. The complaints said at least 12 servicemembers died. #ExposedAndBetrayed
read more here

Commandant tells Coast Guard families: ‘You have not, and will not, be forgotten’

Published: January 14, 2019

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz drew attention to ongoing missions around the globe and expressed his support for Coast Guard families as the service prepared for about 41,000 members to go without paychecks on Tuesday as part of the ongoing partial government shutdown.
A Coast Guard Cutter Munro crewmember embraces his children after the cutter returned home to Alameda, Calif., Dec. 24, 2018. MATTHEW MASASCHI/U.S. COAST GUARD

"While our Coast Guard workforce is deployed, there are loved ones at home reviewing family finances, researching how to get support, and weighing childcare options—they are holding down the fort," Schultz wrote on Sunday. "Please know that we are doing everything we can to support and advocate for you while your loved one stands the watch. You have not, and will not, be forgotten."
read more here

And then there is the latest news that the Congress is once again thinking about the term permanent and totally disabled should be followed up with "just kidding." They managed to cut the taxes on their wealthy friends, but now they want to cut the budgets of the disabled veterans who cannot afford to lose their compensation. Gee, wonder how much the heads of all the corporations get for their compensation after that sweetheart deal?

In other words folks...mostly cutting Vietnam veterans off at the knees!


In 2017, 4.5 million veterans with medical conditions or injuries that were incurred or that worsened during active-duty service received disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The amount of compensation such veterans receive depends on the severity of their disabilities (which are rated between zero and 100 percent in increments of 10), the number of their dependents, and other factors—but not on their income or civilian employment history.
In addition, VA may increase certain veterans' disability compensation to the 100 percent level, even though VA has not rated their service-connected disabilities at that level. To receive the supplement, termed an Individual Unemployability (IU) payment, disabled veterans must apply for the benefit and meet two criteria. First, veterans generally must be rated between 60 percent and 90 percent disabled. Second, VA must determine that veterans' disabilities prevent them from maintaining substantially gainful employment—for instance, if their employment earnings would keep them below the poverty threshold for one person. In 2017, for veterans who received the supplement, it boosted their monthly VA disability payment by an average of about $1,200. In September 2017, about 380,000 veterans received IU payments. Of those veterans, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, about 180,000 were age 67 or older. That age group has been the largest driver of growth in the program.
VA's regulations require that IU benefits be based on a veteran's inability to maintain substantially gainful employment because of the severity of a service-connected disability and not because of age, voluntary withdrawal from work, or other factors. About 48 percent of veterans receiving the IU supplement were 67 or older in September 2017, up from about 40 percent in September 2010. That rise is attributed largely to the aging of Vietnam War veterans.
But the tax cuts for the wealthy they managed to make permanent!

House passes GOP bill to make new tax cuts permanent

  • Republicans have sped legislation through the House to expand their massive new tax law, capping their session for the year as they rush out of town to face voters in the November elections.
  • The new bill would make permanent the individual and small-business tax cuts in the law.
  • It's the second tax-cut proposal that Republican leaders have pushed in less than a year.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Veterans in other news

Iraq Vet Jailed For Angry Voicemails Will Remain Locked Up

Starting just after Thanksgiving, Eric Benson began leaving voicemails on the work line for his private psychiatrist, demanding medication and treatment for his anxiety. The psychiatrist terminated Benson from his practice.

Food Stamp Programs to Remain Available Through February for Troops, Vets
In 2016, a total of more than 44 million low-income Americans received SNAP benefits, according to the Agriculture Department.The number of active-duty military households currently participating in SNAP has been difficult to track, but the most recent estimate by the Government Accounting Office in 2016 put the number at about 23,000.

