Showing posts with label WWII fallen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WWII fallen. Show all posts

Friday, October 12, 2018

Veterans in other news on October 12, 2018

Disabled Army veteran rescues flag being run over by cars

By Holly Stouffer, Reporter
October 11, 2018
TEMPLE, TX (KXXV) - Chris Ellenburg was driving home from work on FM 1237 Monday afternoon when something in the road caught his eye. "I honestly could not believe it," Ellenburg said. "I figured it was normal trash, but as soon as I saw the flag open up as it flipped over into my lane, I knew." Ellenburg was heated. He immediately pulled over and hopped out of his truck to rescue the tattered flag that was being run over by other drivers.

"You're dang right I stopped traffic," Ellenburg said. "And there were still disrespectful people driving by as I had this flag, picking it up off the ground in the middle of a freaking road." He said some drivers even honked at him to get out of the way. As a disabled Army veteran, Ellenburg was trained to leave no man behind. He sees his fellow soldiers each time he looks at the flag. read more here

Veteran's family fights to bring long lost sister from Vietnam to NC

WECT news October 12, 2018 WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - In the wake of Hurricane Florence, a lot of us know what it’s like to feel displaced.
Anne Puangprasert, Wayne Lipford and Kumaune (WECT)
Anne Puangprasert has known that feeling her whole life, having overcome abuse, loss, and even a falsified death. Anne is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran who moved to Wilmington after the war, and her family is now trying desperately to bring her home. Pete Lipford met his sister Anne for the first time last year. He is 45. She is 48. Pete knew he had a sister, but thought, as did his father, Wayne, that she had died decades ago. read more here

Army nurse recounts her service in Vietnam, impact on her life

Jennifer Horbelt, Mike Spissinger
WPSD Local 6 news
October 11, 2018

PADUCAH — The Wall That Heals is coming to Paducah from Oct. 25 to 28. There are more than 58,000 names on this traveling replica Vietnam Memorial. They are the men and women who never came home.

Marj Graves stands at the nurse’s station in the 24th Evacuation Hospital at Long Binh during her tenure in Vietnam.
Those who did very likely were cared for by army nurses like Marj Graves. When the chance to help soldiers in Vietnam presented itself, she didn’t hesitate to go, but she saw and experienced things that cut deep and nearly took her life. She has spent decades learning to care for herself as much as she cares for others. “We may not have carried a gun, we may not have been on the front lines of combat, but some of the things that we saw and that we experienced were horrific. Horrific,” Marj said. From the time Marj was old enough to play with dolls, she knew she wanted to be a nurse. “I never wanted to be anything else but a nurse,” Marj said. read more here

Son of dead Quincy veteran attacks Rauner in new Pritzker ad

WGN 9 News
Octobr 11, 2018
CHICAGO — Hours before the final gubernatorial debate in Quincy, the J.B. Pritzker campaign launched a blistering new attack ad featuring the son of a veteran who died after contracting Legionnaire’s disease at the Illinois Veterans Home. Eugene Miller is one of 14 residents of the Quincy home to die during the Legionnaires’ outbreaks since 2015. His son, Tim Miller, appeared in the television commercial titled “Heroes.”

“Gov. Rauner was more interested in protecting his image than he was the heroes who protected our country,” Tim Miller says to the camera. As Miller describes visiting his dying father in the hospital, the spot cuts to a graphic on screen that reads, “For six days the state of Illinois knew of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak and said nothing.” read more here

Widow of Army veteran receives home makeover thanks to Home Depot and HomeStrong USA

Fontana Herald News
October 11, 2018
The widow of a U.S. Army veteran received a very special home makeover in Bloomington on Oct. 4. The Home Depot Foundation partnered with HomeStrong USA to transform the home of Maria Rowe, the widow of George Rowe, who served more than nine years in the Vietnam War.

Originally tasked with renovating the Rowes' bathroom, the Home Depot Foundation increased its support to cover renovations needed throughout the home after Maria Rowe unexpectedly lost her husband last year. More than 90 members of Team Depot, the Home Depot's associate-led volunteer force, completed the work on their day off. read more here

Family reunited with missing soldier's remains, visits lab that identified him

Sarah Fili
October 11, 2018

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — An American hero is home. Army Sgt. Melvin Anderson was killed in World War II and was listed as "missing in action. His remains were recently identified in Nebraska. Thursday, his family got to see the lab that reunited them. “He’s just been a part of our family. And even though he’s been missing for that long we've always had hope we would find him,” Maureen Herzberg, Anderson's niece, said. Anderson died fighting in Germany in 1944. He was buried in an American cemetery overseas but was never identified. That changed when his skeleton was exhumed and sent to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory at Offutt. read more here

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Veterans in other news October 9, 2018

By now you should have heard that Google+ will be shutting down. Now they are saying it will happen next year, but I am not waiting.

