Wounded Times


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Home From War Female Veteran Feels Service Devalued

Home From War, Female Veteran Discovers Not All Military Service Is Valued Equally
APR 30, 2016
As a female vet, she was often mistake for a “real” veteran’s wife or girlfriend. And as someone who did a majority of her service within the confines of that Army base, she discovered that some soldiers played down what she went through.

Marine Corps translator Vanessa Davids (second from the left), on one of her rare trips off base.
Vanessa Davids did most of her military service “inside the wire,” as an Arabic translator on a base in Iraq. Her job called on her to translate audio and video recordings, in hopes of gathering intelligence, foiling attacks and probing enemy action. She translated bomb plots, beheadings, even in some cases child pornography. As a result, she got an intimate, and dark, perspective on human nature.

“Doing the work that I did, it really seemed to me at the time that evil was in every single person, and it was just a matter of how well they hid it from you,” Davids said.

But upon returning from her deployment, she discovered that not all military service is treated equally by either the military itself, her fellow vets, or the civilians she now moved uncomfortably among.
read more here

Senior Chief Petty Officer Accused of Identity Theft From Sailors

Navy senior chief charged with stealing identities of subordinates
The Virginian-Pilot
By Scott Daugherty
Published: April 29, 2016

In all, investigators linked Pressley to more than $24,000 in loans issued in the names of the two sailors, according to court documents.
NORFOLK, Va. (Tribune News Service) — A 19-year Navy veteran and Bronze Star recipient is charged with stealing the identities of at least two subordinates to secure fraudulent loans.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Clayton Pressley III – who is currently assigned to a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit in Virginia Beach – is set to appear this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Norfolk for a preliminary hearing.

According to court documents, Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents believe Pressley stole the identities of at least two sailors. The first sailor, identified in court documents only by the initials J.B., told investigators last October he received a letter of denial about two months earlier from Discover Financial Services in reference to a personal loan application he did not complete.
read more here

Bad Weather Didn't Stop Bikers From Raising Funds and Spirit of Double Amputee

Anderson Co. fundraiser for marine, double amputee
By Miranda Combs
Posted: Apr 30, 2016

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (WKYT) - The weather wasn't ideal for a bike ride this morning, but dozens still showed up at a gas station in Lawrenceburg to raise money for a double amputee injured in Afghanistan in 2011.

"It's pretty humbling," said Lance Corporal Cody Evans. Evans was 27 years-old when his time at war stopped suddenly. "I led the foot patrol and I sweep a metal detector to find IEDs and I was clearing a compound out one day and stepped on one." Evans had both legs amputated and spent close to year recovering in his new body at Walter Reed Medical Center.

"I guess just needing help with stuff. That's the biggest thing and one of the hardest thing to get accustom to," Evans confided about his new life. But that's why bikers from the area showed up Saturday to raise money. The event was part of 'Defining Forces', a group that helps with a soldier's journey home by building houses for double amputees like Evans. The money raised will go toward furniture for his new home that will be built in May in Tennessee.
read more here

Who Failed Mary Louise Mora and Husband Accused of Murder?

Jesus Mora had sought help for PTSD and was on medication. Did his doctor fail to notice that he was in fact a danger to others? Family members were worried. Friends were worried, especially after he attacked someone and bit off a "chunk" of his face during a party. 

Now his wife is dead. So who failed her? 

Was it the military psychological training service members in what we have been told to be "preventing" and helping them to readjust? Was it the medication he was on? Something like this usually does not happen but when it does, we need to be asking a lot more questions about how someone can go from being willing to die to save someone into being accused of murder.

Veterans are far more likely to harm themselves than anyone else so what happened with Mora?
Warrant: Man with PTSD attempted to detach wife's arms, neck from torso in murder
Fay Observer
By Monica Vendituoli Staff writer
Apr 28, 2016

Crying, Mora explained to the deputies that something bad had happened. "I feel that it's real. I hope that it's not real," Mora told deputies, according to the warrant.
A man accused of murdering his wife in February attempted to detach her arms and neck, a search warrant says.

The court documents also say the suspect told deputies he was taking medicine for post-traumatic stress disorder when the incident occurred.

Jesus Guillermo Mora, of the 8900 block of Steeplechase Drive, was charged with second-degree murder Feb. 6 for the killing of his wife, Mary Louise Mora, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said.

He was arrested that day as well.

