Thursday, April 19, 2018

Make sure members of Congress give their benefits up first!

It is no secret how I feel about politicians. One huge reason why I do not post on any of them, is none of them have lived up to what this country deserves. It makes it worse, when they do not live up to what veterans deserve!!!

I am limited on what I want to say at this moment, so, unlike most of my rants, it will be very short and simple.

The next time you hear any politician talk about doing harm to our veterans, by cutting their benefits, raising co-pays, taking about sending them into the private healthcare system the rest of us have to deal with, basically disrespecting the fact these veterans were made promises for their service, remember this.

When members of Congress, with the authority over the VA, fail to do their duty, they still get to retire with full benefits they were promised. They get their healthcare taken of. It would take an act of Congress to take away anything from them. 

Why should they reward themselves after betraying our veterans? Privatizing the VA? Cutting benefits from older veterans? Increasing fees? Decreasing coverage for Medicare and Medicaid? Cutting Social Security?

If they try to cut anything from our veterans, make sure members of Congress, including those who retired, give their benefits up first!

Repeat Reports Ignored on Repeat Deployments

It is almost as if we have been living in the Twilight Zone! News comes out explaining something, then nothing changes, but people end up wanting an explanation all over again!
Repeat Iraq Tours Raise Risk of PTSD, Army Finds
Washington Post
By Ann Scott Tyson
Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 20, 2006; Page A19

U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health........and read the rest here because the link is still live.
By 2007, a soldier was faced with his 5th deployment, along with many more. 

Soldier who fought fifth deployment to war deemed medically unfit
Lawyer says soldier wants honorable discharge and release from IRRBy Lisa BurgessStars and Stripes Mideast editionAugust 16, 2007
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Florida reservist who asked federal courts to block the Army from sending him to Iraq on a fifth deployment was excused from active service after being found medically unfit. He is still seeking an honorable discharge to prevent another call-up, according to his lawyer.
“Now we’re working to put the icing on the cake and get him out of the IRR,” or Individual Ready Reserve, Fayetteville, N.C.-based attorney Mark Waple said.
Sgt. Erik Botta, 26, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., won’t be finished with his eight-year obligation until October 2008, so he is asking for the discharge to ensure he will not get another call-up to Iraq, Waple said. 
read more here
A Fort Riley soldier was sent back after two months of being home, even though he had been diagnosed with PTSD. An Army Ranger was killed in Afghanistan on his 7th tour.

But while ignoring the risk of redeployments, they extended those deployments.

General Carter Ham, who would later talk about his own battle with PTSD, wanted 2 years in between deployments.

Oh well, I could keep going with this, but at least now you know, that what you are about to read is not new. Since they kept doing it, not matter what evidence came out stating it was a dangerous thing to do, they still did it!

Suicide risk rises with quick repeat deployments, study shows
The new way of war might be over-stressing soldiers
NBC News
by Maggie Fox
Apr.19.2018
Those re-deployed within six months or less were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide.
Soldiers are more at risk of suicide when they’re repeatedly deployed with six months or less between rotations, and when they’re sent to war too soon after they join the service, new research shows.

Such quick turnarounds have become common as the U.S. sends combat troops to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Of the 1.3 million or so active duty military personnel, about 160,000 are permanently stationed overseas, according to the federal government’s Defense Manpower Data Center.

At the same time, suicide rates have soared among veterans. On average, 20 veterans a day died by suicide in 2014, and many more attempted suicide, the Veterans Affairs Department says.

“Rates of suicidal behaviors, including suicide deaths, attempts, and ideation, among U.S. Army soldiers increased considerably during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Dr. Robert Ursano of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences wrote in a report published Wednesday.

Ursano and colleagues studied a group of such soldiers: 593 men and women in the U.S. Army who had been deployed twice and who attempted suicide between 2004 and 2009. They were looking for specific factors affecting suicide risk.
read more here

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Reports of Veteran Navy Pilot Landed Southwest Plane...yes she did!

Tammie Jo Shults, who landed crippled Southwest plane, was one of first female fighter pilots in U.S. Navy
NBC News
by Elizabeth Chuck and Shamar Walters
Apr.18.2018

Navy pilot Tammie Jo Shults in a photo from the 1990s. Courtesy of Linda Maloney
The pilot who coolly landed a Southwest Airlines plane after one of the jet's engines failed and torpedoed shrapnel through a window midflight has gone against the odds before.

Identified by The Associated Press as Tammie Jo Shults, she wasted no time steering the plane into a rapid descent toward safety when chaos broke out shortly after takeoff from New York — maintaining her composure even as passengers reported from the cabin that a woman had been partially sucked out of a shattered window.

“We have part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” she’s heard calmly telling air traffic controllers in audio transmissions after reporting the aircraft's engine failure.

“Could you have medical meet us there on the runway as well? We’ve got injured passengers,” Shults then requests.

