Saturday, December 15, 2018

December 13, 1636, thus marks the beginning of the organized militia

National Guard Birth Date December 13, 1636

We recognize December 13th as the birthday of the National Guard. On this date in 1636, the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Massachusetts. 

Based upon an order of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's General Court, the colony's militia was organized into three permanent regiments to better defend the colony. 

Today, the descendants of these first regiments - the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S. military. December 13, 1636, thus marks the beginning of the organized militia, and the birth of the National Guard's oldest organized units is symbolic of the founding of all the state, territory, and District of Columbia militias that collectively make up today's National Guard.

Belated Happy Birthday to all the members of the National Guard for what you do for us everyday!!! The wish may be delivered late, but you guys are never late!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Stop contributing to downfall of our veterans

If you are still on the "suicide awareness" kick and having fun with the stunts, tell the families left behind how much you enjoyed it!

San Diego Veterans Suicide Rate Highest in State

Read the rest of the story here, but this part is important;
Kathy Shott works with Survivors of Suicide Loss, counseling families who have dealt with suicide.
She is a retired Air Force officer. Her son, Tony, was deployed to Iraq in 2010. He killed himself on Christmas Day in 2013. 
Shott said she knew her son was having trouble. He was living halfway across the country. He had had a messy divorce. He was in the middle of a custody battle over his young son and it wasn’t going well.

“I know I talked to Tony all the time, but I didn’t hear the pain at that time,” she said. She said he had just gone into the VA two days before Christmas.

She is a retired military officer and she still has to grieve for her son. Want to explain it to her?

This part is also important because it shows that they do not really know how many veterans are committing suicide in California...yet.
As part of the regulations, California will require listing the deceased veteran status on death certificates.

“The bill requires that the status be completed by whoever fills out the death certificate, which will mostly be the funeral home and the family. And the second part of that bill is the state will then give that info to the VA,” Campman said.
So, for all the people out there "raising" awareness, maybe now you will finally open your eyes, swallow your pride and admit your awareness was based on crap! You shared something that was not true, but worse, you shared what failed. Did you really think any of what you did would end the stigma that was killing more of them?

Minnesota soldier committed suicide after assault and cyberbullying

Army Secretary Orders Changes to Policy after Minnesota Soldier's Sexual Assault, Suicide

December 14, 2018
During that time, the documents reveal the 21-year-old suffered from harassment by her attacker and from cyberbullying by fellow soldiers and their spouses.
The Secretary of the U.S. Army has directed staff to update policies regarding the treatment of victims of sexual assault who request to be transferred off-base, according to a letter sent to members of Congress from Minnesota.

The letter comes months after a KSTP investigation into the death of Pvt. Nicole Burnham, a solider from Andover, who died by suicide after being sexually assaulted, harassed and bullied.

Army documents obtained by KSTP show it took 82 days to transfer Pvt. Burnham from her base in South Korea after she reported the sexual assault.
read more here

Man going to jail after stealing veteran's ID...and benefits

Mississippi man gets 3 years for stealing veteran's ID

Published: December 14, 2018
Prosecutors say Bush used the name, Social Security number and other identifiers of the veteran to receive narcotics, medical care, medical equipment and housing help from the VA Department between 2005 and 2018.
JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi man has been sentenced to three years in prison for stealing the identity of a U.S. military veteran and using it to get more than $130,000 in benefits.

News outlets reported Senior U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee on Thursday also ordered 56-year-old Tierun Bush of Jackson to pay full restitution to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
read more here

29 Year old veteran starving while VA delayed treatment


Chynna Greene
December 13, 2018

29 year-old veteran, Brandon Donovan has dropped around 50 pounds since 2009. He's still waiting on the VA to help save his life. He has a rare condition that makes it extremely painful to eat.
"How the pain is, is like swallowing cement and it's hardening in your stomach," said Brandon.

Brandon told KEZI 9 News Anchor Bryan Anderson, the pain first started during his deployment in Iraq. Then, it's been appointment after appointment, procedure after procedure with no answers. Brandon and his wife Jennifer, started digging through his VA medical notes. They found the first suspicion of a rare condition in 2014.