From today onward, news reports that used to be shared with followers there, will be on this site, in condensed format.

Since the national news 24-7 stations are no longer interested in anything but political talk, at least here, veterans are the story we cover! (OK, so we cover First Responders too, but they matter to us too :~)
If you subscribe to this site, then you will get a daily email that looks like this
Under the headlines that were posted the day before, you will see what is on the post. Then you can click the link or forward it to other people you know so that they can find out what is going on in other parts of the country, and often, in other parts of the world.

Because there are a lot of people who follow this site, in consideration of them, this is the best way to cover the news without driving them nuts with too many updates.

Followers get an email that looks like this every time a post goes up.
Considering there could be up to 30 updates, that would be way too many emails for most people to get through.

When there is a story that needs to be a single post, that will still be done as well.

I thought long and hard about this but when I thought about how Google+ posts end up going directly to the news source, it ended up cutting this site out. I had no way of knowing what stories mattered, or how many times it was read. Now I will know.

So dear readers, this is how the rest of the days will go. Let me know what you think. 

Leave a comment PLEASE because most of the time I do not hear from readers and IT GETS PRETTY LONELY by myself.
Yokota airman, a recent ‘Airlifter of the Week,’ found dead in off-base home
Published: October 8, 2018

Staff Sgt. Eliction Chan, 27, of the 374th Mission Support Group at Yokota Air Base, Japan, was found dead in her off-base residence, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018.

Staff Sgt. Eliction Chan, 27, assigned to the 374th Mission Support Group at Yokota Air Base, Japan, died Oct. 1, according to an Air Force statement issued last week.

Chan had recently been named “Airlifter of the Week” by the 374th Airlift Wing, which encompasses the support group.
read more here

Florida's largest medical cannabis producer seeing 'huge transition' from opioids to marijuana treatment 
CEO Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers describes how Florida's largest fully licensed medical marijuana company is faring amid the cannabis craze.

Rivers tells CNBC's Jim Cramer that Trulieve is "seeing a huge transition" from opioids to medical cannabis. Elizabeth Gurdus October 8, 2018

Florida patients with serious conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder are increasingly opting for medical cannabis over opioids, the CEO of the state's first and largest fully licensed medical marijuana company told CNBC on Monday.

"We're seeing a huge transition," Kim Rivers, the CEO of Trulieve, told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer in an exclusive interview. "That's actually one of our initiatives in front of the [Florida state] legislature this upcoming session, to introduce policies to say instead of only having opioids as an alternative, why not medical cannabis?"

With over 80,000 patients and 17 retail locations in the state of Florida, Trulieve offers 90 cannabis-based products that help treat a series of conditions including seizure conditions, cancer and AIDS. A bulk of Trulieve's patients also suffer from PTSD given Florida's large veteran population, Rivers said.
read more here

Navy veteran and family still dealing with the mess Hurricane Irma left behind
NBC 8 News
By: Chip Osowski
Posted: Oct 08, 2018

When Faye Mays watches Hurricane Michael barrel toward the Florida panhandle, she thinks to herself, I hope those people have insurance. When Hurricane Irma blew through Polk County last year she thought she had insurance. She did not. She learned that the hard way when a huge Oak tree came crashing through the home she shared with her sister and two children.

The home on Sears Avenue Northeast in Winter Haven was willed to her and her sister by her parents. Her mother died unexpectedly and was quickly followed by her father. At some point during the funeral planning, burials and everything else that was going on, the insurance on the home lapsed.

It was September 10th, 2017 when Faye's life changed drastically. She was taking IT classes and had just laid down when the tree came crashing through the living room of the home. Had she been sitting on the couch where she normally sat, she believes she would've been killed. Her first priority: getting everyone out of the house safely. "We were able to get out," said Mays, pointing to one of the many wires that are haning from the exposed rafters. "These were sparking."
read more here

Navy petty officer wins transgender bodybuilding contest


 Wes Phills, of Brooklyn, N.Y., center, walks offstage after winning the overall award and middleweight class in the International Association of Trans Bodybuilders competition in Atlanta on Saturday. At left are fellow competitors Peter Moore, and Sandy Baird, both of Oakland, Calif., and Kennedy Conners, right, of Conyers, Ga., who took home the heavyweight trophy. (David Goldman/AP)
ATLANTA — It’s been 20 years since Charles Bennett took the stage to compete in bodybuilding. But at the age of 63, he’s now done something he’s never done before — compete as a man for the first time in what’s billed as the world’s only transgender bodybuilding competition.

