Showing posts with label South Dakota. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Dakota. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf of Hudson, New Hampshire, one of two killed in plane crash

NH Airman Among 2 Killed in Afghanistan Plane Crash

NBC 10 Boston
Published 2 hours ago

A wreckage of a U.S. military aircraft that crashed in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, is seen Monday, Jan. 27, 2020.

A New Hampshire man was one of two airmen killed when an Air Force plane crashed in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense has confirmed.

U.S. forces recovered the service members' remains Tuesday from the site of a plane crash in Afghanistan the day before. Wednesday, the deceased were identified as 30-year-old Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf of Hudson, New Hampshire, and 46-year-old Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss of Yigo, Guam.

Phaneuf was assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. Voss was assigned to Headquarters Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia. Both men were on board the U.S. Bombardier E-11A aircraft that went down Monday in Ghazni Province.
read it here

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Warriors Rock with another way to heal PTSD in South Dakota

Warriors rock out

Brookings Register
By: John Kubal
Posted Dec 24, 2019
“I don’t feel like it’s fair that veterans who are not into hunting or outdoors not get the same opportunity through recovery with something that fits them more specifically.” Connie Johnson
Connie Johnson and Cole Hennen strum some guitar chords during a Warriors Rock session on Tuesday evening in the Christmas tree-decorated room at the Brookings Arts Council. Johnson, a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient, is working with Kristina Gindo, a certified music therapist, in putting together a program aimed at teaching veterans the basics of playing guitar. John Kubal/Register

BROOKINGS – Connie Johnson, coordinator for Veterans Services at South Dakota State University and herself a combat veteran (Purple Heart recipient) who has battled post-traumatic stress disorder, is open to exploring avenues that have the potential for making life better for military veterans.

One of those avenues she’s now exploring and using to help others explore is music.

After she partnered with several local organizations and individuals, the end result is a new guitar-based music program for veterans called Warriors Rock.
read it here

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs bosses told whistler blower to "pull up (her) big girl panties"

Woman alleges retaliation for whistleblowing on S.D. Department of Veterans Affairs

Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Lisa Kaczke
Dec. 16, 2019
In 2016 and July through October 2017, the defendants asked her to overlook "forgery issues" on Veterans Affairs forms completed by state Department of Veterans Affairs employees. Supervisors in the state department told Davidson to "pull up (her) big girl panties," which she believed was an offensive comment that was related to offensive statements she heard and reported at a state Department of Veterans Affairs conference in Pierre in May 2016.

A Mitchell woman is alleging she was fired as a county veteran service officer in retaliation for whistleblowing on forgery and reporting sexual harassment in the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.

Jessica Davidson filed the lawsuit last week in the First Circuit Court against the state of South Dakota, the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs, Davison County, the Davison County Commission and Davison County Commissioners Brenda Bode and Dennis Kiner.

She is alleging in the lawsuit that the defendants violated her Title VII civil rights, her 14th Amendment and First Amendment rights, and her rights under the South Dakota whistleblower law.

The defendants haven't yet filed a response to Davidson's lawsuit complaint.

Davidson also filed two complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which issued a letter in September 2019 stating she had a right to sue.

According to her lawsuit complaint:

Davidson, a U.S. Army veteran, was hired as the first female Davison County veteran service officer in December 2014 at a rate of pay that was $2.47 less per hour than her male predecessors. She was formally appointed to a four-year term as VSO in December 2015.

In August 2016, she was found to "exceed expectations" in all 14 performance factors on a job evaluation by the state Department of Veterans Affairs.
read it here

Monday, May 27, 2019

After 43 years Brig. Gen. Thomas Croymans retired from National Guard

South Dakota Army National Guard general retires after 43 years

American News via the AP
By: Kelda J.L. Pharris, Aberdeen (S.D.)
May 26, 2019

When he joined the Guard, the U.S. was enjoying a peaceful respite after the Vietnam War. The Guard’s first active duty was during Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991. It tested the Guard’s mettle in a way it hadn’t been for some time, Croymans said. This was after his time as a soldier, so he fulfilled his duties stateside.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Croymans, assistant adjutant general for the South Dakota Army National Guard, speaks during his retirement ceremony at Camp Rapid in Rapid City, S.D., May 4, 2019. (Staff Sgt. Austin Pearce/Army)
ABERDEEN, S.D. — It was a privilege.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Croymans didn't speak the phrase.

