Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fort Meade NSA Police Officer Hospitalized After Strange Event

One shot dead at Fort Meade after trying to enter NSA gate 
CNN
By Jim Sciutto, Evan Perez and Ashley Fantz
March 31, 2015
Story highlights Two people tried to enter the main gate to enter the headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade. One died at the scene, and another was wounded, the NSA says.
(CNN)The FBI publicly identified Tuesday the man who died Monday while trying to use an unauthorized vehicle tried to gain access to the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Maryland, as Ricky Shawatza Hall.

His passenger who remained hospitalized Tuesday has not been publicly identified. On Monday morning, Hall attempted to gain entry at the National Security Agency headquarters, Jonathan Freed, NSA director of strategic communications, said in a statement.

"The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer's routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus. The vehicle failed to stop and barriers were deployed." NSA police on the scene fired on the vehicle when it accelerated toward a police car, blocking its way, according to the NSA.

An NSA police officer was also hospitalized but not identified.
The two men who officials say tried to ram the main gate at NSA headquarters were dressed as women, according to a federal law enforcement official.

read more here

Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge Climb Aconcagua

Combat-wounded vets successfully climb one of world's highest mountains 
FOX 13 News
By: Lloyd Sowers
Updated: Mar 31, 2015

TARPON SPRINGS (FOX 13)
A special team of wounded veterans has notched another achievement.

Members of the Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge reached the summit of Aconcagua, one of the highest mountains in the world.

"It was a desert-type climate and it was straight up," says wounded veteran Pete Quintanilla describing the mountain in Argentina.

The summit is nearly 23,000 feet, the highest spot in the Western Hemisphere.

Quintanilla was wearing a specially designed prosthetic leg made of carbon fiber as he climbed it. Based on its performance during the climb, he'll provide feedback to the designer to improve new prosthetics for others.

CHALLENGE AND INSPIRE

The nine-man team was organized at the group's headquarters in Tarpon Springs. They unloaded their backpacks after the month-long expedition to Argentina.

Billy Costello also lost part of a leg while in the army, but he's participated in several of these challenges, including a trip to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro last year.

"Mission success to us is challenge, research and inspire," said Costello.

Team members always invite other combat wounded veterans to join them.

"This is what I'm doing. You can do it too," says Quintanilla.
read more here

Historical US Marine Hospital Sits Empty While Veterans Wait for Care?

Louisville's U.S. Marine Hospital remains empty, decade after exterior restored 
WDRB News
By Sarah Phinney
Posted: Mar 29, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It has been 10 years since the exterior of Louisville's U.S. Marine Hospital in the Portland neighborhood was restored, but the inside remains unfinished.

Several rooms on the first floor are used for meetings and group exercise, but the rest of the old hospital is closed to the public due to safety concerns. Because the outside is restored, Family Health Centers Executive Director Bill Wagner says many people believe the inside is in good shape, too. 

"Little do they know, it's empty," said Wagner. The hospital, designed by Washington Monument architect Robert Mills, opened on April 1, 1852.

Union soldiers were treated at the hospital during the first two years of the Civil War and later World War I veterans. But, most of the patients throughout the years were merchant sailors.

"They may have been injured during their jobs or they may have contracted contagious diseases," Wagner said.

The building later served as living quarters for nurses and doctors in the 1930s, before the City of Louisville purchased it for $25,000 in 1950. It was later turned into office space and is currently owned by the Board of Health, while Family Health Centers oversees it.

Though patients haven't been in the hospital for decades, some of the original features are still intact. read more here

Tampa Fake Veteran Gets Lesson At MacDill Air Force Base

Veteran tells panhandler to "take off my uniform!" after discovering he's a fake
ABC Action News
Bill Logan
Mar 30, 2015

It's a story of stolen valor: A panhandler purporting to be a combat veteran asking for money from passing motorists.

All until a Tampa man started asking questions and not getting the kind of answers he liked.

"Show me your veterans ID card,” asked a worked-up Garrett Goodwin on a video he uploaded to his Facebook page Sunday.

"I don't have one, sir," replied the still-unidentified and nowhere-to-be-found man wearing an Army uniform and a high-visibility vest while panhandling at the corner of Dale Mabry and Gandy Boulevard in South Tampa.

"Then take off my uniform!" replied Garrett, who served as an Army combat medic from 1994 through 2003.
read more here

Mar 29, 2015
Veteran Garrett Goodwin confronts a fake Veteran outside Macdill AFB. The fake claimed he was former Special Forces and his missions so secret that the VA doesn't even acknowledge he exists.

