Thursday, December 1, 2016

Florida Veteran's Home Set on Fire

Veteran's home set on fire, vandalized, investigators find anti-Trump graffiti racial slurs on walls
Home ransacked, children's beds set on fire
ABC News
Michael Paluska
Nov 29, 2016

PLANT CITY, Fla. - The State Fire Marshall is investigating a suspicious fire at a Plant City home that started early Tuesday morning.
Naval veteran Matthew Smith said he got the call just after 3 a.m. from his neighbor that fire trucks were across the street.

“Your heart kind of just sinks in your chest,” Smith said. “Definitely blessed to have not been here. It was pretty bad.”

Smith said the family was staying with their grandparents when he got the call. His 8-year-old daughter’s bed was set on fire along with his 18-month-old son’s crib. Every single room in the remainder of the home also suffered fire damage.
“The place was ransacked. Clothes from my room, all the way to the back, just made it everywhere.

Papers, important documents thrown everywhere, just torn up. The Christmas tree set up yesterday was knocked down and had been lit on fire. Every piece of furniture was pretty much burned through.”

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Female Iraq Veteran With PTSD Takes On TSA "Piggish Behavior"

Decorated Army veteran now marching in high heels, alleges retaliation at TSA
The Washington Post
Published: December 1, 2016
Bermudez's troubles have been exacerbated by health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, which she says is related to her military service in Iraq. Although her protest has quite literally made her case highly visible, she is far from the only woman who alleges that her life has been upended by working at TSA.
Alyssa Bermudez protests in front of the Transportation Security Administration headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post
For Alyssa Bermudez, high heels, a dress and makeup are her new uniform as much as the one she wore in the sands of Iraq. They represent her evolution from Bronze Star soldier to professional woman.

She wears her new uniform — and carries a protest sign instead of a rifle — in her new role as whistleblower, marching on the streets outside the Transportation Security Administration headquarters in Arlington, Va.

Bermudez says she was driven to protest by the allegedly piggish behavior of men with whom she worked at the Transportation Security Administration headquarters across the street. These men ogled her, she claims, snickered about her being in a "harem" because she's pretty, and retaliated against her when she complained, ultimately stripping her of employment five days before her probationary period ended.

"TSA has a saying: If you see something, say something," Bermudez, 33, says one afternoon. "Little did I know that when I said something, I would be fighting the agency. It's a very daunting task."
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Army Doesn't Think They Did Nothing Wrong on Discharges?

Senators, Military Specialists Say Army Report On Dismissed Soldiers Is Troubling
Heard on Morning Edition
Daniel Zwerdling
December 1, 2016
The Army's report states that only 3,327 of the more than 22,000 soldiers who had been kicked out met that legal test. As a result, investigators ignored the rest of the soldiers — roughly 19,000 of them — who had mental health problems or brain injuries.
U.S. Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning ordered a review after an NPR
investigation found thousands of soldiers diagnosed with mental health
problems or brain injuries were dismissed for misconduct. But the new
Army report concluded that it treated the soldiers fairly.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
An Army review concludes that commanders did nothing wrong when they kicked out more than 22,000 soldiers for misconduct after they came back from Iraq or Afghanistan – even though all of those troops had been diagnosed with mental health problems or brain injuries.

The Army's report, ordered by Secretary Eric Fanning, seeks to reassure members of Congress that it's treating wounded soldiers fairly. But senators and military specialists say the report troubles them.

"I don't think the Army understands the scope of this problem," says Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. "And I don't think they've conveyed the seriousness to get it right."

The Army's report is "unbelievable," says psychiatrist Judith Broder. "It's just bizarre." Broder was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Obama for organizing the Soldiers Project, a network of hundreds of psychotherapists and others who help troops and their families.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vietnam veteran in search of stolen wheelchair

Vietnam veteran in search of stolen wheelchair
By Alex Cabrero
Posted Nov 29th, 2016

WASHINGTON TERRACE — A lot of veterans don't like to talk about what they've experienced at war, especially those who served in Vietnam. But for some, even 45-plus years later, it seems bad things keep happening.

Life hasn't been easy for Jason Cody.

"I'm pushing myself, living alone like this," the Washington Terrace resident said, gesturing around the basement apartment he's called home for the past four years.

