Showing posts with label female veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label female veterans. Show all posts

Monday, December 23, 2019

Female veterans #BreakTheSilence and get your service on equal footing

Yesterday I posted on PTSD Patrol about female veterans service being overlooked. Too many times people have assumed that when you mention a female veteran with PTSD, they try to point to military sexual assaults. Not that they do not happen, but no one jumps to that conclusion when a male veteran has PTSD, even though they get attacked too.

As you can see in this recent report, it happens to males as well as females.
The US military is reporting a disturbing spike in the number of active-duty service members who said they’d experienced sexual assault last year, raising questions once again about the military’s handling of misconduct.
The Pentagon estimates that about 20,500 service members across the military branches — about 13,000 women and 7,500 men — were sexually assaulted in the 2018 fiscal year, based on data from an anonymous survey that’s compiled by the Department of Defense every two years.
That’s a four-year high — and an alarming jump from 2016, in which 14,900 service members said they had been sexually assaulted.
Yet the public assumes that PTSD caused by combat situations in females, on top of everything else, does not happen.

There are, sadly still, too many things that are getting worse while it seems as if more is being done claiming to change all of it.

Things our politicians do, do not work, then everyone wants more done. Huge problem when it is all more of the same and the worst outcome spreads out! If you are a female veteran, or currently serving, use your voice and make sure that your service is honored, your wounds are tended to and you get the help you need to live a better quality of life. #BreakTheSilence

Why do women wonder when their service will count?

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
December 22, 2019

We read about it all the time. A couple is sitting together, both wearing military hats, yet it is only the male who receives a "thank you" for his service.

Someone forgot to inform the "thanker" that women have served this country since before it was a country.
Today over 210,000 women serve on active duty in the military services of the Department of Defense (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force), and another 5,955 serve in the Active Coast Guard—part of the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime.
The Reserve Components are federal forces. Guard components play dual state and federal roles. Like most of the active forces, the Reserve and Guard components have an increasing percentage of women in their ranks. As of February 2018, women constituted 158,090 or 19.8 percent—of all personnel serving in the six DoD Reserve and Guard forces. Women number 1,067—or 17.4 percent—of all personnel serving in the Coast Guard Reserve.
Women have been bestowed with every military medal for heroism, including the Medal of Honor. Dr. Walker not only served during the Civil War, she was a POW.

Released from government contract at the end of the war, Dr. Walker lobbied for a brevet promotion to major for her services. Secretary of War Stanton would not grant the request. President Andrew Johnson asked for another way to recognize her service. A Medal of Honor was presented to Dr. Walker in January 1866. She wore it every day for the rest of her life. read it here

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to her lawsuit complaint:

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

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Cranky note left on veteran's car...because she is a female veteran!

‘Women serve too’; Note left on veteran’s car prompts conversation among female vets

WECT 6 News
By Amanda Foster
December 2, 2019

INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. (WBTV) - A female veteran parked in a “reserved veteran parking” spot at an Indian Trail Harris Teeter says someone left a note on her car that was disappointing.
The woman wrote “Women serve, too” in part of a post on the ‘What’s Up Indian Trail?” Facebook page. She says after she parked in the reserved veterans’ space at the grocery store, someone left her a note – on what looks like a napkin - with the message, “R U A Veteran!” written in blue.

“It is disappointing to think there are people out there…but it’s reality. There’s going to be stereotypes everywhere,” Air Force veteran Mindy Mills says.

Mills is one of several other female veterans now commenting on the social media post, sharing their own stories of sideways looks, notes, even confrontations. One woman writes, “I very seldom use the spots but I have been asked twice by men if I am a veteran.” Another commenter tells a story of someone following her into a store and yelling at her for parking in the space.
read it here

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Female veterans it is no longer acceptable to be forgotten warriors!

Female veterans it is no longer acceptable to be forgotten warriors! Isn't it time that your service mattered as much as the male veterans? Isn't it time that you received the same attention to your needs and wounds?

Hell, it isn't as if women did not fight since the Revolutionary War! Considering that women have earned ever medal for service, including the Medal of Honor after the Civil War, you deserve a lot more than you have been getting.

Point Man International Ministries is coming to the New Hampshire-Maine border just for you! My husband and I moved from Florida to Rochester New Hampshire. Point Man has asked me to open the first Out Post for female veterans. While I am not a veteran, the need is so great that we can no longer wait to find a female veteran to take the lead on this.

