Saturday, January 31, 2015

Vancouver SWAT Veteran Standoff Peaceful End

Allen St. standoff: Man sticks loaded gun in friend's face 
TDN News
Marissa Luck
January 31, 2015
Renford said Kennedy, a security worker the Weyerhaeuser Co. mill site, is a good person who has struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. They served in the army together, including a stint in Iraq in 2004. Kennedy was having a hard time accessing treatment at Vancouver Veteran’s Affairs, Renford said, and was self-medicating with alcohol.
Rex Renford never expected his best friend to point a gun at his face. Standing at the end of loaded pistol, Renford said he feared for his life. But instinct and years of military training kicked in, helping him to disarm his friend Ronald Kennedy.

“I had to get the gun away from him,” Renford, 47, of Longview said Friday, the day after police arrested Kennedy after a two-hour standoff at his Kelso trailer home off Allen Street near Taco Bell and Burger King. “There was no thinking about it. It was do this or die.”

Kennedy, 47, was hanging out with Renford and another friend, Lynne Galloway, Thursday night when Kennedy’s ex-girlfriend Margaret Sullivan showed up to pick up belongings. Sullivan told police she and Kennedy had broken up last weekend. The couple got into a heated argument.

When Sullivan left, Kennedy wandered into his bedroom, drunk and upset, Renford said. Renford said he went to check on Kennedy and found him with pistol pointed at his head. He threatened to kill himself. read more here

Family Searching For Missing Texas Afghanistan Veteran

Sad update February 4, 2016 NBC reported this.
Remains found in Harris County, Texas have been positively identified as those of missing Army veteran Brian Orolin, who disappeared in November 2014.


Volunteers to search for missing veteran
KHOU News Houston
Larry Seward
January 30, 2015

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Veterans and volunteers plan to lead a search party to find missing veteran Brian Orolin, 42. He has not been seen since November. His wife and two daughters are anxious for closure.

Between dogs and daughters, Donna Orolin's hands are full, especially with her heart and soul missing.

"I'm not eating,"

Donna Orolin said. "I'm not sleeping. I'm financially stressed because he took care of that. He did everything for us. I need my partner."

Brian Orolin is passionate about those he loves. He planned every aspect of his wedding, his wife said. Brian even cooked three meals a day to make sure his three- and five-year-old daughters ate their favorite meals.

He also served his country. One tour in Afghanistan sent him home wounded. He suffered through headaches, post-traumatic stress and struggled to get around without his service dog named "Battle."

Still, Orolin battled until November 19th.

"We haven't seen him since," Donna Orolin said.
read more here

Dayton VA Employee Checked on Decomposed Veteran?

Dayton hospital employee subject of neglect investigation in vet's death 
Employee not yet facing charges
WLWT News
Karin Johnson
Jan 29, 2015

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio —A man who was supposed to be caring for a Middletown Army veteran is under investigation for negligence.

Police are not naming the worker because charges have not yet been filed, but they say he worked for the Dayton Veterans Affairs Hospital. Watch this story The health care worker was supposed to be caring for 62-year-old Calvin Coleman, who lived on Carolina Street.

Coleman was found dead inside his home March 28, 2014. Police say the VA employee reported checking on Coleman the day before. The coroner says that's not possible.

"Due to the amount of decomposition to Calvin's body, they knew this could not have happened. 

He died three or four days before his body was discovered," Lt. Scott Reeve said.
read more here

Suicide claimed 19 Canadian soldiers in 2014

Suicide claimed 19 Canadian soldiers in 2014, military says
Torstar News Service
By Staff
January 29, 2015
A photo of Cpl. Stuart Langridge is seen along with his beret and medals on a table during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 28, 2010. He was one of the soldiers who suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder and killed himself.

OTTAWA—There were 19 suicides among soldiers serving in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2014, one of the highest levels in the last decade, new figures show.

There were 16 suicides among regular force males and another three suicides among reservists though some deaths remain under investigation, said Brig.-Gen. Jean-Robert Bernier, surgeon general for the Canadian Armed Forces. There were no suicides among female regular force members in 2014.

That compares to the 13 suicides last year and is topped only by the 25 deaths in 2011 and 22 deaths in 2009, according to Defence Department statistics that date back to 2004.
In the Commons Wednesday, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair asked about the recent death of Sgt. Jesse Tait, based at CFB Shilo in Manitoba.

“Sgt. Tait was struggling with depression. His mother says that when he went for help, he was turned away,” Mulcair said.
read more here

Convicted Ex-Cops Stole Medications From Sick

Married Ex-Cops Sorry About Crimes, But Get 3 Years in Prison
Times of San Diego
POSTED BY ALEXANDER NGUYEN
JANUARY 30, 2015
“These two have betrayed the badge,” the prosecutor said. “They were wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Two married former San Diego police officers who broke into people’s homes while on duty and stole prescription painkillers to feed their drug addictions were each sentenced Friday to three years in state prison.

Bryce Charpentier, 32, and Jennifer Charpentier, 42, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit a burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime — possession and sale of a controlled substance — selling or furnishing a narcotic substance and possession of a firearm by an addict.

The Charpentiers admitted sending text messages to each other in order to set up burglaries in which they stole prescription drugs from people with whom they had contact while on duty. The defendants also admitted stealing Hydrocodone and selling the drug, even taking one of their four children along on one of the deliveries, authorities said.

Bryce Charpentier — a six-year SDPD veteran — apologized to the San Diego Police Department and the community for his actions, saying he became addicted to painkillers because of post-traumatic stress disorder along with disc, hip and spinal pain.
Deputy District Attorney Matthew Tag, arguing for a seven-year prison term for Jennifer Charpentier and six years in prison for her husband, said the defendants stole from the sick in order to get high.

“These two have betrayed the badge,” the prosecutor said. “They were wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
read more here

Camp Pendleton Afghanistan Veteran Marine Trial Ends

Former Camp Pendleton Marine gets 11 years in prison for DUI crash that killed 3 fellow servicemen
Orange County Register
Sean Emery
January 30, 2015
Arguing that Hale's drinking was an attempt to self-medicate in order to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder from his experiences in heavy combat in Sangin, Afghanistan,
Jared Hale, a former Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant convicted of a drunken-driving crash that killed three of his fellow Marines, listens as he is sentenced at the West Justice Center in Westminster on Friday.
KEVIN SULLIVAN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

A former Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant convicted of killing three other servicemen in a drunken-driving crash was sentenced Friday to more than a decade in prison, as an Orange County Superior Court judge denied his request for treatment rather than time behind bars.