‘Things are slipping’ as Coast Guard families brace for missed paychecks

Stars and Stripes 
“I have two teenagers and an 8-year-old. All I care about is just getting them fed and having gas to get to work so I can keep that paycheck,” said Murdock, 34. “It’s hard, because they know. The kids know about what’s going on. They ask for things and I have to tell them it’s too tight right now.”Petty Officer 1st Class Ron Murdock is one of roughly 41,000 Coast Guard members bracing for the partial government shutdown to continue through the weekend and to deny them paychecks on Tuesday.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Husband wants answers after Navy LT. wife died after childbirth

Widower takes on ban on military injury claims to Supreme Court

Kaiser Health News (Tribune News Service)
Published: October 14, 2018

Walter Daniel, a former Coast Guard officer, holds a photograph of his wife, Navy Lt. Rebekah Daniel, known as "Moani"; She died hours after giving birth to their daughter, Victoria, at the Naval Hospital Bremerton. HEIDI DE MARCO/KAISER HEALTH NEWS VIA TNS
More than four years after Navy Lt. Rebekah Daniel bled to death within hours of childbirth at a Washington state military hospital, her husband still doesn’t know exactly how — or why — it happened.

Walter Daniel, a former Coast Guard officer, demanded explanations from officials at the Naval Hospital Bremerton, where his wife, known as “Moani,” died on March 9, 2014.

He says he got none. No results from a formal review of the incident, no details about how the low-risk pregnancy of a healthy 33-year-old woman — a labor and delivery nurse herself — ended in tragedy, leaving their newborn daughter, Victoria, now 4, without a mom.

“There was no timeline, no records of what steps were taken,” recalled Daniel, 39, sitting in his Seattle lawyer’s high-rise office last month. “I’ve had no answers.”
read more here

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Coast Guard Veteran Lost Wife After Irma, Gained Community Wide Family Afterwards

Community helps Naples veteran repair home
January 13, 2017

NAPLES, Fla. -

More than four months after Hurricane Irma, neighbors in Naples are banding together to help a veteran at risk of losing his home.

US Coast Guard vet Walter Landrum, who served for 28 years, was already down on his luck when the hurricane ravaged his property, and he wasn't able to clean it up.
"It's been a nightmare," he said. "But not as bad as some of the nightmares I've seen in the Coast Guard."
He knows things could always be worse, but it got pretty bad after Irma.
"A coconut hit the window, sounded like an explosion."

He wasn't able to clean up because he was caring for his wife, who suffered from congestive heart failure.
"I was with her every day for the last three years. So I'd start cleaning the lanai, and she'd be wracked with pain and terror, and I'd come back to her," he said.
She passed away right before Christmas, by which time his neighbors realized he needed help. 

read more here

Thursday, November 23, 2017

After Losing Limbs, Veteran Got Life Back

After he lost his limbs, Dave Riley found a new purpose for his life
Michelle Matthews
November 23, 2017 
"It was my missing ingredient," he says. The DAV "exposed me to adrenaline again," and gave him his life back.

Dave Riley
Dave Riley works on a stack of walnut boxes in the 
workshop behind his house in Semmes, Ala. 
(Facebook photo) 
Every morning, Yvonne Riley helps Dave, her husband of 30 years, get himself together. Literally.
Before they leave the bedroom of their home in Semmes, Yvonne helps him brush his teeth, she shaves his face and she helps him put on his prosthetic arms and legs and get dressed. By now, she has the process down pat. She's been doing this for the past 20 years.
In 1997, Dave and Yvonne had taken their family - they have two daughters and a son - on a rare vacation to Dauphin Island. Dave remembers opening the door to their camper after they arrived. He felt the wind blowing on his face, and he felt something else, he says: "an impending feeling of doom."
By the time he woke up the next morning, his body was going into septic shock. A tall, strong Coast Guard rescue swimmer and emergency medical technician, Dave had contracted a bacterial infection that was trying to kill him. One of the doctors treating him told Yvonne he wasn't going to make it.
He spent the next 30 days in a medically induced coma, with Yvonne making all his medical decisions for him - including the amputation both of his arms below the elbows and his legs below the knee. He was hospitalized for two more months.
He sold his woodworking tools. He got rid of his boat and his trailer. "I didn't think I'd need them anymore," he says.
read more here 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Amputee 94-year-old World War II Veteran Stands for National Anthem!

