Showing posts with label sniper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sniper. Show all posts

Sunday, November 18, 2018

WWI best sniper returned broken in spirit and morale

First Nations sniper never recovered from horrors of war


CALGARY HERALD
By Don Thomas
November 16, 2018
Labelle was not so fortunate. He returned broken in spirit and morale, recalls his daughter Yvonne Poucette, 79. Her shoulders shook with grief last Sunday near the stone marker at the Chiniki cemetery where Labelle was buried with full PPCLI honours when he died at age 91 in 1989.

The final resting place for First World War sniper Tom Labelle of the Stoney First Nation is a remote one, on the edge of a drumlin at the Chiniki band cemetery 30 kilometres from Morley.
The Stoney Nation honours the memory of First World War sniper Tom Labelle. Photo submitted by Don Thomas.

But it’s not a forgotten place, as seen last weekend when Stoney First Nations residents gathered to honour his memory on Remembrance Day.

Labelle volunteered for the Canadian army at age 17 by lying about his age. He was inducted into the 31st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry where his shooting skill and ability to take out German machine gunners endeared him to the officers.

Exactly how many Germans he shot is unknown. Certainly, it wasn’t as many as Corp. Francis (Peggy) Pegahmagabow, of the Shawanaga First Nation in northern Ontario — the war’s best sniper, German or British — who is credited with killing 304 Germans and capturing another 300.

But Labelle’s marksmanship may have saved the lives of hundreds of Canadian and British soldiers, since it led to German machine gunners being killed before they could slaughter Allied soldiers with their weapons.
read more here

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Dallas Sniper Was Facing Other Than Honorable Discharge

Dallas Sniper Was Loner; Army Sent Him Home From Afghanistan
ASSOCIATED PRESS
By WILL WEISSERT, REESE DUNKLIN AND MITCH WEISS
MESQUITE, Texas — Jul 9, 2016

In May 2014, six months into his Afghanistan tour, he was accused of sexual harassment by a female soldier. The Army sent him stateside, recommending an "other than honorable discharge," said Bradford Glendening, the military lawyer who represented him.
The Dallas sniper had been sent home from Afghanistan after being accused of sexually harassing a female, and was described as a loner who followed black militant groups on social media.

Micah Xavier Johnson, who fatally shot five officers and wounded seven more before police killed him with a remote-controlled bomb on Friday, lived with family members in the blue-collar suburb of Mesquite, where he played basketball for hours at a time.

Friends there said the 25-year-old black man didn't seem interested in politics, but his Facebook page suggests otherwise: He "liked" black militant groups including the African American Defense League and the New Black Panther Party, which was founded in Dallas.

His photo showed him wearing a dashiki and raising his fist over the words "Black Power," and his cover shot carried the red, black and green Pan-African flag.

For six years starting in 2009, Johnson served in the Army Reserve as a private first class with a specialty in carpentry and masonry, the military said.
read more here


UPDATE
Army soldier accused Dallas gunman of sexual harassment
Associated Press
Published: July 9, 2016

DALLAS — A military lawyer says the man who fatally shot five officers in Dallas was accused of sexual harassment by a female solider when he served in the Army in Afghanistan in May 2014.

Lawyer Bradford Glendening says Micah Johnson was sent back to the U.S. with the recommendation he be removed from the Army with an "other than honorable" discharge.

Glendening, who represented Johnson at the time, said Friday that the recommendation was "highly unusual" since generally counseling is ordered before more drastic steps are taken.

Johnson, who was killed by a police remote-controlled bomb early Friday, had learned about the military in the ROTC program at the high school he attended in Mesquite, a blue-collar suburb east of Dallas. During his military service, he was a private first class with a specialty in carpentry and masonry, according to the military. Officials said he served in the Army Reserve for six years starting in 2009 and did one tour in Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014.
read more here

Sunday, March 1, 2015

U.S. Army Sniper Veteran Couldn't Survive Home

If you are stunned by this report, don't be. It shows how the military has not been doing a very good job getting servicemen and women to understand what PTSD is and what it does, anymore than they explain to them how to heal. It shows how all these years of Congress passing bills claiming they understand how to do it, actually boils down to they don't have a clue.

When a veteran is a "helper" and tries to help others, you pay a price emotionally if you do not have the strength to begin doing it. If you want to help others, get stronger first the way you had to train to go into combat in the first place, preparing your body as well as your mind.

Next, don't be afraid to ask for help no matter how others seem to think you know it all. They will actually look up to you more considering you have more knowledge than they do but still need help from time to time.

We've lost too many advocates in this battle after war. Remember to be good to yourself so you can help even more veterans just like you.
How veterans are helping other vets fight against suicide
KTBC News
Mike Warren
Posted: Feb 26, 2015

This week the Central Texas community lost another veteran.

On Monday Brett Aycock, a U.S. Army sniper veteran, killed himself.

This is especially hard for the community because Aycock was actively involved in raising awareness about veteran suicides.

He'd recently been working with the WYSH Project, a group we have profiled several times on the Care Gorce that fights against military suicide.

We want to extend our condolences to Aycock's family and friends.

