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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Canadian Veteran Released Early After Standoff, Attempted Suicide, Committed Suicide

How much more had to go wrong for this veteran? He survived a standoff with police. He was taken to the hospital for help. Sounds good until the 72 hours he was supposed to be there turned out to be only 24. Early discharge came after he tried to kill himself in the hospital. Two tours of duty in Afghanistan yet this is how his life ended?
Canadian soldier involved in standoff with police dies by suicide Staff
Published Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A few days after the standoff, Demers attempted suicide and was taken to a psychiatric ward. He was supposed to be on a 72-hour-hold, but was released after 24 hours.

A Canadian soldier who was involved in a 40-hour standoff with Ontario Provincial Police last month has died by suicide.

Master Cpl. Denis Demers, a Canadian Forces medical technician who served two tours in Afghanistan, was found dead on Sept. 12, CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson reported Tuesday.

Demers, 44, was involved in a lengthy standoff with police in Petawawa, Ont., at the end of August. The standoff ended peacefully and Demers was taken to a local hospital.
read more here

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Texas soldier heading to surprise family, died on flight home from Kuwait

Soldier flying home to surprise family in Texas dies en route
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas
By Nicole C. Brambila
Published: September 15, 2014

LUBBOCK, Texas (MCT) — Staff Sgt. Virginia Caballero died unexpectedly on a commercial flight home from Kuwait, family members said Monday.

Rodrigo Cantu, Caballero’s cousin, said she was flying home earlier than expected last week when during the flight she felt ill and went to the bathroom. A military companion traveling with Caballero went to the bathroom to check on her when she did not return and found her unconscious, Cantu said.

“They made an emergency landing, went to the hospital and got a faint pulse,” Cantu said.

Cantu said a lot of the details are sketchy, but Caballero’s family in Abernathy was officially notified about her death on Saturday.

Caballero was 41.

Cantu said it is thought that Caballero suffered from a blood clot, which was exacerbated with the altitude on the flight that would be her final trip home.

“None of the family knew she was on her way home,” said Martina Flores Herrera, a cousin. “She was trying to surprise us.”
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Indiana sues fake nonprofits for not helping veterans

State sues founders of fake veteran nonprofits
Michael Auslen
September 17, 2014

Indiana’s attorney general is suing four people who he says defrauded citizens by falsely claiming to be collecting money to aid veterans.

Adam Silvani, Olivia Locke, Roger Locke and Donald Shoppe, all of Fort Wayne, solicited donations via three nonprofit groups they registered with the state. According to court documents, the groups — Sandbox Veterans of America, Catholic Veterans of America, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America — never distributed funds to veterans.

The state is seeking thousands of dollars in reparations under the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, alleging that the defendants not only lied about how money would be used but that doing so was illegal. The suit filed in Allen County Circuit Court also asks that all four individuals be barred from operating or seeking donations on behalf of any Indiana nonprofit.

“The allegations are really clear,” said Abby Kuzma, director of consumer protection in the attorney general’s office. “This is a clear violation of public trust.”
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Florida Governor Scott Sued by Iraq Veteran Demoted While Deployed

Iraq war vet sues Gov. Scott, state of Florida over job demotion
Tampa Bay Times
Steve Bousquet
Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

TALLAHASSEE — A decorated combat veteran of war in Iraq and Afghanistan sued Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday, claiming the state illegally eliminated his state job while he was serving his country overseas.

Walter Krietlow III is a master sergeant in the U.S. Army reserve who was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and Bronze Star during two tours of duty in Iraq. He's a Republican who said he voted for Scott in 2010 and denied that his filing of a lawsuit less than seven weeks before the election is politically motivated.

"This is not political," Kreitlow said. "This is for the citizen soldiers out there who are taken advantage of. They miss out on promotions. They are not given days off."

Krietlow, 45, works as a police officer in the state alcoholic beverage and tobacco division, part of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). He has worked for the state since 2006, but he wants his old job back.

