Showing posts with label Joint Chiefs of Staff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joint Chiefs of Staff. Show all posts

Monday, December 30, 2019

Joint Chiefs Senate confirmation shows they do not take military sexual assaults seriously

Why This Veteran Is Suing One of the Joint Chiefs for Sexual Assault

The Daily Beast
Molly Jong-Fast
Dec. 30, 2019

Twenty-eight-year veteran Kathryn Spletstoser couldn’t get the military to take her claims against a decorated Air Force general seriously. Now she’s making those claims in court.

Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty
Army Lt. Col. Kathryn Spletstoser just wanted to fade into retirement. She’d served 28 years in various posts and had done four combat deployments: two in Iraq, and two in Afghanistan. She’d been a White House fellow. She had earned three master’s degrees. She was one of the most accomplished officers of her generation. She was ready to go into private sector work, spend time with her aging mother, and go back to her native Wisconsin.

But in April 2019, when President Trump nominated Air Force Gen. John Hyten, then the commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Command and her boss, to serve as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the second highest ranking military officer in the United States and the second most powerful position in the U.S. armed forces—she put those plans aside.

She claims that Hyten sexually assaulted her numerous times throughout 2017. For two years, she had said nothing about the alleged incidents, but when the oft-decorated Hyten stood to be elevated to such a high position, she went public, reporting him in April.
Trisha Guillebeau, the public affairs adviser to the Joint Chiefs, said: “In response to your request for comment I’d like to state that all investigations found the allegations against Gen. Hyten to be unsubstantiated. All allegations provided to the Department of Defense were subject to comprehensive investigation and unsubstantiated. In addition, the Senate conducted its own exhaustive, comprehensive review of the matter during Gen. Hyten’s confirmation process to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Hyten’s confirmation by the Senate as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff validates the trust that has been placed in him by our nation, our department’s leadership, and Congress.”
read it here

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Australia: Need for Annual Mental Health Screenings Pushed

Here in the US there is already a law requiring it however, when asked by our Senate, they said they didn't do post-deployment screenings. 
ADF members should have annual mental health screenings, Senate inquiry recommends 
ABC News Australia 
By Kristy O'Brien 
March 22, 2016
Since 2000, 96 serving members have killed themselves and a further 13 veterans have taken their own life.
Alex Kasmarek struggled with mental illness for eight years after returning from Iraq. ABC News
An Iraq veteran has spoken out about his experience with mental illness following his service abroad, saying he felt suicidal every day for eight years.

Alex Kasmarek has told the ABC his life spiralled out of control after he returned from an eight-month rotation of Iraq, left the military and found himself homeless.

His comments come after a Senate inquiry found nearly one in four returned soldiers had experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months, and the rate of suicidality - which the Federal Government defines as serious thoughts about taking one's own life, suicide plans and suicide attempts - was double those of the general population.

"Every day of my life for eight years I had an undesirable will to shoot myself. Every single day. And I just didn't know why," Mr Kasmarek said.

"I didn't know what PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] was exactly, and Army doctors told me I was fine. I just thought I was going mentally insane."
read more here

When you watch this clip, you'll hear how low the suicides were back then, so please remember, they were important enough to hold a hearing like this back then but things got worse and we received no accountability from anyone. Their answer was a half day course for "non-commissioned officers" to take.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

General Ray Odierno Finally Being Replaced

In 2013 following the highest year for military suicides, General Ray Odierno gave an interview to the Huffington Post.

He blamed soldiers,
We've been at war for 12 years, that's what's changed. I think also the social environment has changed. We certainly seem to be having more people coming from split homes, from family backgrounds not as stable as we once had. There is more pressure on young people today than when I was a company commander. So it's a combination of these pressures.
"Some of it is just personal make-up. Intestinal fortitude. Mental toughness that ensures that people are able to deal with stressful situations."
Then he blamed families
"But it also has to do with where you come from. I came from a loving family, one who gave lots of positive reinforcement, who built up psychologically who I was, who I am, what I might want to do. It built confidence in myself, and I believe that enables you to better deal with stress. It enables you to cope more easily than maybe some other people."

Was that bad? Yes but when what he said was passed down to every unit in the Army, including the Warrior Transition Units, he is leaving with absolutely no clue how much he is responsible even though he was not held accountable. No one was.

Now we have a new head of the Army coming in. We need to pray he has a clue what he's doing or we'll see even more suicides within the Army and in the Veterans community when they get out.
Gen. Mark Milley named new Army chief of staff
Army Times
By Michelle Tan, Staff writer
May 13, 2015
Milley, a native of the Boston area, also previously served on the operations staff of the Joint Staff and as a military assistant to the defense secretary.
Gen. Mark Milley speaks to ROTC and U.S. Military Academy
cadets March 31 at a seminar at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
(Photo: David Vergun/Army)

Gen. Mark Milley, an Ivy League graduate and career grunt, has been nominated to be your next Army chief of staff.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced Milley's nomination Wednesday during a briefing at the Pentagon.