Jared Hale, 27, told Judge Terri K. Flynn-Peister that for the rest of his life he will have to live with the loss of Sgt. Jeremiah Callahan, 23; Cpl. Christopher Arzola, 21; and Cpl. Jason Chleborad, 22, all of whom suffered fatal injuries in the 2012 crash in Dana Point.

"It's been a rough five years," Hale said, his voice unsteady with apparent emotion. "But there is just not much left of me, honestly."
read more here

Fort Bragg: Marine's Death Caused By "Malfunction"

Report: Cause of Marine’s death on Fort Bragg similar to previous seat malfunctions
Fayetteville Observer
By Amanda Dolasinski
Published: Friday, January 30, 2015

Marine Lance Cpl. Steven J. Szymanski reached over the front seat of a light armored vehicle to grab his helmet.

In doing so, the lever that raises the seat was accidentally triggered and Szymanski was trapped with his neck between the back of the driver’s seat and the ceiling of the vehicle.

At least 15 minutes passed before a fellow Marine found Szymanski and pulled him out. By then, according to officials, it was too late.

A 147-page report obtained Thursday by the Observer details the Marine’s accidental death on Fort Bragg last year and shows that at least 11 other Marines from his unit had experienced similar seat malfunctions.
read more here

Fort Hood 5 Non-Combat Soldier Deaths Since December

Fort Hood: Soldier Found Dead In Off-Post Residence 
KWTX News
January 27, 2015

FORT HOOD
Fort Hood Tuesday identified a soldier who was found dead Saturday in his off-post residence in Killeen, as Spc. Joshua Avery Snapp, 30, of Spartanburg, S.C.

Snapp was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:55 p.m. Saturday.

Snapp joined the Army in January 2010 and in June 2010 arrived at Fort Hood where he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

He deployed to Afghanistan from October 2012 to July 2013.

Killeen police are investigating the death.


Spc. Jason Krusczynski, 35, was found dead on January 27th.

Spc. Kendrick Vernell Sneed, 24, January 13, 2015

Cpt. Jonathan Nyle Muniz, 42, Rocky Ford Colorado, January 11, 2015

Sgt. 1st Class Keith Robert Tucker, 37, Virginia, December 18, 2014

Fort Hood: Florida Soldier's Death Under Investigation

Fort Hood soldier from Cape Coral found dead 
NBC 2 News
Posted: Jan 30, 2015

A Fort Hood soldier from Cape Coral was found dead in his off-base home in Killeen, Texas, according to Fort Hood officials.

Spc. Jason Krusczynski, 35, was found dead on January 27th.

Kruszczynski, 35, began active-duty service in May 2008 as a wheeled-vehicle mechanic for the U.S. Army. 

He has been stationed at Fort Hood since July 2014. He was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom from January 2012 to October 2012.

The circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation. check for updates here

Jesse Ventura Gains Attention For Saying Nothing New

Jesse Ventura has been getting a lot of attention attacking American Sniper and Chris Kyle's service. After all, Kyle claimed to have punched out Ventura and that really hurt his feelings. Ventura sued Kyle and won but when Kyle was killed trying to help a veteran with PTSD, Ventura decided to make sure he got what he must have thought was worthy of his hurt feelings. Jesse Ventura wins $1.8M in defamation lawsuit against ex-SEAL sniper

No one would ever expect Ventura to approve of the movie so why is he getting so much attention from reporters for saying absolutely nothing new?
Famous Veteran: Jesse Ventura

Despite his membership with Underwater Demolition Team 12, Ventura never saw combat during Vietnam although he did receive the Vietnam Service Medal.


One of my favorite songs is Don Henley's Dirty Laundry

I make my living off the evening news
Just give me something
Something I can use
People love it when you lose
They love dirty laundry
Well, I coulda been an actor
But I wound up here
I just have to look good
I don't have to be clear
Come and whisper in my ear
Give us dirty laundry
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em all around
We got the bubble headed
Bleached blonde
Comes on at five
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash
With a gleam in her eyev It's interesting when people die
Give us dirty laundry

This video is the Eagles performing Dirty Laundry and dedicated it to Rupert Murdoch

Jesse Ventura skipping ‘American Sniper’; says Chris Kyle is no hero
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
01/29/2015
MINNEAPOLIS – “American Sniper” is tops at the box office but don’t expect to see former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura lining up at a theater for it.

Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, won $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit last year against the estate of the late Chris Kyle, the SEAL protagonist of the movie, which has sparked debate over whether snipers should be considered heroes. Ventura said Wednesday he won’t see the film partly because Kyle is no hero to him.

“A hero must be honorable, must have honor. And you can’t have honor if you’re a liar. There is no honor in lying,” Ventura said from his winter home in Baja California, Mexico. He also noted that the movie isn’t playing there.

Ventura also dismissed the movie as propaganda because it conveys the false idea that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks.
read more here

In this country, anyone can say whatever they want. On the flip side, no one is forced to listen to it however mucking up the works are reporters giving folks a platform to get more people exposed to their thoughts. In a perfect world, reporters would actually stop long enough to ask a question about what was just said by the subject of the interview.

Ayman Mohyeldin said that Chris Kyle went on "killing sprees" with the full force of facts in his voice. That didn't last long when he was challenged by Joe Scarborough. After a painful pause, his tone changed and when he responded it pretty much summed up he had no intention of proving a single claim he just made.
MSNBC Reporter: ‘Racist’ Chris Kyle Went on ‘Killing Sprees’ in Iraq 
Washington Free Beacon
Staff
January 29, 2015

NBC foreign affairs reporter Ayman Mohyeldin made the suggestion Thursday on Morning Joe that Chris Kyle, late subject of the hit movie “American Sniper” and credited as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, had “racist tendencies” toward Iraqis and Muslims and “went on killing sprees in Iraq on assignment.”

 “American Sniper” has given a lot of Americans an inside look at what actually happened over in Iraq during the war.

It has also raised a national discussion on post-traumatic stress disorder, addressing the personal issues veterans face when they come home.

Mohyeldin’s commentary left host Joe Scarborough dumbfounded.