The goal is to begin to train women veterans from all generations to open their own Out Post and Home Fronts for families.

Consider the following and begin to understand why we can no longer wait for someone else to do it.

The need for female veterans is growing and will continue to grow as more women enter the military. had this in 2019 report With Historic Number of Women in Uniform, the Vet Community Is About to Change
In fact, the number of women in the armed services -- and subsequent veteran population -- is rapidly increasing. According to the Defense Department, women now make up 20 percent of the Air Force, 19 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army and almost 9 percent of the Marine Corps.

Women now make up approximately 10 percent of the current veteran population, the fastest-growing demographic. The number of female veterans treated at the VA almost tripled between 2000 and 2015. As a result of this rapid growth, the VA experienced difficulty meeting the clinical needs of female veterans at all sites of care.
For 2017 according to the VA report on Female Veterans 8,541 lived in New Hampshire and 9,103 lived in Maine.

And another report from the VA in 2018 focusing on female veterans indicated that "between 2005 and 2015 female veterans between the age of 35 and 54 had higher suicide rates than those in other age groups. While we seem fixated on the rise of veteran suicides in general, the most shocking find was that for male veterans the rate went up 35.3 but the rate for female veteran suicides went up 45.2 percent.

It is no longer a matter of we need to do better. It has become we have to do better right now and we have had enough years to get this right! Contact Kathie Costos at 407-754-7526 email

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

“Unfortunately, I kept silent. I didn’t talk about it, but I was only hurting myself internally.”

A Second Chance at Life: Local veteran tells her story of life after surviving suicide attempt

Military Matters
Author: Bary Roy
September 9, 2019

ROUND ROCK, Texas — Editor's note: This article contains depictions of sexual assault and suicide. Reader discretion is advised.

Vivianne Pearson is a United States Army veteran who proudly followed in the footsteps of her family at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

It was while she was stationed in Fort Jackson that she says she went to get a drink with her sergeant, someone she barely knew, when he forced himself on to her.

Almost 11 years after a cry from her daughter interrupted her suicide attempt, a local vet is moving forward in life as a successful business owner in Round Rock.

"I was cornered," she said. "I was just fighting this particular sergeant off of me. It was the most scariest, intimidating, anxious experience that I've ever had to experience because I'm thinking to myself, 'Your wife is even here.'"

Pearson said that assault in 2006 shaped her military experience. She said the sergeant who assaulted her made it a point to make her life unbearable after a report was filed.

“There was a report made about the party. He thought I reported him,” she said. “But in all honesty, I didn’t. Not at all. My life was a living hell from day one after that.”

In retrospect, Pearson said she knows keeping her silence was a mistake. She believes that men and women who in those situations need to speak up and know there’s no shame in doing so.

“Unfortunately, I kept silent,” she said. “I didn’t talk about it, but I was only hurting myself internally.”
read it here

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Female veterans are 25% more likely to commit suicide

Why women veterans are 25% more likely than civilian women to commit suicide

Military Times
By: Kate Henricks Thomas and Kyleanne Hunter
August 14, 2019

"We missed the sense of unit cohesion and good-natured support we’d so often enjoyed on active duty, and struggled to find that same sense of community in our civilian lives." Kyleanne Hunter
The Women in Military Service to America Memorial, the only national museum honoring military women, celebrated its 15th anniversary on Oct. 20, 2012. (Veterans Affairs)
After four years on active duty, Amy left the Army and moved back to her hometown.

However, she struggled to find her tribe. At work, she was told her handshake was a bit too firm and lectured about how her direct communication style made her coworkers uncomfortable. At her local VFW bar, the men stopped talking to stare at her, and her attempts to connect were met with awkward silences. A few other attempts to connect with the veteran communities she saw advertised at the VA and Facebook left her feeling similarly displaced.

“In both civilian settings and veteran settings, I was ‘weird,’” she recalls.

She explored some of the newer veteran service organizations (VSOs), but most failed to include child care or weren’t kid-friendly. Amy was a single parent, so she mentally crossed those options off her list too. She stayed lonely, and slowly sank into a deep depression.