Bennett and seven fellow competitors went before a crowd Saturday evening in the annual International Association of Trans Bodybuilders competition at a theater in Atlanta. read more here

Killed WWII Marine returning home after being buried for 75 years as an unknown serviceman
Associated Press
October 8, 2018 
Relatives of a Chicago-area Marine killed during World War II are welcoming his body back after 75 years being buried in Hawaii as an unknown serviceman.

Military officials say DNA tests helped confirm the identity of Marine Corps Tech. Sgt. Harry Carlsen of Brookfield, who was 31 when he was killed while storming a Japanese stronghold in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands.
Death by 'friendly fire': Local veteran's name added to Vietnam War Memorial
Steven Mayer
October 9, 2018
It's extraordinary when you think about it, said Larry Bramblett, president of the Sonora chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, where Williams was a remote member.

Williams didn't die of conventional wounds on the battlefield, Bramblett noted. He died slowly, over a period of decades, from a constellation of health problems that didn't leave bullet wounds, but were just as deadly.

"There should be a new Purple Heart just for the Agent Orange guys," Bramblett said. #AgentOrange

Navy mom's tweet makes #HimToo mockery go viral
Stars and Stripes
October 9, 2018
"This is MY son. He graduated #1 in boot camp. He was awarded the USO award. He was #1 in A school. He is a gentleman who respects women. He won't go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind. I VOTE. #HimToo," the tweet read.

She posted the now-deleted tweet on the day Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, after a confirmation process that featured accusations of sexual misconduct. Twitter's response was rife with mockery, spawning a variety of "This is MY son" memes. And her sons had plenty to say, too.

Pieter Hanson, the son featured posing in his Navy uniform in the tweet, created an account in the early hours of Tuesday morning called @thatwasmymom. The first post?

"That was my Mom. Sometimes the people we love do things that hurt us without realizing it. Let’s turn this around. I respect and #BelieveWomen. I never have and never will support #HimToo. I’m a proud Navy vet, Cat Dad and Ally. Also, Twitter, your meme game is on point," he tweeted.
read more here

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"Father Conway helped us pray," USS Indianapolis Survivors

Seeking Posthumous Navy Cross Award For Saving, Praying With Sailors At Sea
Hartford Courant
Bill Leukhardt
September 2, 2017
It's clear city native U.S. Navy Lt. Thomas Conway, the last American chaplain killed in World War II, is a hero.

In the three days he lived after torpedoes sunk the USS Indianapolis on July 30, 1945, survivors say he swam among terrified fellow sailors and marines encouraging all not to give up as they floated day after day without food, water or shade in shark-infested waters.
Conway died on Aug 2, 1945, three days before rescuers arrived. His body slipped out of his life jacket, lost in the sea as were the dog tags he had collected from dead shipmates.
Sharks killed many pitched into the water. The ship lost 879 of its crew of 1,196. Only 317 lived to be plucked from the Philippine Sea. Nineteen are still alive.

"Father Conway helped us pray," USS Indianapolis Survivors Association secretary Peggy Campo of Illinois recalls her late father, Don McCall, a survivor, said. "Hell yes, we prayed."
But the hero priest has never received a medal for his sacrifice.
read more here

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Soldier's Mother's Day Gift Arrives Late By 70 Years

WWII Soldier's Gift for Mom Finally Arrives 
Published: Saturday, May 9, 2015
DON LAMOUREUX displays a World War II-era pillow sham at a senior center in Millville, Mass., which his son purchased from an online auction site. Dominic O'Gara had mailed the elaborate pillow sham from his U.S. Army base in California to his mother in Millville in 1942. STEVEN SENNE | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
This is the story of a loving tribute from a soldier preparing for war to his mother on the other side of the continent, who didn't know whether she would ever see her boy again.

The elaborate pillow sham he sent her, lost for more than 70 years, has finally come home, just in time for Mother's Day.

The sham, emblazoned with the word "Mother" and sent in 1942 by Dominic O'Gara from his Army base in California to his mother in the small Massachusetts town of Millville, was discovered last month by a town native on eBay.

