Showing posts with label Warrior Women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Warrior Women. Show all posts

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sailor found dead in a Virginia Beach hotel

Sailor found dead in a Virginia Beach hotel day before she was to report for duty

Virginian Pilot
Brook Vergakis
November 4, 2017

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A 31-year-old sailor was found dead in an Oceanfront hotel room a day before she was scheduled to report aboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, authorities said Friday.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Simmons’ body was discovered in a room at the Ocean Beach Club Resort at about 3:20 p.m Wednesday, according to Virginia Beach police.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Veteran Unhappy to Be Informed She is Dead

Georgia veteran receives letter telling her she's dead
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Ben Brasch
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Channel 2 Action News
Cobb County veteran Dorothy Evans
A Cobb County veteran’s life has been a mess ever since she got a letter from the government telling her she was dead, according to Channel 2 Action News.

“We are sincerely sorry to learn of the death of Dorothy J. Evans” is how the letter started when Dorothy J. Evans read it.

Since then, the Powder Springs woman said she has gotten dozens of letters she never thought she’d see. One notice came from her credit union telling her they were pulling money out of her account. Another said her pension had been terminated.
read more here

Sunday, June 4, 2017

How Does A Slogan Prove Worth?

Allison Jaslow wrote "The VA needs to fix its woman problem starting with this motto"
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a woman problem. Need evidence? Look no further than its motto: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”
That motto – engraved on plaques outside VA buildings across the country, featured proudly in VA presentations and on the agency’s website – comes from President Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. It was an eloquent and well-meaning statement in its time. But the face of U.S. troops, and veterans, has drastically changed since then.
Today women are nearly 20 percent of recruits, 15 percent of the active duty and 18 percent of the reserve component. We have been on the battlefields of every U.S. war and conflict over the past decade, with more than 345,000 women deployed since Sept. 11, 2001. And we will be the fastest growing segment of the veteran population over the next five years, with our numbers expected to top 2 million by 2020.
Is she right? 

Female Vietnam Veterans
Though relatively little official data exists about female Vietnam War veterans, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation estimates that approximately 11,000 military women were stationed in Vietnam during the conflict. Nearly all of them were volunteers, and 90 percent served as military nurses, though women also worked as physicians, air traffic controllers, intelligence officers, clerks and other positions in the U.S. Women’s Army Corps, U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marines and the Army Medical Specialist Corps. In addition to women in the armed forces, an unknown number of civilian women served in Vietnam on behalf of the Red Cross, United Service Organizations (USO), Catholic Relief Services and other humanitarian organizations, or as foreign correspondents for various news organizations.
Women Veterans Population
The total Veteran population in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Territories/Foreign, as of Sept. 30, 2016, was 21,368,156. The population of women Veterans numbered 2,051,484. States with the largest number of women Veterans were Texas, California, Florida, Virginia and Georgia. State-by-state totals are as follows:
Alabama 44,190
Alaska 10,283
Arizona 54,953
Arkansas 21,361
California 163,332
Colorado 46,793
Connecticut 16,626
Delaware 8,797
District Of Columbia 3,843
Florida 154,820
Georgia 93,251
Hawaii 12,820
Idaho 10,153
Illinois 55,458
Indiana 36,245
Iowa 15,512
Kansas 18,528
Kentucky 25,351
Louisiana 32,411
Maine 10,081
Maryland 58,413
Massachusetts 25,711
Michigan 45,499
Minnesota 25,891
Mississippi 20,777
Missouri 39,157
Montana 8,613
Nebraska 11,853
Nevada 21,592 Nevada Female Veteran Suicides
New Hampshire 8,706
New Jersey 33,197
New Mexico 17,173
New York 65,756
North Carolina 86,791
North Dakota 4,991
Ohio 67,554
Oklahoma 30,948
Oregon 28,207
Pennsylvania 71,319
Puerto Rico 5,322
Rhode Island 5,213
South Carolina 47,442
South Dakota 6,609
Tennessee 46,358
Texas 183,597
Utah 11,885
Vermont 3,338
Virginia 111,034
Washington 65,405
West Virginia 10,586
Wisconsin 33,916
Wyoming 3,815
Territories/Foreign 10,010
Total Women Veterans 2,051,484
Women Veterans Need More Support, So When Do We Do It?
"In comparison, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among female veterans has increased 85.2 percent. And among veteran women ages 18 to 29, the risk of suicide is 12 times the rate of nonveteran women."