The very word “veteran” calls to mind the image of a man — particularly a male combat veteran. However, there are more than 2 million women veterans in the United States today, and women veterans are the nation’s fastest-growing veteran population. Unfortunately, this unique population, many of whom have deployed during the past 18 years, rarely benefit from the traditional trappings of the hero returned home.
Kyleanne Hunter was a Cobra pilot and is a decorated combat veteran. I served as military police. We spent our 20s in the Corps, and it quickly became both our family and identity. We each deployed overseas and generally loved our time in service. However, transitioning to civilian life was another matter entirely. We were high performing, but — despite appearing “successful” and “normal” on the outside — we each felt a nagging sense of displacement and not belonging. read it here

corrected must have been a typo in the original report from  Military Times

Monday, July 8, 2019

Veterans lives saved by boxing club?

'They Saved My Life,' Boxing Club Provides a Healing Outlet for Veterans

The Associated Press
By Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Diana Nelson Jones
7 Jul 2019
Boxing isn't for every veteran who needs an outlet, but for those it does help, it is a testament to the power of physical activity in improving mental health
Brandy Horchak-Jevsjukova, left, helps Tysh Wagner with stretches after a workout at Warrior's Call Boxing in Baden on Monday, June 10, 2019. Wagner served two tours of duty as a medic in Afghanistan and says the boxing workout helps her heal from the trauma of her war experiences. Horchak-Jevsjukova, co-owner of Warrior's Call, served in Iraq. (Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)
BADEN, Pa. (AP) — Brandy Horchak-Jevsjukova jokes that she is Tyshie Wagner's service dog.

A veteran's service dog is trained to lean into her to provide comfort, to stand watch behind her, to jump up or paw her to interrupt a crisis.

Brandy has leaned into Tyshie persistently since they met in 2017, when Tyshie was almost 400 pounds, terrified of leaving her house, and imagining — and once attempting — suicide. She had gone through several therapists and had a husband who was at his wits' end.

Cutting through the chronology of their story, we arrive at the Warrior's Call Boxing Club in Baden, Beaver County, one recent morning.

Brandy and her husband, Vitali Jevsjukova, whom everyone calls "V," opened the club in 2015 to be the help to veterans that boxing had been for them during their military service in Iraq.
read it here

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Motorcycle charity ride to help female all female club!

Women's motorcycle club holding benefit run to help disabled veteran

NBC 26 News
By: Stacy Engebretson
Jul 03, 2019

The Sapphires not only help military veterans, they also support the Oshkosh Police Department's K-9 unit, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services and people battling serious medical issues. Next year, they plan to team-up with the Oshkosh Fire Department as well.

NEENAH, Wis. — The rev of their engines. The breeze in their hair. The camaraderie. There's so much the Sapphires enjoy about their all-female motorcycle group, but number one Is riding for a reason.

"We're a strong sisterhood," said Leslie Schultz, one of 14 members of the Sapphires.
The Sapphires are Oshkosh's chapter of the nationwide motorcycle club the Chrome Angelz . It's a nonprofit organization with 176 chapters worldwide where women ride with a purpose.

"That's pretty much what gets us going is it's the people we support, our sisters and our actual brothers that are out there riding for the same cause," Schultz said.

They're supporting six causes this year including a benefit run for 37-year-old Tatiana Saunders of Neenah.

"I feel grateful," Saunders said. "And I keep wondering why me?"

Saunders served nearly five years in the U.S. Army. A year of that time, she was in a war zone in Iraq.
read it here

Thursday, June 27, 2019

DA's office found police shooting of Iraq veteran in PTSD crisis "justified"

When exactly do we finally admit that all the awareness is useless and it is time to change what we are doing?

Madison County District Attorney’s Office finds fatal Huntsville police shooting was justified

WHNT 19 News
JUNE 24, 2019
After her Army service in Iraq, Ragland spent time in a Kansas Army facility that helps wounded and ill soldiers transition to civilian life or continued Army service.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Madison County District Attorney's Office agrees with a Huntsville shooting review board in finding that the use of deadly force during a police encounter with an Army veteran suffering from PTSD was justified.

On Friday, a police review board determined the officers involved in the shooting acted within department policy.

Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard told WHNT News 19 Monday that the evidence supports the board's finding.

"The investigator with the Huntsville Police Department met with us and laid out the case," Broussard said. "He showed us the evidence, including the body cams. It was clearly a justified shooting on the part of HPD. There will be no action on our part with respect to presentment to a grand jury, because it was clearly justified."

