Wednesday, April 30, 2014

10th Mountain mourning loss of 2 soldiers in Afghanistan

2 Drum soldiers killed in Afghanistan, DoD confirms
Army Times
Apr. 30, 2014 - 05:37PM

Pfc. Christian J. Chandler, 20, left and Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II, 24, were killed in separate locations, according to DoD announcements released Wednesday.
(Army)
Two soldiers from 10th Mountain Division were killed Monday in Afghanistan, the Defense Department has confirmed.

Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II, 24, and Pfc. Christian J. Chandler, 20, were killed in separate locations, according to DoD announcements released Wednesday.
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Special Forces: commandos are committing suicide at a record pace this year

Consider this. If the DOD and the Pentagon "efforts" to prevent suicides did not even prevent them in Special Forces, why did they keep doing it? Why did they keep saying that "most had not been deployed" when they were all trained with Comprehensive Solider Fitness? Why did they say the numbers were down when in fact the number of enlisted also went down leaving less to count?
Suicide Rise in Special Ops Spurs Call for Review
Tampa Tribune
By Howard Altman
Tribune Staff
Published: April 29, 2014

Concerned with the increase in commandos taking their own lives, a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee is calling for the Pentagon to review Department of Defense efforts regarding suicide prevention among members of the Special Operations Forces and their dependents.

The call for a review is included in proposals by the Military Personnel Subcommittee as part of the half-trillion dollar-plus military budget request for the fiscal year beginning in October. If the measure passes, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would have three months after passage of the budget to report the findings to the House and Senate Armed Services committees.

“If the final bill calls for a report, we will work with the Department of Defense to ensure they have all the information they need to report to Congress,” said U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Ken McGraw.

The subcommittee is also calling for a look at the overall issue of troop suicides, as well as how the military is handling sexual assaults, military health care costs and other health and well-being issues.

Earlier this month, Socom commander Adm. William McRaven told a Tampa intelligence symposium that commandos are committing suicide at a record pace this year. Though he offered no figures, he was repeating a concern he first raised in February at a Congressional hearing on his budget.

“The last two years have been the highest rate of suicides we have had in the special operations community and this year I am afraid we are on the path to break that,” McRaven, whose headquarters is at MacDill Air Force Base, said at the GEOINT 2013* Symposium in Tampa earlier this month.
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U.S. special forces struggle with record suicides

Airmen receive long-overdue POW medals after 70 years!

About time: WWII airmen receive long-overdue POW medals
FOX News
April 30, 2014

It's recognition more than 70 years in the making.

Eight U.S. service members shot down and captured while fighting Hitler’s Nazi regime finally received long overdue Prisoner of War medals during a ceremony Wednesday at the Pentagon. For decades, the airmen were denied POW status, even though they crashed over Germany and were later held in a prison camp in Wauwilermoos, Switzerland. But after a grandson of one of the airmen fought a 15-year battle to show what they had gone through, including the daring escapes that allowed them to get back to the fight, the Pentagon reversed course.

USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III presented the medals to eight of the veterans and one of their grandsons during the ceremony. The Air Force authorized the awarding of the medal to 143 USAAF airmen last year following a change in criteria. Army Air Corps First Lieutenant James Mahon, 91, was among those honored, some 70 years after his imprisonment after he and the rest of his B-17 crew were captured.

"It’s the kind of courage we read about in books, that people make movies about," Welsh said of the valor shown by the airmen. "But make no mistake about it, these men have that type of courage … and boy, did these guys saddle up.”
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Yale Law School takes on VA over sexual assault cases

Yale Law School suit alleges Veterans Administration biased against sex assault victims with PTSD
New Haven Register
By Mary E. O’Leary
POSTED: 04/30/14 NEW HAVEN

The Service Women’s Action Network and Vietnam Veterans of America Wednesday sued the Veterans Administration, claiming its rules discriminate against vets seeking disability benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder tied to military sexual trauma.

The organizations are represented by the Yale Law School’s Legal Services Clinic, which filed the action in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The suit claims that nearly one in three women is raped during their term of service in the military, while more than half experience unwanted sexual contact.

But it is not only women who are victims, according to the suit. It says that of the 26,000 reports of unwanted sexual contact made in 2011-12, some 52 percent came from men.

“These assaults often result in devastating, long-term psychological injuries, most notably Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sexual violence correlates with PTSD more highly than any other trauma, including combat,” the suit states.

In order to acquire disability benefits, veterans have to prove the disability is service-related.
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Waffle House Waitress Made Sure Veteran Was Honored

Veteran gets military funeral after waitress sparks movement
WBTV.com
By David Whisenant
Updated: Apr 30, 2014 4:40 PM EDT

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV)

Dozens gathered on Wednesday morning at the Veterans Administration Medical Center National Cemetery Annex in Salisbury this morning to say goodbye to a man most had never met.

Mike Pardalis sometimes didn't talk at all. He might have been quiet, but his impact on Mandi Gardner was huge.

Gardner has worked at the Waffle House in Concord for 11 years and says sometimes Mike would doze off in a corner booth. But he was nice and he was a long-time regular customer.

And for a former waitress at a Concord Waffle House, the service was both a tribute, and the fulfillment of a dream.

Mandi Gardner had worked at the Waffle House in Concord for 11 years and was very fond of long-time customer Mike Pardalis.

Pardalis was a quiet man, sometimes not speaking at all, but he left a huge impact on Mandi.

She says sometimes Mike would doze off in a corner booth. But he was nice and he was a long-time regular customer.

"Rough around the edges with a marshmallow middle," is how Mandi describes the man she knew for many years. "But he was a sweet man. He's not going to just walk away from you with your keys locked in a car standing there with a baby."

On April 10, Mike had a heart attack and died alone in his van. His body laid in the morgue at NorthEast Medical Center for nearly two weeks. No one called to claim his body.

"No memorial, there's no headstone, no goodbye, nothing for someone to track down and find," Mandi told WBTV.
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Politician acknowledges more of the same wrong answer

WOUNDED TIMES
Kathie Costos
April 30, 2014

Mel Levey, Military Officer and Congressional Candidate from Texas wrote an article on military suicides. "Suicide in the Military remains near all-time high. This is part of the subtitle "More of the same is not the answer" and it is a big part of the solution.

"If you promote this program (Comprehensive Solider Fitness) the way Battlemind was promoted, count on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides to go up instead of down. It's just one more deadly mistake after another and just as dangerous as sending them into Iraq without the armor needed to protect them." I wrote that in 2009 after reading about the program and talking to veterans subjected to "Battlemind" training. They talked about how that training left them thinking they were mentally weak and didn't train right. They heard their buddies talking about others showing signs of PTSD and making fun of them.

Considering they were told if they trained right and toughened their brains, they wouldn't end up up with PTSD, what other thoughts could they possibly have?

We read their stories everyday. We read about how the military has "no idea" why the suicides went up. What the general public does not know is that what the military has been doing is a huge part of the reason.

Last year after families urged me to write about what they finally learned I agreed to write THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR. None of what is in this book is a secret. Reports came from across the country, collected over 6 years on Wounded Times.

None of it was a secret but people would have to search for all of it since the national news failed miserably. They failed to do basic research so when they went out to do an interview, they didn't even know the right questions to ask. They failed to invest the time and energy it took to do what I did everyday.

The answer has not been a secret but no one told the thousands of veterans and military folks what they needed to know.

More of the same is not the answer now and was not the answer last year, the year before or 5 years ago yet that is exactly what everyone is doing.

More and more bills come out of congress as more and more money goes into pushing what has failed.

We're going to keep reading their stories and their suffering because no one seems interested in pushing what does work. What has been tested and tried in real life situations.

Families still remain in the dark without a clue what PTSD is or what they can do to help. Veterans are left dealing with a lot of pain they do not need to carry.

