Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Is Fort Campbell getting it right on PTSD now?

101st Airborne vastly expands care for 'unseen wounds'
Apr. 30, 2013
By Philip Grey
The (Clarksville, Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle

FORT CAMPBELL, KY. — Not so long ago, there were only five psychiatrists and one treatment facility dealing with PTSD, depression and other behavioral health issues for Fort Campbell’s 30,000-plus soldier population.

That capacity has just been increased many times over, with the opening of no less than five newly-constructed and staffed Embedded Behavioral Health Care Team facilities – one for each of the 101st Airborne Division’s four brigade combat teams and another for the 101st Sustainment Brigade. Additional psychological health support has also been added to each of the division’s two combat aviation brigades.

Open houses were held at the new facilities on Monday, as post officials celebrated the milestone, achieved just one year after the first pilot program at the 4th Brigade Combat Team was announced by Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, Commander, 101st Airborne Division and Col. Paul R. Cordts, Commander, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital (BACH.)

Attending the ribbon-cutting for the new permanent 4th Brigade Combat Team facility in place of McConville, currently deployed in Afghanistan, was acting senior commander Brig. Gen. Mark R. Stammer.

“We wanted Brig. Gen. Stammer to see and know the power of what we’ve set up,” Cordts said.
read more here

Army major, wife face child abuse charges in N.J.

Army major, wife face child abuse charges in N.J.
Associated Press
Apr. 30, 2013

NEWARK, N.J. — An Army major and his wife are accused of denying their children food and water, physically assaulting them and denying them medical care for injuries the parents inflicted.

John and Carolyn Jackson are charged with numerous counts of endangerment as well as assault and conspiracy. They are scheduled to appear in federal court in New Jersey on Tuesday.
read more here

Wife arrested in Benning soldier's shooting death

Wife arrested in Benning soldier's shooting death
Apr. 30, 2013
The Associated Press

SEALE, ALA. — The wife of a Fort Benning soldier whose body was found in a ditch has been arrested in the man’s death.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor Tuesday said 34-year-old Gloria Wilson was being held in the Russell County Jail in connection with the death of 34-year-old Donald LaShon Wilson.
read more here

Stray bullet kills young Mom with infant in arms

Family mourns death of woman, 24, killed by stray bullet in Gate City while holding her infant son
By Jon Reed
April 29, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Children were back to playing games and riding bikes at the Gate City housing complex Monday evening, but the loved ones of Sheri Williams were still in mourning.

One child strode up to Kerry Jackson, Williams's uncle, and hugged him. "Where's Sheri?" she asked.

"Sheri's not coming back," he said.

Williams, 24, was killed before 1 p.m. Monday when a bullet intended for somebody else hit her in the chest as she stood in the door of her apartment on 64th Court Way South, according to Birmingham police. Her 10-day-old son was in her arms, but was not hurt.
read more here

Canada uses video conferencing to help with PTSD and mental health

Canadian Forces To Turn To Video Conferencing To Help Soldiers With PTSD And Other Mental Illnesses
April 30, 2013
Section: Defence Watch
News release from DND:

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 30, 2013) – The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced two new health services initiatives, the Telemental Health Network and the Virtual Reality Initiative Bravemind, developed through the $11.4 million reallocated to the care of ill and injured military personnel in 2012. Minister MacKay made this announcement as part of The Bell True Patriot Love Fund, a one-million dollar program to support community mental health initiatives for Canadian military families.

“The Telemental Health Network and the Virtual Reality Initiative Bravemind complement an already robust system to provide treatment for our military men and women who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other health conditions,” said Minister MacKay. “The Bell True Patriot Love Fund initiative complements our Government’s focus on providing accessible mental health care to Canadian Armed Forces personnel. As Canadians we must all work together to ensure our military families stay healthy and get the mental health support they need.”

The Telemental Health Network will maximize the use of technology to increase access and reduce wait times by providing mental health services through video conferencing for personnel in all environments – especially rural, remote and underserved communities.

The Government of Canada has procured 90 high-definition desktop videoconferencing systems at a total cost of $800,000.

read more here

Iraq veteran stopped two robbers with AR-15

Police: Iraq War vet thwarts gas station break-in
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 30, 2013

SHINGLETON, Mich. — Police say an Iraq War veteran thwarted two would-be burglars at his northern Michigan gas station by kicking one of them and ordering them away with an AR-15 rifle.

State police said Shawn Schank was inside the gas station about 4:10 a.m. Sunday in Shingleton, an Upper Peninsula community in Alger County, when two people wearing ski masks forced their way into the building and approached the cash register.
read more here

Fort Carson female deserter sentenced to 10 months

Fort Carson female deserter sentenced to 10 months
April 29, 2013
ERIN PRATER
THE GAZETTE

The first female soldier to flee to Canada to avoid the Iraq War was sentenced by a military judge Monday to 10 months confinement and a bad conduct discharge.

Pfc. Kimberly Rivera, with the Fort Carson’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, pleaded guilty to two counts of desertion at the Monday court-martial.

Rivera, who served as a front gate guard at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in Baghdad during a 2006-2007 tour, was granted leave in January 2007 but failed to return to duty.

When asked by judge Col. Timothy Grammel how long she remained absent, Rivera replied, “As long as I possibly could, sir. ... I intended to quit my job permanently.”

Rivera, 30, also said the military “doesn’t reflect who I want to be anymore.”

During a sentencing hearing, government lawyers argued that Rivera, who was granted leave shortly into her tour to work out marital issues, failed to return because her husband threatened to leave her and take their children.
read more here

Australia searching for identity of heavy medal "veteran"

Search for identity of veteran
BY ADMIN
APRIL 30TH, 2013
Search for identity of veteran.

VV and VFACT has been requested to ask members of the Federation if they can identify the veteran in the attached photographs, the veteran was observed at the MCG during the ANZAC Day AFL match.

If you can identify the veteran, please contact VV and VFACT at webmaster01@vvfact.org.au

Marine's conviction for attempted suicide overturned!

Marine’s Attempted Suicide Conviction Overturned
Apr 30, 2013
Stars and Stripes
by Travis J. Tritten

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – The U.S. military’s highest appeals court on Monday rejected the conviction of an Okinawa Marine for attempting suicide, but the decision may fall short of setting a precedent for all such prosecutions.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that Pvt. Lazzaric Caldwell was improperly charged and convicted of disrupting order and discrediting the Marine Corps after he slashed his wrists in his Camp Schwab barracks in 2010. Caldwell, who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder unrelated to combat, was confined to the brig for six months and received a bad-conduct discharge.

The Marine’s prosecution raised concerns at a time when the military is emerging from over a decade of wars and struggling with high rates of PTSD and suicide in the ranks. However, Caldwell defense attorney Lt. Mike Hanzel said the appeals court decision was specific to the case and does not prevent prosecution of other suicides by the military.
The court also found no justification for charges that Caldwell’s suicide brought discredit to the service by making it appear the unit’s leaders had failed to keep the Marines in check.
read more here

Marine's attempted suicide prompted punishment instead of help

Marine Major says criminalizing attempted suicides "helps retain discipline"

Marine Maj. David Roberts, representing the government, countered that the statute is clearly written and that it helps retain discipline within the ranks.

Cockamamie war games will not fix combat PTSD

I am glad this article started out with the most important part of the delusion the DOD has been under. Computer games may be something the troops like but that does not mean they are good for them. Like drinking alcohol may make them feel better for a while numbing the pain they do not want to deal with, but afterwards they are worse off. Computer games feed adrenaline and adrenaline feeds PTSD. This is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard.

Can the rush in gaming help overcome the stress of combat?
By Matthew M. Burke
Stars and Stripes
Published: April 30, 2013

Former Army Sgt. Melissa Cramblett was once again pitched in battle against a tenacious enemy fighter. Her heart raced as she tried to save fellow soldiers from falling.

“I’m going to kill this mother[expletive],” she said to herself as adrenaline coursed through her veins.

Cramblett could put down the controller when violent combat video games like “Call of Duty: Black Ops” got to be too much, but it wasn’t so easy to flip the switch on her post-traumatic stress symptoms, which worsened each time she played.

