Wounded Times


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Please do not wish a veteran "Happy Memorial Day"

There are two totally different conversations going on in this country. One is all about what the press reports on and the other is what veterans and families live with. For us, it is not about a headline but it is about our heart-line.

Memorial Day weekend begins tomorrow.  Some folks are spending today finishing up arrangements for the unofficial start of summer. Our families are thinking about what Memorial Day means to the generations who risked their lives to pay for what the rest of the country enjoys.

Less than one percent are willing to pay the price serving today.  Only about seven percent were willing to do just that and became our current veterans.  

They are not civilians even though they live right next door to you. 

U.S. Military Service during Wartime 41,892,128

Battle Deaths 651,031

Other Deaths (In Theater) 308,800

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) 230,279

Non-mortal Woundings 1,431,290

Living War Veterans 16,962,000
Total will be more than sum of conflicts due to no “end date” established for Persian Gulf War. Source: Department of Defense (DOD), except living veterans, which are VA estimates as of Sep 2010.
Living Veterans (Periods of War and Peace) 23,234,000

Those numbers do not include Afghanistan and Iraq. Both still have forces deploying but it is close to 3 million more since 2001. 

Those numbers do not show how many have died since that report came out. 

Those numbers do not show how many have taken their own lives. Reporters say 22 a day but the VA said that number was from just 21 states taken from limited data.  We know it is more but they never asked us.  They never asked us about the majority of the veterans being over the age of 50.  They never ask us what it was like before they heard about any of this even though we were living with all of it.

Those numbers do not show how many families will spend Monday at the grave of someone they loved or remembering someone they lost.

Those numbers do not show how many veterans struggle with the aftermath of war with disabled bodies and minds that hold the scars.

While we hear about all the claims made about the price of freedom not being free, we understand that is a price we live with everyday and as some want to take their freedoms so lightly they seem to believe they deserve it for just being here, we will honor all those who paid because it was worth paying any price to retain it.

Please do not wish a veteran "Happy Memorial Day" because this is the day for them to honor those they risked their lives with.

Feds Blame Pilot Error, Lack of Oversight in Marine's Death

Feds Blame Pilot Error, Lack of Oversight in Marine's Death
May 25, 2016

FILE - This March 11, 2015 file photo officials check the scene of a T-59 Hawk aircraft crash at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz. In a report released Wednesday,
Federal investigators blame the Marine Corps, the Air Force and the pilot and operator of a privately-owned military jet for the death of a Marine killed last year when the jet crashed into his truck in Arizona.

The National Transportation Safety Board report said the pilot of the BAE Systems Hawk jet took off too early, noting that he lifted off while traveling more than 10 mph below normal takeoff speed on March 11, 2015. The British-built jet flying on a mission for the Air Force wobbled, veered off the left side of the Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma runway and eventually hit a pickup occupied by Lance Cpl. Anthony T. DuBeau. The 23-year-old from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was providing safety oversight for a construction crew working alongside the runway.

The pilot, an active-duty Air National Guard A-10 pilot flying as a contractor for Quincy, Illinois-based Air USA, Inc., told investigators the aircraft's nose "became light" as he approached takeoff speed.
read more here

MEMORIAL DAY 2016 Events in Central Florida

From Cathy Haynes
MEMORIAL DAY 2016 in Central Florida
Please fly your American flags this weekend.  If they are torn, tattered or fade you may take them to any veteran service organization post for proper retirement.

ATTEND and PARTICIPATE. Teach our younger generations – make it a tradition!

MEMORIAL DAY/weekend events: 
Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings.