He didn’t have to. With a slight flush in his skin, he averts his eyes and wipes at invisible particles on his meeting table in his office. His voice holds steady.

“It went quick,” Croymans told the Aberdeen American News.

Croymans, 60, retired from the South Dakota National Guard after 43 years. He was officially honored May 4 during a retirement ceremony at Joint Force Headquarters on Camp Rapid.

He’s quick to call attention to the sacrifice his family and employers have made and the support they’ve shown him and every guard member. He never anticipated being at this stage when he signed on at 17. He’s 60 now and continues working in his civilian job as a highway engineer with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Central Office.
read more here

Monday, January 1, 2018

Homeless Veteran "They wouldn't help me."

Turned away at Bedford VA hospital, a life lost
Veteran's suicide adds to questions about response, policies
Lowell Sun
By Todd Feathers
UPDATED: 12/30/2017

He sought care at VA hospitals in Arizona, Wyoming, and South Dakota. About three years ago, Earles decided to move to Massachusetts.

BEDFORD -- Byron Wade Earles sat hunched over, his head resting in his hands, by Building 78 of the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital.
The nurse who rushed out to help found him bleeding and despondent.

"They wouldn't admit me," he told her, according to an account of the incident in Earles' medical records. "They wouldn't help me."

As the nurse spoke with him, Earles took out a knife and began to cut his throat.
Byron Earles, a homeless Army veteran,
tried to commit suicide on Nov. 7, 2016
after the Bedford VA hospital s mental
health clinic denied him admission.
He died by suicide two months later.

The 44-year-old Army veteran had arrived at the Bedford VA mental health walk-in clinic on Nov. 7, 2016 -- days after being discharged from the Brockton VA -- asking to be admitted to the hospital because he was thinking about hurting himself and others.

The Bedford clinic turned him away, according to a portion of Earles' medical records obtained by The Sun, because a mental health worker did not believe his account of a recent suicide attempt and suspected he wanted to escape the cold.

Maureen Heard, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said Earles left of his own accord after a psychiatrist suggested he seek a homeless shelter. Hospital administrators declined an interview request, but Heard said several clinic policies changed as a result of the Earles incident.

While Earles didn't die that day -- two VA police officers convinced him to drop the knife so the nurse could treat his wound -- he did die by suicide two months later, on Jan. 6, after walking out of a counseling session at the Bedford hospital.
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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Rapid City Mayor and Officials Do More Than Talk About Homeless Veterans--They Spent the Night With Them!

City Officials stay the night at the homeless shelter

Brent Wise
August 30, 2017

RAPID CITY, SD ( KOTA TV) - The amount of homeless veteran in Rapid City is increasing and city officials are trying to raise awareness about this issue.

The Mayor, Police Chief, Interim Fire Chief and others are spending the night at The Cornerstone Mission which is a homeless shelter.

Executive Director of The Cornerstone Mission, Lysa Allison, says "they're going to do an intake, they're going to stay the night here, they are going to eat here, and they are going to see the experience of what it's like to stay at the mission."

But The Cornerstone Mission is more than just a place where people can sleep and eat.

"We'll help them get clothing, even for interviews. We help them find work. We help them find an apartment. They can go to different classes. We help them get identification so they can go and apply for jobs and for housing. We offer spiritual counseling. We have a medical clinic on site, anything that they need we try and meet their need," states Allison.

Rapid City Mayor, Steve Allender, has always been an advocate for helping the homeless especially when it comes to those who helped protect our freedom.
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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Native American Veteran: “As a soldier, it's our duty to protect the people of this country."

New Mexican veteran heading back to Standing Rock
KOB 4 News
Joy Wang
November 25, 2016

Protesters aren't taking any holiday breaks as they continue demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

There are a number of New Mexicans up at Standing Rock to help fight for that cause.

Many, including New Mexican and Veteran Jason Joe, are saying what's happening up there is unconstitutional

Joe was in Iraq about ten years ago. Joe says he sees a lot of similarities with what’s happening in North Dakota and what happened while he was in the military.

He says it's his duty as a veteran and an American to protect this land.

In September, Joe traveled 16 hours with his girlfriend from New Mexico to North Dakota.