She suffered anxiety and took her anger out on her family. She couldn’t sleep, but when she did, she was constantly haunted by a solider she knew who had been decapitated in an IED attack in Iraq in 2004. The soldier had been in the vehicle behind her; it was a devastating loss. Now, despite being a few years removed from the battlefield, she was back in Iraq and his bloodied body was standing over her.

“I can’t be in the same room [with someone playing],” she said of the increasingly realistic and violent crop of combat video games, some of which are developed with the help of active-duty and retired special operations troops. “It gives you that adrenaline rush that makes you feel like you’re back there.”

Cramblett has since asked her husband to get rid of the videos at home and she warns servicemembers with PTSD to stay away from them through her work with veterans groups Stay Strong Nation and the Veterans Who Care Foundation.

“I know I’m not the only one suffering from those games,” she said from her civilian job at a recruiting battalion in Portland, Ore. “I think it’s dangerous if a servicemember plays if they have PTSD.”

Despite the beliefs of people like Cramblett — and media reports that former servicemembers might have committed suicide after playing the games — violent combat video games remain a popular respite of troops downrange and a connection to their warrior past once they return home.
read more here


It is time for the DOD and "researchers" to actually research PTSD before they come up with these cockamamie fix-it by breaking it approaches. This isn't rocket science! This is common sense.

When military training and exposures teach their bodies to operated under adrenaline rushes, the body learned to adapt. The best way to treat PTSD is to teach the body how to work without it again. Learning how to calm down will not happen with this. Sure they may have fun playing the games. Sure they may even get some relief for a while but what they will end up with is what will make PTSD worse.

Some "games" may work but that depends on how much the designer understands PTSD as much as it depends on how talented they are in creating the game. Violent games are part of the problem when kids think they can kill on a computer screen but find real life much different. When they left real combat and play the games again, there is a much different effect on what is happening inside of them and it is not good.

Veterans outraged by cases of Stolen Valor Vietnam faker

Veterans outraged by cases of Stolen Valor
WOIA News
Reported by: Jaie Avila

SAN ANTONIO - Military veterans call it an outrage that dishonors them and those who died in battle. A kind of deception that's rampant across the country and on the internet: imposters falsely claiming medals and accolades they didn't really earn. News 4 Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila joined forces with a network of internet detectives to uncover cases of stolen valor.

Fernando Herrera is one of the most decorated veterans in San Antonio. Among the medals he received during Vietnam: the Distinguished Service Cross and four bronze stars for rescuing fellow soldiers during a fire fight. Plus, a purple heart for shrapnel wounds he received in battle. A local park was even named after him.
The Fake Warrior project worked with us on the case of this former marine from Pearsall, Albert Bustamante. Pictures show him wearing the bronze star ribbon along with other insignias and badges from the Vietnam War.

The problem is, Bustamante's military record shows him not joining the marines until 1976, after the Vietnam War ended. It doesn't list the medals and citations seen in the pictures.

We tracked down Bustamante at his home in Pearsall, where even his pickup truck is adorned with a Vietnam ribbon.
read more here

Marines Have Six Four-Stars — But Not for Long

Marines Have Six Four-Stars — But Not for Long
Washington Wire
by Julian E. Barnes
April 29, 2013

With its emphasis on its enlisted troops and its creed that every Marine is a rifleman, the Marine Corps is the military service that keeps the smallest ratio of brass to troops. But for a brief moment —actually only until Wednesday—there are, for the first time, six four-star generals in the Corps.

Earlier this month [April 19], the officers gathered at the Home of the Commandants at the Marine Barracks Washington, the only time six active-duty four star generals have gathered together, according to the service. Except for a handful of five-star admirals and generals in American history, four-stars is the highest attainable rank in the military. And for the Marines it is unusual to have four or five, much less six.

The Corps thinks of the gathering as historic. But for the generals, the April get-together was simply a reunion of a group of men who have worked with each other and off for four decades.
read more here

Military Sexual Assaults Cost More Than $872 Million

Military Sexual Assaults Cost More Than $872 Million
By DAVID FRANCIS
The Fiscal Times
April 30, 2013

The Veterans Affairs department spent almost $872 million in 2010 to deal with the health impacts of sexual assaults on former military personnel.

This figure is based on the $10,880 dollars the Veterans Administration spends to treat each sexual assault victim after he or she leaves the service. The $872 million does not include costs for victims still in the military.

In 2011, the last year that information on sexual assaults is available, 3,192 cases were reported to Pentagon brass. Former defense secretary Leon Panetta estimated nearly 20,000 occur each year within the military. According to a 2011 military health survey, one in five soldiers said they had been touched inappropriately since joining.

It’s not clear how much the Pentagon spends dealing with these attacks. But because of the nature of how the military deals with sexual assault allegations, it’s likely that it costs the Pentagon tens of millions of dollars.
read more here

Monday, April 29, 2013

Afghanistan Cargo Plane Crash Kills 7 Crew Members With Florida Ties

Afghanistan Cargo Plane Crash Kills 7 Crew Members
Reuters
Posted: 04/29/2013

KABUL, April 29 (Reuters) - Seven crew members of a U.S.-run cargo plane were killed on Monday when their plane crashed shortly after take off from Bagram air base near the Afghan capital Kabul, the cargo operator told Reuters.

The Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility for the crash, but NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said there were no reports of insurgent activity in or around the base, which is one of the largest in the country and located about 40 km (25 miles) north of Kabul.

"We did lose all seven crew members," a spokeswoman for National Air Cargo told Reuters by telephone from Florida, where the company is located. The nationalities of the crew members were not immediately clear.
read more here

Fort Campbell Soldier completes Air Assault School after becoming an amputee

Army amputee completes air assault school
KRISTIN M. HALL
Associated Press (AP)
Posted April 29, 2013

Sgt. First Class Greg Robinson, 34, of 101st Airborne Division, stands with his 4-year-old daughter, Drew, on Monday, April 29, 2013, at Fort Campbell, Ky., after graduating from air assault school. He lost a lower portion of his right leg in Afghanistan in 2006 and is the first amputee to graduate from the grueling Sabalauski Air Assault School. (AP Photo/Kristin M. Hall)
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — Thousands of soldiers are physically and mentally tested every year at the Army's air assault school at Fort Campbell, but Sgt. 1st Class Greg Robinson is the first amputee to complete the grueling 10-day course.
read more here

Teen to raise money for wounded warriors mow lawns

Teen to raise money for wounded warriors
By THOMAS BRENNAN
Daily News Staff
Published: Sunday, April 28, 2013

After tragedy hit close to home, a local teen has decided he was going to make a difference — one lawn at a time.

“My friend Nick lost his father, and then his stepdad stepped on an improvised explosive device and lost his legs,” 16-year-old Gregory Brown III said. “He mentioned he needed a zero-turn mower but couldn’t afford it.”

Brown began Greg’s Lawn and Landscape of Richlands at the age of 11. From May 1 through May 8 he will donate all proceeds to the purchase of zero-turn lawnmowers for wounded veterans. Brown cuts anywhere from five to 11 lawns per week but is hoping to cut upwards of 30 per day during the first week of May.

“Many things are overlooked when it comes to wounded warriors,” Brown said. “Their houses and car are retrofitted but other areas of their lives need to be adapted too. Things like mowers are a necessity for them also, not just houses and cars. Things like this truly help them out with their independence.”
read more here

Two Marines start foundation after 6 friends committed suicide

Local Marines take on a new battle: suicide among veterans
Posted: Apr 25, 2013
by Connie Tran
KSBY News

Two local Marines are taking on a new battle, that is, against suicide.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs says someone can suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after going through a traumatic event like combat, assault, or a disaster.

Veterans Matt Reid and Daniel Pitocco said PTSD is one of the leading factors of high suicide rates among veterans and something needs to be done.

The two, who live in Morro Bay, said after serving multiple tours overseas, coming home wasn't as easy as they'd hoped.

"It's feelings of isolation. You come back and you bottle things up," said Pitocco.

