Showing posts with label Fort Levenworth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fort Levenworth. Show all posts

Friday, January 18, 2013

Command Sgt. Maj. James Hubbard's widow warning on burn pits

Woman blames husband, veteran's death on toxic smoke from burning waste pits
Posted: Jan 17, 2013
By Laura McCallister, Multimedia Producer
By Alice Barr, News Reporter

President Barack Obama just signed into law a bill that may help veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who were exposed to a potential health risk - pits of burning waste.

A Leavenworth, KS, woman blames exposure to that toxic smoke for her husband's death and is speaking out about the danger he and other veterans faced.

With more than three decades of service to the U.S. Army, Command Sgt. Maj. James Hubbard certainly earned his place in Leavenworth National Cemetery. But proving the reasons he is now buried there were caused by his service turned out to be much more difficult.
read more here

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sensible, reasonable approach to the issue of mass violence

Sensible, reasonable approach to the issue of mass violence
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
December 23, 2012

The first thing we need to get straight is no one just "snaps" before they commit mass murder. They even show signs before they commit suicide, often thinking about it for a very long time before they take their own lives. For the bulk of gun deaths that can be tied to military service, guns are used most of the time. You also need to know that 75% of the suicides committed by veterans came after they sought help.

While military suicides and attempted suicides usually involve guns, very few have harmed someone else before they did it. Mass murder committed by members of the military are rare. There are a couple of trials going on involving members of the military charged with committing mass murder.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan
In the end, they weren't enough for the FBI to identify Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan as a terrorist threat or, as it would turn out, as a man who now stands accused of the shooting spree at Fort Hood that killed 13 and wounded 23 others in November 2009. The emails attracted the attention of FBI and anti-terrorism task force agents in December 2008, and eventually prompted them to dig up Hasan's personnel records and evaluation reports.
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
Today, the 38-year-old Army staff sergeant remains locked in an isolation cell in a maximum-security military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., accused of killing 16 Afghans, including nine children.

Eleven years of war, with over 2 million deployed into two wars, and only a few mass murder incidences. The talk these days is about the "culture of violence" but the talkers don't seem to be able to understand that we train men and women to use lethal force and they are well armed. A veteran is more apt to commit suicide than harm anyone else.

If they shoot anyone else, it is usually someone in their lives and not strangers. They usually kill themselves right afterwards.

Comment on the Newtown shooting
"This awful massacre of our youngest children has changed us, and everything should be on the table," Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia and "proud gun owner," said Monday in a statement. "We need to move beyond dialogue -- we need to take a sensible, reasonable approach to the issue of mass violence."

It is not as if we haven't known all of this for a very long time.

Rural West Virginia Vets have higher rate of trauma risk
Study: Rural W.Va. vets at higher trauma risk
The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Nov 11, 2008

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A new study shows that rural West Virginia veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to suffer from mental health problems than their urban counterparts.

The analysis is based on the ongoing West Virginia Returning Soldiers Study, which has surveyed more than 930 veterans.

The study shows that about 56 percent of returning soldiers from rural counties suffer from post-traumatic distress and other mental health problems, compared to 32 percent of soldiers in urban areas and 34 percent of those living on out-of-state military bases.

Rural veterans are also at greater risk for suicide.

Hilda Heady, a rural health specialist at West Virginia University, says part of the problem is a lack of mental health care facilities in rural areas.

When you hear politicians talk about mental illness and firearms, think about what you just read. Everyone with a mental illness is not going to use a gun against someone else but it does show that too many use them on themselves even after seeking help. Does that tell you something? It hasn't told members of congress that what is happening with military mental healthcare is not working because they haven't done anything meaningful since 2008.

It hasn't told them that the "culture of violence" has not caused members of the military and veterans to commit mass murders anywhere near what troubled civilians have done.

Mental health has to be addressed but it cannot begin and end with simply taking away the guns they have. Easy answers are not always the right answers. If there is no fix for how the mentally ill are treated, then mass murders will keep happening when civilians pull guns on civilians and veterans will keep taking their own lives.

If they ban assault weapons but do not secure the bullets these weapons use, then it will only put assault weapons into the hands of criminals. It should not be easier to get bullets for these weapons than it is to get the weapons in the first place. The gun does not kill, the bullets do. Require owners to have a license to buy the bullets and make it just as hard to get one as it is to get guns.

