Showing posts with label Vermont Army National Guard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vermont Army National Guard. Show all posts

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Major General Greg Knight: We don't have resources to give needed help

Finally, someone has told the truth about veterans committing suicide. Why finally? Because I've been saying it since 2012. It took all this time for the truth to be told and it may, prayerfully, cause the change that has been needed. It was bad enough that people used "22 a day" as a number linked to veterans committing suicide because that number was never a real one. It became worse when they raised millions a year to let veterans know they were killing themselves. They already knew that. They didn't know how to stay alive.

So, with the number finally getting out of the way, do you think people will change the conversation to something that will help them understand they can heal #PTSD? Until they get the help they need, none of us will either!

WCAX Investigates: Suicides after Service - Pt. 2

By Darren Perron
Published: Apr. 13, 2023
“I don’t think we have enough providers for brain health in Vermont,” said Vermont National Guard Commander Major General Greg Knight. He says many vets have no place to turn to get help. “That’s immensely frustrating for us to know. I can encourage people to get the resources they need and we may not have them to give.”

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A startling number of veterans die by suicide every day in the U.S. The VA estimates the number to be around 17 daily. But allegations in Operation Deep Dive, an extensive study by America’s Warrior Partnership, estimate the amount could be double that, something the VA denies.

In part 2 of his special report, Darren Perron looked at what’s being done to stop veteran suicides and the losing battle in finding adequate mental health care.

Susan Sweetser has a room full of keepsakes from her daughter, Ginny, inside her Essex home. And three years after her daughter took her own life, Sweetser keeps her daughter close to her heart -- a pendant containing Ginny’s ashes. “The pain that’s left when somebody dies by suicide -- it’s there for the rest of our lives,” Sweetser said.

Army Sgt. Ginny Sweetser deployed to Iraq in 2003 as part of the Global War on Terror. She spent more than a year under constant attack, driving military vehicles through insurgent hot spots.

She survived but lost the battle to stay alive after she returned home. Ginny’s struggle with suicidal ideation began right after she returned from deployment. She made a TikTok video alongside another soldier to raise awareness about the difficulties veterans face. The hashtag #IGY6 stands for “I’ve got your back” -- to let other vets know they’re not alone. But shortly after posting the video in 2020, at 39 years old, her mother says she took her gun and shot herself. “After 15 years of struggling, Ginny was gone,” Sweetser said. “Our lives will never be whole again without her.”
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Monday, July 25, 2011

From health care to finances, protect those who protected us

A soldier’s money
From health care to finances, we should protect those who protected us

Sergeant Jared Doohen, left, and Staff Sergeant Thomas Stanley return home to Vermont last year after nine months in Afghanistan. (Associated Press)

By Juliette Kayyem
July 25, 2011

LAST WEEK, 650 troops quietly left Afghanistan, beginning the long slog home as part of President Obama’s drawdown. At the same time, General David Petraeus, the architect of the surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan, formally resigned from the military to take over as director of the CIA. The timing was coincidental, but not without meaning: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now simultaneously moving to a close.

Petraeus handed his Afghanistan command to Marine Lieutenant General John Allen, who will oversee further troop departures. He also symbolically handed over some measure of responsibility for those troops’ future well-being to his wife, Holly Petraeus, who represents a rare growth industry in government: protecting and providing to our returning service members and veterans.

As a nation, we are simply unprepared for the numbers of returning troops we now face. The wars of the last ten years have created over 1.1 million veterans; another 2.4 million men and women are on active, National Guard, or reserve duty. This class includes soldiers who have served in combat longer than any in US history. Of the nearly 400,000 who have seen combat duty, more than 13,000 have spent at least 45 months - nearly four cumulative years - in combat.

We know so little about the magnitude and the depth of the issues they will be facing in health care, employment, and education. All they want is to go back to normal lives. And that too is a challenge.
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From health care to finances

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bad move to cut Vermont National Guard program

We didn't step up when we sent them in the first place. Congress didn't get funding flowing into the VA to get ready for what two wars would cost in human terms. Communities around the country didn't have any plans to take care of the National Guards or Reservists or their families when they were deployed. No one was asked to do anything but the men and women we sent.

If sending them into Afghanistan was important enough to ask them to risk their lives, then it should have been important enough to congress to pay for it, then and now. If sending them into Iraq was important enough, then the budget to care for them should have been increased right away. Even if it meant that the US taxpayers had to pay more. This means the rich should have shared in the burden but they got tax cuts.

What did they do with their money? Did they make jobs for the men and women to come home to? No, unemployment went up. Did they step up and fund anything the citizen soldiers or troops needed when they came home wounded? Very few did.