He and Reid said they've lost six comrades, but not from war as one might expect, rather something perhaps much deeper and darker.
read more here

VA West Los Angeles Medical Center evacuated due to a possible grenade

UPDATE
Inert grenade causes scare at LA VA hospital
Published: April 29, 2013
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Authorities say an object that appeared to be a grenade caused a partial evacuation of the Veterans Affairs hospital in West Los Angeles before experts confirmed it wasn't live.

Bomb technicians from the FBI and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department went to the hospital around 7 a.m. Monday after a 66-year-old man handed over the object. The man said he found it in a bathroom.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says it was reported to be a practice grenade.
Read more here
VA Hospital ER Evacuated Over Possible Grenade
1 hour ago
by Kellan Connor
Web Producer

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — The emergency room at the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center has been evacuated due to a possible grenade.

The facility is located in the 11000 block of Wilshire Boulevard.

Authorities say that, around 8 a.m., an employee reported the discovery of what’s believed to be a hand grenade in the bathroom.
read more here

Homeless veterans legislation aims to get veterans off the streets

When the government does something wrong, I always point it out so when they do something right, it is only fair to praise them. Take a look at what the numbers were in 2002 and you'll know the VA and congress have gotten this right.
Homeless Veterans
April 25, 2013

The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs today proposed legislation to help the Department of Veterans Affairs meet its goal to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015. The Homeless Veterans Prevention Act of 2013 is sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). While there has been a 17 percent decline in the number of homeless veterans since 2009, there still were more than 62,000 homeless veterans as of the latest count by the VA. “We must continue to invest in the progress that has been made and remove any remaining barriers to housing for veterans,” Sanders said.

“Our veterans served our country with honor and they should not be forgotten when they return home,” Burr said. “Helping homeless veterans get off the street and back on their feet is our obligation, and this legislation is an important step in that direction.” John Driscoll, president and CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, welcomed what he called “the most comprehensive and well-resourced homeless veterans assistance bill ever introduced in Congress.” Driscoll said the bill “provides the support necessary to ensure our nation’s plan to end veteran homelessness succeeds.”
read more here
This is how many were homeless in 2002 when I wrote FOR THE LOVE OF JACK, HIS WAR/MY BATTLE
We ask so much of those who serve this nation and we need to start asking where will we be when they are warriors no more?
FROM THE NATIONAL COALITION OF HOMELESS VETERANS
NATIONAL COALITION FOR HOMELESS VETERANS
STATE FUNDED HOMELESS BEDS
HOMELESS VETERANS

AK 7
350

AL 27
5,275

AR 80
4,389

AZ 219
6,190

CA 2,713
49,250

CO 72
3,457

CT 137
2,900

DC 175
9,403

DE 15
600

FL 492
19,231

GA 81
9,852

HI 118
3,000

IA 17
1,600

ID 10
400

IL 158
19,943

IN 138
1,600

KS 27
1,259

KY 153
2,100

LA 186
4,620

MA 477
2,700

MD 126
2,800

ME 3
1,000

MI 69
5,171

MN 42
1,961

MO 96
13,549

MS 40
1,400

MT 17
320

NC 247
6,805

ND 48
1,100

NE 12
560

NH 72
437

NJ 193
8,300

NM 26
3,600

NV 219
5,500

NY 354
44,700

OH 258
9,697

OK 42
1,750

OR 143
8,450

PA 206
10,166

RI 23
400

SC 50
3,850

SD 16
430

TN 230
2,972

TX 256
19,640

UT 114
575

VA 98
2,450

VT 10
1,200

WA 167
6,850

WI 209
1,132

WV 52
531

WY 31
1,175

PR 0
50

total 8771
316,640
These are men and women just like Jack so when you read our story remember how many of them got to be where they are today. Some do not have PTSD who end up homeless. Most do have it.

The truth is, most of these veterans were Vietnam Veterans.

Justice for Fort Hood Victims

Justice for Fort Hood Victims Apr 18, 2013
Congressman Rooney (FL-17) argues that the decision by the Obama Administration to classify the attacks at Fort Hood as "workplace violence," rather than terrorism, wrongly denies the victims of the attack the Purple Heart and appropriate benefits. During this hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder, held by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Justice, Rooney questions the involvement of the Department of Justice in the Administration's decision.

Family donates $50K from jail suicide settlement for PTSD help

Family donates $50K from jail suicide settlement for PTSD help
April 27, 2013
Associated Press

NORTH PLATTE -- Lincoln County has settled a wrongful death suit with the family of an inmate who committed suicide in his jail cell in 2008.

Kara Hatcher Hawkins, the sister of 27-year-old Phillip Hatcher, filed the federal lawsuit in 2010, saying officials should have known Hatcher might try to kill himself because he was arrested in the middle of a suicide attempt.
read more here

Man's best friend, a treatment for PTSD in Vets

Man's best friend, a treatment for PTSD in Vets

FOX 23 News
By Trishna Begam

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The U.S. military estimates around 20 out of every 100 veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It's a constant emotional battle some veterans cope with through the help of a service dog. But the NEWS CENTER's Trishna Begam has discovered the dogs are not being covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.).

Mike, who did not want us to use his last name, joined the Marines and went to fight in the first Gulf War during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He later joined the Department of Defense as a Para Military specialist to fight the War on Terror. He found himself in countries like India, Pakistan and Iraq. When he returned home in 2005, like so many others, he came back with PTSD.

We found the retired U.S. Marine Corporal Mike in the one spot he goes to escape. "It's indescribable. It's so frightening those feelings like you're right back there," Mike explained.

It's during these solitary moments he relives the nightmares and opens the wounds no one else can see.

"Feeling under attack, you don't see the enemy you have a feel they are coming in closer and closer and closer, and my gun won't fire it's jammed. It won't fire it's a feeling of panic anxiety and fear," Mike added.

Anxiety, panic, and nightmares are now his constant companion.

"We had a time in the bunker in mop suits. It was such a closed entrapped feeling and there was a free rocket over ground attack. So I'll have dreams that are claustrophobic. Where I'm trapped in something or it's all black around me," he said. "I had to figure out how to live in the world without medicating without drinking. That's the only way I could cope for a while."

Then Russell, a service dog, entered his life. read more here and watch video report

Memories would not cease to haunt Max Cleland

Max Cleland is a Vietnam veteran among many other things but it is because of his service in Vietnam that he has done the rest with his life. When you are aware of what it was like when Vietnam and older veterans came home, no one was talking about what we call PTSD now. They didn't have the support from their communities and found it hard to find each other. They didn't have the Internet or anything it has offered the newer generation of veterans. Because Vietnam veteran we willing to fight this battle, we have what is available for veterans now.
Vietnam Veterans Reunion Proves Moving
The Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Reunion in Silver Spring evokes great range of emotion
By Mark W. Sanchez
Patch.com
April 29, 2013

His scraggly grey hair curling from both his beard and head, Bruce Smith looked hesitantly up from his wheelchair.

“I’m probably going to have some nightmares after this,” Smith said.

Nearing four decades after the Vietnam War ended, the veteran spoke disgustedly about Agent Orange and its effects.

He came to The Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Reunion at the Silver Spring Civic Building Monday because employees at the Silver Spring Vet Center had urged him to discover avenues available to him to deal with health treatment.
Max Cleland—a Vietnam veteran, triple-amputee and former Georgia senator—spoke eloquently and decisively about the sacrifices each person in the roughly 35-veteran audience has made—many of whom, like Cleland, were missing limbs. He expressed how important it was for each of them to find something in life worth pursuing.

Cleland was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star for meritorious service and Silver Star for gallantry in action when he arrived back from Vietnam, but he described himself as having “no job, no future, no girlfriend [and] no car.”

With one arm and no legs, Cleland questioned his life’s direction, now that he was “on this side of the wall,” referring to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in which is sketched each American death from the war.

And he was simultaneously dealing with serious effects from the war.

“If you don’t have (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), then you’re crazy,” Cleland said.

