Showing posts with label Seattle Washington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seattle Washington. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2020

Miracles followed because 11 year old made a wish

11 year old made dying wish that reached around the world

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 15, 2020

Confession: When I decided to put up these miracles, it was because I needed something to change the mood I was in. So many stories on Wounded Times, that it is hard to remember all of them. For now, I am putting up the ones that stand out most in my mind. Then I'll go through the other 38,000 to find more. They will be posted on PTSD until I run out of them.

The one posted today is about an 11 year old boy dying from cancer. This little boy had great compassion for the homeless in his area, that his dying wish was to be able to help them. His Mom supported that and did what she could to honor his wish.

What followed was his wish being heard around the world. Within a month, his wish was granted and the little angel changed the lives of millions!

read his story here

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Vietnam veteran has PTSD battle buddy with wet nose

'I feel alive inside again': Vietnam veteran gets service dog

Author: Ashley Korslien
September 10, 2019
Northwest Battle Buddies is pairing its 100th veteran with a service dog.

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. — The Battle Ground-based nonprofit Northwest Battle Buddies started seven years ago, training dogs to get partnered with veterans. This month it hit a huge milestone: pairing its 100th veteran with a service dog.

“It’s not just 100 service dogs that we’ve provided, we are talking about 100 lives, 100 families, fathers, sons, brothers,” said NWBB President Shannon Walker. "The impact to the community and to the individual is so significant. I’m super excited, it’s a big accomplishment."

The 100th team consists of Vietnam veteran Jim Koch, of Everett, Washington, and his service dog Bomber, an 18-month-old English Cream Golden Retriever.

“Everything feels pretty cool to be honest. I’m just on fire,” Koch said about being the 100th team.

Koch learned about Northwest Battle Buddies through his psychiatrist at the Seattle V.A. hospital, who told him a service animal could greatly help with his PTSD.
read it here

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Ret. Air Force Colonel killed in Seattle shooting

Killed in Seattle shooting rampage: a retired Air Force colonel and a longtime Lake City resident who loved animals

Seattle Times
By Sara Jean Green
Seattle Times staff reporter
March 28, 2019

Dr. Robert “Bob” Hassan, a retired physician and Air Force colonel who traveled the world, was supposed to fly to Florida this weekend to spend a few days with his two younger brothers. They planned to play horseshoes on Tuesday.

“I wish he’d done it last week. Then he wouldn’t have been there to meet this lunatic,” Jim Hassan, a retired police officer from upstate New York, said of his brother when reached by phone Thursday while vacationing in Florida.

Robert Hassan, 76, died from a gunshot wound to the head Wednesday during a shooting rampage in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood. He was driving home after a game of pinochle with friends.

The man arrested, who is also accused of shooting a woman in a car and a Metro bus driver in what police say was a random attack, allegedly stole Hassan’s red Prius and led officers on a short pursuit before colliding with another vehicle. The driver of that car, 75-year-old Richard T. Lee, died from his injuries.

The suspected gunman, Tad-Michael Norman, 33, was arrested at the scene on investigation of homicide, assault and robbery, and is expected to make his first court appearance Friday.

“This has been a very stressful day for me, imagining my brother lying on the ground, shot in the face. I can’t get that out of my head,” Jim Hassan said. “What a waste of my brother’s life. He basically spent his whole life in service to other people.”
read more here

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Marine Colonel Who Saved Her From Life In Prison

US Army Iraq Veteran "Pays It Forward" To Marine Colonel Who Saved Her From Life In Prison
CISION PR Newswire
Military Appreciation Partnerships, Inc.
10:01 ET

SEATTLE, April 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside, US Army Ret., has joined a team of supporters organizing a Trending GoFundMe Campaign on behalf of Colonel Mike Whalen, co-founder of Military Appreciation Partnerships, Inc., in his time of need. Resulting from her 2007 suicide attempt in Iraq, Whiteside faced Army Court-Martial charging her with five offenses, if convicted, could result in life in Federal Prison.

