Wounded Times

Where Veterans Get Their News

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Semper Fidelis July 4th cookout at the Orlando VA

Semper Fidelis went out to the Orlando VA Community Living Center for their annual July 4th Cookout with heroes.
Good food, great fun and awesome entertainment!

It was a mother's ultimate sacrifice in Florida

Heather Town, Florida Mom, Dies Shielding 3-Year-Old Daughter In Tornado
(How You Can Help)
The Huffington Post
By Allie Compton
Posted: 06/28/2012

It was a mother's ultimate sacrifice.

A tornado spawned by Tropical Storm Debby ripped through the oak trees and barbed-wire fence near Heather Town's mobile home in Venus, Fla. In what must have been a moment of instinct, she grabbed her 3-year-old daughter and clutched the child in her arms, Bay News 9 reports.

Moments later, Town's home was thrown 200 feet into the woods by the powerful storm, according to Fox 13.

Two neighbors heard a child crying and tracked down the source of the sound, eventually finding Town cradling her daughter.

Once help arrived, Town was pronounced dead on the scene, according to Fox 13. The child is recovering from broken bones, including broken ribs, perhaps a result of her mother's tight, protective grip, WPTV reports.

"Anyone that can hold on to their baby like that, I mean, she was brave. To cling to her child, to keep her baby safe," Crystal Walker, Town's sister, told Bay News 9.
read more here

Wounded Times wants to know what you think

So far the results are in and Wounded Times needed to change so that it loaded faster. No, that wasn't a poll question. That was from emails and my own frustration when I tried to view the blog checking on how it looks.

There are now pages to replace my older videos on YouTube and Great Americans, my Bio and poll results located on the tabs at the top. I hope it clears up the problem. If not, I'll keep trying until I get it right.

There is a new poll question to rate veterans charities. I didn't want to single any charity out because that would appear to be bias. I do really want to know what you think about the charity you have encountered so please leave a comment on this post so all of us can know what you think. Too many reports have come out stating most of the charities out there are not doing what they claim and too often really good ones don't have the money for publicity. Here's your chance to share your thoughts and stories with others.

Families need help to visit wounded at Walter Reed

If you support any of the organizations out there, ask them why they aren't taking care of this? Wounded Warrior Project? Red Cross? IAVA? What about the hundreds of other groups out there taking your donations "for the troops" but these families have to go to the press so they can be able to go and see their wounded sons? This is horrible, has been horrible and will keep being horrible until we all make sure the organizations we support are actually doing what they say.

Family of Injured Soldier in Need of Financial Assistance
WTMA
WALLACE, S.C.

Sgt Devin Davis, a Military Policeman from the 133 Military Police Company of Timmonsville is fighting for his life after being injured in a suicide attack in Afghanistan. His family is hoping to raise enough money so they can visit him at Walter Reed Army Hospital, ABC affiliate WCIV Charleston reports.

They have set up a fund to solicit donations to cover those travel expenses. read more here



Fund established for family of wounded Seneca soldier
Ray Chandler
Special to Independent Mail
Posted June 29, 2012


SENECA — Family friends of A. J. Durham, a wounded National Guard soldier, want to make sure he has his family with him on his road to recovery.

“We want them to have the piece of mind to be able to go see him,” said Clemson businessman Rusty Senn, one of the organizers of a fund to ensure some travel expenses and other costs of family members going to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

“His mother works at Milliken and his father is a truck driver,” said Senn. “This is going to be a long haul and means are limited.”

Specialist Durham, a combat medic, was one of eight South Carolina National Guardsmen of the 133rd Military Police Company who were casualties of a June 20 ambush by suicide bombers in Khowst, Afghanistan. Three were killed and five seriously wounded.

Gov. Nikki Haley has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff in honor of Sgt. 1st. Class Brad Thomas of Easley, 1st. Lt. Ryan Davis Rawl of Lexington and Sgt. John David Meador II of Columbia.

Durham suffered a broken femur and shrapnel wounds. After field treatment he was flown to Germany for further treatment and on Wednesday flown to the Walter Reed hospital.
read more here

President Obama visits Alabama soldier in hospital

President Obama visits AL soldier in hospital
Posted: June 29, 2012

President Barack Obama visited SPC Josh Wetzel, a Glencoe native and Army paratrooper, at Walter Reed hospital on Thursday. Photo released by family.


WASHINGTON
President Barack Obama visited wounded Alabama soldier Josh Wetzel in the hospital where he's recovering from losing both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan.

President Obama stopped by to visit Wetzel and his wife, Paige, while making the rounds to meet wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Family members said at one point, the president took Wetzel's hand and they prayed together. In one photograph from the visit, President Obama is shown shaking Wetzel's hand while his wife, Paige, looks on, smiling. Wetzel wore an Auburn shirt during his meeting with the president.
read more here

Sam's Club Operation Shoebox Supporting Our Troops

Operation Shoebox - Supporting Our Troops
2012: Operation Shoebox Supporting Our Troops
Alert:
DEAR SUPPORTERS:

Currently we are in desperate need of travel sized hygiene products for the troops. If you have any you would like to donate, please send it to us at: Operation Shoebox, 8360 E. Highway 25, Belleview FL 34420. Thank You!

Contact Us for information on how you can help.

Send Us Your Videos!

Operation Shoebox is interested in featuring videos from the troops right here on our website! If you are a troop, or family member, and have videos you would like to share.

Please upload them onto YouTube and send us an email with a link to the video and your information and comments that you would like to share. We look forward to sharing our troops experiences. troops@operationshoebox.com

We are currently looking for softball equipment for some troops in Kuwait, they have 45 teams and only enough equipment for 2. If anyone can help us please contact us at troops@operationshoebox.com Thank you!

Sams Club Collection Points

Operation Shoebox is pleased to announce the Sams Clubs in the north FL region will be doing a collection for us the weekends of 6/30 and 7/1 and again on 7/7 and 7/8!!!

If you are in the Jacksonville, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Gainesville,Kissimmee, Ocala or Lady Lake area please stop by and say hi and help us support our troops deployed overseas! Lets show our troops we still care and support them!

4763 WEST IRLO BRONSON MEM HWY KISSIMMEE FL 34746
1101 RINEHART RD SANFORD FL 32771
755 N. HWY 27/441 LADY LAKES FL 32159
7701 E COLONIAL DR ORLANDO FL 32807
7810 W COLONIAL DR ORLANDO FL 32818
3921 SW COLLEGE RD OCALA FL 34474
6373 YOUNGERMAN CIR JACKSONVILLE FL 32244
10690 BEACH BLVD JACKSONVILLE FL 32246
1175 BEVILLE RD DAYTONA BEACH FL 32119
2801 NW 13TH ST GAINESVILLE FL 32609
355 SEMORAN BLVD FERN PARK FL 32730
300 BUSCH DR JACKSONVILLE FL 32218
9498 S ORANGE BLOSSOM TRL ORLANDO FL 32837

Friday, June 29, 2012

NBA draft pick three tour veteran of OEF and OIF

A 27-Year-Old Iraq War Vet Was Selected In The NBA Draft Last Night
Prior to winning an ACC Tournament at Florida State, 6'7” forward Bernard James accomplished something a little more important: three tours of duty in the Middle East with the United States Air Force.
Kevin Lincoln
BuzzFeed

The NBA Draft often plays host to the stories of surprising professional athletes, but Thursday's 2012 version saw the capping of a particularly unlikely narrative. 27-year-old Bernard James was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the 33rd pick of the draft, having just spent four years with the Florida State Seminoles.

James' age would make him special enough — he's the oldest player to get picked in the last 20 years.

But the real story behind James is his previous job: he served six years in the Air Force, starting at age 17. His stint included three tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Qatar, serving as military law enforcement. Even though he only started playing at 14 or 15, he says, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton spotted him at an Armed Forces tournament in Las Vegas and gave him a scholarship.

read more here

VA Selects Site for the New Louisville Replacement Hospital

UPDATE This morning something crazy happened attached to this press release from the VA. I had two requests to remove them from my subscriber list but they were not my subscribers. The email attached to it was to the VA site. Not sure what is going on, if the VA press office was hacked or not, but I received another email stating they are working on the problem. If you get an email with this released attached to it, I suggest you do not click a link or do anything more than just delete it. I'll let you know if this gets cleared up.
Press Release

VA Selects Site for the New Louisville Replacement Hospital
WASHINGTON (June 29, 2012) - The Department of Veterans Affairs has selected a site to serve as the location of a 21st century medical center in Louisville, Ky., replacing an existing 60-year-old facility.