He knew that the memories would not cease to haunt him.
read more here

Horror during church service in New Mexico

Man stabs choir members during closing hymns at New Mexico church, police say
By Daniel Arkin, Staff Writer
NBC News
April 29, 2013

At least four people were stabbed at an Albuquerque, N.M., church when a man went on a rampage during a Sunday service’s closing hymns, police said.

Albuquerque Police Department officials say Lawrence Capener, 24, leaped over pews and lunged at members of the choir just before noon on Sunday. He repeatedly stabbed choir members with a weapon, according to police.

Police officers dispatched to St. Jude Thaddeus Parish discovered that several parishioners had pinned Capener to the floor, according to police spokesperson Tasia Martinez.
read more here

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Soldier dealing with PTSD fights stabbing charges

Soldier dealing with PTSD fights stabbing charges video report
WOODTV8

Faith in God has positive effect on treating mental illness

Faith in God has positive effect on treatment outcomes for mentally ill people
Examiner
MENTAL ILLNESS
APRIL 27, 2013
BY: CAROLA FINCH

A study by McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, suggests that people who are receiving short-term treatment for psychiatric illness have better outcomes if they believe in God.

The study was announced on April 27, 2013, and was published in the current issue of Journal of Affective Disorders (PMID 23051729, DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.08.030). David H. Rosmarin, PhD, McLean Hospital clinician and instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, examined individuals in McLean’s Behavioral Health Partial Hospital program to investigate the relationship between patients' level of belief in God, treatment expectations, and treatment outcomes.

"Our work suggests that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without, regardless of their religious affiliation,” Rosmarin. said. Belief was associated with not only improved psychological wellbeing, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm."
read more here

Purple Heart 90 year old veteran turned down by VA?

My husband's Dad was also a WWII veteran with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. When he passed away, we couldn't even get help to bury him. He didn't want anything from the government, so he didn't file a claim. There is another WWII veteran who never wanted help but now that he needs it, he is being turned down. You couldn't help my father-in-law but you can help this one.
I signed it.
Veterans Affairs: Support a 90 yr old Purple Heart recipient and veteran of two wars

Started by: Nicole, Sun City Center, Florida

My dad, James March, is a World War II and Korean War veteran with a Purple Heart he received in WW2 -- but now that he's seriously ill, the VA is refusing to help him.

Even though his injury from the war caused him terrible back and leg pain throughout his life, my dad never complained to the VA -- he rarely asks for help from anyone. But now that he's 90 years old, dad is really sick and he urgently needs help from an assisted living facility. Our whole family is worried about him: he's barely eating, he's nearly lost his eyesight, and he's suffering from dementia. In just a few months, he lost 70 pounds.

Dad needs constant care, but Mom isn't able to be a full-time caregiver because she's struggling with cancer recovery and diabetes -- and my family doesn't have enough money to pay out of pocket for him to get a home aide.

The VA lost our application for assistance two times before they denied our claim. Even though my parents are crippled by medical costs and their home was foreclosed on 2/27/2013, the VA says my dad "makes too much money" to qualify for help. In reality, my parents barely have enough left over at the end of the month to buy their groceries, let alone pay for at-home care.

My dad was there when our country needed him to fight in WWII, healing others as a medic on the battlefield where he earned a Purple Heart. Now that he needs us, will we turn our back on him? Sign my petition asking that the VA give my dad the benefits he and all veterans deserve for their service and sacrifice.

Emergency mental health visits on rise

Emergency mental health visits on rise
MANY FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO BUDDING CRISIS
BY BECKY MALKOVICH
THE SOUTHERN

Some local hospital emergency departments are seeing an increase in the number of patients seeking treatment for mental health issues.

“Over the past eight to nine months, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of patients with mental illness complaints,” Dr. Josh Miksanek, medical director of Herrin Hospital’s emergency department, said.

The department has a total of 15 beds, he said, and at times, four to five of the total are occupied by patients with mental health issues, he said.

Harrisburg Medical Center’s emergency department is also experiencing an increase, president and CEO Rodney Smith said.

“Our emergency department is seeing more people coming from greater distances,” he said. “We used to see people come from areas within a 50-mile radius. Now they are coming from further away because there are no mental health services where they live.”

Deborah Pape, chief research and development officer for The H Group, which provides behavioral health care services in several Southern Illinois counties, said there may be several reasons for the increases.

Sometimes patients experience a mental health crisis after-hours and their only option for treatment is to go to an emergency de-partment.
read more here

Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act

This is based on what is in Donnelly's heart but he is wrong. It may have the opposite results. He mentioned that most do not express their feelings before committing suicide. Why? Why don't they talk about it? Because they feel they cannot or it really won't matter if they do. With all these years of "training" to prevent suicide, don't you think it is time they change what they have been doing?

This is my comment.
"Fit to serve" will prevent them from admitting they need help. I know it sounds good but you have to remember some of these men and women cheat on tests so they can stay in. They do not want to leave where they always wanted to be. Remember, they wanted to join and most never thought of doing anything else. They need to know why they have PTSD and understand it is not their fault. They are not weak but have strong ability to care. The DOD and VA have to undo damage done first.
Donnely mentioned that many of them had not been deployed but did not discuss the fact that training is very traumatic and they hear about the amputations along with deaths from IED. If those who served in combat do not feel comfortable talking, how do they expect those who have not been deployed to talk? They got the message that if they trained right, their brains would be tough enough. In other words that message translated into if they have problems, it is their fault and they are mentally weak. If they thought this "training" would encourage communication, it prevented it instead.
Donnelly Introduces First Bill: The Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention
Apr 25, 2013

This morning, Sen. Donnelly introduced his first bill, the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2013. This bill would establish a pilot program in each of the military services and reserve components to integrate annual mental health assessments into a servicemember's Periodic Health Assessment and identify risk factors for mental illness so that servicemembers can access preventative care. It is named after a member of the Indiana National Guard, Jacob Sexton, who tragically took his own life in 2009 while home on a 15-day leave from Afghanistan. Sen. Donnelly's hope is that we can help men and women like Jacob who are struggling with mental health issues and get them the help they need before they resort to taking their own life.



Read THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR and learn what I am talking about.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Taming The Fire Within

At the Point Man Ministries tent during the reunion today, I was a handed a copy of this book to take a look at. After two paragraphs reading Greeks, Romans and first responders, I was hooked but the owner of the book wouldn't let me take it because it was signed by the author to him. This book is now on my list to review and this woman is now on my bucket list to interview.

I keep talking about the different types of PTSD and how they all need to be treated differently. Anne Freund not only works for the VA, she is a specialist in PTSD and worked with law enforcement with Critical Incidence Stress Debriefing! I have to meet her someday soon. WOW, she seems to be exactly what I have been talking about there needs to be more of.

"Taming the Fire Within: Life After War is a paperback book of approx. 260 pages with a color photograph on almost every page, from all different wars ranging from the Civil War to the present. The book is written for all generations of warriors in a down to earth, straightforward style. It discusses and explains the natural reactions virtually all war veterans experience after they return from the war zone. This book will be helpful not only for the veteran, but their family members as well.

Anne Freund, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been practicing since 1989. She graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and from the University of Florida with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Freund completed her internship at the VA in Bay Pines, FL.

She has been with the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2005. Prior to that she worked with law enforcement and first responders as part of a Critical Incidence Stress Debriefing Team. Dr. Freund began conducting PTSD support groups in 2005, shortly after arriving at the VA.

She has had specialized training in PTSD at the National Center for PTSD in Menlo Park, California and at the Center for Deployment Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr Freund is a member of the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress, European Society for Stress Studies, and the Association of VA Psychologist Leaders.

Wounded dog handler heading home with best friend

Wounded dog handler heading home with best friend
I Marine Expeditionary Force
Story by Cpl. Joshua Young
Cpl. Joshua Young April 26, 2013

Jony, an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois and specialized search and explosive detection dog, hides out in the shade at Camp Pendleton, Calif., April 25, 2013. Jony, who went through a surgery the day before, is preparing to be adopted by his handler, Sgt. Brian Riddle, a military working dog handler with Headquarters and Support Company, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - The 23-year-old sergeant’s voice breaks as he pauses to collect his thoughts on how to express his feelings for his fallen friends. The names of his comrades are engraved on his “KIA” Bracelets, which now sit on a table adorned with military memorabilia and memories of friends he’s served with.