Over the following year Whiteside's family, legal team, Veterans organizations, and Senators Barack Obama, Claire McCaskill, Barbara Boxer, John Kerry and Kit Bond were unable to dissuade the Army from pursuing the charges. Similarly, the national press corps support of Katie Couric, CBS Evening News plus The Washington Post's Dana Priest and Anne Hull did not stop the relentless continuation of the Court-Martial.

Through a chance meeting, Whiteside's father Tom was put in touch with Colonel Mike Whalen, a fierce and effective and lifelong Veterans' advocate. Within five days, Col. Whalen was able to convince Army brass to drop all charges against Whiteside granting her an honorable discharge with medical benefits. Upon her complete recovery, she continued her education and today is a working professional in the mental health field.

Colonel Mike Whalen has spent his entire life helping others. He has served his country proudly as a US Marine, sustaining serious injuries as a result of his service. Col. Mike has always been able to do the impossible... Producing the "Carrier Classic" college Basketball game on the deck of the Carl Vinson Aircraft Carrier... Raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Veterans and conducting morale boosting coaches, astronauts and INDY racing tours to our military in combat zones in the Middle East.

Now Col. Whalen has fallen on hard times. His injuries, shrapnel and Traumatic Brain Injury are catching up with him. He is now facing imminent eviction from his home. Upon hearing of Col. Whalen's plight, Elizabeth quickly joined up with others who have benefited from his help by sponsoring his GoFundMe account…telling his story and asking for your generosity to "Pay It Forward" in his time of need.

The GoFundMe campaign is rapidly approaching its goal with notable contributions from Mario Andretti, Houston Nutt, and other celebrities.

I remember her story well. Read more about what Whiteside had to go through to understand how much this means to her...and many more.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Bored Florida High School Student Called Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline!!!!

Student, bored in class, prank calls veterans' suicide hotline
USA Today
Pamela McCabe
October 26, 2017

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A Lee County student is in trouble at school after making three false reports to a suicide prevention hotline for veterans — all because he was bored in class.

The student, who hasn't been identified, attends Ida S. Baker High School in Cape Coral and used his cellphone to log into the Veterans Crisis Line.

The student first logged into the hotline Oct. 18, when he reported that he "had a gun and was going to kill themselves," a report from the Lee County Sheriff's Office states.

A district IT staff member, who was contacted by the hotline, was able to track the phone, a Samsung Galaxy S8, to one of three classrooms on campus.

The onsite deputy for the school alerted the teachers so they could be aware of the situation.
The same cellphone contacted the hotline again on Monday, roughly an hour into the school day. This time the student falsely reported that they had "cut their wrist and were bleeding out" at a McDonald's in Seattle.
read more here

What would this kid think if he had to explain to the family of a veteran, who did commit suicide, why this seemed like a fun thing to do?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Golf Course Dedicated to Disabled Veterans

Golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus for wounded and disabled veterans is coolest in Pacific Northwest
Seattle Times
Matt Calkins
June 4, 2016
“They dedicated their lives to save us, so why can’t we give something back to them? When I brought Jack aboard, something like this was in my dreams, and now here it is.” Ken Still

Jim Martinson, a bilateral above-the-knee amputee, chips on the new portion of the American Lake Veterans Golf Course.
(Peter Haley)
TACOMA — The coolest golf course in the Pacific Northwest isn’t Chambers Bay or the Home Course.

It won’t host a major or become a “must play” for bucket-listers, either.

It does, however, offer one of the most incredible sights in golf, and we’re not talking about an ocean view.

No, we’re talking about the people.

Welcome to American Lake Veterans Golf Course in Tacoma — the only golf course in the nation designed specifically for the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans. Nowhere else in the U.S. will you find 18 holes set up for those who lost arms, legs, or whatever else fighting for their country.

The course, which opened in 1957, has helped countless vets find sanctuary while inspiring hundreds of volunteers. Among those giving their time? Jack Nicklaus, the best to ever play the game.

