Monday, March 27, 2017

2016 Employment Situation of Veterans

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases 2016 Employment Situation of Veterans 
Report – Finds Almost 36 Percent of Gulf War-Era II Veterans Had a Service-Connected Disability Last Updated: Sunday, 26 March 2017
In 2016, 5.2 million veterans had served on active duty during "other service periods," mainly between the Korean War and the Vietnam era and between the Vietnam era and Gulf War era I. All veterans from this period of service were 40 years or older at the time of the survey. Twenty-six percent of these veterans were age 45 to 54 in 2016, another 34 percent were age 55 to 64, and another 39 percent were age 65 and over. In 2016, 1 in 10 veterans of other service periods were women. Among veterans of other service periods, the unemployment rate for men was 4.1 percent, little different than the rate for women (4.9 percent).
March 26, 2017 - The unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001--a group referred to as Gulf War-era II bureau of labor statistics edged down to 5.1 percent in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported. 

The jobless rate for all veterans also edged down over the year to 4.3 percent. About 36 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans had a service-connected disability in August 2016, compared with 22 percent of all veterans. This information was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides data on employment and unemployment in the United States. Data about veterans are collected monthly in the CPS; these monthly data are the source of the 2016 annual averages presented in this news release. 

In August 2016, a supplement to the CPS collected additional information about veterans on topics such as service-connected disability and veterans' current or past Reserve or National Guard membership. Information from the supplement is also presented in this release. The supplement was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and by the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service. For more information, see the Technical Note, which provides definitions of terms used in this release. read more here

Suicide? Don't Give Up On LIfe--Fight Back

Mental Health: Suicide ... giving up on life
Valley Star
By Ralph E. Jones
 Mental Health
Posted: Sunday, March 26, 2017
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe, American Author, 1811-1896
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 45,000 individuals commit suicide each year in the United States; that is about 121 suicides per day.

It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. For every suicide there are 25 failed attempts, and the number of admissions to hospitals for suicidal attempts is close to 500,000 per year.

Contrary to popular belief, the rates of suicide are highest in age groups among adults ages 45-64; the majority, 7 out of 10, being males (although females have the highest numbers of suicide attempts).

Of primary concern, and the reason behind writing this article, is the growing numbers of suicides among our young people and military veterans, ages 15 to 24 in particular. The Veterans Administration reports that approximately 22 veterans commit suicide every day. These are the highest rates since the VA began keeping record of such, and is a much higher number than in the general population.

In the general population of civilians, there is a growing number of youth committing suicide as well, primarily as a result of increase use of opioids, and the resultant overdose on opioids; which has blossomed into a national crisis.

In a report released this month by the Veterans Administration, a study of veterans use of drugs and alcohol as related to suicide, it was found that Veterans who have drug and/or alcohol problems are more than twice as likely to die by suicide as their comrades; and women Veterans with substance use disorders have an even higher rate of suicide — more than five times that of their peers.
read more here

Sunday, March 26, 2017

There Are Ways To Win Against PTSD

There Are Ways To Win Against PTSD
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 26, 2017

I don't get much downtime. Between working a full time job, doing this work full time, going to events, talking to veterans and writing part 2 of Residual War, it leaves very little time to just chill out. 

When it all gets to be too much, I take my tablet and go out on the pool deck to play some games. When I get tired of blowing up jewels in Jewel Quest, I tap onto Candy Crush. The monkilings drive me crazy! 

There are ways to defeat them and get them to do what you want them to do so you can move onto the next level. There are videos on how to defeat them. Learn how the monklings work, how these levels are laid out, and tips for beat monkling levels. 

When I've had enough of that, I move onto Solitaire. There are rules for that game too, and tricks you can use. If you play with the physical cards, you can cheat but if you play with the computer game, you can only use shortcuts to finish. If you can see what you can take, move around and manipulate, most of the time, you can win. Sometimes, now matter how much you know how the game works, the cards are just stacked against you, especially when an Ace is not showing. You have to give up and start a new game, or go get a margarita.

It is like that with everything. Sometimes we just can't seem to win. If you are trying to do anything alone, no one is able to teach you the rules of the game or how to win. The monkilings always win and the Aces remain hidden because you don't have someone to show you the way to win.

For young veterans, there is a desperate need to have someone show them the way out of the darkness that followed them home. They don't know what to do, how things work and face the world with everyone getting in their way instead of leading the way toward the next level. In this case, there are Aces hiding, waiting to be found but operating under the radar, doing the leading, as they have done since before most of the OEF and OIF veterans were even born.

We've been there all alone at some point in our lives trying to cope with our own lives. We've been there struggling to teach others the rules, even when it seemed as if everyone was just trying to get in the way with stunts and slogans. We've been walking beside veterans and families since 1984.

Point Man International Ministries started with veterans helping veterans and families being helped by other families. To tell the truth, as a spouse myself, I think we are the ones in need of being shown the way more. We're the ones they come home to.

Everything is easier when you know how stuff works and take the time to actually learn how to move from one level to the next one. 