“Every day you wake up is a blessing in itself,” said Sgt. Brian Riddle, a military working dog handler with Headquarters and Support Company, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion. “Every day I wake up is another day that they’re not going to, so I live my life as they would live theirs.”

Riddle, who served two combat deployments in Afghanistan, is currently recovering from injuries at the Hope and Care Center in Camp Pendleton, Calif. The two-time Purple Heart recipient was injured in both deployments.

He took a bullet to the chest, which deflected off of the protective plates in his flak jacket and ripped across his chin and neck on April 10, 2010. In a terrible, almost anniversary-style fashion, Riddle was hit two years later by a mortar round which severely damaged his right hip and caused shrapnel damage to his face on April 22, 2012.
read more here

Plane crash kills four American service members in Afghanistan

The Pentagon said all four victims were airmen: Captain Brandon Cyr, 28, of Woodbridge, Virginia; Captain Reid Nishizuka, 30, of Kailua, Hawaii; Staff Sergeant Daniel Fannin, 30, of Morehead, Kentucky; and Staff Sergeant Richard Dickson, 24, of Rancho Cordova, California.
UPDATE April 29, 2013
Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, 28, an Air Force pilot who had hundreds of hours of combat flying experience, and listed Woodbridge as his home town, was killed Saturday in a plane crash in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.

People who knew him recalled his sense of humor, his thoughtfulness and his dedication to a challenging job.

Plane crash kills four American service members in Afghanistan
By Courtney Kube
Pentagon Producer
NBC News April 27, 2013

Four American service members were killed Saturday in an airplane crash in southern Afghanistan, a U.S. military official said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but the International Security Assistance Force said in a brief statement that initial reports indicated the crash did not involve enemy activity.
read more here

Vietnam Veterans Reunion in Melbourne Florida

Just got back from the Veterans Reunion in Melbourne Florida. As always it was a great event and huge crowds. Here are some of the pictures. The video will be cut later.

Larry Shook Point Man Ocala












These pictures were taken by Jody Barker


Tony Clark, Marine Veteran, On Why He Runs

Tony Clark, Marine Veteran, On Why He Runs
(VIDEO)
Huffington Post
Posted: 04/26/2013

After a few years of competing in ultramarathons, Marine veteran Tony Clark decided his racing had been completely selfish. "I needed to use the talent I was given in order to help others," he says in the video above. The deserving group he decided to help? Veterans with PTSD. "If I can be a small part of being that voice, then it's a win-win for me."
read more here

PTSD soldier fights stabbing charges

PTSD soldier fights stabbing charges
Anthony McFarlane says stabbing was self-defense
WOOD TV
Updated: Friday, 26 Apr 2013

OTSEGO, Mich. (WOOD) - An Otsego soldier, back from war, is fighting to stay out of prison after stabbing a man.

Anthony McFarlane is facing up to life in prison for a stabbing, but he and his father say the act was in self-defense.

"If you feel like your life is in danger, which he did, coming back from Afghanistan fighting for his life and somebody blindsides him; he did what he thought that he needed to do," Jeff Seeback, Anthony's father, said.

Supporters of an Army veteran protested today outside the Allegan county courthouse.

Police say McFarlane was arguing with his girlfriend outside an Otsego apartment in January when Adam Laws stepped in to ask if she was OK. Laws testified earlier this month that MacFarlane said "that he felt disrespected".
read more here

Support pours in for Fort Bragg family when Army didn't

We keep hearing how much the military is doing to help these soldiers and their families. So how is it this happened? It is because while they say one thing, they are doing another. Resilience Training is worse than a joke. It is harmful. They say they are taking care of families but most families don't know what to do. The Reilly family suffered along with thousands of other families.
Support pours in for family affected by post-traumatic stress disorder
ABC News WTVD
Friday, April 26, 2013
Nicole Carr

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- The community is reaching out to help a woman fed up with how the military treated her husband suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Crystal Reilly, a mother of two, says she took her concerns about her husband's PTSD to the Army, and was virtually ignored.

Thursday, Reilly posted signs at her home saying that she was forced to sell all of her furniture because of how the Army treated her husband. A sign on the home read, "The Reilly family is done with the guinea pig Army system. Get us real help."

Reilly has been married to the Army for 15 years, but it became apparent in 2009 that her husband, Sgt. Charles Reilly, was starting to change.

"The rage, the anger, the adrenaline surges he would have," said Reilly.

The fast moving, debilitating disease is called PTSD.

During Reilly's sixth war deployment came the official diagnosis and suggestion for clinical help.
read more here


Fort Bragg Army wife stands by her man when Army didn't

Hotel denied family stay over PTSD service dog, until KOB News got involved

Hotel turns family away because of service dog
04/26/2013
By: Chris Ramirez
KOB Eyewitness News 4

A New Mexico family claims they were denied a room at an Albuquerque hotel because of their service dog.

Jim Deverman and his son Tim Melton were planning on starting at the In Town Suites near Jefferson and Interstate 25. The rooms are a decent price and clean, which made it at tractive for the family who needed a temporary place to stay.

They said they were surprised when they were turned away because of Tim’s service dog, Blitzen the Husky.

Blitzen and Tim Melton go together like Aspirin and a headache. Tim is 24, but his father says he has the mental maturity of a 12-year-old. The medicine to control Tim's mental disability comes on four white legs.

“Our service dogs are larger breeds because of his size are trained to help calm him down when he gets into one of his PTSD moods or fits,” Jim said.
read more here

Disabled veteran wins gold medals at regional games

Disabled veteran wins gold medals at regional games
April 26, 2013
BY JANICE GIBBS
TELEGRAM STAFF

At age 69, Bill Scales, a double amputee and a patient at the Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center, competed in his first Paralympics, bringing home gold medals in shot put, discus and javelin.

The Texas Regional Games of the Paralympics were held a couple of weeks ago in San Antonio and three Temple VA patients competed.

The experience put things in perspective, Scales said. There was always someone else competing who had a more challenging disability.

“I watched a blind man run 13 laps around the track,” he said. “Of course he had someone running with him to keep him in the right lane, but to run 13 laps, that in itself is amazing.”
Mike Weaver, adaptive sports coordinator for the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, which includes the Temple VA, encouraged Scales to participate in the San Antonio games.

"Motivating the generation of veterans who are 55 and older is important for both the individuals and the VA, he said."

“Getting them off the couch and active means they’ll be physically and mentally healthier, which is a benefit to the veterans and the VA,” he said.
read more here

Friday, April 26, 2013

Attempted military suicides should alarm us more

When we focus on the suicides of members of the military, we miss what is happening telling a darker story of the lack of help they have actually been getting. Given the fact that we have been told that "resilience training works" well enough to spend billions a year, we should all be asking "Where is the proof?"

Take a look at the numbers released last year for 2011 since we do not have the data from their report for 2012.
The AFMES indicates that 301 Service Members died by suicide in 2011

Air Force = 50
Army = 167
Marine Corps = 32
Navy = 52

This number includes deaths strongly suspected to be suicides that are pending final determination. DoDSER Points of Contact (POCs) submitted reports for 100% of AFMES confirmed 2011 suicides
Air Force = 46
Army = 159
Marine Corps = 31
Navy = 51 as of the data extraction date (26 April 2012).

A total of 915 Service Members attempted suicide in 2011
Air Force = 241
Army = 432
Marine Corps = 156
Navy = 86


DoDSERs were submitted for 935 suicide attempts
Air Force = 251
Army = 440
Marine Corps = 157
Navy = 87

Of the 915 Service Members who attempted suicide, 896 had one attempt, 18 had two attempts, and 1 had three attempts.