The fatal incident came after a call from the Stadium Apartments where Ragland lived. Police said they responded to a call of a woman waving a gun and making threats at Stadium Apartments. The woman, 32-year-old Crystal Ragland, served 17 months in the Iraq war and suffered from PTSD. That call proved to be a fatal and tragic collision.
read more here

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

One Of The Most Successful Women In a veteran!

This U.S. Veteran Is One Of The Most Successful Women In America

Deniz Cam
Forbes Staff

Kathleen Hildreth has been around airplanes since she was a child. Five decades ago, she watched her parents fly their Cessna 172 in their small hometown of Trenton, Michigan.
Kathleen Hildreth, U.S. veteran and cofounder of military aircraft maintenance company, M1 Support Services COURTESY OF KATHLEEN HILDRETH
After graduating from West Point, she flew helicopters for the military for five years but today she helps other pilots fly. In 2001, Hildreth cofounded aviation maintenance company M1 Support Services, which pulled in $680 million revenue in 2018. Forbes estimates Hildreth’s fortune at $370 million, thanks to her minority stake in M1 Support, enough for the U.S. veteran to make her debut at No. 57 on Forbes 2019 list of America’s most successful self-made women.

“Anything in the government's [aircraft] inventory, we do work on,” Hildreth told Forbes in a brief phone conversation. “You name it.” (She later declined Forbes’ request for a more extensive interview). The U.S Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and NASA are all clients of M1 Support, which relies entirely on the federal government for business. Most of its revenues come from maintaining military aircraft including fighter jets such as F15s, F16s, and A10 Thunderbolts.
read more here

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Wisconsin Army National Guard assaulted and betrayed getting justice the hard way

Final punishment: As Wisconsin National Guard officer Megan Plunkett took steps to leave the Guard after she said she was sexually assaulted three times, officials tried to revoke her benefits
Katelyn Ferral
May 11, 2019

“I was like, ‘I’m out, I just want to be left alone.’ I don’t want to cause more problems and then he came at me with fraternization. Are you ... kidding me?” she said. “He… assaulted me and how dare they accuse me of fraternization without asking me what happened?”
Eight months after the Wisconsin Army National Guard finished its investigations into 1st Lt. Megan Plunkett’s sexual assault claims, they tried to kick her out.
They did so even though Plunkett was already making her own way out. She was going through a medical discharge for post-traumatic stress disorder connected to alleged sexual assaults by two different men in two different units she served in.

She was not actively training at that time but was having a consensual relationship with an enlisted soldier in her unit. After the relationship ended, Plunkett said that man also sexually assaulted her. As it did in the first two cases, the Guard said her allegations were unsubstantiated, but they went one step further than that, finding Plunkett guilty of “fraternization.” In the military, officers are forbidden to have sexual relationships with enlisted soldiers.
As of today, Plunkett has won some measure of vindication from other agencies. A panel of out-of-state Army officers ultimately rejected the Guard's attempt to strip her benefits and status, though that ruling is not yet final. Separately, the Veterans Administration awarded her full service-connected disability compensation and medical benefits for PTSD, which they determined was caused by military sexual trauma she experienced in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

'Failure to Protect'
This week, the Cap Times is publishing “Failure to Protect,” a four-part investigation by reporter Katelyn Ferral into the Wisconsin Army National Guard and its treatment of soldiers who are sexually abused in its service. The series is centered on 1st Lt. Megan Plunkett, a soldier who says she was sexually assaulted by three different Guard colleagues over the course of three years.

After she brought those allegations forward, the Guard not only decided that they were unsubstantiated, but took multiple steps to punish her. Plunkett eventually brought her story to the Cap Times, and after a four-month investigation including access to extensive records of a type rarely available to the public, we are sharing her story with you. It is alarming, nuanced and sometimes graphic, but it is important to hear, coming amidst growing concern among government officials in Wisconsin and nationally about the number of military sexual abuse victims and their treatment.

Part one focused on Plunkett’s allegations, the Guard’s responses and also explains its procedures for responding to sexual assault allegations.

Part two took a close look at a yearlong, internal Guard investigation into Plunkett’s first unit, which concluded that it had a longstanding culture of sexual misconduct.

Part three examined the phenomenon of “military sexual trauma” as well as Plunkett’s often frustrating efforts to maintain consistent medical care and legal representation.