While Kreitlow was at an Army training camp in Kentucky in the fall of 2011 preparing for a third deployment overseas, he says, DBPR moved his job from his Tallahassee home to Miami as part of a law enforcement consolidation effort that Scott supported.
read more here

Search widens for missing Iraq veteran in Texas

Texas EquuSearch: Missing Iraq War veteran found at hospital
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Texas Equusearch looking for 27-year-old Iraq war veteran
Author: Sara Fatima Dhanji, Content Editor
Published On: Sep 17 2014

A Texas search and rescue organization is looking for a U.S. Army veteran in North Houston.

Texas Equusearch said 27-year-old Erica Odom disappeared in Houston on Saturday. Volunteers began a search for her Wednesday morning near The Lighthouse Church at 6650 Rankin Road in Humble.

Odom is a veteran of the war in Iraq. She was last seen wearing a white T-shirt with black sleeves and black shorts. She has a large brown birthmark on the upper part of her left arm. She also has the name "Sheila Gayle" tattooed on her lower back.

Texas Equusearch asks anyone with information about Odom's whereabouts or disappearance to call Houston police at 713-731-5223.
Check back here for updates

Healing Combat PTSD Spiritually Is Decades Old, Not New

Seriously? The article says “But only recently has their been a movement to address it not just as a psycho-medical condition but also as a spiritual phenomenon.” Too bad that isn't true. Point Man International Ministries started in 1984 working to heal veterans as well as families. Healing combat PTSD by spirit, mind and body is far from new. Just because someone makes a claim like that does not make it true but the truth behind this kind of healing is very true.

Combat trauma group aims to help vets heal spiritually together

Posted: Tuesday, Sep 16th, 2014

courtesy photo Chaplain Jonathan Landon and the Combat Trauma Healing Manual he uses to help veterans heal.

Over the years, it's gone by many names — combat fatigue, shell shock, combat trauma, to name a few. But recently the perspective on treating the condition commonly known as post traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans has started to shift, according to a military chaplain who has lately begun gathering vets together to share their experiences at Cottage Grove Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 3473.

“Psychology has been trying to wrap its arms around PTSD since before World War II,” said Chaplain Jonathan Landon. “But only recently has their been a movement to address it not just as a psycho-medical condition but also as a spiritual phenomenon.”

For the complete article see the 09-17-2014 issue.

Army National Guard Iraq Veteran PTSD Calmed by K9

Watch service dog calm war vet's PTSD reaction
Elissa Koehl
September 16, 2014

Erick Scott knows first-hand how it feels to suffer from PTSD. A veteran who served in Iraq, this husband and father came home from the fighting only to be confronted by his own demons. Refusing at first to believe the PTSD diagnosis from his doctor, it wasn't until he heard about K9s for Warriors that he began to feel some hope.

Scott was paired with a dog whose main role was to notify him when he started showing symptoms of PTSD. Watch the video above to see the dog's amazing reaction when Scott gets agitated on camera.

K9's for Warriors is a non-profit program that works to train service dogs for veterans with diagnoses like PTSD, TBI (traumatic brain injury) and MST (military sexual trauma). Veterans come to Florida from all over the country to be paired with a service dog. In fact, the need is so great that the wait list is over a year long.

In an effort to handle the growing needs of veterans, a new facility is under construction in Nocatee, Florida. This facility will be able to house up to 16 veterans at a time.

K9s for Warriors founder Shari Duval says the new complex will be the "leading PTSD recovery center" in the nation using certified service dogs. The idea is to help them find their "reset button," Duval explains. The warriors need time to relax, but not too much idle time which can throw them into bad memories and anxiety.
read more here

Suicidal Iraq Veteran's Life Saved By Police Captured on Video

E. Texas officers use tourniquet to save suicidal veteran
KLTV 7 News
By Summer Dashe
Posted: Sep 16, 2014
Dash camera video shows suicidal man sitting with police officers. (Source: Whitehouse Police Department)

WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) - Whitehouse Police Department is changing its policy after an officer saved a veteran's life.

