Saturday, May 26, 2018

UK Veterans Battle Bosses After Combat PTSD

Veterans battling PTSD are being sacked by heartless employers, top army officer claims
Portsmouth News UK
Tom Cotterill
May 26, 2018

TRAUMATISED veterans battling a silent war against mental health are still facing an uphill struggle against fearful employers, a decorated army officer has claimed.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Parker has hit out saying ex-soldiers, diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are still being penalised by employers. This comes despite a national drive for companies to sign up to the armed forces covenant, which is a pledge to offer fair treatment for military veterans and their families.

The retired officer – who was chief of staff of the 8,000-strong 7th Armoured Brigade in the Middle East during the Iraq War – said scores of troops were being sacked or pushed out of roles after admitting to their condition. Lt Col Parker, who grew up in Cowplain and is the chairman of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment Association – which looks after troops across the area – said things needed to change.

Speaking to The News, the nine-time combat veteran said: ‘There is clearly evidence that, although the public is very positive and say when asked they will support the military, it can be a very different story with employers.
‘The sad news is once employers find out their employees have PTSD or have had mental health issues in the past, very often we find people lose their jobs. ‘There seems to be a fear that someone will turn into an axe murderer. This certainly isn’t an issue.
read more here

Soldier attempted suicide, kicked out and saw hope killed

Veterans with offenses struggling to find jobs
The Associated Press
May 26, 2018
"You may as well be a felon when you're looking for a job," said Iraq War veteran Kristofer Goldsmith, who said the Army gave him a general discharge in 2007 because he attempted suicide.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Military veterans who were discharged for relatively minor offenses say they often can't get jobs, and they hope a recent warning to employers by the state of Connecticut will change that.
In this May 9, 2018 photo, Iraq War veteran Kristofer Goldsmith, sits in a campus park after his last final exam of the semester at Columbia University in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
The state's human-rights commission told employers last month that they could be breaking the law if they discriminate against veterans with some types of less-than-honorable discharges. Blanket policies against hiring such veterans could be discriminatory, the commission said, because the military has issued them disproportionately to black, Hispanic, gay and disabled veterans.

At least one other state, Illinois, already prohibits hiring discrimination based on a veteran's discharge status, advocates say, but Connecticut appears to be the first to base its decision on what it deems discrimination by the military.
read more here

We suck at risking anything for them

We build monuments to honor the lives lost of those who risked all for us. 

We have ceremonies talking about all they gave.

We have politicians making speeches about how much our heroes matter.

When do we finally acknowledge we suck at risking anything for them?

Police officers fight to save victims of crimes and accidents...and each other.

Firefighters fight to save victims of fires and accidents...and each other.

Reserve and National Guard members fight to recover victims and save survivors of natural disasters...and each other. 

Servicemembers risk their lives for strangers...and each other.
The price they pay for all they do for us will never be repaid by us. It haunts them and they forget they did not do their jobs alone, but fight this alone.

Friends do not let friends decide to give up. They fight for them when they cannot fight for themselves.

Friends to not let friends suffer in silence. They speak up for them.

Friends do not walk away because they do not know what to say. They find someone who does.

Friends do not let friends repeat lies. The number of these men and women, who did all they could to save lives of strangers, but not their own, is unknown. 

If you do not know why, then you have not bothered to take the time to research anything.

Stop spreading something that is simply not true. It is the least we can do.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Social media slip cracked drug ring in Air Force...guarding nukes?

U.S. troops guarding nuclear missiles took LSD, Air Force records show
CBS News
May 24, 2018
A slipup on social media by one airman enabled investigators to crack the drug ring at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in March 2016, details of which are reported here for the first time. Fourteen airmen were disciplined. Six of them were convicted in courts martial of LSD use or distribution or both.
WASHINGTON -- One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the vibrant colors. A third Air Force member admitted, "I absolutely just loved altering my mind." Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in America's arsenal who used LSD both on and off base.
Air Force records obtained by The Associated Press show they bought, distributed and used the hallucinogen LSD and other mind-altering illegal drugs as part of a ring that operated undetected for months on a highly secure military base in Wyoming. After investigators closed in, one airman deserted to Mexico.

"Although this sounds like something from a movie, it isn't," said Capt. Charles Grimsley, the lead prosecutor of one of several courts martial.
read more here

Heroes, teacher, civilian and National Guardsman responded to gunmen

2 civilians rushed to their cars to get their guns before fatally shooting Oklahoma City restaurant gunman
ABC News
May 25, 2018

Not one, but two men ran to their respective cars to grab their guns when a shooter opened fire at an Oklahoma City restaurant Thursday.

