Wounded Times

Where Veterans Get Their News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Ransom Demanded For Veteran's Missing Dog

Suspect demanding ransom for lost dogs may be using Craigslist 
AZ Family.com
Ashleigh Barry
March 5, 2015
Gonzales is sickened by the ordeal and just wants her precious dog back, wherever he might be, so he can take care of her husband who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. "We're all going through this. It's hard enough, but yet it's like he's kicking us while we're already down," she said.
BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- Valley dog owners who are putting up posters and using the Internet to locate their lost pets are getting calls back from someone demanding a ransom.

Phoenix police now believe the suspect may be using Craigslist to prey on his victims. "It's horrific what he's doing to us. It's heart-wrenching enough that we're out there, we're searching for our dog, we desperately want our dogs back," said dog owner Amy Gonzales.

She is now the third dog owner to contact police about a ransom-demanding stranger claiming to have her lost animal. Her 1-year-old Chihuahua, Red Dog, escaped through a hole in their fenced in backyard several weeks ago.

She posted fliers on her Buckeye neighborhood mailboxes and even online through Craigslist, offering a reward for his safe return. read more here

Marine Iraq Veteran-Firefighter Saved Boy Then Shoveled Snow

Marine-turned-firefighter saves boy from house fire 
Marine Corps Times
By Joshua Stewart, Staff writer
March 5, 2015
McVoy was an aircraft rescue and firefighting specialist in the Marine Corps. He served from 2000 to 2004, got out as a sergeant, and joined the Melrose Fire Department in 2006. He was recalled to the military in 2007 for a deployment to Iraq where he served in al Asad before getting out for good, he said.
Rob McVoy, a firefighter and Marine veteran, ran into a burning home in Massachusetts to rescue a boy inside. McVoy was not on duty at the time.
(Photo: Courtesy Robert McVoy Jr)
A Marine veteran and off-duty firefighter is being hailed as a hero after running into a burning home to rescue a child.

Rob McVoy was driving through Peabody, Massachusetts, on Feb. 23 after leaving his shift at the nearby Melrose Fire Department. But he was quickly diverted when he noticed a house had caught fire. "I looked across the highway and saw smoke coming from the second floor window," McVoy said. "I looked down the street and nobody was there."

He called 911, made a U-turn and drove toward the house.

"I ran up and I started pounding on the door and I could hear someone in there," he said.
But his work wasn't over. Eastern Massachusetts, like much of the Northeast, was covered in snow. McVoy said he started shoveling out fire hydrants so firefighters could hook up hoses when they arrived.
read more here

Record Number of Drone Pilots Quit

A chilling new post-traumatic stress disorder: Why drone pilots are quitting in record numbers 
A raft of data suggest our remote-controlled war games are taking a steep psychological toll on their players
Salon
PRATAP CHATTERJEE,
TOMDISPATCH.COM
FRIDAY, MAR 6, 2015

The U.S. drone war across much of the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa is in crisis and not because civilians are dying or the target list for that war or the right to wage it just about anywhere on the planet are in question in Washington. Something far more basic is at stake: drone pilots are quitting in record numbers.

There are roughly 1,000 such drone pilots, known in the trade as “18Xs,” working for the U.S. Air Force today. Another 180 pilots graduate annually from a training program that takes about a year to complete at Holloman and Randolph Air Force bases in, respectively, New Mexico and Texas. As it happens, in those same 12 months, about 240 trained pilots quit and the Air Force is at a loss to explain the phenomenon.

On January 4, 2015, the Daily Beast revealed an undated internal memo to Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh from General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle stating that pilot “outflow increases will damage the readiness and combat capability of the MQ-1/9 [Predator and Reaper] enterprise for years to come” and added that he was “extremely concerned.” Eleven days later, the issue got top billing at a special high-level briefing on the state of the Air Force. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James joined Welsh to address the matter. “This is a force that is under significant stress — significant stress from what is an unrelenting pace of operations,” she told the media.