If confirmed by the Senate, Milley would succeed Gen. Ray Odierno, who is retiring later this summer after serving as the Army's top leader since September 2011.

Carter described Milley as "a warrior and a statesman."

"He not only has plenty of operational and joint experience in Afghanistan, in Iraq and on the Joint Staff, but he also has the intellect and vision to lead change throughout the Army," he said.

Carter described observing Milley's service up-close when the general led the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Afghanistan.

"Mark and I flew to Herat the day after an attack on the U.S. consulate there," Carter said. "I saw Mark take command of the scene and stand with our people there. I was impressed by his candor and good judgment, and I knew right away he had even more to offer to the United States Army."

Milley's nomination comes after months of speculation about Odierno's successor, and many considered him a dark horse among a field of potential nominees that included Gen. Daniel Allyn, the vice chief of staff, Gen. John Campbell, the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Perkins, the commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command, and Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Army Pacific.
read more here

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Chairman Joint Chiefs Marine General Is Boston Strong

Obama chooses Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. as Joint Chiefs chairman 
89.3 KPCC
Lolita C Baldor
May 5, 2015
Obama referred to Dunford's native Boston, saying he's the "very definition of Boston strong." But Obama added, "the only downside in my book is as a White Sox fan, there is yet another Red Sox fan who I'm going to have to be dealing with."
President Barack Obama tapped a highly respected combat commander as his next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Tuesday, signaling that the battles against al-Qaida and Islamic State militants threatening the Middle East and the West remain top priorities for the nation's military despite years of trying to change the focus to Asia.

Announcing his selection of Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. during a Rose Garden ceremony, Obama said America's armed forces must be ready to meet a broad range of challenges, and that Dunford has proven to be one of the military's most highly regarded strategic thinkers.

"We have to keep training Afghan forces and remain relentless against Al Qaida. We have to push back against ISIL and strengthen forces in Syria and build moderate opposition in Syria," said Obama, using an alternate name for the Islamic State group. "We have to stand united with our allies in Europe and keep rebalancing our posture as a Pacific power. We have to keep investing in new capabilities to meet growing threats, including cyber attacks."

As the U.S. started to look beyond the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon had begun to increase its focus on the Asia Pacific region, where the North Korea threat was escalating and China was flexing its military muscles. But that has been eclipsed by the march of Islamic State militants across Syria and Iraq, and the group's effort to expand to other regions and import the fight to the West.
read more here

Friday, March 27, 2015

USO Honors Medal of Honor Recipients

Joint Chiefs of Staff, USO Salute Medal of Honor Recipients 
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2015 – On the eve of National Medal of Honor Day, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff partnered with the United Service Organizations Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore to salute the nation’s Medal of Honor recipients here yesterday.
Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Mary, speak before an audience of about 600 during the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore’s 33rd awards dinner in Arlington, Va., March 24, 2015. The Winnefelds and the Joint Chiefs of Staff honored the nation's Medal of Honor recipients on the eve of National Medal of Honor Day. DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nathan Gallaha

The USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore held its 33rd annual awards dinner, where it paid special tribute to nearly 30 recipients of the nation’s highest military honor, as well as yearly accolades to those who serve America’s troops.

Following a video presentation, Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, began the Medal of Honor recipient tributes.

Heroism ‘Thrust Upon Them’
“Our veterans have forged the story of American patriots,” he said. The fabric of our society continues to be built upon the foundation of these patriots who display extraordinary heroism, courage and selfless sacrifice for our nation, Grass said. “They do not go out seeking to become heroes; it’s thrust upon them,” he said.

Grass quoted a fifth-century writer who once said, “‘the purpose of all wars is lasting peace.’”
read more here

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Joint Chiefs: Quarantine All Us Troops in Ebola Deployment

Joint Chiefs recommend quarantine for all US troops returning from West Africa
Stars and Stripes
By Jon Harper and Chris Carroll
Published: October 28, 2014

WASHINGTON — The military’s top brass has recommended that all American troops returning from the mission to combat Ebola in West Africa be quarantined, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel “shares the concerns by the chiefs about the safety and well-being not only of our troops but also of their families,” but has not yet made a decision about whether to approve the recommendation from the Joint Chiefs.

Hagel received the chiefs’ recommendation on Tuesday, shortly after Army leadership decided to isolate Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams and 10 other soldiers for three weeks to ensure they are not infected after spending time in Liberia, where they were participating in Operation United Assistance.

They and other soldiers arriving in Vicenza, Italy, will be allowed no physical contact with family members but will have access to telephones and the Internet, Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Alayne Conway said.
read more here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Troubling Leadership Bringing More Troops Into Iraq

Army chief: Division headquarters going to Iraq
The Leaf Chronicle
Michelle Tan
September 24, 2014

Odierno says division has not yet been identified, but headquarters will be 'small'

As the U.S. expands its war against the Islamic State, the Army is preparing to deploy a division headquarters to Iraq.