·         Armed Forces Day primarily honors those persons who are currently serving our country.
·         Veterans Day primarily honors those who have served in the past.
·         Memorial Day primarily honors those who died while in service to our country, those who have given their lives for the nation’s freedom and the freedom of others.
While it is always appropriate to thank someone in our military services, past and present, Memorial Day is a day for those no longer with us.  It was meant to be a more solemn day, rather than celebratory with parties and sales….
Ocoee’s Memorial Day Ceremony –11am – Ocoee Lakeshore Center, 125 North Lakeshore Drive, Ocoee, 34761 (west Orange County.)  The keynote speaker will be former Tuskegee Airman Daniel Keel, a 93-year-old aviator is one of the last surviving members of the famed group of African-American military pilots who fought in World War II.   Mr. Keel served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II as a Billy Mitchell B-25 pilot. He left the military in 1946 and received a commercial pilot’s license, although at the time black pilots were not allowed to fly commercial airplanes. Mr. Keel continued his education, started a successful electrical contracting company in Massachusetts.  A processional will be made to the Ocoee Memorial Wall for a wreath placement.  The wall is inscribed with the names of Ocoee residents who gave their lives for freedom.  Ocoee Police Officer Duane Hunt will sing the National Anthem and there will be ceremonial flag presentations by the Ocoee High School Air Force JROTC Color Guard and Ocoee Police Department Honor Guard. Refreshments will be served after the ceremony. Info:  Joy Wright at  joy.wright @ocoee .org   407-905-3100
Seminole County Hero's Memorial – 9am – A tribute to Seminole County's fallen military and public safety heroes at the Heroes Memorial (in front of the Criminal Justice Center, 101 Bush Blvd, Sanford, 32773.) The Ceremony will have music and keynote speaker Sgt. David Matthews, president and CEO of Never Forgotten Memorials. The Seminole County Sheriff's Office will have a helicopter flyover and a 21 Gun Salute, while the Fire Department will have a display of rescue vehicles and the ceremonial ringing of the last bell. The Seminole County Heroes Memorial consists of a fountain surrounded by separate memorials for firefighters, police officers and members of the military, A granite wall has 121 Seminole County military veterans' names who died during conflict, as well. Bronze statues of a firefighter and a police officer are inscribed with the names of deceased firefighters and law-enforcement officers.  Info:  Dave -  407-535-1728
Walk a Mile for Those Who Marched for Us – 9am to 4pm – Start at Seminole Harley-Davidson, 620 Hickman Cir, Sanford, 32771, just north of Orlando.  Walk out under huge American Flag draped by High Reach2, past Comfort Inn, and enjoy some Ice Lemon Water at Outback Steakhouse porch before returning to Harley.  Ceremony at 11:30 includes Vietnam War 50th Ceremony with 5 Branch POW/MIA Table Performance,  Girl Scout Citrus Council singers, pinning of Vietnam Veterans 50th anniversary, a Wreaths Across America wreath for local fallen soldier, t- shirt giveaways, Silent Auction.  Free Outback Steakhouse Appetizer for attending.  Vietnam Veterans participating/registering have a chance to win a Free Night in a King Suite at Comfort Inn & Suites next door to Harley ( 2 winners;  Remember: Hurricane season soon!) LIVE Music from 1 to 5pm with The Steven Green Band.  Info:  Dave -  407-535-1728  www. Neverforgottenmemorials .org 
Cypress Grove Park Memorial Day Salute - 9:30am to 12noon – 290 Holden Ave., Orlando, 32839 in South Orlando.  VFW Post 2093 Community Band will be performing, patriotic guest speaker, POW/MIA Remembrance and folding of the Flag; Free and all persons welcome, especially veterans.  Bring your lawn chairs or blankets.  Info:  407-254-6770 or 407-855-5877.
Celebration’s Memorial Day Flag Ceremony – 10am – at Founders Park, Campus St, Celebration, 34747 in Osceola County.   The flag ceremony will honor the men and women who have bravely and selflessly defended our country, and will celebrate and pay tribute to our nation’s heroes.  The Celebration Veterans’ Group, Boy and Girl Scout Troops and the Garden Club of Celebration are helping to host this ceremony. The Celebration Community Chorus will put on a special performance recognizing US military members.  Info:  407-566-1200.
Army Spc Brenden J. Salazar Memorial –  5pm to 7pm - Rock & Brews Oviedo, 7131 Red Bug Lake Rd, Oviedo, 32765.  Seminole County resident Brenden Salazar was killed in July 22, 2012, in Logar Province of Afghanistan.  (1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade) Friends, family and the community come together to remember this graduate of Hagerty High School.  First Responders of Fire Station/ Tower 27 serving Winter Springs and Red Bug area will fly a massive flag at this memorial.  Info:  Dave at 407-535-1728  www. neverforgottenmemorials .org 
Taft Cemetery – 11am to 12:15 - American Legion Dorie Miller Memorial Post #331 will place flags on veteran’s graves beginning about 11am.  12 noon ceremony.   501 Landstreet Rd., Orlando, 32824 in south Orlando.  Public invited.  Post phone: 407-294-3548.
American Legion Post 112 Memorial Day Commemoration - 11am – The Post members along with Sea Cadets, Fleet Reserve, and Boy Scouts assist with ceremony.  Guest speaker Congressman John Mica.  Public invited. . 4490 N. Goldenrod Rd., Winter Park, 32792 (btwn Aloma Blvd and University Blvd.)  Info:  407-671-6404
All-American BBQ – 12noon – American Legion Orlando Memorial Post 19, 5320 Alloway Street, Orlando, 32810 (just west of I-4 on Lee Rd.)  Burgers, Dogs, Apple Pie and all that is American.  Burger or dog/brat with two sides for $3 with advanced purchase of ticket otherwise will be $5 on the day.  Public welcome!  Info:  Commander at 407-622-1807.  Join the Post Memorial Day ceremony at Greenwood Cemetery on Monday.
City of Rockledge Memorial Day Ceremony – 2 to 3pm - This 2nd annual event in Brevard County will feature patriotic music, Honor Guards from VFW Post 4534 (Rocket Post), Rockledge Police Department, and the laying of a ceremonial wreath. Boy Scouts will lead the Pledge of Allegiance, guest speakers include Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Port Commissioner and Navy Adm. Wayne Justice (ret.), and Col. Rich Goodman from Patrick Air Force Base.  Larry L. Schultz Park at 2560 Fiske Blvd, on the corner of Fiske Blvd and Levitt Parkway in Rockledge.  Info:  www. cityofrockledge .org  or 321-305-4975
600 Miles of Remembrance in Coca-Cola 600 race, Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina - NASCAR drivers will again honor fallen service members with "600 Miles of Remembrance." The strip across the windshield of the 40 race cars will feature the name of a fallen United States Armed Forces member. This year there are three Florida fallen warriors whose names will be included:
·         Army SPC Zachary Lee Shannon from Dunedin on Paul Menard’s car #27;
·         Marine SSGT Jason C Ramseyer from West Palm Beach on Ryan Newman’s car #31;
·         Air Force SSGT Forrest B. Sibley from Pensacola on Aric Almirola’s car #43.