A air traffic controller asks her if her plane is on fire, to which Shults calmly replies: “No, it’s not on fire, but part of it’s missing. They said there’s a hole, and — uh — someone went out.”
read more here

Fire officials are sounding the alarm about PTSD,

Minnesota firefighters grapple with 'silent epidemic' of PTSD
Star Tribune
By Hannah Covington
APRIL 18, 2018
Fire officials are sounding the alarm about PTSD, suicide trends.

The nightmares still sometimes rouse Brian Cristofono from sleep.
ELIZABETH FLORES – STAR TRIBUNE
Gallery: Brian Cristofono spoke with firefighters from the Brooklyn Center Fire Department after he gave a presentation on his PTSD, Monday, March 26, 2018 in Plymouth, MN. Traumas from being a firefighter, the one he dreamed of as a kid, led to a severe PTSD diagnosis, costing him both his marriage and his work. In his 13 years on the job, three colleagues killed themselves. Twice he put a gun to his own head. Now, Cristofono is sharing his story about the plight firefighters face and the lack of job coverage for those who suffer from PTSD in Minnesota. Nationwide, firefighters are more likely to take their own lives than die in the line of duty. Like other first responders, they're more than twice as likely to commit suicide than the general population. In Minnesota, momentum is slowly building to address these troubling trends, with Cristofono as a leading voice.

Even now, nearly two years after the last calls for help came in, ghosts from his days as a firefighter and paramedic are tough to shake. Babies he couldn’t save. Parents he struggled to comfort. Crash victims beyond reviving.

“They leave scars,” said Cristofono, 42. “The job can really just be a dark look at life.”

Traumas from his job — the one he dreamed of getting as a kid — led to a severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis, costing him his marriage and causing him to retire from the St. Paul fire department in 2017. During his 13 years on the job with various departments, three colleagues killed themselves. Twice, Cristofono put a gun to his own head.

Researchers estimate that anywhere from 7 to 37 percent of firefighters have PTSD. A study from Florida State University found that nearly half of firefighters have had suicidal thoughts and that about 1 in 5 have made plans to take their own lives.
read more here

Death of Chief Petty Officer Under Investigation

Navy identifies man killed in shooting at Ewa Beach home
Associated Press
April 18, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) — The Navy has identified a man who was killed in a shooting Sunday at an Ewa Beach home.

The Navy said 41-year-old Chief Petty Officer John Ellsworth Hasselbrink, a submariner who served 22 years at Pearl Harbor, was killed in the shooting.

Hasselbrink was shot while trying to open the door of a 33-year-old Ewa Beach resident’s house in the middle of the night, according to police reports.

The resident was arrested but released Monday night without charges, pending further investigation.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet submarine force, citing police reports, said Hasselbrink had been attempting “to enter a residence other than his own by mistake.”

He died at the scene.
read more here

Veteran Confronts His Own Trauma With a Camera

An Army Veteran Confronts His Own Trauma With a Camera
New York Times
By Finbarr O’Reilly
April 18, 2018
While undertaking treatment last year, Mr. McCoy made a series of black and white pictures of other veterans attending the program, including the shot of the two men sleeping on the bus, and another of his own reflection in the black marble memorial with Pfc. Albert M. Nelson’s name.
Khalid, an Iraq War Marine Corp veteran, showing his tattoo reading “lost soul.”
Credit Michael A. McCoy
It was a cold, sunny day last spring when retired U.S. Army Specialist Michael McCoy visited the war memorial in Cumberland, Md., to look for the name of Pfc. Albert M. Nelson.

Mr. McCoy, who grew up in West Baltimore, and Mr. Nelson, who was from West Philadelphia, became close friends in 2006 just before Mr. McCoy’s second of two yearlong deployments to Iraq. Mr. Nelson was a bit of a joker and, at 31, a few years older than the other soldiers. He was a big brother figure, well liked, especially by Mr. McCoy.

“We used to talk about hanging out in Philly when we got home,” he said. “We never got that chance.”

Mr. Nelson died in Ramadi on Dec. 4, 2006, from wounds sustained in a combat episode that, according to Salon, may have involved friendly fire and an attempted cover-up by the military.
read more here

70 Year Old Vietnam Veteran Tortured and Murdered

VIETNAM WAR VETERAN TORTURED, MURDERED BY COUPLE CAUGHT FLEEING TO EL SALVADOR, POLICE SAY
Newsweek
BY BENJAMIN FEARNOW
4/17/18

A couple in California has been charged with first-degree murder after allegedly torturing and killing a Vietnam War veteran in pursuit of his financial information, police said in a press conference Monday.

Jose and Stacie Mendoza allegedly restrained, beat and suffocated Kenneth Coyle, 70, at his home in Hanford, California, on April 5 or 6, while interrogating him about his finances, according to police. The coroner's office has yet to announce Coyle's cause of death, but police said they suspect blunt force trauma and suffocation.
read more here

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Marine with untreated PTSD shot neighbors TV?

