Showing posts with label National Guards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Guards. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

580 Service Members Die by Suicide in 2020

580 Service Members Die by Suicide in 2020, New Pentagon Report Says

Air Force Times
By Greg Hadley
Sept. 30, 2021
Fliers are on display during the Suicide Explained and Suicide Intervention training inside the Bay Breeze Event Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., Sept. 17, 2021. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue.
Five hundred and eighty service members died by suicide in 2020, the Pentagon announced Sept. 30, when the Defense Department released its annual suicide report.

Those 580 deaths mark the most the DOD has recorded in at least five years, with the Active-duty component accounting for 384, the Reserve for 77, and the National Guard for 119. In the Air Force, 81 Active-duty members, 12 Reservists, and 16 Air National Guard members committed suicide in calendar year 2020, according to the report.

“The findings are troubling. Suicide rates among our service members and military families are still too high, and the trends are not going in the right direction,” Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement accompanying the release of the report. “This is a paramount challenge for our department. We must redouble our efforts to provide all of our people with the care and the resources they need, to reduce stigmas and barriers to care, and to ensure that our community uses simple safety measures and precautions to reduce the risk of future tragedies.”

While the total numbers increased, the Defense Suicide Prevention Office found that the rate of suicides per 100,000 individuals did not increase by a statistically significant margin from 2019 to 2020, assuaging some fears that the COVID-19 pandemic would lead to a surge.
read more here

As bad as that sounds for last year, the truth is, the military suicides have been averaging 500 a year since 2012.
While reporters are unable to add in the "reserve component" meaning National Guard and Reservists, that is the truth. 

Year after year, they make excuses and make promises as to how serious they are taking the deaths of service members because of their service. Year after year, the numbers prove whatever leaders are paying attention to, they are clearly not paying attention to what the men and women service actually need.

Considering the civilian world has not been able to bring down the numbers, yet the general public seems fixated on veterans committing suicide, ignoring the suicides of those who committed suicide while serving, it is unlikely anything will change for anyone.

Considering what happened at Fort Drum with the 10th Mountain Division. When I posted about three suicides at Fort Drum it was like a dagger to hope that someday, they will finally understand how what leadership has been doing has failed. 

'What are we missing?' Fort Drum seeks answers in wake of successive suicides

By Brian Dwyer
Fort Drum
Sep. 30, 2021

Three recent suicides of soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, which has the lowest suicide rate of any division in the Army, has served as a wake-up call for leaders.

“We’re doing, for a lack of better words, mental gymnastics to think 'what are we missing?' ” 10th Mountain Division Command Sergeant Major Mario Terenas said upon learning three soldiers took their own lives.

Tenth Mountain Division officials were adamant that the days of stigma, being fearful to ask for help with mental health, were gone. Officials also discussed the highest priority the division places on ensuring soldiers get that help they ask for. So when the calls came in two weeks ago for three suicides in three days, it was a massive wake-up call.

“Put simply, suicide is the military in a crisis,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told reporters Thursday.

In her eyes, Gillibrand says more needs to be done regarding mental health stigma within the military. She’s pushing for passage of the Brandon Act, named after a sailor who three years ago took his own life after being bullied by a superior.

The act would trigger help for a military member without alerting those who could retaliate or impact a career. It had been placed in the House's version of the fiscal 2021 Defense Policy bill, but was removed during final deliberations.

“Our service members make sacrifices that we can never forget. It is our obligation to ensure that adequate resources are devoted to taking care of them, our veterans and their families,” Gillibrand said.
read more here

A wake up call they have said they have been hearing for decades! Members of Congress in the last 20 years have done nothing meaning full. All they have done is repeat what didn't work before, spend more money and get their names on Bills, while the troops get their names on gravestones. Nothing more than putting words together for press releases, while families get a pressed, folded flag at the funeral of someone who didn't need to end up there. 

Families still say they don't know what to do to help other families not face the same outcome. How could they when the government, all the way from Congress to the leadership of every branch don't know what to do? How could anyone know what they need to hear, if no one is remember what they already heard for the last 4 decades as Vietnam veterans, Gulf War Veterans and the War on Terror veterans have testified over and over again to members of Congress and Brass?

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Alan Twofoot, served in the Army for 28 years and Bedford VA hospital died of COVID-19

Rolling memorial service held for Merrimack veteran, 51, who died from complications of COVID-19

Siobhan Lopez
May 16, 2020
Tiffany Twofoot, who tested negative for COVID-19, said it's not clear how her husband contracted the virus, but that he continued to work at the VA in Bedford, Massachusetts, and was doing all of the grocery shopping for the family.
Emergency vehicles, including ones from the New Hampshire National Guard, led dozens of mourners past Alan Twofoot’s Merrimack home on Saturday. Twofoot, a 51-year-old Army veteran, died Tuesday from complications of COVID-19.