You see, 15 years ago, Nicklaus’ friend Ken Still — a three-time PGA Tour winner from Tacoma — joined the board at American Lake. He said that the instant he saw the golfers playing he knew he wanted to be a part of it. And one night during a meeting, the board concluded that it should add nine holes to the nine-hole course, which would require a designer.
read more here

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Texas Community Steps Up For Homeless Navy Veteran and Cat

A man and his cat: Community steps up to help Navy vet, Cheech
Weatherford Democrat
By Sally Sexton
March 7, 2016

“In just one week, awesome people [who share the same Roo Heart] have chipped in and worked with me so that Pat will no longer be homeless,” Hollis said.
For the last several months, Navy veteran Pat Nolan and his feline companion had called a parking lot their home.

But earlier this week, that all changed when the community stepped up to help the two find more suitable and permanent housing.

Nolan, 63, and Cheech moved to Texas from Seattle almost five years ago and, after losing everything following a job venture gone wrong, the duo have been living out of Nolan’s truck in the Walmart parking lot.

“I’ve had nothing but bad luck since I’ve been in Texas,” Nolan said. “I’ve had several jobs down here but none of them have worked out, and once you get kicked out [of a living facility] there’s no place to go.”

That all changed on Friday, when Nolan was presented with a used but clean travel trailer, purchased through donations.

Back in December, Nolan had a chance encounter in the parking lot of Walmart with Annie Hollis, a Weatherford Noon Lion Club member who was ringing the bell outside for Salvation Army.
read more here

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Members of Congress Shocked About VA When They Were There All Along?

VA audit: Overworked Seattle office didn’t read mail, told veterans they’d lose benefits
The News Tribune
Staff writer
October 2, 2015

Dozens of West Coast military veterans incorrectly received letters indicating they’d lose unemployment benefits after an overworked Department of Veterans Affairs office in Seattle lost track of records the veterans had submitted, according to a VA Inspector General report released this week.

The mail audit stemmed from a complaint that suggested about 1,000 pieces of unread mail from veterans were being stored indefinitely in a yellow bucket without a response from employees assigned to evaluate benefits claims.

In some cases, the complaint alleged, veterans were told they’d lose unemployment benefits because they had not returned information to the office in a timely manner even though they had met their deadlines.

The unemployment benefits are given to veterans who can’t hold a job because of a service-connected disability.

Auditors who visited the Seattle office in April did not find a bucket loaded with unread letters, as had been alleged in the complaint. However, they did talk to employees who were familiar with it and called it the “yellow bucket project.”

They also took a sampling of 132 employment questionnaires and determined that a fifth of the veterans had been sent letters indicating a reduction or cancellation of benefits, even though they’d mailed forms that should have allowed them to continue receiving money.
read more here

WOW seems really shocking! That is until you are reminded of how long all of this has been going on.

These came out in 2012
VA office stacked 37,000 files on cabinets after running out of storage
NBC News
Tuesday Aug 14, 2012
Staff at the office began having trouble storing files in 2005 when that location, as part of a national initiative, started collecting and processing disability claims prior to a service member's discharge. The office was one of two regional centers in the country to handle such cases, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Staff tried to transfer or retire 50,000 files in recent years, as well request more storage space. The office was denied extra room because of a lack of money and few external storage options.
Veterans Wait for Benefits as Claims Pile Up
New York Times
SEPT. 27, 2012
Numbers tell the story. Last year, veterans filed more than 1.3 million claims, double the number in 2001. Despite having added nearly 4,000 new workers since 2008, the agency did not keep pace, completing less than 80 percent of its inventory.

This year, the agency has already completed more than one million claims for the third consecutive year. Yet it is still taking about eight months to process the average claim, two months longer than a decade ago. As of Monday, 890,000 pension and compensation claims were pending.
But as you can see, that didn't end the wait for veterans.
Answers demanded after vets’ disability claims found in cabinet
San Francisco Chronicle
By Vivian Ho
April 21, 2015

One number will hang over a congressional hearing Wednesday looking into mismanagement at a U.S. Veterans Affairs regional office in Oakland: 13,184.

That’s the number of compensation and disability claims that were found in 2012, wrongfully stashed in a filing cabinet — some dating to the mid-1990s and many unprocessed. But what the number represents remains the source of fierce debate.

