Showing posts with label military. Show all posts
Showing posts with label military. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Finding miracles in Wounded Times

Inspirational reminders of miracles

PTSD Patrol
Stories from Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 13, 2020

With all the bad news in this country because of COVID-19, it is easy to become depressed. Social media has been spreading the bad news, division along with outright lies. Hopelessness follows.

But within the pages of friends sharing thoughts, there are messages of hope, love, humor, inspiration and miracles. Hope is fueled.

I take more comfort knowing there are people out there trying to make our days better than they would have been, than those constantly focusing on the negative.

A couple of days ago, I started searching the web for stories on miracles for a book I was planning on writing. In all honesty, I was searching to help my own mood as well.

Then it dawned on me that out of over 32,000 posts on Wounded Times, there is a treasure trove of miracles intended to fuel hope.

I opted to drop the book idea and decided to put the posts up here until I run out of them. Judging by the ones already discovered, that should take a long time to happen.
read it here

Here is the first one that just went up on PTSD Patrol
For those I love I will sacrifice

PTSD Patrol
Story from Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 13, 2020

One of the first post I put up on my views of faith, was in September 2007. To lay down his life for the sake of his friends posted September 26, 2007. Almost 900 people read it and shared it, plus 1,200+ subscribers sent it along with 90 followers. 

Do you think God abandoned you still? Come on and admit that while you were in the center of the trauma, you either felt the hand of God on your shoulder, or more often, never felt further from Him. In natural disasters, we pray to God to protect us. Yet when it's over we wonder why He didn't make the hurricane hit someplace else or why the tornadoes came and destroyed what we had while leaving the neighbors house untouched. We wonder why He heals some people while the people we love suffer. It is human nature to wonder, search for answers and try to understand.

In times of combat, it is very hard to feel anything Godly. Humans are trying to kill other humans and the horrors of wars become an evil act. The absence of God becomes overwhelming. We wonder how a loving God who blessed us with Jesus, would allow the carnage of war. We wonder how He could possibly forgive us for being a part of it. For soldiers, this is often the hardest personal crisis they face.

They are raised to love God and to be told how much God loves them. For Christians, they are reminded of the gift of Jesus, yet in moments of crisis they forget most of what Jesus went through.

Here are a few lessons and you don't even have to go to church to hear them.

And you can find the miracle that came afterwards....
April 18, 2008 I wrote the post PTSD Is Not God's Judgement to go along with the video. The video was put back up in 2015.
There is suddenly a lot of talk about "moral injury" and combat PTSD. It is survivor's guilt adding to what is known as PTSD but unlike other causes of PTSD, this one is harder to heal from. The good news is, you were not judged by God but He has put what you need to heal already in your soul. It is our job to connect you to it again. Contact Point Man International Ministries to show you the way.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

It's running silent and angry and deep

When service turns into suffering

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 26, 2019

Why do people decide that they are willing to take jobs that could cost them their lives? Did they just wake up one morning and think, "I'd die for that chance?"

Whenever it happened, whenever they went to begin training for the jobs dedicated to saving lives, or defending a nation, that is exactly what they decided was worth it.

Now, all of us can understand when what they try to save us from, changes everything for us. So why can't we understand what all the times they do it, does to them?

How oblivious are we? How self-centered are we when we ignore what those jobs are doing to them? We get PTSD from one traumatic event. They get PTSD from far too many of them. Then they have this twisted thought that they were supposed to be better, stronger, and beyond reach of the residual demon of destruction.

More to the point is, how oblivious are the leaders of the men and women suffering, that they do not see their jobs cause more deaths than doing the job itself?

More in the military die as a result of suicide than die doing their jobs.

More die in the National Guard and Reserves to suicide than die doing their jobs.

More Police Officers dies to suicide than dies doing their jobs.

More Firefighters die to suicide than die doing their jobs.

According to the CDC, suicides in America have continued to increase. While some want to suggest that since it has happened to everyone else, then, it is just the way things are. As pathetic as that thought is, what they do not acknowledge is fueling the loss of lives.

These men and women decided that saving lives was worth dying for...but their own life was not worth fighting for anymore.

Why? Who gave them that impression? Who allowed the thought to penetrate their brains that they were supposed to just suffer silently instead of turning to all the others they served with to help save their own lives?

Would they do whatever they could to save one of their own?

The pain is running silent, angry and deep. It is time to look in their eyes and tell them that it is time to #BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife because this time, the life needing saving is yours!