Officials have not identified the division that will deploy — the first division headquarters to go to Iraq since the U.S. withdrawal in 2011.

An official announcement is expected in the coming days. But Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno recently confirmed the Army "will send another division headquarters to Iraq to control what we're doing there, a small headquarters."

It's unclear how many soldiers will be sent, or how long they will deploy. Division headquarters average between 100 and 500 soldiers and deploy for one year.

The division headquarters deploying to Iraq is expected to be responsible for coordinating the efforts of the 1,600 troops President Obama has sent to Iraq. Many of these troops are advising and assisting the Iraqi Security Forces, others are providing extra security, while others are providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The headquarters also is expected to head up the joint operations center that since July has been run by Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, the deputy commanding general for operations for U.S. Army Central.
read more here
Who are these two leaders?

Start with Major General Dana Pittard and what he wrote on the Fort Bliss blog while "Working out in the gym."

“I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act,” he wrote on his official blog recently. “I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us.”
And General Raymond Odierno, Army Chief of Staff said this last year during Suicide Prevention Month
"First, inherently what we do is stressful. Why do I think some people are able to deal with stress differently than others? There are a lot of different factors. Some of it is just personal make-up. Intestinal fortitude. Mental toughness that ensures that people are able to deal with stressful situations.

But it also has to do with where you come from. I came from a loving family, one who gave lots of positive reinforcement, who built up psychologically who I was, who I am, what I might want to do. It built confidence in myself, and I believe that enables you to better deal with stress. It enables you to cope more easily than maybe some other people.

Makes what more troops being sent to Iraq are going to be subjected to above combat all the more troubling.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chairman of Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey Thanks Service Members, Families

Dempsey Thanks Service Members, Families During Memorial Day Concert
American Forces Press Service
By Jim Garamone
March 26, 2014
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife Deanie talk with John Peck, a former Marine Corps sergeant and wounded warrior, prior to the 25th National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 25, 2014. Peck’s story of resiliency was shared during the concert, along with other dramatic readings to pay tribute to their sacrifices as well as those of their families and loved ones.
DOD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Gallahan

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2014 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thanked service members and their families for their sacrifices during the National Memorial Day Concert here last night.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told a nationwide audience that Americans trust their service members. These young men and women “are willing to fight in every clime and every place. Willing to risk and even give their lives for its ideals,” the chairman said.

On Memorial Day, Americans remember the courage of their sons and daughters in uniform, Dempsey said. “We renew our strength, the strength of our nation for their deep devotion,” he said. “We rededicate ourselves to secure our national purpose: to secure the blessings of liberty.”

On Memorial Day, the country “honors those who honored us -- men and women from every corner of our country and every branch of service -- who gave their lives so we can live free,” the chairman continued.

The nation must look back at the heroes who have brought it this far, Dempsey told the audience.
read more here

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Videos | National Memorial Day Concert | PBS

Memorial Day Videos | National Memorial Day Concert | PBS

Each year, the National Memorial Day Concert presents a unique program honoring the valor and patriotism of Americans who have served our country. The show pays tribute to their sacrifices, as well as those of their families and loved ones.

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, the 2014 National Memorial Day Concert will recognize our servicemen and servicewomen with a special “welcome home” to thank veterans who served in Afghanistan.

In these segments of the show, we’ll feature a story about a critically wounded veteran suffering from severe physical injuries and the grave invisible wounds of war. We’ll also focus on the story of a mother coping with grief after the death of her son, the first to die in Afghanistan. His service inspired her to become actively involved with Gold Star Mothers. Now she is helping other mothers with their loss, grief and healing as they move forward with their lives.

The 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion also will be commemorated in 2014. World War II veterans who participated in the invasion, a seminal moment that turned the tides of war in favor of the Allies, will be honored and featured in this tribute to the sacrifices of our nation’s Greatest Generation.

go here for more of this tribute
Last night was the 25th Annual Memorial Day Tribute Concert, hosted by Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise. As always, I was moved to tears many times.