“This new hospital will provide state-of-the-art health care for the Veterans of Louisville and the surrounding 35-county region,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “At VA, we’re committed to upgrading our facilities, programs and technologies to ensure our patients receive the best care anywhere.”

The site for the new VA medical center is located in Jefferson County, adjacent to the Brownsboro Road and I-264 interchange. That location is close to the current Robley Rex VA Medical Center and the downtown University of Louisville Hospital.

Now that the site has been selected, VA will undertake master planning and design. The facility is expected to cost about $883 million and open in late 2017 or early 2018.

The new medical center will have 110 inpatient beds and clinics specializing in primary care, surgery, and mental health. The new facility will also have a geriatric and extended care program, a home-based primary care program, and a substance abuse residential rehabilitation treatment program.

VA operates one of the nation’s largest integrated health care systems in the country. With a health care budget of about $50 billion, VA expects to provide care to 6.3 million patients during 920,000 hospitalizations and nearly 90 million outpatient visits this year. VA’s health care network includes 152 major medical centers and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics.

Last year, VA spent more than $1.9 billion on behalf of Kentucky’s 331,000 Veterans.

In addition to the Louisville facility, VA operates a two-campus medical center in Lexington, nearly two dozen community-based outpatient clinics across the state, Vet Centers in Louisville and Lexington, and seven national cemeteries.

Chiarelli seeks clarity in PTSD treatment?

This is one of the worst ideas that is being pushed.
Chiarelli seeks clarity in PTSD treatment Speaking Thursday at the Seattle convention of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Chiarelli described how his frustrations with the current state of mental-health medicine led to his new role as chief executive of One Mind for Research, a nonprofit with an office in Seattle.

One Mind was founded by former congressman Patrick Kennedy and Garen Staglin, a winemaker, investor and philanthropist whose son was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Chiarelli hopes One Mind can be a catalyst for finding new treatments and join the fight against stigmas that surround mental illness.

Chiarelli already is adamant on one point. He wants post-traumatic-stress disorder to be shortened to post-traumatic stress. Labeling it a disorder, he says, discourages people from seeking help.
(You can click the link to read the rest.)

I used to belong to NAMI but when I figured out they were not willing to listen, or for that matter, get ahead of all of this, I stopped supporting them.

Frankly, it has to be understood that changing PTSD to anything other than Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will not help at best, but it could end up hurting more. Stress is something you get over. An injury is something that heals. Both go away. A disorder is a profound change that does not go away and you can't get over it. While you can heal it, can find ways of coping with what remains, it changes you forever. One other thing is, stress is not a lifetime disability any more than an injury is.

I've been around long enough to have seen a lot of things go on that turn out to be all about money. In this case, it very well could be about ending payments to Combat PTSD veterans.

VA records found in private home called "grievous injustice to veterans"

Ohio VA hospital records found at private home
Friday, June 29, 2012

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center is notifying 16 people that medical records containing their personal information were found at the former home of a now-deceased employee, drawing more attention to a hospital recently scrutinized amid allegations of poor hygiene at a dental clinic and improper conduct by an anesthesia unit employee.

The home's current owner found the boxed records in an attic and contacted police about two months ago, the Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/L6huGY ) reported. The police report indicated no one at the hospital knew why or how someone removed the records, which included birth dates and Social Security numbers.

Former Marine Angelo Arnold of Centerville said he learned about the problem this week in a letter from medical center Director Glenn Costie.

"This is a grievous injustice to veterans," the 51-year-old Arnold told the newspaper.

"Someone has to be accountable at the Dayton VA. This sends a message that certain VA staffers are very careless and reckless with our files."
read more here

Tenth Anniversary of For the Love of Jack, His War/My Battle

Tenth Anniversary of For the Love of Jack, His War/My Battle
Ten years ago I self published For The Love Of Jack, His War/My Battle about living with Combat PTSD. I wanted to help other veterans and their families by talking about what was still a secret war going on when men and women came home from war.

It was finished and I was looking for a publisher when September 11th came. I rushed to have it self-publised. You can read more about this on the above link. To make a long story short, there is so much we knew back then that there are no excuses for what is not being done today. When you read it, you'll know what I mean.

I hope it helps you to understand a few things.

First, it is not hopeless and it does not have to win.
Families can stay together and help each other heal.
Older wives like me can help the younger generation learn what it took us 40 years to understand, in my case, 30 years.
That family members need just as much support living with Combat PTSD as the veteran does. Families are on the front line of this and it is up to us to fight for them when they come home.
Above all this, the need for spiritual healing since PTSD is a wound to the soul.
I don't just study PTSD and report it on my blog. I live with it everyday. I've seen the darkest days losing hope but I've also seen my wonderful husband come out on the other side of darkness. Sadly as you'll read in the book, his nephew did not make it and took his own life. His death was one of the reasons I decided to fight even harder to make sure there were more healing and less dying.

With the reports of 18 veterans suicides per day and an average of one military member committing suicide, it breaks my heart knowing none of this had to happen and I couldn't get anyone with the authority to do anything about it to listen.

For all the talk about June being PTSD Awareness Month, it seemed only right to release this work at the end of the month.

Some veterans hired on spot at job fair

Some veterans hired on spot at job fair
June 29, 2012
By Michael Martinez
The Detroit News


Ivy Scorzelli grudgingly came to Detroit's Veteran Job Fair Wednesday at the urging of her husband, John. They both left Thursday overjoyed — and ready to move to Texas for her new job.

The couple, who both served in Afghanistan in the Army Reserve, have been without work since they returned in March. But now the 26-year-old is ready to start a position in human resources for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs in Austin, and she couldn't be happier.

"I love the uniform, but I'm ready to take it off and look cute for work," she said.

Scorzelli was part of a fortunate group who found employment on the spot at the three-day job fair at Cobo Center. While final numbers were still being calculated, 10,000 total veterans were expected to walk through Cobo's doors for approximately 25,000 jobs nationwide.

The event, billed as the "mother of all hiring fairs," attempted to put a dent in Michigan's 11 percent veteran unemployment rate.

The roster of local employers included Detroit's Big Three automakers, online home lender Quicken Loans Inc., Big Boy restaurants and Two Men and a Truck, a Lansing-based moving company. National companies included General Electric, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Sears, Home Depot and Edward Jones.

The Veterans Affairs department and Aaron's furniture store were two entities that were able to hire on the spot.
read more here

Veterans speak out about PTSD, suicide

Veterans speak out about PTSD, suicide
Posted: Jun 29, 2012
Elizabeth Vowell
BATON ROUGE, LA
WAFB)

E5 Sgt. Matthew Davis has been in the military for 10 years and spent a total of 40 months in the theater of the Iraq War. He's one of thousands of soldiers who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"I'm still dealing with it," said Davis. "It's something that I'm going to be dealing with the rest of my life. It's not just an on and off switch. So, I'm learning to cope with it."

The transition from military to civilian life has been difficult for him and coping with PTSD is a constant struggle.

"I don't like to go out in public, really. I no longer hang out with friends. I have lots of nightmares. My wife told me that I rolled over, told her crazy things," Davis added.

To help manage his PTSD, Davis receives counseling each week at the New Orleans Veterans Affairs. A few weeks ago, he took another step to recovery. Inspired by Ron Zaleski, an ex-Marine who walked cross-country barefoot to raise awareness about veteran suicide, Davis started walking from his home in Houma all the way to the heart of Baton Rouge. All the while, he carried a sign with a chilling fact: 18 veterans a day commit suicide.

"It's too much for someone to deal with," said Mike McNaughton, VA director of veteran outreach. "We've got to find other ways to take care of them."

McNaughton is a veteran of Afghanistan, where he lost a leg and some fingers after stepping on a land mine. He has his own experiences with PTSD and uses that knowledge to help fellow military members.