(Last year there were two warriors from Central Florida who were remembered and honored: Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller from Oviedo, a Medal of Honor recipient, had his name on the windshield of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car; and Marine Gunnery Sgt. Floyd Earl Holley from Casselberry/Winter Park had his name on the windshield of Landon Cassill’s car.)
The race will start at 6pm, and will be carried on TV.
National ‎Memorial Day Concert - 8pm on your local PBS TV station (WUCF, or other local PBS.) This live concert is from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC.  Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna, both acclaimed actors dedicated to veterans’ causes and supporting our troops in active service, will host this star-studded lineup on stage for one of PBS' highest-rated programs. A multi-award-winning television event, it has become an American tradition, honoring the military service and sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform, their families at home and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  Check your local channel guide.  See WUCF website for more information, stories, and ways to become locally involved.  The Concert will be taped and aired again at 9:30pm.
MEMORIAL DAY -  MONDAY ,  MAY 30 – alphabetical by county
The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 pm local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.
Honoring America’s Fallen Heroes Throughout History - 9am - 10:30am – Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Center, 400 South Sykes Creek Parkway, Merritt Island, 32952.  Speakers include Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Brevard County Parks and Rec Director Jack Masson and special guest speaker is USMC LtGen Robert Wineglass (ret.).  Music by the Merritt Island High School band.  21 gun salute, JROTC, parade of flags and more.
Melbourne Memorial Day – 11am - Ceremony with the Massing of the Colors, guest speaker Army MG Charles F. Scanlon (ret.), music provided by the Melbourne Municipal Band and others.  Liberty Bell Memorial Museum, 1601 Oak St., Melbourne.  Presented by Honor America.  Free.  Info:  321-727-1776. 
Cape Canaveral National Cemetery – 2:30pm – 3:30pm – The first annual Memorial Day Ceremony since this newest national cemetery opened in Florida.  This site offers an alternative to the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.  Introductions by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.  Guest Speakers are Brig. Gen. Wayne R. Monteith (Commander of the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base) and US Senator Bill Nelson.  Music by Titusville High School band and a brass quintet. Groups participating include American Legion Post #1, scouts, and more. Limited seating, lawn chairs welcome.  5525 U.S. Highway 1, Scottsmoor, 32754.  (From I-95 take Exit 231, at Highway 1 turn right (south); the cemetery is two miles on the left.)  Info: Jim at 321.543.0646.
Memorial Day Tribute and Parade - 5:45 - 8:15 p.m - Parade through the streets of Cocoa Village at 5:45pm with a special Grand Marshall, Captain Ed Lanni, Ret. Captain of the Merchant Marines and long-time Cocoa resident.  Ceremony on the main stage of Riverfront Park in Cocoa at 6:45pm with guest speakers USAF Col. Robert D. Harvey, (ret.) and USAF Chief Master Sergeant Boston A. Alexander.  There will be various veterans’ organizations on site, presentations and patriotic music. Special flag-folding ceremony, period costumes, a moment of silence, entertainment, and more.  Free!   Info:  NeoDasha Harris, Special Events Coordinator at (321) 635-7702 or nharris@ cocoafl .org
Lake County Memorial Day Observance – 11am - Waterfront Pavilion, 330 Third Street on Lake Minneola in Clermont. It is sponsored by the Tomoka Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution; I.W. Hatcher, Jr. South Lake Marine Corps Detachment and VFW Post #5277. Also participating will be the Knights of Columbus Council #13240, South Lake High School NJROTC, Scout troops of South Lake County.  Music will be provided by Jim Hanks.  Collection container available for donating items to include in military care packages.  Also collecting flags for proper retirement.  Info:   Susan DeHart at 352-242-2394, Kurt Schuh 352-552-6234 or Andy Smith 352-988-4599
Greenwood Cemetery, Orlando – 8–9am – Traditional ceremony by the American Legion Orlando Memorial Post 19, at the Veterans Section of the cemetery, 1603 Greenwood St., Orlando, 32801, downtown Orlando.  Special guest speaker.  Public is invited.  Contact Information: Wade Foster 407-622-1807        
Winter Garden Memorial Day Service - 8:30 am at Veterans Memorial Park, 420 S. Park Ave., Winter Garden, 34787.  City of Winter Garden conducts a ceremony with guest speaker Capt. Frank Winget , a veteran of the Navy SEAL teams.  A Roll Call of Veterans, placement of wreaths, patriotic songs performed that will invoke pride, honor and respect for our veterans. Info:  Theo Graham at 407-656-2021.
Orange County Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremony – 10am – Orange County Courthouse, south side, 425 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, 32801.   Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the Orange County Veterans Advisory Council will express eternal gratitude.  Also attending Orlando City Mayors’ Veterans Advisory Council.  Keynote speaker will be Army Lt.Gen. Jack Stultz (ret.); 143d ESC Color Guard, singers, high school brass quintet and JROTC, and more.  On special display will be the Congressional Medal of Honor – the highest military award - received by Orlando resident Marine Cpl. Larry E. Smedley.  He received it posthumously for his service in Vietnam, when he was killed in Dec. 1967 at age 18.  We will remember and honor members of the armed forces from Orange County who ultimately sacrificed their lives while serving our country.  Info:  407-836-7370.
Woodlawn Memorial Park Ceremony - 10am - 400 Woodlawn Cemetery Rd., Gotha, 34734 (southwest Orange County.)  Veteran organizations, Scouts, rifle volley, Taps, the tolling of the replica Liberty Bell in memory of the dead of all wars, and a possible fly-over.  Guest speakers are Former Sheriff Val Demings and Marine Sgt. Steven Tovet, a wounded veteran of Afghanistan.  Refreshments will follow the ceremony.  Info: 407-293-1361.
Zellwood ceremony at Conquest Cemetery - 10am – Located near the intersection of Yothers Road and U.S. Highway 441 near the entrance to Zellwood Station (west Orange County.)  This ceremony has been coordinated for many years by Dwight Doggett. The MC this year is his daughter, Julie Werking, and the guest speaker is Dr. Sara Irrgang with the topic of “Life as a Female in the Military.”  As is tradition, the grave of each veteran buried at Conquest Cemetery will receive a flag and flowers. Boy Scout Troop #639 and the Apopka High School JROTC, bagpipes, and others will be participating.