“Killing sprees?” Scarborough asked incredulously. “Chris Kyle was going on killing sprees?”
read more here

At least Joe Scarborough decided to ask a question on two points made but not proven.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Vietnam Veteran Chuck Hagel DOD Retirement Tribute

Hagel 'Quintessentially American,' Obama Says at Farewell Tribute
Department of Defense
By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute to him on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Jan. 28, 2015. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Laura Buchta
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2015 – President Barack Obama hosted an armed forces farewell tribute to retiring Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

"Today is a celebration of a quintessentially American life; a man from the heartland who devoted his life to America," Obama said.

From his time as a boy in Nebraska, to volunteering for a war that would see him pull his own brother from a burning vehicle, to leading the charge to ensure veterans exposed to Agent Orange were treated fairly, to the Senate -- where he led the fight to establish the Post-9/11 GI Bill -- and then on to head the Defense Department through a difficult transition, Hagel's career has been characterized by service to others, the president said.

"Thanks to Secretary Hagel's guiding hand, this institution is better positioned for the future," he said. "...But Chuck, I want to suggest that perhaps your greatest impact -- a legacy that will be felt for years to come -- has been your own example.

"It's not simply that you've been the first enlisted combat veteran, and the first Vietnam veteran, to serve as secretary of defense, it's how your life experience -- being down in the muck, feeling the bullets fly overhead -- has allowed you to connect with our troops like no other secretary before."

‘We Are All Americans’

One day last year, Obama said, Hagel arrived with a guest for their regular weekly meeting at the Oval Office. The man, Jerome "Skip" Johnson, had been Hagel's platoon leader in Vietnam, and the two men had only just reconnected after nearly 50 years, the president said.

"Chuck told me about how in 1968, with protests and race riots back home causing tensions among our troops in Vietnam, and Chuck's unit was mostly white, but Skip is African-American," Obama said.

"As the platoon commander, he was not going to tolerate division or distrust, and he went to his men and made himself clear: 'We are all Americans. We're going to live together, we're going to take care of each other, we're fighting together, we're going to get each other's backs. Let's get it done.'"

"And at that moment in the Oval Office, as these two soldiers stood before me, with Skip's grandsons looking on, it wasn't lost on any of us how far our nation has come. And I want to thank Chuck for that moment," the president said, "because part of the reason we've traveled that distance is we've had men like Chuck Hagel serving and representing what's best in America."

"In moments when we are tested as a military, as a nation, sometimes we get distracted by what divides us and lose sight of what unites us,” Obama said. “And at those moments, we can draw strength from the example of a sergeant from Nebraska and a lieutenant from Chicago. We are all Americans. We live together, we sacrifice together, we take care of each other. Sometimes we have to fight together."
read more here

Remains of Army Air Forces 1st Lt. James F. Gatlin of Jacksonville Home

Remains of fallen Florida aviator make it home after 70 years 
Tampa Bay Times
By Josh Solomon
Times Staff Writer
January 28, 2015
Four generations of a family gathered on the tarmac of Tampa International Airport Wednesday to welcome home the remains of a long-lost relative.

Nearly 70 years after being shot down over Germany during World War II, U.S. Army Air Forces 1st Lt. James F. Gatlin of Jacksonville was coming home. "We've been waiting for this to happen," said Janda Fussell, 45, of Lithia, granddaughter of Gatlin's oldest surviving first cousin, Wilma Gatlin Shiver, 89.

Fussell never met Gatlin, obviously, but when she read about him and his death, she said she wept. 

"Even though we didn't know him, we've sort of invested ourselves in him. Especially since he was such a hero." Gatlin was co-piloting a B-26C Marauder on Dec. 23, 1944, when German fighters intercepted the plane on its way back from a bombing mission and shot it.

The plane caught fire and crashed near Ahrweiler, a west-German town, south of Cologne and west of Frankfurt, killing Gatlin. He was 25. read more here

Surf's Up For UK Triple Amputee

Triple Amputee Veteran Martin Pollock Now Surfs With The Best Of Them 
The Huffington Post
By Carla Herreria
Posted: 01/29/2015
After an improvised explosive devise took both of Martin Pollock's legs and part of his left arm in 2010, he did everything he could to get his active lifestyle back.

Pollock was 26 years old and serving as a rifleman in Afghanistan for the British Army when the explosion happened. He went home to England as a triple amputee and tried to carry on with normal life. He bought a car and a house. He went to the gym. He continued to work on his walking. He was determined to be as active as he possibly could, but "I had no real plans for anything in particular," he told The Huffington Post.

One of his biggest challenges, Pollock said, was getting his prosthetics to fit properly. "I spent 2 1/2 years trying to get my leg sockets to fit into the prosthetics," he said. "It's the most important part to be able to walk. If the socket is no good, nothing else matters."

At the beginning of one of Pollock's routine rehab visits in 2012, he heard about a sponsored trip to California hosted by Operation Surf, a nonprofit that assists the rehabilitation of wounded active duty servicemen through adaptive surfing. read more here

Air Force Veteran Wrongly Arrested Caught On Dashcam

Elderly man who was wrongly arrested threatening to sue city
KIRO News
January 29, 2015

SEATTLE — A former Metro Bus driver and Air Force veteran wrongly arrested by Seattle police is threatening to sue the city.

The arresting officer was reprimanded, but William Wingate says it’s not enough.

Wingate filed a claim for damages, perhaps for as much as $750,000, if it leads to a lawsuit.

He said he was targeted, arrested and embarrassed by a Seattle police officer at 12th Avenue and Pike Street last summer.

Thursday morning, the 70-year-old Wingate sat with his attorney, saying he’s still bewildered by police dash cam video that shows the arrest.

In July, Wingate was walking down the street, using his golf club as a cane, when Seattle police Officer Cynthia Whitlatch stopped him and claimed he had swung his club at her while she was driving by in her patrol car. read more here

Published on Jan 28, 2015
SPD Commanders first became aware of this incident in October 2014 after receiving an inquiry from former Washington State Representative Dawn Mason in which she raised questions as to the necessity of the arrest and charges.

VA Declared Another Veteran Dead, Sent New VA Card

Local2 Investigators: VA Tells Live Claimant He’s Dead
CBS Chicago
January 29, 2015

(CBS) – A U.S. Army veteran who worked on anti-terrorism cases and even went undercover for his country needed help. But when he went to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, he was rejected because he was supposedly dead.

CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini reports Karl Moess fears there will be further delays in his nearly decade-long fight for benefits.

The VA sent him a letter saying he was dead and denying him added benefits he was trying to obtain. Moess says he was angry and confused because on the same day he received his so-called death notice, he also received a new VA card to get care at a VA hospital.

“I think this is an example of the government not knowing what the right hand is doing,” he says.