A Vietnam veteran, Cody suffers from several health issues: heart disease, bad lungs and post-traumatic stress disorder, to name a few.

"Bad dreams, that's the worst part," Cody said.

But through it all, he's kept on going — until he just couldn't go anymore.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Cody's new black-and-yellow wheelchair was stolen from outside his home.

"I kind of suspect somebody just decided they needed that wheelchair more than I did, or maybe (thought) they could sell it and make some money," Cody said.
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Two Fort Campbell Soldiers Charged with Murder of Female Soldier

Two Soldiers Charged with Murder in Connection with Disappearance of Fellow Soldier Shadow McClaine
NBC News
November 29, 2016

Shadow Branice McClaine U.S. Army
Criminal Investigation Command
Two soldiers have been charged with murder in connection with the September disappearance of Fort Campbell soldier Shadow McClaine.
Sgt. Jamal Williams-McCray and Specialist Charles Robinson, both part of the 101st Airborne Division, face charges of conspiracy, kidnapping and premeditated murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to NBC affiliate WSMV.
Williams-McCray is Shadow's ex-husband. It's unclear if Robinson knew Shadow.

The two soldiers are being held in pre-trial confinement pending a preliminary hearing, the station reported. Authorities have not commented on whether Shadow's body has been found.
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Veteran's Body Left in Shower Room After He Died?

10Investigates: Veteran's body forgotten about
Noah Pransky
November 29, 2016

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida – 10Investigates discovered a scandal – and attempted cover-up – at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center has cast a shadow over the facility’s otherwise reputable hospice unit.

A whistleblower tipped 10Investigates off to a Feb. 16, 2016 incident where an elderly veteran passed away, then forgotten about for nearly 10 hours in a shower room after his body was prepared for the morgue. According to an agency review, employees then lied and falsely documented the process to cover-up the mistakes.

The report, which was heavily-redacted by the VA, concluded “negligence” and a “lack of respect” for the deceased veteran.

“We honor America’s veterans,” said Bay Pines spokesperson Jason Dangle. Dangle is also a retired veteran. “We view this finding unacceptable and have taken appropriate actions to mitigate and correct the issue."

Dangle confirmed discipline for the employees involved, but the VA redacted all names and specifics as well for “privacy” reasons. So the public will never know where those employees might resurface.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

WWII Female Marine "Determined not to stay behind"

Boston honors female WWII marine
Veteran cited as inspiration
Boston Herald
Dan Atkinson
November 25, 2016
Family portrait of World War II veteran Elizabeth Mackay Howden Denekamp
In 1943, Betty Denekamp watched the men of West Roxbury going off to war, and was determined not to stay behind.

Denekamp joined the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, and more than 70 years later, friends and family are going to see her service permanently commemorated outside the house she lived in nearly all of her life.

“That was the thing I always admired about her, she couldn’t hang around doing nothing,” said Edwin “Bud” Waite, a fellow World War II veteran and longtime friend of Denekamp who led the charge to memorialize her. “She had to do something.”

Her daughter Linda Denekamp said, “I thought it was so outstanding that a woman in those times would leave home at her age and go off and join the Marines. Everyone said the Marines were the best and that’s what she wanted to be.”
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Vietnam Veteran, Stephen Carl Reiman Family Member Found

Coroner finds sister of Vietnam veteran who will be buried Tuesday near Casper
Casper Star Tribune
Elise Schmelzer
Updated 3 hrs ago
After more than a week of searching, the Natrona County coroner has found a sister of the Vietnam veteran set to be be buried Tuesday morning near Casper. The sister plans to attend the funeral at the state veterans cemetery and will accept her brother’s flag.

Coroner Connie Jacobson said she spoke with the sister Sunday night and that the sister will fly into Casper from southern California on Monday evening.

Last week, Jacobson asked for help finding family members of Stephen Carl Reiman, a homeless Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War. Reiman died Nov. 17 in Casper, shortly after moving to Wyoming from California for unknown reasons.

The sister, Diane Reiman, hadn’t heard from her brother for at least two years, Jacobson said. The sister began to cry on the phone during their brief conversation, Jacobson said.

“She’s relieved and grateful that he’s going to have a decent burial with honor,” Jacobson said. “I’m just glad it’s all coming together. And maybe she’ll get some answers.”
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