Everything has to be addressed and fixed before we can expect anything to really change.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Missouri soldier in military custody on murder charge

Missouri soldier in military custody on murder charge
He is now at Fort Leavenworth after the state transferred his case to the Army.
The Kansas City Star
September 7, 2012

When Justin Cannon of Peculiar bonded out of a rural Missouri jail last year on a murder charge, he didn’t report back to the Army on time.

But they have him now. On Friday, the state of Missouri dismissed the charge and the Army filed its own against the 22-year-old soldier.

He is accused of killing a man last summer by smashing a rock against his head during a campout at Truman Lake. According to court documents, Cannon was mad at the victim, Michael Griggs, for having sex with his wife while Cannon was away with the Army.

Cannon’s Facebook page made reference to him having served in Afghanistan.

An Army charge sheet filed Friday shows Cannon faces military charges of murder, failing to report for duty, impeding an investigation and lying to authorities.

He is at Fort Leavenworth, officials said.
read more here

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Retired Army chaplain still ministering for veterans

Retired Army chaplain still ministering for veterans
By Melissa Bower
Fort Leavenworth Lamp
Posted Aug 23, 2012

Chaplain Gary “Sam” Sanford feels strongly for veterans coping with post-combat issues and wounded warriors.

After all, he’s dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder himself as well as ministered to Soldiers for more than 30 years as an Army chaplain.

“Stuff from the past, you can never completely bury it, you never completely get rid of it, and that’s why I’ve got a heart for these guys dealing with PTSD, because I deal with some stuff myself,” he said.

Sporting his unit insignia-covered “God Rod” at military ceremonies, funerals and events, the 6-foot-4 chaplain is hard to miss. Although he has a couple of “God Rods,” the original was carved by a Soldier from the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Polk, La., in 1989. It began as a long wooden walking stick with a vine wrapped around it — originally a snake. The 5th were called the “Red Devils.” Over the years, military friends and Soldiers to whom he’s ministered have given him so many unit insignias that his original staff, like the chaplain himself, is coated in U.S. military history.

A retired colonel, Sanford served as an Army Reserve medic for six years before joining the Army chaplaincy. Wanting to be a youth minister, Sanford realized he could serve the largest youth group in the country — the U.S. Army. He served as an active-duty Army chaplain for 30 years.
read more here

Expert says PTSD not sign of weakness

The latest news in PTSD is that prior life has more to do with ending up with PTSD. I haven't posted the "news" everyone else in the blog world seems to think is so important it needs to be spread around the world, because it is pure nonsense that has come up at least once a year since experts started to study PTSD. It is along the same line as the so called "experts" saying that TBI causes PTSD, which is something else that is pure BS. TBI is caused by a traumatic injury to the brain like being near an IED blowing up. PTSD comes from the traumatic event itself like surviving it when friends did not. Two different "wounds" from the same event.

This article sets the record straight.

Expert says PTSD not sign of weakness
By Melissa Bower
Fort Leavenworth Lamp
Posted Aug 23, 2012
Fort Leavenworth, Kan

A nationally renowned expert in post-traumatic stress disorder stands by her belief that PTSD is not a mental illness.

“Having issues with PTSD is not a sign of weakness,” Dr. Bridget Cantrell told members of the Fort Leavenworth community Aug. 20.

“It’s not a personality flaw, it’s not based on education, culture, rank … it’s not a mental illness, and I stand by that.”

Cantrell has her doctorate of philosophy in clinical psychology, works as a private mental health provider and also runs a nonprofit group, Hearts Toward Home International. Through her nonprofit group, Cantrell conducts mental health awareness seminars for the military. She visited Fort Leavenworth Aug. 20-21 to conduct a series of seminars for the Family Advocacy Program on post.
read more here

Monday, August 20, 2012

Convicted soldier urges Supreme Court to hear military appeals

Convicted soldier urges Supreme Court to hear military appeals
McClatchy Newspapers
Published: August 20, 2012

Army reduces soldier's murder sentence
A fragile trust: Soldiers question Iraqi police’s involvement in bombing
GI convicted of murder in Iraqis’ deaths

WASHINGTON - A military court convicted Army Master Sgt. John E. Hatley of murder in wartime. Unfortunately for the defrocked combat infantryman, military law keeps him from appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

However, against all odds, the native of Decatur, Texas, is going where others have failed and Congress has hesitated. Representing himself from his Fort Leavenworth prison cell, Hatley has asked the high court to grant soldiers the same appeal rights as civilians.