"These are our sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, everybody and we have to take care of them," McNaughton said.
read more here

Database of Veterans’ Medals Cited as Alternative to ‘Stolen Valor’

Database of Veterans’ Medals Cited as Alternative to ‘Stolen Valor’
By JAMES DAO
June 28, 2012

In his opinion striking down the Stolen Valor Act on Thursday, United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy offered an alternative solution for defending the military’s award system against fakers, one he said would not infringe on First Amendment rights.

“The government could likely protect the integrity of the military awards system by creating a database of medal winners accessible and searchable on the Internet, as some private individuals have already done,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “Were a database accessible through the Internet, it would be easy to verify and expose false claims.”

“Some private individuals” might have been a reference to Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran who for more than a decade has been painstakingly logging military award citations into a public database, a task the Defense Department has declined to take on.

So far, Mr. Sterner said on Thursday, he has logged more than 104,000 award records, including every recipient of the top two tiers of military honors: the Medal of Honor, the highest military award, and the Air Force Cross, the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal. (The Congressional Medal of Honor Society also maintains a database of all Medal of Honor recipients.)

Mr. Sterner says he has done all that data entry himself, helped on the technical side by Militarytimes.com, which hosts the database, known as the Hall of Valor. He asserts that for a few million dollars, he could hire a team of data entry workers and, within three years, log every military valor award ever awarded by the United States military.

“I’ve done this much by myself,” he said. “Imagine what I could do if I had a team.”
read more here

PTSD Awareness is everyday here

PTSD Awareness is everyday here
by
Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog June 30, 2012

Here at Wounded Times Blog PTSD awareness is everyday. There are no days off. There are no slow news days. It doesn't take a day off and deserves attention everyday, not just one. People need to pay attention to the men and women suffering from Combat PTSD more than anyone else if researchers will ever really be able to come up with plans of actions that will work.

There is a huge difference between what civilian survivors of trauma suffer from and what veterans end up with. Police come close to this type of PTSD but in all these years, I've read few reports from experts pointing out there is a difference.

This is the last day of PTSD Awareness month and it took a lot of restraint to avoid highlighting it. There were some posts about this month just as the last couple of days a few mentioning the "day" that was set aside for it.

This is how the bill reads from California
Filed Secretary of State May 31, 2012.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
ACR 107, Eng. PTSD Awareness Day.
This measure would recognize June 27, 2012, as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day.
DIGEST KEY
Fiscal Committee: no
BILL TEXT
WHEREAS, Throughout our nation’s history, the men and women of the United States Armed Forces have preserved our freedom, protected our security, and upheld our democratic values; from the battles of the American Revolution through the crucible of two world wars to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan today, our men and women in uniform have stood proudly in defense of the United States and the cause of liberty; and
WHEREAS, The brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, who proudly serve the United States, risk their lives to protect the freedom of the United States and deserve the investment of every reasonable resource to ensure their lasting physical, mental, and emotional well-being; and
WHEREAS, The incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in members of the military is rising as the United States Armed Forces conducts two wars, exposing hundreds of thousands of soldiers to traumatic life-threatening events; and WHEREAS, The federal Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as many as 95 percent of veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have some form of PTSD; and
WHEREAS, Symptoms include nightmares, feeling numb, having difficulty experiencing love or closeness with others, feeling jittery or overly alert, having difficulty sleeping, experiencing anger or irritability, having difficulty concentrating, substance problems, and having feelings of despair or hopelessness; and
WHEREAS, Although the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have made significant advances in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and the symptoms of PTSD, many challenges remain; and
WHEREAS, According to the National Institute for Mental Health, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened; and
WHEREAS, The Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Defense should continue to work to educate service members, veterans, the families of service members and veterans, and the public about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of PTSD; and
WHEREAS, It is important to all citizens of the State of California, that those who served our country in the military are aware of the symptoms of PTSD and are able to seek help; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature pause in its deliberations to memorialize Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., and to proclaim June 27, 2012, as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day in the state, fully confident that such procedure mirrors our shared commitment to preserve, to ensure, and to yet effect that patrimony of freedom which is our American Heritage; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.


There is a difference and if we forget that, if we still have not been able to understand that, then all the research and money in the world will not stop the suicides of the combat survivors.

How can the anyone in the general public understand this, understand the men and women coming home, if we are still not making them aware how very different Combat PTSD is from a one time event in the general public?

This is the last day of "PTSD awareness" month and there are still 19 needless funerals everyday of the month. Looks like awareness is not always a good thing when they are made aware of failures passing off as a treatment.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Soldier kills officer in Fort Bragg shooting

Soldier kills officer in Fort Bragg shooting
Staff reports
Posted : Thursday Jun 28, 2012 17:17:55 EDT
A battalion commander at Fort Bragg, N.C., was shot dead and two others were wounded, Army officials said in a news release.

The shooter, said to be an E-4, reportedly shot the officer and then turned the gun on himself. The shooter was reportedly injured and is in custody.

Initial reports that the shooter was dead are incorrect.

The two soldiers were with the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. The shooting occurred during a unit-safety brief near 18th Airborne Corps headquarters around 3:30 p.m.
read more here

Veteran paints mural to raise awareness of Combat PTSD

Mural painted in SF alley to honor Iraq War soldiers, raise PTSD awareness
Thursday, June 28, 2012
KTVU.com and wires

SAN FRANCISCO — A mural project got under way in San Francisco Wednesday honoring the nearly 5,000 U.S. soldiers to die in the Iraq War.

The names of the 4,484 soldiers began being painted Wednesday morning on a mural in "Veterans Alley," located at Geary and Shannon streets near the city's Tenderloin neighborhood, according to Amos Gregory, who conceived the project.

Gregory, who is a veteran from the Persian Gulf War-era, said painting all the names could take as long as two months and is part of a larger project to transform the alley, which he said was a popular place for drug use among homeless veterans.

"They call it 'Crack Alley,'" he said. "There's a lot of drug use, a lot of trauma."

Gregory said he got permission from the owners of four of the six buildings in the alley to paint murals there, including the 76-by-30-foot mural with the Iraq War soldiers' names.
Veteran paints mural to cope with and raise awareness of PTSD

Twenty States File Settlement To Shut Down Veterans Services Website

Twenty States File Settlement To Shut Down Veterans Services Website
June 27, 2012
by Daniela Perallon
WHNT News

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Twenty states, including Alabama, will be reaping the benefits of the $2.5 million settlement filed against QuinStreet, Inc. on Wednesday.

The company runs GIBill.com, a website aiming to help veterans make sense of their benefits, but is accused of misleading and deceiving users by directing them to for-profit clients.

“It’s really tragic that organizations would intentionally be deceptive and take advantage of veterans,” said William Webb, a spokesperson for Still Serving Veterans in Huntsville.
read more here

Veterans comfort dying Vietnam vet

Veterans comfort dying Vietnam vet
Posted: Jun 27, 2012
By Bob Hallmark
GREGG COUNTY, TX
(KLTV)

A small group of Vietnam veterans gather every Wednesday in Longview to be with a fellow veteran, in the final days of his life with an effort they call the Donut Club.

He was a staunch advocate of Vietnam veterans issues in Gregg County for decades, but life has taken mobility away from Navy Vietnam veteran Brad Bemis.

"Its very frustrating, I used to love working in my yard, now its full of weeds I can't even mow my own yard. I can't walk more than about 20 feet before being out of breath," Bemis says.

A 20 year Navy veteran, Bemis is visited twice a week by the Donut Club, his fellow Vietnam vets.

Bemis has stage four emphysema, and is tethered on oxygen 24/7.

These gatherings mean everything to him.

"Means the world to me," he says.
read more here

Orlando VFW Medal Ceremony

Orlando VFW Medal Ceremony

With the help of Senator Nelson's office, the Orlando VFW was able to get medals to veterans they had not received when they should have. A WWII veteran and others were presented their awards including a Vietnam Veteran getting two Bronze Stars! The ceremony had to be moved because the fire department wouldn't let people inside the post after smoke was detected on June 23, 2012.

Three Families Unite to Raise $30-Million for Aid to Veterans

Three Families Unite to Raise $30-Million for Aid to Veterans
June 27, 2012
By Maria Di Mento

Three affluent families are forming a fund with the purpose of raising $30-million to support programs that serve military veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America announced today.

The families have donated more than $1-million and plan to seek contributions especially from other wealthy people, including those without personal connections to any service members.