The WYSH project isn't the only group fighting against vet suicide. There is also a state-wide organization called the Military Veterans Peer Network.

Mike Warren caught up with Christopher Araujo to learn more about the organization.

Araujo is one of about 36 area coordinators with the Military Veterans Peer Network.

The group's formula to help struggling vets is simple: they are veterans too.

"I'm a combat vet, you're a combat vet, I understand what you're going through, I can help with what you're going through because I've been there. I've done it," Araujo said.

He says that method works in Central Texas because the rate of veteran suicides here is far less than the national average of about 22 a day.

He says he's never lost anybody, and he's sure not going to lose Darrell Garrett, despite his PTSD.

Garrett served in Iraq and it was his parents who contacted the peer network because Garrett was isolating himself and they were worried.

"There've been days where I'm sad I woke up but I've never made a plan. You feel alone. Nobody understands what you're going through," he said.
read more here
MyFoxAustin | KTBC | Fox 7 Austin | News Weather Sports

Monday, February 2, 2015

Royal Marine Sniper Has 173 Confirmed Kills

British Royal Marine is world's deadliest sniper 
Corporal reported to have recorded 173 confirmed kills during tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, putting him ahead of US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle featured in American Sniper film
Telegraph UK
By Danny Boyle, and Ben Farmer
02 Feb 2015
"The Royal Marines and Army refuse to identify snipers for fear they will become targets for Islamist revenge attacks"
A Royal Marine who has 173 confirmed kills fighting Taliban insurgents is the deadliest sniper in the world, it has been claimed.

The unnamed Marine’s toll of kills in Afghanistan surpasses that of Chris Kyle, the US Navy SEAL, whose exploits are portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film American Sniper.

The corporal, who is still serving, made the majority of his kills during a single six-month tour of Helmand province eight years ago. His actual total of kills could be far higher, sources told the Sun.

The identity of the sniper, who is a married father who grew up in the South of England, is a closely guarded secret for fear he will become a target for Islamist terrorists.

One source told the newspaper: "Only people inside the community know about his incredible contribution — but young recruits are in awe of him.
The records of both Kyle and the British sniper remain far from the numbers of kills credited to the most prolific Second World War marksmen.

Several Soviet snipers were credited with each killing more than 400 German soldiers.

Simo Häyhä, a Finnish soldier nicknamed White Death, was credited with 505 sniper kills during the Winter War of 1939 to 1940, when the Soviet Union invaded Finland.
read more here

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Carlos Hathcock Vietnam Marine Sniper Legend

When the movie American Sniper came out friends of mine were talking about Carlos Hathcock and how he saved lives in Vietnam. Not enough hours in the day, I never got around to posting about him but thanks to the posting below, here's his story.

This Marine Was The ‘American Sniper’ Of The Vietnam War
We Are The Mighty
BLAKE STILWELL,CONTRIBUTOR
JANUARY 23, 2015
Many American snipers had a bounty on their heads. These were usually worth one or two thousand dollars. The reward for the sniper with the white feather in his bush cap, however, was worth $30,000. 
Carlos Hathcock at work in the fields of Vietnam.
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

Long before Chris Kyle penned “American Sniper,” Carlos Hathcock was already a legend.

He taught himself to shoot as a boy, just like Alvin York and Audie Murphy before him. He had dreamed of being a U.S. Marine his whole life and enlisted in 1959 at just 17 years old. Hathcock was an excellent sharpshooter by then, winning the Wimbledon Cup shooting championship in 1965, the year before he would deploy to Vietnam and change the face of American warfare forever.

He deployed in 1966 as a military policeman, but immediately volunteered for combat and was soon transferred to the 1st Marine Division Sniper Platoon, stationed at Hill 55, South of Da Nang. This is where Hathcock would earn the nickname “White Feather” — because he always wore a white feather on his bush hat, daring the North Vietnamese to spot him — and where he would achieve his status as the Vietnam War’s deadliest sniper in missions that sound like they were pulled from the pages of Marvel comics.
1969, a vehicle Hathcock was riding in struck a landmine and knocked the Marine unconscious. He came to and pulled seven of his fellow Marines from the burning wreckage. He left Vietnam with burns over 40 percent of his body. He received the Silver Star for this action in 1996.
read more here


Obituaries
Carlos Hathcock; Sniper in Vietnam February 28, 1999|JON THURBER | TIMES STAFF WRITER


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Schultz, Moore of the Same Attacking Chris Kyle

“It humanized the struggle of soldiers returning from combat with post-traumatic stress disorder. It also serves as a harsh reminder that soldiers were sent to war under false pretense — at least, that’s how I took it."
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Was ‘Disturbed’ By ‘American Sniper’ [VIDEO]


No, Mr. Schultz, it isn't conservatives upset by idiots. I am not a conservative. I am not a Democrat. Unlike some people you think you know, most Americans do not hold political titles above all else. Most of us know how we obtained the freedoms we have as well as how it has been retained ever since.

If you really do love freedom, great but it comes with a price. A price that isn't pretty. It isn't as easy as sitting in a chair and talking about it. It is doing what I have never done and that is being willing to die for everyone else as well as willing to kill to save lives.