The answer is in three parts.
MIND
They need to understand what PTSD is and why they have it. The cause is surviving traumatic events, even civilians suffer from but for veterans, it is a different type. They are not just survivors of traumatic events, they participate in them. They placed their lives on the line for the sake of someone else and that required a deeper ability to care. That same ability also allows them to feel things more than others. It has nothing to do with courage or Medal of Honor heroes would never experience it but more and more have come out and talked about their own struggles. It has nothing to do with training to "prevent it" and that has been proven over the years when the DOD tried to do it.

BODY
They had to teach their bodies to do what they were able to do in combat but then they have to train them to clam down and be able to rest again. Nothing happens automatically. It takes a lot of work to get a body in shape for fighting wars. The DOD needs to train them how to get into shape for fighting to find living in peace again.

SPIRIT
PTSD is a spiritual wound and needs to be treated where it lives. In the spirit. Smacking soldiers with a bible isn't the answer but helping them heal with love and understanding is key. They can heal if they take a look at everything a different way, forgive where needed and stop trying to "fit back in" with people who were never the same as them. Veterans hang out with other veterans because they understand each other.

There is so much that has been learned over the last 40 years, but most has been forgotten. The question is, can it be forgiven when most of the suffering veterans have gone through was not necessary?

Vermont National Guardsman Killed by Family Member

Police: Vermont National Guard member threatened family before being shot dead by relative
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 29, 2014


ESSEX, Vermont — A Vermont National Guard member threatened family members with a gun before one of them shot and killed him, police said.

Kryn Miner died of multiple gunshot wounds to his head, neck and torso early Saturday, the state medical examiner's office said.

Miner, 44, had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, police said.

No arrests have been made, and the people involved in the shooting have been cooperative with law enforcement, Essex Police Chief Bradley LaRose said.

"The surviving members of the Miner family are victims of an unimaginable set of circumstances," he said.

The police investigation's findings will be presented to the Chittenden County state's attorney for review, police said.
read more here

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wonder woman at 4'11" saves man from jumping off bridge

Woman clings to stranger, prevents him from jumping off bridge
620 WTMJ Wisconsin Radio
By Charles Benson
CREATED APR. 28, 2014

MILWAUKEE -- Hanging on for dear life, a passer-by saves a man dangling over I-94 on the side of a Milwaukee Bridge near Miller Park.

It was an heroic team effort by police at the Veterans Administration Hospital who pulled the distraught man to safety on Sunday. But this rescue might not have been possible without the compassion and patience of a woman determined not to let the man jump.

"He was hanging on with one hand on the bar and one hand on this side," said Jill Hewitt.

Hewitt approached the man standing on a tiny ledge on the wrong side of the fence and used every ounce of energy in her four foot eleven frame to hold onto him.

"I told him I wouldn't let him go," said Hewitt. "God meant for you not to take your own life. It was not his time or choice to do that."

She estimates she talked for several minutes, told him she loved him and about the challenges she faced in her own life. But the man never said why he wanted to jump.

"His response typically was, No let me go. I want to die. I want to die!"
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Army Nurse Died Trying To Save Wounded

Details of death of Army nurse in Afghanistan
ERIE TIMES-NEWS
APRIL 29, 2014

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — In her last moments of life, Army nurse Capt. Jennifer Moreno heard two orders.

One was a call to help a wounded soldier struck by a blast in a booby-trapped killing field at an Afghanistan bomb-making compound.

The other was a command to stay put lest she strike another mine in the bomb belt.

The nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center chose to help the wounded soldier, and gave her life trying.

In the words of her commander, Moreno ran "into hell" to rescue a comrade on the night she was killed. Newly released narratives of the Oct. 5 battle reveal the kind of hell Moreno and dozens of Army special operators found while trying to disrupt a plot to kill civilians in the city of Kandahar.

A total of 12 bombs exploded that night — a chain reaction that took the lives of four U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 25.

The fifth bomb killed Moreno, 25, of San Diego who volunteered for a dangerous assignment supporting special operators in combat.

The 11th bomb wounded three soldiers trying to recover her body.

Moreno is Madigan's only fatal casualty from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the hospital south of Tacoma has continuously deployed soldiers to medical facilities in combat zones.

Moreno "sacrificed her life so others could live," her Bronze Star commendation reads.
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Homeless Vet Framed for Rape Sues Chicago

Homeless Vet Framed for Rape Sues Chicago
Courthouse News
By JACK BOUBOUSHIAN
April 29, 2014

CHICAGO (CN) - A homeless, mentally ill veteran spent 11 years in prison after Chicago police withheld exonerating evidence and coerced him into confessing to a rape in a downtown courtroom that never happened, the man claims in court.

Carl Chatman sued Chicago, 15 police officers, Assistant State's Attorney Brian Holmes, and others, in Federal Court.

"Carl Chatman spent more than eleven years in prison for a rape he did not commit," the complaint states.

"Not only did Mr. Chatman not commit the rape for which he was wrongfully convicted, but the rape never even occurred at all. The purported victim made up an account of having been raped in Chicago's Daley Center so that she could bring a lawsuit for money damage against the company responsible for the building's security.

"This marked the second time this same woman had fabricated rape charges in order to bring a legal action against a building security company for illicit financial gain.

"After the purported rape victim made up the story of having been attacked in the Daley Center, the defendants proceeded to 'solve' the crime. Specifically, in their zealousness to obtain a swift conviction in a high profile case, the defendant Chicago police officers took advantage of Mr. Chatman's mental instability and coerced him to falsely confess to a crime that never actually happened."

Chatman, now 59, is an Army veteran who in 2000, had "fallen on hard times. He was an easily confused and extremely vulnerable man," according to the 48-page lawsuit filed by Chicago attorneys Loevy & Loevy.

Chatman went to Chicago's Daley Center, a hub of government offices, to learn how to file a small claims suit in 2002. There, he accidentally walked into Judge Ronald Bartkowicz's courtroom, where he ran into Susan Riggio, who worked as a scheduling clerk for a judge.

"After a very brief interaction, Mr. Chatman left without incident. At the time, he was wearing a Blackhawks jacket and street clothes.

"Based on this encounter, defendant Riggio knew what Mr. Chatman looked like, and also knew that he was a defenseless and guileless individual, who would not fare well if falsely accused. He was, in short, the perfect target for her plan," the complaint states.
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Iraq Veteran-National Guardsman Died Saving Family During Tornado

Tornado Victims Were Dads and Daughters, Brothers and Sons
NBC News
BY ELIZABETH CHUCK AND CARLO DELLAVERSON

The victims include an Iraq veteran and two young brothers. A widow and a father and two of his daughters.

The deadly tornadoes buffeting the South since Sunday have killed 34 people across six states. The storms may still bring more devastation, leaving behind not just a trail of destruction, but entire communities grieving.

Here is what we know about some of the victims:
Daniel Wassom, 31, Vilonia, Ark.

Wassom, a father of two daughters — Lorelei, 5, and Sydney, 7 — died Sunday sheltering his family from the tornado. The man who everybody called "Bud" was with his wife, Suzanne, and his girls in a hallway in the center of their home when a large beam came toward him, crushing him to death.

Wassom, who served in the Arkansas Air National Guard as a load master moving cargo in and out of planes and had been deployed to Iraq, died shielding Lorelei from the beam.
read more of their stories here

Fort Carson Soldier Found Dead in Canyon Park

Hiker found dead in Cheyenne Canyon Park was Fort Carson soldier
Gazette.com
Lisa Walton
April 29, 2014

A body found by hikers in Cheyenne Canyon Park Saturday evening is that of a soldier, Fort Carson officials confirmed Monday. First Lt. Bao Huy Vo, 24 may have died after falling 200 feet, Colorado Springs police said.