The hope now is to put the sham on display in the town's senior center, just yards from the house where the O'Gara family once lived. read more here

Thursday, August 14, 2014

WWII soldier buried with enemy no longer MIA

US soldier killed in WWII finally being laid to rest
Stars and Stripes
By Matthew M. Burke
Published: August 13, 2014

The remains of a U.S. World War II soldier, identified by French scientists earlier this year, are to be interred Wednesday on the 70th anniversary of his death.

Army Pfc. Lawrence Gordon was one of two soldiers killed on Aug. 13, 1944, when his M8 armored car was struck by a German anti-tank shell near Carrouges, France. His remains were first interred in an American cemetery as “unknown,” despite the fact that his bloody wallet was sent home to his family and the man killed next to him was identified.

The remains were then reburied seven months later as an unknown in a German cemetery in France because the body was found with German clothing or equipment.

Despite years of research and evidence compiled by an amateur research team that the remains actually belonged to the U.S. soldier, accounting officials at the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command decided against exhuming and testing the remains last year. Instead, Gordon was positively identified Feb. 13 by France’s national crime laboratory with the support of German authorities.
“Thank God he was in a German cemetery,” Henry said Tuesday, still en route to Eastend. “If he was in an American one, there is no chance in hell he’d be home right now getting buried. He’d still be an unknown.”
read more here

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Widow of 1st Lt. Billie Harris Didn't Know Husband Was a Hero

Peggy Harris didn't know what happened to her husband. She tried to find out and reached out to Vice Chair of the House Armed Service Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry. He said her husband was still missing in action but that was not the truth. He was listed as KIA. After years of searching for answers, she discovered her husband was not just buried but remembered by the people of the town.

This story came out two years ago but someone on Facebook posted it today. Thornberry apologized for dropping the ball but is that all that widow deserves from him? Did the DOD ever explain why she was never notified? Didn't anyone know this hero was being honored for the life he sacrificed so many years ago?

For WWII soldier's widow, a 60-year mystery finally solved
Among the Americans who fought to liberate France in the months ahead was 1st Lt. Billie Harris. CBS News went "On the Road," to tell Harris' story -- part mystery, part romance.

Peggy Harris of Vernon, Tex. never got a knock at the door, never got a telegram, never got anything definitive explaining what happened to her husband Billie during World War II. And so, in the absence of answers, she has remained dutiful to this day.

Peggy was very frustrated. She waited. Months turned into years -- "and still no answer." Years turned to decades. So she wrote her congressman.

Wrote repeatedly, in fact, asking for any information about the fate of her husband. The last letter, in 2005, was directed to Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, who also happens to be vice-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

In his reply, Thornberry said Billie was "still listed as 'missing in action' in the National Archives."

The wife of a World War II soldier waited for more than 68 years for solid proof that her husband is either dead or alive. Then she learned the stunning truth in Normandy, France. Steve Hartman reports.

Part Two
"They don't forget": Normandy still honors American WWII pilot's sacrifice (CBS News) LES VENTES, France - On this anniversary of D-day, we continue the story of one of the American soldiers who fought to liberate France from the Nazis, 1st Lt. Billie Harris. On Tuesday, the "CBS Evening News" reported on how it took Harris' widow six decades of battling bureaucracy to learn his fate.

But it turns out his death was just the beginning of an amazing tale.

It's now been 67 years since the liberation of France, but at Wednesday's D-Day ceremony in Normandy there was one woman who's still in mourning. In fact, until recently, Peggy Harris of Vernon, Texas, didn't even know her husband Billie was buried here. And certainly didn't know the story of what he means to Les Ventes, France.

Billie was a fighter pilot, shot down and killed in July of 1944 over Nazi-occupied northern France. But because of a series of snafus, miscues and miscommunications, that information never got to his wife. As far as she knew, Bill was just missing.

She waited, she said, "All of my life."

Monday, February 3, 2014

Four Chaplains of the USS Dorchester Remembered

Four Chaplains, World War II heroes, recalled at rite at VA
Mass Live
February 2, 2014

NORTHAMPTON – Seventy-one years after the USS Dorchester sank, four members aboard the ill-fated ship are still being remembered.

A commemorative service was held at the U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Leeds to honor four chaplains who are remembered for their selfless reactions as the ship sunk.

The Dorchester carried troops during World War II and four chaplains of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faith. The ship went down on Feb. 3, 1943. But instead of despairing, the Four Chaplains, as they have come to be known, gave up their life preservers, linked arms and prayed together. Fellow passengers joined in, feeling a moment of unity and comfort in the impending disaster. Of the 904 men on board, 605 died.
read more here
The story of amazing heroism and faith during WW2. This is just part of the story of the four chaplains that is about to be made into a major Hollywood motion picture. The name of the movie is "LIFEBOAT 13".