I work with veterans when they fight their battles stateside and most of the time they have to hear a lot of things they don't agree with. People forget they were willing to die for rights of fools to prove what they are all by themselves. Guess its one more reason why I would rather hang around with them than anyone else.
Michael Moore backtracks and insists his comments calling snipers cowards was NOT about American Sniper Chris Kyle
The documentary filmmaker caused controversy on Sunday by tweeting that snipers are cowards
Moore's tweets corresponded with the wide release of the film American Sniper, which raked in a record $103.5million this weekend
However, he later said the comments were not directed at the movie or real-life Chris Kyle who was the inspiration
He went on to praise Bradley Cooper's acting, while calling out director Clint Eastwood's 'confused' portrayal of the Iraq War
Daily Mail UK
By ASHLEY COLLMAN FOR DAILYMAIL.COM and MIA DE GRAAF FOR DAILYMAIL.COM and JENNIFER NEWTON FOR MAILONLINE
19 January 2015

Michael Moore claims he didn't mean to offend the memory of Chris Kyle when he wrote a series of tweets yesterday calling snipers 'cowards'.

The Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker wrote a lengthy Facebook post today clarifying his statements, saying they were not intended as a criticism of the movie American Sniper, based on Kyle's bestselling memoir.

The Navy SEAL became the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history for shooting dead at least 160 during tours of duty in the Middle East, but was tragically killed just four years after he was discharged by a fellow soldier who was allegedly struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Seriously? Does he really think anyone is confused as to what he tweeted?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chris Kyle American Sniper Movie Breaks Record Opening

'American Sniper' Breaks Box Office Records After Oscar Nominations 
NBC News
January 19, 2015

NEW YORK — Oscar-nominated "American Sniper" led North American box office charts over the weekend with a record-smashing $90.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates.

The film, which broke the record for a January weekend as well as for any drama opening ever, was directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper.

"American Sniper" virtually doubled industry expectations after widely expanding to some 3,500 screens from just a handful of theaters the day after scoring six Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor for Cooper, who plays a Navy Seal sharpshooter.
read more here

Story of Texan Chris Kyle, ‘American Sniper,’ works best as a portrait of PTSD (B+) Dallas News
By CHRIS VOGNAR
Culture Critic
December 24, 2014

Twenty-two years ago, Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven served up an eloquent encapsulation of what it means to take a life: “It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. You take away all he’s got, and all he’s ever gonna have.”

The late Chris Kyle, the hero of Eastwood’s new movie American Sniper, might have an appropriate answer: Try killing 160.

That’s how many official kills were credited to the sharpshooting Texan, the most in American military history. As played by Bradley Cooper, Kyle absorbed his role, embraced his duty, but turned into a husk of a man once each of his four tours in Iraq was finished. Though it never uses the term “PTSD,” American Sniper, at its best, is a devastating portrait of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The movie is strongest when Kyle is home, as his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller, also strong), wonders whether the man who was her husband might re-enter the land of the living. Cooper turns Kyle’s emotional vacancy into a vivid presence. He wears it in the hollow eyes, and the clenched jaw, and the monosyllabic shutdown when anyone expresses concern.
read more here


'American Sniper': What Happened in Real Life After the Movie Fades to Black
ABC News
By MEGHAN KENEALLY
Jan 20, 2015

His funeral was held at the Cowboy's Stadium to allow for crowds and his wife Taya gave an emotional eulogy on stage.

"When you think you cannot do something, think again. Chris always said the body will do whatever the mind tells it to. I am counting on that now," she said. "I stand before you a broken woman but I am now and always will be the wife of a man who was a warrior both on and off the battlefield."

The film showed clips of the ceremony and Kyle's flag-draped coffin, but some of the most moving moments came when it showed how hundreds of people lined the sides of the interstate to salute the procession as the coffin was moved from the stadium to the Texas State Cemetery about 200 miles away.
read more here
World News Videos | ABC World News

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chris Kyle 4 tours of duty and a lifetime of giving

Some may want to see the movie American Sniper about Chris Kyle, for the action but if you do, you need to know there was so much more to him and his life than his service as a sniper.


Final salute: Thousands pay respects to Chris Kyle at Cowboys Stadium
Dallas News
By JEFF MOSIER
Staff Writer
Published: 11 February 2013

ARLINGTON — Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s autobiography introduced the public to the “most lethal sniper” in U.S. military history. But his public memorial service Monday at Cowboys Stadium reveled in the contrasts of the man called softhearted by family and the Devil of Ramadi by enemies in Iraq.

Kyle was a warrior who choked out countless friends as a gag, something they described as his hug. But one friend also spoke about how “that proud cowboy cried his eyes out” when one of his closest friends died.

Speaker after speaker — from family to military — described Kyle as a father who loved cuddling with his children, a passionate husband, the most devoted friend possible and a prankster with a “cackling” laugh. He was given the nickname The Legend by friends as a joke but eventually earned it with more than 150 confirmed kills, the most of any U.S. military sniper.

Taya Kyle, who spoke near the end of the two-hour ceremony, said she’ll need every bit of strength she learned from her husband.