Joe Mantegna

Joe Mantegna is a world-class and award-winning entertainer with a strong background in television, theater and film who returns to co-host theNational Memorial Day Concert for his ninth consecutive year with Gary Sinise. Currently, Mantegna stars as FBI Special Agent David Rossi in season nine of the hit CBS drama Criminal Minds... READ MORE
Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise

Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise has been actively and tirelessly supporting the troops for over 30 years. Among his numerous film and television roles, it was his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the landmark filmForrest Gump that formed a lasting connection with servicemen and servicewomen throughout the military community... READ MORE
General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)

General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)

For over 50 years, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) has devoted his life to public service. Having held senior military and diplomatic positions across four presidential administrations, Powell’s deep commitment to democratic values and freedom has been felt throughout the world. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was... READ MORE
Dianne Wiest

Dianne Wiest

Oscar and Emmy Award-winning actress Dianne Wiest recently finished shooting the feature film The Humbling opposite Al Pacino, directed by Barry Levinson. Over the years, Wiest has given memorable performances in films such as Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York; A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints; Hannah and Her Sisters... READ MORE
jennifer nettles

Jennifer Nettles

Jennifer Nettles, lead vocalist for international super duo Sugarland, has become one of the most popular singer-songwriters in music today. Since Sugarland exploded onto the music scene in 2004, they have worldwide sales of over 22 million albums and singles to date, have achieved eight No.1 singles and have won numerous awards... READ MORE
Danielle Bradbery

Danielle Bradbery

Seventeen-year-old Danielle Bradbery charmed her way into the national spotlight with a mix of country-western hits from several decades during season 4 of The Voice. The reigning star of the NBC hit show has become the youngest winner ever, and her coach, Blake Shelton, called her, "the most important artist to ever walk across... READ MORE
Megan Hilty

Megan Hilty

Megan Hilty recently starred alongside Sean Hayes in NBC’s comedy Sean Saves the World. Prior to that, she portrayed the seasoned triple threat, Ivy Lynn, in NBC’s musical drama Smash for two seasons. In March 2013, Hilty released her debut solo album, It Happens All The Time, which included fresh interpretations of... READ MORE
Jackie Evancho

Jackie Evancho

Jackie Evancho’s first performance on NBC’s variety show America’s Got Talent left audiences and judges astonished that such a perfect, beautiful, soprano voice could come from a 10-year-old girl. During her next appearance in the competition, judges asked her to improvise a tune, which she performed flawlessly. It wasn’t just her... READ MORE
Anthony Kearns

Anthony Kearns

Anthony Kearns, recognized as one of the world‘s finest tenors, made his official U.S. Grand Opera debut as the lead tenor in the role of Edgardo in Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Naples of Florida in January 2011. His first appearance with the opera company came in early 2010 as Romeo in its production... READ MORE
Jack Everly

Jack Everly

Jack Everly is the Principal Pops Conductor of the Baltimore and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa). He has been on stage with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, appears annually with The Cleveland... READ MORE
National Symphony Orchestra

National Symphony Orchestra

The National Symphony Orchestra of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, led by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, is recognized not only nationally but internationally as well, and is considered one of the world's finest ensembles. The Orchestra, in its 83rd season (2013-14), maintains a busy concert... READ MORE
military district of washington

Military District of Washington

The Military District of Washington works with Capital Concerts in coordinating the Department of Defense participation of the Premier Service Bands and Service Honor Guards.
U.S. Army Herald Trumpets

U.S. Army Herald Trumpets

The United States Army Herald Trumpets is the official fanfare ensemble for the President of the United States. Founded in 1959 and patterned after traditional British “fanfare” trumpet ensembles, The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets was formed to add splendor to official military ceremonies. A performing element of The United... READ MORE
U.S. Army Chorus

U.S. Army Chorus

In 1956, the U.S. Army Chorus was established as the vocal counterpart of The U.S. Army Band Pershing’s Own and is one of the nation’s only professional, all-male choruses. From its inception, the U.S. Army Chorus has established and maintained a reputation of excellence in the performance of male choral literature... READ MORE
U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters

U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters

The United States Navy Band Sea Chanters is the official chorus of the United States Navy. The ensemble performs a wide variety of music, ranging from traditional choral music, including the sea chantey, to Broadway musicals. Under the leadership of Chief Musician Georgina L. Todd, the Sea Chanters appear throughout the... READ MORE
U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants

U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants

The Singing Sergeants, the official chorus of the United States Air Force, is one of the world's most versatile and traveled choral organizations. Originally formed in 1945 from within the ranks of The United States Air Force Band, the chorus is now composed entirely of professional vocalists from leading colleges, universities and music... READ MORE
The Soldiers' Chorus

The Soldiers' Chorus

The Soldiers’ Chorus, founded in 1957, is the vocal complement of the United States Army Field Band of Washington, DC. The 29-member mixed choral ensemble travels throughout the nation and abroad, performing as a separate component and in joint concerts with the Concert Band of the “Musical Ambassadors of the Army.” The chorus has... READ MORE

Saturday, February 15, 2014

History has proven need for accountability on military suicides

History has proven need for accountability on military suicides
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 15, 2013

The numbers released on military suicides from last year were not the shocking part.

The numbers are from Air Force Times
Army 351-296=55
Navy 59-46=7
Air Force 59-55=4
Marines 48-45=3

The shocking part is no one has been held accountable since 2008 and no one ever will be unless the public demands it.