On Sept. 4, police received a call about a man bleeding on the side of the road in Smith County. A fisherman saw the man walking near Lake Tyler, covered in blood. When police arrived, the man told officers he was an Iraq war veteran and that he wanted to end his life.

"Where's your knife? How'd you get hurt?" Sgt. Shawn Johnson, with WPD, can be heard saying in a dash-camera video.

Sgt. Johnson walked up and the man explained he was a veteran and had intentionally cut his wrist.

"He told us that he was an army vet, that he served a couple tours in Iraq and that was part of his wanting to die," Johnson explained.

On the video, the officers can be heard talking with the man and asking him why he wanted to end his life. When he tells them he feels nobody cares about him they respond, "We care. If we didn't care we wouldn't be here, right?"

He had used a broken beer bottle to cut himself and was losing a lot of blood.

"(We) went and spoke with him and as I was talking with him, he moved his arm and then I could actually see blood start, you know, coming out rather quickly," Johnson recalled.

Minutes went by as they, along with Tyler police officers, awaited EMS.
read more here, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bombing near US Embassy leaves 2 US servicemembers dead

2 US troops, 1 Polish sergeant killed in bombing near US Embassy in Kabul
Stars and Stripes
By Slobodan Lekic
Published: September 16, 2014

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two U.S. servicemembers and a Polish soldier were killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber struck a convoy of vehicles near the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul, officials said.

The International Security Assistance Force said three of its servicemembers died “as a result of an enemy attack” in Kabul, but did not disclose the nationalities. Five ISAF members were reported wounded.

In Washington a defense official said two of the three fatalities were Americans. The third was a Polish sergeant, the Poland’s Defense Ministry said.

Separately, another coalition soldier was killed on Monday in an apparent insider attack in western Afghanistan, an ISAF statement said. A Pentagon official said the victim was an American.

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.
read more here

Wounded Iraq Veteran lost more than stuff in stolen van

Iraq war vet's rental truck stolen with family ashes inside
KING 5 News
Alex Rozier
September 16, 2014
James was injured in combat, he got full retirement from the Army, and the plan was for the family to start a new life in Puyallup.

TACOMA, Wash. – An injured Iraq War veteran had his rented truck and trailer stolen Monday and the family doesn't know if the thieves took off with the ashes of two family members.

James Dunahoe said he couldn't believe how his morning played out. At 7 a.m. Monday, his truck was there. A few hours later, it was not.

"I went to get my family something to drink and eat this morning and when I came back at 11, it was not there," Dunahoe said.

"I thought he was joking," Leahana Dunahoe said. "Everything's in there. Our clothes, our kitchen, our living room, dining room."

There were also some things you just can't replace.

"Our son just passed away and his ashes are in there," Dunahoe said. "My mom just passed away. Her ashes are in there."
read more here

Military Suicide Awareness Month Makes Us Aware They Suck At Preventing Them

Awareness of the wrong results
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 16, 2014
Wounded Times

The numbers are bad yet after years of "prevention" along with "awareness" topped off with billions of dollars spent, most of the people I know are feeling the loss at an unbearable level. Why? Because we've been doing this for so long now that we know what works actually works.

We have to get the facts right first. Tired of reading all the wrong data being used over and over again.

Veteran suicides and military suicides are two separated groups. The DOD counts active duty while the VA is responsible for veterans. Stop blending them together.

Military suicides reported average was less than 1 a day but here is the truth on that one.
According to the Pentagon, 74 active-duty personnel died by suicide in the first quarter: 19 airmen, 28 soldiers, 11 Marines and 16 sailors.
Sure it is less than one a day until National Guards and Reservists manage to matter.
From January to March, 120 active-duty, reserve and National Guard members died by suicide.

The total number of days between Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 and Monday, April 1st, 2013 is 90 days.

How does 120 end up being equal to 90? Do you think they are missing a month somewhere?

Veteran suicides reported at 22 a day. Not even close. The number used came from 21 states and then they took the average of those states excluding California with the most veterans, followed by Texas with the second highest and then Florida with the 3rd highest.