Yes, she is right but taking care of all of our veterans has to be more than a slogan. It has to be a mission that is being accomplished for all generations!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Houston VA Puts Focus on Female Veterans PTSD Through Art

Houston VA Hospital Hosts Art Exhibit Showcasing Paintings By Female Veterans
Houston Public Media
Lopez is in the process of being discharged due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and says painting has been therapeutic in her journey to cope with the horrors of war.
Texas has the highest population of women veterans in the country and doing artistic work is one of the strategies some of them use to ease the transition to civilian life.

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center has hosted an exhibit this month showing some of their paintings.

Natalie Lopez, a San Antonio native, is the author of one of the pieces.

Actually her painting, which is titled “Forever unfit puzzle” and depicts a soldier in distress, was one of 10 that won a nationwide contest organized by the Veteran Artist Program and the VA’s Center for Women Veterans.

“Painting helps me release stress, just like the gym for most people,” Lopez, who was deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and Iraq in 2008 and is now stationed in Abilene, told Houston Public Media.
read more here

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Female Veterans Get Rejuvenated in Nebraska

Female vets in Nebraska paint to relieve stress
ABC News Nebraska
by Rasheeda Kabba
March 24th 2017

Female military veterans in Grand Island have started a fun stress relief group called, Rejuvenate.
The group started back in January and meets every other week for stress relief activities. On Thursday, they met to do some finger painting, and they were painting more than just red, white and blue.

They say activities like this allow for some much needed "me time."

The group Rejuvenate has participated in activities like getting facials, yoga, and acupuncture therapy.

Though the events usually revolve around stress relief, Jennifer Kerkland, a Navy vet, says the group has allowed her to connect with other female vets who have served. She says it’s given her some time to herself.
read more here

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"On the Outside I was Perfectly Fine" Veteran Battles PTSD

Former Army captain Lisa Keevash on mental struggle: On the outside I was perfectly fine
The Express UK
PUBLISHED: Sun, Mar 19, 2017
“I didn’t know who I was. I started to get dark moods and would become really anxious and jealous. I didn’t want to go out and was inflexible. I became argumentative and snappy and people were treading on eggshells around me. My boyfriend at the time bore the brunt of it."
EX-Army captain Lisa Keevash opens up about her mental battle scars.
After a decorated military career, former Army captain Lisa Keevash slipped easily into corporate life with a high-powered job and enviable lifestyle. She was successful and she was fit, but deep inside she was in dark turmoil.

The suppressed feelings from dealing with battlefield casualties and seeing a close officer friend die after an improvised explosive device (IED) blast were twisting her soul and threatening to wreck her life.
If we can make it normal to talk about our struggles then we can stop a lot of these problems getting to a point where they do real damage Lisa Keevash
"On the outside, I was perfectly fine. I had a great job, a new relationship. I was fit, healthy and everyone thought I had made it,” says Lisa, 34, from Edinburgh. “But I was existing in a haze – there in body but not mind."

"I was not enjoying anything, I lost confidence and had anxiety about everything in my life. I was really lost."

“I became snappy, argumentative and generally not a nice person to be around at times. It got very dark.”
read more here

Thursday, March 2, 2017

US Navy PTSD Research Shows Women's Risk Higher Than Males

Study of U.S. Navy healthcare personnel finds higher PTSD risk among women than men
News Medical Life Sciences
March 2, 2017
The researchers reviewed gathered data from the deployment records and post-deployment health assessments of more than 4,200 men and women who served in the U.S. Navy and supported military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A study of U.S. Navy healthcare personnel has shown that when comparing the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among women and men who had similar deployment experiences, and especially combat experience, the risk of PTSD was significantly higher among women. 

PTSD risk rose for both men and women with an increasing number of combat exposures, as reported in Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Women's Health website until April 1, 2017.
read more here

Saturday, February 25, 2017

One of a Kind Iraq Veteran's Love Story Strange Twist of Fate

From A World Away: A Female Veteran Finds Understanding From An Unexpected Person 
Greeneville Sun
By Kristen Early Associate Editor
February 24, 2017
Now, she’s found peace in their quiet property — 11 acres of wooded land where they are building a log home. And having a husband who has been in battle, someone who understands her post-war demons more than most, has brought her some peace. Hayel served two mandatory years in the Iranian Air Force during Iran’s war against Iraq.
The story of how a U.S. Army veteran of the war in Iraq became the wife of a man born in Iran is complicated, to say the least.