At 1:23 a.m., Jesus Mora called 911 and asked that deputies come to his residence. They found him in a grassy field near his home talking to the 911 dispatcher. The warrant noted that he appeared to be impaired.

Crying, Mora explained to the deputies that something bad had happened. "I feel that it's real. I hope that it's not real," Mora told deputies, according to the warrant.

Deputies drove Mora back to his residence. During the ride there, the warrant said Mora told deputies that he had been deployed to Afghanistan while in the military and was taking medication for PTSD. Mora also told the deputies he had been drinking.
read more here

Australia "Overwatch" Tracking Social Media to Save Veterans

'Overwatch' group prevents veteran suicides by monitoring social media, sending in the troops
ABC Australia
By Louise Merrillees
Posted Fri April 29, 2016

"I've had my bad moments when I've been pretty low, and they've sent vets to come and find me. From what I can see, they've prevented an awful lot of suicides from happening."

PHOTO: Ex-serviceman Trevor Dineen receives support from veterans at his local RSL. (ABC News: Louise Merrillees)
Trevor Dineen, a 31-year-old ex-serviceman, is talking about Overwatch Australia, a national organisation that intervenes when defence force veterans show mental health warning signs.

Overwatch, a military term that means one unit providing cover or support to another unit, has more than 4,500 volunteers Australia-wide, who have served with the Australia Defence Force.

The organisation describes itself as a "peer-to-peer, boots-on-the-ground, rapid-response organisation formed to assist former ADF members who are at risk or in crisis".

Robert Harris is the national president of Overwatch, while Marc Kirwin is the national coordinator. Both of them served in the Army.

Mr Harris said Overwatch was all about a quick response when warning signs became obvious.

"Once we have someone's address, we can put boots on the ground in 30 minutes," he said.

Overwatch focusing on Rwandan and Somali vets

Mr Kwinan said Overwatch was focusing on veterans from the Rwandan and Somali peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.

"Those guys are wracked with guilt. The rules of engagement were totally different - they couldn't engage unless they were in direct harm's way or fired upon.

"They saw women and children slaughtered in front of them. And the militia are standing there looking at them smiling and knowing they couldn't do anything about it.
read more here

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Austin Police Warn Public About Charity Claiming to Support Troops

Police warn of group claiming to raise money for soldiers
By WSLS.com Staff
Published: April 29, 2016

“It’s almost like an act of stolen valor. They [are] basically taking people’s patriotism and taking advantage of it,” said Alvarez.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Neighbors and police are raising concerns about a group claiming to raise money in order to send care packages to military members deployed overseas.

“Just the fact that we have somebody out here that’s portraying that they want to do that and that’s preying on the heart strings of our community is just unacceptable,” said Leander Police Chief Greg Minton.

Callers in Leander, Texas reported someone soliciting donations earlier this month for a group called United Soldier Outreach. Minton noticed a few red flags. First, the organization was willing to accept cash. They also seemed willing to break city rules. Minton says Leander requires a permit for solicitors and the city does not allow going door-to-door on a Sunday. He says United Soldier Outreach didn’t have a permit and they were soliciting on a Sunday.

Leander is hardly the only community raising concerns about United Soldier Outreach. Media in the Houston and San Antonio areas also found neighbors and police reporting similar interactions. Now, potential donors report seeing them in Steiner Ranch, Leander, Cedar Park, Georgetown and Wells Branch.
read more here

Attention Passenger Lopez, Your Pilot Is Your Dad

US soldier receives surprise from father onboard flight
“First Lieutenant Lopes, What are you doing on my flight?"

Army Veteran Shot and Killed Delivering Pizza

Police seek shooter who killed Army veteran
By Brandon Walker - Reporter
Posted:April 29, 2016

HOUSTON - Crime Stoppers and the Houston Police Department's Homicide Division held a press conference Friday morning to ask the public's help in identifying the suspect who shot and killed a Domino's Pizza delivery driver, who was also an Army veteran.

Paul Hillick Jr. was shot and killed on March 17, less than a mile from Domino's.

Police said Hillick had just completed his pizza delivery route around 11 p.m. and was driving west on Court Road, between Manor Park and South Post Oak, when he was shot multiple times through his front driver side window.