“I am a Native American Veteran,” said Joe. “As a soldier, it's our duty to protect the people of this country. I took an oath just like many of my brothers and sisters took that oath.”
read more here

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Korean War Veteran And Wife Pass Away After 63 Years Minutes Apart

After 63 years of marriage, Platte couple dies 20 minutes apart
By Courtney Collen
Aug 07, 2016

"The VA was doing as much as they could until about 7-8 weeks ago. Said there isn't more they could do," Lee explained.

After some recent falls, Henry's condition worsened.

"He said, 'I need to go to the nursing home'. They put mom and dad in the same room which was very sweet,"
Lee said with a smile.
It's one of those stories that rarely comes around once in a lifetime. A story of an elderly man and woman with incredible faith and 63 years of marriage.
As their health got worse, their faith and love for God, their family and each other grew stronger until the very end.

After they married in 1953, the journey of life took Henry and Jeanette De Lange to Platte, South Dakota. He was a Korean War Veteran. She was a musician, worked at the Platte Care Center and took care of their five children.

It wasn't until Sunday, July 31, 2016 when their children got a call from the Platte Care Center.

"They said both your mom and dad aren't doing very well at all. Highly recommended that we get there as soon as we could," son Lee De Lange said.

Lee's mom, at 87 years-old, suffered from Alzheimer's Disease and had been in nursing home care since 2011.

"Dad visited mom once a day, twice, or maybe three times a day. It was very sweet," Lee said. "Wednesday or Thursday, she had stopped eating. She was dehydrated."

The clock on the wall said 5:30 p.m. when Henry went to heaven, twenty minutes after his beloved wife.

"We're calling it a beautiful act of God's providential love and mercy. You don't pray for it because it seems mean but you couldn't ask for anything more beautiful."

It doesn't end there; the clock told another story.
read more here

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

DOD Released Names of 6 Afghanistan Fallen, 1 From Florida

6 killed in Afghanistan suicide bombing identified
By The Associated Press
Dec. 23, 2015

The deadliest attack in Afghanistan since 2013 killed six U.S. troops on Monday, including a family man from Long Island, New York; a South Texan; a New York City police detective; a Georgia high school and college athlete; an expectant father from Philadelphia; and a major from suburban Minneapolis with ties to the military's LGBT community. They were killed when their patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle near Bagram Air Base, the Defense Department said. Here is more about them:

Bonacasa, 31, of Coram, Long Island, was a member of the Air National Guard. He was assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York.
The 28-year-old from Mercedes, Texas, was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 11th Field Investigations Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.
Lemm, 45, a 15-year veteran of the New York Police Department, was on his third tour of duty in the Middle East. He was assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York.
McBride, 30, of Statesboro, Georgia, was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
A 30-year-old Air Force sergeant from Philadelphia, Taub was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 816 at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. He'd been in the service for eight years and had recently re-enlisted.
The 36-year-old from Plymouth, Minnesota, in suburban Minneapolis, was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 9th Field Investigations Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
read more about the fallen here

Friday, July 3, 2015

Battle Mountain Sanitarium May Close

VA Hospital That Once Treated Civil War Veterans Could Close 
Associated Press
Jul 3, 2015
This photo taken April 13, 2015, shows exterior of the grand rotunda entry to the historic Black Hills VA in Hot Springs, S.D. The 108-year-old veteran’s hospital built of thick blocks of pink sandstone and topped with red, tiled roofs in a Spanish mission-style overlooks the tiny town of Hot Springs, a scenic escape that’s become a haven known for healing veterans over the last century.
(AP Photo/Kristina Barker) The Associated Press
Perched atop a bluff in the remote Black Hills, a veterans hospital built of thick blocks of pink sandstone and topped with red-tiled roofs in a Spanish mission style overlooks the tiny town of Hot Springs, South Dakota, and has provided recovering soldiers a bucolic haven for more than a century.

Wounded warriors from Civil War battles at Antietam and Gettysburg came to the Battle Mountain Sanitarium for brief, intensive treatments for musculoskeletal and respiratory conditions. Physicians believed the dry air and warm, fabled mineral springs helped mend broken soldiers. Today, veterans from the Vietnam to Iraq wars suffering from ailments such as post-traumatic stress disorder and drug and alcohol abuse recuperate at this quiet retreat.

But this long tradition could soon end. Officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs have proposed shuttering the campus and relocating some of its services 60 miles north to Rapid City, the second largest city in the state, leaving only an outpatient clinic in Hot Springs, which the state calls "The Veterans Town."