How that same man came to the United States for the right to help others — and found God in the process — is powerful. When he met his future wife, she was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and the stigmas of being a female veteran.

Her first reaction to him: “He looked like a total terrorist to me.”

But her tone and the loving gaze the Mosheim couple shared as she said it proves how far Cindy Castle and Dr. Kamran Hayel have come since they first met while working at Johnson City’s Woodridge Hospital in 2006.

Castle hadn’t been home long from spending 18 months in Iraq, where she only felt safe when she was in a turret with a companion she called “Frank” — an M240 Bravo machine gun.

She was the only female in a 24-member Civil Affairs division and achieved the rank of sergeant; she’s proud of her service. Castle says she knew she wanted to enter as soon as she left high school. From there, she went to basic training, entered the Army Reserves and got her undergraduate degree in psychology at East Tennessee State University.
read more here

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Soldier Took 12 Steps, Then Ran to Help Others

Soldier stays sober with 12 steps
Fort Campbell Courier
by Leejay Lockhart, Courier staff
Dec 8, 2016
“Soldiers who go to treatment they’ll clean up. They’ll be stellar, but as soon as you step out of treatment, you have no tools to use to keep you sober in the real world. That’s what recovery is. There is a difference and a lot of people don’t understand.” Sgt. Kristin Cloyd
When Sgt. Kristin Cloyd, a motor transport operator, assigned to A Company, 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, was in high school she started drinking at parties.

It did not take long before she started increasing the amount of alcohol she drank.

“My junior year of high school I started drinking a whole lot more,” Cloyd said. “Instead of every weekend, it was lets try to see if I can drink at school. Let me try to see if I can drink on weeknights before school.”

Before long her drinking caused the high school athlete to give up both basketball and volleyball, but because she maintained her grades, her life might have seemed normal to many of those people around her.

When she was still 17 she met an Army recruiter who convinced her to join the Reserves as a motor transport operator. Cloyd committed to becoming a Soldier in 2009 with the primary job duty of driving military vehicles over a variety of roads and terrain. Yet before she left for basic training, the police in California charged her with driving under the influence as a minor.

She was in the beginning stages of alcoholism and her life began to spin out of control. During basic training, she hurt her leg and ended up on pain medication. This added to her substance abuse problems.

At advanced individual training, the cadre discovered alcohol in her wall locker, which was a violation of her AIT’s zero tolerance policy. Part of her punishment included meeting with her commander who asked Cloyd if she wanted to remain in the Reserves.
read more here

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Female Iraq Veteran With PTSD Takes On TSA "Piggish Behavior"

Decorated Army veteran now marching in high heels, alleges retaliation at TSA
The Washington Post
Published: December 1, 2016
Bermudez's troubles have been exacerbated by health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, which she says is related to her military service in Iraq. Although her protest has quite literally made her case highly visible, she is far from the only woman who alleges that her life has been upended by working at TSA.
Alyssa Bermudez protests in front of the Transportation Security Administration headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post
For Alyssa Bermudez, high heels, a dress and makeup are her new uniform as much as the one she wore in the sands of Iraq. They represent her evolution from Bronze Star soldier to professional woman.

She wears her new uniform — and carries a protest sign instead of a rifle — in her new role as whistleblower, marching on the streets outside the Transportation Security Administration headquarters in Arlington, Va.

Bermudez says she was driven to protest by the allegedly piggish behavior of men with whom she worked at the Transportation Security Administration headquarters across the street. These men ogled her, she claims, snickered about her being in a "harem" because she's pretty, and retaliated against her when she complained, ultimately stripping her of employment five days before her probationary period ended.

"TSA has a saying: If you see something, say something," Bermudez, 33, says one afternoon. "Little did I know that when I said something, I would be fighting the agency. It's a very daunting task."
read more here

Saturday, November 26, 2016

204,000 women are serving in the armed forces right now

Female service members find their identity through Ms. Veteran America
10TV CBS News
November 24, 2016
“When people look at my uniform, they see Major Boothe; they don’t see me as a wife, they don’t see me as a mother. We have to somehow erase a little bit of our identities as women in order to blend in and serve in the military.” Maj. Jas Boothe
More than 204,000 women are serving in the armed forces right now, making up nearly 16 percent of service members. When women retire from the military, they often don’t get the same treatment or access to services that men do. But an event featuring hundreds of active and retired military women is trying to change that.