Missing leg won't keep 94-year-old veteran from standing for national anthem

The Buffalo News 
October 5, 2017

Marian Morreale, a Coast Guard veteran, was honored during the national anthem at the Buffalo Sabres home opener on Friday, October 6 2017.SCREENSHOT VIA NHL

Marian Morreale has been practicing how to stand for the last three months. She is a 94-year-old World War II veteran and her left leg was amputated last year.
But she practiced standing so that she could when the national anthem  opening game of the Sabres tonight.
She is trying to make a point.
"I think for these young athletes and the salaries they make, they should stand for the national anthem," she said. "But I don't think our president should use that word, SOB." 
read more here

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Aubrey Gene Laney, Coast Guard Veteran To Be Laid to Rest

Memphis Funeral Home to bury homeless veteran with military honors
WMC Action News 5
Ashley Sharp
July 12, 2017

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A homeless veteran who died in March will finally be laid to rest on Thursday at the West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery.

Aubrey Gene Laney, who served in the United States Coast Guard, passed away with no family members to make his funeral arrangements.

The Memphis Funeral Home and the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program decided to step in and provide Laney a public memorial service and internment with military honors befitting of a veteran.

Corey Hague, the location manager at Memphis Funeral Home, hopes that the community will come together to attend the service honoring a man who dedicated part of his life to serving the country.
read more here

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Central Florida Veterans Events Includes Tall Ship!!

If you're a Central Florida veteran and think there is nothing to do, this should prove you are wrong. Great way to get out and meet other veterans!
About the Eagle: Originally operated by Nazi Germany to train cadets for the German Navy, the ship was taken by the United States as a war prize after World War II. In 1946, a U.S. Coast Guard crew – aided by the German crew still on board – sailed the tall ship from Bremerhaven to its new homeport in New London, Connecticut. Eagle returned to Bremerhaven for the first time since World War II in the summer of 2005, to an enthusiastic welcome.
The following is from Cathy Haynes

My Soapbox...My teeth usually start to itch this time each year…..
Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings.
  • Armed Forces Day primarily honors those persons who are currently serving our country.
  • Veterans Day primarily honors those who have served in the past.
  • Memorial Day primarily honors those who died while in service to our country, those who have given their lives for the nation’s freedom and the freedom of others.
While it is always appropriate to thank someone in our military services, past and present, Memorial Day is a day for those no longer with us.  It was meant to be a more solemn day, rather than celebratory with parties and sales….  

Fly your American flags this weekend and for Memorial Day/weekend.  If they are torn, tattered or fade you may take them to any veteran service organization post for proper retirement. See the events for Flag Day in June.  

Armed Forces Appreciation Day – May 20 – The unified recognition of all presently servicing persons in the armed forces rather than separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force Days.  

Armed Forces Day Recognition – Sat. May 20 – The Museum of Military History hosts this event to honor our men and women who are serving our country.  There is also special recognition of the Merchant Marines.  For those interested in joining the armed forces, military recruiters will be available to answer questions. The Central Florida USO will be distributing beneficial information for service members and their families.  10am – 2pm with a ceremony at 12noon featuring a special guest speaker.  Free museum admission for all Active, Reserve, National Guard, and Merchant Marine members, reduced $5.00 admission for all others. Light snacks and drinks provided; tour guides will be present for museum tours or questions.  5210 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy (192), Kissimmee, 34746.  407-507-3894.
(If you no longer want your military treasures and artifacts, please consider donating them for safekeeping.  Keep them out of a future landfill.  Stories of the item(s) also appreciated!)

Europa Expo – Sat, Sun May 20, 21 – This is one of the largest Health, Fitness & Sports trade shows in the WORLD - The Central Florida Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America Inc. (PVA) will be on hand displaying all of their sporting paraphernalia regarding adaptive sports for wheelchair users. 9am - 6pm, Orange County Convention Center. $20 for one day ticket.  Info:  www. /orlando-2017 (PVA assists vets with spinal injury and neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  They receive and distribute unwanted medical equipment to vets and civilians.  407-328-7041)  

Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting – Sat. May 20 – The Orlando-Winter Park Flotilla 17-11 meets on the 3rd Sat. of each month, 9am, at the Lake Baldwin VA Clinic, 5201 Raymond St., Orlando, 32803.  Auxiliary members are volunteers who support the Coast Guard in all its non-military, and non-law-enforcement missions. Members help to provide maritime safety, security and stewardship; to secure the homeland, save lives and property; and to protect the environment. There are several Flotillas (groups) in Central Florida and membership in the Auxiliary is open to persons 17 years of age and older – some are much older! Info: Joseph Bonaccorse  bonaccorse@ usa .net  407.222.9681.  