They found mention in 2014 of a rare condition called "Mals," also known as "Celiac Artery Compression Syndrome." Four years later, Mals suspicion comes up again.
read more here

Another deported veteran returned to be buried

In death, a deported veteran returns home to Texas

The Statesman 
By Jeremy Schwartz 
Posted Dec 12, 2018 

For nearly a decade, Carlos Jaime Torres dreamed of being allowed to return to the United States, the place he had called home since he was an infant and the nation he had served for four years during the Vietnam War.
Since his 2010 deportation after a conviction on marijuana possession and delivery charges, Torres had lived in a small, concrete home in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the border city of Reynosa, across the Rio Grande from McAllen. His cramped bedroom was decorated with photos from his time in the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and a large black POW/MIA flag. He scraped by as a security guard, called his mother every morning at 8:30 and tried to avoid the violence that often erupted in the troubled city.

It never felt like home.

“I look American. I act American. I dress American. I am an American,” he said in a 2016 interview with the American-Statesman. “The hardest part is being told you’re not wanted.”

Torres, who died Saturday, returned to the United States this week, to be buried Thursday in the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission. He was 64.
read more here

In April it was Enrique Salas

Rolling Thunder DC Ride Ending After 2019

Rolling Thunder to end annual Memorial Day ride in DC after 2019

Published: December 13, 2018
The ride started in 1988 with about 2,000 riders, Muller said. In 2018, there were more than 500,000.
The rain didn't stop motorcyclists from taking part in the 30th anniversary of Rolling Thunder on Sunday, May 28, 2017, in Washington. AMANDA L. TRYPANIS/STARS AND STRIPES

WASHINGTON – Rolling Thunder will no longer hold its annual Memorial Day motorcycle ride through Washington, D.C., after 2019, the group’s founder announced Thursday.

The tradition is ending because of escalating costs and a lack of cooperation from the Pentagon and metropolitan police departments, said Artie Muller, a Vietnam veteran and founder of Rolling Thunder, Inc.

“It has been a hard decision to make,” Muller wrote in a letter that he plans to send to supporters in January. “After much discussion and thought over the last six months, Rolling Thunder National Officers have concluded to end our 32-year annual D.C. Memorial weekend event.”

Rolling Thunder is a nonprofit organization that honors prisoners of war and servicemembers missing in action. Its “Ride for Freedom” through Washington every Memorial Day weekend draws thousands of riders and onlookers.
Costs for the 2018 ride totaled more than $200,000, Muller said. The nonprofit hasn’t been able to recruit a new corporate sponsor, and Rolling Thunder didn’t sell enough merchandise, such as patches, pins and flags.
read more here

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stop comparing and start understanding PTSD

PTSD is not a contest

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 13, 2018

This has become very strange times in this country. PTSD is now so popular on social media, there seems to be a contest on how much worse one person has it over others. It used to be something that was kept secret but apparently, the only secret folks seem to be keeping, is that lives can be healed. 

Post Traumatic, means after trauma. Trauma is Greek for "wounded" so it literally means, after wound. Surviving something terrible, causes stress in every part of the survivor. Mind, body and spirit are all involved in the second "it" happened and every second after the event happened. The disorder comes when nothing is "normal" within your sense of how you perceive it was.

The trick is, to get out of the terrible moment and begin the healing moment as soon as possible. That is why Crisis Intervention works best when available as soon as it is safe to have that type of aid respond.

OK, that said, it can happen after just one time. If you survive something and the symptoms do not ease up within 30 days, or go away, then that is an indication you should seek professional help. It means the event has attacked deeply inside of you.

Like an infection, sometimes you just need something to help the wound heal and it is available within your own reach. Other times, the infection is so strong, it spreads out without getting stronger help to heal it.

The scar left behind is determined by the strength of the infection and the response you apply to heal it.

As for how many Americans have PTSD, this is from the Sidran Foundation.

Facts at a Glance
  • An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
  • An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.
  • Approximately 8 percent of all adults—1 of 13 people in this country—will develop PTSD during their lifetime.
  • An estimated 1 out of 10 women will get PTSD at some time in their lives. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.
Extreme Trauma and PTSD
  • PTSD may develop following exposure to extreme trauma.
  • Extreme trauma is a terrifying event or ordeal that a person has experienced, witnessed, or learned about, especially one that is life-threatening or causes physical harm.
  • The experience causes that person to feel intense fear, horror, or a sense of helplessness.
  • The stress caused by trauma can affect all aspects of a person’s life including mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
  • Research suggests that prolonged trauma may disrupt and alter brain chemistry. For some people, this may lead to the development of PTSD.
Now you know how many others have it, but also consider how many do not know they have it.

This is a good place to begin the next part of what you need to know. While you have just read how far reaching PTSD for just regular Americans, after surviving one time, there are others who have faced so many of them, it is hard for them to remember all of them or know exactly which one hit them the hardest.