Through poise, grace and service, the competition for Ms. Veteran America unites them all for a common mission, reports CBS News correspondent Dana Jacobson.

“When I was really struggling with PTSD and I just got out of the military, I felt a bit worthless,” Molly Mae Potter said.
read more here

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Vietnam Veteran, Major Jackie Hall Encourages Others To Get Help For PTSD

Heroes Among Us: Major Jackie Hall
ABC News 4
"I had visions of all these guys that I had brought back and feeling guilty about why could I have not taken better care of them all all this other stuff. That was the first time it had reared its ugly head," she said. "It wasn't until about five years ago that they finally gave me a PTSD diagnosis."
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Approximately 11,000 military women were stationed in Vietnam during the conflict. Nearly all of them were volunteers, and 90 percent served as military nurses.

Among them was Major Jackie Hall.

"I did the very best I could," Hall said as she walked through the Vietnam exhibit at Patriots Point. " You're never really totally relaxed."

Visit the exhibit brought back vivid memories for Hall, some of them horrific.

Hall served as an Air Force flight nurse during the Vietnam War. It was a job she wanted and a service she requested.

"You listen to them pour out their guilt," she said. "Their survivor guilt, you know? 'Why me? Why did I survive?'"
read more here

Friday, October 21, 2016

Flesh Eating Bacteria Took Three Limbs But Not Marine's Spirit

Veteran who lost 3 limbs to flesh-eating bacteria trains to become Crossfit warrior
Associated Press
October 19, 2016

“I’m here for my kids, my husband and I want them to see I can still do things with them.”
DACULA, GA. A year ago, Cindy Martinez was struggling to walk even just a few feet and lift just five pounds.

A flesh-eating bacteria had ravaged the 35-year-old Marine veteran’s body. She had a grim choice: Amputate both legs, an arm below the elbow, and parts of the fingers on her remaining arm – or face almost-certain death.

The amputations saved her life. And after months of hospitalizations and rehabilitation, she finally found herself back home but alone during the day while her young children were in school and her husband was off at work.

“It kind of takes a toll on you mentally, just sitting there after all that I had gone through,” she said.

In the stillness of her home, she fired off an email to a local gym and asked about joining. When they called back later that night, “I told the lady on the phone, ‘well, there’s a twist to my story.’ ”

She soon found herself sitting in a circle surrounded by trainers at Crossfit Goat – with the motto Be Your Greatest of All Time – in Dacula, about 45 miles northeast of Atlanta. She told them her story and began in February to embark on an unusual quest: becoming a Crossfit athlete. Crossfit gyms are known for high-intensity strength and cardio workout, and their members often consider their “box” to be like a family as they bond over workouts-of-the-day that test their strength and resolve.
read more here

Sunday, October 9, 2016

"We live in deeds, not years." Fighting the Residual War of PTSD

They Live In Deeds of Courage
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 9, 2016

RESIDUAL WAR, Something Worth Living For is based on reports within the over 26,000 articles on Combat PTSD Wounded Times and over thirty years of covering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by military service. It is also from living with and spending most of my free time with veterans.

With all the publicity PTSD and suicides have received, you'd think that the truth would matter, but it doesn't. Until we actually see these men and women carrying the unique burden of serving this nation with everything they have, we'll never really change anything for their sake.  Frankly, I'm sick and tired of seeing them used.

Their suffering, their agony has been used for attention getting stunts by folks claiming to be doing something about raising awareness. The truth is, they are more like people taking a video of someone dying instead of calling 911.

So I decided to jump on the fiction bandwagon and try to tell the truth in a lie.

General David King is based on what I think most Generals with PTSD would do in order to really take care of those who have paid the price for their heroic actions causing them to make bad decisions for the right reasons. He sent them to Fort Christmas to serve out their time before retirement. 

Generals with PTSD? Yes and there is an example of that in a report from the New York Times about Brig. General Donald Bolduc, Commander of Special Operations talking about his own struggles with PTSD. He isn't the first to do so. Other Generals came out with a lot of courage in 2009 because the lives of those they were in charge of really mattered so much they put them first instead of their own careers.

It is about a female Colonel, Amanda Leverage, suffering after showing great courage and blaming herself for what came afterwards.