“Extremely overwhelming. I never imagined that there were so many people out there who loved and respected him that way,” said his wife, Tiffany.
Twofoot’s family want people to know this virus needs to be taken seriously.

“When he got sick with this, it brought him to his knees. It turned him into somebody he never would've wanted to be,” said Tiffany Twofoot.

Alan Twofoot, who served in the Army for 28 years, also leaves behind three children and two grandchildren. Nobody was allowed to be by his side when he died, adding to the heartbreak.

Alan Twofoot, who served in the Army for 28 years, also leaves behind three children and two grandchildren. Nobody was allowed to be by his side when he died, adding to the heartbreak.
read it here

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

More than 200,000 veterans and service members signed up for Burn Pit Registry

More than 200,000 veterans, troops sign up for VA burn pit, airborne hazard registry

Connecting Vets
Abbie Bennett
May 5, 2020

The Pentagon encouraged registry participation in a letter to more than 700,000 active-duty, National Guard and Reserve members, VA said.
More than 200,000 veterans and service members have signed on to the Department of Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, VA announced Tuesday.

The registry was established in June 2014 and allows current and former service members to self-report toxic exposures and health concerns using an online questionnaire. That registry and their responses can be used to discuss health issues with doctors and other providers.

“Concerns about the long-term effects of exposure to burn pits remain a priority,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “By joining the registry, veterans, service members and the department will further understand the impact of deployment-related exposures on health.”

VA credited the Defense Department with an extra push to put participation beyond the 200,000 mark, which it called a "major milestone."
read it here

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Vermont National Guardsman "dead man walking" after burn pit and VA failure to test him

What's killing Staff Sergeant Wesley Black? The VA doesn't want to talk about it.

By Brianna Keilar and Catherine Valentine
March 6, 2020

"You're looking at a dead man walking!" Staff Sergeant Wesley Black

Washington (CNN) "I'm not bullshitting you when I say the conversation went like this: 'Hi Wesley, I just wanted to call and see how you're doing. Are you alone this weekend?'" retired Staff Sergeant Wesley Black said, describing the call he received three years ago from his doctor.

"'No, my wife is here,'" he answered.

"'Great,OK good, because we wanted to let you know you have stage four colon cancer, and we'll be in touch with you Monday, OK? Have a good weekend.'"

Black was 31 years old and had recently begun a new career as a firefighter. His wife had just given birth to their baby boy. Days before, they had signed the mortgage on their first home.

The colon cancer had spread to his liver and lungs and Black says doctors gave him three to five years to live. That was three years and one month ago.

Later, he learned burn pits used by the military to destroy trash in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Black had served in the Vermont National Guard, were to blame.
read it here

Saturday, February 22, 2020

National Guard Soldier did not live to see his son born, but now all can see his love!

Soldier dad added to family pictures, overlooks infant son born after his death

February 21, 2020

PERHAM, Minn. (KVLY/Gray News) - Charles Nord never got to meet his infant son Jack, but in a new family photograph, the late Minnesota National Guard soldier is there overlooking his young family.

In pictures by photographer Sarah Jean, the chief warrant officer is superimposed, proudly looking over this wife Kaley’s shoulder at his newborn son, Jack Charles Nord, and his toddler daughter, Lydia.

Little Jack was born February 11, about two months after his father died in a Dec. 5 Black Hawk helicopter crash near St. Cloud.

The images of Charles Nord were added to a pair of pictures from a recent family photo shoot. Jean had done photo sessions with the family before.
read it here

He served others in National Guard and Police Officer...but lost his own battle

Former police sergeant dies

Jason Chaney
February 20, 2020

Prineville Police Chief Dale Cummins confirmed Tuesday that Mark Monroe, a former sergeant with the agency, took his life on Monday afternoon.
"Yesterday afternoon, the members of our law enforcement community lost a good man and dear friend," Cummins wrote in a statement posted to the police department's Facebook page on Tuesday.

In the post, Cummins stated that Monroe had resigned from the local agency on Jan. 10.

"The Prineville Police Department grieves over the loss of our friend, mentor, and colleague," he wrote.

The post, which can be found on the Prineville Police Department Facebook page, includes a musical video tribute to Monroe featuring music Cummins said he would have preferred.