The headlines are not impressive at all considering every branch has also had a reduction in enlisted personnel and the rate of younger veterans committing suicide has gone up. 517 revised from 2012?

This is from 2009 with military leaders. House Armed Service Subcommittee held the hearing.

As you can see, the numbers went up after this hearing even though they made it sound as if they were doing everything possible to reduce suicides.

This is from 2010 with General Carroll Air Force Vice Chief of Staff

This is a year after training was pushed across the military. The number of Air Force Suicides, Post Traumatic Stress and TBI were increasing. As you can see, they increased even more after "addressing" the problems.

One more thing to consider when any military brass talks about how non-deployed forces committed suicide is the simple fact, civilians do not receive mental health evaluations but enlisted personnel do. They were tested before they enlisted. Either the testing is inadequate and cannot discover underlying psychological problems or the problems are in fact caused by the military.

Nice speeches did not save lives. Good intentions did not save lives. When the military decided to do more to prevent suicides and encourage troops to seek help for PTSD but ended up with these terrible results, they should have changed but they didn't. They just pushed the same programs harder.
JULY 2, 2010
Veterans and Military Mental Health
National Institute on Mental Health 2010 Convention Officials from the Defense and Veterans Departments took part in a discussion looking at the range of mental health and counseling services available to returning war veterans. Among the topics they addressed were evaluation methods, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and congressional initiatives to address to assist veterans. Psychiatric service dogs in the audience were pointed out. Following Colonel Ritchie’s remarks, Vietnam War veteran Ron Morton unexpectedly stepped up to the podium and spoke about soldiers committing suicide and the increase of veterans with AIDS and HIV. He argued that the Veterans Administration is not doing enough for veterans with PTSD. After the panelists' prepared remarks, they responded to audience members' questions.

"We have solutions we're working on" but after listening to Richie, it is clear their solutions did not work. Just look at the numbers above as a reminder.

Richie praised Dr. Ira Katz. Dr. Katz was hiding data that at the time there were 12,000 attempted suicides each year within the VA system. Another good reminder is that the VA cares for only a fraction of the veterans in this country. Less than 4 million out of almost 23 million veterans.

John Bradly of NAMI reminded the audience they had given Katz an award in 2009. That is the same year I resigned from NAMI Veterans Council. Dr. Katz was the focus of a lawsuit by Veterans for Common Sense and documents were uncovered by a Freedom of Information Request.
Sens. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and Patty Murray of Washington state said Tuesday that Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's mental health director, withheld crucial information on the true suicide risk among veterans. "Dr. Katz's irresponsible actions have been a disservice to our veterans, and it is time for him to go," said Murray, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "The No. 1 priority of the VA should be caring for our veterans, not covering up the truth."

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

That report was from 2008.

Katz said during his address in 2010 that the VA takes care of 24 million veterans but the VA records showed there was less than 4 million receiving VA compensation. Katz's chart showed 7.8 million enrolled in VA healthcare with 5.2 million seen each year and 1.6 million with mental health diagnosis.

That is an important factor in attempting to discover how many veterans attempt suicides and how many are not being counted.

Was it a serious problem in 2008? Yes, like the story of Josh Barber,
FORT LEWIS, Wash. — Josh Barber, former combat soldier, parked outside the Army hospital here one morning last August armed for war.

A cook at the dining facility, Barber sat in his truck wearing battle fatigues, earplugs and a camouflage hood on his head. He had an arsenal: seven loaded guns, nearly 1,000 rounds of ammunition, knives in his pockets. On the front seat, an AK-47had a bullet in the chamber.

The "smell of death" he experienced in Iraq continued to haunt him, his wife says. He was embittered about the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that crippled him, the Army's failure to treat it, and the strains the disorder put on his marriage.

Despite the firepower he brought with him, Barber, 31, took only one life that day. He killed himself with a shot to the head.

"He went to Fort Lewis to kill himself to prove a point," Kelly Barber says. " 'Here I am. I was a soldier. You guys didn't help me.' "

Barber's suicide is part of a larger story — the record number of soldiers and combat veterans who have killed themselves in recent years, at a time when the Pentagon has stretched deployments for combat troops to meet President Bush's security plans in Iraq. In 2007, the Army counted 115 suicides, the most since tracking began in 1980. By October 2008, that record had been surpassed with 117 soldier suicides. Final numbers for 2008 have not been released.