A female with courage in combat? Yes, like Spec. Monica Lin Brown, who at the age of 19 received the Silver Star for saving lives in Afghanistan.
After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said. "I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there," Brown said Saturday at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost.
Another female showing great courage during the Civil War received the Medal of Honor. Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was a surgeon. 
"We live in deeds, not years." – Mary Walker, title page of Hit
The men Amanda was in charge of were much like the Special Forces members in the following reports.

Special Forces suicides reached a record in 2014 but according to men like Donald Trump, they must not have been tough enough to take it. What is worse is that the head of the Army at the time passed off suicides as if they were not mentally tough and lacked intestinal fortitude. 

That was said by General Raymond Odierno during and interview on suicides with Huffington Post reporter David Wood.
"First, inherently what we do is stressful. Why do I think some people are able to deal with stress differently than others? There are a lot of different factors. Some of it is just personal make-up. Intestinal fortitude. Mental toughness that ensures that people are able to deal with stressful situations."

He wasn't thinking at all and that is the biggest problem of all. He he even considered all the veterans and those serving under him, he wouldn't have fed the stigma beast and maybe, just maybe he would have issued orders to make sure these men and women were taken care of to heal instead of betraying them with this claim of weakness. 

In April of 2014 there were reports of Special Forces soldiers committing suicide. 

U.S. special forces struggle with record suicides even after all these years of the DOD saying they were taking care of the men and women serving this country. Even after suicides and attempted suicides went up. Even after even the "toughest" of the tough suffered. Anyone know what is going to change? How to change it? Who is accountable for it?
Joe Miller, then an Army Ranger captain with three Iraq tours under his belt, sat inside his home near Fort Bragg holding a cocked Beretta 40mm, and prepared to kill himself.
Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann, 25, of the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, killed himself June 28 (2011) at Lewis-McChord. Staff Sgt. Hagemann had orders to return to Afghanistan for a ninth tour of duty.
Crowley-Smilek, 28, a former U.S. Army Ranger who suffered from combat stress and physical injuries from service in Afghanistan, was dead; shot multiple times by a police officer outside the Farmington municipal offices on U.S. Route 2.
Staff Sgt. Charles Reilly, is a Special Forces soldier who has been deployed six times in the past decade. She said psychiatrists have diagnosed him with PTSD, and he's assigned to Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion, where soldiers recover from physical and mental wounds.
Sgt. Ben Driftmyer was discharged and betrayed. Survived."I had spent eight years serving the military. I never got in trouble. Never did anything bad. And I got treated like I was a piece of crap because of it," said Ben Driftmyer, discharged U.S. Army Sergeant and Cottage Grove resident. Driftmyer was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder by Eugene doctors after he was chaptered out from the special forces unit in Baghdad. He suffered several mental breakdowns during his service, but his discharge was classified as "other than medical." "Because the military didn't want to pay for me for the rest of my life," said Driftmyer.
Chief Petty Officer Jerald Kruse, served 19 years in the Navy. He was a SEAL, an elite warrior sent to fight in some of the toughest situations around the world, including in Iraq. “His problems really began in ’05. That’s when I really began to notice something was wrong,” she said. He drank excessively, stayed up all night and lashed out at her and their three kids.
Navy Cmdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, died Saturday while serving as the commanding officer of SEAL Team 4, a special warfare unit based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Navy SEAL Robert Guzzo returned from Iraq, he feared seeking treatment for PTSD would endanger his career.
US Special Forces Struggle With Record Suicides(Reuters) - Suicides among U.S. special operations forces, including elite Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, are at record levels, a U.S. military official said on Thursday, citing the effects of more than a decade of "hard combat."
So while you are paying attention to the veteran in New York carrying around a skeleton dressed in a uniform to raise awareness of suicides, you need to be reminded of the most important fact of all. Lives of others matter so much to all of the above they were willing to die to save them, but they could not find hope to save their own.

They ended up on the "wrong side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

PTSD: Residual War of Finding Something Worth Living For

PTSD: Residual War
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 4, 2016

I haven't been doing much posting lately because I was working on my new book. A real switch for me since this is a work of fiction but within the pages is a lot of truth that few want to talk about. Hey, why should they bother when some many of gone bonkers over what is easy? How the hell they think raising awareness is going to help anyone is beyond even my understanding of human nature. To borrow a line from Dr. Phil someone should ask them "how's that working for you so far" because it has only gotten worse for the veterans.

So, it begins.