Vo, with 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, had arrived in Colorado Springs in May 2013. While stationed at the Mountain Post, he deployed to Kuwait for four months before returning to Colorado Springs in November 2013, Fort Carson officials said.
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Shooter found dead at FedEx facility, 6 wounded

FedEx Facility Shooting Prompts Massive Response, Shooter Found Dead
NBC News
4 hours ago

A package handler with a shot gun and bullets strapped to his chest “like Rambo” wounded six people at a Georgia FedEx facility early Tuesday before he was found dead of an apparent suicide, authorities and witnesses said.

The male suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound during the workplace shooting in Kennesaw, north of Atlanta, and was found inside the FedEx facility's loading dock, reported NBC affiliate WXIA-TV.

The six victims range from ages 19 to 52, and three remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon, said Dr. Michael Nitzken, of Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. One of them required advance life support.

Those with critical injuries suffered multiple gunshot wounds, while others had “peripheral damage,” Nitzken said. One person was released.

Cobb County police spokesman Mike Bowman said officers were “sweeping” the area around the building Tuesday morning for any “secondary devices.” No explosives were found. The suspect was identified only as a male employee of FedEx.
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Iraq Veteran's Mom Suffers After Son Died In VA Miami Rehab

A Mother’s Guilt And A Veteran’s Unexpected Death
CBS Miami
Jim DeFede
April 28, 2014

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Early one morning last year, Mary Zielinski received a call from the VA hospital in Miami telling her that her son was dead.

“I was in such shock that I gave him the phone,” she recounts motioning toward her boyfriend, Agim Banushi. “And he was like, `Who is it?’ And I said, `It’s the VA calling. They’re telling me that Nick’s passed away.’”

Nicholas Cutter survived fourteen months in Iraq, yet he couldn’t survive the rehab center designed to help him. No one told her at the time, but Cutter died of a cocaine overdose.

Zielinski had pushed for Cutter to go to the residential rehab program. When he came back from Iraq in 2010, Cutter was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He had trouble being around people; was angry and easily agitated.

He had been attending counseling sessions at the VA center near his home in West Palm Beach, where the doctors had him on more than 20 different medications, according Zielinski and Banushi.

“He was taking upwards of 50 pills a day,” Banushi said.

“These are some of his medications,” Zielinski said, flipping through a large binder.

The pills, however, weren’t helping. His nightmares grew. Afraid to sleep he began using cocaine to stay awake at night. His doctors in West Palm suggested he come here to the residential drug program in Miami – it was supposed to be one of the best. But he didn’t want to go and leave his mother behind.

Zielinski recalled how she talked him into going.

“I specifically told him, `Do you trust me honey?’ And he said, `Yes mom I trust you.’ And I said. `This program will help you.
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People lining up to fight for Iraq Veteran

Dozens, including veterans and Republicans, urge Scott Walker to issue pardon
Wisconsin State Journal
By Dee J. Hall
11 hours ago

Doug Zwank considers the fate of Eric Pizer and thinks, “That could have been me.”

Like Pizer, Zwank is a combat veteran and former corporal in the Marine Corps. And like Pizer, he narrowly escaped death while serving his country overseas.

After returning from Vietnam, Zwank started what would become a long career in law enforcement, first as a special agent for the state Department of Justice, then later training fellow officers at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia. He also worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and served as mayor of Middleton for four years.

But in 1968, when he returned from combat to attend UW-Madison, Zwank was just another angry veteran, traumatized by the deaths of his friends and comrades and trying to unlearn the instincts that had kept him alive at war. He got into fights, Zwank said, but was never arrested.
Pizer is looking for relief from the felony conviction after he broke a man’s nose in a fight in Boscobel just days after he returned from Iraq in 2004. Pizer said the punch was a reflex that occurred after the victim came at him from the side — one he deeply regrets.

In the 10 years since he came home, Pizer has earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice with hopes of becoming a police officer. But as a felon, Pizer is prohibited from carrying a gun. He can’t be a cop. That goal is on hold while Pizer works as a piano mover and at Menards to support himself and his preschool son, Xander.
red more here

Oklahoma Army National Guard heading to Afghanistan

Oklahoma soldiers deploying to Afghanistan
Associated Press
April 28, 2014

LAWTON, Okla. — Members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard took part in a ceremony at Fort Sill on Saturday ahead of their deployment to Afghanistan.

The unit deploying is Battery B, 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery, 45th Fires Brigade. Some soldiers with the 171st Target Acquisition Battery and the 120th Forward Support Company are deploying in a support role.
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Over 100 Army Reserve MPs heading to Afghanistan

Ocala-based Army Reserve unit heading to Afghanistan
Ocala Star Banner
By Bill Thompson
Staff writer
Published: Monday, April 28, 2014

As the U.S. mission in Afghanistan winds down, more than 100 soldiers from the Ocala-based 351st Military Police Company are gearing up for another tour.

Capt. Douglas Worstell said he will be leading the unit on a deployment to an area near Bagram as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Worstell said he could not reveal many details about the Army Reserve unit's mission during its yearlong stint on active duty, which begins on May 8, when the troops are expected to report to Ocala.

They will leave soon afterward for Fort Bliss, Texas, for additional training prior to being shipped to Afghanistan, Worstell said.

A community ceremony marking the unit's return to duty will be held on May 10.

The event is set for 10 a.m. at the Ocala-Marion County Veterans Memorial Park, 2601 E. Fort King St., Ocala.
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Monday, April 28, 2014

Tennessee Venue Told Iraq Veterans Yes Then No

Tennessee Wedding Venue Approves Then Denies Gay Couple
BY ON TOP MAGAZINE STAFF
PUBLISHED: APRIL 28, 2014

Just days after a wedding venue in Tennessee told a gay couple that they could hold their commitment ceremony there, the venue reversed course, citing the state's ban on gay marriage.

According to NBC affiliate WSMV, Iraq war veterans Anthony Wilfert and Brian Blas fell in love nine years ago while serving at Fort Campbell.

The men thought they had found the perfect venue for their ceremony after taking a tour of Mint Springs Farm.
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Quiet Boston Marathon Hero Receives Soldier's Medal

Boston Marathon hero awarded Soldier's Medal
US Army Corps of Engineers
By Bernard Tate
Headquarters
Posted 4/28/2014

BOSTON-- Many Americans have seen the shaky photos and videos taken when the bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Among the many people who went to the aid of the injured, there are glimpses of runners who stripped off their shirts to tie tourniquets around the shattered limbs of bomb victims.

One of those unknown runners was Col. Everett Spain, an Army engineer who is earning a doctorate in management at the Harvard Business School. On April 18, in a ceremony on the school's Baker Lawn, Spain received the Soldier's Medal, the Army's highest award for valor in a non-combat situation.

But Spain has shunned any publicity, avoided interviews with the civilian news media.

"First and foremost, I was brought up to believe that military officers should never seek praise for themselves," Spain said. "Our purpose is to serve others through character and leadership."


Despite Spain's modesty, his actions are a matter of public record in images taken during the Boston Marathon attack. He was only about 100 yards from the finish line when the bombs exploded.
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Soldier's Medal for Training Day Heroic Deed

Soldier presented medal for heroic act
When Staff Sgt. Issac Diaz threw a Soldier out of a live-grenade-training bay and protected him with his body from the blast, he said he was just doing what any of his training range cadre would do — put the Soldier's welfare before their own.
Waynesville Daily
By Mike Bowers
Special to the Daily Guide
Posted Apr. 28, 2014

When Staff Sgt. Issac Diaz threw a Soldier out of a live-grenade-training bay and protected him with his body from the blast, he said he was just doing what any of his training range cadre would do — put the Soldier's welfare before their own.

Little did Diaz know that his heroic deed would earn him the Soldier's Medal, and that he would receive it from the sergeant major of the Army.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler presented Diaz with the medal during his visit to Fort Leonard Wood's Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, today.