This post would never end if I kept going but after tracking news reports from across the country since 2007, there is enough proof on Wounded Times that what the DOD has been doing has not helped keep them alive. It has caused too many to not want to live anymore.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

General Dempsey gets blamed for Benghazi

Intel Committee report slams Joint Chiefs chairman on Benghazi
Stars and Stripes
By Jon Harper
Published: January 15, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee singled out Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, of exhibiting poor leadership and insufficient planning in their report on the Sept. 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

The committee on Wednesday released a declassified report on the attacks by al-Qaida linked militants that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

“The tenure of … General Martin Dempsey, has been marked by what we view as significant deficiencies in command,” the report states. “From Syria to Benghazi, there has been either a profound inability or clear unwillingness to identify and prevent problems before they arise. Given the known operating environment in Benghazi, much less North Africa, a strong military leader would have ensured there was a viable plan in place to rescue Americans should the need arise.”
“General Dempsey’s attempts to excuse inaction by claiming that forces were not deployed because they would not have gotten there in time does not pass the common sense test. No one knew when the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi would end, or how aggressive the attacks would be.
read more here

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gen. James Amos accused of interfering in military sexual assaults cases

Top Marine Gen. James Amos is accused of interfering in sex assault, desecration cases
The Washington Times
By Rowan Scarborough
July 28, 2013

A military judge did something extraordinary last summer when he ordered the Marine Corps‘ top officer to submit sworn statements in a sexual assault case.

The answers from the commandant, Gen. James F. Amos, have some in Marine legal circles wondering whether he told the full truth.

Gen. Amos, a Joint Chiefs of Staff member, faces charges from defense attorneys that his words and actions have unleashed a wave of unlawful command influence over jurors who venerate the commandant.

A fellow general said the commandant ordered him to “crush” Marine defendants in the desecration cases of those caught on videotape urinating on Taliban corpses. Defense attorneys call that order blatant, illegal command interference.

The Defense Department inspector general has begun an investigation of Gen. Amos based on a whistleblower complaint filed by Maj. James Weirick, a staff attorney at the Marine base at Quantico, Va., who saw what he considered illegal interference. IG investigators have interviewed Maj. Weirick and several senior generals. A Marine spokesman said the commandant denies any wrongdoing, is committed to giving defendants fair treatment and looks forward to litigating the charges in court.
read more here

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dempsey says military problems "one of those cycles"

Dempsey was trying to say that our troops should not be treated like victims, and rightly so. They are not victims. They are survivors. The trouble is with how he said it because if he actually believes suicides, divorces, sexual assaults along with the rise in PTSD cases as, "one of those cycles" and "less disciplined" it shows how little he is willing to face.

Military sexual assaults did not just start. They have been going on for far too long and still have not been viewed as a crime. Sexual assaults are criminal acts. He hasn't faced the fact that this country has spent billions every year on getting the troops help for PTSD while claiming to be educating the families, but with everything spent the healing hasn't happened and suicides have gone up every year along with attempted suicides. This is not a "cycle" no matter what Dempsey claims. This is a callous attempt to once again blame the troops for what the leaders have failed to do. No member of the Joint Chiefs has been held accountable for any of this.
Joint Chiefs Chairman: Don't View Recent Veterans as Victims
News Max
By Greg Richter
07 Jul 2013

While past generations of American military veterans have been viewed in their post-war years as heroes, such as in World War II, and with disdain, as in Vietnam, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey said he fears that those fighting in the Middle East recently will be seen as victims.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, rising rates of suicide, rising divorce rates and sexual assaults combine to give an impression that veterans as a whole should be looked at with pity, Dempsey said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"We just find ourselves in one of those cycles of history when we've become a little bit less disciplined than we need to be," he said. "I want it to be a positive image, but there's moments when it feels like it's slipping into a negative image."
read more here

Friday, June 28, 2013

Retired Marine Gen. Cartwright investigated in cyber leaks probe

Retired Marine Gen. Cartwright investigated in cyber leaks probe
Associated Press
Published: June 27, 2013

WASHINGTON -- A former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is under investigation for allegedly leaking classified information about a covert cyberattack on Iran's nuclear facilities, according to media reports.

Retired Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright has been told he is a target of the probe, NBC News and The Washington Post reported Thursday. A "target" is someone a prosecutor or grand jury has substantial evidence linking to a crime and who is likely to be charged.

The Justice Department referred questions to the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore, where a spokeswoman, Marcia Murphy, declined to comment.

The investigation of the leak about the Iran cyberattack is one of a number of national security leak investigations that have been started by the Obama administration, including ones involving The Associated Press and Fox News.

In June 2012, the New York Times reported that Cartwright was a crucial player in the cyber operation called Olympic Games, started under President George W. Bush.

Bush reportedly advised President Barack Obama to preserve Olympic Games.

According to the Times, Obama ordered the cyberattacks sped up, and in 2010 an attack using a computer virus called Stuxnet temporarily disabled 1,000 centrifuges that the Iranians were using to enrich uranium.
read more here

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

At Senate hearing, military health care gets scrutiny

At Senate hearing, military health care gets scrutiny
Stars and Stripes
By Chris Carroll
Published: June 11, 2013

WASHINGTON — For a fleeting moment, at least, lawmakers seemed to be coming around to the idea that the Pentagon benefits system has its limits.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that legislators’ continued pushback against Pentagon requests for modest Tricare fee and copay increases for working-age retirees will put DOD in a financial bind in coming years. And, legislators seemed inclined to listen.