The fake was soliciting money from people using his fake Veteran status.

UK: Surge of Veterans Looking for Help With Combat PTSD

Veterans' PTSD cases up a quarter in a year charity warns 
The Telegraph
Ben Farmer
Defence Correspondent
March 31, 2015
Britain is seeing a "very concerning" surge in veterans looking for help with PTSD and other mental health problems after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the charity Combat Stress warns, after it has seen its cases jump 26 percent in a year
The number of veterans seeking help for PTSD and other mental health problems has jumped more than a quarter in the past year alone with a surge of cases from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a leading military charity has warned.

Combat Stress says it is now deals with six new veterans asking for help each day and is at its busiest in its 96-year-history.

The 26 per cent increase in the past year is more than double the rise seen the year before and is mainly due to a “marked rise” in Afghanistan and Iraq veterans coming forward.

The latest rise follows a string of annual increases and the toll of cases from the wars of the past decade will continue to increase, the charity believes. It is calling on the Government to spend more on NHS treatment for them.

Walter Busuttil, director of medical services, said: “We are very concerned at the significant rise in those coming forward with military PTSD. 
read more here

Vietnam Veteran Concerned For All Veterans

Vietnam veteran spotlights biggest struggle facing all vets 
Connect Mid Missouri
by Dan Ebner
Posted: 03.30.2015
"There isn't a pill, there isn't a joke, there isn't you movie you can have them watch... nothing,” Delgado said.
JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- Three years ago, Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill that made March 30th Vietnam veterans recognition day in Missouri.

One Vietnam vet said the biggest struggle facing veterans of all wars is suicide. Raul Delgado, a member of American Legion Post 5 in Jefferson City, served in Vietnam from 1967 until 1969.

As a Marine, he was a crew chief on a helicopter, flying missions all across Vietnam. Delgado said the problem of veteran suicide doesn’t get the attention it needs and deserves. One reason he said this is because he almost took his own life. "I had the rifle in mouth and my thumb on the trigger... and I was going to pull the trigger," Delgado said.

 57,000 soldiers were killed in action during the war, but over 150,000 veterans of Vietnam have committed suicide.

Delgado said he isn’t just concerned about vets from the war he fought it, but also vets in the current wars.
read more here

Monday, March 30, 2015

Vietnam Veterans Days

Vietnam Veterans Day is Everyday
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 30, 2015

Putting up the post on Vietnam Veterans Day got me thinking about all that you are responsible for and most of you don't even know.

My Dad was stationed in Japan when my brother was a toddler and my Mom took him over there. My other brother was born at Fort Dix. By the time I came along, he left the Army but the Army never left him, so technically, I am not an Army brat. (Ok, some would beg to differ with that considering I was and still am a brat.)

My uncles were WWII veterans and a cousin served in Vietnam. I admit that I didn't really pay much attention to them since I spent my whole life listening the same stories over and over again, going to the PX in Hanscom Field with my Mom, parades, the DAV and VFW Post.

I know how hard it was for my Dad to have his claim approved back then but he ended up with 100% disability. I guess you could say when it comes to the problems reported recently, I am an expert considering I've seen the flip side of what veterans go through my whole life as well as what happens when their claims are honored. You don't ask for much at all. You only ask for what you need because something happened when you served this country.

Anyway, fast forward to adulthood and my second husband. A Vietnam veteran. We are not so young anymore, but we still hold hands just like we did over half my life. It is because of him I do what I do everyday. He's managed to save more lives than he knows. More than even I know, or so I've been told. Had it not been for him, I would have just,,,,well, I don't even want to think about that.

I admit it. I am totally in love. Not just with my husband but because of him. See, I've had over 30 years of getting to spend time with some of the most remarkable people in this country. YOU!

Again, the DAV and VFW are part of my life along with the Nam Knights motorcycle club and Semper Fidelis America, just about any other group in the Orlando area since I attend most of the events. They are all run by Vietnam veterans.

Then there is Point Man International Ministries, also run by Vietnam veterans. They started way back in 1984 doing peer support, spiritual healing and supporting families dealing with PTSD. Yep, that's how long we know what was needed and they stepped up to do it! I'm part of them.

There are a lot of things no one seems to want to take the time to talk about these days. After all, reporters can't even really manage to remember how long all of this has been going on, so acknowledging what you guys managed to do probably won't happen in our lifetime.

According to the news reports, PTSD is new and Afghanistan is the longest war. They say it started in 1965 and ended in 1973. Ok, then so why was the first one killed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall goes all the way back to 1956?
THE FIRST KNOWN CASUALTY
Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. is listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having a casualty date of June 8, 1956.