Most Service Members were not known to have communicated their potential for self-harm with others prior to dying by suicide (n = 212, 73.87%) or attempting suicide (n = 709, 75.83%). Those who did disclose their potential for self-harm most frequently communicated with spouses, friends, and other family members. These communications were most frequently verbal (n = 46, 16.03% of suicides; n = 129, 13.80% of attempted suicides). Other modes of communication included text messages (n = 11, 3.83% of suicides; n = 20, 2.14% of attempted suicides) and via Facebook (n = 4, 1.39% of suicides, n = 8, 0.86% of attempted suicides).

Landing gear of plane that hit Twin Tower found

NY police: Landing gear part found, is tied to 9/11
By Chelsea J. Carter and Rob Frehse
CNN
updated 6:52 PM EDT, Fri April 26, 2013

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
NEW: Authorities will decide after an inspection whether to sift the soil for remains
The part was discovered behind the site of a planned Islamic community center
Surveyors called police on Wednesday, saying they found "damaged machinery"
Police believe the piece is part of a landing gear from one of the 9/11 airliners

New York (CNN) -- A piece of one of the airliners that hit the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, has been found behind the planned site of an Islamic community center near ground zero, the New York Police Department said Friday.

Part of a landing gear was discovered wedged between 51 Park Place -- the site of the controversial community center -- and another building just blocks from ground zero and "includes a clearly visible Boeing identification number," police said in a written statement.

The part was discovered Wednesday by surveyors hired by a property owner. They called 911 to report that they'd found "apparently damaged machinery," the police said.

Part of a landing gear was discovered wedged between 51 Park Place and another building. "The NYPD is securing the location as it would a crime scene, documenting it photographically ," the statement said.
read more here

Two Army pilots killed in Afghanistan

Two Army helicopter pilots killed in Afghanistan identified
The Associated Press
Published: April 26, 2013

FAIRFAX, Va. -- An Army helicopter pilot from northern Virginia is one of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan by enemy fire.

The Pentagon said Friday that 26-year-old 1st Lt. Robert J. Hess of Fairfax died Tuesday in the Pul-E-Alam district of Logar province in eastern Afghanistan, from wounds suffered as a result of indirect fire.

Also killed was 32-year-old Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard of Selah, Wash.
read more here

Senior VA executives won't get bonus money after all!

No performance bonuses for Veterans Benefits Administration senior executives
By Leo Shane III
Stars and Stripes
Published: April 26, 2013
27 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — Senior executives from the Veterans Benefits Administration will not receive any performance bonus awards for fiscal 2012 because of lingering problems with the veterans claims backlog, department officials confirmed Friday.

A VA spokesperson said department leaders remain confident that those senior executives are “dedicated to our nation’s veterans,” but the money set aside for those awards would be reinvested in efforts to fix the backlog.

Department leaders reiterated their goal of zeroing out the backlog over the next two years.
read more here

Hyundai thinks suicide is something to joke about in new ad?

The headlines read "22 veterans commit suicide a day" along with the headlines of military suicides at an all time high. As bad as this is there are about 35,000 suicides a year in the US. (Never mind Hyundai is sold in other countries as well.) I don't think an apology will really undo the damage they did to their reputation. Thinking something like this would be funny involved a lot of people thinking the same way.
Hyundai’s shocking ad: You can’t kill yourself in our car
The car maker apologizes for a horribly tasteless ad -- but no one wants to take responsibility for it
Salon.com
BY MARY ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
APR 26, 2013

The good news is that Ford is no longer the front-runner for the most tasteless, boneheaded ad campaign of the year. Sorry, America! South Korea’s largest automaker, Hyundai, and its advertising agency Innocean Worldwide Europe, has utterly stolen your glory.

In the spot, hilariously titled “Pipe Job,” a grim, middle-aged man is seen in his garage, methodically taping and running a pipe into his car. He then sits inside stoically, breathing deeply, his face a mask of weary woe. Cut to nightfall, and the man emerging from the garage very much alive. The tag line? “The new iX35 has 100 percent water emissions.” Apparently someone thinks Hyundai’s target demographic is the depressed, unsuccessfully suicidal car-buyer market. Way to own it!

After the spot came to light on AdLand recently — and a few people gently pointed out that it was the worst idea in the universe — the car company issued its inevitable apology. The first statement was a classic soft-pedal, a message from the company’s North American branch that “We understand that some people may have found the iX35 video offensive. We are very sorry if we have offended anyone.” Some. If. Whatever.

A later statement, however, was more strongly worded. “Hyundai Motor deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive viral ad,” it reads. “The ad was created by an affiliate advertising agency, Innocean Europe, without Hyundai’s request or approval.” But as Forbes points out, Innocean is “an in-house ad agency,” a status abundantly clear on its website.
read more here

Should Gun Restrictions Be Placed on Veterans With PTSD?

If they didn't forget about the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act, this could have been a good story. Pay close attention to pages 628-630
Should Gun Restrictions Be Placed on Veterans With PTSD?
New York Times
By THOMAS JAMES BRENNAN
April 26, 2013

When Phillip Barker received the official report from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2008, it said he suffered from homicidal ideations of a passive-aggressive nature. It also said that he had an alcohol dependency. That he experiences anxiety, sleeplessness, hypervigilance and nervous tics as part of his post-traumatic stress disorder, diagnosed in 2007 after his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps. And that he has flashbacks from his deployment to Falluja, Iraq, in 2004.

Mr. Barker also owns a pistol.

After the Newtown, Conn. massacre last December and the killing of the former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle at a Texas shooting range in February, the media, President Obama, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California and even David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, have suggested that people with mental illnesses, which could include veterans with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder, be subject to stricter gun restrictions. Many states already have laws saying that people who have mental illnesses or have been committed to mental institutions cannot purchase or own firearms.

But the issue is deeply contentious for many reasons, and not just because it involves gun control and the civil rights of veterans. For mental health professionals and veterans organizations, it also raises questions about the nature of post-traumatic stress disorder and its relationship to violent behavior.

Dr. Eric Elbogen, a clinical psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Durham, N.C., declined to comment on Mr. Barker’s case. But he said that although PTSD is a mental disorder, decisions on whether to restrict the gun rights of people who have received a diagnosis of PTSD should be individualized. The reason, he said, is that not all people with the disorder are violent.
read more here

Air Force officer saved by overturned verdict gets transfer to where victim is?

Dozens Protest Transfer Of James Wilkerson, Air Force Officer Cleared Of Sexual Assault Charges
By JACQUES BILLEAUD
Posted: 04/26/2013
ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHOENIX — The Air Force's decision to transfer an officer to Arizona after his sexual assault conviction was overturned drew dozens of people to a Tucson military base for a protest led by outraged family members of the woman who made the accusation.

Thursday's 45-minute demonstration involved about 50 people who questioned why the military would transfer Lt. Col. James Wilkerson to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on the southern edge of Tucson, where roughly half the woman's family lives.

The protest came amid a congressional uproar over the Wilkerson case, and follows heavy criticism of the military's handling of another case involving sex-crime allegations in California.

"They could send him to a number of places," said Stephen Hanks, an orthopedic surgeon in Tucson who is the brother of Wilkerson's accuser. "Why send him to a place where her family lives? It makes no sense."

Hanks' sister, Kimberly Hanks, a civilian employee who works with service members, accused Wilkerson of sexually assaulting her after a March 2012 party at his house. Wilkerson and his wife denied the charges but said Kimberly Hanks stayed at their house that night.
read more here

Marines take on a new battle: suicide among veterans

Local Marines take on a new battle: suicide among veterans
Posted: Apr 25, 2013
by Connie Tran
KSBY News

Two local Marines are taking on a new battle, that is, against suicide.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs says someone can suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after going through a traumatic event like combat, assault, or a disaster.

Veterans Matt Reid and Daniel Pitocco said PTSD is one of the leading factors of high suicide rates among veterans and something needs to be done.

The two, who live in Morro Bay, said after serving multiple tours overseas, coming home wasn't as easy as they'd hoped.

"It's feelings of isolation. You come back and you bottle things up," said Pitocco.

He and Reid said they've lost six comrades, but not from war as one might expect, rather something perhaps much deeper and darker.