In theory, drone pilots have a cushy life. Unlike soldiers on duty in “war zones,” they can continue to live with their families here in the United States. No muddy foxholes or sandstorm-swept desert barracks under threat of enemy attack for them. Instead, these new techno-warriors commute to work like any office employees and sit in front of computer screens wielding joysticks, playing what most people would consider a glorified video game.
read more here

Not new and not improved. I checked the posts on Wounded Times for the drone pilots. Here's how far back the reports go. The link to the original source is up.
Remote warfare ushers new kind of stress
July 2009 CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Robotic warfare allows pilots to control armed vehicles without risk to themselves
Military experts are now looking at the psychological impact this may have on pilots
Pilots now transition from battlefield to home environment in less than an hour
Some pilots welcome operating from the U.S. rather than being deployed overseas


Stress of combat reaches drone crews
By David Zucchino
Los Angeles Times
Published: March 18, 2012

Reporting from Washington — Drone crews protect U.S. ground troops by watching over them 24 hours a day from high above. Sitting before video screens thousands of miles from their remote-controlled aircraft, the crews scan for enemy ambushes and possible roadside bombs, while also monitoring what the military calls "patterns of life."

Only rarely do drone crews fire on the enemy. The rest of the time, they sit and watch. For hours on end. Day after day.

It can get monotonous and, yes, boring.

It can also be gut-wrenching.

Crews sometimes see ground troops take casualties or come under attack. They zoom in on enemy dead to confirm casualties. Psychologically, they're in the middle of combat. But physically most of them are on another continent, which can lead to a sense of helplessness.

"That lack of control is one of the main features of producing stress," said Air Force Col. Hernando Ortega, who discussed results of a survey of Predator and Reaper crews at a recent conference in Washington, D.C. They ask themselves, he said: "Could I have done better? Did I make the right choices?"

The Air Force is only now becoming aware of the toll — which Air Force psychologists call combat stress — posed by drone crews' job, even as the drone workload is growing.
read more here

Yes Virginia There Is Still A War Going On

Stealing from Yes Virgina There is a Santa Claus there seems to be a lot of people in America thinking troops are our of Afghanistan. Well here's a reminder while the rest of the country got too busy to notice, they are still leaving home serving them.
Connecticut National Guardsmen receive ceremonial sendoff
By WTNH.com
Staff
Published: March 5, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Ninety Connecticut soldiers are headed for Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

The National Guardsmen and their families gathered Thursday night in Hartford for a ceremonial sendoff. About 35 members of the 143rd regional support group will head to a military post in Afghanistan.

Fifty-five soldiers with the 192nd military police battalion are bound for Cuba.

Their family members watched as Governor Malloy thanked them for their service.
read more here

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Vietnam Veterans Walk Out of Council Meeting After Changes to Memorial

Warner Robins council's choice for memorial location angers Vietnam vets
WMAZ
Sophia Danner-Okotie
March 3, 2015

"We're old, we're thinning out in our ranks. If we're going to build a memorial, we've got to get real busy real fast"


Angry and frustrated, four Vietnam veterans stormed out of a Warner Robins Council meeting Monday night. They were protesting changes to the process of picking a site for the planned visitors center and veterans memorial.
read more here

Air Force Veteran Fired 23 Shots Before Being Killed By SWAT

Think about this for a second. 23 shots in the air. In other words, he wasn't aiming at anyone. Next time you hear someone say something about how dangerous veterans are, remember that. He was only a danger to himself.

Don't blame SWAT officers because this happens all the time across the country and they have to decide what to do because no one knows for sure if it will end differently.

Sometimes it does end with the veteran turning himself in or just being wounded and usually they are taken to get the help they desperately need. For other times, actually most of the time, they really don't have another choice because too many veterans are still suffering instead of healing.

Someone please remind me again how repeating the same "efforts" over and over again is helping? From what I've seen, what works has been forgotten about and Congress just keeps passing the same old bullshit that failed too many for too long.

Air Force veteran fired 23 shots before he was killed by police
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
By KIMBERLY DE LA CRUZ
March 3, 3015
Metropolitan Police Department Undersheriff Kevin McMahill speaks about the officer involved shooting that occurred on Feb. 25, 2015, in the 5300 block of East Craig Road, at Metro headquarters on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Francis Spivey, 43, was suicidal and armed with an AR-15 rifle when he was fatally shot after a two-hour confrontation with police.
(Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
On the balcony of his second-story apartment in U.S. Air Force dress blue uniform, Francis “Frank” Lamantia Spivey stood with an assault rifle pushed up to his chin just after midnight Feb. 25.