Barry Manilow - Read 'em And Weep
I've been tryin for hour just to think of what exactly to say
I thought I leave you with a letter or a fiery speech
Like when an actor makes an exit at the end of a play
And I've been dying for hours trying to fill up all the holes with some sense
I like to know why you gave up and threw it away
I like to give you all the reasons and what everything meant
Well, I can tell you goodbye or maybe see you around
With just a touch of sarcastic thanks
We started out with a bang
And at the top of the world
Now the guns are exhausted
And the bullets are blanks
And everything's blank
If I could only find the words
Then I would write it all down
If I could only find the voice
I would speak
Oh its there in my eyes
Oh can't you see me tonight
Come on and look at me
And read 'em and weep
If I could only find the words
Then I would write it all down
If I could only find the voice
I would speak
Oh its there in my eyes
Oh can't you see me tonight
Come on and look at me
And read 'em and weep
I've been whispering softly
Trying to build a cry up to a scream
We let the past slip away
And put the future on hold
Now the present is nothing but a hollowed out dream
And I've been dreaming forever
Hoping something would eventually come
I saw your eyes in the dark
I felt your kiss on my lips
I traced your body in the air
'Til the bodies were numb
Well, I could tell you goodbye
Or maybe see you around
With just a touch of a sarcastic thanks
But now the rooms are all empty
The candles are dark
The guns are exhausted
And the bullets are blank
And everything is blank
Oh it's there in my eyes
And coming straight from my heart

It's running silent and angry and deep

Oh it's there in my eyes
And it's all I can say
Come on and look at me
And read 'em and weep
Songwriters: Jim Steinman
Read 'Em and Weep lyrics © Carlin America Inc

Monday, January 29, 2018

God grant me peace with memories of yesterday

A Prayer For Heroes
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 29, 2018

God grant me peace with memories of yesterday.

Courage to face what comes knowing I can make a difference this day.

Hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Yesterday is gone. I cannot change what has been.

Help me do the best I can today and tomorrow, begin again.

You created me to be able to help others.

Help me to accept help from others.

You created within me courage to do what had to be done.

Help me to ask for help when the one in need is this one.

You surrounded me with people who would die for me.

Help me trust them with my heart so they may see the wound within me.

Let me accept help so that I may continue to 
do for others as you created me to do.
Kathie Costos 

When I think about regular people, like me, losing hope to the point where they commit suicide, it is heartbreaking. 

Hope is what keeps all of us from giving up this life we have. Often it is not enough to love others, if we feel as if we do not deserve to be loved.

There was a time in my life when I felt that way. While I did not attempt suicide, I prayed that God would to it for me. I lost hope, a sense of self worth, but above those, I lost faith that God even cared about me.

When the people committing suicide were those who dedicated their lives to saving others, it is beyond heartbreaking.

If you are among those in the military, veterans, police, firefighters and first responders, please read the prayer I wrote for you because after all these years of working with some of you, that is what I see within all of you!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Honor veterans requires more than holidays

Four out of ten Federal Holidays are about the men and women serving this country.
Federal Holiday
1. New Year’s Day
2. Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. Washington’s Birthday
*This holiday is designated as "Washington’s Birthday" in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.
4. Memorial Day
5. Independence Day
6. Labor Day
7. Columbus Day
8. Veterans Day
9. Thanksgiving Day
10. Christmas Day

George Washington was the 1st President and a veteran.
The History of America’s Independence Day

On June 11, 1776, the colonies' Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and formed a committee whose express purpose was drafting a document that would formally sever their ties with Great Britain. The committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. Jefferson, who was considered the strongest and most eloquent writer, crafted the original draft document (as seen above). A total of 86 changes were made to his draft and the Continental Congress officially adopted the final version on July 4, 1776.

The truth is, we may honor them with holidays, but we don't honor them with days of caring for them. The problems within the VA are not new. Nothing is new. That is the most disgraceful thing of all. We let it all happen because we forgot about them.

U.S. troops celebrate July 4th in Afghanistan

July 4, 2014 4:04 PM EDT — American troops mark July 4th at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan with music and games. (Reuters)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mental Health Measures Removed From New Military Spending Bill

Mental Health Measures Removed From New Military Spending Bill
Rebecca Ruiz
December 20, 2013

When the House of Representatives recently passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, it contained measures to address serious concerns about the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the military.