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Honored remains? Nope MIA honor faked for 7 years!

JPAC admits to phony ceremonies honoring ‘returning’ remains
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 10, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense unit charged with recovering servicemembers’ remains abroad has been holding phony “arrival ceremonies” for seven years, with an honor guard carrying flag-draped coffins off of a cargo plane as though they held the remains returning that day from old battlefields.

The Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that no honored dead were in fact arriving, and that the planes used in the ceremonies often couldn’t even fly, and were towed into position. The story was first reported on

The ceremonies at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii are held up as a sign of the nation’s commitment to its fallen warriors. They have been attended by veterans and families of MIAs, led to believe that they were witnessing the return of Americans killed in World War II, Vietnam and Korea.

In a statement sent to NBC News, the Pentagon wrote:

“Part of the ceremony involves symbolically transferring the recovered remains from an aircraft to a vehicle for follow-on transportation to the lab. Many times, static aircraft are used for the ceremonies, as operational requirements dictate flight schedules and aircraft availability. This transfer symbolizes the arrival of our fallen servicemembers.
read more here

Sunday, September 22, 2013

WWII soldier's letter reaches daughter after seven decades

WWII soldier's letter reaches daughter after seven decades
The Associated Press
By Martin Griffith
September 22, 2013

RENO, Nev. - A World War II soldier's heartfelt letter to his daughter has finally reached her, seven decades after it was written.
"The letter gave me more knowledge of who he was," she told The Associated Press. "He poured out his heart to me, and a lot of men don't put that kind of emotion in writing. I'm just overwhelmed by everything, trying to absorb everything."
Peggy Eddington-Smith received the letter penned by her father, Pfc. John Eddington, as well as his Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals, during an emotional ceremony Saturday in Dayton, Nev., about 40 miles southeast of Reno.

The father she never met wrote the three-page letter shortly after she was born and shortly before he died in Italy in June 1944. He sent it while stationed in Texas, just before he was sent overseas.

Getting his medals was nice, but the letter meant more because it made her feel closer to her father, Eddington-Smith said. She knew little about him since her mother could rarely bring herself to discuss the love of her life.
read more here

Sunday, July 7, 2013

AP IMPACT: MIA work 'acutely dysfunctional'

AP IMPACT: MIA work 'acutely dysfunctional'
Associated Press
51 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon's effort to account for tens of thousands of Americans missing in action from foreign wars is so inept, mismanaged and wasteful that it risks descending from "dysfunction to total failure," according to an internal study suppressed by military officials.

Largely beyond the public spotlight, the decades-old pursuit of bones and other MIA evidence is sluggish, often duplicative and subjected to too little scientific rigor, the report says.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the internal study after Freedom of Information Act requests for it by others were denied.

The report paints a picture of a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a military-run group known as JPAC and headed by a two-star general, as woefully inept and even corrupt. The command is digging up too few clues on former battlefields, relying on inaccurate databases and engaging in expensive "boondoggles" in Europe, the study concludes.

In North Korea, the JPAC was snookered into digging up remains between 1996 and 2000 that the North Koreans apparently had taken out of storage and planted in former American fighting positions, the report said.

Washington paid the North Koreans hundreds of thousands of dollars to "support" these excavations.
The failings cited by the report reflect one aspect of a broader challenge to achieving a uniquely American mission — accounting for the estimated 73,661 service members still listed as missing from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
read more here

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Marine Gen. John Kelly Gave An Amazing D-Day Anniversary Speech

Marine Gen. John Kelly Gave An Amazing D-Day Anniversary Speech
San Francisco Gate
Geoffrey Ingersoll
provided by Business Insider
Saturday, June 8, 2013

A few days ago, I posted a speech Marine General John Kelly gave to eulogize two brave Marines who greeted certain death with a handful of hot lead and a pair of wide open eyes.

Well, just yesterday, Kelly gave another unforgettable speech at the 5th Marine Regiment Operation Enduring Freedom Memorial Dedication ceremony.

In a thick Boston accent, Kelly touched on the inherent multiculturalism in the Marine Corps, as well as the very nature of military service, best characterized by the word "sacrifice."

Then he eulogized all the lost Marine infantrymen of the 5th Marine Regiment ( — next to the dirty 1st — ) the most decorated and experienced regiment in the Marine Corps.