“Chris always said, ‘The body will do whatever the mind tells it to,’” she said. “I’m counting on that now. I stand before you a broken woman, but I am now and always will be the wife of a man who was a warrior both on and off the battlefield.”
read more here
Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper hit their marks in ‘American Sniper’
Toledo Blade
BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER
January 16, 2015

As the country’s deadliest sniper, with more than 160 confirmed kills, Chris Kyle put his life on the line during the Iraq War and in the process saved hundreds of fellow U.S. soldiers’ lives.

Such legendary battlefield exploits have all the makings of a great war film.

And it does. But that’s only part of Kyle’s story — the easiest part for a film to cover.

But as we’ve seen in the course of Clint Eastwood’s directorial career, he’s not interested in easy.

In the filmmaker’s acclaimed Western Unforgiven, for example, Eastwood adds a twist to the good guys wear white and the bad guys wear black genre motif, with Eastwood as a murderous outlaw anti-hero and Gene Hackman as a morally corrupt sheriff.

It’s much the same with American Sniper, a film about a national hero that doesn’t succumb to hero worship. Rather, its thrust is the stark honesty of the price of wartime heroism.

As a soldier on the battlefield, Kyle was nearly flawless. But as a soldier at home with his wife, Kyle was flawed and damaged, the result of a war he could leave but that never really left him.

The film is based on Kyle’s New York Times best-selling autobiography, and Eastwood’s adaptation is equal measures stirring and thrilling in its depiction of harrowing battles in which death could be waiting behind every locked door. Yet American Sniper’s biggest asset is its ability to place audiences who have never experienced the horrors of war outside of a movie theater into the mind and body of someone who has.
read more here


American Sniper - Official Trailer [HD]
Warner Bros. Pictures
American Sniper - Official Trailer 2 [HD]

Famous Navy SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle killed at Texas gun range
Ex-Navy SEAL died pursuing his passion
By JAMIE STENGLE AND CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
The Associated Press
Published: February 4, 2013

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — The former top Navy SEAL sniper who authorities say was killed at a Texas shooting range was devoted to maintaining camaraderie and helping his fellow veterans find their way after leaving active duty.

Chris Kyle, author of the best-selling book "American Sniper," and his friend Chad Littlefield apparently were doing just that Saturday when, officials say, they were shot and killed by former Marine Eddie Ray Routh.

Kyle, 38, had left the Navy in 2009 after four tours of duty in Iraq, where he earned a reputation as one of the military's most lethal snipers. But he quickly found a way to maintain contact with his fellow veterans and pass on what had helped him work through his own struggles. By late 2011, he filed the paperwork to establish the nonprofit FITCO Cares, which received its nonprofit status the following spring, said FITCO director Travis Cox.

"Chris struggled with some things," Cox said. "He'd been through a lot and he handled it with grace, but yeah he did struggle with some things. And he found a healthy outlet and was proactive in his approach to deal with those issues and wanted to help spread his healing, what worked for him, to others. And that's what he died doing."

For Kyle that healthy outlet was exercise. At the heart of FITCO was giving in-home fitness equipment to physically and emotionally wounded veterans, as well as families who had lost a veteran, Cox said.
read more here
There was another sniper in the news. No, he didn't get a movie made. He got a headline instead.
Family of man who shot wife, himself pushes for PTSD awareness
My Meridian Press
Holly Beech
November 7, 2014

“It’s sad, the families have to go through this,” she said. “These issues are real and they need to be addressed so people don’t have tragedies.”

Family members of a 24-year-old Meridian man who shot his wife and then himself said he came back from war a changed man.

According to Meridian Police, Kevin Smith shot his wife, 32-year-old Kimberly Smith, on Sept. 20 in the garage of their home while her five children where in their rooms sleeping. The grandmother to three of the children was also in the home and called the police.

Kevin’s aunt, Diane Delvecchio, told Meridian Press in an email that Kevin suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury after serving two tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army.

“PTSD and TBI are horrific,” she said. “Kevin was a good, kindhearted man that loved his family very much.”

According to a memorial site set up by his family, Kevin was honorably discharged with PTSD after serving for five years, including as a sniper.
read more here


This Marine sniper got a headline too.
Former Marine who shot deputy tormented, his ex says
Tampa Bay Times
Jessica Vander Velde
Times Staff Writer
Sunday, December 8, 2013

TAMPA — Matthew Buendia was a trained U.S. Marine Corps sniper. If he had wanted to kill the Hillsborough sheriff's deputy he shot at, he could have, his ex-girlfriend recently testified.

Jessica Gipson figured he was trying to commit suicide. She says that just before Buendia fired more than a dozen times at Hillsborough Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux on Sept. 30, 2011, he swallowed a handful of pills.

Gipson saw Buendia draw his gun and fire at close-range. Maybe the 24-year-old man wanted the deputy to shoot back, she thought.

"At this point, I don't know what his intentions were," Gipson testified three weeks ago.

Gipson's recent testimony provides new details about the troubled ex-Marine, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and at one point was taking 17 pills a day prescribed by U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs doctors.

This is the defense's approach as they head toward trial in March. No one is denying Buendia fired the shots. But Tampa defense attorney Mark O'Brien is arguing the young man served his country and came back from three Middle East deployments broken.