His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who has a casualty date of Sept. 7, 1965.

And the last in 1975?
East wall, which was added approximately a year after the Memorial was dedicated. 1975 was the year that the last 18 casualties (Daniel A. Benedett, Lynn Blessing, Walter Boyd, Gregory S. Copenhaver, Andres Garcia, Bernard Gause, Jr., Gary L. Hall, Joseph N. Hargrove, James J. Jacques, Ashton N. Loney, Ronald J. Manning, Danny G. Marshall, James R. Maxwell, Richard W. Rivenburgh, Elwood E. Rumbaugh, Antonio Ramos Sandovall, Kelton R. Turner, Richard Vande Geer) occurred on May 15th during the recapture of the freighter MAYAGUEZ and its crew.

Let them say what they will because when all the talking is done, when they managed to erase years, all of you remember what happened and when for real since you were there. So let them come off as really dumb and then we can make fun of the stupid things they say. As it is, they haven't managed to figure out a way of telling the truth on suicides tied to veterans or even manage to mention the simple fact that the majority of veterans committing suicide are over 50 years old or that they got their 22 a day numbers wrong since most states say the rate of veteran suicides is double the civilian rate. Oh hell, since I'm on a roll here, they don't talk about how after you guys caused all the research with the DOD and VA, all their crappy theories and "prevention efforts" managed to actually increase suicides of younger veterans which are now triple their peer rate.

Like to see them look you guys in the eye and tell you how they managed to mangle what over 40 years of research proved when they repeated the same old bullshit of take a pill and you'll feel better in the morning or how they ended up with reporter after report of young soldiers still being treated as if they are slackers and mentally weak. Yep, that's all still going on as well as less than honorable discharges instead of helping them heal. That happened to 250,000 of you. As of latest report over 80,000 may get their discharges changed.

You risked your lives for everyone around you. Yet, it is not what you did during war that made such a difference in the lives of others. It was what you did afterwards.

You were turned away from some people, ignored by others. You were told to just get over it and get on with your lives. After all, you were only gone a year so no big deal. Right?

The older veterans didn't want you around because you were not one of them.

You proved them right. You were part of all of them.

Every generation suffering the same wounds you did yet no matter how you were treated, you turned around and said you would not suffer in silence the way all the other generations did. You fought for your brothers and then fought for your Dads, Uncles, Grandfathers and in the process, knew you would be fighting for all other veterans coming after you.

They sure don't have time to talk about what else happened to society in general because Vietnam veterans fought for PTSD research to be done. Not just for themselves but for everyone.
Crisis Intervention Strategies
However, it was the debacle of the Vietnam War that brought PTSD enough ... professionals did little to ameliorate problems returning Vietnam veterans suffered. ... Those research and treatment approaches have spread out to civilian areas of ... considers psychological, biological, and social bases as equally important.

You turned the page and re-wrote the ending for all other veterans giving them a chance to heal and everyone benefited by your battles to address trauma. You also showed the rest of the country that you had a bond that could not be broken by anyone or anything. Hell, you even managed to pull all this off without the stuff the younger generation can't live without. The Internet and social media.

So while too many folks actually forget what all of you did, here's some reminders. As imperfect as things are for the newer veterans, nothing would have happened on PTSD had it not been for all of you!


If you are a veteran with PTSD, remember one thing, you are not stuck feeling the way you do right now. You can heal and live a better life. PTSD caused the change in you but you can change again and then help other veterans heal as well. Vietnam veterans have been doing it for decades.


Gary Sinise tribute Vietnam Veterans
For the 7th year I was able to go with a choir to Epcot for the Candlelight program. This was the first year I saw Gary Sinise perform. He was fantastic but at the end of the show, he gave a moving tribute to Vietnam veterans.

Gary Sinise played a Vietnam veteran amputee in Forrest Gump. In the movie, Tom Hanks played a Medal of Honor Recipient and in the ceremony it was actually footage of a real Vietnam veteran receiving the Medal, Sammy Davis.

Sammy told the story of what happened to him after his actions saved lives. When you hear his story, it should clear up what some Vietnam veterans came home to.
May you stay forever young and know how much you really do mean to the rest of us!
You also showed us how to,,,oh heck, the list would be too long to list.