Philip Green, president of PDG Consulting, a health-care consultancy, and his wife, Elizabeth Cobbs, chief of geriatrics at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., joined with their friends Glenn and Laurie Garland and with the Jim Stimmel family to create the fund, Mr. Green said in an interview with The Chronicle.

The money raised for the new Veterans Support Fund will be funneled to five nonprofits that help returning service members and their families.

In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which will operate the fund and conduct fundraising for it, the other beneficiaries include the National Military Family Association, Operation Homefront, Operation Mend, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
read more here

Neighbors oppose plans for Calif. PTSD center

Neighbors oppose plans for Calif. PTSD center
The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Jun 27, 2012

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council delayed voting Tuesday on a controversial plan to open a 40-bed treatment center for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder across the street from a charter elementary school.

City officials decided to hold off until negotiations wrap up between the Old Town Academy’s attorney, Cynthia Morgan, and the Department of Veteran Affairs medical director in San Diego, Jeffrey Gering.
read more here

Wounded Iraq war vet paroled, will receive treatment for PTSD

Wounded Iraq war vet paroled, will receive treatment
BY PETER E. BORTNER
STAFF WRITER
Republican Herald.com
Published: June 28, 2012

Jonathan T. Porter received another chance Tuesday in Schuylkill County Court to recover from both the physical and emotional wounds he suffered while in combat in Iraq.

"Thank you, Your Honor. I'm not too far gone," Porter told President Judge William E. Baldwin after being paroled for a second time on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. "I just want to be the person I was before this."

"This" consisted of two tours of duty as a combat medic beginning in 2004 in Iraq, climaxing in one terrible day that changed his life forever.

"I was blown up while riding in a Humvee," testified Porter, 27, of Pottsville.

As a result, he received his second Purple Heart, the medal awarded to troops who are wounded in combat, but also a shove down the dark road of disability, post-traumatic stress disorder and drug addiction, the dual diagnosis for which he must receive help as a condition of his parole.

"I'm on nine medications," after never having had a problem with either drugs or alcohol before his military service, Porter said. "I haven't been idle in trying to deal with my addiction."

One benefit he did receive from his service was the opportunity to meet President Obama.

"Obama shook my hand and said, 'We need more soldiers like you'," Porter recalled.

However, neither meeting Obama nor the Purple Hearts helped Porter overcome PTSD, drug addiction or the traumatic brain injury that has left him permanently disabled.
read more here

Brush fire at Camp Pendleton 90 percent contained

Brush fire at Camp Pendleton 90 percent contained
June 27, 2012

A fire that has burned nearly 400 acres poses no threats to buildings or residents, base officials reported.

By SALVADOR HERNANDEZ and SEAN EMERY
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

CAMP PENDLETON – A fire that has burned nearly 400 acres in a remote part of the Marine base is 90 percent contained, base officials said.

The fire was first seen about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, about 3 miles northwest of the Marine Corps Air Station. Since then, the fire has burned about 395 acres.
read more here

Fort Carson scrambled to build fire breaks

Fire Forces Air Force Academy to Evacuate
Jun 28, 2012
UPI

Army combat engineers rushed to stop a major wildfire that left tens of thousands of people homeless, from consuming the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

The military school for officer candidates relocated about 550 cadets off academy grounds Wednesday night, 200 new cadets were moved to the University of Colorado's

Colorado Springs campus and 350 moved in with local sponsor families, the Army said.

Commanders suspended all training programs as an engineer battalion from the Army's Fort Carson near Colorado Springs scrambled to build fire breaks around the 18,500-acre school's boundaries.

The Army, which initially committed 121 troops, along with construction and demolition equipment, to helping the Academy -- said in a statement Fort Carson would devote as much resources as it had to fighting the Waldo Canyon fire, which doubled in size Wednesday and blackened more than 30 square miles by Thursday morning.

An aerial photograph taken Wednesday and published in The Denver Post Thursday showed approximately 300 homes, all of them inside the Colorado Springs city limits, evidently reduced to charred rubble.
read more here

also

News: Fort Carson assists displaced service members, Families

Supreme Court says you can lie about valor

Update July 1, 2012

Veterans respond to court overturning lying law
Published July 01, 2012
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Jack Jacobs can proudly — and truthfully — say he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor in Vietnam. After a recent Supreme Court ruling, anyone else is free under the First Amendment to make the same claim, whether it's true or not.

Some military veterans say they consider the ruling a slap in the face. For Jacobs, though, it was the right decision. He said he wore the uniform to protect people's rights — even if he doesn't agree with how they exercise those rights.

"There are lots of things people do that revolt me, but I'm happy that I fought for this country not to give them the right to do something stupid, but for the majority of the people to do the right thing," said Jacobs, 66, who earned the Medal of Honor in 1969 for carrying several of his buddies to safety from a shelled rice field despite the shrapnel wounds in his head, the streaming blood clouding his vision.

"I'm a free speech guy," he said.
read more here
UPDATE The mandate to buy health insurance coverage was a no-brainer since we already have one and if you look at your pay stub, you see the deduction for it.

What bothers me is this Stolen Valor ruling. This court does not support the military and that is now very clear. First it was the right of Westboro hate group to protest at military funerals, thus giving them the right to single out families and stalk them when they are simply trying to bury a family member who gave their lives for this country. Now they gave the right to people to lie about being a hero.

Some say it is not a big deal because sooner or later these people are proven to be liars. The problem is what happens before the "later" comes and they have swindled generous people out of a lot of money. The American people are generous and while they hear little about the servicemen and women, when they do, they rush to help those in need. Knowing someone can no legally lie about being wounded in combat or being awarded the highest honors in this country will cause them to think longer and harder about doing anything for anyone.

Opinion 1 is out.
Court rules in favor of man who lied about receiving the medal of honor.

Court says lies protected by 1st amendment.
28 Jun 12

At issue is the constitutional value of false statements of fact, and whether Congress went too far when passing the Stolen Valor Act in 2006.

The Supreme Court ruling effectively has thrown out the Stolen Valor act, a federal law that would make it a crime to lie about receiving certain military honors.

Some justices expressed concerns during February arguments that the act could "chill" other types of speech, while others said they felt the law was narrowly tailored and preserved the integrity of military honors.

also


Supreme Court upholds entire health care law
June 28th, 2012

Editor's note: We're live blogging from the Supreme Court today as the nation waits to see how the justices will rule on the health care law. You can follow along below as CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears and Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin get the latest details live from the court as well as analysis when the opinion is delivered.

[Updated at 10:16 a.m. ET] Kate Bolduan reports that the Chief Justice John Roberts issued a long opinion in which he said the controversial individual mandate may be upheld and is within Congress’ power under the taxing clause rather than the commerce clause.

[Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET] The Supreme Court has upheld the entire health care law by a vote of 5 to 4, Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears said. That includes the medicare provision

[Updated at 10:06 a.m. ET] In a landmark decision that will impact the nation for decades, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a key provision of President Barack Obama's health care law, ruling that requiring people to have health insurance violates the Constitution.

Chief Justice John Roberts had noted that however that the mandate would have been struck down based on the commerce clause , saying it would "open a new and vast domain" for Congressional power.
read more here


UPDATE 1:25 pm est
From Stars and Stripes

2 minutes ago
Supreme Court strikes down Stolen Valor Act
By CHRIS CARROLL
Stars and Stripes
Published: June 28, 2012


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday tossed out a 2006 law making it a federal misdemeanor to lie about receiving a military service medal, but left the door open for Congress to try again with a more finely tuned law.

In a 6-3 ruling, the court said the Stolen Valor Act violated First Amendment free-speech protections, ruling in favor of Xavier Alvarez, a California man prosecuted for false claims in 2007 that he had received the Medal of Honor.

Alvarez, a former member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District Board, speaking at his first meeting as a board member, said: “I’m a retired Marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy.”
read more here

Gold Star Wives coming to Navy Exchange

Community rallies behind wounded Maine soldier

Community rallies behind wounded Maine soldier
Jun 27, 2012
Written by
Sarah Delage

LIVERMORE FALLS, Maine (NEWS CENTER)

The community is rallying behind a local family whose daughter was critically injured in a suicide bomber attack in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Helaina Lake is being treated at Walter Reed hospital near Washington D.C. Lake's mother, Jeannine Lake, is heading to D.C. to see her daughter for the first time since last Wednesday's attack. She has had brief conversations with her daughter over the phone, and has said that she is in a lot of pain, and just wants to be reunited with her family, especially her two year-old son Aden.