"I'll bet it was a little bit of a surprise when you saw that grenade. Well done," said Chandler, as he pinned on the medal and shook hands with Diaz.

Diaz, assigned to the Combat Training Company, 43rd Adjutant General Battalion, recalled what began as a normal training day on Nov. 12, 2013.
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Marine Killed In Motorcycle Wreck

New River Marine Killed In Motorcycle Wreck
WITN
By: Carly Swain
Apr 28, 2014

Troopers said a New River Marine's family was nearby when he lost control of his motorcycle Saturday evening, hitting three parked cars.

Trooper M.T. Bryan said around 6 p.m. that night, 24-year-old Lance Corporal Loron Melton lost control of his motorcycle in the Coastal Plains Raceway parking lot.

According to Trooper Bryan, Melton "laid down" the bike and then hit three unattended, parked cars on the shoulder.
read more here

Colonel's wife on trial for 2011 murder of teenagers

Florida military mom on trial for killing her teenagers
Associated Press
Published April 28, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. – A military wife whose husband was deployed to the Middle East shot her 13-year-old son twice in the head for talking back, authorities said, then returned home and shot her 16-year-old daughter in the face as she studied.

Now she's on trial, and whether she spends life in prison hinges on a key question for jurors: After years of profound mental illness, was she unable to realize what she did was wrong, as her defense attorneys say? Or did she plan the January 2011 killings over at least several days, as prosecutors say, complaining at one point that the three-day wait to buy a gun would "delay the massacre"?

Jury selection began Monday morning in Julie Scheneker's case. She is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Those on the jury will see many disturbing images and hear hours of troubling evidence. They will see several sides to Schenecker, a former military linguist and wife of a colonel.
read more here

Deployed Colonel’s wife killed son and daughter in Tampa FL

Slain Tampa Palms children remembered fondly

Westboro Group ready to protest funeral for murdered children

27th Annual Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion Wall Escort Video

Apr 28, 2014

Yesterday at Wickham Park in Melbourne Florida, the Vietnam traveling Wall was escorted by hundreds of motorcycles for the kick off the the 2014 Veterans Reunion.

Massachusetts National Guardsman Says Get Help for PTSD

Vet: When civilian life is a battle, get help
Sentinel and Enterprise
By Michael Hartwell
POSTED: 04/27/2014

Latest in an occasional series on suicide in North Central Massachusetts

GARDNER -- A 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found 22 veterans kill themselves every day. In 2012, Natanael Radke was almost one of them.

Now 31 and living in Gardner, his message to other veterans contemplating suicide is to seek help.

Radke enlisted in the Army in 2007 and is currently in the Army National Guard. In 2010 he was in a bus rollover crash in Afghanistan that he does not remember. It left him with a spinal injury and a traumatic brain injury that went undiagnosed and has been shown to be linked to suicidal thoughts.

He was redeployed before the traumatic brain injury was discovered and Radke was sent back to the states for treatment in a warrior Transition Unit for 30 months, where he was moved around 33 times and had little contact with his wife, Anna.

He eventually found himself back in Worcester with Anna and their two young children, ages 30 months and 6 months. He put all of his savings into opening a towing company, but that failed. He said his medical issues kept him from getting the few normal jobs that were available, and he didn't use all of the veteran support services available to him.

"We were living in a basement with no heat and no food and no money, and I had nothing to live for," said Radke. The basement had a bathroom and furnishings but no kitchen. They used space heaters for warmth and kept the two children bundled up tight.

His breaking point was when he was at the supermarket. His older son wanted a muffin, but the little money he had was needed for the items on his list.

"I didn't have the $1.79 to get him a muffin," said Radke.

On Oct. 7, 2012, he took some pills and drank alcohol and got behind the wheel. His plan was to speed into a tree in Shrewsbury and make it look like an accident so his family could collect his military benefits.
read more here

Canada tour 48 towns and cities raising awareness about PTSD

Cross-Canada tour in 48 towns and cities aimed at raising awareness about PTSD
THE CANADIAN PRESS
BY SUE BAILEY
APRIL 27, 2014

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Cpl. Jamie MacWhirter has been through the nightmares and angry outbursts of post-traumatic stress disorder, and he has a message for those struggling alone.

“If you believe you have a problem, if your wife or spouse has said anything to you, it doesn’t hurt to go and talk to somebody.”

MacWhirter chronicled his 2006 deployment in Kandahar and subsequent troubles with PTSD in his memoir, “A Soldier’s Tale: A Newfoundland Soldier in Afghanistan.”

He’s now working on another book about his long journey back to better mental health.

On May 5, MacWhirter will speak in St. John’s to help launch a cross-Canada tour aimed at raising awareness about how soldiers, emergency workers, police, correctional officers and others are affected by PTSD.

The Heroes Are Human tour organized by the Tema Conter Memorial Trust in Toronto will include stops in 48 cities and towns. Two-hour community meetings will be free of charge for anyone wanting to learn more about how to cope with a still highly stigmatized condition.

MacWhirter said it has been especially hard to learn of recent suicides involving soldiers and veterans of the Afghanistan mission.

“People are afraid to come forward and admit that they need help,” he said in an interview. “Most soldiers, they’re taught to hide the pain. They’re taught to soldier on and continue work.

“It’s hard to change your thought pattern and say, ‘I need help.’”
read more here


PTSD I Grieve from Kathleen "Costos" DiCesare on Vimeo.

Tornadoes:16 people in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma died

'Chaos' reigns as deadly tornadoes slam several states
CNN
By Ed Payne, Joe Sutton and Devon Sayers
updated 5:19 AM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
'It's chaos here," Vilonia mayor says
In Mayflower, a highway was littered with crushed and overturned vehicles
Emergency dispatcher: 'Please tell the public to stay away'

Mayflower, Arkansas (CNN) -- A brutal band of severe weather battered the central Plains and mid-South late Sunday, killing at least 16 people in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma.

Some of the worst damage was north of Little Rock, Arkansas, where reported tornadoes devastated the towns of Mayflower and Vilonia.

"It's chaos here," said Vilonia Mayor James Firestone. "Our downtown area seems like it's completely leveled."

The nightmare is all too familiar for the community of about 3,800 people. Another storm ransacked the town almost three years ago to the day and followed essentially the same path, the mayor said.

"There's a few buildings partially standing, but the amount of damage is tremendous," Firestone said Sunday.

"There's gas lines spewing. Of course, power lines down. Houses are just a pile of brick."
read more here

Florida among the highest for veteran suicides

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 28, 2014

1,150,000 calls in the VA crisis line yet suicides are higher than before it started. The military suicides have increased after their "prevention" programs started. When we read a million and a half veterans called at the point of ending their own lives, it shows different things need to be done, not more of the same.

Too many veterans feel isolated when they leave the military. While the percentage of suicides in the military are up, the number of suicides is down because of discharges they no longer have to count.

Today I was in Melbourne to film hundreds of bikers escorting the Traveling Wall into Wickham Park. The Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion is one of the biggest events in the country. Most of the time events in Central Florida are attended by huge groups of veterans. We have the third highest population, slightly behind Texas at number two and California with the most.

Over the ten years I have lived here, it gets harder and harder to read reports like this. It isn't just the sadness from lives lost, but more knowing what is possible for so many others and wondering why all veterans don't find the same sense of family. Is it a secret hidden from them? Didn't anyone tell them that trying to "fit" back in with civilians is not worth the effort?

Had they really wanted to fit in with civilians, they wouldn't have been tugged to join the military. They would have done what everyone else was doing. Thinking of others is not what your average person does beyond their own families.

Volunteers give their time and their love but that is spare time. They don't really fit in with other groups of people never understanding what it is like to do what they do. Members of fire departments don't fit in with other groups. Police officers don't fit in with other groups. So why would veterans want to fit in with other groups?