"I've been in the military for 20 years and endured many hardships," Hatley said, responding to a reporter's emailed questions conveyed through a friend. "I accepted that as part of the career I had chosen. What you don't know and are never told is that your rights are less than every other citizen in this country has."
read more here

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fort Levenworth hearing set for Sgt. John Russell

Before you judge, what happened is one of the reasons things changed for soldier seeking help with PTSD. There were lapses in how the Army addressed soldiers seeking help but this discovery was too late to save the lives of the five service members he is accused of killing.

Hearing set for soldier in health clinic shootings

Associated Press
Published: Monday, Aug. 8, 2011 - 12:09 am
Last Modified: Monday, Aug. 8, 2011 - 12:39 am

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- A key military hearing will begin Monday for a U.S. soldier charged in a 2009 shooting that killed five service members at a mental health clinic in Iraq.

Army Sgt. John Russell is accused of carrying out the deadliest act of soldier-on-soldier violence during the war in Iraq. The case brought attention to the issues of combat stress and morale as troops increasingly served multiple combat tours.

Russell had gone to counseling to deal with combat stress, but an investigation found lapses in how the military monitored him and how authorities responded once the shooting began at a base on the edge of Baghdad.

Russell faces five counts of premeditated murder, two counts of attempted premeditated murder and one count of assault. During the hearing beginning Monday at Fort Leavenworth, a military officer will hear evidence and decide if Russell should face a military trial. The proceedings are similar to a civilian grand jury.

Killed in the shooting were
Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle, 52, of Wilmington, N.C.
Pfc. Michael Edward Yates Jr., 19, of Federalsburg, Md.
Dr. Matthew Houseal, of Amarillo, Texas
Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, 25, of Paterson, N.J.
Spc. Jacob D. Barton, 20, of Lenox, Mo.
Read more: Hearing set for soldier in health clinic shootings

Saturday, December 25, 2010

U.S. soldiers home for Christmas at Fort Levenworth

U.S. soldiers home for Christmas — at the Army’s disciplinary barracks at Ft. Leavenworth
By Earl Glynn On December 24, 2010

LEAVENWORTH, KAN. — Her prayer went unanswered.

At a September rally in Leavenworth, Vicki Behenna from Edmond, Okl., gave details about her son’s court martial, conviction and appeal.

“We’re praying that Michael’s conviction will be reversed and he will join us home,” she said. “We’re praying for a decision by Christmas.”

The Behenna family was disappointed Wednesday to learn their son’s Dec. 2 appeal to the Army Clemency and Parole Board was denied. They had hoped for a suspended sentence and immediate parole in time for Christmas.

Letters of support from the Governor of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Attorney General, and the entire Oklahoma Congressional Delegation had no effect. Three letters offering immediate employment upon his release had no effect.

A decision from the Army Court of Criminal Appeals from a hearing on Dec. 9 may not be known for 3 to 15 months. Michael’s family and a courtroom of supporters drove many hours to attend that hearing in Arlington, Va.

Vicki Behenna and her husband Scott travel to Leavenworth most weekends and are spending as much time as allowed with their son on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
read more here
U.S. soldiers home for Christmas

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister, wounded in Iraq climbs Mount McKinley

Wounded warriors summit McKinley

Soldier wounded in Iraq won’t let injury end his career or limit his goals
By Joe Gould - Staff writers
Posted : Sunday May 9, 2010 15:07:15 EDT

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The roadside bomb that destroyed Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister’s Humvee in al-Hillah, Iraq, in 2007, blasted a jet of molten metal through the rear driver’s side door to the front passenger seat. It ripped through a sergeant and a gunner’s legs, sprayed shrapnel into the driver’s back and into an interpreter’s face.

When Hoffmeister lifted his left arm to radio for help, he saw a hole had been cut through it. The wound could have ended his career, if not his life, but Hoffmeister would not let it.

The officer from Eagle River, Alaska, fought his way to recovery, and in June is due to assume command of the 6th Engineer Battalion, which may deploy to Iraq in the fall.

“I haven’t stopped since I was wounded, I haven’t had the opportunity to,” said Hoffmeister, who was in the pre-command course here last month.

More impressively, he climbed treacherous Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, with three other wounded warriors.
read more here
Wounded warriors summit McKinley

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ross Perot pledge of 6.1 million causes military rethink on ethics

Army rethinks how it teaches ethics to soldiers

By John Milburn - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Dec 28, 2009 7:44:45 EST

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Army leaders who’ve been prompted to rethink tactics and war-fighting doctrines because of Iraq and Afghanistan also see a need to re-examine how they educate soldiers about ethics.