One of the key issues driving a wedge between the VA and the veterans fighting to keep the hospital open is its remote location. Does the isolation and serenity of Hot Springs help heal patients or hold them back?

"We have not seen any evidence that proves serene environment versus a more city-like environment changes the outcome of the patients," said Jo-Ann Ginsburg, the acting director for the VA in the Black Hills.

But many of the region's veterans argue that the tranquil environment in a town of 3,500 people is just as crucial to healing today as at the beginning of the 20th century and cannot be replicated outside Hot Springs.
read more here

Sunday, March 29, 2015

DAV Remembering Vietnam Veterans Suffered Same Wounds of War

Vietnam Vets Dealing With Effects of War Decades Later 
Caiti Blase, KDLT News Reporter
Mar 28, 2015
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Thousands of South Dakotans served during the Vietnam War with hundreds making the ultimate sacrifice.

Many returned home, but are still dealing with the effects of war decades later. An event to remember those who served during the Vietnam era was held in Sioux Falls Saturday.

Ritchie Wilson said, "I went to Vietnam in the spring of 1970." It's been over 40 years since Wilson served in the Vietnam War. "I was with the 25th Infantry Division. I was an infantry squad leader,” said Wilson. But the scars of battle are still with Wilson many years later.
read more here

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Disabled Veterans VA Checks Stolen From E-Benefits System

Veterans say scam has their benefits going to S. Dakota
Jim Douglas
February 6, 2015
Benefit checks for all three vets never made it to their bank accounts. They say someone created fake profiles in the government's online E-benefit program, which they didn't even subscribe to.

Many of our aging veterans survive on monthly benefit checks from the Veterans Administration. But identity thieves have apparently breached the system somewhere. Algie Robinson, Robert Etheridge, and LC Moore say they were victims.
(Photo: WFAA)

Many of our aging veterans survive on monthly benefit checks from the Veterans Administration. But identity thieves have apparently breached the system somewhere.

"So, I'm broke," said 76-year-old Algie Robinson. "I ain't got no money to pay the rent."

His missing monthly check was for more than $1,100.

"If I don't pay some bills - like light bills - next week, they'll be turned off," said 81-year-old Robert Etheridge.

His check was for $600.

LC Moore, 69, says he and his wife pawned jewelry to pay the power bill. "Had to pay bills," he said.

He missed a check for $890.

Benefit checks for all three vets never made it to their bank accounts. They say someone created fake profiles in the government's online E-benefit program, which they didn't even subscribe to.

Crooks diverted the vets' money into a bank in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Some vets were told the account is connected to a number out of Florida.
read more here

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wounded Green Beret Meets Miracle Maker Who Saved His Life

US Veteran Reunites With the Soldier Who Saved His Life
ABC News
Nov 11, 2014
"There was a higher power definitely that day that was looking out for us,” said Wanner, also a father of three.

Sean Clifton, left, and Mark Wanner served together in combat in Afghanistan.
Courtesy Sean Clifton and Mark Wanner

The friendship between U.S. Army Master Sgt. Sean Clifton and Sgt. First Class Mark Wanner is one born on the battlefield.

The pair, both members of the Green Berets, the elite division of the U.S. Army Special Forces, were with their troops in Afghanistan on May 31, 2009, when their lives would change forever.

"We targeted a Taliban commander,” Wanner recalled to ABC News’ Michael Strahan, who brought the two soldiers together this month in New York City to share their story.

“We knew that he was there that day and we rolled out and we ran into a hornet's nest, really,” Wanner, of South Dakota, said. “I round the corner. That's when Sean kicked the door and a guy point blank just took his AK and shot right up Sean.”

“And he's like, ‘Help. Help me.’ I'm like seeing his eyes are, like, just big…and then he collapsed down,” Wanner said.

Clifton was gravely wounded in the attack. He recalls thinking of his wife and three kids as he waited for help.
As Clifton lay bleeding and close to his last breath, Wanner, a medic, took charge. He dove through bullets to treat his friend’s wounds and convinced a medevac pilot to defy orders and land the helicopter inside the firefight.