Veterans’ in Need Stand Down – Sat. May 20 - CareerSource Flagler Volusia will be hosting Veterans in Need Stand Down from 9 am - 2 pm in Daytona Beach, 250 N. Beach St., 32114. Homeless and in-need veterans as well as their families can receive free haircuts and food, along with information about VA services, medical care, employment resources, shelter, clothing, counseling and vocational services. In addition to CareerSource, program sponsors are the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Volusia County Veterans Services, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Paws of War and the Salvation Army.  Info:  Joe Roberts - 386-323-7011.  

Greeters needed!  Honor Flights - Orlando Int’l Airport –After a day spent in Washington DC, veterans of WWII, Korean War and Vietnam return home thru Orlando Int’l Airport in the evening.  The nation-wide organization has three local hubs that take veterans on a single day trip to our nation’s capital where they visit the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam War Memorials, Marine Corps Iwo Jima and the Air Force Monuments, and witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.  Come welcome these former warriors home!  “Welcome Home” receptions at the airports make a difference!  Bring your flags, banners and signs! – The closest dates are: 
  • Sat. May 20 – Southwest flight# 5205 from BWI arriving MCO at 8:40pm.  25 veterans (10 from WW2, 10 Korea and 5 Vietnam.  23 men and 2 women; 7 vets are over age 90 with the eldest being 98 yrs young.  8 Army, 7 USAF/USAAC, 7 Navy and 3 Marines.)
  • Wed. May 24 – Southwest flight# 1838 from BWI arriving MCO at 9:20pm.  40 vets, including one woman  – 3 WW2, 36 Korean War veterans and one Vietnam Veteran.
The groups enter the Hotel end of the Airport terminal area and we greet them in front of the Starbucks - Terminal A, Airside 2 -  Oftentimes led from the Tram by a bagpiper.  Before leaving home to attend the homecoming, it is suggested that you check online to see if the flight is on time because there may be delays due to weather, mechanical or medical issues. 
Free parking has been arranged at an off airport property – FastPark and Relax (7870 N Frontage Rd, Orlando, 32812) who has been very generous to Honor Flights with free parking and shuttles to/from the airport (Tips welcomed by drivers!) Just tell the attendant upon entering that site that you are there for the veterans/Honor Flight – they try to park us together. 
New:  Parking Vouchers WILL be available for airport garage parking from a GOAA rep. in the terminal for this event – maximum of 3 hours – BUT you have to take a PAPER ticket upon entering the airport garage.  The vouchers will NOT work if you use the SunPass/EPass transponders – we cannot credit the charge back.  Seek the GOAA rep. (or ‘Miss Liberty’) early before the veterans arrive. 
Information for more Flights will be forthcoming.  Contact Cathy Haynes for those details  407-239-8468  chaynes11629 @yahoo .com    

Greeters needed!  Honor Flights - Orlando Int’l Airport – Wed. May 24 – See information in May 20 posting.  

Armed Forces Appreciation Night – Thurs. May 25 – A combined gathering of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel, veterans, and groups at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando.  Sponsored by Sunshine Chapter of Association of the United States Army, Central Florida Navy League, and Central Florida Marine Corp Foundation.  (Dag-gone-it, Air Force Association!  Join us next year!  But Air Force personnel/veterans will not be turned away!  You are still welcomed to join us for fellowship and networking and appreciation of all military personnel!!!) Open bar, complimentary hors d’oeuvres.  6pm-8:30pm 255 South Orange Avenue #1800, Orlando, 32801.  RSVP is required. david.wood@ clubcorp .com  Info:  Jan Drabczuk 407- 448-5369  

United States Submarine Veterans mtg – Thurs May 25 – The Central Florida Base meets on the fourth Thursday of every month at 7pm, at the Casselberry Veteran's Club, 200 Concord Dr., Casselberry, 32707.  Fun and networking with membership open to all Navy personnel and veterans who are qualified in submarines.  Guests are always welcome at meetings.  Info:  Jay D Mack  407- 920-9347  jmack349@ gmail .com
FYI:  The National Convention of Submarine Veterans will be held in Orlando on September 1-6.  Any group/business that would like to post an advertisement in the convention book, contact Jay.  