Without warning, he would become mean and aggressive, Gipson testified. Sometimes his face would change, as he'd fly into "one of these moods," she said.

Buendia was frustrated with the VA doctors, who he thought were not communicating with one another. He self-medicated with marijuana, Gipson said, which helped him eat and sleep.

He carried a seat belt cutter in his car — a response to seeing some friends burned alive in a vehicle while deployed abroad. read more here

Some will remember him as a sniper. Some will remember him as a veteran reaching out to make the lives of other veterans better. When you see the movie remember the price paid is not over when they come home.

Friday, March 21, 2014

PTSD On Trial: Marine Sniper in Florida

Former Marine's ex-girlfriend bolsters his defense in deputy shooting
My FOX Tampa
Posted: Mar 20, 2014

TAMPA (FOX 13)
There's new evidence that could bolster the case of a former Marine who is accused of shooting a Hillsborough deputy in 2011.

Matthew Buendia says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and now his ex-girlfriend is coming to his defense.

Buendia is accused of shooting Hillsborough deputy Lyonelle De Veaux when she responded to a call on a domestic dispute.
read more here

PTSD on Trial" Marine sniper for shooting a Deputy

On the same subject these are some of the cases where PTSD was on trial

2007
Fort Drum Soldier awaits psychiatric treatment in jail
2008
Iraq War Veteran Pleads Not Guilty in Hart County Court
A former Army Ranger who'd been involved in the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch from Iraqi insurgents, Reed struggled to adjust to civilian life after three years of combat.
22-year-old Marine who served three tours of duty in Iraq faces a charge of capital murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of a former live-in girlfriend.
You can find ever more PTSD On Trial cases here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Combat PTSD on trial in Tampa

Matthew's Dad reached out to Wounded Times for help in December.
PTSD on Trial: Marine Veteran's Dad pleads for help for all veterans with PTSD

Attorney: PTSD led to deputy shooting
MyFOX Tampa
Gloria Gomez
January 7, 2014

TAMPA (FOX 13)
Matthew Buendia is about to go on trial for attempted murder after shooting a deputy two years ago.

But long before the shooting, the former Marine was diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Doctors say it was from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Buendia saw combat, saw other people die in front of him," O'Brien said.

Then came the encounter that got him in trouble. In September of 2011, Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux showed up to Buendia's apartment to investigate claims he was beating his girlfriend.

Buendia fired nine shots at her, hitting her three times.

And she remembers what Buendia was worried about moments before the shooting.

"He asked me about a dog," De Veaux said.

O'Brien says Buendia had a dog Afghanistan that became his constant companion.

"His unit took in a dog that unfortunately had to be put down, and Matthew was the one who killed it," O'Brien said. "His unbelievable concern about a dog prior to him firing a weapon, it shows you he had no idea what he was doing."

O'Brien says what it all adds up to is this: Buendia is not a cold-blooded cop-killer.

"If Matthew Buendia did not suffer from PTSD and simply shot a police officer like Dontae Morris, then I completely understand saying he needs to take responsibility for it," O'Brien said.

Dr. Jeremy Gaies is a licensed psychologist who says when it comes to PTSD, anything can trigger a flashback. read more here

Monday, December 9, 2013

PTSD on Trial" Marine sniper for shooting a Deputy

Former Marine who shot deputy tormented, his ex says
Tampa Bay Times
Jessica Vander Velde
Times Staff Writer
Sunday, December 8, 2013

TAMPA — Matthew Buendia was a trained U.S. Marine Corps sniper. If he had wanted to kill the Hillsborough sheriff's deputy he shot at, he could have, his ex-girlfriend recently testified.

Jessica Gipson figured he was trying to commit suicide. She says that just before Buendia fired more than a dozen times at Hillsborough Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux on Sept. 30, 2011, he swallowed a handful of pills.

Gipson saw Buendia draw his gun and fire at close-range. Maybe the 24-year-old man wanted the deputy to shoot back, she thought.

"At this point, I don't know what his intentions were," Gipson testified three weeks ago.

Gipson's recent testimony provides new details about the troubled ex-Marine, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and at one point was taking 17 pills a day prescribed by U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs doctors.

This is the defense's approach as they head toward trial in March. No one is denying Buendia fired the shots. But Tampa defense attorney Mark O'Brien is arguing the young man served his country and came back from three Middle East deployments broken.

Without warning, he would become mean and aggressive, Gipson testified. Sometimes his face would change, as he'd fly into "one of these moods," she said.

Buendia was frustrated with the VA doctors, who he thought were not communicating with one another. He self-medicated with marijuana, Gipson said, which helped him eat and sleep.

He carried a seat belt cutter in his car — a response to seeing some friends burned alive in a vehicle while deployed abroad.
read more here

Friday, June 28, 2013

America's deadliest soldier or stolen valor?

America's deadliest soldier or stolen valor?
Sgt. Dillard Johnson's new memoir claims he killed 2,746 insurgents in Iraq. Some who served with him express doubts.
Christian Science Monitor
By Dan Murphy, Staff writer
June 26, 2013

A new war memoir, "Carnivore" by Dillard Johnson, makes some rather extraordinary claims, according to media appearances and promotional material from publisher HarperCollins. But it's looking likely that these claims are exaggerated, and in some eyes are veering towards stolen valor territory.