Cummins said that Monroe was a military veteran, serving in the Army National Guard from 1991 to 1999. He started his law enforcement career as a Prineville police reserve officer in 2004. He was employed by Warm Springs Police from 2004 until 2005, and then returned to Prineville as a police officer, where he remained for the rest of his law enforcement career.
read it here

Monday, January 27, 2020

Arkansas Army National Guard, as two guardsmen took their own life.

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Two Arkansas Army National Guardsmen take their own life this week

Author: Ashley Godwin (THV11)
January 24, 2020
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — It's been a tragic week for the Arkansas Army National Guard, as two guardsmen took their own life.
A statement sent to us by the Arkansas Army National Guard says they are "grieving with the families and loved ones of the two soldiers who are no longer with us. The Guard is like one big family."

The grief can be felt throughout as several people reached out on social media to share their condolences, including service member Melody Daniel.
read it here

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

"For me, it was just about trying to turn the pain into purpose" after wife died serving near burn pits

Woodbury veteran's legacy lives on through Amie Muller Foundation

River Towns
Written By: Hannah Black
Jan 21st 2020
"For me, it was just about trying to turn the pain into purpose. When you think about ... what the military's done for us as a country, and then we're not taking care of our soldiers and our veterans the way we should, I think for us it's about raising awareness about how we can continue to help these veterans and to give back." Brian Muller

WOODBURY, Minn. — When Minnesota Air National Guard veteran and Woodbury resident Amie Muller died in 2017 after battling pancreatic cancer, her loved ones set out to carry on her legacy.
Amie Muller, 36, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2016 and died nine months later. Muller, who served two tours in Iraq, believed her cancer was caused by living next to a massive burn pit while stationed in Balad. Courtesy of Brian Muller

The resulting Amie Muller Foundation was formed to provide financial assistance to military families fighting pancreatic cancer. The foundation will host its second annual Family Fun Day fundraiser Sunday, Jan. 26, at Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America in Bloomington. One of two yearly fundraisers the foundation holds, Family Fun Day was started as tribute to Muller's love of family and as a way to include the children — hers, and those of her family and friends — she loved so much.

"Amie was very family-focused, and her kids were everything to her," said Julie Tomaska, Muller's best friend and fellow Minnesota Air National Guard veteran. Muller and Tomaska were in the same unit and did two tours in Iraq together in 2005 and 2007.

Amie Muller and Tomaska had been stationed at Balad Air Base near a giant open-air burn pit. Inside the pit was anything from Styrofoam to plastics and even human body parts, burning 24 hours a day in a fire stoked by jet fuel, the Star Tribune reported in 2016. The burn pit was just one of many used by the U.S. military throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tomaska and Muller's husband, Brian, started planning the foundation shortly after Amie's death. Every couple of months, the foundation's leadership combs through the GoFundMe site in search of military families affected by a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, providing $2,500 to $5,000 in financial aid to each family.
Nearly 200,000 veterans have signed up for the VA's Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. read it here

Saturday, January 11, 2020

39 Army Rangers are women!

Pennsylvania female soldier breaks barriers

21 News
by Brian Sheehan
January 9th 2020
While Farber is the first National Guard member in Pennsylvania to enlist and graduate, 38 other women from across the county are also U.S. Army Rangers.
As the United States military continues moving towards gender equality in the workforce, more women are serving in combat positions.
Sgt. Danielle Farber is the first female National Guard soldier in Pennsylvania who enlisted and graduated U.S. Army Ranger School.

In 2013, the Pentagon lifted the ban on women serving in combat positions.

Farber graduated in December.

She’s originally from Chester County, but is stationed at Fort Indiantown Gap where she currently works as a medic.
read it here

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Amputee Iraq Veteran Rides Again With Restored Faith

Canton veteran who lost leg rides again thanks to customized motorcycle

By Kelly Byer
January 5, 2020

Charles Zollicoffer on the trike he received from CAMVETS
Challenge America: Makers For Veterans helped Charles Zollicoffer ride a motorcycle for the first time in eight years.

More importantly, he said, the fall program renewed his faith in humanity.

“I was left for dead on the side of the road,” he said. “So, during my time in this last seven or eight years, I have lost a lot of faith in people. A lot.”

In 2011, a drunken driver pulled in front of Zollicoffer’s 1995 Kawasaki motorcycle on state Route 800. The now retired U.S. Marine Corps and Army National Guard veteran had completed three tours in Iraq and was scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan.