There is a bond that goes far beyond what co-workers experience. Risking your life for the sake of someone else if something few appreciate and even less understand.

If you are a veteran in Florida, join up with other groups just like you and then you'll know, you belong right where you are, with others you can lean on and be there for them.

Reading this report with over a million calls to the Veterans crisis lines with a rise in suicides proves the need to have "family" standing by your side and they need you just as much.
Military, veteran suicides account for nearly one in every four in Florida ... but the numbers don't explain why
Rate is one of the nation's highest
Florida Times Union
By Clifford Davis
Apr 26, 2014
“Since its inception, the crisis line has had over 1,150,000 calls,” said Thompson of the VA’s suicide prevention program. “That’s pretty extraordinary. We’re so glad we’ve had that many calls, but of course it’s heartbreaking that people need to reach out that much.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class David Faithful dreamed of becoming a pilot but — with only a high school education — he knew that was not going to happen anytime soon.

Instead, he became a parachute rigger for ejection seats in Navy aircraft.

It wasn’t exactly what he wanted, but he did his job.

“He did OK with it for a while,” said his mother, Cindy Faithful.

She said her son battled bouts of depression since he was about 17. “He would go through spells where he was really good and then spells where he was not so good.”

Medication would help, but the 25-year-old Faithful knew if he agreed to take psychiatric drugs he would lose his security clearance and his job at Jacksonville Naval Air Station.

“He said his life was a tragedy, a bad movie,” Cindy Faithful said.

“The night before he died, he came up to me and hugged me,” said Cindy Faithful. “He told me, ‘Mom, I really love you and I appreciate everything you’ve been doing for me. I think everything is going to be OK.’ ”

The next day his father found him inside his car — wearing his dress white uniform — in their garage, dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.
STATE NUMBERS STAGGERING

In Florida, the numbers are staggering.

Although veterans make up only 8 percent of the state’s population, they accounted for more than 25 percent of its suicides, according to the report.

Between 1999 and 2011, 31,885 suicides were reported in the state, according to the Florida Department of Health. That would mean more than 8,000 Florida veterans took their lives during those 13 years, according to the VA.

The numbers put Florida among states with the highest percentage of veteran suicides — but the numbers don't explain why.

“We’re still trying to figure that out,” said Caitlin Thompson, the deputy director of Suicide Prevention at the VA.

With such daunting statistics, it’s easy to forget that behind every suicide is a circle of family and friends that will deal with the pain and the often-unanswered question of why.

Increasingly, veterans who commit suicide are not men in their 50s and 60s. Suicides for veterans of that age group have remained steady or declined.

Yet, suicides by veterans from 18 to 29 have jumped from 40.3 to 57.9 per 100,000 from 2009 to 2011, a 44 percent increase, the VA announced earlier this year.
read more here

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bond during military life leaves veterans with a void

Camaraderie of military life leaves veterans with a void
'Ugh. I miss it.' Transitioning from war to isolation
The Washington Post
By Eli Saslow
Published: April 27, 2014

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — The only light in the vast Wyoming darkness came from the lit end of another 5:30 a.m. cigarette as Derric Winters waited alone for sunrise on the porch of his trailer. He never slept well, not anymore, so he smoked and stared across the three miles of barren landscape that separated him from town. He checked his voice mail, but there were no messages. He logged on to Facebook, but no one was awake to chat. The only company now was the hum of the interstate behind his trailer, people on their way from one place to the next. He walked out to his truck and joined them.

His shirt read "ARMY," his hat read "10th Mountain Division," and his license plate read "Disabled Veteran." Five bullets rattled on his dashboard as he swerved around another car with his right fist pressed against the horn. "Come on," he said. "Go. Just go!" It had been five years since he returned from 16 months at war, and some days he still acted like he was back in Afghanistan. Many days, he wished that he were.

"The lonely process of overcoming combat" was what one doctor called it as he prescribed Winters the latest in a series of anti-anxiety medications. But what the doctor didn't seem to understand was that this was the place Winters was failing to overcome — the America where he felt discouraged and detached, and where his transition seemed like a permanent state. "What the hell am I supposed to do next?" he had asked his commanding officer when he was medically discharged from the Army, which had provided his income, his sense of purpose, his self-esteem and 15 of his closest friends in a platoon they called "The Brotherhood."

He had tried to replace the war by working construction, roughnecking in the oil fields and enrolling in community college. He had tried divorce and remarriage; alcohol and drugs; biker gangs and street racing; therapy appointments and trips to a shooting range for what he called "recoil therapy." He had tried driving two hours to the hospital in Laramie, proclaiming himself in need of help and checking himself in.
read more here

Fort Benning Soldier Died After Training

Ga. soldier collapses during exercises, later dies
Go Erie
April 27, 2014
FORT BENNING, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in western Georgia say a Fort Benning soldier collapsed and died during exercises over the weekend.

Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan says the 20-year-old Fort Benning soldier died early Saturday morning at a hospital in Columbus.
get update here

The real reason behind military suicides

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 27, 2014

When they survive combat but can't live long enough to heal, there is a reason behind it.

A year ago I published THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR covering the under reported facts surrounding the reasons behind military suicides. Every report in it was taken from news reports on Wounded Times. None of it was secret information but most of what is in it had been ignored.

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness was pushed on every member of the military since 2009 yet afterwards, suicides and attempted suicides increased. This finding came at the same time efforts to reduce suicides were at an all time high. More and more military folks were seeking help as well as more veterans. It also came with a hefty price financially.

While reporters repeated what military brass and elected officials were telling them, on this side of the fence, what veterans were saying showed the reason behind the rise in their suffering.

When officials say they are doing something to address the problems but things get worse, it robs these men and women of hope they can heal. When they do not get the best help available, they lose the thought their lives really matter.

The following is from the Department of Defense Suicide Event Report and for 2012 military suicide report While the report was "generated on December 20, 2013, it has just been released.
Results
According to AFMES data as of 31 March 2013, there were 319 suicides among Active component Service members and 203 among Reserve component Services members (Reserve [n = 73]; National Guard [n = 130].

The suicide rate (per 100,000 Service members) for the Active component was 22.7 and for the Reserve component was 24.2 (Reserve – 19.3, National Guard – 28.1). Per policy, the DoDSER system collected data on suicides for all Service members in an Active status at the time of death, including Service members in the Reserve components (i.e., active or activated2 Reserve/National Guard).

The distribution of suicide DoDSERs across the four included Services was as follows: Air Force – 57 (17.9%), Army – 155 (48.7%), Marine Corps – 47 (14.8%), and Navy – 59 (18.6%).

These counts included reports for both confirmed suicides and probable suicides pending a final determination. Of these suicides, 259 were confirmed by AFMES as of 31 January 2013, the date used for the evaluation of DoDSER submission compliance. For 2012, all Services achieved 100% submission compliance.

A total of 841 Service members had one or more attempted suicides reported in DoDSER for CY 2012

This part is very troubling considering it points out that many of them had been diagnosed and sought help for "mental health" issues, in other words, PTSD in most cases.
The primary method for suicides was the use of a firearm (n = 207; 65.1%). The majority of firearms used were non-military issued firearms (n = 157; 75.8% of events involving a firearm). For suicide attempt DoDSERs, the use of drugs was the most frequently reported method (n = 476; 54.8%).

•A total of 91 suicide DoDSERS (28.6%) and 191 suicide attempt DoDSERs (22.0%) reported that the Service member had communicated potential for self-harm prior to the event.

•A total of 134 suicide DoDSERs (42.1%) and 452 suicide attempt DoDSERs (52.0%) indicated a history of a behavioral health diagnosis. The most frequently reported diagnosis among the suicide DoDSERs was adjustment disorder (n = 82; 61.2% of DoDSERs with a behavioral health diagnosis); among sui- cide attempt DoDSERs, the most common diagnostic category was mood disorder (n = 293; 64.8% of DoDSERs with a behavioral health diagnosis).