The book is subtitled "A memoir by one of the Deadliest American Soldiers of All Time" and in it Sgt. 1st Class Johnson and his co-author write that he had 2,746 "confirmed" enemy kills during his time serving in Iraq, with 121 of those "confirmed sniper kills, the most ever publicly reported by a US Army soldier."

But his claims have sent the online veteran community into an uproar, with many vets calling them implausible and some men who served with him saying his statements are downright falsehoods. He served as a commander of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle with the 3rd Squadron, 7th US Cavalry, which took the lead in the charge to Baghdad after US forces went over the berm to invade Iraq in March 2003.

"I don’t want to take away from what [Johnson] did do, he did do great things: led a platoon, completed the missions," Brad Spaid tells the Monitor. He is a former staff sergeant who served with Johnson in Iraq and now has a civilian job with the Veteran's Administration and has read the book. "We lost some really good NCOs, guys that we really looked up to, and we feel that … on Facebook and blogs other vets are coming out and calling us out and calling us liars and idiots, and it takes away from what we really did…. We don’t want to become a laughing stock, we want to be remembered for what we did and move on."
read more here

Monday, June 3, 2013

Former Marine sniper takes on rising coyote population

Former Marine sniper takes on rising coyote population
By Laura Arenschield
The Columbus Dispatch
June 3, 2013

DELAWARE, Ohio — Dusk is turning to night, and the sniper sits hidden in the woods, watching a grassy path that cuts through the trees. He lifts a pair of night-vision goggles to his eyes, scanning. So far, he sees nothing. But he knows the target is there.

A few hundred feet away, ducks honk a warning.

“He’s out there,” says the sniper, Mark Frederick. “It’s just a matter of time.”

From 1979 to 1985, Frederick served his country, often traveling the globe hunting for threats to the United States and providing cover for his fellow Marines. Now, he sets up in rural parts of Delaware County to hunt a different prey: coyotes.

Frederick, a well-known central Ohio dog trainer, has made it a personal mission to bring down the area’s growing coyote population. And he’s using his sniper skills to do it.

“I got tired of them attacking my clients’ dogs,” Frederick said. “I love the sport of hunting, but this is about balancing the ecosystem out.”
read more here

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spielberg to direct “American Sniper” film adaptation

Steven Spielberg to direct “American Sniper” film adaptation
The legendary director joins Bradley Cooper's project about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle
Salon.com
BY PRACHI GUPTA
MAY 2, 2013

The “American Sniper” project is moving forward, adding legendary director Steven Spielberg to its credits, reports THR. Spielberg will also co-produce the film, along with Andrew Lazar and Peter Morgan and actor Bradley Cooper.

Cooper bought the rights to the film adaptation of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s book in May 2012, but fast-tracked the project after Kyle’s death in early 2013. Kyle was shot dead by veteran Eddie Routh, thought to have been struggling with PTSD.
read more here

Thursday, February 7, 2013

USA best military in the world, if we don't have to care for them after

USA best military in the world, if we don't have to care for them after
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
February 7, 2013

I'll admit I am very tired right now since my day started 12 hours ago and I've probably read about a 100 articles but this one I had to read twice. It just didn't make sense. Sure, it was well written as most articles on Salon are but when good reporters decide to take on something they just don't understand, it is frustrating to waste my time.

In this case, it just got to me too much to let it go.

Death of an American sniper
Did Chris Kyle's uncritical thinking in life — revealed in his bestselling memoir — contribute to his death?
Salon.com
By Laura Miller

“I am not a fan of politics,” wrote Chris Kyle, the 38-year-old former Navy SEAL sniper who was shot and killed with a friend at a Texas firing range on Saturday. Yet, in his best-selling memoir, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” — originally published last year and currently experiencing a sales bump in the aftermath of Kyle’s death — the commando also wrote, “I like war.” The problem, as Kyle would have known if he’d read his Carl von Clausewitz, is that the two aren’t separable; war, as Clauswitz wrote, is the continuation of politics by other means.

Chances are, though, that Kyle never heard of Clausewitz; certainly there’s nothing in “American Sniper” to suggest that he ever thought very deeply about his service, or wanted to. The red-blooded superficiality of his memoir is surely the quality that made it appealing to so many readers. Well, that and Kyle’s proficiency at his chosen specialty: He boasted of having killed over 250 people during his four deployments as a sniper in Iraq. While Kyle’s physical courage and fidelity to his fellow servicemen were unquestionable, his steadfast imperviousness to any nuance, subtlety or ambiguity, and his lack of imagination and curiosity, seem particularly notable in light of the circumstances of his death. They were also all-too-emblematic of the blustering, tragically misguided self-confidence of the George W. Bush years.
read more here

I had to leave this comment.

Fascinating how much this did not meet the title of the article.

Is it war you have a problem with or the people we send to fight them? Do you know any snipers? Do you know what the men and women go through when we send them do to the "dirty" work of this nations decisions?