“This is totally ridiculous.”
read more here

Veteran declared dead January 15 According to a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs sent to James Fale’s wife, he’s dead, even though he was the one who opened it.

Fake Ranger Gets Called Out

Stolen Valor: Fake Ranger Gets Called Out, HUMILIATED at LA Stadium [WATCH]
Published on Dec 7, 2014

In quite the upsetting incident, a man has been caught on video impersonating an army ranger in yet another incident of stolen valor.

Taking place at Staple Center in Los Angeles, an unidentified man recording the incident confronts a “soldier” about his uniform. Dressed in what he’s trying to pass off as an Army Ranger’s attire, he would appear to be a soldier who deserves respect to an unknowing individual.

The man recording, presumably a veteran himself, points out several reasons as to why this is not the case from the black boots to the “soldier’s” shaggy hair and scruffy facial hair. All the while, the man in the uniform just stares at his phone.

As many of us would do, the man continues to question the “soldier.” Eventually, the soldier shows some pictures that are meant to prove that he is, in fact, a soldier.

Police seeking man accused of stealing identities of 14 military members

Police seeking man accused of stealing identities of 14 military members: The Colorado Springs Police Department is looking for a man accused of stealing the identities of 14 military members and several civilians.

"Police said the theft resulted in a loss of about $22,000."

Pittsburgh Steeler Jeremy Staat Marine Choice Spiritual Decision

Former Steeler Jeremy Staat: ‘I Hold My Head Higher Being A Marine Than Being A Steeler’ 
CBS Pittsburgh
January 29, 2015

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Drafted in 1998 to be one of the next great Steelers defensive linemen, California native Jeremy Staat lasted only a couple of years. Eventually, he joined the Marine Corps. following the death of his friend Pat Tillman. Staat told The Cook and Poni Show on 93.7 the Fan Thursday about his journey.

“At the end of the day, I hold my head higher up being a Marine than being a Steeler,” Staat said.

“No offense to anyone out there listening, but there are bigger things out there, believe it or not, than the Pittsburgh Steelers.” Staat said he had always thought about joining the Marines and after Tillman’s death he felt it was now or never.

“The decision was literally a spiritual-based decision,” said Staat who was a college teammate of Tillman.

“If there is a God up there, if you’re up there sitting on high, I’m going to put faith to the test. I’m going to join the United State Marine Corps. I’m going to go in as an infantry machine gunner. I’m going to go to Iraq and if you’re up there, bring me home safe.” 
read more here

Iowa Facing Suicide Increase

Suicide Increase In Iowa
IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28)-- Suicide in Iowa is up 17 percent. According to the most recent data released by the Department of Public Health, 445 people took their own life in 2013. That is up from 381 deaths by suicide in 2012.

Congress Suicide Prevention Zip-A-Dee-Doo-DAH!

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 30, 2015

There is a report out of California that is a reminder of exactly what has been going on in this country. People hear about problems and they want to do something. When politicians want to get their names on bills, they put together a bunch of words, figure out who will make money off the deal and then zip-a-dee-doo-dah, they pull a magic trick.

California
State and county officials cannot show how billions of dollars collected through a voter-approved tax on millionaires are being spent or whether the related programs have helped people with mental illness as voters intended, a state watchdog commission reported Tuesday.

The Little Hoover Commission report is the latest review to find that the state has little evidence to show that $13 billion in Proposition 63 funds have been effectively spent.

An investigation by The Associated Press in 2012 found that tens of millions of dollars generated by the tax went to general wellness programs for people who had not been diagnosed with any mental illness. Those programs include yoga, gardening, art classes and horseback riding. The state auditor reported similar findings a year later.

"After 10 years the state still can't document whether $13 billion raised through the act has improved the streets of California and the lives of its residents," the commissioners wrote.

And then when problems got worse, people wanted something done to help. Caring people didn't really care about what it would cost as long as people were helped. Short memory spans as folks got back to their own lives, they were not reminded of what already failed that was paid for, so as more people were suffering, they wanted politicians to do something to fix it.

They just never bothered to track the tragic results with more suffering who could have actually been helped if politicians made sure they understood the problem, knew the facts, history and researched what had already been done comparing failures to successes before they wasted time and money causing more years of more suffering.

On the topic of fee basis care, when a veteran gets medical care outside the VA and they pay for it.
What GAO Found
The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) fee basis care spending increased from about $3.04 billion in fiscal year 2008 to about $4.48 billion in fiscal year 2012. The slight decrease in fiscal year 2012 spending from the fiscal year 2011 level was due to VA's adoption of Medicare rates as its primary payment method for fee basis providers. VA's fee basis care utilization also increased from about 821,000 veterans in fiscal year 2008 to about 976,000 veterans in fiscal year 2012.

GAO found that several factors affect VA medical centers' (VAMC) utilization of fee basis care--including veteran travel distances to VAMCs and goals for the maximum amount of time veterans should wait for VAMC-based appointments. VAMCs that GAO reviewed reported that they often use fee basis care to provide veterans with treatment closer to their homes--particularly for veterans who are not eligible for travel reimbursement. In addition, VAMC officials reported that veterans are often referred to fee basis providers to ensure that VAMC-based clinics that would otherwise treat them can meet established VA wait time goals for how long veterans wait for an appointment. However, GAO found that VA has not established goals for and does not track how long veterans wait to be seen by fee basis providers.

But hey, we just believed reporters as if it was never done before when Congress said they wanted to do it after causing all the hoopla last year.

Then there is suicide prevention among veterans. We know these programs failed or we would be seeing more veterans committing suicide during a time when there has never been more "awareness" and more charities popping up across the county. As it is, bill after bill has been sold as something different but as we've seen, there is nothing new to see here. Suicide Prevention Efforts of the Veterans Health Administration, Erin Bagalman Analyst in Health Policy January 10, 2013 is yet one more indication no one is being held accountable for failures but above all that, no one is being held accountable for the money either.
Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
The Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (P.L. 110-110), enacted in 2007, required the VA Secretary to develop and implement a comprehensive suicide prevention program, and to report to Congress on the program. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that implementing the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act would have “little, if any, cost,” because the VA already had implemented or was planning to implement each of the specific requirements.