During the bombing, Sergeant Lake was hit with shrapnel and ball bearings on the right side of her body. She was in a medically-induced coma until Monday morning as doctors performed several surgeries and worked to control her pain.
read more here

Disrespect for Vietnam vets is fact, not fiction

There are stories of Vietnam veterans coming home, pretty much ignored by the general public. There are other stories of them being spit on or beaten. The truth is, both. It depended on when they came home and where they came home to.

Disrespect for Vietnam vets is fact, not fiction
Article by: BOB FEIST
June 26, 2012

Spitting stories, while true, aren't the point. But denial of what we suffered dishonors us again. Counterpoint

I am a combat-disabled Army veteran who served in Vietnam in 1968-69. I was infantry, in the field, fighting the most misunderstood and unpopular war in American history.

I've studied the history, and I've lived it.

And David Sirota is wrong about the history and policies of that war and about the treatment of returning military men and women ("The myth of the spat-upon war veteran," June 8).

Contrary to protesters' claims, then and now, the Vietnam War did not begin without good reasons. It was a direct result of the 1945 Yalta Conference, where Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill agreed to abandon the Vietnamese (who had helped defeat the Japanese in World War II) and give all of Indo-China back to the French. Despite U.S. economic support and military advisers, the French lost the ensuing Vietnamese independence struggle and withdrew from all of Indo-China. Vietnam ended up divided.

In the era when the North Vietnamese invaded the South, the world was facing Russian colonialism, the spread of communism, nuclear arms, the Cuban missile crisis and other threats to world peace. We fought to "contain" communist aggression and adopted the "domino theory," believing that if one country in a region fell, the rest would.

Although the history of the past 50 years is complex, it's fair to observe that the spread of communism has been contained.

We need to remember that it was the South Vietnamese government that lost their war, not the much-maligned American soldier. American service members did not suffer defeat, even though most of us felt defeated. Policy and politics out of Washington had failed, not the military.
read more here


I interviewed Sammy Davis and he told the story of what happened to him when he came home. He was beaten among other things, after his actions as a Pfc. saved lives and he earned the Medal of Honor. After being beaten, Sammy turned around and joined the National Guards.

At the Orlando Nam Knights fundraiser for Homes For Our Troops, Vietnam Veteran and Medal of Honor hero Sammy Davis talked to me about what it was like coming home after all he'd been through. It is a story few have heard before. As Sammy put it, it is one of the reasons no other veteran will ever come home treated like that again.


Timothy couldn't believe the brave soldier he worshipped shot himself on purpose

Soldier's son on a mission to help others after father's suicide
He has a message for other grieving military children
By Lindsay Wise
Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Timothy couldn't believe that the brave soldier he worshipped had shot himself on purpose.

When his father returned from Iraq in 2004, Timothy, dressed in a mini version of a miliatry uniform, welcomed him home. Photo: Karen Warren / © 2012 Houston Chronicle

Timothy Swenson was 6 years old when his father, a soldier, died by suicide at Fort Hood. Thinking to spare the little boy, his mother told him that Daddy had died of a heart attack.

But Timothy's grandparents, who had been taking care of him at their home in Humble, wanted to be as open as possible. They told him the truth.

"He didn't believe us," said his grandmother, Judi Swenson. "He said, 'Nobody was in the apartment when he died. Nobody knows. I know he didn't commit suicide.' "

It took Timothy years to come to terms with how his father died. Now 13 and a student at Timberwood Middle School, he wants to help other grieving military kids heal.

"Let your feelings out. And just, like, don't hide it," Timothy advises. "Don't keep it to yourself."

For adults, he has this message: "Suicide is not the answer."

Timothy's father, Spc. David Paul Swenson Jr., served in the U.S. Army and Texas Army National Guard. He is among a record number of Guard members, reservists and active-duty service members who have killed themselves in the decade since the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Their children, like Timothy, grow up grappling with a complicated legacy of patriotism and pain.

"Timmy was extremely close to his daddy," Judi said. "His daddy was his hero."
read more here

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

States’ Attorneys General Action A Victory for Veterans and the GI Bill

States’ Attorneys General Action A Victory for Veterans and the GI Bill
WASHINGTON (June 27, 2012) – Officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs applauded a decision by the attorneys general of several states to give VA the rights to use the GIBill.Com website, after the website’s original owners QuinStreet Inc. agreed to give up the internet site to settle a lawsuit by the states.

“This action is a victory for Veterans and a victory for the GI Bill. Veterans and VA applaud the great work by the states’ attorneys general, along with Holly Petraeus and her team,” said W. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary for Veterans Affairs. “We all want Veterans to be informed consumers and for schools to meet their obligations in training this Nation’s next ‘Greatest Generation.’”

Holly Petraeus is assistant director for service member affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The attorneys general of several states had sued QuinStreet Inc., the owner of the GI Bill.com domain, charging it with deceptive practices by directing Veterans and Service Members on its website exclusively to for-profit schools that were clients of QuinStreet.

The announcement comes as VA is seeking legal authority to trademark the term GI Bill. An executive order by President Obama on April 26 directed VA and the Department of Defense to undertake a number of measures to “stop deceptive and misleading” promotional efforts that target the GI Bill educational benefits of Service members, Veterans, and eligible family members and survivors.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which was authorized by Congress in 2008, is the most extensive educational assistance program since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. VA has issued nearly $20 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments to more than 759,000 people and their educational institutions.

All of VA's education benefits are designed to be flexible and give Veterans the power of choice by enabling them to pursue college degrees, technical certifications, or vocational training according to their preferences and needs, at public, private non-profit and private for-profit schools.

For-profit schools are held to the same approval standards as all other schools, and VA education programs at for-profit institutions are approved by the State Approving Agencies, which act independently on behalf of the federal government to ensure quality education and training is provided to Veterans within each state.

Gould said Veterans should not be recruited aggressively by institutions principally because of financial motives, and that VA’s and other federal and state agencies’ oversight activities provide strong monitoring. VA is engaging with other federal agencies to provide this oversight, including the departments of Defense, Education, and Justice, as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“VA looks forward to helping Veterans make informed decisions by accepting this gift of the GIBill.com domain. We will continue to support our Veterans by helping them obtain the best education of their choosing—a right for which they have bravely served, and which they have rightly earned,” Gould said.

For more information on GI Bill programs, please visit www.GIBILL.va.gov or call 1-888-GI-Bill-1 (1-888-442-4551) to speak with a GI Bill representative.

Soldier accused in firefight with police is prisoner to PTSD

Soldier accused in firefight with police is prisoner to PTSD
Joshua Eisenhauer, believing he was under attack by insurgents, opened fire from in his North Carolina apartment. His lawyer wants the military to take over the case so the veteran can get the treatment he needs.
By David Zucchino
Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. — There were shouts and footsteps in the darkness, then a banging on the door.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Eisenhauer rose from his mattress on the floor of his apartment in Fayetteville, N.C. He reached under the bedding for his Glock 19 pistol. He fired into the night.

The noises had come from firefighters responding to a minor fire Jan. 13. But to Eisenhauer, a veteran of two Afghanistan combat tours diagnosed with severepost-traumatic stress disorder, the firefighters were insurgents storming his position.

Eisenhauer's ensuing gun battle with police lasted nearly two hours. He was shot in the face, chest and thigh, finally passing out from blood loss. When he was first able to speak in a hospital two days later, according to his lawyer, he asked a nurse: "Who's got the roof?"

Now Eisenhauer is inmate No. 1304704 in Raleigh's Central Prison. He faces 17 counts of attempted murder of firefighters and police officers, nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and other charges. No firefighters or police were hit.
read more here

Visible Honor For Invisible Wounds

Visible Honor For Invisible Wounds
Jun 26, 2012
Written by
Anita Brikman

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA)-- An event entitled "Visible Honor for Invisible Wounds" will be taking place in Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning, June 27th.

The idea is to recognize how post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, severe depression, and survivor's guilt can wound our veterans as much as roadside bombs or a sniper's fire.

In particular, the urgent focus is on the tremendous loss of our veterans to suicide and how to help them before it is too late.