My husband came home from Vietnam a decade before we met. Back then I felt alone and lost. I'd listen to friends complain about tiny little things, knowing they'd never believe what struggles were really like. I was trying to raise our daughter, work and take care of my husband. After all, back then, no civilians were talking about PTSD or raising awareness about what we were going through. No one had fundraisers of pulled publicity stunts to talk about our problems. We did it for ourselves and then we did if for the generations that we knew would come after us. 

In the process, we managed to even help the generation that was before us. None of this is new to the families they come home to. So why make it harder than it has to be? Why make life an endless battle you are fighting unarmed? Why make yourself miserable when you could be living a better life?

We've been married for over 3 decades now and I can tell you that the bad days don't have to stay that way. Feeling as if you are part of the problem is actually partly the truth. If you have not invested the time to learn what you are fighting against, then how do you expect to ever win? How do you move on from the level of misery to the level of healing and forgiving when you don't seek out those who have found the way to do it?

We have a job to do! They trained to be in the military. We need to train to be able to move them onto the next level of their lives as veterans. If you want to know how to do it, then check out the Home Fronts for you and Outposts for your veteran. Hotline: 1-800-877-VETS (8387)

What is behind you is never as strong as who is beside you!

Regina McIntyre Early, WWI Veteran, Montana Native American

Women veterans of WWI—so many stories yet to tell
KTVQ News Montana
By Ed Kemmick
Mar 25, 2017

An Army veteran from Laurel has been working for years to prepare for an event that will take place on April 6, the dedication of a memorial to women with ties to Yellowstone County who served in the military during World War I.

But Ed Saunders’ work is far from done.

He continues to search for the records of female veterans of the war from all over the state, and just this week he made one of his most exciting discoveries yet.

On Monday, Saunders confirmed that Regina McIntyre Early, an Army nurse who served in four hospitals in France during World War I, was an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in northwestern Montana.
Regina McIntyre Early’s discharge papers showed she served at multiple Army hospitals in France during and after World War 1. (Photo courtesy of Ed Saunders)
Saunders said McIntyre Early could quite possibly be the first female veteran of WWI who was an enrolled member of an American Indian tribe in Montana.

Thanks to Saunders’ research, the confederated tribes told Saunders on Thursday that they will be sending three female members of the Mission Valley Honor Guard, all of them tribal members, to the dedication of the World War I memorial on the lawn of the Yellowstone County Courthouse on April 6.

That day will mark the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.
read more here

Joe Galloway Makes Sure Vietnam Veterans Stories Are Told

Retired reporter still compiling tales of Vietnam vets
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Published: March 26, 2017
Those films will be sent to the Library of Congress. The work is part of an official initiative created and funded by Congress to honor and welcome home Vietnam veterans.
Joe Galloway did not volunteer to be a spokesman for all of the Vietnam veterans who have felt shunned, disrespected and neglected over the last 50 years, but he is proud and honored to have done it.

Galloway was a war correspondent for most of his career, but in the '60s and '70s, he was a reporter for United Press International. He covered battles during four tours in Vietnam and had a front-row seat for some of the action. In 1992, he and Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore co-wrote the book "We Were Soldiers Once and Young," which was made into a movie starring Mel Gibson in 2002.

The book focuses on the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 7th Cavalry Regiment in the Battle of the la Drang Valley in November of 1965. It was the first large-scale battle of the war involving U.S. troops. The book and movie helped give voice to the brave soldiers who fought and died there, and it made Galloway a spokesman for them over the years.

"I never volunteered to the extent that I do function as a spokesman, but it's a great honor and mostly a pleasure to sort of be that," he says.
read more here

Driven by Love, Medal of Honor Day

On Medal of Honor Day, a nation's military heroes honor courageous civilians
Published: March 25, 2017
"And that's the bottom line behind all the actions on the battlefield – the mortal battlefield of combat and the other battlefields of life – [that] in my mind, in my heart, were driven by love."
Mike Fitzmaurice, left, and Will Swenson, center, both Medal of Honor recipients, lay a wreath with the help of a soldier with the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment "The Old Guard"at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
ARLINGTON, Va. – Always a select group, the number of living recipients of the nation’s highest military award for valor continues to dwindle. Many of the 75 living Medal of Honor recipients are Vietnam War veterans in their 70s and 80s. Traveling for them isn't as easy as it used to be, so it's a special event, indeed, that can bring so many of them together.

More than 20 of those honorees gathered Saturday in the shadow of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, where they watched two of their number — Mike Fitzmaurice and Will Swenson — lay a wreath at the base of that famous monument to soldierly sacrifice. They did so in commemoration of National Medal of Honor Day, a day set aside to celebrate heroism.

But to hear them tell it, the men gathered not to be honored, but to instead to pay their respects to men long since passed.
"Service has never been about camouflage and guns, it's been about giving of yourself to others selflessly," said Salvatore Giunta
read more here

Navy SEAL Veteran Discovered Peace and Healing

Former SEAL talks about finding peace
Marshall Independent
Mike Lamb
March 25, 2017
Apparently, Williams has discovered that stability. He is now a sought after evangelist. His book, “SEAL of God,” is a best seller. He is also a frequent guest of CNN News Room, Anderson Cooper 360 and Fox News.
I stood toe to toe with Chad Williams after he spoke during the Promise Banquet at Southwest Minnesota State University Thursday night.