The textbox below lists the required elements and additional authorized elements of the comprehensive suicide prevention program.
Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (P.L. 110-110)
Required elements of the comprehensive suicide prevention program include the following:
• mandatory suicide prevention training for appropriate VA staff and contractors;
• designation of a suicide prevention counselor at each VA medical center;
• outreach and education for veterans and their families to promote mental health;
• mental health assessments of veterans and referrals to appropriate treatment;
• availability of 24-hour mental health care for veterans;
• research on best practices for suicide prevention; and
• research on mental health among veterans with military sexual trauma.
Additional authorized (but not required) elements include the following:
• a 24-hour toll-free hotline staffed by trained mental health personnel;
• peer support counseling; and
• other actions to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans.

But there was more,
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
Section 1611 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (P.L. 110-181) directed the VA and DOD Secretaries to jointly develop a comprehensive care and transition policy for servicemembers recovering from serious injuries or illnesses related to their military service. The law specified that the policy must address (among other things) the training and skills of health care professionals, recovery coordinators, and case managers, to ensure that they are able to detect and report early warning signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, along with other behavioral health concerns. The law further specified that the policy must include tracking the notifications made by recovery care coordinators, medical care case managers, and nonmedical care managers to health care professionals regarding suicidal thoughts or behaviors, along with other behavioral health concerns. A 2009 Government Accountability Office report indicates that DOD and VA have developed the relevant policies.

Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008
Section 809 of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-389) grants the VA Secretary authority to advertise in the media for various purposes, including suicide prevention. Caregivers and

Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010
Section 403 of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-163) requires the VA Secretary to conduct a study to determine the number of veterans who died by suicide between January 1, 1999, and May 5, 2010 (i.e., the date of enactment). As of this writing, the study has not been completed.

As you discover more veterans are committing suicide, you need to remember, we've been down this road for so long now that the road wore out for far too many veterans we were told congress intended to save.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pentagon Isn't Buying What Congress Is Saying?

Do reporters read what they write? The title of the article is that the Pentagon is saying it doesn't want congress buying stuff the military doesn't need yet the part about John McCain is about saying the Pentagon needs to be stopped from doing it. WFT?
Yet one more reason,,,,
"Lawmakers asked many questions, but no one offered a plan to prevent sequestration cuts from happening as it has in past years minus last year when the military received a reprieve from the across-the-board cuts."
Pentagon Tells Congress to Stop Buying Equipment it Doesn't Need 
Military.com
Matthew Cox
January 28, 2015

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday he wants the U.S. Military's service chiefs to have more power to prevent the Pentagon from buying weapons it doesn't need.

Sen. John McCain, SASC's new chairman in the new Republican-run Senate, said one his top priorities for this session is to ensure that the service chiefs have more input into the acquisition and procurement process.

Wednesday's hearing's focus was to hear testimony on the next round of mandatory defense spending cuts under sequestration scheduled to occur in fiscal 2016.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have already suffered massive cuts to end-strength, modernization and readiness under sequestration that began in 2012. And just like in past hearings, the heads of each service predicted a grim outlook if more sequestration cuts come in 2016.

All the services agreed that they would not be able to continue to meet mandatory missions under the National Defense Strategy – win a major war, deter the threats of a second, major enemy and protect the homeland at the same time.

Lawmakers asked many questions, but no one offered a plan to prevent sequestration cuts from happening as it has in past years minus last year when the military received a reprieve from the across-the-board cuts. read more here

Veterans Offer Honor Funeral For Homeless Veteran

Homeless veteran receives military funeral 
KWCH 12 News
Scott Evans
Jan 28, 2015

Wichita, Kan. - A military veteran received a military funeral in Wichita today.

For a military veteran's funeral it was a familiar site, flags, motorcycles and other veterans.

What makes the funeral of 74 year old Donald Lee Nibel different is who was there. "Never met him," said Ron Vangas, Past Director, Chapter 136 American Legion Riders.

Vangas was just one of dozens of people who have not only never met Nibel but really knew nothing about him. "He was a veteran, just because he was homeless doesn't mean he was still not a brother.

He served his country like all of us did and we're here to honor him for that," said Vangas. Not knowing Nibel didn't matter. He was a veteran and that was enough to deserve this attention.
read more here

Orlando Veterans Events

Veterans Events from Cathy Haynes

February notice of veteran, military or patriotic events in Central Florida
Send me your events – people cannot attend an event if they don’t know about it!
Please share this information and events with your friends and interested others and attend.   Post where appropriate.
If you wish to be removed from the email list, just let me know.

Memorial Highway Dedication Ceremony USMC Staff Sergeant Michael Andrew Bock - Fri, Jan, 30   - Leesburg Community Center at 109 E Dixie Ave, Leesburg, FL 34748   4pm    (I am sooo sorry that I missed the Wed. Jan. 28 Highway Dedication event for Army Specialist Alexander J. Miller in Clermont.)

Local Developing Business (LDB) and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise – Fri. Jan 30 – Learn about these programs and other opportunities.   Presented by GOAA (Greater Orlando Aviation Authority) from 9am – 11:30am at Orlando Executive Airport, 365 Rickenbacker Dr, Orlando, 32803.   Info:   407-825-7133.

2015 Veterans Business Initiative (VBI) – Apply before Jan. 30 - The VBI will run for eight weeks through February and March with two sessions per day starting Thurs. Feb 5.   This is a no cost program for 100 qualified veterans who are seeking entrepreneurship opportunities, employment and continuing education. The VBI will be held at the Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce (CFDC) located at the National Entrepreneur Center, 3201 E. Colonial Dr., Suite A-120, Orlando, 32803. The VBI is sponsored by Florida Hospital, Manpower US (Central Florida), Regions Bank and the Orlando Business Journal.   Partners include Disney, Rosen and Score.  Info: Rogue Gallart at   rogue@nationalec.org 407-420-4875 or Lisa Hancock at lisah@mnpwr.com

FOUR CHAPLAINS COMMEMORATIVE CEREMONY – Sun. Feb 1 – American Legion Post 112 at 2pm - Vice Commander Jerry Dress, a Korean War vet, has worked very hard to coordinate this event with Sea Cadets and Boy Scouts. Come support good kids with your attendance!   Four chaplains from several religions and denominations assisted military personnel and civilians before their ship, USAT Dorchester, sank in the Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 3, 1943.   The chaplains gave up their life jackets and helped persons onto life boats.   They joined arms, prayed and sang hymns before they died together.   Free and open to the public.   Amer. Legion Post 112, 4490 North Goldenrod Road, Winter Park, 32792

The Wall That Heals – Thurs. Feb 5 – Mon. Feb 16 - Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.   A half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States.   There are 58,300 names on The Wall.   Every single one of them has a story that you can help keep alive.  The Wall That Heals will be on display for at least a week at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 Highway 301 North, Tampa, 33680.