Veteran suicides are mostly Afghanistan and Iraq veterans but again, not even close. 78% of the suicides within the VA system are 50 and over. One more thing that keeps getting missed is that while we have about 22 million veterans the VA is only compensating less than 4 million for disabilities.
"Veterans over the age of 50 who had entered the VA healthcare system made up about 78 percent of the total number of veterans who committed suicide"
(You do the math on that one because I already have a headache.) Then there are the attempted suicides in the military and among veterans. DOD reported for 2012
2012 Reported Suicide Attempts As of 31 March 2013, there were 869 submitted suicide attempt DoDSERs among Active duty Service members for all services in calendar year 2012. Active duty includes members of the Active component and members of the Reserve components who were in a Title 10 status at the time of the event. Since Service members could have had more than one suicide attempt during the year, the number of unique Service members and the number of DoDSERs differ. The DoDSERs described suicide attempts for 841 unique Service members: 815 with one DoDSER, 24 with two, and 2 with three. The distribution of suicide attempt DoDSERs across the services was as follows: Air Force – 26.4%, Army – 42.0%, Marine Corps – 19.4%, and Navy – 12.2%. All DoDSERs were included in the tables, figures, and summary text.
The wrong "reduction in suicides" information is out there.
“With an 18 percent drop in 2013, something is going right,” the general said. “One suicide is always too many, but we have to focus our efforts now where we think they are most needed.”
Why, because they didn't think a little detail like reduction of military folks serving also went down. According to the DOD these are the numbers from 2012 to 2014 just for an example.
2012 1,393,948
2013 1,372,336
2014 1,347,187

The myth of deployment not connected to deployments
The five-year study was undertaken in 2009, in response to the rising rate of military suicides. It's the largest study ever attempted on mental health risk and resilience among service members, and it involves an expansive partnership between the Army, the National Institute of Mental Health and several universities.

The coalition of researchers found a statistically significant rise in suicides following initial deployments. This finding contrasts sharply with a study featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association's Aug. 7 edition. Led by personnel at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, that study found no association between deployments and increased suicide risk.

That's just not the case for the Army, as depicted by Army STARRS data, said Dr. Michael Schoenbaum, collaborating scientist at NIMH.

"Soldiers who have deployed at least once do have an elevated suicide rate compared with Soldiers who never deployed," Schoenbaum said.

The AMA Journal article was based on analysis of data from the DOD Millennium Cohort Study that sampled all service members, Schoenbaum said, surmising at least half of the participants were Sailors and Airmen. In contrast, Army STARRS examines only Soldiers.

PTSD connected to military is NOT NEW and it is high time we all got that. WWI studies began on what war does to the men we send to fight.
"English Professor at Dickinson College, Wendy Moffat is writing the biography of Doctor Thomas Salmon, a civilian psychiatrist who voluntarily went to the front during WWI to study, diagnose and treat mentally broken soldiers. He's the first U.S. Army psychiatrist and the first to recognize PTSD."

Less than honorable discharges are not new. As a matter of fact they have been doing it all along however unlike the other wars when they were simply shot. Oh, don't forget the UK shot their own too. Vietnam veterans were kicked out and left with nothing.
According to the suit, approximately 250,000 Vietnam-era veterans received less-than-honorable discharges, and as many as 80,000 of those service members could be eligible for PTSD-related benefits.

As Paul Harvey used to end his radio show, "now you know the rest of the story" and it is about time they stopped trying to cover up for the fact what they have done failed the men and women with their lives in the hands of people they trusted.

Soldier of Fortune "We knew he was suffering but no one expected this"

Sister blames SA soldier's suicide on PTSD
Jayme Pohovey remembered as a hero, 'a soldier’s soldier'
By Paul Venema
September 16, 2014

SAN ANTONIO - The sister of Army Spc. Jayme Pohovey said his family was devastated upon learning that Pohovey had taken his own life Monday morning.

"We knew he was suffering but no one expected this," Jessica Baker said as she talked about her older brother’s death.