The former U.S. Navy SEAL stood no taller than me. He spoke softly. Just moments earlier, he spoke powerfully to dozens of people who listened to his inspirational speech on becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL and his life after the military.

Like others before him, he came back home to the U.S. with the same type of mental issues that haunt other military veterans. Veterans are returning with serious mental issues. Of the 1.7 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 300,000 (20 percent) suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, according to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research.

Williams admitted during his presentation that he also did not come back home in a good frame of mind. He was drinking until he blacked out, often times with blood on his clothing. He spoke waking up realizing the knuckles on his hands needed stitches.

His mother and father told him not to come to back to their house. They feared him.
read more here

Tragic Outcome of Combat PTSD Veterans

Army vet battled post-deployment demons until childhood friend became casualty of his personal war
The Times Tribune
“To this day, I blame the military for my son’s death as much as I do Matt ... ” Jim Evans said. “I wish there was a way to indict the military. If they would have taken care of Matt when he came home, maybe we wouldn’t be in this position now.”
MICHAEL J. MULLEN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Kimberly and Jim Evans hold a photograph of their son, Mike, and grandson, Michael. Mike Evans tried to help his childhood friend, Matthew Gajdys, after his deployment.
Matthew Gajdys came out of the Army at war with himself.

After tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he returned to Dickson City in 2012 and struggled to return to civilian life.

He couldn’t find steady work. He was angry, impulsive and drinking more than a case of Coors Light every day. He started bar fights as a release for his frustration. His undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder made him a stranger to his wife. She kicked him out.

Homeless and hopeless, Gajdys was rescued by a childhood friend. Mike Evans opened the Moscow trailer park home he shared with his 8-year-old son to the troubled veteran.

When Gajdys moved in, his demons came with him.

Four months later, Gajdys was in jail and Evans was dead.
read more here

Family Not Giving Up on Finding Missing Veteran Chase Massner

Family prays for safe return of missing Iraq War vet
WSB 12 News Atlanta
by: Matt Johnson
Mar 25, 2017
COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Friends and loved ones of a missing Iraq War vet gathered Saturday night to pray for his safe return, some three years after he disappeared.

Chase Massner is a husband, a father and a veteran.

His mother Stephanie has worried about him every day for three years.

“That's her only son and you know, it’s really affected her,” stepsister Karen Cunningham told Channel 2’s Matt Johnson.

She was one of about 30 people turned out at Noonday Park Saturday night to pray for Massner's safe return.

His wife Amanda told Johnson doctors had treated Massner for post-traumatic stress disorder in 2014.

His family said he was last seen at a friend's house in Kennesaw three years ago this coming Monday.
read more here

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Vietnam Veterans Memorial 35 Years of Healing

‘The Wall’ is turning 35, and the man behind it wants to honor this generation’s fallen
Military Times
By: Jan C. Scruggs
March 24, 2017
On a cold and windy March day, veterans from each of the 50 states broke ground with shovels to show wide support.
On Sunday, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will host a ceremony to commemorate the 35th anniversary of its historic groundbreaking. The idea for a memorial engraved with names of the fallen flowed from my academic research and from testimony before the Senate on what is now called post-traumatic stress, a common reaction to witnessing violence.
Jan Scruggs, left, and project engineer Gary Wright look over plans for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on March 23, 1982. Groundbreaking took place March 26.
Photo Credit: Bill Auth/AP
The memorial was planned as a societal acknowledgement of those who served, funded by the American people. I started the effort in 1979 while a GS-7 at the Labor Department, thanks to the permission of my wife. This was nonstop work, day after day.

In 1982, the money was in hand, as was a permit to begin construction. The effort barely succeeded. I hope the lessons learned can ease the path to success for a Global War on Terrorism Memorial that will honor a new generation of service members.
read more here

Double Amputee Veteran Becomes Titanium NY Police Officer

Marine veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan sworn in as NY police officer
FOX News
March 25, 2017
A Long Island man who served in the Marines and lost both legs below the knees after stepping on a bomb in Afghanistan was sworn in Friday as possibly the first fully active duty double amputee police officer in the country.

Matias Ferreira, 28, graduated from the Suffolk County Police Academy in Brentwood, L.I. His first assignment as a precinct patrol officer begins next week. He told Fox 5 New York he isn’t worried if he breaks a leg on the job.

“If I break my leg I go the trunk of my car and put on a new one and I’m back on duty,” he told the station.

The 2011 blast in Afghanistan shattered his legs, forcing doctors to amputate. The machine-gunner spent nearly a year recovering in a hospital outside Washington.

Ferreira stands on titanium prosthetics, Newsday reported. He dreamed of being a cop as a kid.
read more here

American Heroes Air Show


American Heroes Air Show

Cadet Civil Air Patrol

 The bike my husband is supposed to win, so if someone else shows up for it...they stole his luck!

New Citizens of the USA!