Most importantly, it included an amendment for the creation of a commission to evaluate claims that soldiers with combat-related psychological distress and traumatic brain injuries are being kicked out of the military due to minor infractions. I wrote about that a few months in a post that looked at the Colorado Springs Gazette’s investigative series on this topic.

The commission would have evaluated those charges and determined what, if any, policy changes need to be made in order to account for the role of combat-related mental or physical illness in a soldier’s misconduct.

But when the Senate passed its version of the bill on Thursday night, that amendment had been scrubbed. Two other mental health amendments had been stripped as well:

Mental health assessments
The law would have provided regular mental health screenings for all active-duty service members. Currently, the focus is on giving these assessments to service members who deploy, and even then, the requirement can be waived if an individual isn’t exposed to “operational risk factors.”

Mental health support for personnel and families
This provision is vague, but it would have permitted the Secretary of Defense to create initiatives that “respond to the escalating suicide rates and combat stress related arrest rates” of service members; train soldiers to recognize and respond to combat stress disorder, suicide risk, substance addiction, risk-taking behaviors, and family violence; and determine the effectiveness of the military’s efforts to reduce suicide rates.
read more here

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Upcoming Central Florida patriotic and veterans events


**Sat. Sep 15 – Navy Chief’s Pinning Ceremony – 9 Navy Reserve Chiefs will be honored at 9 am (instead of 10 AM) at the Armed Forces Reserve Center, 9500 Armed Forces Drive, Orlando, 32827. (Located just west of Orlando International Airport (OIA) just off of Tradeport Drive.)

POC: the new Executive Officer - LCR Michael Van Horn - Work: 407-816-2762

The new Commander – CDR Thomas E. Dixon -

Upcoming Central Florida patriotic and veterans events are collected and publicized by Cathy Haynes every month so that we can find out what is going on in our area. I keep trying to tell people that if they think I'm busy, Cathy makes me look lazy!

Fri. Sep 14 – City of Orlando observance of POW-MIA Recognition Day Ceremony in the Orlando City Hall rotunda, 400 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. 10 am VFW Band, Winter Springs JROTC performs the missing man table ceremony. FREE Parking will be available in the City Commons parking garage located on the southwest corner of Boone Ave. and South St. IF you bring your garage ticket for sticker validation.

**Sat. Sep 14 – Navy Chief’s Pinning Ceremony – 9 Navy Reserve Chiefs will be honored at 10 am at the Armed Forces Reserve Center, 9500 Armed Forces Drive, Orlando, 32827. (Located just west of Orlando International Airport (OIA) just off of Tradeport Drive.)

**Sat. Sep 15 – National Military Voter Readiness Day – Be sure that your military loved ones register for their absentee ballots, if applicable. It takes 45 days for our military overseas to vote. Non-partisan military voter protection project wants to have their voices heard on Election Day. and

**Sat. Sep. 15 - 9/11 Tribute and Navy Top Gun Event in Baldwin Park - Take part in the largest first annual 9/11 Tribute honoring our fallen soldiers and civilians and the heroes in the US Navy on Sat. Sept. 15. 5-11pm. This unique event takes place on the former grounds of the closed Orlando Navy Recruit Training Base now known as Baldwin Park. Funds raised will help obtain the Lone Sailor Monument to commemorate the former training base site where hundreds of thousands of recruits started their military lives. Features: Military and museum displays, SPECWAR vehicle, PT Drills, US Navy and Navy SEALs meet and greet, NJROTC and Sea Cadets, Volleyball-Cornhole-BeerPong tournaments, trivia and costume contests and much more! 9pm Special showing of “Top Gun” movie. $10 advance tickets, $12 at door.
For more info: 407-900-1915 Corporate sponsorships welcomed.

**Sun. Sep 16 - Thank You Veterans Cruise Raffle - $20 chance to join the Cruise for FREE!
Win a Free Stateroom aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Sea to the Bahamas. Departs from Port Canaveral on Fri. Dec. 7 and returns on Mon. Dec. 10. Includes stateroom for 2, port charges and gratuities, plus $50 on-board credit. Drawing to be held at the Museum on Sun. night Sept. 16. (Need not be present to win.) The same night is the fundraiser band – JeNDeR playing. Reservations are still being taken to join Thank You Veterans Cruise at a special price. Donations accepted to provide Cruise for a wounded warriors and guest.
Info: 407-679-6674
Sponsored by the Cpl. Larry E. Smedley National Vietnam War Museum (aka “the Bunker”), 3400 N. Tanner Rd., Orlando, 32826 New website: www . BunkerFlorida . org

**Mon – Sun Sept 17-23 – Constitution Week – 225th Anniversary of the Constitution of the United States. “ The weeklong commemoration of America’s most important document is one of our country’s least known official observances. Our Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedom, and to ensure those inalienable rights to every American.” “In 1955, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week.” “… later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into Public Law #915 on August 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The aims of the celebration are to (1) emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, preserving it for posterity; (2) inform the people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life; and (3) encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.”