Glen Haven Memorial Park - 11am to 1pm - 2300 Temple Dr., Winter Park, 32789.  Annual observance of those who fought and died for their country, honoring the memory of lives lost in service. Memorial service and commemoration to the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War is emceed by 540AM/102.5FM WFLA's Bud Hedinger.  Guest speaker is Robert Apodaca honoring his father, Air Force Major Victor Apodaca. The Major was the first Spanish-American/Navajo Indian to attend the Air Force Academy. His fighter jet was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and his remains were missing/unidentified until 2001.  The story of his remains returning home is a touching tribute by military service personnel. The ceremony includes the presentation of the colors, uniform presentation of all wars by the Winter Springs High School Army JROTC unit, and patriotic songs sung by Charles Haugabrooks, and the VFW 2093 Community Band.  Info:  407-647-1100
American Legion Post 286 – 12noon - The American Legion Family invites the public to the Memorial Day Observance Ceremony and picnic to follow. Entertainment by Jodi from 2 to 6pm.  The Post is also raffling a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with the ticket drawing at 6pm.  529 E. Fairlane Ave. Orlando, 32809.  (Pine Castle in South Orlando; north of Sand Lake Rd on Orange Ave.)  Info: Sandi at 407-859-1460.
Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park - 2pm –Memorial Day ceremony at the Central FL Veterans Memorial Wall located behind the Orlando VA Hospital Center at Lake Nona, 13800 Veterans Way, Orlando, 32827.  Guest speaker is Army LTG Benjamin R. Mixon (ret.) The Wall panels feature the names of fallen warriors from the six county area (Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia) who served in WWI to the present day conflicts.  This year, five additional names of the Fallen will be added to the granite walls: one from Osceola County, one from Orange County, and three from Brevard County.   The Memorial Wall is located behind the hospital between the Domiciliary and the Community Living Center (CLC).  A reception starts at 1:45pm.  Arrive early, limited seating.  Info:  Jerry at  407-529-6925
Osceola Memory Gardens – 8:30am - Ceremony includes guest speaker Jon Yeitrakis, a Vietnam War veteran who served as a medic with the Marine Corps and in the process received 2 Purple Hearts.  He was recently awarded Veteran of the Year by the Osceola County Veterans Council.  This year, 4 veterans will also be honored.  They died before they received their Congressional Medal of Honor that was issued to the US Army 65th Infantry “Borinqueneers” for their contributions to WWI, WW2 and the Korean War.  Edwin Aviles, himself a Korean War “Borinqueneer, will be presenting the families with their Medals.  Young cadets of the Civil Air Patrol 463 Cadet Squadron will present the Colors.  St. Thomas Aquinas Choir, Osceola County Veterans Council and other groups will participate.   Public invited.  1717 Old Boggy Creek Rd., Kissimmee, 34744.  The group generally proceeds to St. Cloud for the ceremony at Mount Peace Cemetery.  Info: Vanessa at 407-892-2155  Vanessa.Roman@ OsceolaMemGds .com
Mount Peace Cemetery – 10am, 755 E. 10th St., St. Cloud, 34769.  Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3227 is hosting St. Cloud's Memorial Day Service. Also participating is American Legion Post #80, AMVETs Post#33, first responders and scouts.  Everyone is invited to stop by to remember and honor those who gave their all in the service of their country.  407-892-6761.
Bok Tower Gardens Memorial Day Carillon Concerts – 1 to 1:30pm and 3 to 3:30pm, 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, 33853.  Half-hour carillon concerts as musical salute of gratitude to our nation’s military service – past and present.  Free admission offered today to all military branches, active, retired, and disabled veterans with valid ID.  Concerts included with general admission.  863-676-1408.
Memorial Day Parade and Remembrance Ceremony - 9am - 12noon - For spectators and family, the fun starts at 9 AM with music, stilt walkers and lots of fun!  The Parade starts at 10 AM on 1st Street, at Sanford Avenue to Park Avenue, then it will turn north on Park Avenue arriving at Veterans Memorial Park, 110 E. Seminole Blvd, Sanford, 32771.  A Remembrance Ceremony starts at 11am.  Dignitaries and officials will provide a tribute.  There will be patriotic music and a dueling three-volley solute between the Sanford Police Department and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.  There will also be a helicopter fly-over.  Many of the county and Central Florida area veteran service groups will be participating with Color Guards and military vehicles to give ‘Thanks’ to those who have served, continue to serve and to mourn with the family members.  Hosted by City of Sanford and Seminole County Area Veterans Advisory Council (SCAVAC). Info:   Jennifer at 407.688.5120, www. sanfordfl .gov
Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell – 11am - 6502 SW 102nd Ave., Bushnell, 33513.  Traditional and touching ceremony.  Guest speaker is Marine MG James Hartsell, the mobilization assistant to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.  There will be a rifle salute and a posting of the nation’s flag and flags from various military organizations, and Ye Mystic Air Krewe will provide a flyover. Persons attending need to arrive early and enjoy the patriotic and inspirational musical prelude which will begin shortly before the ceremony. Seating is limited,arrive early, wear comfortable clothing and bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit upon.  Info:  352-793-7740 or 1074.
Ormond Beach Memorial Day Remembrance – 9am - Rockefeller Gardens, 25 Riverside Drive, Ormond Beach.  (North of Daytona Beach) Music will be provided by Daytona Beach Concert Band.  Speakers are Army Col. Victoria Leignadier (ret.), Ormond Beach Mayor Ed Kelley, and Navy Captain Mark Leary.  Numerous military color guards, scouts and additional groups participate.  Parking at the Casements, Fortunato Park and the Ormond Memorial Art Museum.  Free. Info:  386-676-3241.
Deltona Memorial Day service - 10am – Commemorative Air Force fly-over, memorial wreaths, presentation of colors by area veterans and affiliated community organizations.  Guest speaker Tom Burbank sponsored by Veterans Community Education Partnership and Deltona Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery.  Deltona Mem. Funeral Home, 1295 Saxon Blvd., Orange City.  Free.  Info:  386-775-4260. 
Port Orange Memorial Ceremony - 10am –– VFW Post 3282 hosts the ceremony at Veterans Park across the lake from Port Orange City Hall, 1000 City Center Circle.  Knights of Columbus will perform the 21 gun salute.  Free.  Info:  386-506-5936.
  -   -   -   -   -   -   -     -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -  
Every effort has been made to include and provide correct information.  Sincere apologies for errors or omissions.
There may be some events that I am not aware of.  Please check your various resources.  But most of all, attend and participate.  Include our next generation so that the understanding of the importance of the day is not forgotten. 
Freedom is not free.
Compiled by Cathy Haynes – with a little help from my friends
chaynes11629@ yahoo .com
Member/supporter/volunteer of numerous veterans and military organizations in Central Florida