•A majority of DoDSERs for both suicides (n = 194; 61.0%) and suicide attempts (n = 588; 67.7%) specified that the Service member had accessed health and/or support services during the 90 days prior to the event. The most frequently used services for both event types were a military treatment fa- cility (MTF; suicides [n = 177; 91.2% of DoDSERs in which access was reported]; suicide attempts [n = 446; 75.9% of DoDSERs in which access was reported]) and outpatient behavioral health (suicides [n = 91; 46.9% of DoDSERs in which access was reported; suicide attempts [n = 399; 67.9% of DoD- SERs in which access was reported]).

•Family and relationship stressors during the 90 days prior to the event were the most common type of stressor reported among suicide DoDSERs (n = 129; 40.6%). This type of stressor was also the most frequently reported among suicide attempt DoDSERs (n = 377; 43.4%).

•A total of 151 suicide DoDSERs (47.5%) and 312 suicide attempt DoDSERs (35.9%) reported a his- tory of deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and/or Operation New Dawn (OND).

Maybe now something will be done to change what they have been doing because one other factor to consider is that the percentage of troops seeking to end their pain has gone up, in the process, so has the suffering of family members doing whatever they can to survive.

OEF-OIF Veteran's Family Gets Home Makeover

Young disabled vet's family gets new home
KATU News
By Emily Sinovic
Published: Apr 26, 2014
Dozens of volunteers give a disabled veteran and his young family a fresh start with a total home remodel.

Danie Ray suffers from PTSD, and he has injuries from two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan that leave him unable to tackle the mounting repairs their southeast Portland home desperately needed. His wife, Deleana Ray, said "... a roadside bomb and messed his wrist up, shoulder, back, knee issues and there's PTSD.... it can cause your head to hurt, your heart to race like you're panicking, like a panic attack."

Deleana is a full-time teacher and couldn't handle the deteriorating home repairs on her own either, nor did the couple have the money to take care of everything from electrical problems, to a roof that wasn't reliable. That changed when dozens of volunteers from Rebuilding Together Portland and Pods of Portland came out to take care of everything.
read more here

Bank of America 1,000th military home donation

Veteran receives free home in Gallatin
The Tennessean
Dessislava Yankova, Nashville
April 25, 2014

After dedicating more than five decades to serving others, a military family looks forward to putting down roots in a Gallatin home.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Don Chandler and wife Gail on Friday received the keys to a mortgage-free home surrounded by family, public officials, veterans and community members. A procession of the Patriot Guard Riders with American flags and police cars came to the house, where the Gallatin High School band played several songs including “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

About 100 people came to thank Chandler for his service and congratulate the family on the new home awarded by Bank of America in partnership with nonprofit Military Warriors Support Foundation, which helps servicemen transitioning into civilian life.

“Words can’t express how I feel right now,” Chandler, 45, said after receiving the house’s keys. “For so many years, we were always moving. You have given me and my wife a chance to become stable and build a foundation.”

The giveaway marked the bank’s 1,000th military home donation. Thirty-two homes have been given in Tennessee.
read more here

Veterans left sitting by dock of bay instead of working on it

Fight Erupts Over Veteran Hiring on the New York Docks
Shipping Industry Seeks to Diversify Labor Force, but Waterfront Commission Suspects 'Subterfuge'
Wall Street Journal
By YONI BASHAN
April 25, 2014

The New York shipping industry and the agency charged with fighting corruption on the docks are clashing over a recruitment drive to bring military veterans to work in high-paying jobs in New York Harbor.

Facing pressure to root out nepotism and hire more minority dock workers, the New York Shipping Association—an umbrella group for shipping industry employers—and the docks' union, the International Longshoremen's Association, came up with a plan last year to make veterans more than half of its new hires.

Under the plan, the union and shipping association have recruited military veterans and referred them to the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, which regulates hiring at the ports, vets workers and licenses them before they are hired by individual companies.

Longshoremen are well-paid, highly coveted jobs, some of which pay between $100,000 and $200,000 a year. The union and shipping industry have been advertising the jobs, holding job fairs and using recruitment agencies, so people who weren't friends, family or acquaintances of union members had a chance to apply.

But as the veterans plan moved forward last year and this year, the Waterfront Commission discovered a trend: The union and industry were slow to refer many veterans, and some of those who were put up for licenses had close ties to union members—a breach of the spirit of diversifying the workforce.
read more here

Liberty Lake Police Stunned By Suicide

Sources: Veteran Liberty Lake police officer killed himself
KXLY Washington
Author: Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter
Published On: Apr 25 2014

SPOKANE, Wash
KXLY sources report a veteran Liberty Lake police officer apparently took his own life in an SUV early Friday morning in northwest Spokane.

Spokane Police Major Crimes detectives are investigating the death of Sergeant Clint Gibson, who was off-duty at the time of his death.

Gibson's body was discovered by Spokane Police inside his personal vehicle, which was found in a parking lot near the intersection of Francis and Madison in northwest Spokane around 1:45 Friday morning.

The investigation indicates Gibson took his own life with a firearm and either before or after that shot was fired his SUV crashed into some trees and other objects in the vicinity. The Spokane County Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy to confirm his cause of death.

It didn't take very long for officers to realize who and what they were dealing with and then Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus got the phone call he hoped he would never have to answer. Gibson's death has left Liberty Lake and the law enforcement community stunned.

"I got the call from dispatch about the accident about two o'clock this morning. Myself, one of our other officers, our police chaplain met here, we went to be with the officer's family," Asmus said.
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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Hero in VIetnam at 20, Honored 49 years later in Ohio

Vietnam veteran Bob Towles presented with Distinguished Service Cross for heroism
The Plain Dealer
By Brian Albrecht
April 25, 2014
Sen. Sherrod Brown joins Lt. Col. William Meade of the Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Vietnam veteran Robert Towles, of Windham, Ohio.
(Office of Sherrod Brown)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – On November 17, 1965, Bob Towles was a 20 year old from Niles, Ohio, who had only been in Vietnam for two months when his Army infantry unit was suddenly attacked without warning.

As his fellow soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the 7th Cavalry (1st Cavalry Division-Air Mobile) fell around him, Towles was hit in the right side by shrapnel from a mortar round or rocket-propelled grenade. Yet he charged ahead under heavy enemy fire, single-handedly attacking and taking out an enemy machine gun position, allowing his wounded comrades to escape.

That heroism was honored Thursday with presentation of the Distinguished Service Cross to Towles, now 69, of Windham, at Windham High School. The award is the Army's second highest military honor.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown attended the ceremony and had worked with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan to secure the medal for Towles, who had previously received a Bronze Star for his actions. It was later determined that his actions made him eligible for the Distinguished Service Cross.

“I feel very honored and humbled,” Towles said after the presentation.

He remembered that the action that led to that award was fast and furious, as 155 soldiers in the battalion were killed and 128 wounded. “Yeah, it didn’t take very long, but it seems like long time when it’s happening,” he said.
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Vietnam Veteran, drafted, ditched and deported died

Vietnam vet dies abroad, deported from the country he served
Hector Barrios: “I think it’s unjust to deport someone who fought for her… the United States.”
UPI News
By JC Sevcik
April 25, 2014

TIJUANA, Mexico, April 25 (UPI) -- Hector Barrios died this week.

It’s okay if you’ve never heard of him. You have no reason to know who he is.

The short version: Hector was a decorated U.S. veteran who died abroad, impoverished and estranged from the country he loved and served, with none of the benefits entitled to him as a veteran.

Barrios was born in Tijuana, Mexico. In 1961, at the age of 18, he moved to the United States. In 1967, at the age of 24, he was drafted into the U.S. military to do his part for the war effort. He did not go back to Mexico or hide out in Canada. He did not dodge the draft or evade the call to duty. Hector spent a year in Vietnam, fighting for his adopted country.