**Mon – Fri Sep 17 – 21 - Vietnam Veterans of America sponsoring Agent Orange Town Hall meetings. Listed below are the dates, city and time of meetings. Contact the local VVoA chapter for the specific location. POC: Tom Hall at 813-655-7129
Sept. 17, Tampa, Chapter 787 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 Jacksonville, Chapters 1046 and 1059 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 Vero Beach, Chapter 1038 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 Brighton Seminole Reservation Veterans Building 11:00 a.m.
Sept. 21 West Palm Beach, Chapter 7 p.m.

**Wed Sept 19 – New Non-profit group meeting – Florida Association of Veteran and Service Disabled Vet Owned Businesses at 11:30 AM, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie 3496, 1900 S. Goldenrod Road, Winter Park, FL 32792. This non-profit group will be promoting fellow veteran businesses and furthering their involvement in government contracting. There are volunteer opportunities and networking. For info: 407-425-1390 ext. 102 or

**Fri Sept 21 – POW-MIA Day Recognition Ceremony – Osceola County, Old Town, 5770 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy., Kissimmee, FL 34746, at 6 PM at the Old Town Stage. For info – 407-396-4888.

**Sun Sept 23 - Villages Honor Flight will take 26 World War II veterans to Washington DC to visit the WWII memorial, other memorials and Arlington National Cemetery in a one day trip. Arrival at OIA in morning at approx. 6:20 a.m.; Departing Orlando at 7:50 a.m. on Southwest # 3249. Return to Orlando at 9 p.m. on Southwest # 805 from Baltimore. Terminal A, Airside 2 (Gates 100-129) Come welcome them home at the airport! Or at American Legion Hall at Rolling Acres Rd. and County Rd. 466 in Lady Lake for a homecoming celebration at approximately 11 p.m. Free parking has been arranged. Contact me for details.

**Fri. and Sat. Sept. 28 and 29 – Volunteers wanted for a Building Brigade of a specially adapted home for wounded soldier Army SSG Joseph Beimfohr – Homes for Our Troops –in Wesley Chapel, FL (west of Zephrhills, north of Tampa – abt. 80 miles from Orlando) This is one of two homes being built in FL by this group. (Charity Navigator rating of 4 out of 4 stars.) Building continues for the home of Marine GySgt John Hayes - Landscape Volunteer Day will be Oct St. Augustine.

**Sat. Sept. 29 – Orange County Stand Down for homeless veterans. Volunteers needed to assist from 9am – 2pm, downtown Orlando Recreation Center at 649 W. Livingston St., Orlando – within walking distance from the LYNX bus terminal. Make color copies of the information flyer and give the homeless veterans – it will provide FREE bus transportation to the terminal. (Bus drivers will only accept COLOR copies.) Medical care, dental screening, haircuts, clothing, VA benefits, food and more. Contact Orlando VAMC at 321-397-6885 or 407-893-0133 x 107 to volunteer. You may also contact me to receive the flyer to print. Over 300 persons received assistance last year.

**Sat. Sept. 29 - Home Dedication for Army Sgt. Andrew Berry and his family. Sgt. Berry was severely wounded in 2006 in his eighth – yes, eighth - IED blast. Building Homes for Heroes is built him a specially adapted home. Come welcome them into the home at 1 PM, in St. Cloud. Andrew and his wife, Rebecca, grew up locally – graduating from Colonial H.S. and Boone H.S. They have 4 sons.

**Sat. Sept 29 - Space Coast Honor Flight will take 26 World War II veterans to Washington DC to visit the WWII memorial, other memorials and Arlington National Cemetery in a one day trip. I do not have the times for OIA departure or arrival yet. But a homecoming will definitely be planned for the airport terminal in the evening. Free parking has been arranged. Contact me for details.

**Sun. Sept 30 – Ceremony honoring Gold Star Mothers and Families from Central Florida – Orlando City Hall Rotunda, 400 S. Orange Ave., Orlando, 32801. 3 PM sponsored by VITAS, Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Homes, and City of Orlando. FREE Parking will be available in the City Commons parking garage located on the southwest corner of Boone Ave. and South St . For info – call Jean at 407-691-4548.