Fundraiser for Aubrey Clark – Sun. Feb 8 – Aubrey Clark, daughter of an Osceola County firefighter, was hit by a vehicle and has severe head injuries.   (See below in Because You Care.)   Mulberry Street Bar and Grill, 12 noon – 6pm.   3831 Avalon Park Blvd, Orlando, 32828.   osceolafdbenevolent.org  

Villages Honor Flight fund raiser – Mon Feb 9 – Only at Bob Evans Restaurant, 2199 Parr Drive, The Villages is hosting a dine in event for the benefit of VHF.   Present a special coupon when you pay your bill and they will donate 15% of the sale to Villages Honor Flight.   Funds go to take WWII, Korean War and ill veterans to Washington DC to see their war memorials.   This one restaurant is the only participant of this offer.   Contact:  352-432-1382   newsletter@villageshonorflight.org  

5th Annual Cocktails for a Cause - Wounded Warrior Outdoors – Thurs. Feb. 12 – University Club, 5:30pm – 8pm.   Hosted by Club Member Cole Whitaker.   Wounded Warrior Outdoors (WWO) is a non-profit that was founded to provide wounded transitioning servicemen and women with therapeutic outdoor adventures (fishing, hunting, etc.)   It gives them the opportunity of a lifetime in the wilderness location of their choice – an adventure enabled.   University Club of Orlando, 150 E. Central Blvd. Orlando, 32801.   RSVP by Email:Membership@UClubOrlando.com   Limited Parking Available: visit www.ucluborlando.com for more information or call 407.425.2514.   Contact:   Ron Raboud, 407.654.0069   ron@woundedwarrioroutdoors.com  

Operation Love Letters – Sat. Feb. 14 – 3rd year that this event has been hosted by Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) in conjunction with the Gold Star (GS) families.   Gold Star families have lost loved ones serving in the military and they gather to remember their fallen and to release balloons.   Free and open to the public.   Opening ceremony at 11am.   VFW Post 2093, 4444 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, 32804
Office: 407-296-2553

Valentine’s Day Dinner and Day – Sat. Feb 14 – sponsored by Knights of Columbus Council 11488 and a portion of proceeds will benefit Home At Last that assists wounded warriors with local specially adapted homes. Tickets/information available by contacting Jim McQuillan at 407-877-2149.    Also available after the Masses at Holy Family Catholic Church, 5125 S. Apopka Vineland Rd, Orlando, 32819.   (Southwest Orlando.) Obtain your tickets early, this event has sold out in previous years. Event will be in their St. Patrick Social Hall.   $25 Prime Rib dinner and dance from 6pm – 11pm.   Flyer available. dad@mcquillanfamily.com  

Valentine Dinner Dance – Sat. Feb 14 -   East Seminole County VFW Post 10139.   $25 a couple, $15 for single. 300 Lake Mills Ave, Chuluota, Florida 32766   (407) 359-5020
Valentine‘s Day Dance and Concert – Sat. Feb 14 - Sons of the American Legion Squadron 347 are sponsoring a dance/concert featuring Patrina for the benefit of Villages Honor Flight (VHF.)   Details are on the attached flyer.  This fun event sells out quickly so get you tickets as soon as possible..

Black History Month Recognition – Sat. Feb 21 – Museum of Military History    10am – 3pm.   Buffalo Soldiers, first responder displays, military reenactors, USO, and more.   5210 West Irlo Bronson Hwy, Kissimmee, 34746.   Office: 407-507-3894   sgtmccloud@juno.com  

Daytona 500 volunteers for AVET Project – Sun. Feb 22 – 50 volunteers over age 18 to help with concessions at the race.   7am - ?   Contact AVET for details.   Kim at   kim@avetproject.org   AVET Project is a not-for-profit working primarily on the east coast of Central Florida; provides assistance to veterans with benefits, PTS counseling, activities and assistance for active duty Air Force and Coast Guard, etc.

UCF Men' Basketball Military Appreciation Game – Sun. Feb 22 - 2pm   All military personnel,
veterans and their families are invited to come cheer on the Knights. Tickets are free to all military personnel and veterans. Register online at UCFKnights.com/Promotions for your free ticket.   Info:   Matt Poulton at  954.803.4520   mattpoulton@ucf.edu

Super Job Fair – Thurs. Feb. 26 - 10 am to 2 pm, Goodwill Industries, 4516 W SR 46, Sanford, FL.  Professional dress required.   Bring your resume'.

Welcome Home at the New Orlando VA Medical Center, Lake Nona!  Sat. Feb. 28 - The Orlando VA Medical Center presents its 2015 Welcome Home and Cruisin' Event, at the new Lake Nona VA Hospital & Clinic, 13800 Veterans Way, Orlando, FL   32827.   Make plans to attend on Sat. Feb. 28, from 10 am to 2 pm.   The event will host Employers & VA Resources; a display of Cars, Motorcycles & Trucks; Tours of the New VA Hospital & Clinic; Raffle Prizes; Fun for the Entire Family.   Additional information will be provided as available.  (Shared by the Seminole County Veterans Service Office.)

Honor Flight Flightless Mission – Sat. Feb 28 – This unique event takes WWII and Korean War veterans on a Virtual trip to Washington, DC.   Usually the Honor Flights will physically take senior veterans to see the war memorials.   But sometimes there are vets who are physically unable to make the trip.   So this mission, specially planned by Villages Honor Flight, duplicates the trip without leaving the ground.   You can be a part of their “homecoming” in the afternoon when they return to the American Legion Post 347. This capstone event is the joyous tribute that they did not receive at the end of their service.   For many it is the highlight of the trip and for all it is an emotional event.    For each mission they endeavor to make this event special for the vets and can do so only because of the participation of the community.   Contact 352-432-1382   villageshonorflight.org  

ON THE HORIZON, MARK YOUR CALENDAR:
Tribute to World War II, Korea and Vietnam Veterans – Sat. Mar 28 - 11:30am - 3:30pm.   Hosted by AMVETS Post 2006-Leesburg, FL held offsite at   Rural King, 1715 Citrus Blvd (Hwy 441),   Leesburg.   Special guests, speakers, recognition presented by our State, County Representatives, live music, food, beverages, activities vendors, prizes, raffles , Club challenge award, Event t-shirts, and lots more.     Invitations have been extended to the Governor, several Senators and Congressman, local representations, Mayor of Leesburg, Former Senator Carey Baker, Navy Band, ROTC, Boys and Girl Scouts, 4-H Club, and several more.   www.amvets2006.com   352-323-8750    Peggy c 407 484 2159

6th Annual CFNL Wounded Warrior Lone Sailor 5K & 10K – Sat. April 4 - 7:30am   Blue Jacket Park, 2501 General Rees Ave, Orlando, 32814.   Join us for a run around the former grounds of Naval Training Center Orlando to honor the city's rich military heritage and support our wounded service men and women.   Visitwww.cfnl5k.org for details and to register online.

Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion – Apr 23 – 26, Wickham Park in Melbourne.   The nation’s largest veteran reunion is very well attended; military displays, reenactments and ceremonies, old and new friends.   Additionally, the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial Wall will be onsite from Apr.19 – 26  The escorted arrival is always exciting with hundreds of motorcycles and First Responder vehicles.

USMCCCA Foundation Golf Tournament – Fri. May 1  U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, Foundation tournament.   The proceeds go to the Semper Fi fund to help wounded Marines and their loved ones.   James “Red” Carpenter at   jcar1@tampabay.rr.com

BECAUSE YOU CARE:
911 for a veterans’ roof – A Leesburg disabled veteran has a bad roof that causes water collection in rooms when it rains.   Volunteers needed to assist with roofing repairs/replacement.   (Honorably discharged, Air Force 1955-1959) Contact Cate Montuoro montuoro@hbi.org   407.259.5069   or Jerel at JSafford@careersourcecf.com  352.360.6280 x6028

Florida National Cemetery (Bushnell) employee who works with various groups to honor veterans at burials there has lost her child.   Sheila Moss’ 18 month old son, Declan, was killed by two dogs in an attack in Hernando County.   The mother (Sheila Moss) is an Afghanistan war veteran.   Cards of condolence by persons and groups can be sent to:   Purcell Funeral Home, 114 West Noble Avenue, Bushnell, FL 33513   

First Responders’ daughter has serious brain injury.   Her father is a firefighter with Osceola County.   She and a friend were riding bicycles on Jan. 20 in Ocoee when they were hit by a vehicle. Recent reports from Arnold Palmer Hospital state that her left brain has 80% damage; her right, 20%. When she leaves the hospital, she will need 24-hour care.   Limited insurance will not cover expenses by her family to and from the hospital, lost time from work, groceries, etc. Keep an eye open for fund-raisers from various firefighter groups and organizations to assist the family of 10-year-old Aubrey Clark.   Donations online:   osceolafdbenevolent.org  

GENERAL INFO
Orlando Veterans Transportation Service Corrected phone number.   VTS is currently making daily round-trip runs from the Daytona Beach VA Clinic to the Lake Baldwin VA Medical Center with a stop in Orange City and Sanford.   For more information and to pickup, call 1-800-922-7521 ext 5000  Please call 48 hours in advance of need. Please note that VTS will only make stops in Sanford when there is a scheduled pick up.   (Shared by the Seminole County Veterans Service Office.)

PTS – Post Traumatic Stress –Need help?   Witnessed trauma such as war?   Anger, irritability and rage; feeling anxious; depression; difficulty trusting others; guilty feelings about acts you committed or witnessed or could not prevent; hyper-alertness and startled reactions; isolation from others; lost of interest; low tolerance to stress; problems with authority; don't feel good about yourself; nightmares; substance abuse; trouble sleeping?   Don't want to travel into Orlando, the VetCenter is coming to Seminole County.   To reach out for help call Veronica Csongradi, LMFT, CAP, Readjustment Counseling Therapist, (352) 536-6701 to set up an appointment.   It takes a Warrior to ask for help! (Shared by the Seminole County Veterans Service Office.)

EXTRAS:
•              Museum of Military History, 5210 West Irlo Bronson Hwy., Kissimmee, 34746.   407-507-3894 for further information.   www.museumofmilitaryhistory.com

•              Check out:   hiredbyfriday.com and iamveteran.com  Both sites are for veterans and hiredbyfriday.com is a site for Veterans to upload their resumes and employers can look for skilled veterans there.

•              American Warrior Radio Show   from 11am-noon EDT on Saturdays, radio station WMEL - AM 1300    Nationwide broadcast:   www.1300wmel.com

•              WoundedTimes.blogspot.com - Veterans News Service covering news that matters to veterans and their families. Local, state and national news, events, and stories – especially with videos involving Central Florida military and veterans. Dedicated to defeating Combat PTS. Go to Wounded Times

•              Shades of Green Resort – Armed Forces Recreation Center (a DOD) on Disney property provides various packages for active duty, reservists, guardsmen, 100% service connected disabled, and retired military personnel and their families.   Go to www.shadesofgreen.org   for information.   Special discounts for rooms may be available based on occupancy levels, and special ticket rates.   (407) 824-3400

•              The Navy Exchange (NEX) –NEX in Orlando is for all branches of active duty military, reservists, guardsmen, retirees, 100% service-connected disabled veterans and their dependents.   It is located west of Orlando Int’l Airport, about 1 mile south of the Beachline Expy/528 on Tradeport Dr.   Competitive pricing and programs. The big white building on the west side of Tradeport -   7151 Earhart Dr., Orlando, 32827.    www.mynavyexchange.com   407-857-3550

•              MWR / ITT Ticket Office – Offers discounted attraction tickets to active duty military, reservists, guardsmen, retirees, 100% service-connected disabled veterans and their dependents.   It is locate adjacent to the Navy Exchange (NEX) listed above.   Phone: 407-855-0116 or 407-851-4396 for details,    email:mwrorl@gmail.com   or Text MWROrlando to 30364 for MWR Specials.

•              Military OneSource is a free service provided by the Department of Defense (DoD) to active duty, Guard and Reserve service members, and their families with comprehensive information on every aspect of military life including deployment, relationships, economics, grief, education, parenting and child care, and much more.   www.militaryonesource.mil
Caring and sharing,
Cathy Haynes
Member/supporter of numerous veteran and military organizations in Central FL
407-239-8468


Idaho National Guard LT Accused of 10 Year Fraud

This person was a Lieutenant in the Idaho National Guard. Think about that for a second. This person also stands charged with fabricating wounds he did not receive while serving in Iraq. He did a lot more damage than just taking money, if all this is true. If all this is true, then the men under his command, really wounded and trying to get benefits for real wounds just suffered the ultimate betrayal.
Feds: Snoqualmie coach lied his way into Purple Heart
Former Idaho National Guard member accused of stealing $250,000 in government benefits SEATTLEPI.COM
BY LEVI PULKKINEN STAFF
January 29, 2015
Wright hired his sister, Karen Bevens, as his caretaker; Bevens, a 43-year-old Duvall resident, now faces a single fraud count.