A young woman, Mary Walker, grieves for the brother she lost to suicide in Afghanistan while she blames him for being weak and selfish. Her other brother is confined to a wheelchair after being blown up by an IED. After yet another day playing caregiver to him at the Lake Nona VA hospital, she finds a script written by someone with the name Mary Edwards Walker and the words Medal of Honor.

She has a couple of hours sitting by the memorials to the fallen and reads every word.

The script starts at Fort Christmas where there is one of the strangest military funerals she ever heard of.

Then she begins to read about Colonel Amanda Leverage serving as a Chaplain in Afghanistan, cold, distracted and detached, Mary has already made up her mind she should not be in any position to tend to the spiritual needs of anyone.

Leverage is demoted and sent to Fort Christmas by someone protecting her so that she can at least fill out her days until she can retire with some kind of dignity. She is in charge of a bunch of misfits just like her, only they are all males. 

After reading the script, Mary finds a better understanding that having PTSD is far from being weak, but more the strength of their love that makes them grieve so much.

RESIDUAL WAR Something Worth Living For, is about finding something worth staying alive for since they are all too ready to risk their lives for the sake of others in combat, but seem to find something worth staying alive for when everyone is out of danger, but them.

It is the one thing they all have in common. When it comes to laying down their own lives for someone else, they were worth it. When it comes to seeing that same worth within themselves, that, that they find impossible to find. Yet, when they do, when they understand that it is the strength of their love that enabled them to do it, they use the same love to heal and then help others to find something worth living for within themselves.

There is a female hero in Leverage, plus one in a Black Hawk Pilot who wanted to die when she became an amputee and was told she couldn't fly anymore. She managed to not only live, but fly the General who gave her back something to live for as well.

The women and men in this book are not perfect but none of them are weak. All of them are dealing with PTSD, survivor guilt and in Amanda's case, savior's remorse on top of it. 

After over three decades of spending this much time with veterans, the last thing any of the are is weak. Ya, I know, perfect timing considering what hit the news about one more ignorant person using "not strong" and "can't take it" to explain why so many take their own lives.

This is nothing more than passing judgement on what we may think instead of what we actually learn about people.  It is about finding redemption among your peers and learning what it is to be a simple human within the complexity of military life. There are many part within these pages that are based on true stories stung together.

Homeless veterans abandoned and used as lab rats by ruthless, greedy fools who saw them as a way to get rich while pretending to care. The veterans actually believed no one would ever care about them, until Leverage arrived and taught them that they also have something worth living for after being betrayed by the Army in 2013 when 11,000 of them were kicked out of the only like they ever wanted.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

House of Warriors Healing US Female Veterans in Israel

U.S. Veterans With PTSD Find 'Common Bond' and Healing in Israel
NBC News
By Dave Copeland and Peter Jeary
September 25, 2015

Miguel, 27, recently returned from one such trips, which included visiting the Beit Halochem — 'House of Warriors' — rehabilitation center in Tel Aviv, which supports wounded veterans of the Israeli Defense Forces.
U.S. veterans Katherine Ragazzino and Jackie Ann Kirkwood hug after being baptized in the Jordan River in northern Israel. Dave Copeland / NBC News
Female U.S. war vets are finding help for their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) far from home.

Thanks to a pioneering program, they've gone to Israel — and speak of a "common bond" shared with their Israeli counterparts.

"I came with the goal that I needed to meet people that I could talk to," said Kamilla Miguel, who was only 17 when she enlisted in 2007 on the advice of her grandmother.

She returned from Afghanistan aged only 22 but drifted, avoided her family, turned to alcohol and hung out with the wrong crowd.

Heroes to Heroes, which is nondenominational, was established by Judy Schaeffer, the daughter of a World War II veteran. Schaeffer said she felt she "had to do something to help" after visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2009.
read more here
Remember when Sebastian Junger said that "incidence of PTSD is low" in Israel? Well, this pretty much blows that theory. PTSD happens after traumatic events. That is the only way to get it and the best way to heal it is with peer support. Had the female veterans in Israel not had a problem, there wouldn't be anything like this for them.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Air Force General Talks About Military Women

Air Force General Highlights Military Women at Summit
Department of Defense
By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
June 16, 2016

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, speak with Defense Secretary Ash Carter at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., May 13, 2016. Robinson provided remarks at the United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C., June 14, 2016. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro
WASHINGTON, June 16, 2016 — The American people need to know that the U.S. military is a true meritocracy that’s open to all citizens who meet service standards, Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson said at the White House-sponsored United State of Women Summit here June 14.