Vietnam Veterans Day From Coast to Coast

Massachusetts
Taunton Vietnam veterans group holds POW/MIA ceremony
Wicked Local
Marc Larocque
March 29, 2015

Members of the POW/MIA awareness movement, including a faithful group of Vietnam veterans in the Taunton area, have helped foster governmental and societal responsibility toward families of U.S. service members who go missing during war, said the president of the Massachusetts Vigil Society.

Dan Golden was the keynote speaker at the 33rd annual POW/MIA Remembrance Day Ceremony on Sunday at the Vietnam Memorial Fountain downtown on Church Green. The event has been organized each year by the Taunton Area Vietnam Veterans Association to remember the 39 Massachusetts servicemen and 1,637 others nationwide whose remains were never returned from the battlefields of Southeast Asia.
read more here

Springfield ceremonies remember Vietnam veterans 
The first salute at the Vietnam Veterans’ monument at Mason Square
WWLP 22 News
By Sy Becker
Published: March 29, 2015
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – April will mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam. 

Two solemn ceremonies were held in Springfield Sunday as Vietnam veterans honored their fallen comrades.

The first salute at the Vietnam Veterans’ monument at Mason Square, where African American veterans of the Winchester Square Vietnam Era Veterans honored the soldiers who never came home, many they had known all their lives.
read more here
Springfield commemorates Vietnam Veterans Day 2015
MassLive
Elizabeth Roman
March 29, 2015
Springfield- Local leaders including Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal commemorate the Vietnam Veterans Day in Springfield.
(ELIZABETH ROMAN/ THE REPUBLICAN)

SPRINGFIELD — For more than 25 years local leaders and veterans have gathered at Court Square in honor of those who served and those who died during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony was held Sunday afternoon featuring the reading of the names of those killed or missing in action as well as laying a wreath at the Vietnam Memorial. The event included various speakers including newly appointed Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Affairs Francisco Urena who is a Purple Heart Marine, Springfield Veteran of the Year Ronald Krupke, U.S. Rep Richard E. Neal, Dr. Samuel J. Mazza, who served as a trauma surgeon during the Vietnam War, and more.
read more here
Delaware
There are a lot of great videos on this page for Vietnam veterans.
Vietnam veterans honored at ceremony in Bristol Twp.
Bucks County Courier Times
Elizabeth Fisher
March 30, 2015
Chloe Elmer/Staff Photographer
Vietnam vets
America, Hose, Hook, and Ladder Company No. 2 Fire n Bristol Borough Chief and Desert Storm veteran David Pearl shares a moment with Jesse Hill, treasurer of the Delaware Valley Vietnam Veterans, after he thanked him in a speech during The Delaware Valley Vietnam Veterans event from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at their Bristol Township Headquarters to honor veterans on the March 29, 1973 anniversary of the last U.S. troops to leave Vietnam. The group will also celebrate their 8th anniversary at the headquarters. Attendees were also given a K-9 demonstration from Falls and Bristol Township police officers, in honor of the K-9 Working Dogs Veterans Day, which was March 13.

Veterans from all service branches saluted as the American flag and the black-and-white POW-MIA flag were hoisted. A three-gun salute followed at a ceremony Sunday at the headquarters of the Delaware Valley Vietnam Veterans in Bristol Township.

The occasion was a ceremony to mark the 42nd anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, signaling the end of a 10-year conflict and North Vietnam’s release of what it claimed were the last of its American prisoners of war. It would be four more years before the last of the American troops came home.

Among the attendees was Dennis Parr, a Bristol resident who served in the U.S. Navy from 1969-1973. The ceremony was particularly poignant for him because of the many friends he lost in battle, and the fact that his son, Riccardo, served two tours in Iraq as a Marine hospital corpsman.
read more here
Virginia
Vietnam veterans honored for courage, service at Lynchburg commemoration
News Advance
Katrina Dix
March 28, 2015

The first U.S. combat troops arrived in Vietnam 50 years ago this month, but the conflict claimed one of Lynchburg’s own more than a year earlier, when Lt. Kenneth Shannon died after his helicopter was shot down over South Vietnam on March 15, 1964, just five days after his arrival overseas.

At a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War at the American Legion Post 16 Saturday afternoon, veterans who served with him or even went to college with him greeted his widow, Ginger Shannon-Young, who moved back to Lynchburg about four years ago.

Some were saying hello for the first time in almost 50 years; others, for the first time ever.
read more here
Tennessee
Vietnam Veterans Day
WDEF News
March 29, 2015


Knoxville, TN (WDEF)- Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder announced March 29th will now be known as Vietnam Veterans Day.