It was then that Wanner and the medics discovered a miracle. A hidden bullet was lodged beneath Clifton’s armor, just millimeters away from what would have been a fatal shot.
read more here

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tami Mielke, who was retired by the time she ended her life

Tami's Torment: 'Suicides are a problem in the Guard'
Argus Leader
Steve Young
October 25, 2014

Tami Mielke, a lieutenant colonel in the South Dakota Air National Guard who suffered from PTSD after a deployment in Iraq in 2010, in her official portrait as Mission Support Group Commander.
(Photo: Submitted Photo)

Retired members say National Guard doesn’t understand how to deal with PTSD

Tami Mielke's decision to end her life raises serious questions about South Dakota's care of its emotionally wounded warriors.

A gunshot June 24 at Mielke's rural Sioux Falls acreage silenced the demons that came back from Iraq with the 50-year-old former Air National Guardsman. But it hasn't quieted concerns about the way the Guard helped and supported her after she returned — or any other members who struggle with their war experiences.

And there have been others.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, 12 South Dakota Army National Guardsmen and one airman have died by suicide, including three who took their lives this year. None of those include Tami Mielke, who was retired by the time she ended her life.

Though just six of those 13 guardsmen had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, "Suicides are a problem in the Guard nationally, and we're a cross section of that," said Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, head of the South Dakota National Guard. "We acknowledge that it's a problem here."
read more here
National Guard PTSD I Grieve

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Supportive Services for Veteran Families

SW-WRAP Awarded $3.4M for Veteran Administration Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program
Sweetwater NOW
by News Desk
August 26, 2014

GREEN RIVER – SW-WRAP, receives $1.4M for the renewal of its Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program by the U.S. Veterans Administration which has covered 48% of Wyoming since October 2013.

SW-WRAP also has received a second award in the amount of $2M for the remainder of Wyoming and an expansion into areas of Nebraska and South Dakota.

SW-WRAP’s Founder and CEO, Cathie Hughes, has been active in procuring funding to assist vulnerable populations to become self-sustaining throughout Wyoming since 2007. During the past several years she has recognized the need, and been vigorously involved in, identifying solutions to address veteran homelessness in Wyoming. In 2010, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that 13 percent of impoverished individual Veterans become homeless at some point during the year.

In 2009, the American Community Survey estimated that 1,356,610 Veterans lived in poverty. Additional statistics have shown that 23% of Wyoming’s homeless population are veterans.

In March 2014 Hughes applied for the renewal of the current SSVF Program project, which she initially procured in October 2013, plus an additional SSVF Project. She received notice of the multiple awards in August. SW-WRAP is the only Wyoming entity to receive the award for 2014-2015.
read more here

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fort Hood Soldier's death under investigation

Fort Hood identifies soldier who died of apparent gunshot
Army Times
Jun. 18, 2014

A soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, who died from an apparent gunshot wound on Friday has been identified. Sgt. Sergei Joseph Hearst, 26, died in Killeen, Texas, Fort Hood officials announced Wednesday. Hearst was assigned to Troop F, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, since April 2012. His home of record is listed as Sioux Falls, S.D.

A soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, who died from an apparent gunshot wound on Friday has been identified.

Sgt. Sergei Joseph Hearst, 26, died in Killeen, Texas, Fort Hood officials announced Wednesday.

Hearst was assigned to Troop F, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, since April 2012. His home of record is listed as Sioux Falls, S.D.

He began active-duty service in June 2007 as an infantryman and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from October 2009 to June 2010.
read more here

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Paul Ryan and the Government Raiders

Paul Ryan and the Government Raiders
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 9, 2013

Most people in my age group listened to Paul Revere and the Raiders. Yesterday what is going on in Washington got me thinking about the real Paul Revere. I am a Boston native so it irks me when I hear people like Paul Ryan being called part of the Tea Party since they really have nothing in common with the revolutionary figures that risked their lives for the sake of the whole nation they wanted to create.

"Even as his business did well, Revere took stock of the situation around him. As others struggled, he sensed that his own livelihood could soon be affected unless issues with the British were soon addressed."
(Paul Revere biography)

Senator Cruz was speaking as if the government shutdown is still about the Affordable Healthcare Act and Paul Ryan, along with many of our elected in the House don't seem to really know what it is all about considering they've already taken away billions from what the country spends when sequestration kicked in. Most of us are scratching our heads wondering how these government raiders managed to hop onto their high horse and get enough power to destroy what they were voted into to run.
Shutdown worsens historic blizzard that killed tens of thousands of South Dakota cattle
NBC News
By M. Alex Johnson
Staff Writer
October 8, 2012

An unusually early and enormous snowstorm over the weekend caught South Dakota ranchers and farmers unprepared, killing tens of thousands of cattle and ravaging the state's $7 billion industry — an industry left without assistance because of the federal government shutdown.