In addition to remarks by high-ranking members of the Armed Services, lawmakers, and mental health professionals, there will be a young but powerful voice coming from the podium.

Barbara Webb is just 10 years old. She will be speaking about the day she almost lost her father Steven to suicide, and what needs to be done to help other veterans suffering in silence.

Barbara and her mother Megan joined WUSA 9's Anita Brikman in the studio to talk about their family's experience with PTSD.
read more here

Soldier sent back to duty after asking for help

AWOL and Ailing
JBLM soldier Brook Thomas Lindsey says the Army's mental-health system needs help.
By Keegan Hamilton
Seattle Weekly
Wednesday, Jun 27 2012

An Iraq War veteran stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord says struggles with PTSD and a lack of responsiveness to his condition by Army doctors forced him to go AWOL.

The soldier, 26-year-old Sgt. Brook Thomas Lindsey, met with members of the media on Friday, June 22 at Coffee Strong, a nonprofit organization headquartered across the street from JBLM that advocates for military mental-health treatment reform. Lindsey recounted why he decided to leave the base without permission on March 26.

"I'd go over to Madigan [Army Medical Center], right across the street, and I'd tell them, 'I'm having suicidal thoughts,' " Lindsey says. "They would just tell me to breathe. They'd talk me down. The next day I'm still feeling the same way, but they'd return me to duty, tell my leaders everything was fine."
read more here

Private Needham's War

UPDATE
Tuesday's "48 Hours Mystery" Was #1 in Households and Viewers
CBS spins the numbers for Tuesday, June 26.
[via press release from CBS]
"48 HOURS MYSTERY" TUESDAY'S EXAMINATION OF THE ROLE PLAYED BY POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER IN PVT. JOHN NEEDHAM'S KILLING OF HIS GIRLFRIEND WAS #1 IN HOUSEHOLDS AND VIEWERS

CBS News' 48 HOURS MYSTERY TUESDAY (R) was first in households (4.0/07) and viewers (5.66m), while delivering a 1.5/04 in adults 25-54, according to preliminary Nielsen same day ratings for June 26. Compared to last week, 48 HOURS MYSTERY TUESDAY was even in both adults 25-54 and adults 18-49.

The broadcast, which aired on the eve of National PTSD Awareness Day, featured Troy Roberts' emotional report on Pvt. John Needham, who beat to death the woman he loved, 19-year-old Jacque Villagomez. Needham's story started in Iraq where he was severely injured in combat and exposed to multiple IED and grenade attacks. He was later diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Needham's father says the war took a heavy toll on his son, and ravaged his mind and body. From the beginning, Needham took responsibility for Villagomez's death but said he remembered little of the incident. He said that as they argued one night, something inside him snapped. He blamed his brain injury and PTSD for the beating that came next.
Read more
I watched this last night and wanted to share it with you. There are so many stories out there that do not get the attention of the national media, but are reported all across the country.

While millions of veterans return from combat with PTSD, few commit crimes and even fewer commit them "in their right mind" but we don't talk about them. They are just not "newsworthy" enough to have their stories told the same way Needham's story was.

When you watch this I hope you take away what happened to Needham while he tried to get help and his Dad fought hard for him. Needham's trouble got worse when he tried to commit suicide in Iraq but his buddy stopped him. During the struggle, the gun went off.

Before you watch this, keep an open mind and watch the whole thing. The ending shocked me too.

Private Needham's War
CBS News




original story PTSD on Trial Private John Needham

Military suicides alarms VFW's national commander

Military suicides alarms VFW's national commander
Jun 23, 2012
Written by
Jeff Matthews


Richard DeNoyer, VFW’s national commander, says military suicide rates need attention. Tia Owens-Powers

More U.S. military personnel committed suicide in the first five months of 2012 than were killed in action in Afghanistan.

Of all the issues affecting soldiers, veterans and their families, that one concerns Richard DeNoyer the most. DeNoyer, national commander in chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, was in Alexandria this week appearing at the VFW state convention.

"The bottom line is that's just about a suicide a day," DeNoyer said. "Why are these young people committing suicide? It's obvious our country as a whole is not doing enough to recognize it and deal with it."

According to a recent Associated Press report, there were 154 suicides among active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year -- 50 percent higher than the number of U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan over that time.

DeNoyer said VFW is lobbying Congress to provide more psychiatric care and counseling both in the military and the veterans hospital system.

In addition, he said efforts need to be stepped up to combat the stigma of active-duty soldiers seeking psychiatric care.
read more here

Gov. Haley's husband called state Senate cowards on Facebok

Haley defends military husband's Facebook post
SUSANNE M. SCHAFER
Associated Press
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The head of South Carolina's National Guard said Tuesday he will conduct an internal review of the Guard's policy on social media use after Gov. Nikki Haley's husband used Facebook to call members of the state Senate cowards for not voting on a bill favored by his wife.

Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston said he spoke with Michael Haley about the matter, and Michael Haley told the general he intended to express himself as a private citizen, not as a member of the Guard.

Michael Haley is an officer the South Carolina Army National Guard.

Sen. Jake Knotts, a Lexington Republican who has often clashed with Gov. Haley, called late Tuesday for Michael Haley to resign his commission if he can't abstain from "contentious partisan issues."

In speeches, Gov. Nikki Haley frequently talks about her husband's military service and says she is proud that he puts on his uniform daily when he goes to work.
read more here

Marines not doing enough to stop sexual assaults

Report Finds Marine Corps Has Failed To Cut Down On Sexual Assaults
June 26, 2012

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Marine Corps has admitted its failure to cut down sexual assaults within its ranks.

Just last year, there were 88 reported sexual assaults at Camp Pendleton and 24 at Twentynine Palms’ Air Ground Combat Center, according to a Marine Corps report cited by the Los Angeles Times.
read more here

Two tour Mom of two killed in car accident going to work

Iraq War vet killed in car wreck
Hinds Sheriff's employee served 2 tours, had 2 children
Jun. 26, 2012
Written by
Therese Apel


Col. Samuel T. Nichols, Jr, shakes Shametra Stamps' hand at Camp Shelby recently. The mother of two who served two tours in Iraq died in a car wreck Friday in Hinds County. / File photo/Hattiesburg American


Shametra "Meme" Stamps survived two tours in Iraq, including one as a driver.

On Friday morning, the veteran driver with the 365th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion out of Jackson, also a recent Hinds County Sheriff's Department employee, was killed in a car crash on her way to work.

"She put down many a mile up and down those roads in Iraq," said Sgt. Maj. Dwayne Howard, for whom Stamps was a driver both overseas and at home.

Stamps was a pro, he said. Even under fire, she kept her head.

Stamps, 30, who her friends say was a "girly girl," always maintained a positive attitude in spite of the rigors of the job.
read more here

Vet Jobless Rate Leads to Fed, State Initiatives

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Naked For A Good Cause Army Wives Battling Bare

Army Wives Get Naked For A Good Cause
‘Battling Bare’ PTSD Awareness Campaign [video]
Posted: June 26, 2012

A group of military wives are baring their bodies (discreetly) to help support their patriotic spouses through the “Battling Bare” campaign. The women grew tired of “staying silent” about the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and created a media campaign to educate Americans about the affects PTSD has on the entire family, The Blaze reports. The military wives PTSD awareness campaign is a private organization in the process of securing non-profit status. The primary goal of the project is to empower “silent supporters” to “battle back” and provide resources to help returning veterans heal.

“Battling Bare” campaign photos of Army wives showing a bit of skin generated a lot of attention and helped relay the import message which is at the heart of the project. The pledge written on the bare skin of the participating military wife reads: Broken by battle, wounded by war, I support our troops forever – to them this I swore I will quiet your screams, help heal your shattered soul until once again every soldier is whole. Battle Bare.
read more here

Vietnam vet in custody after shooting 2 family members?

The last to die in Vietnam was 1975. How is a 52 year old a Vietnam Veteran?
Is this yet another "headline" grabber for the news station or is it just bad reporting?

Police: Vietnam vet in custody after shooting 2 family members
Deputies say grandfather shot man, woman
KOCO Oklahoma City

COYLE, Okla. - A Coyle grandfather is facing charges Monday after police say he opened fire on his own family. Two people are now in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds.