Over 4,200 Veterans Mistakenly Declared Dead Get Benefits Back

Report: VA mistakenly classified 4,200 veterans as dead
Military Times
Leo Shane III
May 25, 2016

The issue stems from lingering errors in Social Security Administration’s record sharing with VA. When that department incorrectly listed a veteran as dead, VA policy was to cut off benefits immediately, doubling the frustration of victims looking to correct the record.
More than 4,200 veterans were mistakenly declared dead and had benefits cut off by Veterans Affairs officials over a five-year span, according to new department data that shows the problem was much bigger than previously believed.

The issue came to light after a congressional inquiry in 2015 by Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., who for the last few years has been tracking multiple constituents’ complaints about premature death notices.

After initially estimating the total veterans affected as around a dozen each month, VA released new information on the problem this week, pegging the mistakes as harming more than 70 veterans a month.

“These numbers confirm our suspicion, that mistaken deaths by the VA have been a widespread problem impacting thousands of veterans across the country,” Jolly said in a statement.

“It’s a problem that should have been addressed years ago, as it has caused needless hardships for thousands of people who had their benefits terminated and their world turned upside down.”
read more here

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tampa Veteran Can't Get VA To Pay Bill After Being Forced to Make Choice

Army veteran says she can't get the VA to pay for treatment related to disability Getting the VA to pay takes a year
ABC Action News
Jackie Callaway
May 24, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. - The choice card gives veterans who have been waiting more than 30 days for appointments or who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility the chance to see a private doctor.

For Army veteran Anna Harper a mix up on the VA's part nearly cost her her good credit.

Harper suffered multiple injuries during her training at Fort Hood, a service-connected disability that is covered by the VA.

Harper’s choice card enabled her to get X-rays at a local private facility versus driving an hour to the James A. Haley Hospital in Tampa.