VERY UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY:Coast Guard Cutter Eagle visit to Port Canaveral: May 31- June 3.  This is a tall ship – one with real masts and sails.  The Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE, provides USCG Academy cadets and officer candidates with their first taste of sea and salt air. Built in Germany in 1936 and recommissioned by the United States at the close of World War II, the EAGLE is the largest tall ship flying the Stars and Stripes.  This will be a unique opportunity!  

City of Orlando Mayors’ Veterans Advisory Council – Thurs. June 1 – 1:30pm monthly meeting of numerous organizations and individuals for the benefit of local veterans and active duty personnel.  Planning of functions (ie:  Veterans Day parade) and awareness of events is shared.  Designated representatives allow groups to coordinate efforts.  If your Orlando area vet/military associated group isn’t attending, it should plan to get involved.  Networking before and after the meeting.  See website at, Office of the Mayor, Mayor’s Committees, Veterans.   Contact Chairman Michael Waldrop for attendance and location information.  mwaldrop@ blue-cord. com  

Pars and Stripes Golf Tournament – Fri. June 2 – Cubic sponsors this fund raiser for the local Camaraderie Foundation which helps "heal the invisible wounds of war" for even more local heroes.  This 7th Annual event has 06:30 check-in and breakfast with an 8am shotgun start.  Reunion Resort Golf Courses, 7593 Gathering Drive, Kissimmee, 34747.  Additional sponsorships available.  Camaraderie Foundation in Central Florida provides resources for private and confidential Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) counseling for Post 9/11 veterans/warriors and their families.  They also have connections in other areas, other states.  It works.  It HAS saved lives, saved marriages and saved families.   camaraderiefoundation .org   Info:  events@ camaraderiefoundation .org   407- 841-0071  

Battle of Midway Commemoration - This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway. On June 4th 1942, a vastly outnumbered and outgunned U.S. Fleet defeated the finest of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the waters off a small Pacific Atoll named Midway. The combination of intelligence, tactics, courage, sacrifice and luck forever changed the course of the war and world history.  Thank a WW2 Pacific veteran!  

D-Day Commemoration -  On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s troops.  Thank a WW2 European theater veteran, especially one involved in D-Day.  

Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting – Wed. June 7 – The Osceola Flotilla 17-10 meets on the 1st Wed. of each month, 7pm, at American Legion Post 10, 205 Lakeview Dr., Kissimmee, 34741. Auxiliary members are volunteers who support the Coast Guard in all its non-military, and non-law-enforcement missions. Members help to provide maritime safety, security and stewardship; to secure the homeland, save lives and property; and to protect the environment. There are several Flotillas (groups) in Central Florida and membership in the Auxiliary is open to persons 17 years of age and older – some are much older! Info: Jim Nickles at jimnickles2@ gmail .com  407-390-9611**Recent CG Aux persons were able to assist local sheriff department and State Fish and Wildlife Dept. personnel with boat safety checks on the Lake Butler, Chain of Lakes. Way to go!

US Senator’s office offers Constituent Services – Thurs. June 8 - If you are having an issue with Social Security, Medicare, Veterans Affairs benefits, immigration, the IRS or any federal agency, a member of Senator Rubio’s staff will be available to meet with you. 10am – 1pm at The Museum of Military History, 5210 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy (192), Kissimmee, 34746.  Please plan to attend to meet your local staff and find out the services Senator Rubio’s Office offers his constituents.  Central Florida/Orlando office:  407-254-2573 or toll free in Florida 1-866-630-7106.  

Women Veterans’ Conference – Fri and Sat June 9, 10 – Sponsored by the Florida Dept. of Veteran’ Affairs to provide information  Free and open to all women who have served or are currently serving in the military.  Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Nona, 4th Flr Auditorium 4F301-A, 13800 Veterans Way, Orlando, 32827. Learn about local and state resources, career opportunities, information & outreach booths for benefits and assistance, rotation of knowledgeable guest speakers, some different each day.  8am – 4:30, Lunch provided both days, raffles and door prizes. Free Parking.  See:  floridavets .org  Info:  Darlene – 727-319-7418 scullyd@ fdva.state.   or Sherrel - 319-727-7405    