Family members of the 52-year-old grandfather say the Vietnam veteran suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Sky 5 flew over the scene just after the shooting Monday afternoon in the 10000 block of East 32nd Street about 4:21 p.m. as police moved in to arrest the man.
read more here

Bill proposed to change PTSD military programs

Bill proposed to change PTSD military programs
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Monday submitted legislation that would reshape behavioral health programs in the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs based in part on her review of controversial post-traumatic stress diagnoses at Madigan Army Medical Center.

ADAM ASHTON; STAFF WRITER
Published: 06/26/12

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Monday submitted legislation that would reshape behavioral health programs in the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs based in part on her review of controversial post-traumatic stress diagnoses at Madigan Army Medical Center.

For much of this year, Murray has pushed the Defense Department to “standardize” its post-traumatic stress programs across the service. She has been troubled by service members receiving different diagnoses from different doctors, as well as by reports of veterans experiencing long wait times for mental health services at the VA.

“The Department of Defense and the VA are losing the battle against the mental and behavioral wounds of these wars,” Murray said in introducing her bill. “To see that, you don’t need to look any further than the tragic fact that already this year over 150 active-duty service members have taken their own lives.”

Murray’s bill has a long road before it can become a law. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, which Murray leads as chairwoman, will hold a hearing Wednesday on the legislation.

Her bill aims to:
• Compel the Defense Department to standardize its various behavioral health and suicide-prevention programs.
• Provide more behavioral health services for families through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
• Create opportunities for veterans and active-duty service members to counsel each other as peers.
• Require the VA to create “credible” staffing plans and performance goals.
read more here

New University of South Florida therapy may ease PTSD

New University of South Florida therapy may ease PTSD
By HOWARD ALTMAN
Tampa Tribune
Published: June 25, 2012

TAMPA — For University of South Florida researchers studying the effectiveness of a new therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, these are promising times.

They've just published the results of an initial study that indicates the treatment, accelerated resolution therapy, seems to work. The Department of Defense and the university have just given approval to test active-duty service members, a major restaurateur has kicked off a fundraising campaign and a Navy reserve station in Las Vegas now will serve as a satellite study center.

It all comes at a time when Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says research into suicide prevention is one of the Department of Defense's main weapons in the fight against suicide, which kills more troops than the Taliban.

"With all of these things coming together, it looks like we are that much closer to getting a more efficient evidence-based treatment into place that will actually eliminate the traumatic response to memories and bring relief to the troops and their families," said one of the researchers, Carrie Elk, a psychologist and military liaison for the USF College of Nursing, which conducted the initial therapy studies.
read more here

Ft. Lewis Soldier Says Poor PTSD Treatment Forced Him AWOL

Brook Thomas Lindsey: Ft. Lewis Soldier Says Poor PTSD Treatment Forced Him AWOL
By Keegan Hamilton
Mon., Jun. 25 2012
Categories: Military

An Iraq War veteran stationed at Ft. Lewis says struggles with PTSD and a lack of responsiveness to his condition by Army doctors forced him to go AWOL.

The soldier, 26-year-old Sgt. Brook Thomas Lindsey, met with members of the media on Friday at Coffee Strong, a non-profit organization, headquartered across the street from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, that advocates for military mental health treatment reform. Lindsey recounted why he decided to leave the base without permission on March 26.

"I'd go over to Madigan (Army Medical Center), right across the street and I'd tell them, 'I'm having suicidal thoughts,"' Lindsey says. "They would just tell me to breathe. They'd talk me down. The next day I'm still feeling the same way, but they'd return me to duty, tell my leaders everything was fine."

Wearing a baseball cap and a grey shirt with the sleeves rolled up to reveal several skeletal, military-themed tattoos on his forearms, Lindsey says he enlisted at age 19 because he felt it was his patriotic duty. He says he was deployed in Iraq for 22 months, and that he was an exemplary soldier prior to his return to the military base just south of Tacoma. Greg Wilson, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, says he served in Iraq with Lindsey in 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and was always impressed with his fellow soldier's resolve.
read more here

Double-Whammy: PTSD and Substance Abuse

MILITARY MENTAL HEALTH
Double-Whammy: PTSD and Substance Abuse
By MARK THOMPSON
June 25, 2012

Battleland contributor Bingham Jamison, a Marine who saw action in Iraq and came home the worse for wear, is the subject of a new video by Veterans Healing Initiative.

That’s a nonprofit group dedicated to getting veterans treatment for substance abuse and PTSD. “VHI offers support to veterans from all conflicts, of all ages, men and women, regardless of military status or medical insurance coverage,” says Bingham, a member of VHI’s military advisory board.
Read more

IamVeteran wants you to get what you earned

Earlier this month I went to a job fair for veterans and met a lady, Annie Artis, doing all she can to help veterans. She runs IamVeteran
IamVeteran was created to assist Veterans with transitioning from military life to civilian. Given the large number of veterans and soldiers exiting the military, the high rate of veteran unemployment and the lack of resources, IamVeteran was designed to be a one stop resource for veterans and their spouses.

IamVeteran will assist you with relocation, finding your local Veteran’s Representative, identify your local community service in all 50 states.

As a one stop resource IamVeteran will identify job fairs, virtual job fairs and provide job leads to top companies across the United States that desire to hire Veterans.


Yesterday while talking to Annie she told me about a video she created to help veterans fill out a form for non-service connected pensions. These forms can get people confused, so she walks you through how to do it.

Application to apply for VA Pension for Non-Service Connected Disability.



Annie mentioned to me a lot of female veterans need help but do not want to talk to a male, especially when they are healing from being raped.
The Orlando DAV Chapter 16 has female service officers they can talk to, highly trained and work for free as volunteers of the Disabled American Veterans.

Central FL Chapter 16 Service Officer Hours are currently two days a week. Our certified Service Officer Staff will now have hours of operation on Tuesday and Thursday every week. Opening from 9am to 1pm. This is a free service, all Service Officer


2040 W Central Blvd
Orlando, FL 32805
Phone: 407-843-3722

Monday, June 25, 2012

For soldier's family, heartache without end

For soldier's family, heartache without end
A soldier's blood from an iconic photo is permanent not only for his widow, and for a daughter he never saw, but touches the Oklahoma City tragedy

June 25, 2012

NOBLE, Okla. — Catherine Alaniz wasn't prepared for the sight. Three months after she buried her husband and one month after she gave birth to their daughter, the 19-year-old widow saw his blood on the cover of Parade magazine.

The Associated Press photograph became world-famous instantaneously and was published in newspapers and magazines around the world as a symbol of war's devastation.

In one of the most iconic battlefield images ever captured on film, two wounded Operation Desert Storm soldiers in an evacuation helicopter have just learned who's in the bloody body bag at their feet. It's their friend and Catherine's high school sweetheart, Andy Alaniz.

The photo eventually helped Catherine learn the truth about how her husband died and that the government had lied to her about it.

Throughout the ordeal, her parents were her support staff. She and Andy were married so briefly and he was deployed to the Middle East so quickly, they didn't have a chance to get their own place. So she lived with her parents and moved with them from Texas to Oklahoma City when her father got a promotion.
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Army Times wants to know if the DOD is doing enough about suicides

Don't even get me started on this but it is a good place to let someone know what you think. Tell them the truth and then maybe finally something will change.

Tell us: Is enough done to deter suicides?
Staff report
Posted : Monday Jun 25, 2012

The suicide toll among service members has surpassed the number of troops who have fallen in combat. This year, suicides among troops average one a day, according to the Pentagon.

The Army struggles with the problem of soldiers killing themselves, yet the rate is about 20 a month.

Tell us what you think: Has the Army done enough about it? Is there more that leaders and buddies can do for them? Are soldiers themselves doing enough to seek help when they need it?

Send your opinion to armylet@gannettgov.com and use the word “suicide” in the message line.

Your response may be printed in an upcoming issue of Army Times.

Florida Marine has been killed in Afghanistan

Florida Marine killed in Afghanistan
The Associated Press
Published: Monday, Jun. 25, 2012

MIAMI -- Officials say a Florida Marine has been killed in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense reports that Pfc. Steven P. Stevens II, 23, of Tallahassee, died Friday while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Stevens was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Doctor kept working for VA after medical license was suspended

Suspension doesn't stop VA doctor from practicing
By COLLEEN HEILD
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
Published: June 24, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE — Dr. Frank Allen Zimba has been practicing medicine for 31 years, is board certified in neurological surgery — and has a disciplinary history in two other states of operating on the wrong part of his patients’ spines.