Pohovey was stationed at San Antonio Military Medical Center, where he worked as an emergency room medic.

Baker said her brother had served several tours in Afghanistan and was a decorated hero who was once featured on the cover of Soldier of Fortune magazine for acts of heroism while serving in Afghanistan.
read more here

‘Hero’ receives welcome home
By Matthew Rink
Posted Aug. 8, 2008

Spc. Jayme Pohovey hugged mom and dad, grandma and grandpa.
The soft-spoken soldier looked over the group that turned out to welcome him home.
“Everyone’s here,” he said.

Glenn B. Dettman
Army Spc. Jayme Pohovey, center, is greeted by his grandmother Dorothy Pohovey, left, as his wife Svetlana holds daughter Selene Thursday evening at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport. Pohovey has spent all but 30 days in the past 3 1/2 years overseas.

Pohovey’s work that day would later earn him a nickname: the Soldier of Fortune.
“It was surprising when I found out,” he said, noting that fellow soldiers were expected to grace the cover. “I got ragged on the whole time. They kept calling me ‘Soldier of Fortune.’”
“We were just out on a normal patrol with the Afghan National Army in the lead,” he recalled Thursday.

“We were going to give the national blankets and all kinds of things.”

But the Army officers were ambushed, facing heavy fire from the Taliban.

“We heard there were casualties and they were still shooting at us,” he said.

From his Humvee, Pohovey could see an ANA truck in flames with the commander lying on the ground behind it.

“He was pretty heavily injured,” Pohovey said.

The medic pulled out his aid kit and radioed for a helicopter, reassuring the bloodied ANA commander he would be OK, the Army reported.

“The training took over,” he said. “I didn’t even think about it until the next day. I got him a a helicopter and he survived.”
read more here
U.S., Afghan Soldiers Fight Their Way Out of an Ambush

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why don't you fit in with buddies back home after combat?

Why don't you fit in with buddies back home after combat? While they were watching reality TV shows, reruns on Netflix, playing computer games, checking out Facebook and killing time chilling out,,, this was your life.
But even with that there is also this. Some of your buddies think they should get $15 an hour for working at a fast food place but this is what you did for less than minimum wage, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Now you do understand why you can hang out with them but not feel as if you fit in anymore? You never did and be proud of that.

You wanted to serve your country and risked your life to do it. You were willing to die for your "coworkers" but they have a hard time saying "hi" to theirs.

They complain about a long commute but your commute took you thousands of miles away for months.

They complain about a jerk for a boss but you put your life into the hands of yours.

They complain about working too many hours. Your hours didn't end.

They make excuses for not getting their work done on time, but if you were not doing your job, it meant more would have died.

You earned the title of Veteran and that set you apart from them but with the other 7%!

80,000 Vietnam Veterans Wrongly Discharged May Get Benefits for PTSD

Defense Department opens door for Vietnam vets seeking PTSD-related VA benefits
Times Union Staff
Posted: September 15, 2014

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has made the path to PTSD treatment easier for some Vietnam-era veterans. In response to a lawsuit filed earlier this year by a group of Vietnam War veterans, the Department of Defense issued new guidelines governing the review of PTSD-related discharge upgrade requests.

Most of the 3.4 million Americans who deployed to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict left the military before 1980, the year post-traumatic stress disorder became a recognized medical condition.

The new directive is aimed at helping military officials who consider petitions from veterans seeking to have their less-than-honorable discharges upgraded, which would allow them access to medical benefits from the VA not available at the time of their discharge.

The change was sparked by a March lawsuit brought by five Vietnam veterans and three organizations representing veterans. It alleged the military systematically avoided requests for discharge upgrades even when they included evidence of a PTSD diagnosis.

According to the suit, approximately 250,000 Vietnam-era veterans received less-than-honorable discharges, and as many as 80,000 of those service members could be eligible for PTSD-related benefits.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said review boards have been advised to give “liberal consideration” to petitions that cite PTSD.
read more here