Back in 2008 members of Congress were "shocked" and said they were doing something about it. Oh but that was when there were 879,291 VA claims in the backlog.
The Senate version also includes an amendment that offers $50 million to speed up the processing of disability claims. It would pay for pilot programs to reduce the average waiting time -- which currently is six months -- for rulings on claims.

As of March, the VA reported 879,291 claims were in backlog from the same time last year.

Cullinan says, “This is just the first step in the VA funding process. It gives broad outlines of spending for the Department which the Appropriations Subcommittees will use to find specific amounts and tasks within the VA. The process is not complete until the president signs the Appropriations Bill.” The Federal government’s 2009 fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2008.
Around the same time contractors were taking over processing claims, like Lockheed Martin as in this report from Army Times
And of the original 133,057 potentially eligible veterans, 8,763 died before their cases could be reviewed for retroactive payments, according to the report.
In February, the backlog was said to be “more than 39,000” cases. Jonas said she had been assured that the backlog would be cleared by April. That did not happen, according to the subcommittee report, because Lockheed Martin, the contractor hired in July 2006 to compute the complex retroactive pay awards, had difficulty making the computations fast enough to eliminate the backlog quickly. The complexity of the computations also hindered Lockheed Martin’s ability to develop software to automate the process.
Murray was asking about VA's response to suicides back in 2008
In asking Peake about what the VA is doing to reach out to struggling veterans who may not know about VA resources available to them, Murray referenced a VA study that found that Guard or Reserve members accounted for 53 percent of the veteran suicides from 2001, when the war in Afghanistan began, through the end of 2005. The study was made public yesterday in an Associated Press story.

As you can find more on your own with a simple Google search result, nothing should shock members of congress anymore since most of them have been there all along.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Why Did Honored Iraq Veteran End Up This Way?

Records: Estranged wife suspected war vet husband in deaths 
Associated Press
June 1, 2015
(Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review, via AP). This Feb. 2011 photo shows decorated Iraq War veteran Roy Murry. Murry's estranged wife, Amanda, told authorities her husband suffered from post-traumatic stress and was becoming increasingly delusional
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The estranged wife of a decorated Iraq War veteran said she had no doubt who law officers should investigate when her mother, stepfather and brother were found shot to death at their rural home.

Amanda Murry told law officers that her husband, Roy H. Murry, 30, of Lewiston, Idaho, blamed her family for the couple's marital woes.

"Amanda Murry said that Roy Murry was the only person who she suspected had any reason to do harm to the residents," according to court documents released Monday.

Roy Murry is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon after he was arrested on three counts of first-degree murder.

Amanda Murry told authorities her husband suffered from post-traumatic stress from his service in Iraq and was becoming increasingly delusional, according to court documents.

Roy Murry earned a Bronze Star for valor as an Army National Guard sergeant in Iraq, where he was severely injured by a bomb. He has had a series of run-ins involving weapons with law enforcement officers since his return from the war.

Murry remained in custody after surrendering to authorities on Saturday, four days after the home of his wife's family was set on fire near Colbert, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.

The three bodies were found with numerous gunshot wounds on the rural property.

Amanda Murry, a nurse, told investigators that she had moved in with her mother, stepfather and brother in December and wanted a divorce.
read more here

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Seattle Veteran Told to Call 9-11 From VA Emergency Room Parking Lot?

Seattle VA hospital strands veteran outside ER 
Seattle Times
By Lewis Kamb
Seattle Times staff reporter
Originally published May 12, 2015

The Seattle Veterans Affairs hospital has apologized for telling a veteran to call 911 after he drove up outside the emergency room with a broken foot but couldn’t walk in.
“After a complete review regarding this Veteran’s visit to the VA Puget Sound Seattle campus emergency room, we have determined we did not do the right thing to ensure the Veteran had assistance into the emergency room,” the statement said.
When Donald Siefken drove up to the Seattle VA hospital emergency room earlier this year with a broken foot, all he asked for was a little help getting inside.

Instead, a hospital employee who answered Siefken’s cellphone call told him to call 911 himself, then hung up on him, Siefken said.