Another person came across the early morning wreck and stopped to help. Zollicoffer, a 53-year-old Canton resident, spent months in a coma and had his left leg amputated at the hip.

This past Veteran’s Day, he received a modified trike at the Makers For Veterans closing ceremony. His family’s safety concerns had kept Zollicoffer from pursuing a costly trike, but they talked and accepted what it meant to him beforehand.

He’s taken a few rides.

“I can’t even describe the feeling, when you get that wind blowing through your hair,” joked Zollicoffer, who has a shaved head. read it here

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Ret. Lt. Col. John Andersen decided to #BreakTheSilence so others would seek help to heal

'Eating at me from the inside out': After suffering silently for 15 years, Alaska vet encourages others to seek help for mental health challenges

By Beth Verge
Dec 31, 2019
Ret. Lt. Col. John Andersen, a 21-year veteran of the military who served in various capacities, including as an Air Force pilot based at Eielson Air Force Base and with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, is one of them.
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - If you are a veteran in crisis, or are concerned about one, you can connect with the veterans crisis line by dialing (800) 273-8255. You can also text the number 838255 or chat online by clicking here.

The great state of Alaska boasts the highest percentage of veterans in the entire United States. About one of every three people in the Last Frontier is either military or a dependent, according to the Alaska Department of Veterans Affairs.

"We have a high amount of veterans in our state," said Sen. Dan Sullivan, (R) Alaska, "which is great, but we also have one of the highest rates of suicide. We need to recognize these are wounds of war, just like being shot is.

"It's a broader issue," the U.S. Marine Corps Reservist added. "It's not necessarily resources, but it's the stigma."

As such, with that grand force of servicemen and women spread across the state comes an often hidden ailment faced by tens of thousands of people each and every day: post-combat mental health challenges.
read it here

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Ret. Major Travis Riley lost last battle with PTSD

Months after veteran took his life, his Louisville family searches for answers

Lindsay Allen
Dec 19, 2019
"And at that moment, I looked down as I'm putting it down ... and saw one sentence myself that told me everything in one sentence what we could possibly find.

"That sentence said, 'Please cremate me.'"

Riley's body was found the next morning. He had committed suicide.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Penny Riley found her husband’s car abandoned in a Louisville park on Aug. 15, 2019. He hadn't returned her text messages, so she left home, fearing what she'd find.

Inside his car, alongside a file folder, a McDonald's bag and his phone, she found three letters, one for each of his family members. She took her letter, opened it, and began to read, her eyes stopping at one sentence.

“Please cremate me.”

Travis Riley joined the Army at age 18, later served in the Kentucky National Guard and climbed his way to the rank of major. He served in Afghanistan for a year, and his wife said he often talked about the sounds of battle.

"'You're going to hear the air traffic. You're going to hear the far-off gunfire. You're constantly hearing that sound,'" Penny Riley recalls her husband telling her. "We would Skype a lot, and I could hear that through Skype, the noises, and he would say, 'That's just what we hear all the time Penny. That's normal here. It's OK.'"

The Louisville man devoted his life to his family and his country.
read it here

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Lowlife jerks caught ripping off veterans and troops and sexual assaults

Businessman indicted in $510 million Tricare fraud scheme

By: The Associated Press
September 27, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. — Federal prosecutors say a Mississippi businessman has been indicted in one of the nation’s largest health care fraud investigations.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced that 52-year-old Wade Ashley Walters of Hattiesburg is charged for his alleged role in a scheme involving fraudulent prescriptions.

Prosecutors say the fraud led to TRICARE and other health care benefit programs reimbursing various companies more than $510 million.

The scheme targeted people insured by TRICARE, which covers military members, their families, retirees and some National Guard members and reservists. read it here

Doctor pleads guilty to sexually exploiting VA patients

By: The Associated Press
September 27, 2019

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A California doctor has pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting five women — several of them veterans — while doing work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Edgar Manzanera pleaded guilty Wednesday as trial was to begin on more serious charges of sexual assault. Instead of potentially facing more than a dozen years in prison, Manzanera will be sentenced to three years of probation. He also must surrender his medical license and register as a sex offender.
read it here

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Over 100 military construction projects on hold to fund Trump's Wall?

update Fort Bragg among N.C. military bases to take $80M hit to fund Trump’s border wall

North Carolina’s military bases will lose about $80 million in planned military construction, according to a list released by the Pentagon on Wednesday of projects across the United States losing funding to build President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico. The affected projects in North Carolina include $40 million for a new battalion complex and ambulatory care center at Camp Lejeune, a previously canceled $32.9 million elementary school at Fort Bragg, and a $6.4 million storage facility for the new KC-46 tanker at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Those projects join cuts at a Florida base nearly destroyed by last year’s hurricane season, a new middle school for Kentucky’s Fort Campbell and a new fire station for a Marine Corps base in South Carolina.