Some of the interest in ethics is tied to the wars: the black eye of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, concerns that stress from unconventional conflict leads to bad decisions, and, for at least one retired general, the sense that the military lost the public’s trust in Iraq. But some leaders also say the Army has worried for a while that it hasn’t been doing a good enough job of instilling strong ethics.

Officials at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and at Fort Leavenworth, home to the Army’s Command and General Staff College, are still in the early stages of developing the material they’ll blend into handbooks, papers, online presentations and videos they use to train soldiers. Officers involved in the effort say that eventually a soldier’s grounding in ethics — strong or weak — will become a factor in promotions.

The Army’s efforts to rethink its training on ethics received a boost this fall, when Texas billionaire and two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot pledged $6.1 million to a private foundation supporting programs at Fort Leavenworth’s command college. One result is a new chairmanship in ethics — the kind of post universities set up for academic areas they deem important.
read more here
Army rethinks how it teaches ethics to soldiers

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pvt. Henry E. “Rickey” Marquez is finally home

Body of WWII soldier to return home Saturday

The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday May 28, 2009 18:10:56 EDT

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A day after a different soldier’s remains were mistakenly escorted from Kansas City International Airport to a Kansas City, Kan., cemetery, the body of Pvt. Henry E. “Rickey” Marquez is finally home.

The remains of the soldier, who was killed in battle 64 years ago in Germany, arrived at the airport Thursday morning. They were taken to Highland Park Cemetery, where he will be buried Saturday with full military honors.

A mix-up Wednesday led to the remains of the wrong soldier being sent to the cemetery in a grand procession that included Patriot Guard motorcycle riders, Fort Leavenworth soldiers and local police. John Marquez says that when the procession reached the cemetery, military officers realized his brother’s remains were still in Hawaii.

Leavenworth spokesman George Marcec told The Associated Press on Thursday that it’s still not clear whose remains were taken from the airport the previous day. He said that body apparently was on its way to Iowa and that Kansas City was just a stopover.
go here for more

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell says troops should blog?

Leading General Tells Troops to Start Blogging
By Noah Shachtman May 19, 2008 11:04:00 AMCategories: Info War
In some corners of the military, they can't seem to stop squealing about the security risks that blogs and other social media supposedly pose. At one of the Army's leading intellectual hubs, however, the commanding general there has directed his troops to start blogging.

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, who heads the Combined Arms Center [CAC] and Ft. Leavenworth, told his soldiers in a recent memo that "faculty and students will begin blogging as part of their curriculum and writing requirements both within the .mil and public environments. In addition CAC subordinate organizations will begin to engage in the blogosphere in an effort to communicate the myriad of activities that CAC is accomplishing and help assist telling the Army’s story to a wide and diverse audience."

Lt. Gen. Caldwell, the former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, is a blogger himself, contributing to Small Wars Journal. He made waves in January when he wrote that "we must encourage our Soldiers to... get onto blogs and to send their YouTube videos to their friends and family."

It's a position that appears to run counter to stated Pentagon policy. YouTube is officially banned on military networks. Personal blogs cannot be maintained during duty hours. Many influential blogs are blocked. Stringent regulations, read literally, require commanding officers to review each and every item one of his soldiers puts online. And in televised commercials, screen savers, and flyers, troops are told that blogging is a major security risk -- even though official sites have proven to leak many, many more secrets.
Linked from RawStory

Ok, I'll believe it when I read it. When I read blogs and comments like the ones I get in email and find online from them, then I'll believe this is not a replacement for the generals caught with their wallets in the Pentagon's check book.

What I found very interesting is that YouTube is banned, but when they come home, they manage to get their videos up and running. This proves the ban is doing nothing but prolonging what they will do anyway. The brass has finally discovered they are not leaking any secrets or doing anything that would jeopardize operations or their brothers and sisters. Do some of them post outrageous videos that may shock or appall? Absolutely, like the puppy toss video and the one where some soldiers were mocking the Iraqis, but these are not the usual videos they produce.

I've seen some great documentary work done by these men and women and it's giving us a picture of what they are going through. Their stories will be told either now or later when they're home, so there is no point in banning them from doing it.