Kelly himself lost a son to combat in Afghanistan, and he related directly with the families of those who fell in America's most recent wars.
read more here

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Daughter receives medals Dad earned in WWII

Long-missing WWII medal awarded in LA
Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013

LOS ANGELES — Hyla Merin grew up without a father and for a long time never knew why.

Her mother never spoke about the Army officer who died before Hyla was born. The scraps of information she gathered from other relatives were hazy: 2nd Lt. Hyman Markel was a rabbi’s son, brilliant at mathematics, the brave winner of a Purple Heart who died sometime in 1945.

Aside from wedding photos of Markel in uniform, Merin never glimpsed him.

But on Sunday, decades after he won it, Merin received her father’s Purple Heart, along with a Silver Star she never knew he’d won and a half-dozen other medals.

Merin wiped away tears as the Silver Star was pinned to her lapel during a short ceremony attended by friends and family at her home in Westlake Village, a community straddling the Ventura and Los Angeles county lines. The other medals were presented on a plaque.
read more here

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Remains of Florida man missing in WWII identified

Remains of Fla. man missing in WWII identified
The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Sep 28, 2012

MARIANNA, Fla. — Authorities have identified the remains of a Florida Panhandle man declared missing in action in World War II.

The Defense Department said Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Samuel Lunday of Marianna will be buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Officials said Lunday and four other U.S. servicemen lost radio contact as their aircraft flew from China to India in April 1943.
read more here

Sunday, July 8, 2012

When they gave their best to us

When they gave their best to us
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
July 8, 2012

I had no intentions of writing a post like this this morning but as I was going through my emails there was a notice of a comment left on my post Why did we let Trevor Gould die? One more reminder of how much has been known about Combat PTSD and suicide. One more reminder of how ordinary citizens with courage and compassion, the very qualities the military looks for so they will be willing to die for each other, are the very things that can kill them after war if they are not helped to recover from where they've been and what they were asked to do. Or the fact they will never again be "an ordinary" citizen but will live the rest of their lives as a Combat Veteran.

Whenever I hear from a family member after a veteran has committed suicide, I grieve more because I am reminded again of how much I have failed since I started working online tracking these reports. On this blog alone there are over 15,000 posts, so I do not doubt what I know but I doubt my ability to do anything with what I know. I can't get anyone to listen. I don't have a PR firm or people behind me with deep pockets, so I do the best I can and try to find excuses to not give up.

I know should be happy about the lives I've managed to save and families kept together because of all of this but it is the ones I lost or never reached that stick in my mind the most.

In less than a week I managed to give up on a veteran that called me on accident. I couldn't take his attitude, his drinking any more than I could take the way he treated people he turned to for help. It wasn't just me. He did it to his Mom, his Grandmother, other relatives and in less than a week he was kicked out of two homes. Everyone gave up on him and I think it is because he gave up on himself first.

He served in Bosnia among other places but it was the Bosnia deployment that "messed" him up the most. None of it made sense to him. Judging by how few reports there are about veterans of Bosnia and Somalia, they don't seem to matter anymore than the veterans do. Even though they gave their best to this country while serving so far away and forgotten, pushed away as much as they pull away, we find excuses to forget.

We just celebrated our Independence but between cookouts, fireworks and beach time there wasn't much reflection of who is responsible for this nation being free. Even less reflection of the fact that while we sing a bunch of songs, we never really think of the lyrics or the price paid by those who fought for all of this. We don't think about the only rewards they ask for. They aren't medals or parades or monuments, even tough those things are appreciated by them. What they want most in return for their service is knowing the wounded are taken care of and their families have all they need to take care of them. That never happens. We have too much of a history in this country of failing them.

In January of 2011, news broke that Fort Hood sees twofold increase in suicides from prior year I wrote a post saying that it did little good to have been right back in 2009 when I warned it would happen and posted the link to the old post.

By 2010, I knew I was right but it didn't do any good for soldiers like Sgt. Douglas Hale Jr.
22 suicides in 2010 at Fort Hood
One was Army Sgt. Douglas Hale Jr., who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after completing his second tour in 2007. He texted his mother, Glenda Moss, on July 6 asking forgiveness before shooting himself to death in a restaurant bathroom near Fort Hood.

News came out on December 24, 2010 that McCain calls suicide prevention "overreach" and blocks bill it did not leave me with much hope that this country would ever get it right.

I knew it was going to get worse because of this among many other reports I read.