UPDATE Tarps from Florence are still on roofs of hundreds of buildings at Lejeune, New River as Hurricane Dorian arrives

Fahy said following Florence, 345 buildings needed tarps on them. But he said that the Marine bases have made some progress with regards to roof repairs, with many buildings slated to get metal roof replacements. With a nearly $3.6 billion price tag in damages from Florence, the Corps is worried about the additional destruction that may come with Hurricane Dorian.

Maj. Gen. Julian D. Alford, the commander of Marine Corps Installations East, posted on the Camp Lejeune Facebook page that “many of the buildings on our installations are still undergoing repairs and are vulnerable to leaks.”
read it here

More than 100 military construction projects could be put on hold to free up funds for a US-Mexico border wall

Military Times
By: Meghann Myers
Septamber 3, 2019
The funding comes from $1.8 billion each in funds designated for domestic and overseas projects, McCusker said. The 127 projects targeted are not canceled, she added, and are not necessarily going to be put on hold.
The Army Corps of Engineers is slated to replace, or build new barriers, in 11 places along the U.S.-Mexico border. (Dave Palmer/Army Corps of Engineers)
The Pentagon is prepared to fund 175 miles of border wall construction, Pentagon officials said Tuesday, using $3.6 billion in military construction funds that had been designated for 127 projects over the next year.

Officials declined to release a full list of the affected projects until the Pentagon has finished notifying the lawmakers who oversee the districts where they are planned, but said that family housing, barracks or projects that have had contracts awarded or are expected to be awarded in fiscal year 2020 will not be affected.
About 3,000 active duty and 2,000 National Guard troops are currently deployed to the southwestern border helping the Homeland Security Department with surveillance, detention of migrants and processing asylum requests.
read it here
Now you know who is paying for Trump's Wall! It isn't shocker there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

PTSD, suicide: ‘I didn’t care about my life or anyone else’s’ but now he does!

Alabama’s homeless veterans: PTSD, suicide: ‘I didn’t care about my life or anyone else’s’ 
By J.D. Crowe 
September 3, 2019
Homeless. Veteran. These two words don’t belong together. How could someone who is willing to die for our country wind up on the streets, kicked to the curb after their service? I’m on a mission to draw as many of Alabama’s homeless veterans as possible and let them tell their stories.
Anthony Rivers, Houston County
U.S. Air Force, ’79-‘83, Army National Guard

We met Anthony and more than 60 other veterans who are struggling with PTSD at a recent American Legion Veterans Retreat near Wetumpka, Alabama. There will be more stories to come from this retreat.

Anthony tells his story:
“After I got out of the Air force, I was doing pretty good – I thought I was. I felt good about doing my patriotic duty and I liked the military, so I joined the Army National Guard which kept me connected to the military lifestyle. Before I went into the military I didn’t drink or do drugs or anything like that. I was clean cut. But in the military, I began to indulge in drugs and alcohol.

“Things started happening to me – the way I thought, the way I treated my family, my sisters and brothers. I got divorced because of the way I began to change. I was initiating the type of discipline on my wife that I learned in the military. I didn’t see anything wrong – that was the way I had been taught. It caused problems and eventually she left me.

“After I joined the Army National Guard I got into some legal trouble and had to leave. I wound up doing time in the penal system. Having a criminal record, it was hard to get a job. So I went to a community college and made myself into an electrician.
read it here

Gabbard's gray hair more important than how she got it? Seriously!

Gabbard explains why she keeps spot of gray in hair

The Hill

The 2020 hopeful took two weeks off the campaign trail for the joint training exercise mission in Indonesia.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), a 2020 presidential candidate, on Monday explained why she hasn’t gotten rid of the gray area in her hair.

“I started going gray in that one spot during and after my first deployment to Iraq,” she said during an Instagram Live video while in Iowa. “And so I keep it as just a remembrance of those who we lost there and the cost of war and why we fight so hard for peace.”

“No, I’m not going to fix [it],” she added. “If you mean dye, no, I’m not going to dye it.”
read it here

Gabbard spent two weeks in Indonesia training with the National Guard. You'd think that would be the biggest part of her recent activities but there is more focus on the fact she has some gray hair! 