Alleged shooter of TV is veteran with PTSD, prosecutors say
Herald Washington
By Scott North
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
The Darrington man, a former Marine, appears to be struggling with mental health issues.
EVERETT — A Darrington man appears to have been wrestling with mental challenges and substance abuse before he allegedly forced his way into his neighbors’ home March 19 and shot a big-screen television.

Lance “Doug” Cochran, 36, was the man in the mask who broke into a house in the 6200 block of 473rd Drive NE and opened fire, deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf said in Snohomish County Superior Court documents. Cochran is now charged with second-degree assault and first-degree burglary, both felonies.

Cochran served in the Marine Corps from 1999 through 2008. He’s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder for two years but has not sought treatment, Alsdorf wrote.

The defendant’s family and friends say he became unstable and violent after a death in his family and an unwelcome job reassignment. He stopped going to work, “drank beer all day long” and used methamphetamine with a neighbor.
read more here


Operation Proper Exit "mission to find closure"

Leaving the AOR on their own terms
By Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Published April 11, 2018
The combat veterans were escorted by Medal of Honor recipient and wounded warrior, Master Sgt. (Ret.) Leroy Petry. This event was Petry’s 24th trip escorting service members on behalf of OPE. Since the inception of OPE in 2009, more than 120 injured service members have returned to Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the unique initiative designed for wounded service members who are thriving in recovery and are capable of returning to theater.
Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Eight wounded warriors, who have visible and invisible injuries from combat, were on a mission to find closure by returning to the place of their traumatic incident through Operation Proper Exit, April 4-8, 2018.

The combat veterans briefly visited an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia and departed on a U.S. Air Force C-130 enroute to Bagram, Afghanistan to take part in the 24th iteration of the event. The participants shared their stories of resiliency with deployed service members at multiple forward operating bases in the area of responsibility and returned to the site of their combat injury or the medical facility where they were treated.

“I’ve been given an opportunity to go back to complete my mission and walk off the battlefield with my head held high,” said Spc. Justin Lane, former U.S. Army combat engineer.


The journey not only provided closure for those who suffered obvious physical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, it also allowed a unique perspective from service members in support elements.read more here

Female Soldiers Attacked Over Parking?

PREGNANT SOLDIER, HER SON YELLS HOMOPHOBIC SLURS 
KMIR News 
Sara Sanchez 
APRIL 16, 2018 

Cell phone video of a woman appearing to lunge and swing at two female soldiers in a Georgia restaurant has gone viral. The video surfaced on Instagram.
According to the local Sheriff’s Office, it all started over a parking space. Bibb County Sheriff’s investigators say it happened on Saturday at a Cheddar’s Restaurant in Macon, Georgia. The video shows a blonde woman who has been identified as 72-year-old Judy Tucker.
According to NBC affiliate WMGT, the soldiers, Treasure Sharpe and Stephanie Mitchell, told deputies Tucker’s son originally confronted them outside the restaurant and told them they need to learn how to park. A police report claims the son used homophobic slurs towards the woman. WMGT says Mitchell then tried to calm the son down. read more here

Death of Fort Polk Soldier under investigation

Fort Polk soldier fatally shot
American Press
Pamela Sleezer
April 17, 2018
18 year-old Pvt. Jacob S. Malcolm of Hedgesville, W. Va. Malcolm enlisted with the Army in February of 2017 and at the time of his death was stationed at Fort Polk
Fort Polk officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a soldier who was fatally shot on Thursday.

According to spokesperson Kim Reischling, the soldier suffered a fatal gunshot wound at a residence at the Vernon Parish installation and was pronounced dead by the Vernon Parish deputy coroner at 7:04 p.m.

She said the gunshot wound was not self-inflicted.
read more here

Gov. Greitens under investigation for using Mission Continues?

Missouri attorney general accuses Greitens of misusing charity donor list
CNN
By Veronica Stracqualursi
April 17, 2018
Greitens, an Iraq veteran, founded The Mission Continues in 2007 but left the charity in 2014. Questions have been raised about his ties to the charity since at least October 2016, when The Associated Press reported that he had raised nearly $2 million for his campaign from donors who also gave significant amounts to The Mission Continues.
Washington (CNN)Embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who is already facing calls to resign over an extramarital affair and abuse allegations, was accused Tuesday by the state's attorney general of obtaining a charity donor list without permission.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that his office had "uncovered evidence of wrongdoing" by the governor that he could be charged or prosecuted for related to an investigation into a veterans charity Greitens founded.

Hawley told reporters at a news conference that his office had found evidence that the governor obtained an electronic donor list from the charity The Mission Continues without permission and used the internal list for "political fundraising."

"If proven, these acts could amount to the unauthorized taking and use of property -- in this case electronic property. Under Missouri law, this is known as computer tampering and given the value of the list in question, it is a felony," Hawley said.
read more here