Hillick's vehicle struck a mailbox, then came to a stop. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
read more here

Mom Says "Marines Broke My Son" and Gets Him Help

Get Marty: Veteran’s Mother Pleads For Help For Her Son
CBS Pittsburg
By Marty Griffin
April 28, 2016
“The Marines broke my son. Now I’d like them to fix him,” says Maureen Valenzi.

SEWICKLEY (KDKA) — The mother of a U.S. Marine Corps veteran in an emergency situation reached out to KDKA’s Get Marty.

“The Marines broke my son. Now I’d like them to fix him,” says Maureen Valenzi.

Ian Valenzi served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan. The Sewickley native returned home with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a heroin addiction.

“I was in trouble. I was in a bad place. I could have hurt myself,” says Ian.

Ian tried to get help at the VA and became extremely frustrated. He sat in the waiting area for 14 hours.

“I had enough,” Ian said.
KDKA’S Marty Griffin reached out to the director of the VA who got Ian immediate help.

In fact, Ian is now in a specialized treatment program at the VA. He will be there four and a half months.

“They saved my life. If I didn’t come here, I may have been dead,” says Ian.
read more here

Senator John McCain Wants Veterans To Go Away--From VA?

You could hear the echo inside the brain of John McCain when he came up with his latest attempt to send veterans away from the care and services this nation was supposed to deliver to veterans within the VA.  After all is said and not done to fix the VA, McCain's answer has always been the same.  Complain about it not working then do every possible to prove he's right so he can just kill it off.

Has it ever dawned on this man that as a career politician he is responsible for all the decades of leaving veterans to suffer? Bet it has but he, like all the others, won't admit it.  He'd have to be pretty damn stupid to not know that.

As usual McCain has a plan to take care of veterans, or so he says, however veterans noticed what he isn't saying.  Sending veterans into the for profit healthcare has been his plan all along.  He used to be ashamed of saying that.

This is from 2008 when McCain ran for the Presidency and continued to run away from his record of failing veterans.
Yesterday, Sen. John McCain promoted his veterans private health care “plastic card” in a speech to the American Legion. Though he insisted the “card is not intended to either replace the VA or privatize veterans’ health care,” veterans groups aren’t buying it. AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars all argue McCain’s scheme may undermine the VA.
Today ThinkProgress spoke to Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director and Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, at the Democratic National Convention. When we asked him what he thought of McCain’s private health card plan, Rieckhoff slammed McCain for blocking funding for the VA:
Basically every major veterans group is opposed to it so far, so I think that pretty much says it all. We’ve got to come up with a comprehensive solution to VA health care, and that starts with VA funding. Sen. McCain has consistently voted against expansion of VA funding. So if he says the VA’s not working, it’s in part because he hasn’t funded it properly. … A lot of vets groups are going to push back against the card because it may be on the path toward privatization. So we’ve got to really make the VA as strong as it can be, and that should be our priority.
You can also read the bills for veterans McCain voted against on the above link. Just more in a series of efforts to kill off the VA instead of fixing what veterans have suffered with and all too well knowingly recorded within the brains of all veterans and families as we wait for someone with a brain to fix the VA because they care about veterans instead of trying to kill it because they only care about themselves.

Veterans could go anywhere for health care under McCain bill
The Republic
William V Theobald
April 27, 2016

WASHINGTON — Arizona Sen. John McCain proposed legislation Wednesday to expand and make permanent a program allowing veterans to go anywhere for health care.

McCain’s bill, borne of frustration over the slow pace of improvements in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' system, would remove the current restriction that veterans must wait more than 30 days or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility in order to go outside the VA system for care.

His bill also would:

Allow veterans to go to walk-in clinics for minor illnesses. The VA would be required to contract with a national chain of clinics to provide the service.
Expand operating hours of VA clinics and pharmacies.
Expand telemedicine to allow VA health-care providers in one state to treat veterans in other states.
read more here

Here's a message for John McCain and all other politicians out there!
Oh you're so condescending
Your goal is never ending
We don't want nothin', not a thing from you
Your life is trite and jaded
Boring and confiscated
If that's your best, your best won't do (Twisted Sister)

Friday, April 29, 2016

After Click of Gun Trigger, Firefighter Started to Heal PTSD

How 1 firefighter beat PTSD
Fire Chief
Rick Markley, FR1 Editor-in-chief
April 29, 2016

"I haven't been angry in over 20 months," he said. "It's a pretty amazing feeling. It's like being a year and a half old and seeing everything for the first time."
Firefighter Scott Geiselhart, a 20-year veteran, was at his wit's end when he put his most reliable revolver to his head. He was alone, angry, isolated from friends and family, a heavy drug user and tormented by nightmares.