As many as 75,000 cattle have perished since the storm slammed the western part of the state Thursday through Saturday with snowfall that set records for the entire month of October in just three days, state and industry officials said.

Across the state, snow totals averaged 30 inches, with some isolated areas recording almost 5 feet, The Weather Channel reported.
Ranchers have no one to ask for help or reimbursement. That's because Congress has yet to pass a new farm bill, which subsidizes agricultural producers.
read more here

Oklahoma Pipeline Explosion Sparks Large Fire, Prompting Evacuations (VIDEO)
Huffington Post
Posted: 10/09/2013

An explosion on a pipeline in northwestern Oklahoma sparked a large and roaring fire on Monday night, CBS News reported.

According to News9, firefighters from Oklahoma and Kansas were called to the scene near the town of Rosston.
read more here

Add those to what was reported yesterday with 'Just disgusting': Outrage after shutdown delays payment for families of fallen and VA furloughs 7,000 employees, closes regional offices. The debt limit is to pay for what the Congress has already spent. The money it costs to run this country is something else they were supposed to take care of but their idea is to just let it all go to hell. Did they ever once consider the simple fact that when the nation does well, so do businesses? Did they remember this?
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Vietnam Veteran Retires after 42 Years of Service

Vietnam Veteran Retires after 42 Years of Service
by Sgt. Lori Bilyou
Sep 09, 2013

BETHANY BEACH, Del. - Delaware National Guard members witnessed history Saturday, Sept. 7, as they gathered along with family and friends to honor the retirement of Army Master Sgt. Richard Hitchens, the last active member of the Delaware Army National Guard who served in Vietnam.

Speaking to those assembled, Hitchens stated, “One day back in May of 1968 my mother and father took me to the bus station in Salisbury, Md., put me on a Trailways bus and I shipped off for the rest of my life. I committed. I committed myself to the country.”

Hitchens, the youngest of 11 children, grew up on a farm. Like seven of his brothers who joined the army before him, Hitchens was looking for a better life. So in 1968, at the age of 16, Hitchens enlisted with a doctored birth certificate.

“I remember thinking I’d made a mistake when I got to basic training,” Hitchens said.
read more here

Last South Dakota Vietnam Veteran Retired

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Last Vietnam veteran from SD Air National Guard to retire

Last Vietnam veteran from SD Air National Guard to retire
South Dakota National Guard Public Affairs
Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Beck

RAPID CITY, S.D. - The last Vietnam veteran from the South Dakota Air National Guard will retire next month. Senior Master Sgt. Steve Abraham, of Rapid City, has announced he will retire June 20 after serving 33 years in the United States armed forces.

During his service, Abraham served in the U.S. Marine Corps and the Air National Guard. He has also served 26 years as a federal technician working for both the South Dakota Air and Army National Guard.

Abraham began his military career in 1973 in the Marine Corps. He served four years as an avionics technician, and it was during this service that he was sent in support of the conflict in Vietnam.

Abraham attended Marine Corps basic in San Diego in 1973. Following basic training, he served as a hometown recruiter for a month before proceeding to Naval Air Station Millington in Memphis, Tenn., and Santa Ana, Calif., to complete his technical training.

His first duty station was Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona. He was then transferred to Okinawa, Japan, from where he would be sent to service in support of the Vietnam War.
read more here

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

South Dakota veterans get mental care sooner

South Dakota veterans get mental care sooner
Report finds problems in other states
11:46 PM, Nov. 14, 2011

Written by
Steve Young

South Dakota’s veterans have a shorter wait for mental health care than patients in many states, according to an analysis by USA Today.

The critical report doesn’t reflect services at South Dakota’s Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics, officials here say.

The newspaper reported last week that veterans seeking therapy at nearly one-third of VA hospitals and clinics wait three to six weeks to begin treatment, far longer than the VA’s stated goal of seeing patients within 14 days or less. Those findings contrast with the VA’s assertion that fewer than 5 percent of patients wait longer than 14 days.
read more here