Army's "Spiritual Fitness" Test Comes Under Fire Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) is a $125 million "holistic fitness program" unveiled in late 2009 and aimed at reducing the number of suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases, which have reached epidemic proportions over the past year due to multiple deployments to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the substandard care soldiers have received when they return from combat. The Army states that it can accomplish its goal by teaching its service members how to be psychologically resilient and resist "catastrophizing" traumatic events. Defense Department documents obtained by Truthout state CSF is Army Chief of Staff George Casey's "third highest priority."

"Military suicides show some families work through their grief, while others are left feeling angry and confused." was also reported in January of 2011. But this is something that doesn't get talked about enough.

We were also reading things like this.

Concerns Raised About Combat Troops Using Psychotropic Drugs
FOX News
Jan 19, 2011

As U.S. military leaders gathered Wednesday to give their latest update on the rash of Army suicides, new questions are being raised about a U.S. Central Command policy that allows troops to go to Iraq and Afghanistan with up to a six-month supply of psychotropic drugs.

Prescription drugs have already been linked to some military suicides, and a top Army official warned last year about the danger of soldiers abusing that medication. Psychiatrists are now coming down hard on the military for continuing to sanction certain psychotropic drugs for combat troops, saying the risk from side effects is too great.

“There’s no way on earth that these boys and girls are getting monitored on the field,” said Dr. Peter Breggin, a New York-based psychiatrist who has extensively studied the side effects of psychiatric drugs. “The drugs simply shouldn’t be given to soldiers.”

Anxiety, violent behavior and “impulsivity” are all side effects of some of these medications, he said, the latter symptom being particularly dangerous in a war zone. Breggin said that if patients were given these medications in the civilian world and not monitored, it would amount to “malpractice.”

But we still see the numbers go up a year and a half later. People can pretend to be shocked by all of this. Military brass can say anything they want about what they are doing and promise to do more but when they are doing the same thing, it is just more of the same leading to more of the same results,,,,,deplorable. Politicians can keep saying they care but the truth comes out sooner or later when it is all getting worse,,,disgusting. And Moms will keep having to go visit their sons and daughter's graves instead of them.

Hello I am Sheri Johnson Trevor Gould's mother. A person does not know how hard they can ache until they lose a child. It hurts even more knowing my son did not get the help he need when he asked for it. He always acted strong around me because he was trained that way and thought he was my protector. We need to help our soldiers that come home and even the ones that are deployed. They need to be heard we need to be heard. I would give anything to hold my son one more time and tell him how much I love him, but I can't do this anymore and I want to change things so other parents and spouses can hold their loved ones every day.

In the following video I made back in 2009, there was a song that haunted me from Ken Burns The War sung beautifully by Norah Jones.

American Anthem” words and music by Gene Scheer

All that we’ve been given by those who came before,
The dream of a nation where freedom would endure.
The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day.
What shall be our legacy, what will our children say?
Let them say of me, I was one who believed in sharing the blessings I received.
Let me know in my heart when my days are through,
America, America, I gave my best to you.
America, America, I gave my best to you.

Each generation from the plains to distant shores,
With the gifts they were given were determined to leave more.
Battles fought together, acts of conscience fought alone,
These are the seeds from which America has grown.
Let them say of me I was one who believed
In sharing the blessings I received.
Let me know in my heart when my days are through,
America, America, I gave my best to you.
America, America, I gave my best to you.

For those who say they have nothing to share,
Who feel in their hearts there is no hero there,
Though each quiet act of dignity is that which fortifies,
The soul of a nation, that will never die.
Let them say of me that I was one who believed
In sharing the blessings I received.
Let me know in my heart when my days are through,
America, America, I gave my best to you.
America, America, I gave my best to you.

I point out often that it took Vietnam Veterans coming home and fighting for Combat PTSD to be treated and they did in fact give their best to America because they never gave up on us. If they had, there would be nothing for the veterans that came later back from where we sent them. The documentary The War was about WWII but when you read the lyrics from this song, I am sure you noticed that it does not just apply to that time in our history but to all times when ordinary citizens went where few others have been, yet have no regrets about their service no matte what happened to them afterwards. They gave their best to us, so why haven't we given our best to them?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Forever young 21 year old Marine laid to rest after 70 years

Michigan Marine who died following WWII bomber crash in South Pacific finally laid to rest
By Associated Press
Published: June 8

NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The funeral and burial of Marine Pfc. John Albert Donovan had all the pomp and circumstance of services held across the U.S. for military members killed overseas during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The 21-year-old’s flag-draped casket was solemnly carried in and out of the church by a Marine honor guard, and the flag was meticulously folded and presented to his sister at a graveside ceremony. The difference, however, was that Donovan wasn’t being laid to rest days or weeks after his death.