The VA, not Harper, was responsible for the $400 bill. Still the doctor’s office sent her bills for upwards of a year because the VA never paid.

read more here

Veteran Marine, MMA Champion Saved By Christ

Former MMA Champion Shares How Christ Saved Him From PTSD, Suicide, Infidelity
Christian Post
May 25, 2016
In a new "I Am Second" video, a former U.S. Marine and Pro MMA champion Chad Robichaux speaks honestly about his struggle with anger, hatred, brokenness, adultery and being suicidal as a result of a post-traumatic stress disorder, and how his wife's prayers in church led him to Christ and founding Mighty Oaks Warrior Program.

The video begins with Robichaux narrating an incident when he was working as a New Orleans police officer. After a domestic violence call, he had to deal with a gun-wielding offender, who was reported to be homicidal and suicidal. Robichaux and his associate ended up shooting him to death. Though cleared by a grand jury later, he struggled with his conscience.

"I had just blood everywhere on me and felt like I couldn't get it off me. I just wanted someone to tell me, you know, that it was okay, because I had just killed this guy in front of his family," he recalls. "And it was something I never thought I would have a hard time with, but it did."

Robichaux began his military career as a Force Recon Marine before spending time as a police officer in New Orleans, where he earned a medal of valor. After the 9/11 terror attacks, he was selected to join a Joint Special Operations Command task force where he was deployed to Afghanistan in the global war on terror.
read more here

Fort Carson Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy Climbs Everest For PTSD Awareness

You saw this picture in the previous post and now you know why she did it!
Female Fort Carson soldier summited Mount Everest Tuesday in bid to raise PTSD awareness 
The Gazette 
By: Seth Boster
May 25, 2016

"I think about the fallen soldiers I'm climbing for every day, especially when things got difficult on the mountain."
Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy,
Fort Carson Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy, was atop the world Tuesday.

Medvigy, 32, summited Mount Everest in the morning hours with a fellow active-duty soldier and a veteran in a climb for U.S. Expeditions and Explorations, a nonprofit seeking to raise awareness of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. According to a news release, the nonprofit believes Medvigy to be the first active-duty female soldier to scale Earth's highest mountain.

The Ridgway native was joined on the 29,029-foot summit with 2nd Lt. Harold Earls and retired Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes, who lost his right leg in Iraq. She was the first to reach the top among the group, at 7:40 a.m. Everest time, according to an online chronicle of the climb by the nonprofit. She and her team began the ascent on the mountain's north side April 25.

In a photo provided by the group, Medvigy is shown on Everest's peak holding pictures of Army Pfc. Keith Williams and Staff Sgt. Benjamin Prange. The two died during combat in Afghanistan.
read more here

Amputee Chad Jukes Reaches Top of Everest

Ex-soldier who lost a leg in Iraq reaches the top of Everest
Gregg Zoroya
May 24, 2016
Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy, an active-duty field artillery officer currently assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., was the first to reach the summit at Mount Everest from Team USX. Ping Medvigy is holding a picture of PFC Keith Williams and Staff Sgt. Benjamin Prange. Medvigy said via text message: "I think about the fallen soldiers I'm climbing for every day, especially when things got difficult on the mountain." (Photo: www.USX.vet)
An Army veteran who lost his leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq reached the summit of Mount Everest on Tuesday, becoming the second combat amputee to climb the mountain in six days, according to a veterans group that sponsored the expedition.

Chad Jukes, 32, made the climb with a prosthesis. A Marine veteran who also lost his right leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq, Thomas Charles "Charlie" Linville, 30, reached the summit of Everest on Thursday, becoming what is believed to the first combat amputee to conquer the mountain.

The current climbing season for the 29,029-foot mountain has been marred by the deaths of three climbers during the past weekend; two others are missing.
read more here
Linked from TIME

Army Ranger Afghanistan Veteran Faces Charges Instead of Help He Needed

The DOD claims they are training troops in "prevention" and treating them properly when they do finally admit they need help. They claim to be helping them transition from Army life to the civilian world again. They make a lot of claims but this story pretty much sums up the fruits of their deeds when compared to their words.
You Will Know Them by Their Fruits 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits.
Mother of Maine vet who allegedly fired AK-47 around home, created police standoff says man suffers from PTSD
Bangor Daily News
By Tammy Wells, Journal Tribune
Posted May 25, 2016

ALFRED, Maine —Sometime soon — perhaps as early as Wednesday — a Shapleigh man charged with reckless conduct after allegedly shooting his AK-47 at his home Sunday will be transferred from York County Jail to a unit at Kennebec County Jail designed for veterans.

Former U.S. Army Ranger Robert Ferrera, 26, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment, has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder since he was discharged in 2012, said his mother, Donna Ferrera, in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Ferrera surrendered peacefully Sunday afternoon about 90 minutes after sheriff’s deputies were called to the family compound on Oak Hill Road, off Route 11.

Ferrera lives in a home on family property on the private road, while other family members live close by in a separate residence. A family member fled the property when Ferrera, upset about a living situation, went “out of control” and started shooting the gun inside and outside his home, according to the York County Sheriff ’s Department. The family member then summoned the sheriff ’s office. No one was injured.

Charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and violating conditions of a prior release, Ferrera is being held without bail on the latter charge.