Part four (below) describes the Guard’s final — and at this point, unsuccessful — effort to strip Plunkett of military benefits even after she was in the process of getting a discharge for medical reasons.
read more here

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Remembering Specialist Ashley Shelton

UPDATE to story of Ashley Shelton, the soldier who delivered baby in latrine while serving in Afghanistan

Remembering Specialist Ashley Shelton, the soldier who gave birth in combat

WTHR NBC 13 News

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WTHR) — Specialist Ashley Shelton is being laid to rest today in Frankfort, Indiana.

She was found unresponsive on Saturday, March 30 outside a Frankfort motel where she was to meet her mother and son to go swimming. Shelton was just 27 years old.

The Clinton County Coroner is awaiting additional autopsy results to rule on the cause of death but tells 13 Investigates there is no suspicion and no foul play.

13 Investigates has heard from Shelton's military friends who wanted a place to share their thoughts about their former comrade and friend, so Eyewitness News put this page together as a place to remember Spc. Shelton.

But first, a text message that Shelton sent to 13 Investigates Reporter Sandra Chapman.

read more here

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Vet Community Is About to Change

With Historic Number of Women in Uniform, the Vet Community Is About to Change
By Mary Dever
11 Mar 2019
In 2018, the DAV released a comprehensive new report, Women Veterans: The Journey Ahead, based on the quality of programs and services currently available to female veterans, as well as recommendations for shaping the VA culture and system to better serve this population.

Army Pfc. Keylin Perez stands in front of the formation bearing the unit guidon during a field training exercise at Fort Meade, Md., Jan. 13, 2019. Perez is assigned to the 200th Military Police Command’s Headquarters Company. (U.S. Army/Army Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)

When former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban on women in combat roles in 2013, he gave the military two years to complete integration.

In 2015, two women successfully completed Army Ranger School, leading to a Pentagon decision calling for combat specialties to be opened to women. The following year, one of those women -- Army Capt. Kristen Griest -- became the first female infantry officer in American history.

With this change, and as the role of women in the military continues to expand, Women's History Month is the perfect time to recognize the thousands of women who fight to protect our country and how this new modern-day warrior is forcing changes in the services, programs and culture facing our veterans.

In fact, the number of women in the armed services -- and subsequent veteran population -- is rapidly increasing. According to the Defense Department, women now make up 20 percent of the Air Force, 19 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army and almost 9 percent of the Marine Corps.

Women now make up approximately 10 percent of the current veteran population, the fastest-growing demographic. The number of female veterans treated at the VA almost tripled between 2000 and 2015. As a result of this rapid growth, the VA experienced difficulty meeting the clinical needs of female veterans at all sites of care.
read more here

Reminder: My husband and I are lifetime members of the DAV...because we believe in their mission to care for all generations AND GENDERS

Sunday, March 10, 2019

These servicewomen are leaders, pioneers, change-makers and survivors

‘People Constantly Mistake My Mother for a Spouse, Not a Veteran’

The New York Times
By Lauren Katzenberg
March 8, 2019

These servicewomen are leaders, pioneers, change-makers and survivors. Here’s what their family members have to say about them.

The Times recently asked servicewomen and veterans to share stories about their military service for a project planned for today, International Women’s Day. I wasn’t surprised that we received more than 650 submissions to our reader call-out. But reading the dozens of accounts that poured in each day filled me with a renewed sense of appreciation and frustration for these women’s service. Too many had to force their way into an institution that has been designed for and upheld by men for generations. Too many were told they didn’t belong. And too many felt the physical and mental consequences of disrupting and threatening the male-dominated status quo in ways that should have been punishable — and yet were repeatedly ignored by senior military leaders.

This collection of stories is both a celebration of women’s military service and a reckoning of what they’ve endured. It’s also a recognition that the military still has a long way to go before we see any real resemblance of gender equality. As Capt. Ja’Mia Rowland wrote: “I have become accustomed to being the only person in the room who looks like me.” You can read her story and 39 others here.

The Times also asked readers with a woman in their family who serves or served to tell us about that person. Here is a selection of those responses.