When he pulled the trigger, there was only a "click." That was two years ago and to this day he has no idea why the gun didn't fire. That was one of two times he was ready to take his own life.

The second time came shortly after he learned that he had post-traumatic stress disorder. He burst in on his estranged family, manic with the news that the years of abuse he'd doled out wasn't because he was crazy — there was a reason.

When they recoiled, he retreated to his auto repair business and phoned a police officer he knew to ask that he explain his condition to his family. The officer said he was coming over to take him to the hospital, then jail.

Geiselhart got out his acetylene tanks and an automatic rifle. He wasn't going anywhere. As he waited, he made three phone calls. The first was to a suicide help line; after 12 tries there was no answer. He called another hotline that offered him an appointment 10 days later; he didn't think he'd live that long.

His third and last call was to the Share the Load program, where he talked to someone who got it.
read more here

Dangers, toils, and snares of PTSD

Living A Life of Joy and Peace
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 29, 2016

"Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home" written in the song Amazing Grace followed by "A life of joy and peace."

That is what you can have living as veteran no matter which country you risked your life in because the cause you risked it for was to save the lives of those you were with.

The dangers, you knew far too many. The toils, you were willing to endure again for the sake of those you serve with. More often than not, veterans speak of the cause of their pain originating during combat yet it was not until they were all back home they allowed themselves to feel it. When asked how they just pushed past all of it, they said others were counting on them to be there for them. That is why the most dangerous times come after combat to the survivors of it. That is the snare you are trapped by and it has a name.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, more often called simply PTSD.

Grace can lead you closer to really being home than drifting away from those you love. "With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, "Amazing Grace" is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world."

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)

That sav'd a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779

"He promised good to me" and that is a righteous promise. Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If you were called to be among the number of men and women putting their very lives on the line for the sake of someone else, then you need to understand what that means. If you were tugged to join the few serving the many, then the desire was put into you along with all you needed to do it. The physical strength and endurance. The courage to react and compassion to take action. Everything you needed to do your "job" was already there. The part that has been kept secret from you is what you need to recover from doing those "jobs" is also within you. He planned for the price you would pay for what you did for others.

There are many different causes of PTSD and levels but there are also different types of it.  The one we need to focus on now is the one that began all the research into what trauma does to survivors.  In this case, you are dealing with something rare because you rare.  

If you served in the military you are less than 10 percent of the population of the US yet "Here are some facts (based on the U.S. population):
  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
  • About 10 of every 100 (or 10%) of women develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 (or 4%) of men. Learn more about women, trauma and PTSD.
While all generations of veterans came home changed by what they had to face for the sake of others, it was not until WWI when a psychiatrist was embedded with troops to study what it was doing to them but if you read any part of the Bible, you'll also see it written along with ancient accounts of war.  

The term PTSD began when Vietnam veterans came home and fought for the research and that led to a greater understanding of humans surviving everything else.

It is human nature to ask why you lived when others did not.  It is yet another snare when you think you should not have survived.  When suffering begins to take over the life you have, then you begin to think that surviving is punishment instead of anything else and very far from being blessed by the grace of more days to spend with family, friends and doing what you love to do.  Far removed from "a life of joy and peace" you begin to believe that it is all impossible for you but it is possible because it is all within you.

Start with what this week means to Orthodox Christians.  This is our Holy Week. Today marks the time when Jesus was taken down from the Cross and He said,

 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

There is nothing you cannot be forgiven for if Jesus forgave the people who nailed Him to the Cross and you also need to know that it is also written there is no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for the sake of his friends but should have added being willing to lay down their lives for the sake of strangers. That is what you were willing to do and there was no evil in that.

There is no cure for PTSD but there is limitless healing.  You can never go back to the way you were before but no human can go back to the person they were yesterday.  The power PTSD had over you a second ago no longer has the same power in this moment and the next is within your power.  Your future is in your hands and grace can lead you home to live a better quality of life beginning with this moment.

Healing PTSD requires understanding what it is so you can get the rumors out of the way.  It also requires involving the whole you, mind, body and spirit, since all of you was involved in combat itself.  You need psychological help, physical help to teach your body to calm down and react differently as much as you need help spiritually to help your spirit use the power you were given to heal.