A Snoqualmie man accused of duping the Army into awarding him a Purple Heart now faces fraud charges.

Federal prosecutors claim Darryl Lee Wright managed to steal $250,000 in government benefits during the past 10 years. Wright, 46, is alleged to fraudulently put himself forward as a wounded Iraq veteran to gain some of the money.

A federal grand jury returned a nine count indictment against Wright in November. The allegations were unsealed Wednesday; Wright is alleged to have defrauded the Veterans Affairs Department, the Army and the U.S. Commerce Department, among other federal agencies.

At the height of the fraud, Wright and his sister were receiving $10,341 a month in undeserved government benefits, according to the indictment. They did so while Wright worked, coached basketball and ran for public office.

According to the indictment, Wright claimed to have suffered traumatic brain injury during an Aug. 30, 2005, rocket attack while he was serving in Iraq as a lieutenant with the Idaho National Guard.

Wright ultimately received a Combat Action Badge – a decoration reserved for soldiers who’ve been under fire – and a Purple Heart signifying a battle wound.
read more here

Think about the stories we've read over the years about claims not being approved and wounded suffering for their service. Here's a reminder in case you forgot.
Some from Idaho killed in Iraq 2005
• Army Sgt. Kelly S. Morris, 24, of Boise, was killed by small-arms fire March 30, 2005, while patrolling in east Baghdad.
• Army Sgt. John B. Ogburn III, 45, of Fruitland, died May 22, 2005, in a Humvee accident near Kirkuk, Iraq.
• Army Staff Sgt. Virgil R. Case, 37, of Mountain Home, died June 1, 2005, in Kirkuk, Iraq, of non-combat-related injuries.
• Army Spc.Carrie French, 19, of Caldwell, died June 5, 2005, in Kirkuk when her vehicle hit a roadside bomb.
• Marine Lance Cpl. Dustin V. Birch, 22, of St. Anthony, was one of five Marines killed in a roadside bombing June 9, 2005, in Haqlaniyah, Iraq.
• Army Sgt. Ivan Vargas Alarcon, 23, of Jerome, died Nov. 17, 2005, in Tal-Afar, Iraq, when the Humvee he was riding in flipped during combat operations.

The Denver Post has a reminder of some of what people have forgotten. Here are just a few of the images they collected of war in Iraq.

A U.S. soldier carries an Iraqi girl away from the scene of three explosions September 30, 2004 in Baghdad, Iraq. Three separate explosions near a U.S. military convoy which was passing the opening ceremony for a sewage station killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 100 others in southern Baghdad according to Iraqi police. (Photo by Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images)
Although wounded, Staff Sgt. Shannon Kay, of 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, fires on an enemy position after being attacked with a car bomb, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo/Army Times, M. Scott Mahaskey, via USA Today)
U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Troy Hawkins of the 1st Cavalry, Task Force 1-9, falls to the ground after being wounded during a firefight while on patrol with an Iraqi Army unit February 16, 2005 in the Haifa Street neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq. After being tended to by a medic he continued to fight in the narrow streets. The U.S. Army was handing control of the volatile area over to the Iraqi military as they continued to decrease their involvement in the city. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Libya Hotel Attack Claimed Life of Camp Pendleton Veteran

Camp Pendleton Marine Veteran Killed In Libya Hotel Attack (Video)
KPBS News
By Beth Ford Roth
January 28, 2015
The only American killed in Tuesday's attack on a luxury hotel in Libya was a Marine Corps veteran who'd served at Camp Pendleton.

According to CNN, David Berry was one of ten people killed when gunmen stormed the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli. Five of dead were Libyans, four French, and Berry the sole American who lost his life.

Cliff Taylor, who is CEO of Crucible (a private security firm), told The New York Daily News that Berry was an employee of his company, and worked as a security manager in Tripoli.
read more here

PTSD Iraq Veteran With Service Dog Get Apology from Tampa

City of Tampa forced to make changes after a veteran's service dog was kicked out of a park 
ABC News
Alex Hobson
Jan 28, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. - A local veteran has received a formal letter of apology from the City of Tampa after an investigation found city staff ordered him to remove his service dog from a public park, which violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It started off like a normal day," Cesar Silva recalls.

It was June 16, 2013. Silva had gone to Picnic Island Park with his service dog, Sophia, when he says a city parks and recreation worker approached.

"A maintenance man pulls up and says, 'Hey you're not allowed to be there in the water.' I go, 'Well I'm a disabled veteran, and she's my service animal.' He says, 'I don't care, still a dog, no dogs are allowed,'" Silva said.

But to him, Sophia is much more than just a dog. Silva is an Iraq War veteran who suffers from PTSD along with some mobility issues. Anywhere he goes, so does she.
read more here

Vietnam Veteran Needs Dog Trainer To Save Bear

Veteran’s dog evicted from Dan River Crossing apartments 
GoDanRiver.com
Denice Thibodeau
January 27, 2015
Denice Thibodeau/Register and Bee Robert “Bobby” Stewart visited with his dog, Bear, on Sunday, getting an expected paw-shake in exchange for a treat. Bear is being taken care of by Chris Soyangco (right) after being evicted from Dan River Crossing apartments for what management labeled as aggressive behavior. Bear barks and growls when strangers approach Stewart, who — while he can take a few cautious steps — typically uses a wheelchair to get around.
Robert “Bobby” Stewart misses his companion, a yellow Labrador/hound mix named Bear.

The dog was evicted from Dan River Crossing apartments, on Bridge Street, about two weeks ago for being aggressive, Stewart said. Stewart — who uses a wheelchair to get around — is a Vietnam veteran suffering from kidney failure and high blood pressure.

He got Bear about two-and-a-half years ago as a puppy and trained the dog to be his companion and protector. Bear will bark and growl when people he does not know approach, but he has never attacked or bitten anyone, Stewart said. “He barks when the elevator doors open so people know to let me out,” Stewart said. The dog has scared some people, Stewart admits.

The most recent incident was one day when Stewart and Bear were leaving the apartment building through a door that does not have a window. When Stewart swung the door open, another tenant was reaching for the door from the other side.
read more here