Police Capt. Bo Matthews said today that both of those men shot suspect Alexander C. Tilghman on Thursday. Tilghman died as a result of those gunshots.

The two civilians have been identified by police as Juan Carlos Nazario, 35, and Bryan Whittle, 39.

"You are welcome," Nazario said to local ABC affiliate KOCO after the shooting. "Just did what was trained to do to neutralize the situation."

Whittle’s family told ABC News that he served in Afghanistan and has been in the National Guard for almost 20 years.
read more here

Jason Seaman is teacher credited with stopping school shooting, according to students
Mother says Seaman was shot 3 times
RTV 6 News
Matt McKinney, Rafael Sanchez
May 25, 2018

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- The mother of the teacher credited with helping to stop a school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School says her son, Jason Seaman, was shot three times.

Seaman is a science teacher at the school.
Multiple students on the scene say Seaman was the teacher who helped stop the shooter

His mother, Kristi, says her son was shot in the abdomen, the hip and the forearm, according to her Facebook page. She says Jason is out of surgery and is "doing well."
read more here

PTSD Veteran sexual abuse made worse under Caregiver program

Sexually abused veteran raises new questions about VA caregiver program
By: Nate Morabito
Updated: May 25, 2018

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) - A Johnson City woman's experience with Mountain Home VA raises more questions about a Veterans Affairs program already under scrutiny.

The VA's caregiver program pays family members to care for post-9/11 veterans with catastrophic injuries. Kim Coble is one of those veterans. She is a victim of military sexual trauma, according to medical records.
As a result, her husband is paid by the VA to take care of the Army veteran, but both say her mental illness only worsened once they entered the program at Mountain Home last year.

"I was really devastated emotionally," Coble said when we interviewed her on March 9. "I just wanted to end my life."

Those words would haunt her in the coming months.

Lawmakers created the VA caregiver program years ago without clear guidelines in Congressman Phil Roe's view. The House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman (R), TN-District 1, said Congress gave each VA facility too much leeway initially.

"It's being looked at," Rep. Roe said of the increased oversight the program is now receiving. "We need to paint the white lines on the road for it, so this is how you do this."

"It makes us feel like we can't make a difference," Martin said. "Nobody's going to listen. Nobody cares." 
"That makes me feel very hopeless and helpless," Coble said. 
In the days after that meeting, the veteran said she attempted suicide. 
"I just went very numb and I tried to kill myself," she said. "I took almost a whole bottle of pills." 
Doctors have since treated and released Coble following her suicide attempt.

read more here

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Navy SEAL Receives Medal of Honor

Navy SEAL Receives Medal of Honor for Afghanistan Actions in 2002
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
By Jim Garamone
May 24, 2018

Sitting in the White House reading the citation for the Medal of Honor doesn’t give the real flavor of why retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer and special warfare operator Britt K. Slabinski is receiving the award.
Official portrait of retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Britt K. Slabinski in dress-white uniform.

The nicely air conditioned room with comfortable chairs, impeccable floors, historic artwork and gilt on many surfaces isn’t right, somehow.

The dispassionate words on the award talk of Slabinski’s heroism in assaulting bunkers, rallying his men, and going back into the center of the firefight.

The White House is literally half a world away from a mountain in Afghanistan in 2002, where Slabinski -- and America -- lost seven good men.
read more here

Prisoners inspired by training service dogs

FOX 11 Investigates benefits, cost savings of inmate dog training
Mark Leland
May 23, 2018
“I think it’s helped me more understand who I am and what I can do and actually see my potential rather than let past failures define who I am,” explained AJ, another inmate in the program.
OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- Dogs are helping to save Wisconsin taxpayers money. Specifically, dogs being trained in some of our state prisons.

For the past five years, dogs have been locked up with a handful of the prisoners at Oshkosh Correctional in Oshkosh. The dogs didn’t commit any crimes; they’re part of a community outreach program.

The prison teamed up with Journey Together Service Dog Incorporated, a nonprofit that provides trained dogs to help crime victims and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I’ve been working with the Journey program for 18 weeks,” said Angela Kalsbeek of Fond du Lac.

Kalsbeek is an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD. She was paired with a Briard named Echo, trained in the prison to help Kalsbeek feel comfortable leaving her home.
read more here

When do we stop settling?