Time to kick the snares out of your way and live a life of joy and peace.  That is what you really need to be made aware of with all the talk about "raising awareness" from others.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Time For VA to Honor Camp Lejeune Contamination Victims

Veterans groups sue VA for identities of Camp Lejeune water 'experts'
Military Times
Patricia Kime
April 27, 2016

Nearly a million people, including troops, family members and civilian employees, may have been exposed to volatile organic compounds and other chemicals such as benzene and vinyl chloride in the drinking water at the coastal Marine Corps base, from 1953 until at least 1987, when the water treatment facilities supplying the contaminated water were closed.
Two veterans groups are suing the VA in the case of illnesses caused by exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The organizations — The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten and Vietnam Veterans of America — filed suit Tuesday for documents related to disability claims and the Veterans Affairs Department's use of subject-matter experts to weigh in on them. The water was tainted by organic solvents and other cancer-causing chemicals from 1953 through 1987.
read more here

Veteran "Webbie" Needs Lung Transplant, VA Said "No" Medicaid Said "Yes"

Family of veteran struggles to get him transplant
Veteran awarded with purple heart in desperate need of lung transplant

Rochester First
By Solina Lewi
s Published 04/27 2016

"I would have expected a lot more for a soldier who was injured numerous times, I mean he was blown-up, awarded a purple heart and still would have went back," said Rachel.
Jonathan Webster, also known as "Webbie" by his military buddies, has been in a a medically-induced coma after a rare reaction to chemotherapy caused both of his lungs to collapse.

"Just so happens he got the raw end of the deal, he got cancer-free but there were repercussions from that," said his sister, Rachel Hafner.
read more here

Vietnam War Veterans Remember April 30, 1975 And Each Other

Massachusetts Veterans Celebrate Loyalty Day and the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War
Story by Staff Sgt. Timothy Koster
April 27, 2016

“The United States was in a mess over the Vietnam War and the image of the average Soldier coming back, whenever that person came back, at the American people saw them as baby killers, they were spit upon, and they were very disrespected,” said Keith Jackson, Massachusetts VFW state judge advocate and master of ceremonies for the event.
FORT DEVENS, Massachusetts – William Vicini, Senior Vice Commander of the Massachusetts Disabled American Veterans organization, receives a service pin from Fort Devens Garrison Commander, Lt. Col. Charlette K. Woodard, during the Loyalty Day program and 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, here, April 24, 2016. Loyalty Day is a special day for Americans to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States and to recognize the heritage of American freedom.
FORT DEVENS, Massachusetts – Vietnam veterans from several posts of the Massachusetts Veterans of Foreign War and the Disabled American Veterans organizations, along with members of the Fort Devens community and other veteran organizations, joined together for a combined celebration of Loyalty Day and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, here, April 24, 2016.

The Vietnam War concluded on April 30, 1975 and Loyalty day is a special day, typically observed annually on May 1 – signifying the day after the conclusion of the war – for Americans to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States and to recognize the heritage of American Freedom.

When younger Americans think about the Vietnam War, some see images from movies like Full Metal Jacket, Good Morning Vietnam, or Apocalypse Now, while others only see the black and white images printed in their text books from a time long, long ago.

Unlike other wars of the 20th century in which America has fought, such as World War II and the Korean War, which have a quickly dwindling veteran population, those who fought against the communist armies in the jungles of Vietnam are still quite numerous – and extremely proud of their service, despite the hardships they faced when they came home.
read more here

Strange Bus Trip With Vietnam Veteran and War Protestor

A Vietnam veteran and a 1960s radical met on a bus headed for Khe Sanh
The Washington Post
By Daniel Malloy
April 28, 2016

DA NANG, Vietnam -- A half-century ago, they were on opposite sides of a nation divided over a distant war.

Suel Jones fought with the Marines in the jungles near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Vietnam. Later, he broke up an antiwar protest in Texas with his fists.

Mark Rudd was a Columbia University campus radical turned domestic militant with the Weathermen, battling those he called warmongers by any means necessary.

Last month they sat on adjacent bus seats in Da Nang traffic, having formed an unlikely but powerful bond. Jones spoke of rejecting his former self, forging a new path.

“What you’re describing is word for word my situation,” Rudd replied.