Pitocco shared a story of one of his fellow brothers. "At the time of committing suicide, he had three Marines within about 30 minutes to an hour of him, and he felt so alone, so within his own mind, wrestling his demons that he didn't reach out," he said.
read more here

Joining forces helps all of us

Joining forces helps all of us
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
April 26, 2013

There seems to be another war going on the media has not caught up with. It is a battle between this generation of veterans and their families against older ones.

When I wrote my second book, THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR I was getting the word out and received a private email from a person involved with one of the groups I am with. She wrote that I was "unprofessional" and needed to stop writing as if I was "one of them." Considering the book is about military suicides and I happen to be an adopted member as the spouse of a Vietnam veteran, I also have the additional tie to my husband's nephew who committed suicide, my husband's battle with it and 30 years of working with Vietnam veterans and their families.

The woman who emailed me is a member of this generation of veterans. How is it they forget that they are not the only ones committing suicide in the numbers we read about? How is it that they forget had it not been for the battle Vietnam veterans fought back here at home to have PTSD treated and compensated for, there would have been nothing for this new generation?

FOR THE LOVE OF JACK, HIS WAR/MY BATTLE was republished last year but I wrote it well before the attacks on September 11, 2001. I was looking for a publisher before the planes hit the Twin Towers. I decided to self publish to let this generation know what was coming so they wouldn't be as alone and lost as Vietnam veterans' families were.

November 25, 2012
The battle to save the lives of combat veterans is not lost and it is not new. 18 veterans and more than one active duty service member take their own lives each day. More attempt it. Kathie Costos is not just a Chaplain helping veterans and their families, not just a researcher, she lives with it everyday. Combat came home with her Vietnam veteran husband and they have been married for 28 years. She remembers what it was like to feel lost and alone. Everything you read in the news today about PTSD is in this book originally published in 2002 to serve as a guide to healing as well as a warning of what was coming for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.


I figured I had a unique view of all of this from living with combat PTSD and working with these veterans helping them understand what I read in clinical books, since we didn't have the Internet, self-help books or groups and virtually no support. The media didn't care about them unless one of them got arrested. Now there are Veterans Courts.

In 1984 after attending a Memorial Dedication in Peabody Massachusetts, I was sitting with some of my husband's friend pretending to not listen to what they were saying. As I listened, their words cut into my brain and I couldn't let them go. I wrote In The Name Of Glory with their words, just rearranged and signed it W.T. Mantiev which stands for We Trusted and Vietnam backwards, also from what they said about Vietnam being a backwards war they had to fight harder back home than they did being there.
IN THE NAME OF GLORY
W.T. Mantiev (AKA Kathie Costos)
The things I’ve seen and done would boggle your mind.
I’ve seen the death and destruction created by mankind
in the living hell that I walked away from but could not leave behind.
It all comes back to haunt me now and makes peace impossible to find.
The ghosts of the past that find me in the night
make me wonder if my life will ever be right.
I have tried to forget what I have done,
and now there is no place left to run.
All this in the name of glory!
There is no end to this horror story.
It still does not make sense even now that I am older,
why, when I was so young they made me a soldier
and why I had to be a part of that war
when I didn’t even know what we were there for.
At eighteen I should have been with my friends having fun
not patrolling through a jungle with a machine gun.
I did my part just the same, just for my country
and stood helplessly watching my friends die all around me.
I felt a surge of hate engulf my soul for people that I did not know
and saw children lose their chance to grow.
All this in the name of glory! There is still no end to this horror story.
There was no glory for guys like me
only bitter memories that will not set me free.
I can never forget the ones who never made it home
some of them dead and others whose fate is still unknown
and the stigma that we lost what was not meant to win
most of us carry that extra burden buried deep within.
All this in the name of glory!


They had been fighting PTSD for over 10 years by then. Isolated unless they took the chance of reaching out to other veterans near where they lived, it was hard for them to connect. Even harder was learning to trust after the older veterans turned them away. Yes, the generational battle was happening even back then.

They came home with the same wound but it was called "shell shock" back then. In those days the choice was being institutionalized or the lucky ones were cared for by families. One of my husband's uncles ended up living on a farm for the rest of his life and the VA paid the family to care for a group of WWII veterans. They lived peaceful lives as farmers.

Less than 7% of the population know what it is like to be called veteran. If we are fighting against other generations, that makes us weaker than if we do what the Vietnam veterans pledged to do, never leave another generation behind. If the OEF and OIF veterans and their families keep fighting against the generation that came before them, they will not learn the lessons these veterans have to teach. If newer spouses pretend that no one else knows their pain, they will not receive the support we have to offer or our wisdom. Joining forces helps all of us and makes us stronger. Most of us have been doing all of this before they were even born. We may be gray now but we were also young wives fighting a battle for their lives after combat and trying to keep our families together, so what they are going through, we know all too well. We can help them but not if they will not listen or tell us that we are not one of them. We think of them as one of us.

Disfigured veteran deals with disrespect at home

Disfigured veteran deals with disrespect at home
Gregg Zoroya and Alan Gomez
USA TODAY
April 25, 2013

Ronny Porta feeds his son, Kenneth, breakfast in his parents' Maryland home. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY

BELTSVILLE, MD. — Six years have passed since a roadside bomb set Ronny "Tony" Porta on fire in Iraq when he was 20, and he's still trying to find his way home.

Each reflection in the mirror bears witness to why that is not easy.

Every stranger who points or stares, every teenager who mocks with the word "monster" or couple that whisper behind his back that the disfigurement is the price for invading a country, tells Porta he hasn't quite left the battlefield behind.

"This is home for me," says Porta, 26, who grew up in suburban-Washington Beltsville after his family emigrated from Peru. "But sometimes, it's kind of hard saying, 'I am home.'"

Two months ago, a man approached Porta in a Home Depot. He stood studying the burns on Porta's face and asked if a car accident was to blame. Porta, wearing a Marine Corps sweatshirt, said, no, it was an IED explosion in Iraq.
read more here

Guitars helping veterans move past trauma

The phrase was coined by William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, 1697

To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I've read, that things inanimate have mov'd,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform'd,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!
'Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night
The silent Tomb receiv'd the good Old King;
He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg'd
Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom.
Why am not I at Peace?
Guitars helping veterans move past trauma
South Charlotte News
Apr. 26, 2013
By Eileen Schwartz

Jim Spagnolo, left, receives a guitar from volunteer instructor Dan Pfeiffer after completing the G4V program.

What do guitars and veterans have in common? More than you can imagine.

Ask Gary Walbrun and he’ll tell you about Guitars for Vets.

The national organization started in Milwaukee, Wis., in 2008. There now are 25 chapters nationwide that offer loaner guitars, free lessons and the gift of a guitar for veterans who complete a 10-week series of one-on-one lessons – all to help veterans suffering the effects of trauma.

Walbrun and his wife relocated to Fort Mill three years ago from Minneapolis.

Walbrun, 61, retired as a human resource executive, and he’s also a lifelong musician who plays in a group called RyvrWud. After reading about Guitars for Vets in a guitar magazine, Walbrun volunteered to be a guitar instructor to veterans.
Want to donate? Have a guitar to donate or looking for a way to thank a veteran? Contact Guitars for Vets: visit www.guitarsforvets.org or contact Gary Walbrun at G4VCarolina@comporium.net or “Guitars For Vets Carolinas” on Facebook.
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A Mortuary Affair in Iraq

A Mortuary Affair in Iraq
New York Times
By TERESA FAZIO
April 25, 2013

I never meant to be a wartime hussy. Unlike Paula Broadwell, I was not buff and beautiful; I was a shy Catholic girl from White Plains, N.Y., with a calligraphed physics diploma. As a 23-year-old Marine lieutenant just a year and a half out of R.O.T.C., my plan for a seven-month Iraq deployment included laying fiber-optic cable underground, not taking up with a comrade 12 years my senior.

I befriended him in the cavernous chow hall as he forked limp cabbage onto a plastic plate. He worked in our battalion’s mortuary affairs unit, and scraping human remains from helicopters had killed his taste for meat. When I asked if he had a family, he said, “what’s left of it.” His estranged wife cared for their 7-year-old son, who was my youngest brother’s age. Soon we e-mailed bawdy jokes over the network my wire platoon helped set up on our base in Anbar Province.