Over the course of two hours, the retired serviceman fired 23 rounds from his rifle into the air and nearby buildings at the Eagle Trace apartment complex, 5370 E. Craig Road, threatening Las Vegas police officers during a standoff before being fatally shot, police said at a press conference Tuesday.

Spivey, who served 23 years in the U.S. Air Force, told negotiators he would “shoot every single officer that he sees,” McMahill said.

A single shot to the chest from SWAT Officer Bradley Cupp’s rifle at 1:48 a.m. ended negotiations that night in Metro’s second officer-involved shooting of 2015.

“Our officers exercised incredible restraint,” Metro Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said, citing the scrutiny Metro has faced in past officer-involved shootings.

Armed with six magazines holding 124 rounds of ammunition for his AR 15, Spivey, 43, demanded to talk to his estranged girlfriend. His exchange with police was captured by a camera worn by one of the officers and shown during Tuesday’s news conference.

“You put that (expletive) on the (expletive) phone,” Spivey shouted from his balcony.

Officers taking shelter behind a car in the complex parking lot are heard pleading with him to put his rifle down.

“There’s no way I can bring the phone to you, Frank,” an officer says, trying to negotiate. “She’s scared too, Frank.”
read more here

Fort Hood General Pushes Program that Caused Most Harm?

Brig. General Michael Dillard wrote a piece on the Fort Hood Sentinel. Usually there isn't much interesting in this type of article but this time I screamed when I read this.
"The Fort Hood Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Training Facility is also an excellent support system here at the Great Place. They focus on developing confidence in the community through educational and holistic “Mind, Body and Spirit” programs in order to promote resiliency and overall comprehensive fitness which is great for marriage enrichment. They have programs and classes available such as Family dynamics, parenting, financial planning and budgeting and reintegration training, amongst others. More information can be found on their website at www.hood.army.mil/csf-tf/."

OMG! Why doesn't he get it? They have been doing this "training" since 2009 and it has gotten worse! Dillard thought it was so necessary to address the issue of families in crisis that he had to write. So why doesn't he get what is responsible for making it worse?

Hell I even knew that back when they introduced it in 2009
If you promote this program the way Battlemind was promoted, count on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides to go up instead of down. It's just one more deadly mistake after another and just as dangerous as sending them into Iraq without the armor needed to protect them.

This is as bad as it gets because no one in the Army has to count them when they are no longer enlisted. In other words, heard any sad stories of veterans committing suicide lately? Yep, you get the idea.

St. Paul Police Officers Learn How To Help PTSD Veterans

Bill would pay for police training to help veterans 
SC Times
Kirsti Marohn
March 5, 2015

For veterans who are disoriented or experiencing war-related flashbacks they aren't able to process, "that can be dangerous to them to others in the area and to law enforcement," O'Driscoll said.

ST. PAUL – The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan stretched on for 10 years and left some of its veterans with invisible scars, from post-traumatic stress to traumatic brain injuries.

While the majority of veterans have returned civilian life successfully, some have struggled, and a few have ended up in the legal system.

In recent years, there's been an effort to better educate law enforcement officers on the characteristics of veterans and how to deescalate a crisis to avoid a potential deadly result.

A bipartisan bill authored by Rep. Tim O'Driscoll, R-Sartell, aims to provide funding for more police officers to receive such training. The House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee held a hearing on the bill Thursday.

About 10 percent Minnesota's of law enforcement has received deescalation training, O'Driscoll said. He hopes to boost that number to 25 percent.
read more here

Female Veterans 3 Times More Likely To Commit Suicide Than Civilian Peers

Air Force veteran’s suicide sheds light on female soldiers and PTSD
Yahoo News
By Bianna Golodryga
5 hours ago
By Adam Sechrist
Research suggests that female veterans are far less likely than their male counterparts to take their own life, but female veterans are three times more likely to kill themselves than women who have never served.

It’s a chilling statistic: Twenty-two United States veterans commit suicide a day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The latest victim: Thirty-year-old Air Force Reserve Capt. Jamie Brunettte.

Capt. Brunette, the youngest of five children from Milwaukee, had served two tours of duty in Afghanistan during her 11-year Air Force career. On Feb. 9, police in Tampa, Fla., found her dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Her family and friends came together this week to honor Brunette’s memory and raise awareness about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), something Brunette’s friends say was hard for her to talk about.

“Our whole friendship was based on conversations,” says Brunette’s friend Jessica Aguiar. “She never really opened up about her professional life. She’s actually extremely humble about it and all of her achievements.”