“Every day incoming fire, everything, fighting -- you didn’t know if you were going to come back home,” he says in an interview taken before his death.
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Six year old honored for lifetime in Air Force

Dog who served in Iraq, Afghanistan honored at Wright-Patt
Dayton Daily News
By Chris Stewart
Staff Writer
April 25, 2014

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Speaking next to an empty dog crate, Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Pritchett fought through tears Friday while remembering his one-time partner, Arko.

“Those who have called themselves dog handlers are the only people who can truly understand the bond between handlers and dogs. A bond that can’t be broken even in death,” Pritchett told those attending a memorial service for the military working dog.

Members of the 88th Security Forces Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base remembered the German shepherd as one of their own during a service Friday morning at the Base Club. About 60 people attended the memorial along with eight other military and area police dogs and their handlers.

Arko served nearly five years as a patrol and explosive detector dog at the base. Arko and Pritchett, now the squadron’s kennel master, served two overseas tours together in Iraq and Afghanistan, always side-by-side. Arko was laid to rest Feb. 16, 2014, at the base kennel after dying suddenly of a twist in his intestines. He was six.
read more here

Vietnam Veteran Wounded Twice

Fla. man gets equivalent of 2 Purple Hearts in 44 years
The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press
Chris Umpierre
April 25, 2014
(Photo: Courtesy of Richard Crawford)

Richard Crawford was injured in a war twice in his life, 40 years apart.

The Fort Myers, Fla., resident, now 67, was honored Friday at Camp Lejeune, N.C., with the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart.

Crawford's acceptance of the 2014 Defense of Freedom Medal, given annually to civilians killed or wounded while serving with the U.S. military, adds a capstone to his military career. Crawford received a 1970 Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam.

"It's special because this makes it over 40 years between Purple Hearts," Crawford said. "There's an old adage: 'Once a Marine, always a Marine.' I think I raised the bar on that one."

At 61, the former Fort Myers Drug Enforcement Administration chief was talked out of retirement to serve as an embedded law- enforcement professional in Iraq. After a tour advising the Marines on investigating roadside bombs, Crawford was recruited again in 2010. This time, the military shipped the 64-year-old to Afghanistan.
read more here

Heroes Project ends climb out of respect for dead

Marine Returns to US, Abandons Mount Everest Summit Attempt
The Heroes Project said it will return in 2015 to complete the group's first Everest summit
NBC 7 San Diego
By Vanessa Herrera and R. Stickney
Friday, Apr 25, 2014

A U.S. Marine is returning home after abandoning his attempt to scale Mount Everest.

Up until Thursday, SSgt Charles Linnville was waiting at base camp to scale the world's highest peak despite losing a leg in Afghanistan three years ago.

However, before his group could attempt a summit, there was a widespread walkout of Sherpas in response to the deadliest disaster on the mountain.

An avalanche killed 13 people April 18. Three Sherpas were still missing in the ice and snow, and are presumed dead.

Linville's group “The Heroes Project” announced Friday that they, like other groups prepping for the climb, have decided to abandon their attempt to summit Everest.

In a written release, the project said the group's founder Tim Medvetz, will leave Nepal with the rest of the team including Linville, and members of a film crew.

"They are members of our team and out of respect to our Sherpas, we are not continuing," he wrote.

"We fully support their decision to leave the mountain and we will leave the mountain together the same way we came up, as a team.”
read more here

Afghanistan Veteran Marine Amputee Taking on Mt. Everest

Man claims Call of Duty Caused PTSD

Don't even get me started on this one!
Man Suffers PTSD After Playing Call Of Duty: Ghosts, VA Denies Treatment
National Report
Posted about 8 hours ago

In a whirlwind of being denied treatment, fraught with crippling anxiety attacks, a 43 year old San Diego man says he has developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after months of playing the popular game, Call of Duty: Ghosts and complains of being neglected by the one group who could help — his government.

Peter Turk, who has reached the highest of ranks in the game, made the following statement on Myspace, last Friday evening: I leveled up to 10th Prestige, which is about equal to a Sergeant Major in the non-electric Army. I can barely function in my day-to-day life.

Speaking to the National Report, last Wednesday, Turk remarked, “I can’t focus on anything. If I hear a car backfire, I jump outta my skin.”

During a phone conversation with his cousin, Major Jim French, a double amputee, recipient of the Silver Star and inspiration for the Lifetime Movie, “I Wish I Had More Arms to Give to My Country,” Turk was shocked to learn he had been exhibiting many of the same traits as his comrade in the non-electric Army. “Jim also suffers from PTSD. He and I had the same experience, fought just as many belligerents, we’re both injured and were decorated by our respective leaders. Just because his leader is Barack Obama, and mine is Xbox Live, shouldn’t matter. We’re both heroes, yet he gets disability and I don’t.”

The game, which brings the horrors of war to average people in vibrant, nail-biting reality, matches up players in teams to fight against each other. Teammates and opponents can communicate through headsets, giving way to a myriad of shit talking and clowning. “There I was, hunkered down behind a tree in Prison Break, waiting for my relief and what happens? I get the shit blown out of me from a guy running around with a Kastet. He was on my team. He laughed and told me he tag-teamed my mom with Obama.” Turk believes friendly fire from shit talking teammates is the worst aspect and the hardest to overcome. “You know, these guys are there in the shiggy with you and they’ll blow you up for fun.”
read more here

Wrong reports screw military and veterans

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 26, 2014

When reporters don't care about the subject they report on, military folks and veterans are screwed. After all, our family members are only 8% of the population. 1% serve today, actually less than 1%, and veterans are only 7% of the population. No one bothered to ever calculate the percentage of families. All of us have been dealing with reality while reporters remain oblivious.

Yesterday on Wounded Times there was the report out of Fort Bliss investigating the suspected suicides of three soldiers last weekend. In that report trouble in the Air Force screamed for attention.
According to Air Force figures, 55 airmen died by suicide last year, a rate of 14 per 100,000 personnel. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told a Senate panel in April that 32 airmen have died by suicide so far in 2014, a rate of more than 18 per 100,000 personnel.

Wounded Times covered what Gregg Zoroya reported on USA Today how the military calculated suicide numbers when this popped up.
The Army National Guard rate for 2012 reached 30.8 deaths per 100,000 with 110 suicides. The suicide rate for men in the Army National Guard was 34.2-per-100,000,Pentagon data shows. For full-time troops across the U.S. military, the suicide rate peaked at 22.7-per-100,000 in 2012 and fell to 19.1-per-100,000 last year, according to the Pentagon.

In THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR the data collected from over 22,000 articles uncovered the disgraceful lack of investigations by the press. This is our lives. These are our family members. They matter to us but evidently too many reporters don't care enough so the general public only knows what they are told by reporters they trust.

How can the press be so wrong on the same report? It happens all the time. Reporters either make up their minds ahead of time or their minds simply can't understand the complexity of what they are reading.

It just happened again.

Times San Diego had this headline by Ken Stone on April 25, 2014
Pentagon Reports 474 Military Suicides in 2013 — 18% Drop from 2012 Toll

It began with this.
The suicide rate for active-duty military fell 18 percent in 2013, but the toll is still daunting — 474 troops killed themselves, according to a Pentagon report released Friday. The preliminary 2013 total deaths by suicide were 261 among active duty service members and 213 deaths in the reserve component, compared with a total 522 a year earlier.

Why would it have been reported that way? Because that is what a Lt. General told him.
“With an 18 percent drop in 2013, something is going right,” said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Linnington, military deputy at the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

On the same day, Lolita C. Baldor of Associated Press had this headline and Indiana Gazette put it up on their site.
Military suicides fell last year, report finds
That report began with the "good news" followed by the bad on the suicides of National Guards and Reservists.
Suicides across the military dropped by more than 15 percent last year, but new detailed data reveal an increase in the number of Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers who took their own lives.