His mother said Ferrera was injured in 2012, and was discharged shortly before his four-year hitch was up. He had joined the Army as a teenager.

“He went into the Army right out of school, when he was 18,” his mother said. “He wanted to be a Ranger.”

Looking back, Donna Ferrera says her son should have been medically discharged from his Army service, which would have, she said, made him automatically eligible for health care outside the Veterans Administration system. But, she said, that didn’t happen.

She said her son has been diagnosed by the VA with PTSD, along with other medical issues that stem from his service – including back problems and an injured arm that was operated on while he was still in the military and now requires surgery again.

Donna Ferrera believes there should be a transition program for veterans as they approach discharge back into civilian life.
read more here

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Earl Plumlee May Get Medal Of Honor

New Army secretary asked to intervene in Medal of Honor case
The Washington Post
By Dan Lamothe
Published: May 24, 2016

WASHINGTON — A year after a Special Forces soldier was denied the Medal of Honor, the nation’s top award for valor in combat, a congressman has appealed to the new Army secretary to review the case.

Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Earl Plumlee, right, salutes during an awards ceremony at at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on May 1, 2015, after he received the Silver Star for his actions in Afghanistan. A Calif. congressman is requesting that newly-sworn-in Army Secretary Eric Fanning consider whether Plumlee should be awarded the Medal of Honor, a recommendation that was denied in 2015 under then-Army Secretary John McHugh. CODIE MENDENHALL/U.S. ARMY

Army Secretary Eric Fanning was sworn in as the service’s top civilian leader last week, and almost immediately received a letter from Rep. Duncan Hunter, R.-Calif., asking if he would review the case of Sgt. 1st Class Earl D. Plumlee. The Green Beret soldier was nominated for the Medal of Honor for his role in repelling a brutal ambush in Afghanistan in 2013 and received recommendations for the prestigious award from several of the military’s most powerful officers, but was ultimately denied last year by then-Army Secretary John McHugh. Plumlee instead received the Silver Star, which is two levels below the Medal of Honor in recognizing combat heroism.
read more here

The Army denied a Medal of Honor to this Green Beret war hero. What happened?

WWII Veteran's Family Wins Settlement After Being Shot By Police Beanbag

Family Agrees to $1.1M Settlement in WWII Veteran's Death
May 24, 2016

Court documents show relatives of a 95-year-old World War II veteran who died after being shot with a beanbag gun by a police officer, who was trying to disarm him, have agreed to a $1.1 million wrongful death settlement.

Park Forest Police Officer Craig Taylor responded in July 2013 after an assisted-living facility staff member reported John Wrana Jr. had become combative. Wrana was shot five times with the beanbag gun before he dropped the knife he was wielding. He died hours later of internal bleeding.

Sharon Mangerson, Wrana's stepdaughter and executor of his estate, had filed a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit in 2014 alleging, among other things, that Wrana's civil rights were violated.

Park Forest recently agreed to a $1.1 million settlement, with $800,000 covering legal fees and costs and the rest going to family members.
read more here

WWII Veteran's Headstone Found in Trash Pile Under Overpass

World War II veteran headstone found in trash and moved to cemetery
ABC 10 News KXTV
Frances Wang
May 24, 2016
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A Facebook post sparked outrage when it showed a World War II veteran's tombstone laying underneath a Stockton overpass, among trash left behind by transients. 

Khris Cook, a war veteran himself, heard about the tombstone from his wife who saw the post. Like many of the others who commented, he was upset seeing it left behind like trash. "I couldn't see something like that, laying here, getting disgraced, broken up, graffitied," said Cook. 

"It's very disrespectful." Cook came down to pick it up himself. He dropped it off at the American Legion Ed Stewart Post 803, a place he felt it would be safe. read more here

McDonald Was Close Since Veteran Have Been On Ride For Decades

There is no excuse for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make such a reprehensible comparison between waiting in line for a ride at Disney to veterans waiting to be taken care of by the VA. Standing in line for a ride is a choice and hey, Disney even offers fast passes but veterans did not have a choice in what parts of their bodies or minds they would sacrifice serving this country.

The truth is, veterans have been on a ride for decades and it has not been fun~
VA Secretary Disneyland-wait time comparison draws ire
By Drew Griffin
CNN Investigations
May 23, 2016

(CNN)Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald downplayed Monday the time it takes for veterans to receive medical treatment by comparing the "experience" of waiting for health care to Disneyland guests waiting for a ride.

"When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what's important?" McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington. "What's important is what's your satisfaction with the experience?"

American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett excoriated McDonald: "The American Legion agrees that the VA secretary's analogy between Disneyland and VA wait times was an unfortunate comparison because people don't die while waiting to go on Space Mountain."

"We also disagree with the substance of his comment because wait times are very important to not just the satisfaction quotient, but in some cases the veterans health," he said in a statement.
read more here

Satisfied with the experience? Hardly!

I spent my entire life with the VA and what it does, as well as does not do, for veterans.  My Dad was 100% and so is my husband. None of this is new to veterans and families.  We've seen it all before as the VA, often rightly, blames Congress and Congress fails to do their own jobs of writing rules, bills and paying for services they have control over.