Oviedo Veterans’ Tribute Golf Tournament – Fri. June 9 – This fund raiser is also a memorial tribute to its original planner, Mark Stockwell, who died unexpectedly only a few months ago.   The “Fountain of Service” in Oviedo’s Veterans Memorial has the military branches presented on polished granite blocks. Water flows from each into a common trough, moving slowly and seems to disappear into the lake. This represents the idea of honorable separation and sacrifice. Sponsorships are very welcomed.  10:30 registration with 12noon shotgun start at Twin Rivers Golf Club, 2100 Ekana Drive, Oviedo, 32765.  Deadline of signing up is June 1 for discounts for veterans - $25, or $80 for others. Info: Art Weaver 407-765-0255   aweaver56@ gmail .com  

Flag Retirement ceremony – Sat. June 10 – Ceremony begins at 12 noon at the Orlando Scottish Rite Center, 1485 Grand Rd., Winter Park, 32792.  Sponsored by the Knights of St. Andrews with participation by scouts and veteran groups.  Highlights include tributes to the American Flag, POW/MIA ceremony, a 21-gun salute, live band and special presentations being made to first responders.   Gather your neighborhood retired flags, those that are torn, tattered and faded.  Bring them for proper retirement and disposal.  Past years have had over 4000 flags respectfully retired.  Alternatively, any American Legion or VFW Post will welcome flags for retirement.  Info:  Keith Albright 407.657.4550
Addl’ info - Masonic Membership consideration: National Sojourners, Inc., is a national fraternal organization composed of military commissioned officers, Warrant and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (past and present) and honorary members who are Masons in advancing programs that promote love of country ...  

242nd Army Birthday Ball – Sat. June 19 – The local Sunshine Chapter of AUSA (Association of the United States Army) coordinates this great celebratory event that is open to ALL interested persons- regardless of service branch or civilian.  Special guest speaker.  RSVP required; Special invitations to Wounded Warriors, Soldiers, Gold Star families and our senior war veterans from Central Florida. This years’ theme is “Over There! A Celebration of the WWI Soldier”.  6pm – 11pm at Rosen Centre, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, 32819.  Discount for early ticket purchase.  Sponsorships very welcomed.  See chapter website.  Info:  Dee  at 407- 924-0810  daila.espeut-jones@ zeltech .com 
Addl’ info - Interested in becoming an AUSA member?  Sunshine Chapter has flexible general meeting dates.  See the website or contact  john.reams@  407.571.9920  

Unique event: Free offshore fishing for wounded warriors – Tues. June 20 - Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is inviting wounded veterans to a free offshore fishing trip. The boat will be launching from Carrabelle ( in the FL Panhandle near Tallahassee). All eligible veterans can register now by going to OperationOutdoorFreedom .com  Limited space.  This ongoing program provides wounded veterans with the outdoor activities that they enjoy at no cost. Designated state and agricultural lands throughout Florida grant these veterans unique opportunities for recreation and rehabilitation.  Requirements:  30% or more service connected disability, or Purple Heart recipient.  


Central Florida Veterans – There are approximately 65,000 military veterans just in Orange County.  And only 17,000 are receiving ANY kind of benefits that they are entitled to receive.  Enroll in the VA Healthcare system, even if you think you are not eligible.  Laws change, rules get updated and you may have some service related situations that appear years after you left service.  If you are already enrolled, it will decrease possible delays.  Healthcare is not the only benefit of your service to our country.  See your County Veterans Service Office.  Every Florida county has a VSO, some have multiple offices – they are FREE and very knowledgeable about benefits claims and possible appeals.  See  floridavets .org for locations.
(Want to know a secret?  Many of the attorneys who advertise to assist with veteran benefit claims and appeals actually consult with these same VSO’s!  And then charge the client for it!)  

Hepatitis C – It is imperative that veterans get tested!  If positive, get treated.  The VA will test you, and treat you – for free.  Consult your primary care team if you are already enrolled in the VA Healthcare system.  If you are not currently enlisted in it, do it.  One in 10 Vietnam veterans, and one in 30 baby-boomers, will test positive for this liver problem - a possible “time-bomb” that may lead to liver cancer. Blood Banks already test for this – if Hep C negative, your blood will help save a life. 
(FYI – Hepatitis C was formerly known as Hepatitis Non-A, Non-B until the 1980’s.)  