“We’re not going to fight our enemies with a good health care plan,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., asked Hagel and Dempsey whether they have started communication efforts with veterans — a segment of society heavily invested in military success, he said — to explain that rising military benefit costs and falling defense budgets could leave future troops without adequate equipment or training.

Both answered yes, and DOD Comptroller Robert Hale laid out an estimate of how much money DOD hopes to recoup from higher health care costs for Tricare members.
read more here

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Which federal branch is lying about military suicides?

Which federal branch is lying about military suicides?
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
April 3, 2013

If what they were doing was working I would be the last one to complain about any of this no matter how much money was spent. I know what it is like for the veterans and their families. I know what it is like to try to deal with guilt after suicide ended the life of someone loved. Above all of that I am also deeply saddened by the knowledge of what it is like on the other side of this darkness when they begin to heal, when families begin to thrive and they rush to help others like them.

What is going on here? Billions spent on Suicide Prevention and PTSD but we ended up with the highest numbers? The DOD says "no connection between deployments and suicides" but the National Institute of Mental Health said the opposite.

In February I posted No Link Between Deployment, Suicide in Military
Young, white men most at risk
February 22, 2013

A study released Friday has found that demographics, and the ending of a relationship—and not deployment status—are most closely associated with suicides in the Army National Guard.

Between 2007 and 2010, 294 members of the Army National Guard committed suicide. The suicide rate for members of the National Guard was higher than that of members of the active Army (1 in 3,225 National Guard committed suicide, compared to 1 in 4,000 for the Army.) The suicide rate in the general population is 1 in 5,000.

The report was published in Armed Forces and Society, a military studies journal, and was written by Army Research Psychologists James Griffith and Mark Vaitkus. "Primary risk factors associated with having committed suicide among the 2007-2010 [National Guard] suicide cases were age (young), gender (male), and race (white)," according to the report. People who fall into that group are also most likely to commit suicide in the general population.
The report found very little relationship between whether a soldier had faced active combat and whether they committed suicide, but the study suggests that problems at home that may be associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder could have an impact on whether a soldier takes his or her own life.

"Military-related variables, including having been deployed and combat exposure, showed little relationship to suicide," the report says. "There was some evidence that postdeployment stressors were associated with suicide intentions, namely, loss of significant other and major life change."

This is from PBS in 2012

Why Soldiers Keep Losing to Suicide
December 20, 2012, 10:57 am ET by Sarah Childress
Most soldiers who take their own lives today have no history of deployment. They’ve never seen combat, never been to war.

Nobody really knows why.

And although the military’s suicide problem flared during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so far it doesn’t seem to be ending with them.

About 53 percent of those who died by suicide in the military in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, had no history of deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, according (pdf) to the Defense Department. And nearly 85 percent of military members who took their lives had no direct combat history, meaning they may have been deployed but not seen action.

That is the claim they have been making all along. This is what the Generals, Chiefs of Staff for the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force have been saying. This is what the Department of Defense has been saying. This is what the reporters keep repeating without ever asking for proof.

The proof has been in the billions of dollars spent on Resiliency programs, to prevent PTSD and Suicide Prevention to prevent suicides leading up to last year with the highest suicide rates. Billions? Yes! Not that the media has managed to track any of it down. This is from 2010 America's war veterans are at high risk of suicide. The suicide rate among our active military now surpasses that of the general population. Military suicides have risen to record levels for four straight years. Rising rates can be linked to a number of factors, including multiple redeployments, combat injuries, extreme stress on marriage and family relationships, and reluctance of service members to seek treatment. There were 160 reported active-duty Army suicides during 2009, up from 140 suicides in 2008. For 2009, there were 78 confirmed suicides among Army Reserve soldiers not on active duty, up from 57 such deaths in 2008. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death among all Americans.

PTSD Treatment Efforts for Returning War Veterans to be Evaluated
National Institute of Mental Health
September 30, 2009

Joan Cook, Ph.D., of Yale University and colleagues have been awarded funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to evaluate the implementation of two evidence-based psychotherapies for treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans. The grant addresses the NIH Challenge Grant topic "Strategies to Support Uptake of Interventions within Clinical Community and Settings."

Strategies for promoting evidence-based PTSD treatments in the military are urgently needed as more and more soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with this disorder. The research team will characterize and assess the implementation of two types of therapy—prolonged exposure (PE) therapy and cognitive processing therapy (CPT)—within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) residential PTSD treatment programs. PE involves helping people confront their fear and feelings about the trauma they experienced in a safe way through mental imagery, writing, or other ways. In CPT, the patient is asked to recount his or her traumatic experience, and a therapist helps the patient redirect inaccurate or destructive thoughts about the experience.