**Sun. Oct 7 - Honor Flight of Central Florida - will take 25 World War II veterans to Washington DC to visit the WWII memorial, other memorials and Arlington National Cemetery in a one day trip. Come see them depart in the morning btwn 4;30-5 AM, Southwest Airlines, Terminal A, Airside 2 (Gates 100-129) and especially to welcome them home in the evening, Southwest Airlines #187 returning from Baltimore at 8:30 PM, same terminal. This is the last Honor Flight Central Florida for 2012. Flights will resume next year and sponsoring donations for them are welcomed!

**Fri. Oct 12 – Central Florida Navy League Golf Tournament fund raiser for scholarships and other support programs. 8 am shotgun start. Rio Pinar Country Club, 8600 El Prado Ave., Orlando, 32825. $80 pp or $40 for active duty personnel includes BBQ lunch, drinks, more. Sponsorships welcomed. For information see or call Bob at 321-452-9160

**Sat. Oct 13 – 237th Navy Birthday Ball sponsored by the Central Florida Navy League. “In Honor of the Enlisted Sailor” theme, at Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport. For information see or call 407.600.5395 or 407.380.4691.

**Sat. Oct 13 – Stand Down for homeless veterans in Brevard County; Volunteers, sponsors and vendor tables wanted at 2 locations, 8am – 3pm at Titusville and Palm Bay. Sponsored by National Veterans Homeless Support – or 888-787-6847 x809.

**Mon. Nov 5 – Pars and Stripes Forever Golf Tournament at Orlando Country Club – fundraiser sponsored by Cameraderie Foundation to provide counseling needs to military personnel and/or their families. Sponsorships welcomed! (407) 841-0071

**Sat. Nov 17 – Ruck Sack March - “March a mile in their boots” – fundraiser sponsored Cameraderie Foundation to provide counseling needs to military personnel and/or their families. Walking with weighted backpacks – less than what our military have to carry; multi-route lengths, something for everyone. Are you up to it? Sponsorships welcomed! (407) 841-0071

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vet Jobless Rate Leads to Fed, State Initiatives

If your Governor did not spend the stimulus money that was for your state, as too many did not including Florida, tell them to explain why they sit on all that money and veterans go without jobs!

Vet Jobless Rate Leads to Fed, State Initiatives
Detroit Free Press
by Katherine Young

In the early 1970s, Anthony Tarkowski learned the hard way that some employers did not want to hire soldiers returning from the Vietnam War.

The young veteran had just come back from Germany, where he had served after injuring his back during training. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't seem to get a job.

Then one day, a human resources manager gave him some advice: Don't put a check mark next to the veteran's box on job applications. Just skip it.

At his next job interview, Tarkowski followed this advice and scored well on a test for a data-processing position. He got the job.

"Veterans are highly trainable people," said Tarkowski, who is now CEO of Sygnetics, a staffing firm in Rochester Hills. "They will come to work. They are dedicated."

More than four decades later, veterans are still struggling to get hired. Their high jobless rate, particularly for the youngest ones, is a major problem, sparking a number of initiatives on the state and national levels. It's the reason Detroit's Cobo Center will play host to a massive job fair this week that's expected to draw 10,000 veterans.
read more here

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Complaint says KBR knew of toxins in Iraq

Complaint says KBR knew of toxins in Iraq
By Nigel Duara
The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Apr 4, 2012
PORTLAND, Ore. — A document uncovered by attorneys for soldiers sickened at an Iraqi water treatment plant shows a military contractor knew a deadly toxin was being stockpiled and used in massive quantities at the facility, despite the contractor’s repeated denials that it had knowledge of the toxin’s presence until soldiers fell ill.

The document, an environmental assessment that Kellogg, Brown and Root completed for the U.S. government before the invasion of Iraq, was finalized in January 2003 — a full five months before the company said it had found evidence of the toxic material, sodium dichromate.

The documents show KBR knew Iraqis ordered 8 million pounds of sodium dichromate to keep pipes from corroding, and that the company expected lax environmental maintenance and “lamentable” conditions.