Brunette’s friends say they were shocked and in disbelief that a friend who they say was so full of vitality and spirit would take her own life.

“I found out through Facebook,” Aguiar says. “My best friend, Nicole, reached out to me because she saw a status indicating that Jamie had passed, and she screen-shotted it and said, ‘Is this serious?’ And I hadn’t been on Facebook all day, so I was stunned and was, like, I have no idea.”

Brunette’s roommate, Heather Milner, says she had just seen Capt. Brunette the night before she died.
read more here

Reporters Forget No War Wound Is New

This could have been a really great story but yet again, they seem to have forgotten that there were amputees from ALL WARS and not just Iraq and Afghanistan. The Orlando DAV Chapter 16 has two triple amputees from the Vietnam war. While it is true that the fatality rate has decreased because of medical advancements, we cannot forget that no wound in these wars is different than wars of past generations. Watch the video and then you'll know why.
DARPA taps tech to build sophisticated artificial limbs for wounded veterans
FOX News
Alison Barrie
March 5, 2015
For more than 10 years, DARPA has been relentlessly advancing prosthetic limbs in an attempt to revolutionize the devices. The agency, for example, recently debuted two advanced mechatronic limbs for the upper body. Truly leveraging these revolutionary devices, though, means restoring the link between thought and the hand and arm devices.

Restoring hands, arms, feet, and legs to those wounded in the service of our country should be a national priority…and now, finally, it is, thanks to some very promising technological advances.

Technology advances in area such as body armor and medical response have helped save many, many, wounded U.S. warfighters’ lives. However, many who survive are permanently wounded and today’s generation of warfighters has to contend with an unprecedented frequency of limb loss. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is committed to building highly sophisticated prostheses, giving wounded servicemembers and veterans naturally functioning limbs.

The HAPTIX (Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces) project is working on creating a solution for amputees. This solution would be implanted and directly communicate with the nervous system and brain. This means that a person could think and the hand and arm would move intuitively and function just like a natural hand, complete with the dexterity and sense of touch.

The agency has recently moved its HAPTIX program forward by selecting eight teams that will advance the development of next-generation, state of the art upper-limb prostheses. In particular, they are focusing on creating hands that will move and have a sense of touch like natural ones.
read more here
Even in this video on the link you can see an elderly man!

Homecoming Harder on Female Veterans

Why homecoming can be particularly hard for female veterans 
PBS Newshour
March 4, 2015
LAURA PARKINSON, Air Force Veteran: I did have one person who hired me because when she found out I made bombs, she was like, that is cool.

GWEN IFILL: After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, many veterans face an uphill battle finding work in civilian life. There’s been an increase in efforts to help ease their transition, but one segment of the veteran population is often overlooked.

Special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reports.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Katrina Holley finds satisfaction in bringing order to people’s lives.

KATRINA HOLLEY, Air Force Veteran: Ever since I was in the fourth grade, I loved cleaning the house. I can remember vacuuming before I would leave for school.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Her attention to detail is just one of the skills she honed during 11 years in the Air Force. Holley’s small business in Hillsborough, North Carolina, cleaning homes calls on some of those skills, but for years she’s sought a civilian career that better values her military experience, a background that often catches her clients off guard.

KATRINA HOLLEY: Oh, my goodness. Well, I think so often people are surprised because they don’t think about female veterans. We are coming more into the light in 2014 and 2015 and after Iraq, of course. But I think that it is interesting, because it adds such diversity to your life. That experience is something that I value, value so highly.
A pilot program here in North Carolina backed by computer maker Lenovo and run by the nonprofit Dress for Success hopes to help change that. It aims to help female veterans look and feel their best in job interviews.
read more here

In the return to civilian life, many women find that veteran services fall short of their needs. Unemployment rates for female veterans are higher than for other women, as well as for male veterans. Female veterans are at least twice as likely to be homeless than women who haven’t worn a uniform. Special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reports on the challenges they face.

Veteran Takes On Great American Discovery Trail For PTSD

North Myrtle Beach veteran embarks on 5,000-mile journey to spread PTSD awareness 
WMBF News
By Alexandria Savage-Davis and Kaley Lawrimore
Updated: Mar 04, 2015
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A North Myrtle Beach veteran has embarked on a 5,000 mile journey to raise money and awareness for a condition that effects people overseas, as well as here at home.