They are the responders to the events the rest of us needed to be responded to. EMTs, Firefighters, Police Officers, Military Service Members and National Guards as well as Reservists, top the list.

There are also those who develop PTSD because they live with, or treat people who have it. That is called "Secondary PTSD" because they were hit by too. The Atlantic has a pretty good article that should help you understand this one.

"Whether an altered world view is ultimately destructive, Pearlman writes, “depends, in large part on the extent to which the therapist is able to engage in a parallel process to that of the victim client: the process of integrating and transforming these experiences of horror or violation.” She recommends that all trauma therapists undergo therapy of their own."
It is why I constantly have people I can talk to so that I can keep doing this work without falling apart. After 36 years topped off with living with it in my husband, I lost count on how many times I needed help too.

"Trauma after tragedy is nothing new: Evidence of PTSD in soldiers and commanders is present in ancient Greek and Roman texts. The pages of many Greek tragedies, like Sophocles’s Ajax and Euripides’s Heracles, are rife with veterans maddened by war. In the Roman army, suicide attempts were, strangely, punishable by death—unless a soldier was found to suffer from shame, sadness, or “weariness of life.”"
Really good summation there!

Years ago, I had a veteran tell me that since I was never in combat, I couldn't understand what it was like for him. In other words, he challenged how I could dare assume to know. I was in one of those "bitchy" moods and decided I was not going to take that from anyone. He wanted a contest, so, I brought my A-game.

First, I admitted that he was right and I did not know what it was like to be in combat. Then I proceed to run down the list, going back 50 years of many times when my life was on the line. 

And then I asked him if he could understand what each thing was like for me. He said he could not.

But then I asked him if he could understand what it was like afterwards. That he could understand.  The clincher was when I told him that I did not have PTSD and the 30 day window was shattered. I asked him if he wanted to know what that was like. He said he did.

So, we proceeded to change the conversation into how I healed so that he could do it too. So that he could recover most of the control of his life and what could not be healed, he would have the tools to prevent their power from taking over.

These are the conversations all of us should be having instead of who has it the worst. Aren't you tired of fighting the wrong battles? Then join the right fight to make it oh, so much better for so many more people!

Navy SEAL sues drug company for all others given Lariam

Navy SEAL Sues Roche over Malaria Drug, Claiming it Left Him Permanently Disabled
By Patricia Kime
12 Dec 2018

According to the Sheetses' lawyer, Kevin Boyle, the case is significant because it could "vindicate the fact that many veterans are suffering from a legitimate condition" and "ensure that those who are responsible for these serious injuries are held accountable."
Mosquito close-up. Getty Images 
A former Navy SEAL has filed a lawsuit against the company that makes the anti-malarial drug Lariam, or mefloquine, alleging that the medication left him permanently disabled after taking it while serving in Afghanistan.

Andrew Sheets and his wife, Kristie, of Cazadero, California, allege that pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-LaRoche, known as Roche, was aware that the drug caused serious neurological and psychiatric side effects and failed to warn patients of the dangers.

Sheets, who served in the U.S. Navy from 2000 to 2006, said he immediately experienced "violent and tragic nightmares" the first time he took Lariam, during a deployment in 2003. He later developed psoriasis, extreme paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

"In February 2017, Mr. Sheets was finally described as permanently disabled by his treating physician because of his debilitating, Lariam-related mental disorders," court documents state.

For more than two decades, Lariam, also known by the generic name mefloquine, was distributed to troops to prevent malaria in endemic countries. At the peak of military use in 2003, nearly 50,000 prescriptions for mefloquine were written by military doctors.
read more here

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Homeless veterans shipping into tiny homes

Shipping containers being turned into 'tiny homes' for homeless vets

Las Vegas Now 8 ABC News
Cristen Drummond
December 11, 2018
"My vision is that we have no veteran that is homeless and that we never use the words United States veteran and homelessness in the same sentence." Arnold Stalk

LAS VEGAS - A local group has found a way to help America's veterans who are struggling with homelessness. There was a groundbreaking Tuesday on a new project that will provide more housing at the Veterans Village.

Veterans Village is dedicated to making sure that those who served our country are not left behind if they fall on hard times.

There is an apartment complex that serves as homes for veterans and now some tiny homes are being added to the village.

The homes are each made from an old shipping container, around 320-square feet, including a bedroom, kitchenette, living room, bathroom and shower.

With the help of donations and federal grants, Veterans Village is able to offer them to homeless vets for just a few hundred dollars per month.
read more here