Robinson, the commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, spoke at the summit before thousands of women at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. She is the first female U.S. combatant commander.

The general highlighted the critical role women play in the defense of the nation, and she used her own story to illustrate her points.

The Constitution

Robinson told the audience she was from an Air Force family, but had no intention of having a military a career. She was commissioned out of ROTC when she graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1981.

At the summit, she reflected on the oath she took in 1981, especially the line “I solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

“Think about how powerful that is,” she said. “Think about how amazing that is. The fact that we are pledging our allegiance not to a person or an idol or a gimmick, but to an idea -- the idea of freedom and that all people are created equal.”
read more here

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Amputee Marine Became Prince Harry's Heroine

'Prince Harry understands the struggles I’ve been through': US Marine dubbed 'Harry’s heroine' reveals how losing her leg has given her more determination than ever
Daily Mail UK
11 June 2016

When US Marine KIRSTIE ENNIS’s military career ended in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, it turned out to be the beginning of an extraordinary story

‘I hate the word “disabled. I think anybody can do whatever they want. You just have to figure out where your niche is. I would rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity." Kirstie Ennis
Kirstie today at her home in California

I’m probably a touch crazy, but I don’t like to sit still,’ says Kirstie Ennis, with spectacular understatement. The 25-year-old recently returned from a week in the wilds of western Canada where she was volunteering on a camp for wounded military veterans, hunting and fishing in the great outdoors.

Before that she was at the Invictus Games in Florida. An operation meant she was unable to compete as planned (in the swimming, cycling and rowing events), but she went to support the other athletes – and the founder of the Games, Prince Harry, whom she got to know while doing a 1,000-mile charity walk across the UK last autumn.

She’s currently preparing to climb Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia – the highest point in Oceania – while also honing her snowboarding skills, hoping to qualify for the Winter Olympics in 2018. 

All of which means she can be a tricky woman to get hold of. When I finally catch up with her, she’s in Boston, working alongside Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Bacon as a stuntwoman in Patriots Day, a film about the 2013 Boston bombings.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Miss America Also Defended It As Army Reserve Officer

Miss USA, Army reservist to fight for veterans, tackle military suicide, PTSD
Associated Press

Sally Ho
June 6, 2016

Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber smiles after being crowned Miss USA during the 2016 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas, on June 5.
(Photo: Jason Ogulnik/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
LAS VEGAS — The newly crowned Miss USA is a 26-year-old Army officer from the District of Columbia who gave perhaps the strongest answer of the night when asked about women in combat.

"As a woman in the United States Army, I think ... we are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated," Deshauna Barber said. "Gender does not limit us in the United States."

The winner of Sunday's 2016 Miss USA competition held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip will go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest.

Barber is the first-ever military member to win Miss USA. In a press conference following the event, the 26-year-old lieutenant from Northeast DC said she plans to take a break from the Army Reserves and had already discussed with superiors the possibility of going inactive for a couple of years should she win the title. She said she currently serves two days per month.

"My commander should be watching right now," Barber said. "Two days a month is definitely not active duty. It is an obligation that I signed up for but they are very flexible in the United States Army Reserves."
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fort Carson Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy Climbs Everest For PTSD Awareness

You saw this picture in the previous post and now you know why she did it!
Female Fort Carson soldier summited Mount Everest Tuesday in bid to raise PTSD awareness 
The Gazette 
By: Seth Boster
May 25, 2016

"I think about the fallen soldiers I'm climbing for every day, especially when things got difficult on the mountain."
Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy,
Fort Carson Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy, was atop the world Tuesday.

Medvigy, 32, summited Mount Everest in the morning hours with a fellow active-duty soldier and a veteran in a climb for U.S. Expeditions and Explorations, a nonprofit seeking to raise awareness of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. According to a news release, the nonprofit believes Medvigy to be the first active-duty female soldier to scale Earth's highest mountain.

The Ridgway native was joined on the 29,029-foot summit with 2nd Lt. Harold Earls and retired Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes, who lost his right leg in Iraq. She was the first to reach the top among the group, at 7:40 a.m. Everest time, according to an online chronicle of the climb by the nonprofit. She and her team began the ascent on the mountain's north side April 25.

In a photo provided by the group, Medvigy is shown on Everest's peak holding pictures of Army Pfc. Keith Williams and Staff Sgt. Benjamin Prange. The two died during combat in Afghanistan.
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