Frustrated to tears, the 64-year-old retired truck driver and Army vet from Kennewick placed the emergency call while parked just feet away from the ER entrance.

“They won’t come out and get me, do you believe that?” Siefken asked an emergency dispatcher, his voice wavering.

“They told me to call 911 and hung up on me.” read more here

Friday, January 30, 2015

Air Force Veteran Wrongly Arrested Caught On Dashcam

Elderly man who was wrongly arrested threatening to sue city
January 29, 2015

SEATTLE — A former Metro Bus driver and Air Force veteran wrongly arrested by Seattle police is threatening to sue the city.

The arresting officer was reprimanded, but William Wingate says it’s not enough.

Wingate filed a claim for damages, perhaps for as much as $750,000, if it leads to a lawsuit.

He said he was targeted, arrested and embarrassed by a Seattle police officer at 12th Avenue and Pike Street last summer.

Thursday morning, the 70-year-old Wingate sat with his attorney, saying he’s still bewildered by police dash cam video that shows the arrest.

In July, Wingate was walking down the street, using his golf club as a cane, when Seattle police Officer Cynthia Whitlatch stopped him and claimed he had swung his club at her while she was driving by in her patrol car. read more here

Published on Jan 28, 2015
SPD Commanders first became aware of this incident in October 2014 after receiving an inquiry from former Washington State Representative Dawn Mason in which she raised questions as to the necessity of the arrest and charges.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Iraq Veteran-Seattle Firefighter Back to Work

Seattle firefighter, Iraq veteran returns to work with prosthetic brace
NBC King 5 News
Alison Morrow
October 8, 2014
Seattle firefighter Matt Runte is walking again, thanks to a newly developed prosthetic brace.
(Photo: KING)
SEATTLE -- A Seattle firefighter is dreaming big again after nearly losing his ability to walk, much less work.

No stranger to training or training hard, it wasn't just war that pushed Matt Runte to his physical edge. More than a decade after returning from Iraq uninjured, a car hit Runte on his motorcycle.

"It wasn't until I got to looking at my feet that I saw my left boot had blown out," he said. "It's a non-functioning forefoot."

Runte lost two toes and suffered severe blood vessel damage. He could barely walk, much less run the marathons he once enjoyed.

Then, Hanger Clinical Director Ryan Blanck took on Runte's case with the prosthetic brace he just developed.
read more here

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seattle firefighters charged with harassing disabled, homeless veteran

Firefighters charged with harassing homeless man paid $25K on leave
By Casey McNerthney, KIRO 7 STAFF
July 25, 2014

The two Seattle firefighters charged with harassing a homeless man in Pioneer Square have been paid more than $25,000 each while on paid administrative leave, and they're still getting paid.

Robert Howell and Scott Bullene were each charged with one count of malicious harassment.

Howell and Bullene, were walking through Occidental Park after a Seattle Sounders game when they kicked and screamed at a homeless the man, witnesses told police. Both were off duty.

Also charged is Mia Jarvinen, said to be Bullene’s girlfriend. Investigators said she was with Howell and Bullene.

Police said the attack occurred after the firefighters found the homeless man was sleeping at the Seattle Fallen Firefighters Memorial. All three were intoxicated, police said.
Witness Ashton Cruz said the first man they went after was 'Sarge,' a disabled veteran, who hobbled on one leg and a walking stick.

Seattle police have said the veteran stabbed Bullene in self-defense.

Based on the police reports and witness interviews, “we have reason to believe the harassment was because of the victim’s status of being homeless,” Criminal Division Chief Craig Sims previously told KIRO 7.
read more here

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Seattle Mayor Standing Up For Disabled Vietnam Veteran in Eviction Fight

If you have not heard about what happened when a disabled Vietnam veteran was being forced to leave his home with his wife, here is the story with a video.Protestors put their bodies on the line for wheelchair bound veteran

Topping off these young men putting their bodies on the line for this veteran, the Mayor of Seattle has stepped up as well.
Seattle Mayor Stops Eviction of Disabled Vietnam Veteran
The Scanner
Written by Lisa Loving Of the Skanner News
Published: 23 July 2014

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray set an historic precedent last week by instructing city law enforcement to “stand down” from evicting a stroke-ridden Vietnam veteran from his underwater home.

