Sunday, October 23, 2016

Battalion Chief David Dangerfield Cleared to Go Home by Community He Served

Family, friends say final goodbye to David Dangerfield
TC Palm
Colleen Wixon
October 22, 2016

"Indian River to Battalion Chief David Dangerfield"

"Indian River to All Units"

"Battalion Chief David Dangerfield, your assignment is complete. You are cleared to go home. Indian River's clear at 12:45."

So ended the final farewell to Indian River County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief David Dangerfield at Saturday's celebration of life at Community Church in Vero Beach, where more than 1,000 people gathered to share stories and remember him.
read more here

Community mourns David Dangerfield in Vero Beach | Photos, video

The body of David Dangerfield arrives at Community Church in Vero Beach on Saturday.
Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Posted About PTSD Reality Before Taking His Own Life

Stupidity Feeds Stigma of PTSD

Replace Stupidity with Spectacular 
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 23, 2016

For over three decades I have heard all kinds of things, had my heart broken more times than I can calculate, but then there are moments, when I am in awe of how spectacular these veterans truly are. 

Parade Magazine published an article written by Paula Spencer Scott this month, "Feeling Awe May Be the Secret to Health and Happiness." Stacy Bare, an Iraq veteran said he was suffering from PTSD and wondered "What does it mean to be at home, a veteran anyway?" He went to the Druid Arch in Utah and was struck by "awe" beginning a change within him.

“Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast or beyond human scale, that transcends our current understanding of things,” says psychologist Dacher Keltner, who heads the University of California, Berkeley’s Social Interaction Lab.
That keeps getting missed in this messed up, convoluted dialog on PTSD and suicides connected to military service. It isn't that they were not able to "handle it" but handled it the whole time when the men and women in their unit are deployed with them. Why? Because their lives matter and they are willing to die for one another.

That comes from a strong emotional core. The very worthy part of them that caused such devotion is also the part of them that grieves from losing so many they cared for.

The "awe" moment for them is when they realize they are not stuck suffering, do not have anything to be ashamed of and they can heal. We just allow other conversations to permeate the news they hear.

When Donald Trump said “When you talk about the mental health problems - when people come back from war and combat, and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it. But a lot of people can’t handle it." he showed he doesn't get it. The problem is, far too many are just like him.

There are Medal of Honor Recipients openly talking about their own battles with PTSD so that others may overcome the rumor of weakness or claims of lacking intestinal fortitude. There are Special Forces veterans talking about what they also experience coming home along with Generals speaking openly, hoping to lead by example.

Folks can do all the talking they want about the "problem" of suicides to make others aware, and get noticed by the press, but they never seem to mention their talk is doing no good at all. It is feeding the stigma.

If they want to do pushups or other publicity stunts, who does that actually serve? Is it the suffering veterans forced to remain in the shadows? Is it the families left behind wondering what they did wrong and blaming themselves? Or is it the people wanting attention for themselves?

Stupidity feeds the stigma of PTSD and leaves them trapped in an endless cycle of suffering and search for what will bring them out of the darkness within their souls. What may be an easy number to remember, they were more than an abstract number to their families.

Isn't it time to actually focus on what is possible and good instead of simply focusing on all this talk of anguish? It is obvious that none of the popular "efforts" managed to change anything other than spread the heartache. How about we talk more about the "awe" moments that begin the healing and replace despair with encouragement?

Chopper Saved Lives, Then Navy SEAL Fought For Him

Navy SEAL wins battle to keep warrior dog as therapy companion
OC Register
Keith Sharron
Oct. 21, 2016
After almost a decade in the Navy, he said he needed help. His body was breaking down, and so was his mind. He was having nightmares, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
You can’t keep your gun.

Grenades, knives, bombs, other tools of war – you can’t keep those either. When you leave the military, no matter who you are or what you sacrificed, your boots are yours but your tools belong to the government.

And it is that seemingly reasonable rule that caused Trevor Maroshek so much pain.