The overall totals provided by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps give some hope that prevention programs and increased efforts to identify troops at risk may be taking hold after several years of escalating suicides.

But the increase among Army National Guard and Reserve members raises questions about whether those programs are getting to the citizen soldiers who may not have the same access to support networks and help that their active duty comrades receive.

It was a total inability to factor in the other parts of what is going on such as the reduction of members in the military to count in the first place. Every branch made cuts the regular way but they also added in thousands of "bad conduct discharges" like the Army with 11,000 in 2013.

KRMG posted this headline on the same subject on the same day by Don BIshop.
Military suicide rate increasing Increase among Army National Guard, Reserve members

The problem with that report is the tiny bit of copy they provided that made no sense at all.

Another site The Wire led with "Suicide Is Now Killing More Army Reservists Than Active Duty Soldiers" from the same report out of AP.

The problem is these reports are wrong. When they report that there are less suicides they need in include the simple fact that there are less enlisted to count.

The DOD Live site had this trivial tidbit on the same day.

It is pretty bad when a whole article on this serious subject can fit on a jpg.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Emergency leave granted to soldier with husband in coma

Soldier's emergency leave ends while husband remains in coma
KXTV
Gabriel Roxas
April 23, 2014

SACRAMENTO - When a head injury on the football field left Sacramento Wildcats player D'Ondre Ransom in a coma earlier this month, the toll on his family was overwhelming. His wife, who is on active duty in the Army, brought some relief when she returned to the family on emergency leave.

But Tuesday the family faced a painful goodbye.

Army Specialist Jessica Ransom said going back to her base in Georgia with so much left uncertain is one of the many sacrifices she has to make as a soldier.

"You would think he would be safe. You'd think he'd be fine back home," Jessica Ransom said as she prepared to board her plane at Sacramento International Airport.

D'Ondre Ransom was injured during a game with the semi-pro Wildcats April 5 in Santa Rosa. His mother said he fell down after he was hit. He got back up, fell again and then stopped breathing.

Families fear that phone call about their loved ones away at war, but soldiers know that same dread all too well.
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Military suicides percentages went up

We read their stories every week. We read how they sought help. Did everything experts said they needed to do. We read how their families tried to help them but just didn't know what to do. Then we read some General claim the military is not the problem. They claim it is the fault of the war fighters or that they didn't have the right kind of supportive family. It has always been the fault of someone else including what Major General Dana Pittard of Fort Bliss said a few years ago. “I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act,” he wrote on his website.
"Some of it is just personal make-up. Intestinal fortitude. Mental toughness that ensures that people are able to deal with stressful situations."
According to another General. But this one went on to blame the family as well.
"But it also has to do with where you come from. I came from a loving family, one who gave lots of positive reinforcement, who built up psychologically who I was, who I am, what I might want to do."
General Raymond Odierno said that last year in an interview with Huffington Post.

We have heard so much pure BS over the years but there is no way they can get around the facts. As they talked about the drop in suicides they failed to mention the number of enlisted also went down. Iraq was over and troops were withdrawing from Afghanistan, but as the claims of what they were doing finally working came out, the truth was much different for the troops and their families.

Read this on USA Today along with the other news reports that came out today.
War-years military suicide rate higher than believed
USA TODAY
MILITARY INTELLIGENCE
Gregg Zoroya
April 25, 2014

Rates of suicide in the military were slightly worse during the war years than what the Pentagon previously reported, according to new calculations released by Defense Department officials Friday.

The new arithmetic shows that from 2006 forward — during the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan — the true suicide rate across the U.S. military was actually several tenths of a percent to 1% or more higher than what was being reported.

"It took us time and effort to sit down and really just kind of figure out a better way to do the math," says Jacqueline Garrick, director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office. She said the delay was a need to standardize how suicides are counted across the military.

The problem with the old, now-abandoned calculation, is that it relied partly on an estimated figure in determining a suicide rate rather than precise numbers, says Army Lt. Gen. Michael Linnington, the military deputy to the under secretary of Defense for personnel and readiness.

The old rates were calculated by the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, according to the Pentagon,

"It's jaw-dropping that the Pentagon would use this kind of crass calculation to measure the impact of the suicide epidemic within their ranks," says Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a senior member of the Veterans Affairs Committee. "If that recalculation in any way indicates a need for additional funding or new services, the Pentagon and Congress must respond to address a problem which is clearly worse than we had been led to believe."
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What good does it do to be wrong but defend it instead of admitting and learning? It does about as much good to be right and no one listened.

Fort Bliss had 3 deaths Easter weekend thought to be suicides

3 possible suicides at Fort Bliss last weekend
Army Times
By Patricia Kime
Staff writer
April 24, 2014
According to Air Force figures, 55 airmen died by suicide last year, a rate of 14 per 100,000 personnel. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told a Senate panel in April that 32 airmen have died by suicide so far in 2014, a rate of more than 18 per 100,000 personnel.

Fort Bliss, Texas, is reeling from three deaths on Easter weekend that, while still under investigation, are thought to be suicides.

A source told Military Times that two enlisted soldiers and a captain have died by suicide since April 17, a blow to a post that has built a new center for mental health and suicide prevention and where President Obama in 2012 announced an executive order expanding military and veterans mental health services.

Exactly how many suicides the Army has had this year is unknown; the service, which once published the data monthly, stopped issuing them in December. The service also has not released its total figures for 2013, although preliminary figures given to Military Times in February showed 150 suicides among Army active-duty and activated Reserve or National Guard troops.
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National Guards and Reservist Suicides Increased

National Guards and Reservist suicides went up but that is not the headline the AP used. They used "Number of military suicides dropped last year" without mentioning that the numbers of active duty military folks also went down.

In the Army alone, they say that the numbers dropped from 185 in 2012 to 152 in 2013 but the Army had also released a report stating that 11,000 had been discharged in 2013 for bad conduct alone. This report did not count the number of soldiers cut to trim down the size of the Army. The Marines, Navy and Air Force also saw reduction in force size, but when they talk about the number of suicides going down, they seem to forget that simple fact.

The National Guards and Reservist numbers going up have been ignored as if they don't matter. The DOD is still trying to minimize the connection between deployment and suicides.
"According to the Army data, more than half of the reservists who committed suicide in 2012 and 2013 had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Officials, however, have not been able to establish a strong link between military service on the warfront and suicide."
They can't establish a strong link to much at all.
Number of military suicides dropped last year
Associated Press
By Lolita C. Baldor
Published: April 25, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Suicides across the military dropped by more than 15 percent last year, but new detailed data reveals an increase in the number of Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers who took their own lives.

The overall totals provided by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps give some hope that prevention programs and increased efforts to identify troops at risk may be taking hold after several years of escalating suicides. But the increase among Army National Guard and Reserve members raises questions about whether those programs are getting to the citizen soldiers who may not have the same access to support networks and help that their active duty comrades receive.

Not only did the Army National Guard and Reserve suicides increase from 140 in 2012 to 152 last year, but the 2013 total exceeded the number of active duty soldiers who took their own lives, according to the Army. There were 151 active duty soldier suicides last year, compared with 185 in 2012, Army officials said.

The Pentagon plans to release a report Friday on military suicides. But those numbers differ a bit from the totals provided by the services because of complicated accounting changes in how the department counts suicides by reservists. Some of the Pentagon numbers were finalized a year ago, while the services have more recently updated totals that reflect the results of some death investigations.

According to the four military services, there were 289 suicides among active duty troops in 2013, down from 343 in 2012. The vast majority were in the Army, the nation's largest military service. The Navy saw a 25 percent decline, from 59 in 2012 to 44 in 2013. The Marines went from 48 to 45, while the Air Force went from 51 to 49.
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