The Occupy-related group Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction (SAFE) and the Washington Community Action Network had spent weeks of focused organizing in support of the elderly homeowners, Byron and Jean Barton.

Byron Barton, a Vietnam veteran, had suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk and with a severe speech disability; the couple’s property had fallen into the hands of a mortgage trustee corporation – one that has been repeatedly sued for wrongdoing -- and went into foreclosure.

The deed for the Bartons’ West Seattle home had been snapped up at auction by mortgage trustees Quality Loan Service, who sold it to Triangle Property Development, who foreclosed on the couple and filed for the eviction.

The Bartons are currently suing Quality Loan Service as well as JPMorgan Chase, and had asked Triangle to suspend the foreclosure while the case remains in court.

The Bartons say Triangle Property Development responded to the lawsuit by fast-tracking the eviction rather than waiting to see the case’s outcome.

Chris Genese of Washington Can says activists supporting the Bartons have won a battle against foreclosure but the war itself continues.
read more here

Monday, July 21, 2014

Protestors put their bodies on the line for wheelchair bound veteran

Protestors lie under vehicle to stop war vet eviction
10 News

SEATTLE (KIRO) -- After a brief reprieve from an eviction, the King County Sheriff's Office removed a disabled Vietnam veteran and his family from their West Seattle home, but this time, activists staged what they called an "eviction blockade" and blocked an ambulance outside the home.

Activists from the organization Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction stood on the porch and chanted when a deputy arrived to serve the court-ordered eviction notice to Jean and Byron Barton again on Friday.

The couple at first had chained themselves to the bed in another effort to stay in their foreclosed home.

But medics arrived and Byron Barton, who cannot walk and has had a stroke, was put into an ambulance to be transported to the VA hospital, but protesters lined up underneath it, lying down. Seattle police then arrived, along with multiple deputies, who worked to remove protesters from the yard and away from the ambulance. Some were dragged away, screaming.
read more here

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Newest Medal of Honor Hero Talks About Battle With PTSD

Medal of Honor nominee urges fellow soldiers to get help for PTSD
Associated Press
Article by: MITCH WEISS
April 23, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For U.S. Army Sergeant Kyle White, the firefight began without warning.

White's platoon left a meeting with village elders in Afghanistan after an interpreter heard suspicious chatter on an Army radio.

On the way back to their outpost, White's platoon was ambushed. Over the next few hours, White put his own life at risk to save fellow service members during the Nov. 8, 2007 attack.

"I remember thinking multiple times that day I wasn't going to make it," said White, who will be awarded the Medal of Honor next month by President Barack Obama.

On Wednesday, the 27-year-old White, who now lives in Charlotte, was honored by the North Carolina military community. Gov. Pat McCrory, who was at the gathering, called White a "true American hero."

In his first public discussion of the attack, White made a brief statement and then answered questions about the firefight that killed five members of his platoon and a Marine embedded with his unit.

He also discussed his life since leaving the Army in May, 2011. The Seattle native graduated from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte with a finance degree, and he now works as an investment analyst at a bank in North Carolina's largest city.

White said that after the ambush, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He urged veterans suffering from the illness to get help.
read more here

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Medal of Honor Earned by Radio Operator for Saving Lives in Afghanistan

Former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White to receive Medal of Honor
Stars and Stripes
By Jon Harper
Published: April 15, 2014

Staff Sgt. Conrad Begaye awards Spc. Kyle White the Combat Infantryman Badge during a ceremony in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, Nov. 6, 2007.

WASHINGTON — Former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White will be awarded the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony on May 13, 2014, the White House announced late Tuesday afternoon.

White, 27, will receive the nation's highest military award for his actions during a dismounted movement in mountainous terrain in Aranas, Afghanistan, on Nov. 9, 2007.

White was serving as a Platoon Radio Telephone Operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, when his team of U.S. and Afghan National Army soldiers were set up and ambushed by a much larger and more heavily armed Taliban force after a meeting with Afghan villagers.