Phone messages and emails left Wednesday for KBR were not immediately returned.
read more here

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alcohol abuse rises among US combat veterans: study

Alcohol abuse rises among US combat veterans: study
David Edwards
Published: Wednesday August 13, 2008

(Reuters) - A significant number of U.S. veterans back from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan begin abusing alcohol after returning, perhaps to cope with traumatic memories of combat, military researchers said on Tuesday.

Younger servicemen and women, those who were previously heavy drinkers, and call-ups from the National Guard and Reserves were the most likely to increase their drinking and to develop alcohol-related problems, according to the study.

"Increased alcohol outcomes among Reserve/Guard personnel deployed with combat exposures is concerning in light of increased reliance (on these) forces" by the Pentagon, the report said.

"Active-duty Marines were also found to be at increased odds of continuing to binge drink after deployment, as well as to experience new-onset alcohol-related problems," wrote Isabel Jacobs and colleagues at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, California.

Men were considered heavy drinkers if they consumed more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week, women seven drinks; binge drinking referred to downing five or more drinks in a day or occasion, four for women; and alcohol problems constituted drunkenness or hangovers that interfered with work or other responsibilities.

Reasons for the increased rates of alcohol abuse among Guard and Reserve members may be that they receive less training and support services than other arms of the military, they must transition from civilian life to a war zone, and their units are less cohesive, the report said.
click post title for more

Thursday, July 31, 2008

2,212 reports of military sexual assaults in 2007 alone

Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach said she was raped by a fellow Marine. A Marine has been charged in her death.

Attacker 'still comes after me in my dreams'
A lawmaker says she was shocked when told 4 in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military. "My jaw dropped," Rep. Jane Harman says. "We have an epidemic here." A government report indicates the numbers could be even higher. One woman today told a congressional panel: "I was raped while I slept." full story

Story Highlights
Official: "My jaw dropped" after women described rape, sex abuse in military

Hearing prompts allegations of "cover-up" after top Defense official doesn't show

Mom of slain pregnant soldier: Victim shouldn't have burden to "generate evidence"

Woman describes rape: "He still comes after me in my dreams"

In 2007, Harman said, only 181 out of 2,212 reports of military sexual assaults, or 8 percent, were referred to courts martial. By comparison, she said, 40 percent of those arrested in the civilian world on such charges are prosecuted.

Defense statistics show that military commanders took unspecified action, which can include anything from punishment to dismissal, in an additional 419 cases.

click above for more

Friday, July 18, 2008

Army will shoot live pigs for medical training

Army will shoot live pigs for medical training
Story Highlights
Soldiers shoot pigs to care for their wounds in preparation for Iraq, Army says

Training is done with a license, under supervision from veterinarian

PETA says they were notified by a "distraught" soldier

Soldier said plan was to shoot pigs with M4 carbines and M16 rifles

HONOLULU (AP) -- The Army says it's critical to saving the lives of wounded soldiers. Animal-rights activists call the training cruel and outdated.

Despite opposition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Army is moving forward with its plan to shoot live pigs and treat their gunshot wounds in a medical trauma exercise Friday at Schofield Barracks for soldiers headed to Iraq.

Maj. Derrick Cheng, spokesman for the 25th Infantry Division, said the training is being conducted under a U.S. Department of Agriculture license and the careful supervision of veterinarians and a military Animal Care and Use Committee.

"It's to teach Army personnel how to manage critically injured patients within the first few hours of their injury," Cheng said.

The soldiers are learning emergency lifesaving skills needed on the battlefield when there are no medics, doctors or facility nearby, he said.

PETA, however, said there are more advanced and humane options available, including high-tech human simulators. In a letter, PETA urged the Army to end all use of animals, "as the overwhelming majority of North American medical schools have already done."

"Shooting and maiming pigs is outdated as Civil War rifles," said Kathy Guillermo, director of PETA's Laboratory Investigations Department.

click post title for more

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


One of the saddest realities I faced when my daughter joined the U.S. Army was that sexual abuse is an epidemic in our military. Both of my grandfather's were in the military, one being a Colonel and the other was a Sergeant, and both were good men. I heard the statistics, but thought I had raised a tough daughter, she could deal with anything they threw at her. I had no idea how many perpetrators and sex offenders lurk and hide in our military. I did not realize was that one out of every three women and one out of every five men in the U.S. Military are sexually assaulted. I still feel shocked by these numbers. And even worse is that it is rare that the perpetrator is prosecuted for the crime of rape/sexual assault.