They get trained to kill. Average citizens willing to lay down their lives are trained to put up a hell of a fight to make sure others don't die. What they are not trained to do is adapt back to being a citizen again. That is why they are "veterans" for the rest of their lives. They have to live with what we send them to do and get slammed for doing it by too many.


The problem is, I know too many of these men and women. They are all trained to kill. That is what war is all about. Both sides trying to stop the other side with lethal force. The other side has no problem at all blowing up their own civilians as long as most of the IEDs take out the troops we sent. Ask any serviceman or woman if they would be happy when the other side just surrenders and they'd tell you hell yes they are because that means they get to go home.

They are cheered when they are sent to go into combat but forgotten about when they come home. When troops were sent into Afghanistan in response to the attacks of 9-11 the vast majority of the country was all for it.

This should give you a reminder of that from Gallup.
Thinking now about U.S. military action in Afghanistan that began in October 2001, do you think the United States made a mistake in sending military forces to Afghanistan, or not?
2001 Nov 8-11 89% approved but by January of 2002 93% approved.

But then again, the point that keeps getting missed is just because the public stopped supporting what was done, the troops couldn't just stop serving and doing what they were sent to do. They couldn't do that anymore than they could actually expect the American public to pay any attention to them at all. Amazing how that works. We send them and then ignore them. We blame them when they come home and get into trouble, find excuses as to why they manage to survive combat but cannot survive being back home and commit suicide, allow the VA and the DOD to treat them as if they should just suffer waiting to have their wounds cared for and compensated for not being able to work and pay their bills, allow their families to fall apart because we didn't give a shit about them either and the list goes on while we spend our days complaining about them.

So now we're seeing a sniper being attacked, not just for doing his job protecting the troops he was sent to protect, but being attacked for trying to help another veteran suffering from what he came home with, combat PTSD.

We should only offer these men and women the support and help they paid for but instead we complain about what they need from us in return. We can't send them an then take it all back in time, undoing what we supported when we sent them.

Strange how we always seem to say we have the best military in the world when we need them to go but never say we are any good at paying attention to them when they are gone or taking care of them when they come back.

As for politics, they don't get to go home just because someone they disagree with politically wins and election any more than they stop risking their lives for someone from a different party.  All they care about is the men they are with and doing their best to get as many home as possible.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Deaths highlight risks of veteran ‘gun therapy’

Deaths highlight risks of veteran ‘gun therapy’
By Nomaan Merchant
The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Feb 5, 2013

DALLAS — Chris Kyle, reputed to be the deadliest sniper in American military history, often took veterans out shooting as a way to ease the trauma of war. Taking aim at a target, he once wrote, would help coax them back into normal, everyday life with a familiar, comforting activity.

But his death at a North Texas shooting range — allegedly at the hands of a troubled Iraq War veteran he was trying to assist — has highlighted the potential dangers of the practice.

Former service members and others familiar with their struggles say shooting a gun can sometimes be as therapeutic as playing with a dog or riding a horse. Psychiatrists wonder, though, whether the smell of the gunpowder and the crack of gunfire can trigger unpredictable responses, particularly in someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or other illnesses that aren’t immediately obvious.

“You have to be very careful with doing those kinds of treatment,” said Dr. Charles Marmar, chairman of the psychiatry department at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “People have to be well prepared for them.”

“But obviously you would not take a person who was highly unstable and give them access to weapons,” added Marmar, who said he wasn’t commenting on the suspected shooter’s mental state. “That’s very different.”

Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said he has heard of exposure to weapons being helpful to some veterans who weren’t keen on meeting with a psychiatrist or undergoing therapy sessions.

“These types of programs can often be an on-ramp for people who won’t go to any other type of program,” Rieckhoff said. “Anything that is connected to the military culture is an easier bridge to cross.”

However, he said, therapy with guns is not “incredibly common right now.”
read more here

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

5 things to know about PTSD CNN got wrong

Sniper killing aftermath: 5 things to know about PTSD
By Ashley Fantz
CNN
February 5, 2013

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
PTSD is marked by hyper-vigilance, a fear that a trauma will occur again
Rates of PTSD among the general population are low
Virtual reality is being used to treat PTSD sufferers

(CNN) -- When police caught up with alleged killer Eddie Ray Routh last weekend, the 25-year-old ex-Marine was crying, shirtless, shoeless and smelling of alcohol.

"I'm hurting," he told them.

Not long before, at a Texas shooting range, police say, Routh had gunned down Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL who called himself America's deadliest military sniper.

As he sits in a Texas jail cell, details about Routh's psychological make-up have surfaced, including claims that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that affects a number of current and former members of the U.S. military.

Of course, combat duty doesn't automatically lead to PTSD. And it's not even clear that Routh served in a combat zone during his four years in the Marines.
read more here
While there are good parts to this report, there are many wrong ones. Like this.

"We need to remember that while substantial numbers of vets have mental health conditions," Cozza said, the majority do not.

Because it does not mention the fact less than half of the veterans needing help for PTSD seek in early because of the stigma attached to it coupled with the notion they will just "get over it" with time. Take a look at the number of Vietnam veterans in their 60's seeking help for the first time because they have retired and were no longer able to focus on jobs after a life changing event.