The men had joined a two-week tour of Vietnam sponsored by the antiwar nonprofit Veterans for Peace -- part of a group of a dozen veterans, protesters and others who were just curious about what the country looks like today. The group leaned left (Bernie Sanders would have won a bus straw poll), but individually, the travelers approached Vietnam from strikingly different perspectives.
read more here

Iraq Veteran-Single Mom Finds Hope With New Home

Home is hope for war vet, single mom
Gaston Gazette
By Michael Barrett
Posted Apr 27, 2016

Hogan was one of dozens of people eating in the base's crowded chow hall tent during lunchtime when a suicide bomber disguised as an Iraqi National Guard soldier detonated an explosive vest, killing 22 people and injuring 72 others.
U.S. Army veteran Lauren Hogan with her daughter Roxanne, and her father Otis Whitehurst during the Mission Kickoff at her Bessemer City home that will be renovated by the Purple Heart Homes organization. JOHN CLARK/THE GAZETTE
Lauren Hogan's burden from her time in the Iraq War is symbolized by the shrapnel she carries in her spine.

The bothersome piece of metal has come with her across the country in the decade since she left the Army. It has followed along on her job interviews, on efforts to further her education and during her constant quest to find a permanent, fulfilling home for herself and her two daughters.

As a disabled veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Hogan's journey is similar to those taken by tens of thousands of other soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. But she and her family are closer to finding solace and a path to a positive future, thanks to a nonprofit that works to help get wounded veterans in reliable homes.
read more here

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Military Cross Afghanistan Veteran Says PTSD Veterans Left to Struggle

Suffolk Military Cross winner’s anger at MoD over treatment of PTSD war veterans
UK East Anglian
Colin Adwent
April 2016
Combat no longer involves the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran putting himself in mortal danger.

It now reflects the 41-year-old’s daily struggle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The ex-Royal Irish Regiment Colour Sergeant, who lives in the Woodbridge area with his wife and five-year-old son, served his country for almost 20 years. He was awarded the Military Cross for risking his own life to protect comrades in Iraq.

But he feels he, and many others like him, are being treated shamefully by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Mr Coult is scathing in his condemnation over the help those with PTSD receive.

Mentally fragile, they return to civilian life haunted by flashbacks, frayed nerves and financial pressures.

For a few it is too much and they take their own lives. Others end up homeless or in prison. Relationships break down. Drugs or alcohol become a source of self-medicating comfort.

Mr Coult believes the MoD casts off many veterans too cheaply by giving them a few thousand pounds as an interim payment, with a proviso their cases will be reviewed in two years.
read more here

Still No Arrest Made After Fort Hood Solider Killed By Hit and Run Driver

Family honors soldier killed in Austin hit-and-run a year ago
KXAN Staff
Published: April 26, 2016

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Friends and family are remembering a soldier killed in a hit and run one year ago.

Sergeant Derek Pagan was killed while walking along US Highway 183 and Riverside Drive in Southeast Austin last April.

Police think the 29-year-old was hit by a driver who kept on going.

Tuesday night, his family gathered where the crash happened to honor him.

At the time of the crash, Pagan had just re-enlisted in the Army and had been based at Fort Hood for four years.
read more here

Vietnam Veterans Fighting Agent Orange and Bladder Cancer Plus VA Over Claims

Armed with new research, Vietnam vets push VA to link bladder cancer to Agent Orange 
By Mike Hixenbaugh, The Virginian-Pilot
and Charles Ornstein and Terry Parris Jr., ProPublica
April 27, 2016

Eller is one of about 5,000 veterans and family members who’ve shared their Agent Orange exposure stories with ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot over the past several months. More than 125 of them said they’ve been diagnosed with bladder cancer. Hundreds more reported having one or more of the other conditions being reviewed by the VA.
Alan Eller has spent more than a decade trying to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs that his bladder cancer was the result of exposure to Agent Orange almost 50 years ago in Vietnam.

The Army vet has filed three claims with the agency, most recently in 2014, since a doctor told him the cancer was likely tied to the toxic herbicide.

Each time, even as he found additional doctors to vouch for the link between his cancer and his service, the VA rejected Eller’s claim, arguing there was no proof.

But a report last month by a prominent committee of scientists said there’s now research suggesting otherwise. As a result, the VA is studying whether it should reverse its position and add the condition to the list of illnesses it presumes to be linked to Agent Orange, which the U.S. sprayed across Vietnam during the war.
read more here