Now there is something the state of Vermont is trying to get right and even it is running out of money. Why? We are not exactly running out of veterans needing it. As a matter of fact, we are increasing the need at the same time we fund greed in this country. This is all messed up.

Expiring Vermont Guard family program gets reprieve

COLCHESTER — A Vermont National Guard family outreach program that helps veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is being threatened by the budget dispute in Congress.

The program that provides important services to help veterans deal with issues that arise after they return from service overseas had been due to run out of funding at the end of next month, but officials say it's been given a short reprieve thanks to a $450,000 federal appropriation.

But its long-term future is in doubt.

The program was started a number of few years ago with state money. Last summer Vermont guard chief, Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that another $2.4 million in federal funds would keep the program running. That money is almost gone.

"We have our veterans outreach specialists (who) are dealing with people with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, with substance abuse issues, with financial issues, with helping them to get their disability benefits, marital issues," Dubie said.
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Expiring Vermont Guard family program gets reprieve

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wounded Vet Reunites with GI Who Saved Him

Wounded Vet Reunites with GI Who Saved Him

December 13, 2010
Associated Press
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The last time they were together, it was in the wreckage of a roadside bombing in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Edward Matayka, a 33-year-old Vermont National Guard medic, had been mortally wounded.
Specialist David Schwerer was among those who gave him first aid, applying tourniquets that saved his life but couldn't save his legs.

On Saturday, Matayka got to say thank you, welcoming Schwerer home from a yearlong deployment in an emotional reunion at a ceremony for returning troops.

"This was one of the first things he requested coming out of unconsciousness, to greet the man who saved his life once he found out who it was," said Laurie Ingalls, his mother-in-law. "He wanted to greet him so badly."
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Wounded Vet Reunites with GI Who Saved Him

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vt. National Guard Mourn Soldier's Loss

Fellow Guardsman Remembers Fallen Soldier
Vt. National Guard Mourn Soldier's Loss

BRADFORD, Vt. -- A small town closely tied to the Vermont National Guard spent the Fourth of July mourning a lost soldier whose friends called him compassionate and kind.

Guardsman Ryan Pero shared more than just his first name with his friend, Spc. Ryan Grady, he also shared memories.

"Both of us had the first name Ryan, and there's a lot of Ryan's in this unit so all the Ryan's liked to hang out together, (and) him and I struck up a friendship," Pero said.

Grady was killed Friday outside Bagram Air Force Base when his convoy hit a very large IED.

Also with him were four other guardsman, all from the same Bradford unit and all injured in the attack.

Pero was supposed to be deployed with that unit, but a surgery held him back.
read more here

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vt. soldier, wounded 4 years ago in Iraq, dies in Afghanistan

Vt. soldier, wounded 4 years ago in Iraq, dies in Afghanistan

By Emma Stickgold
Globe Correspondent
July 5, 2010

He was injured while serving in Iraq several years ago, his leg wounded from an improvised explosive device. But Specialist Ryan J. Grady of the Vermont Army National Guard was determined to be a career soldier, and headed back overseas in March, this time to Afghanistan.

Tweet Be the first to Tweet this!Submit to DiggdiggsdiggYahoo! Buzz ShareThis On Friday, Grady died shortly after his military vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device near Bagram Airfield.

“He was a warrior,’’ said his father, James A. Grady of West Burke, Vt. “He loved the Army.’’

At 6 feet 4 inches, Grady was “a big, friendly giant,’’ his father said.
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Vt soldier wounded 4 years ago in Iraq dies in Afghanistan

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Iraq: Two Vermont Soldiers Can't Get Here From There

Vt. soldiers can’t get home from Iraq

By Erin Kelly - Gannett News Service
Posted : Wednesday Apr 23, 2008 17:09:08 EDT

WASHINGTON — Vermont soldiers who have completed their tours of duty in Iraq cannot get home because of flight delays caused in part by the recent bankruptcy of ATA Airlines, the Vermont congressional delegation said Wednesday.

Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch wrote to the Pentagon this week to try to help two Vermont soldiers whose parents contacted the lawmakers about their sons’ plight. The soldiers, whose names the lawmakers did not disclose for privacy reasons, are stuck in Baghdad.

“After completing their service to our country overseas, our men and women deserve a safe return home without delays,” the delegation wrote Tuesday in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The delays are partly the result of ATA Airlines’ announcement early this month that it was discontinuing service and filing for bankruptcy. The military had hired ATA Airlines to ferry troops between the U.S. and overseas bases. The Indianapolis-based airline had been contracted to fly 70 military charters through September, which Air Force Times reported earlier this month.
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