I didn’t look feminine; my hacked-off hair and wire-rim glasses let me roll from my sleeping bag into uniform. My Kevlar jacket barreled a camouflage carapace onto my 5-foot-1 frame. Even slung tight, my M-16 hung past my knees. The combined effect was less “Hurt Locker” than “Harry Potter Goes to War.”
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Ex-Marine says cops beat him

Ex-Marine says cops beat him in Jamaica's 103rd Precinct: suit
Dwight Edwards, 35, walked into the 103rd Precinct unscathed and came out beaten, according to a lawsuit corroborated by his girlfriend, Alicia Branford.
BY JOHN MARZULLI
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
April 26, 2013

The Queens district attorney’s office is investigating a former Marine’s claim that he was punched and kicked in the face by cops as they ejected him from the 103rd Precinct stationhouse, where he had gone to retrieve a friend’s personal property.

Dwight Edwards, 35 — who served in combat in Afghanistan, where he was severely injured by an improvised explosive device — suffered a fractured eye socket in the alleged attack. “He walked into the precinct unscathed and came out beaten,” lawyer Joel Berger said Thursday after filing a lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Edwards was not arrested or even given a summons.

Already diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a brain injury he suffered in the bombing, Edwards has been severely depressed since the Jan. 2 incident at the police station and checked himself into a hospital for treatment this week, according to his girlfriend, Alicia Branford.
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Fort Bragg Army wife stands by her man when Army didn't

UPDATE April 27, 2013

Support pours in for this family!
Crystal Reilly knows the price families pay when their husband's get deployed because she had to do it six times. Her husband was supposed to come back from Afghanistan so that he could get help in a hospital. The hospital became her home instead and she was the one on suicide watch.

If you believe the headlines from the military about "resilience" training, understand something right here, right now. Since 2009 they all have had this special "training" that was not tested so when a wife like Crystal uses the term "guinea pig" know that this is the biggest part of the problem. When suicides go up after billions are spent every year to "prevent them" it shows there is something really, really wrong with this.

Army wife battles military over husband's post-traumatic stress disorder
ABC News
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Nicole Carr

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- The spouse of a Fort Bragg soldier is taking her battle with the Army public after she says they abandoned them in their time in need.

Crystal Reilly, a mother of two, says she took her concerns about her husband's post traumatic stress disorder to the Army, and was virtually ignored.

So Thursday, she did something that couldn't be ignored. Almost anything you could imagine was for sale at Reilly's home in the 1600 block of Lakeway Drive in Fayetteville.

If you a double take, you realize the house and its owner are crying out.

A sign on the home reads, "The Reilly family is done with the guinea pig Army system. Get us real help."

Reilly has been married to the Army for 15 years, but it became apparent in 2009 that her husband, Sgt. Charles Reilly, was starting to change.
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

US military faulted for burn-pit use

US military faulted for burn-pit use
By Ernesto LondoƱo
The Washington Post
Published: April 25, 2013

The U.S. military spent $5 million on incinerators at a base in Afghanistan that never became operable, forcing troops to use a type of open-air burn pit that has been linked to serious respiratory problems among veterans, according to a government report.

The Pentagon banned burn pits at large war-zone bases after facing a flurry of lawsuits and health claims by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were exposed to toxic fumes during deployments. The pits are used to burn everything from cafeteria waste to feces.

The case of the inoperable incinerators at Forward Operating Base Salerno in eastern Afghanistan, detailed in a new inspector general report, sheds light on the continued challenges of waste disposal in combat zones and the stark choices that commanders in Afghanistan are having to make as the U.S. military footprint continues to contract.
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Outcry erupts over 1% pay raise proposed for military

Outcry erupts over 1% pay raise proposed for military
USA Today
Gregg Zoroya
Apr. 24, 2013

Military families and their advocates are battling an Obama administration proposal to limit troops’ pay raises to 1 percent in 2014, the lowest increase in half a century.

The raise comes at a time when forces will still be fighting in Afghanistan.

“We’re sending the wrong message to the ones who have worked the hardest in our country by the multiple deployments and family separations,” says Michael Hayden, deputy director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, no relation to Michael Hayden, said Obama is committed to “a sacred trust” with military members, but needed to reduce the pay raise, partly to offset congressional refusal to cut spending on “outdated weapons system.”
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Florida Veteran's story inspires outpouring of support

Veteran's story inspires outpouring of support
By Ben Wolford
Sun Sentinel
April 25, 2013

For one struggling Iraq War veteran, the generosity of South Florida has restored the young man's faith in the people he fought for, after what had been a brutal homecoming.

Since the story of 30-year-old Adam Peters was published, people have been calling, emailing and sending letters, offering everything from cash to a motorcycle that would replace the one thieves stole from him.

Peters returned to Boca Raton last month with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, inflamed by tragedies in the news and the stolen bike. He says the outpouring has been cathartic.

"I didn't know it was going to be like this," he said.

The article detailed Peters' difficulty re-adjusting to civilian life. He served in Baghdad from 2006 to 2007, and his new perspective, molded by combat horrors, clashed with the suburban landscape. Like perhaps a third of the 231,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in Florida, Peters deals with insomnia, irritability, anxiety and other afflictions — the hallmarks of PTSD or traumatic brain injury.
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Family of Sgt. Manuel Loggins may get justice after all

Orange County Supes Agree To Settle Camp Pendleton Marine Lawsuit
KPBS News
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

The Orange County Board of Supervisors has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of Camp Pendleton Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins, according to the San Clemente Times.

Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Sandberg shot Loggins to death on February 7, 2012 in the parking lot of San Clemente High School. Loggins, 31, was standing near his vehicle when he was fatally shot, while his two young daughters watched from the backseat.
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Granger Smith marches for unsung heroes

Texas country western singer Granger Smith marches for unsung heroes
DVIDS
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Sgt. John Healy

FORT HOOD, Texas - Since 2001, country-western artists have been more than vocal in their support of the American soldier. Songs about soldiers have topped the charts for nearly 13 years, yet how many artists can say that they went the extra mile?

Austin-based country singer Granger Smith not only went the extra mile, he went the extra 100 miles.

Smith began his walk in South Austin on Sunday, April 7. Over the span of five days, he marched, feet clad in a dusty pair of combat boots.

Throughout the walk Smith conducted daily radio interviews, talking about remembering to thank the men and women in the armed forces.

During every interview, Smith spent time encouraging listeners to donate to the Boot Campaign, a Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the issues faced by soldiers returning home and easing their reintegration to civilian culture.

“I really wanted to do something other than just doing a benefit concert or a celebrity golf tournament,” said Smith. “I wanted to do something that was a little more memorable, something that means a little bit more.”
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Woman runs Army Marathon in memory of two brothers

With Family, for Family
By Daniel Cernero
Fort Hood Sentinel Sports Editor
APRIL 25, 2013
SPORTS

TEMPLE - For years now, Monica Velez has turned to running the Marine Corps Marathon as a way to deal with the emotional toll of losing her two brothers, Cpl. Jose “Freddy” Velez and Spc. Andrew Velez.

On Sunday, in the inaugural Army Marathon, Monica set out on yet another marathon, this one on the same ground she’d run with Freddy years ago.

“It’s just a lot of emotions,” said Monica, running with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors team, before the start of the race. “I lived here with my brother Freddy for quite some time, with him and his wife Nickie. As young adults, this was our first place away from home. We were together and kind of experiencing life.”

That was in 2003, when Freddy, a 1st Cavalry Division Soldier was stationed at Fort Hood before a deployment to Iraq. In 2004, on Veterans Days, Freddy was killed in Fallujah. Two years later, Andrew took his own life while deployed in Afghanistan.

Running, something Monica had always down with her Family, became her outlet.

“It brings back good memories, and I can sit and get lost within those memories and just enjoy myself,” she said. “I’ll cry and I’ll run and I’ll cry. This is the only place that I can scream out loud and everybody gets it; they’ll even scream with you.”
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