People Constantly Mistake My Mother for a Spouse, Not a Veteran 
Randi Mahoney, New Boston, Mich.
My mother, Amy Hodge, was attached to the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum in New York, during which time she deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia. She told me that while there she pulled over 300 dead bodies out of a river that were contaminating the local drinking water; she was involved in firefights; she held a friend while he died. The biggest challenge I’ve seen my mom face is the lack of recognition that she even served. When she walks into any veteran event or local post, she is instantly written off as a wife, and her stories and experiences are ignored, even though nine times out of 10 she is the most badass person in the room.

read more stories like that here

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Military sexual assault victims, now lead in the Senate

Sen. McSally, ex-Air Force pilot, says officer raped her

Associated Press
Coleen Long
March 6, 2019
McSally's revelation comes not long after Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, detailed her own abuse and assault, and at a time of increased awareness over the problem of harassment and assault in the armed forces.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Martha McSally, the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, said Wednesday that she was raped in the Air Force by a superior officer.

The Arizona Republican, a 26-year military veteran, made the disclosure at a Senate hearing on the armed services' efforts to prevent sexual assaults and improve the response when they occur.

McSally said she did not report being sexually assaulted because she did not trust the system, and she said she was ashamed and confused. McSally did not name the officer who she says raped her.

"I stayed silent for many years, but later in my career, as the military grappled with the scandals, and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know I too was a survivor," she said, choking up as she detailed what had happened to her. "I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences was handled. I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years of service over my despair. Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again."
read more here

Friday, March 1, 2019

Women's History Month with 'Trailblazers' campaign

VA's Center for Women Veterans kicks off Women's History Month with 'Trailblazers' campaign

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it will celebrate the start of Women’s History Month in March with a kickoff event on March 6, from 2-4 p.m. at the Women in Military Service for America (WIMSA) Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

Sponsored by VA’s Center for Women’s Veterans, the event will feature 15 women Veterans representing all branches of military service in a 2019 campaign titled “Trailblazers: Women Breaking Barriers,” celebrating the contributions of women Veterans in honor of Women’s History Month and continuing through the rest of the year.

"Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing demographics within VA, and will represent nearly 20 percent of the U.S. Veteran population by 2045,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA is proud to serve all our nation’s Veterans, and the Center for Women Veterans does a great job reminding all Americans of the strong service and sacrifice of women Veterans through these innovative campaigns.”

The following women will be featured in the Trailblazers campaign:
Robinann Alex, U.S. Navy; Pappilion, Nebraska
Cathy Bennett-Santos, U.S. Army; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Patricia Collins, U.S. Army; Alexandria, Virginia
Diana Danis, U.S. Army; Bloomington, Nebraska
Kyleanne Hunter, U.S. Marine Corps, Leesburg, Virginia
Michele Jones, U.S. Army; Jacksonville, Florida
Judy Keene, U.S. Coast Guard; Washington, D.C.
Ginger Miller, U.S. Navy; Accokeek, Maryland
Tonja Myles, U S. Army; Zachary, Louisiana
Amanda Plante, U.S. Navy; Santee, California
Linda Singh, Army National Guard; Bowie, Maryland
Cassie Strom, U.S. Air Force; St. Louis, Missouri
Wilma Vaught, U.S. Air Force; Falls Church, Virginia
Melissa Washington, U.S. Navy; Lincoln, California
Tanya Whitney, U.S. Army; Sorrento, Louisiana
The campaign will provide a platform for the featured women to share stories about their military service and how their unique experiences in uniform led to their continued roles as leaders and advocates in their communities.

The event is open to the public. Please RSVP to join VA in celebrating these women Veteran Trailblazers. Registration deadline for the event is March 5.

Participants and invitees are invited to explore WIMSA’s exhibits and learn more about women’s service in the military by visiting

For more information about the Center for Women Veterans and the Trailblazers Initiative, visit or contact Alohalani Bullock-Jones at

The Trailblazers campaign is sponsored in part by Veteran Canteen Services, whose mission includes emphasizing the importance of service to Veterans and supporting VA’s overall mission. For more information about VCS, visit or
You have the power to climb out of the valley and #TakeBackYourLife

This is a video I did last year.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


'Invisible Veteran' Multiple organizations claim female veterans are under-served in Jacksonville

That is the headline on First Coast News, and this is what the news was.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A group of veterans and local organizations say female veterans have gone under-served and unfunded for too long. First Coast News met with four local veterans from different branches of the military and different organizations who all came to the same consensus, insisting there is a problem in Jacksonville for women who served, despite Duval County having the highest number of female veterans in the state.
But is sure as hell is not news to us!