There are some fundamental changes that need to change so that people can serve in our armed forces without fear of being sexually assaulted by their own fellow soldiers. One is hold the command responsible for any type of complaints that are generated. This means independent investigations into any type of complaint is absolutely crucial. All the policies and procedures and task forces in the world won't help iF the command is able to choose which one to enforce.

Informing young people before they sign away their rights about the statistics of rape in the military should be mandated. Informed and honest recruiting needs to be upheld and not a joke.

We must take a stand together to end the good ole' boy mentality of "boys will be boys" and demand a ZERO tolerance for sexual abuse in the military.
Peace~Sara Rich, M.S.W. and proud mom of Spc. Suzanne

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bush failed to plan for payroll of troops

Army running out of payroll cash, DoD says

By William H. McMichael and Rick Maze - Staff writers
Posted : Tuesday May 6, 2008 20:15:01 EDT

In an announcement that puts troops and their families in the middle of a political dispute, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday that the Army will not be able to pay soldiers after June 15 unless Congress approves an emergency war funding bill.

The claim drew a quick rebuke from Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, who is working on such a bill.

Murtha said there is no threat to military paychecks and that it is inappropriate for the Pentagon to try to involve soldiers and their families in a political dispute over how much money is needed to pay for ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and exactly when the money is needed.

However, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell was very clear in a meeting with reporters.

“June 15th is the last payroll the Army at this point can make without congressional action,” he said.

Morrell said the Pentagon has “for months” been funding the wars by borrowing from personnel budget accounts. But those accounts “are about to run dry,” he said.
go here for more
How many emergency supplemental bills Bush need to make demands on congress for before he managed to do anything ahead of time? Now this? Did he plan on anything? No VA gear up for the wounded. He cut back the VA in 2005! No plans for facilities to take care of the wounded of the families who had to leave their jobs to take care of their family members. No plans for anything and now this? But hey, he says he supports the troops and that's all we are supposed to need to hear!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Military Tells Bush of Troop Strains

U.S. Army soldiers from Third Squadron, Third Armored Cavalry Regiment rest between missions at Combat Outpost Rabiy in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq on Wednesday, March 26, 2008. The northern city is considered by the U.S. military as the last urban stronghold for al-Qaida in Iraq. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP Photo)

Military Tells Bush of Troop Strains
At Pentagon, Bush Hears Military's Worries on War Strains From Long, Frequent Iraq Deployments
The Associated Press By ROBERT BURNS AP Military Writer
WASHINGTON Mar 27, 2008 (AP)

Behind the Pentagon's closed doors, U.S. military leaders told President Bush they are worried about the Iraq war's mounting strain on troops and their families. But they indicated they'd go along with a brief halt in pulling out troops this summer.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff did say senior commanders in Iraq should make more frequent assessments of security conditions, an idea that appeared aimed at increasing pressure for more rapid troop reductions.

The chiefs' concern is that U.S. forces are being worn thin, compromising the Pentagon's ability to handle crises elsewhere in the world.

In the war zone itself, two more American soldiers were killed Wednesday in separate attacks in Baghdad, raising the U.S. death toll to at least 4,003, according to an Associated Press count. Volleys of rockets also slammed into Baghdad's Green Zone for the third day this week, and the U.S. Embassy said three Americans were seriously wounded. At least eight Iraqis were killed elsewhere in the capital by rounds that apparently fell short.

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And they wonder why there are so many veterans with PTSD?

Anthrax vaccine back in the court again

"For a lot of people, it's too late to go to court," he said. "This is a situation that cries out for congressional intervention."

Judge Advances Anthrax Vaccine Rufusal Case

Elaine M. Grossman

Government Executive

Mar 26, 2008

March 24, 2008 - Washington, DC -- A U.S. federal judge has ruled that the Defense Department must again consider exonerating two military pilots whose Connecticut Air National Guard careers ended after they refused to take compulsory anthrax vaccine shots.

The plaintiffs were among hundreds of service members compelled to leave the military after resisting the inoculations during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Many cited qualms about the vaccine's safety and efficacy in protecting against inhaled anthrax, the form of exposure that Pentagon officials anticipated in the event of a biological weapons attack.

The federal courts have since found that the military's mandatory vaccine program was being conducted illegally for more than six years, beginning with its March 1998 inception. Pending Food and Drug Administration approval for using the drug specifically against inhaled anthrax, the Defense Department could not administer the six-shot series without an individual's informed consent, a federal judge said in an October 2004 decision.