Corporal Ryan Weldon, a 34-year-old Marine Corps Veteran, who joined in 1999, and was active until 2003, has embarked on a 5,000 mile walk from the East coast of Delaware to the coast San Francisco, California.

He has chosen to follow the Great American Discovery Trail, which stretches 6,800 miles across the United States of America.

Weldon said the idea to walk was motivated by a combination of factors, and after reading an article in Time magazine entitled “This Bill Could Help Veterans With Mental Health,” he was inspired.

“I had a dream Christmas Eve, and woke up Christmas Day with the urge to walk across the U.S. - PTSD is on the rise," Weldon said. "I thought why not do this? You need to go ahead and get this out there in the open. We need to get rid of the stigma attached to mental disorders and start talking about them.” read more here

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Veteran Arrested After Service Dog Issue with Best Western

Veteran says hotel dispute over service dog led to arrest 
News Press.com
Michael Braun
March 4, 2015
Jason White, 34, and his wife, Danielle, and their daughter Savannah, 2. were denied lodging because of his service dog, White says. (Photo: Michael Braun/news-press.com)
U.S. Army veteran Jason White talks about being arrested Tuesday after a dispute with a Best Western hotel in Bonita Springs over his service dog, Camo. Video by Kinfay Moroti/news-press.com
A bill making its way through the Florida legislature could help situations like the one Monday night that saw a young veteran arrested at a Bonita Springs hotel after he, his family and his service dog were denied lodging.

Jason White, 34, was arrested at the Best Western hotel in Bonita Springs following a dispute with the hotel manager and staff over Camo, he said.

Carol Borden, with Guardian Angela Medical Service Dogs, which provided the dog to White, said House Bill 71, sponsored by Rep. Jimmie Smith, covers issues like this.
read more here

Left At The Wall 400,000 Tributes To Honor Fallen

Stories of grief, love and penance live among what’s left at the Vietnam Wall
The Washington Post
Michael E. Ruane
March 2, 2015
Over the past three decades, the Wall has become a hallowed spot, a place of pilgrimage, homage and reconciliation. Now, some of the 400,000 items left there over the years by visitors are being selected for display in the new $115 million Vietnam War education center planned for a site nearby.

The black and white snapshot of the seven enemy soldiers was left in a box at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with a two-page letter.

The writer explained how he had grabbed the picture from the knapsack of a dead North Vietnamese soldier after cursing him, kicking him and firing into his corpse in a fit of rage.

The veteran, who was 20 at the time, in 1969, had lost a close friend in battle six days earlier, and his outfit had just ambushed and killed 40 enemy soldiers, including this one, in a “turkey shoot.”

Forty-two years later, the former “grunt” came to the Wall in Washington on a chilly fall morning. He put down the box and, weeping, read his letter aloud.

“I come here today in sadness and humility, the arc of my life having transformed me from the angry young man who desecrated your body to an older man seeking peace. . . . Please forgive me, my brother, and rest in peace.”
read more here
Linked from Stars and Stripes

Air Force Ranch Hands May Finally Get Justice For Agent Orange

Air Force Reservists May Get Help for Agent Orange Exposure
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
by Torsten Ove
Mar 03, 2015

About 2,100 crew members, flight nurses and maintenance workers who serviced those "spray birds" here and at bases in Massachusetts and Ohio have long maintained that the C-123s were contaminated, even though the Air Force insisted they had been cleaned.
A UC-123B Provider aircraft sprays the defoliant Agent Orange over South Vietnam in 1962. A new report says the planes remained contaminated for years after the war, while Air Force Reserve units used them for medical, transport and training missions.

Michael Silverman remembers the smell.

"The first time I got on one of those planes I said, 'What stinks?' " he said. "They said this plane was used to spray Agent Orange. Everybody smelled it. It was kind of a sweet smell. It was unmistakable."

That was in 1975 when Mr. Silverman, 69, of Fox Chapel, a former Vietnam B-52 navigator and retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserves, began flying C-123 Provider military cargo planes assigned to the 911th Airlift Wing at Pittsburgh International Airport.

The air base had 16 of the lumbering behemoths from 1972 to 1982, five of which had been used in Vietnam to spray Agent Orange defoliant as part of what the military called Operation Ranch Hand.
read more here