The 57-year-old Texas native was hired at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Albuquerque last August, even though disciplinary proceedings that resulted in a suspension of his Oklahoma medical license were pending.

The VA in Albuquerque isn’t saying whether Zimba has had any problems on the job so far — claiming it would be a personnel matter. But even if there have been, the state Medical Board has no jurisdiction to investigate.

That’s because under federal law Zimba is not required to be licensed in New Mexico, unlike most other physicians who work here. He only needs to be licensed in one state in the country, and he has licenses in Oklahoma, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

That left Zimba — who, through a VA spokeswoman, declined to be interviewed for this story — able to work at the Albuquerque VA Hospital during the six months his Oklahoma license was suspended.
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Heroic soldier says "It was only one day" in his career

A soldier's story: It was only one day in his military career
By TIM TRAINOR
The Montana Standard, Butte
Published: June 24, 2012

Fueled by anger, suffering from a serious back injury and with no feeling in his legs, Nick Keene fired 2,800 rounds into a group of Taliban fighters.

Then he picked up a machine gun and emptied that. He put seven or eight clips into his own personal weapon and did the same until the pain was too much and he lost consciousness.

He woke up in a hospital somewhere. Kandahar maybe, Germany. There were generals gathered around his bed. He wasn’t wearing a shirt so they pinned a Purple Heart to his blanket before he fell back into unconsciousness.

Keene, 24, a 2006 graduate of Butte High School, spent five dramatic and violent months in the Panjwayi District in Afghanistan, known as the “birthplace of the Taliban.” Located in the southeastern part of the country along the Pakistan border, it has been home to some of the most sustained fighting in the now decade-long war.

Yet, it is a place Keene was not looking to leave so soon.

“I wish I could have stayed longer,” he said. “It was hard to think that while my guys were sweating, bleeding in the mud, I’m sitting on a couch doing nothing.”

Commendations

It was only one day in his military career, but Keene’s actions resulted in a Purple Heart and an Army Commendation Medal with valor. He may have saved the lives of each of those soldiers lying prone on the roadside and his injured lieutenant, who was able to be transported from the fight with shrapnel wounds from which he recovered.

Nick will never be the same. Discs and vertebrae in his back were more than broken — they disintegrated and were ground into sand and chalk. It took months for doctors to confirm they did not need to amputate, but even then Keene thought he would be confined to a wheelchair. After months of painful physical therapy he learned to walk with the help of a cane that he will use for the rest of his life. He cannot climb steps and he has a lifetime of surgeries ahead of him, some of which carry the possibility of paralysis if one of the already-frayed nerves is severed.
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Norton blocking Blog pages

If you are having a hard time getting onto this site, Norton has it along with other blogs as "fraudulent" so there has to be a glitch somewhere.  I was just on my laptop and it uses Norton.  I couldn't get right on my page without having to go through the warning. Just wanted to let you know if you manage to get that message.

Orlando News Producers should be ashamed of themselves

As many suggested, they love it when I rant so they are in for a real treat right now. I am about to blast the media again!

Yesterday I went to another event for veterans. There were four reporters running their cameras and stayed for the whole event. As always, they were interested, showed they cared and were very professional. Considering we have over 400,000 veterans in Central Florida and well over a million in the state there is always something going on. I want to get to every event but I am only one person, so there are events I can't cover. When that happens, I turn to the media sites so that people know what is going on.

Just like yesterday when the news crews show up, veterans expect to see their story on the stations sending the reporters. It breaks their hearts when they discover they were just not important enough to watch it on the news.

It isn't the reporters fault. After all they show up and spend their time filming these events. It it up to the producers to put it on or not. Here's a piece of advice to producers. If you are not going to show it, don't show up at these events.

Veterans are giving up on Florida's news stations. It hurts them when you don't send anyone but it hurts them more when you do but it is never on the news.

They go home, call their families and friends telling them they were on the news and then watch for hours along with searching the Internet hoping to find the link. Every think about how that feels to these veterans?

Sure you manage to make sure that when one of them gets into trouble, you cover it and play it over and over again but when they are honored or do something wonderful, they are replaced by something else.

SHAME ON YOU! What the hell is wrong with you when you just can't fit them in? Ever hear of a thing called YouTube? Other stations can do it and so do small newspapers. Put the footage you don't have time for on YouTube so at least they can find it with the help of their kids and grandkids if they can't use a computer.

I am with them almost every weekend and often at events during the week. I keep seeing the station's vans that I will not mention here but I wanted you to know that you may get a few more viewers or hits on your site while they search but in the end, they don't want to bother with your station after you don't bother to show what you sent someone to film.

If you wonder why so many veterans don't want to talk to reporters when they do show up, you have your answer. They don't trust your motives when you have proven they are not "newsworthy" enough to put their stories on TV or even on your website.

UPDATE

Here's the video from the Orlando VFW Medals Ceremony. Notice how many news crews were there.

Military's suicide prevention plan too late for Sarasota family

Military's suicide prevention plan too late for Sarasota family
By HOWARD ALTMAN
The Tampa Tribune
Published: June 25, 2012

Friday afternoon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the Department of Defense/ Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention conference that "we can do more. We must do more. And together we will do more to prevent suicide."

The next day, on a rainy afternoon in Sarasota, Luzdary Yepes cried and, over the phone, told me she wishes they did do more.

Two years ago. Before her son, Giovanni Andres Orozco, a 20-year-old veteran of the Iraq war, held his friends at gunpoint and then turned the weapon on himself June 10, 2010.

Yepes said that when her son came home from Iraq, he had a week to "detox" in New Jersey.

"A week is not enough when they see the kind of crap we don't even know about," she said. "They train them so well to fight, but they don't train them to come back. It's almost like when you train a dog to bite, and then you have to bring them to where little kids are and let them loose. It is not right."

Speaking at the conference in Washington, Panetta unveiled a four-track suicide prevention plan. It calls for increased responsibility by military leaders, especially junior officers and NCOs; improved quality and access to health care; elevated mental fitness and increased research into suicide prevention.
read more here

Disabled Iraq veteran was attacked in a road rage incident

Disabled Iraq veteran punched by teenager
12:04 AM, Jun 25, 2012
Written by
Mike Lyons

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A disabled veteran was attacked in a road rage incident on the Westside Saturday and a teenager was arrested on battery charges.

50-year old Robert Dodd lives in Baker County. The single father of two walks with a cane, injured by mortar attacks while in the Navy in Iraq in 2004. He was driving his pickup east on Normandy Blvd. near Yellow Water Road when a young driver pulled out in front of him and he had to slam on brakes.

Dodd says he almost ran into the small car that pulled out in front of his pickup while he was driving just under 60 miles per hour. He said if he would have hit the car with his pickup, the driver could have been seriously hurt. Dodd said he then tried to go around the car.
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Rain and fire department didn't stop Orlando from honoring heroes

Yesterday I went to the Orlando VFW Post on Edgewater Drive. After finally finding a place to park in the pouring rain, when I got out of the car, I heard the fire alarm. People were getting back into their cars. The VFW Band was waiting outside and no one knew what was going on. It didn't take the heads of the heads of the VFW long to figure out a plan of action. They began directing people to the pavilion so everyone could stay dry while they waited for the fire department to come. Sure enough, they came fast and figured out what the problem was. There was a problem with the air conditioner from what I was told. The planned ceremony had to be canceled but they gave the awards out and honored these veterans.

Local vets to be awarded medals, ribbons at Orlando VFW Post
June 23, 2012
By Orlando Sentinel

A group of local war veterans will receive medals and ribbons that they are entitled to in a ceremony at an Orlando VFW Post on Sunday.

Veterans from the first Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea and World War II who never received the awards they were entitled to will get them in a 4 p.m. ceremony at VFW Post #2093 located at 4444 Edgewater Dr.

One Vietnam vet will receive 32 ribbons from his three tours of duty; another will receive his Bronze Star. Korean War veterans will receive their Korean Defense Service Medals and several Purple Heart medals will be awarded.
read more here


I'll have the video up on this later. As usual several news stations showed up but I haven't been able to find any reports. If you find them please leave the link in the comment section of this post.