Do not settle for demoralizing this day
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 24, 2018

This morning I was reading KTRE News report about a veteran who went to take some pictures of the Memorial for Chris Kyle. This is what he discovered.
For Joe Guerrero, a local veteran, something looked off about the Chris Kyle Memorial in Odessa.
“I told him doing the right thing, is always doing the right thing. When you see something wrong and out of place you need to step up and do something for it. Don’t wait for someone else to clean it.” (click the link to read more on this.)
Those words stuck with me as I was going through news reports. "When you see something wrong and out of place you need to step up and do something for it."

While it may feel good to think that we actually show appreciation for the men and women who stepped up to serve this country, the truth is, when we look at the results, the simple fact is, we do not.

Memorial Day "weekend" is starts tomorrow. It is supposed to be about remembering the men and women who sacrificed for the rest of us, but we settle for commercials focusing on sales, BBQs and the kick off of summer instead of remembering what this day should be.

We have demoralized it!
"to cause to turn aside or away from what is good or true or morally right to corrupt the morals of"
We settle too easily. We settle for politicians telling us that giving veterans a choice...sending them to for profit healthcare, is a good thing to do, we do not acknowledge these same people failed them in the first place.

While some see the bad news regarding the VA, too few see the history of how many decades Congress and Presidents have promised to repay the debt. None of the problems our veterans face after becoming disabled are new, but they know we'll just settle for this being the best response.

They do not want us to see they had to allow millions of veterans to suffer so they could destroy the VA to this point.

We settle for attention seekers running around the country screaming about how many veterans they think are committing suicide, yet, they offer no evidence they have any plan to change the outcome. They offer no evidence they have any kind of understanding what is in the reports they quote. They ignore the majority of the veterans still committing suicide many years after their service and needing the most immediate response.

We settle all too easily when members of the NFL decide they want to protest as an American, yet use the game to get attention for themselves from the fans of the teams, no matter if they are offended or not.

The protestors do not simply voice their opinion on the level of all other Americans. No, they use their fans to make a point. Then they are offended when the fans use their right to stop supporting them. 

We settle for them saying they are not insulting the flag or the troops, yet we ignore the fact the flag and the troops were the inspiration behind the National Anthem.

We settle for the press trying to tell us that it is all because the President sent a Tweet instead of this actual patriotism we feel is so much deeper than any President or political party.

We settle for flags on the graves and speeches promising change while they are taking credit for what they now say needs to be changed? We settle for what they say they want to do, without ever apologizing for what they have already done to get it so wrong.

When I think of Memorial Day, I think of the veterans in my family who decided they wanted to do more than just settle for what was or complain about what they did not like. They cherished this country to the point where they were willing to die for it, yet we not so blind they were willing to settle for someone simply saying this is the best this nation can be.

They served in the military, and then served in the community. They voted for someone as much as they voted against someone else, hoping to have made the right choice.

I see a flag and remember how many caskets were covered by one. I hear the National Anthem and remember that song was inspired by the War of 1812 to honor those who put their lives on the line so that we could remain free.

Free to protest what we see as wrong, as much as we are free to stand up for what is right. 

Free to spread a lie for discover what the truth is and share it even though we may be attacked for it.

Free to have reporters telling us what is going on and holding them accountable when they get it wrong.

Free to love as we choose, worship as we choose and fight back when someone decides to take that right away because they are offended we did not make the same choices they did.

Free to ask "which Christian nation" we are supposed to be when there are many denominations of Christianity because they do not have the same beliefs.

Standing up and doing the right thing is not easy for any of us but we need to remember those who stood up before us!

Firefighter Battles Own Mind with PTSD

Retired Firefighter Battles Own Mind with PTSD
FOX 16 News
By: Mitch McCoy
Updated: May 23, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - In a game of chess, you have to find your intellectual self to not only predict the next move but to make that one move to win.
"There's no way to come back from that," says Britton Turner.

Retired Little Rock Firefighter Britton Turner knows the mind can also play tricks.

"You have this compartment in your head that is only so big and it can only carry so much," says Turner.

Decades of service to the Capital City means saving lives going call to call. "She's screaming," recalls Britton. "It triggered something in my head."

It changed the former Captain's life forever.

"It was actually a patient's mother because she reminded me so much of my mother and what my mother would be doing if I was in the same place," says Turner.
read more here