"There was one shot, you know, down into the valley, and then it was two shots, and then it was full-automatic fire and RPGs ... it was coming from multiple directions," White later recalled, according to an Army news release.
White, a native of Seattle, separated from the Army on July 8, 2011, and used his G.I. Bill to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He now works as an investment analyst in Charlotte.

White, whose father was a Special Forces Soldier during the Vietnam era, will be the seventh living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He and his family will join President Barack Obama at the White House for the presentation ceremony.
read more here

Friday, January 3, 2014

OEF OIF Veterans saved lives New Year's Eve

Soldier’s quick reaction saves hundreds in nightclub fire

SEATTLE — In the first few seconds after the fire roared up the back stairway of Capitol Hill’s Neighbours nightclub, US Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Bostick was one of a few New Year’s Eve revelers who reacted immediately.

“I’m embarrassed to say, my first move was to go after it with cups of water. Then I quickly realized, this fire is way bigger than that, he said.

In the next breath, the Army Intelligence veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan tours sharpens his tone, as if news of impending violence is to follow.

“You know, in 30 seconds, if that fire did what the arsonist intended, there’s no telling how many people could have died."

While 750 people counted down to the new year, Bostick rushed to grab a fire extinguisher from behind the bar. He and Air Force member Mike Casey went to work putting out the gasoline-fueled fire.
read more here

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Advocate for blind veterans Sandi Niccum passed away

Navy veteran Sandi Niccum dies at age 78 in Las Vegas
November 22, 2013

Navy veteran Sandi Niccum became blind after her service career, but that never stopped her from being an advocate for veterans and others like her.

The upbeat, retired medic died Nov. 15. She was 78.

Her ashes will be buried at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City with full military honors at 10 a.m. Dec. 12.

“Sandi was an extraordinary woman and as tough as nails, but she was also an inspiration to everyone that knew her and worked with her,” said Joe Tasby, president of the Blinded Veterans Association and commander of American Legion Post 14.

In a 2011 interview with the Review-Journal before the 66th annual Blinded Veterans Association convention in Las Vegas, she talked about how she adjusted to her blindness by learning to bowl and drive golf balls at the range by developing a feel for the location of pins or a ball on the ground.

“You have to use your imagination to figure things out,” she said.

Sandra Arlene House was born April 28, 1935, in Seattle.

She joined the Navy after graduating from high school in Washington state’s San Juan Islands.

Niccum’s blindness stemmed from diabetes she developed during her fifth year on active duty with the Navy Medical Corps as a medic for the Marine Corps at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Paris Island, S.C.

Because she had no history of diabetes in her family, her disability was deemed to be service-connected at the time of her honorable discharge in 1958.
She became a volunteer at the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1998 and was awarded the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for her service to veterans.
read more here

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Army Capt. William Swenson will finally get Medal of Honor

“I’ll put it this way,” Meyer said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be alive today.” Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer
said of Army Army Capt. William Swenson Hero of Ganjgal ambush when he was denied honor earned. In 2011 Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, took a personal interest in the fierce firefight in Ganjgal, Afghanistan, that led to Meyer’s award, according to a report published on The Wall Street Journal’s website Wednesday night. The record of the battle was reopened last month, and “given the four-star general’s personal interest, sworn statements attesting to Capt. Swenson’s valor were quickly found.”

“Gen. Allen has since forwarded a Medal of Honor recommendation, saying it was the right thing to do despite a lapse of two years,” the report said.

It is with great pleasure I read this,
William Swenson To Receive Medal Of Honor
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A former Army captain hailed for bravery during combat in Afghanistan in 2009 will add the Medal of Honor to his list of military decorations.

The White House says President Barack Obama will bestow the nation's highest military honor on William D. Swenson at the White House on Oct. 15.

A statement says Swenson is being recognized for courageous actions while he was an embedded trainer and mentor with the Afghan National Security Forces in Kunar Province in northeastern Afghanistan on Sept. 8, 2009.

Swenson retired from the military on Feb. 1, 2011. He has a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal and lives in Seattle.