This was in the report.
Nicole Gray is a U.S. Army and Navy veteran and founder of Got Your Six Female Veteran Support Service. She says she knows how it feels first hand. "Roughly four-and-a-half years ago, I was homeless and sleeping in a car here in Jacksonville. I went to various organizations for assistance, but because I didn’t have children and didn’t deploy to war I was ineligible for assistance," said Gray.

In 2007, they opened a PTSD clinic just for female veterans in Cincinnati.

By 2008 there was this report about the need to address female veterans as veterans.
Though VA officials say they are conducting a survey on women’s experiences at their facilities, as well as offering programs specifically for women, proponents of the proposed bill say it would target areas VA has not addressed. It follows a similar House bill proposed by Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., and Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla.

Murray’s bill will ask for:
• Assessment and treatment of women who have suffered sexual trauma in the military.
• More use of evidence-based treatment for women — particularly in areas such as post-traumatic stress disorder, where responses may be different or involve different issues than it does for men.
• A long-term study on gender-specific health issues of female veterans.
“One of the things we started to see early on is that there’s a lot we don’t know,” said Joy Ilem, assistant national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

North Carolina Veteran Population Dropping, VA Enrollment Growing

Veteran Population In NC Steadily Declining

Jay Price
November 26, 2018

Despite the downturn in the number of veterans, the VA here has been seeing its enrollment grow, as a higher percentage of veterans sign up for VA care.

North Carolina is home to two of the world’s largest military bases — the Army’s Fort Bragg and the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune — but the state’s population of veterans is steadily declining.

Last year the number of veterans in North Carolina dropped to about 656,000. That’s down nearly 90,000 from a decade earlier, according to US census bureau estimates.

The number has steadily fallen from a plateau a decade ago. That’s despite the substantial rise in the state’s overall population, according to a new report from UNC.

A big reason that the population is falling off so much is that the veterans of the draft-fueled buildup during the Vietnam War era now dominate the veteran population, but are “aging out ” said Rebecca Tippett is the director of Carolina Demography at the Carolina Population Center.

The veteran population is older than the average, she said.

“The result of that is that you’re going to see much higher mortality rates, and overall population decline because young veterans are not replacing older veterans at a fast enough rate and are not likely to,” Tippett said.
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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Navy veteran Taveta Hobbs still missing

North Carolina Navy veteran Taveta Hobbs remains missing a decade after her Thanksgiving week disappearance

NBC News
Juliet Muir
November 23, 2018

Growing up, Taveta Hobbs and her younger brother Clinton Crier were very close, Clinton told Dateline.

“She was a sweetheart,” Clinton told Dateline. “We had a huge love for each other because I was her younger brother, and she really looked after me.”

As she grew older, Taveta showed an interest in serving in the United States Armed Forces and joined the Navy in 1982.

“She was moving around a lot then, so we became less close,” Clinton said about their relationship. He told Dateline the two would still speak on the phone whenever possible.

In 1992, Taveta married Phil Hobbs. The couple lived in Virginia before moving to California, and then ending up in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2004, Clinton told Dateline.

No longer in the Navy, Taveta took a job with Salesforce about 20 minutes away in Carey, while she studied to be a certified stenographer.

Clinton, who lives in California, told Dateline that at a 2007 family gathering, he and Taveta had an argument. “It was a stupid argument that blew up. And some other frustrations boiled over,” he told Dateline.
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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Military women slammed for leaving kids? Seriously? Still?

Shamed for their sacrifice: Military moms don't always get a hero's welcome home

NBC Today
By Allison Slater Tate
Nov. 9, 2018

While deployed for six months with the U.S. Navy, Dr. Marion Henry had all the usual worries about being away from her husband and three children at their home in San Diego, California.

But that 2015 deployment — as the Director for Surgical Services on the USNS Mercy — was particularly hard for her, because it meant she missed the first day of school for Jack, then 8, Maggie, then 6, and Katherine, then 3. It was hard, she told TODAY Parents, to miss meeting her children's teachers, knowing which days they had "specials," and getting to know their friends and their friends' parents. When she came home in October, it was "very disorienting," she said.
In response to this story about a little boy rushing into his mother's arms as she returned from deployment with her National Guard unit in Afghanistan, one woman commented on Facebook, "Shame on her for leaving her child."
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Note to military women: Do not expect them to understand you, or respect the fact that ever since the first women set foot on this land, fighting for their families, and yes, even in war, is part of our history.

The same things were said of these women in their own time!