Veterans in crisis – For you or someone you know. 
Suicide is a medical emergency.  If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, know that you are not alone and care should be sought immediately by calling 911.  Free, confidential resources are instantly available through the Military Crisis Line to aid you if you are in crisis. 
Call 800-273-8255 and press 1,  
OR chat online now for 24/7 access to trained counselors who understand what service members and military families are coping with.  Website at  veteranscrisisline 
OR:  text 838255  for 24/7 confidential assistance. 
They are there because they care….  

Camaraderie Foundation in Central Florida provides resources for private and confidential Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) counseling for Post 9/11 veterans/warriors and their families.  They also have connections in other areas, other states.  It works.  It HAS saved lives, saved marriages and saved families.  camaraderiefoundation .org   Contact 407-841-0071      

Caring and sharing,  

Cathy Haynes
Member/supporter of numerous veteran and military organizations in Central FL
chaynes11629@ yahoo .com

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Missing Veteran Found by Coast Guard

Missing Army veteran found safe in hospital after two-day search
FOX 5 News
February 22, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- After a two-day search for a missing boater thought to be lost at sea, a U.S. Coast Guard official ended its search Wednesday night after the decorated Army veteran from Orange County was found safe.
Garrett Ferguson
A nurse at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest saw a FOX 5 News report on the search for 36-year-old Garrett Ferguson of Huntington Beach and called police to say he was at the hospital.

Lifeguards and Coast Guard personnel scanned the ocean and shorelines around Mission Bay for a second day Wednesday in search of the Huntington Beach man, who was believed to have gone missing during a sea outing on a small motorboat.
read more here

Friday, July 22, 2016

WWII Veteran Banged Up During Ride to VA

90-year-old Veteran injured in Medicaid funded wheelchair van ride
I-Team: Transport company has troubling past
ABC Action News
Adam Walser
July 21, 2016

“His arm was bloodied and he had a lump on his head from a blow to the head,” said Schaer. “My father's on blood thinners, so I know a blow to the head like that could kill him.”
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Blood, a bump on the head and dehydration were the result of a wheel chair van ride Vernon Johnson recently took home from his doctor's appointment.

Your tax dollars paid for that ride, but the company that gave it has had other trouble in the past.

In 90 years Jacobson has had plenty of close calls , starting with D-Day.

As a young Coast Guardsman, he drove troops to shore on a barge.

But it’s his latest close call that had the potential to do the most damage.

“The wheels must have left the ground,” he said, describing the wild ride.
read more here

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thousands Walk for Wounded Service Members

Walk for the Wounded offers salute to those who served
Daily Times News
Kathleen E. Carey
May 14, 2016

“I had a call from one guy one time. He was at the end of his rope over them shutting off his water and electric. It amounted to $290 between both bills. Now, could you imagine that man taking his life because of $290?

"Team It's Always Faithful" walk for Marine Jimmy Kalitz who died from P.T.S.D.
Thousands came out to Rose Tree Park Saturday as they enjoyed the radiant sunshine – yet for all of its glow, that’s not why they were there.

Saturday was the ninth annual Walk for the Wounded, an event that’s a morning 5K run, a walk around the park, a festival with informational and vending booths and a ceremony to honor veterans, particularly those who served in active warfare.

The walk is a signature event for Operation First Response, a national organization that dedicates 97 percent of its proceeds to providing for the financial needs of veterans from rent and utilities to clothing and travel expenses.

Nick Constantino, senior advisor for Operation First Response, was gratified to see the 3,000 to 4,000 attendants throughout the day.

“It’s very gratifying to see the event grow after nine years and to see the same faces that we started with day one still attending and new faces coming in,” he said. “It’s very encouraging. It means a lot for the support and for what we do.”

During the veterans’ ceremony, Delaware County native and Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett was honored and presented with a $5,000 check for enduring being ambushed while on patrol and shot several times.

Among those in the audience were his parents, both of Delaware County. His mom, Terry, said she’s thankful he’s alive and said she only watched the video of his ambush twice because it was so difficult.

She said Saturday was unique because it spoke to his service in the Coast Guard, which he joined after graduating Monsignor Bonner High School in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Hartnett served on active duty with the Coast Guard from 2009 to 2015 and then in the reserves from 2009 to 2015.
read more here