What if your weapon, the one you trained with for years, the one that never left your side, the one that saved your life, what if your weapon curled up next to you at the end of a long day?

What if your weapon was your dog?
And one of those Taliban fighters had a detonator, which they later found was connected to a 600-pound cache of explosives that was buried under the building at the east end of town. The same one the Americans had used to house the villagers.

Chopper had saved them all.

“He got a steak that night,” Maroshek said.
read more here

Decorated Fort Carson Soldier's Death Suspected Suicide

Wesley Hills soldier's death investigated as suicide
Westchester 12 News
October 22, 2016

WESLEY HILLS - The death of a decorated soldier from Rockland County is being investigated as a suicide.

Army Sergeant James Morrison, 28, died Wednesday while on active duty at Fort Carson in Colorado.

The Wesley Hills native had been deployed to Afghanistan three times.
read more here

Fort Wainwright Soldier's Death Suspected Suicide

Army: Soldier died from self-inflicted gunshot wound
Army Times
By: Staff report
October 21, 2016

A soldier assigned to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said Friday.

Spc. Tyler Christian White, 21, died Wednesday at a friend's house in Fairbanks, Alaska.

White, 21, was from Richmond, Indiana. He was found in his friend's driveway with a single gunshot wound about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. He died while he was being taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
read more here

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vietnam Veteran Remembers "A Few Good Angels"

Death called more than a dozen times, but this soldier didn’t answer
WPRI 12 News
By Walt Buteau
Published: October 21, 2016

“I was 19 years old. I don’t believe a ring or a set of rosary beads are going to save my life. But my life was saved at least 12 times in Vietnam and twice at Camp Lejeune.” Michael Montigny
COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Even the author of “A Few Good Angels” didn’t initially believe the luck connected to how he survived more than a dozen brushes with death.

As the Vietnam War was erupting in 1966, Michael Montigny was a teenager in West Warwick, into baseball and hot rods.

But he would soon be in a Marine boot camp, face to face with a gunnery sergeant who let him know how dangerous it was to be the trigger behind a machine gun.

“He was right in my face,” Montigny recalled. “He says life expectancy of a machine gunner is 15 minutes, and I couldn’t swallow. I said, Oh my god.”

Before he found out just how accurate the sergeant was, Montigny was picked out of a crowd of Marines heading into Vietnam by a Marine who was going home.

“He fights his way through 200 of us, comes up to me and takes the ring off his finger,” Montigny said. “He puts it right in my face and says here. This brought me luck and protected me. It’s going to protect you.”
read more here

Survivors of Beirut Bombing Remember Marines Lost

33 years after Beirut bombing, a survivor remembers
WNCT News 9
By Elizabeth Tew
Published: October 21, 2016

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) – The 33rd anniversary of the 1983 Beirut bomb blast is this weekend and in Camp Lejeune it’s a date that hits close to home. Many of the bombing victims were deployed from Lejeune, including retired Marine Dan Joy, who survived the harrowing experience.
“We were sent to Lebanon as peacekeepers to assist the United Nations forces,” Joy said. “We became enemy combatants because different factions thought we were taking sides.”

Joy was a member of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. Early on October 23, 1983, the battalion’s headquarters building was bombed.

“They built car bombs and drove one into our headquarters,” Joy said. “There was rubble and remains of our Marines and soldiers. Marines were just lifting concrete and using crow bars and trying to get to the voices.”

On Sunday, an observance will be held here at the Beirut Memorial in Jacksonville to those men.
read more here

Neighborhood Parade Welcomes Home Army Surgeon

Md. family welcomes hero dad home from Afghanistan with neighborhood parade
FOX 5 News
Anjali Hemphill
October 21, 2016
BETHESDA, Md. - A Maryland hero was welcomed home from deployment in Afghanistan in style Friday night-- by his entire neighborhood. Army Lieutenant Col. Benjamin Potter, an orthopedic surgeon from Bethesda, has spent the last four months caring for injured service members and Afghan allies.