His passing came almost 70 years ago.
read more here

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Civil War and World War II bronze memorial flag holders were stolen

More than 40 bronze veteran memorial flag holders stolen from Upper Allen Township cemetery less than two weeks before Memorial Day
Published: Friday, May 18, 2012
The Patriot-News

Civil War and World War II bronze memorial flag holders were stolen sometime overnight Wednesday into Thursday from Chestnut Hill Cemetery off West Winding Hill Road in Upper Allen Township, police report.

More than 40 were taken. The holders, commemorating service in the Civil War or World War II, are each made of about one pound of bronze.
read more here

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fallen Soldier's Bible Signed by FDR Returned After Nearly 70 Years

Soldier's Bible Returned After Nearly 70 Years

by Mark Bellinger

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A family Bible carried through World War II has been returned almost 70 years later.

Sometimes things have a way of correcting themselves. During World War II, a Tennessee veteran was killed carrying his Bible. For nearly 70 years his family never knew it even existed. Now, it's back in Middle Tennessee in the hands of the soldier's family in Putnam County.

The Bible was part of another soldier's belongings in Maine. It was discovered by his daughter this past year. After some research she called the soldier's cousin in Cookeville.

Kenneth Simmons received the Bible in the mail just before Christmas. Simmons spoke to NewsChannel5 from his living room in Cookeville.

"I couldn't believe, I just couldn't believe that it turned up like that," said Simmons.

He said he's still amazed. The special family Bible is more than just an heirloom. The copy was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt.
read more here

Monday, October 24, 2011

Missing WWII Airmen to be Buried at Arlington

Missing WWII Airmen to be Buried at Arlington
October 22, 2011
Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon announced Friday that the remains of 10 airmen missing in action from World War II will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
The Department of Defense said in a news release that the crew was on a bombing mission over Berlin in April 1944 when their B-24J Liberator aircraft crashed near East Meitze, Germany. There were no survivors.
Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Robert R. Bishop of Joliet, Ill.
2nd Lt. Thomas Digman, Jr. of Pittsburgh
2nd Lt. Donald W. Hess of Sioux City, Iowa
2nd Lt. Arthur W. Luce, of Fort Bragg, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Karaso, of Philadelphia
Staff Sgt. Ralph L. McDonald of East Point, Ga.
Sgt. John P. Bonnassiolle of Oakland, Calif.
Sgt. James T. Blong of Port Washington, Wis.
Sgt. Michael A. Chiodo of Cleveland
Sgt. John J. Harringer, Jr. of South Bend, Ind.
read more here

Monday, September 26, 2011

Remains of WWII vet being repatriated from Bosnia

Remains of WWII vet being repatriated from Bosnia
Stars and Stripes
Published: September 26, 2011

STUTTGART, Germany — For 67 years, the only people who knew about the presence of the American were the residents of the village in western Bosnia-Herzegovina where he was buried.

In 1944, a resident of the hamlet of Stubica buried Staff Sgt. Meceslaus T. Miaskiewicz, a Massachusetts native who was shot down over the former Yugoslavia, according to U.S. military officials who interviewed local residents.

It had long been assumed that Miaskiewicz’s remains had been collected by the military along with the crash’s other seven victims soon after the war, but U.S. military members learned this summer that was not the case. Somehow, Miaskiewicz was left behind.

On Tuesday, Miaskiewicz’s flag-draped coffin will be loaded onto a U.S. C-130 in Sarajevo, the first leg of a journey home to relatives in Massachusetts. After a stop at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, his coffin will be flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where he will receive the same honor guard reception as troops killed in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
read more here

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

9 missing WWII troops’ remains identified

9 missing WWII troops’ remains identified
By Will Lester - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Sep 21, 2011 9:15:46 EDT
WASHINGTON — Nine servicemen who died when their bomber was shot down over the Pacific during World War II have been identified, and their remains will be buried in a single casket at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

The Pentagon says the men took off in their B-17E Flying Fortress named “Naughty But Nice” in June 1943 from an airfield in Papua New Guinea. The plane was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and then shot down by Japanese fighter aircraft.

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William J. Sarsfield of Philadelphia; 2nd Lt. Charles E. Trimingham of Salinas, Calif.; Tech. Sgt. Robert L. Christopherson of Blue Earth, Minn.; and Tech. Sgt. Leonard A. Gionet of Shirley, Mass., will be buried as a group in a single casket Wednesday at Arlington.
read more here

I interviewed Tech. Sgt. Gionet's nephew Sunday at the Vietnam War Museum during the POW-MIA event.