That said, there needs to be a line that is never crossed.  McDonald just crossed that one. He is the head of the VA.  Even if he passes it off as a poor choice of words, the thought must have been in his head or it would have never jumped out of his mind and out of his mouth. Maybe now folks will understand why the vast majority of veterans do not go to the VA.  Imagine if they did when there are about 22 million of them and the VA has trouble taking care of the ones who do turn to them.

This is just an example of that.
Updated Roster of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans through February 28, 2015 1,939,959 OEF/OIF/OND Veterans have become eligible for VA health care since FY 2002 1,185,160 (~61%)2 Former Active Duty 754,799 (~39%)2 Reserve and National Guard

Statement from VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald
05/24/2016 05:34 PM EDT

On Monday, I made some remarks on how we’re working to improve Veterans' satisfaction with the care they receive from VA. It was never my intention to suggest that I don't take our mission of serving Veterans very seriously.

In fact, improving access to care is my number one priority and the priority I have set for the entire department. For the last two years, the huge majority of VA employees have worked tirelessly to improve the timeliness of the care and benefits we provides to Veterans.

As I've told Veterans Service Organizations, Members of Congress, and myriad other groups of Veterans stakeholders, our goal is to ensure VA becomes the Number 1 customer-service organization in government.

To do that, we are following many of the best practices of private sector health care providers and exceptional customer-service organizations.

At VA we take our mission of caring for those who "shall have borne the battle" very seriously; we have the best and most noble mission in government.

If my comments Monday led any Veterans to believe that I, or the dedicated workforce I am privileged to lead, don't take that noble mission seriously, I deeply regret that. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As we approach the Memorial Day holiday and pay tribute to the sacrifices of courageous men and women who placed the interests of others above their own, we at the VA remain focused on our mission to care for those who bravely served our Nation.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Junger Thinks Society to Blame When Troops Come Home?

There are times when I read a headline and get really hopeful that something new will come out of it, but all too quickly, those hopes are crushed. It just happened when Sebastian Junger was interviewed about a new book and he seemed to want to blame society for the disconnect. Nothing new on that one but then again, no one can really understand what they did not live through. 

"In his book, Mr. Junger marshals history, psychology, anthropology and statistics to make his case. He suggests that in countries with a strong sense of community, such as Israel, incidence of PTSD is low even though that nation exists in a state of near-constant conflict."

Civilians cannot understand veterans but they understand emotional turmoil after surviving something something that could have killed them. Junger had a theory that pretty much summed up what type of research he did for this book.
Hundreds of Israeli soldiers have been diagnosed with PTSD after three infantrymen committed suicide after fighting in Gaza this summer. Baz Ratner/Reuters
Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) Col. Dr. Keren Ginat, who is head of the army's mental health services, told a ministerial oversight committee on Monday that the IDF had invited 1,000 soldiers known to have been wounded in combat or involved in intense firefights in Gaza to come in and talk to bosses about their experiences. Some 70% of the soldiers scored highly on the PTSD checklist and have been referred for additional treatment, Ginat said.
But it isn't just one article on how Israeli Veterans have suffered from PTSD. There are more like this one about cannabis being used to treat PTSD.
According to the study by Dr. Irit Akirav from the Department of Psychology at Haifa University, cannabinoids may relieve the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a debilitating disorder that strikes 10 to 30 percent of people who suffer from a traumatic event such as war, a car accident, rape or a terrorist attack.
And this one
Trauma is also very common in women; five out of 10 women will experience a traumatic event at some point during their lifetime. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians and soldiers, including Holocaust survivors, have developed PTSD.

There are many more articles on this and keep in mind it only took me about 15 minutes to find these since I knew what I was looking for.  After all, none of this is new. 

Here is some more of the interview.

Sebastian Junger’s Take on PTSD
The society troops return to, he says, is more to blame than combat
Wall Street Journal
May 22, 2016

One of the tools of journalism, and perhaps life in general, is the ability to create a bond by discovering what you and the person standing in front of you have in common.

However, that wasn’t my modus operandi when I got together with Sebastian Junger, the best-selling author of “The Perfect Storm” who also, along with the late Tim Hetherington, created the Oscar-nominated documentary “Restrepo,” on the Afghanistan War.

We met at The Half King, a pub on far West 23rd Street where Mr. Junger is a co-owner.

Actually, I was more than happy reveling in our differences. Mr. Junger has earned an excellent living chasing risk. I do my best to avoid it.

His new book, “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging,” which comes out of decades of reporting from war zones, argues counterintuitively that the society American soldiers return to does more to cause post-traumatic stress disorder than combat does.

“PTSD is a disorder of transition,” he said.
read more here
"PTSD is a disorder of transition" Seriously? There is a reason there are support groups for all the different groups of people needing them. They are understood among their peers. It is the same with veterans.  They are understood by other veterans more than anyone else can begin to understand. Military families are understood among other military families.  That is why you see veterans groups with spouses sharing experiences with each other they do not even attempt to share with civilian spouses.  They just don't understand what it is like when they think a huge problem is hubby didn't take out the trash or notice his wife did something differently.  

I don't know what is in the rest of Junger's book and now I don't want to find out.