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who struggle with anger are twice as likely as other vets to be arrested for crimes, according to the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, which published a study last year.

Missing the fact that many veterans are arrested for domestic violence that happened when they were having a nightmare or flashback and their spouse unknowingly tried to shake them awake or yell at them. They ended up with broken noses and black eyes because they didn't know enough to get up out of bed and their husband landed in jail on a domestic violence charge. Missing the fact that arrests for alcohol and bar fights are included too. Then missing the medication aspect that in many cases has fueled violent reactions.

Exposure therapy often helps the person with PTSD revisit or re-experience their trauma as a means of lessening the effect the memory has on them, said Rizzo, who is with the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California.


Missing the point that this kind of therapy only works when they get the veteran to see the whole event and not just part of it so they can make peace with what happened.

But this may have done more damage to PTSD veterans.
"What happened this weekend with the death of former Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle at a gun range is exactly the opposite of the evidence-based approach to treating PTSD," termed 'prolonged exposure' or 'virtual reality exposure' therapy, he said. "Chris Kyle, while well trained in his field, had no clinical training in conducting therapeutic exposure."

There would be no "evidence-based" approach if people didn't try different things. There would be no training if Vietnam veterans didn't push it to begin over 40 years ago and families like mine living through all of it discovering on our own how to help because there were only a few experts on this back then.

This is also missing the point that none of this is new even though it is "news" to them!

NBC feeding the myth of PTSD veterans being dangerous

Hundreds of thousands of veterans are treated at the VA for PTSD. That should have been the lead in this story. It wasn't and we should be asking why not. Veterans are more likely to hurt or kill themselves than someone else. This is a fact and is supported by the high number of suicides along with attempted suicides (another subject not discussed) which is what the accused shooter of Chris Kyle had sought help for.

Suffering military and veteran is not something they are interested in. They get a lot more attention out of covering the gun murder of a decorated sniper as if it was the Wild West and this was a shootout with the fastest gun.

Will slaying of ex-SEAL Chris Kyle mar veteran job market?
By Bill Briggs
NBC News contributor

The weekend homicides of ex-Navy SEAL and “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle and a friend in Texas have stoked fresh concerns among mental-health experts and veteran advocates that the crime’s PTSD theme will further stigmatize and dampen an already-soggy job market for men and women home from war.

“What worries me about this story is it will frighten potential employers away from hiring veterans who have been in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Dr. Harry Croft, a San Antonio-based psychiatrist who has talked with more than 7,000 veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

“The myth is all of them have PTSD — not true, only 20 percent. Another myth is that all of them who have a severe case of it — not true; it goes from very mild to severe. The third myth is that everybody with PTSD is aggressive, unreliable, or trouble in the workplace, and none of that is (true) either. It scares me,” Croft said.
read more here

MOH Dakota Meyer asked Ron Paul if he lost his mind

MOH Recipient Slams Ron Paul Over Kyle Tweet
Feb 05, 2013
Military.com
by Michael Hoffman

Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer criticized former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Twitter Monday night after Paul posted a controversial tweet about former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who was killed Saturday at a Texas gun range.

Meyer sent his tweet in response to one by Paul that read: “Chris Kyle's death seems to confirm that "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword." Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn't make sense.”

Meyer tweeted: “Hey @ronpaul have you lost you mind? That sword protected your freedom. Guess since I live by it I deserve to get murdered as well? #wow.”

Meyer, a former Marine sergeant, is one of three living recipients of the Medal of Honor for service in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is credited with saving 13 American and 23 Afghan soldiers’ lives in a firefight in Afghanistan in 2009.

Kyle, a former SEAL and author of “American Sniper,” left the Navy in 2009 after 10 years of service. He completed four deployments to Iraq and is credited with killing 160 enemy combatants. He received two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars for valor and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
read more here

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ex-Navy SEAL died pursuing his passion

Ex-Navy SEAL died pursuing his passion
By JAMIE STENGLE AND CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
The Associated Press
Published: February 4, 2013

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — The former top Navy SEAL sniper who authorities say was killed at a Texas shooting range was devoted to maintaining camaraderie and helping his fellow veterans find their way after leaving active duty.

Chris Kyle, author of the best-selling book "American Sniper," and his friend Chad Littlefield apparently were doing just that Saturday when, officials say, they were shot and killed by former Marine Eddie Ray Routh.

Kyle, 38, had left the Navy in 2009 after four tours of duty in Iraq, where he earned a reputation as one of the military's most lethal snipers. But he quickly found a way to maintain contact with his fellow veterans and pass on what had helped him work through his own struggles. By late 2011, he filed the paperwork to establish the nonprofit FITCO Cares, which received its nonprofit status the following spring, said FITCO director Travis Cox.

"Chris struggled with some things," Cox said. "He'd been through a lot and he handled it with grace, but yeah he did struggle with some things. And he found a healthy outlet and was proactive in his approach to deal with those issues and wanted to help spread his healing, what worked for him, to others. And that's what he died doing."

For Kyle that healthy outlet was exercise. At the heart of FITCO was giving in-home fitness equipment to physically and emotionally wounded veterans, as well as families who had lost a veteran, Cox said.
read more here