Dr. Cook and colleagues will partner with the Northeast Program Evaluation Center, which monitors all VA mental health programming and patient outcomes, and the National Center for PTSD, which oversees the dissemination of PE and CPT nationally among VA providers. They plan to monitor and assess the efforts of more than 250 mental health providers in residential PTSD treatment settings via online questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and on-site observations.

Army STARRS Preliminary Data Reveal Some Potential Predictive Factors for Suicide
March 22, 2011

The following findings are preliminary. They involve relatively few descriptive predictors and do not account for complex events or interactions. Researchers plan to do additional work with a much larger historical dataset and with survey data from the All Army Study and the New Soldier Study (two Army STARRS components) to test these initial findings.

The main preliminary findings include the following:
TIME: The suicide rate increased over time for soldiers in all settings (i.e.., those never deployed, currently deployed and previously deployed).
DEPLOYMENT: The suicide rate was highest among those who are currently deployed (18.3 deaths per 100,000) and dropped after deployment (15.9 per 100,000). For the entire TAIHOD dataset (from 2004 through 2008), 23 percent of the soldiers studied were currently deployed, 42 percent had never been deployed and 35 percent had been previously deployed but were not currently deployed.

Here are some more links
Military Suicides and the money behind them
57% Military suicides happened after they sought help
Where has all the money gone on Suicide Prevention?
$1.7 billion for higher suicides and attempts in 2012?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Human Terrain "teams" deemed worthless or worse

Army plows ahead with troubled aid program
By Tom Vanden Brook
USA Today
Posted : Monday Feb 18, 2013

A $250 million Army program designed to aid U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has been riddled by serious problems that include payroll padding, sexual harassment and racism, a USA Today probe has found.

As the Pentagon plans for sizable budget cuts beginning next month, the Army is planning to use the teams in other potential hot spots around the world despite the allegations outlined in an unreleased Army investigation obtained by the newspaper and in subsequent interviews.

The program, known as the Human Terrain System, sends civilian social scientists overseas to help U.S. troops better understand the societies in which they are operating, avoid bloodshed and smooth relations with local populations.

A 2010 Army investigation shows the program was plagued by severe problems, including:
• Team members were encouraged to maximize their pay and comp time by inflating time sheets.

• Allegations of sexual harassment and racism were made against the government contractors who recruited and trained Human Terrain teams and a soldier who worked in the program.

• The program relied on unaccountable contractors and inadequate government oversight.

• Many commanders deemed worthless — or worse — the reports the teams produced. In one case, the commander of a brigade combat team in Iraq told the Army investigator that he “relied very little on his (Human Terrain team) and viewed them as incapable and of little value. He never looked at his team’s products and believed their survey efforts actually created anxiety among the local Iraqi populace.”

The problems drew the attention of Gen. Martin Dempsey, then the commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Dempsey, now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in an April 2010 memo that the Human Terrain System program needed government oversight of “all phases including recruiting, training, organizing, deploying and redeploying, and in all aspects of employment including hiring and compensation.”
read more here

Monday, October 29, 2012

General Carter Ham's replacement not tied to Libya

Dempsey: AFRICOM change not tied to Libya
By Robert Burns
The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Oct 29, 2012

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. military officer is denying reports that Army Gen. Carter Ham’s planned departure as head of U.S. Africa Command is linked to the Sept. 11 attack in Libya.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey issued a written statement Monday calling speculation about the reasons for Ham’s move “absolutely false.”
read more here

Thankful for General Carter Ham

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Troops in Hawaii Tell Adm. Mullen what's on their minds

Hawaii troops grill Mullen

The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted : Thursday Feb 21, 2008 10:13:23 EST

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii — The top-ranking official in the U.S. military held an "all hands call" at the Hickam officers club Wednesday to take service members' questions, and he got an earful.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is visiting commanders here and making a stop at Tripler Army Medical Center to see recovering troops before heading to Australia.

Many of the questions from the approximately 200 service members in attendance Wednesday had to do with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mullen was asked about short deployment notices for sailors who deploy as individual augmentees to other units, and regulations against Marines using after-market gear in place of items the Corps can't deliver on time.

A Hawaii Marine with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment asked why some deployed Marines are stuck with older M16 rifles, while officers are issued new M4 carbines.

"Marines are stuck with what's left over," the Marine said.

Mullen replied, "That's a great question, and I also got this question yesterday at [Camp] Pendleton. I haven't got a good answer yet, but I'll get you one, and I'll get this question, quite frankly, very quickly to the commandant."

A soldier asked about private contractors who are making six-figure salaries in a combat zone, and the disparity in pay received by U.S. service members.

Mullen said re-enlistment money available to the Army is hundreds of millions of dollars more than it was just a few years ago.
go here for the rest

Thus proving what we talk about, they talk about.