Social media still not taking military women seriously.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

First female combat veteran running for President reporting for National Guard

Gabbard takes presidential campaign break for Army National Guard training

By: The Associated Press
  August 13, 2019
Gabbard is the first female combat veteran to run for U.S. president. She was elected to Congress in 2012.
HONOLULU — Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is taking two weeks off from her 2020 Democratic presidential campaign to participate in Army National Guard training.
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Gabbard announced the two-week break in a statement Monday. She will return to the campaign trail on Aug. 25.

Gabbard is a major in the Army National Guard who has served in the military for more than 16 years and deployed to Iraq in 2004 and Kuwait in 2008.
read it here

Monday, July 29, 2019

Number of veterans committing suicide depends on who counted

When it comes to the number of veterans committing suicide, this shows it depends on who counted. Hint: It is a lot higher than any number you think you know unless you read Wounded Times and will not be shocked by the following article.

Paul Muschick: Military suicides hitting Pennsylvania where you may not expect it

JUL 26, 2019

Not all National Guard members meet the legal definition of a “veteran.” When it comes to suicide, though, that distinction doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that people who served their country are ending their lives, and that has to stop.
Earl (left) and Joe Granville served together in Bosnia and Iraq with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Joe Granville took his own life in 2010. (CONTRIBUTED/EARL GRANVILLE)

The men and women who enlist in the Pennsylvania National Guard are the best of the best. They’re in shape. They’re smart. They’re motivated.

They’re also committing suicide too often.

In the past four years, 26 Guard members have taken their own lives. Assumptions about why that is happening — that they went to war overseas and came back suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or were unable to adjust to civilian life — aren’t always accurate.

Slightly more than half of them never deployed.
read it here

Monday, July 22, 2019

Jessie Thurston remembered for saving lives in National Guard

Veteran found dead at Natchez Trace remembered 'as the hero he was'

Jackson Sun
Cassandra Stephenson
July 18, 2019
"Jessie dismounted the vehicle and proceeded to stand in the burning fuel to drag these guys out, and he did it," Kenney said. As rounds exploded around him in the heat of the fire, Jessie "refused to stop." He saved three lives that day.
The remains of the vehicle veteran Jessie Thurston pulled three fellow servicemen from after an artillery shell struck the truck in Iraq rest on the sand on May 23, 2007. (Photo: Courtesy of Jason Kenney)
Jessie Thurston was many things: a "spitfire," a 10-year National Guard veteran, a loving father and friend, and by many accounts, a hero.
A search party recovered his body from Natchez Trace State Park the morning of July 4. (Photo: Submitted) 
Veteran Jessie Thurston was remembered by friends and family at the Tennessee State Veteran's Cemetery at Parkers Crossroads on July 12, 2019. 

He loved Harley Davidson motorcycles and turkey hunting and was always looking to lift someone's spirits.

"If you didn't laugh around him, something was wrong with you," his cousin Jeremy Thurston said.

But Jessie also struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after he returned from a tour in Iraq in 2011. Jeremy said Jessie's inner battles with mental health started before he joined the military, but the traumas he experienced overseas only exacerbated the pains of his already difficult life.

After he returned from service, Jessie was known to "go ghost every now and then," Jeremy said. He went missing in late June after deleting his social media accounts. Police found his dog uncared for in his Lexington home.

Nearly a week later, his fellow servicemen found his body during a search effort in Natchez Trace State Park on July 4. He was 35. A pending autopsy has yet to determine cause of death.
read it here

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Ace Combat 7 battle between Dad and Son

Air Force 1st Lieutenant Beats 4-Star Dad in Livestreamed Dogfight Game
By Oriana Pawlyk
8 Jul 2019
At one point during the game, the two swapped aircraft and flew each others' fighters.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, and 1st Lt. Wade Holmes, his son, battle each other in a combat flight action video game June 29, 2019, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. (U.S. Air Force/Emerald Ralston)
Score a win for the Viper pilot in the battle over which Air Force fourth-generation aircraft brings the heat.

1st Lt. Wade Holmes, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, recently beat his dad, Air Combat Commander Gen. Mike Holmes, an F-15 Eagle pilot, in the game Ace Combat 7, according to a service release.

The two pilots flew their respective aircraft during the hour-long game June 29. The event was live-streamed on Twitch so viewers could watch and call in, asking the pilots questions about flight training.

Ace Combat 7 takes place in a fictional world in which pilots attempt to secure the skies during an air campaign between two sparring rivals. Holmes and Holmes played on an Xbox One system.
read it here