One more thing and this is a personal one. It ticks me off that the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot even get to videos like mine to help them begin to heal sooner. Too many of them know there is something wrong with them but they do not know what it is. Yes, even today, there are still too many who know nothing about PTSD. They can't find out until they get home or manage to get onto one of the Navy ships with the wisdom to show my videos to the Marines coming home.

They are also not aware of the fact so many across this country are not only supporting them for real, fighting to make sure they get the benefits they need, praying for them and, most important, paying attention!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Congress to make restitution for WWII innocent soldiers

Congress to repay wrongfully accused troops

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday May 15, 2008 15:53:59 EDT

Twenty-three African American World War II soldiers who were wrongfully convicted of murder are a step closer to financial restitution for their dishonorable discharges and jail time.

Following the Senate’s lead, the House Armed Services Committee also asked that cost-of-living and interest adjustments be added to the soldiers’ back pay in the committee’s version of the 2009 defense authorization bill.

In 1944, 43 black soldiers were tried in the hanging death of an Italian prisoner of war, Pvt. Guglielmo Olivotto, at Fort Lawton, Wash. Of those, 23 were found guilty of either the murder itself, or of participating in a riot after the murder. All 23 were dishonorably discharged, and several served time at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

But according to the research of journalist Jack Hamann, who wrote a book about the case called “On American Soil,” court documents point to a white man, Clyde Lomack, as the real murderer. According to Hamann’s research, Lomack also started the riot to cover up the murder.

Lomack had been upset that the Italian POWs were allowed to roam freely about the base. He was later court-martialed for being unable to account for his time during the riot. He has since died.

Hamann’s research also showed that the prosecutor, Leon Jaworski — later to gain fame as the special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal — withheld evidence from the defense that could have proven the soldiers’ innocence.

After Hamann’s book came out, the Army awarded compensation to the surviving soldiers — only two of the 23 are known to still be living — and their families. But when Sam Snow, now in his 80s, received his check, it was for only $725. Without Congressional action, the Army said could not pay the men or their families more.

If the language in the House version of the defense bill makes it through a floor vote next week, Snow could receive a new check — for $80,000. The other families also would get large payments.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fort Leavenworth soldiers learn "Hold Me Tight"

Ottawa counsellor offers hope for couples after the horrors of war
Shelley Page , Canwest News Service
Published: Saturday, May 03, 2008
OTTAWA - Some soldiers come home from battle with war in their heads and numbness in their hearts. They can't escape the death they've witnessed - or caused - or the nagging uneasiness that comes from fighting in a land with no front or back lines.

The bridge from war back to love is impossible for many to cross. They must shut off their "battle brains" in order to hug their children and hold their wives. Relationships falter. At greatest risk are marriages that endure multiple deployments.

In a bid to support these fragile relationships, the U.S. army has called in Ottawa-based therapist Dr. Sue Johnson. Last weekend, the University of Ottawa professor was in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to run the fourth of five retreats for military couples using Emotionally Focused Therapy. Johnson developed the program when she was a graduate student at the University of British Columbia and then refined it here in Ottawa as director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute. Now it's used around the world by marital therapists. About 200 couples will go through the military's pilot program.

Johnson's work has achieved a 75 per cent success rate in several studies. By comparison, other forms of couple therapy have been shown to be about 35 per cent effective. While Johnson has discussed her therapy with the military chaplains in this country, she has not provided similar support to Canadian troops.

The clinical psychologist describes her work in Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. The new book was not written for a military audience, though it was distributed to the Fort Leavenworth couples.

Monday, October 22, 2007

War can be hard on relationships of military couples

Her findings about deployment run counter to a 2003 military study taken to assess the mental health of soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. “That study found soldiers were reporting very low stress related to their deployment,” she said.

War can be hard on relationships of military couples
Posted by admin as Psychology / Psychiatry
October 22, 2007

Serving in combat can affect the relationship satisfaction of military couples, according to preliminary results of a study by a Kansas State University professor.

Briana Nelson Goff, associate professor of marriage and family therapy in K-State’s School of Family Studies and Human Services, has conducted surveys and interviews during the last year with 47 military couples from Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth. The majority of the participating couples are married, while the others have been dating for at least a year. In each case, the male member of the couple has served in the war in Iraq or in Afghanistan.

Nelson Goff said her research is the first comprehensive study to compare the similarities between couples who are dealing with the aftereffects of war and those who deal with other similar types of traumatic experiences. Her survey was designed to find and gauge the level of individual trauma symptoms related to the war experience and if they are affecting the couples’ relationship.

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