Lt. Col. Potter had a block party waiting for him to help him celebrate his return—and of course, a very happy family. The neighborhood scooter brigade parade is actually a tradition for the Potter family, one that pumps up the whole neighborhood.
read more here

National Guard Soldiers Forced to Repay Bonus Money?

Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war
Washington Post
David S. Cloud
October 22, 2016
They’ll get their money, but I want those years back.
— Susan Haley, former Army master sergeant
Soldiers from the California Army National Guard have been ordered to return enlistment bonuses they received a decade ago when the Pentagon needed troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (California Army National Guard)
Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.
The National Guard Bureau, the Pentagon agency that oversees state Guard organizations, has acknowledged that bonus overpayments occurred in every state at the height of the two wars.
read more here

Friday, October 21, 2016

Flesh Eating Bacteria Took Three Limbs But Not Marine's Spirit

Veteran who lost 3 limbs to flesh-eating bacteria trains to become Crossfit warrior
Associated Press
October 19, 2016

“I’m here for my kids, my husband and I want them to see I can still do things with them.”
DACULA, GA. A year ago, Cindy Martinez was struggling to walk even just a few feet and lift just five pounds.

A flesh-eating bacteria had ravaged the 35-year-old Marine veteran’s body. She had a grim choice: Amputate both legs, an arm below the elbow, and parts of the fingers on her remaining arm – or face almost-certain death.

The amputations saved her life. And after months of hospitalizations and rehabilitation, she finally found herself back home but alone during the day while her young children were in school and her husband was off at work.

“It kind of takes a toll on you mentally, just sitting there after all that I had gone through,” she said.

In the stillness of her home, she fired off an email to a local gym and asked about joining. When they called back later that night, “I told the lady on the phone, ‘well, there’s a twist to my story.’ ”

She soon found herself sitting in a circle surrounded by trainers at Crossfit Goat – with the motto Be Your Greatest of All Time – in Dacula, about 45 miles northeast of Atlanta. She told them her story and began in February to embark on an unusual quest: becoming a Crossfit athlete. Crossfit gyms are known for high-intensity strength and cardio workout, and their members often consider their “box” to be like a family as they bond over workouts-of-the-day that test their strength and resolve.
read more here

Vietnam Veteran Determined to Give His All to Prevent Suicides

'Give my all': A veteran's struggle and his fight against all military suicide
Published: October 21, 2016

“I’ve been homeless; I’ve been hungry; I’ve used drugs. I’m surprised I’m even still here,” Towery said. “It’s all part of the makeup of who I am as a person now, and I’m the kind of person who doesn’t cut and run when a responsibility is there.”
Navy veteran Glenn Towery, 64, served in the Vietnam War from 1971 to 1972 on the USS Rupertus before he was medically evacuated. Towery has faced homelessness and drug use, and he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2008. He recently started a nonprofit in an attempt to prevent servicemember and veteran suicide. Courtesy of Glenn Towery
A crumpled-up brown paper bag has a permanent place at the bottom of Glenn Towery’s briefcase.

It’s a reminder of a difficult but “remarkable” odyssey, Towery said, that started after his return from the Vietnam War in 1972.

Towery, feeling dizzy, sought help at a Department of Veterans Affairs emergency room in 1975, and a doctor handed him a paper bag to breathe into.

“He said, ‘Mr. Towery, are you aware that you have been hyperventilating?’” Towery, now 64, told Stars and Stripes in a recent interview. “I started understanding. That was the first indication that something was wrong.”

In the decades since, he became homeless and worked his way off the streets. Developed a crack cocaine addiction and walked away from it. Tried and failed at college, but tried again and earned a degree.

With help, Towery has worked through a series of hardships, including disability and bouts of PTSD. Now, he’s trying to assist veterans who are considering suicide — something he knows firsthand.

read more here