The following year, the drug agency issued its long-awaited approval. The question has remained, though, as to whether those service members who refused the vaccine during the previous six-year period might yet be vindicated.
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Veterans battling PTSD, depression

Veterans battling PTSD, depression

Family members are also affected, in need of services

By Bill Byrd
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — A recent survey of West Virginia’s combat veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo suggests that nearly half may have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or depression.

It’s not only the nearly 3,000 of the state’s 6,400 veterans of those conflicts who are affected by PTSD or depression, said Dr. Joseph R. Scotti.

Their spouses or partners and children are also affected, said Scotti, a clinical psychologist who teaches at West Virginia University.

“This represents over 5,000 family members who may be impacted and who may themselves be in need of services,” said Scotti.

“There are effective treatments for PTSD and depression,” but they require a lot of work by the individuals affected, Scotti said.

The first of its kind in the state, the survey will provide a baseline. He hopes it leads to more research and that more ways to provide outreach, counseling and assistance for the state’s veterans are developed soon.

A psychology professor for 18 years, Scotti has worked with a number of trauma survivors, including persons who have been in bad car wrecks and industrial accidents. He also has worked with veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam who have PTSD and depression.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Battlemind bullshit

14. Januar 2008
Battlemind: Preparing Soldiers for combat, home life
STUTTGART – Today, every Soldier headed to Iraq and Afghanistan receives Battlemind training, but few know the science behind it.

Dr. Amy Adler, a senior research psychologist with the U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-Europe, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, visited Patch Barracks to break down the program, which is a system of support and intervention.

Not every Soldier who deploys downrange is at risk for mental health problems. The main risk factor is the level of combat experienced, Adler explained to her audience, comprised predominantly of medical, mental health and family support professionals.

Army studies show the greater the combat exposure a Soldier encounters, the greater the risk for mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anger and relationship problems. When Soldiers first return home, they may not notice any problems; sometimes it takes a few months for problems to develop.

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Battlemind started almost a year ago and has done, nothing! Since then soldiers are still being discharge under "pre-existing" conditions, TBI is still getting confused with PTSD, they are still committing suicides and yes, homicides, and still being told they have to wait to have their wounded minds tended to. For all the "steps" taken to address the problem, it looks like they are still in training shoes learning to take baby steps, when they need a great pair of rocket roller blades! Give me a break!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Military Nurse and GIVING THANKS

Name: RN Clara Hart
Posting date: 11/22/07
Stationed at: a military hospital in the U.S.

I held the hand of a soldier today and watched helplessly as he sobbed uncontrollably. I held the hand of a soldier and listened with growing horror to the litany of complaints; not sleeping, having nightmares, anxiety, dreading report for duty, uncontrolled crying, feeling irritable, not eating. I held the hand of a soldier and listened to him say, “I may not have been shot at or blown up but I also serve!”

As I looked into his red rimmed, tear filled eyes I thought, “You are a wounded soldier too." Because, you see, this wounded soldier is a United States Army Nurse.

This wounded soldier cares not only for other wounded soldiers but their families and their friends. This wounded soldier cares for not only the physical injuries but also the emotional injuries and social fallout that soon accompany. This wounded soldier sees the others being recognized for their injuries and is quick to say, “I don’t want to be given anything, the quilts, the coins, the clothes, the meals, the trips. I don’t want any of that."
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After reading this, I feel really, really bad about not paying enough attention to the nurses and medics in combat. I include them in my thoughts and prayers, but honestly, I do not separate them the way I really should. This article offers a glimpse at the inclusion of nurses when we think about combat roles. I, among many, feel they should not be lumped in. To me, they are a truly special breed of individuals. They risk their lives just by being in the combat zones but they also have to try to take care of all the wounded brought to them. We need to remember, aside from the technological advances in medical care, without them, the survival rate would not be historically high.

I've seen many horrific images of the wounded. I cannot imagine seeing such suffering face to face. We need to remember how much they go through and why so many suffer after. Yes, even they get PTSD and yes even they get killed and wounded.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Military lags on suicide prevention, report says

Military lags on suicide prevention, report says
Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, October 21, 2007
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A15

In 2006, 30 soldiers and Marines committed suicide while serving in the war in Iraq, the most in any year since it began in 2003, according to information released by the Defense Manpower Data Center in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Bee.

This year is on track to meet or surpass that number with at least 27 suicides so far in 2007.

Soldiers and Marines are being required to serve on the front lines for longer than any time in U.S. military history, according to a report on mental health by the Army's Office of the Surgeon General.
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