The day is to recognize the courage, service and sacrifice of the men and women who served during the Vietnam War.
read more here

Missouri
Missouri honors Vietnam veterans today
KMA Land
Special to KMA -- Mona Shand
March 30, 2015

(Jefferson City) -- It's been nearly 40 years since the official end of the Vietnam War and today Missouri honors the sacrifices of all those who served in the conflict. Many Vietnam veterans came home to find the country in the midst of the anti-establishment, anti-war movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Daniel Bell, public information officer with the Missouri Veterans Commission, says today's observance of Vietnam Veterans Day gives Missourians a chance to make up for the past.

"Vietnam veterans were not welcomed home in the same manner that your World War II, Korea, and your current returning veterans were treated," says Bell. "This is just a way of recognizing their sacrifices and their service to our country."
read more here
Alaska
Vietnam Veterans Day honors Alaskans who served
News Miner
By Weston Morrow
March 30, 2015
ERIN CORNELIUSSEN/FAIRBANKS DAILY NEWS-MINER
Vietnam Veterans Day
Veterans and audience members listen to a panel discussion during a Vietnam Veterans Day program at Randy Smith Middle School on Sunday, March 29, 2015.

FAIRBANKS — Veterans, active-duty military members and community members gathered in the gymnasium at Randy Smith Middle School on Sunday to honor the service of Alaska’s many Vietnam veterans.

The event Sunday was timed purposefully to fall on March 29 — a date that commemorates the withdrawal of the last United States troops from Vietnam in 1973. Forty years later, in 2013, the Alaska Legislature declared March 29 to serve from then on as Vietnam Veterans Day, “to acknowledge and commemorate the military service of American men and women in Vietnam.”
read more here

Army Tells Congress Sequestration Will Cost 14,000 More Soldiers

Army cautions sequestration could cut 14,000 service members 
Killeen Daily Herald
Rose L Thayer Herald staff writer
March 29, 2015
Dropping the Army’s end strength to 450,000 would require the involuntary separation of about 14,000 soldiers, Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, Army vice chief of staff, told lawmakers during Wednesday testimony before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on readiness.
Army officials last week cautioned what troop reductions could look like should sequestration return in January.

Dropping the Army’s end strength to 450,000 would require the involuntary separation of about 14,000 soldiers, Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, Army vice chief of staff, told lawmakers during Wednesday testimony before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on readiness.

“It will increase significantly the involuntary separation of officer and noncommissioned leaders who have steadfastly served their country through the last 13 years of war,” Allyn said, according to a report from Army News Service.

“Sequestration will undermine readiness, ultimately putting soldiers’ lives and our mission success at risk,” he said.
As Col. Karl Konzelman, chief of Army Force Management at the Pentagon, explained during Tuesday’s listening session in Killeen, the Army already exhausted all other means of troop reduction. Now it will have to start making cuts from active units. The listening session addressed troop reductions directly linked to the draconian budget cuts.
read more here

Families Prepare to Talk About Reality of "Candy Land" Deaths

Late vets' family members to have their say about VA care
USA TODAY
Donovan Slack
March 29, 2015
He checked him into Tomah for severe anxiety and a painkiller addiction last summer. But in late August, Jason texted him to say the medications were making him crazy. He asked his father for help. So Marv Simcakoski set up a meeting with his son, a patient advocate and his son's doctor, who consulted with Houlihan on adding another opiate to his son's regimen.

WASHINGTON — A construction contractor will relive the "most painful day" of his life when his veteran son died at a Wisconsin Veterans Affairs' center.

A widow will recount receiving bags of pills in the mail for a husband who hadn't been home for months.

A daughter will chronicle the final lucid hours of her veteran father as he waited hours for care, then slumped over limp and unresponsive.

And a pharmacist will raise questions about three more "unexplained" veteran deaths — all patients like the others who received treatment at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

All are set to testify at what promises to be an emotional congressional hearing in Tomah, Wis., Monday. It will be their first chance to publicly face VA officials overseeing the facility since news reports drew national attention to their struggles and triggered investigations by several state and federal agencies, including the VA and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Five months after Daigh declined to release his findings, 35-year-old Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski died from an overdose as an inpatient in Tomah. It was just days after Houlihan agreed that another opiate should be added to the 14 drugs he was already prescribed.

read more here

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Vietnam Veterans Remembered

When you hear news reports about Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, there are some things you need to know.
America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era.

Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone.

About 1.4 million other veterans, meanwhile, are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
Before there were Veterans Courts, this was life looked like for some our veterans
There were an estimated 140,000 veterans held in state and federal prisons. State prisons held 127,500 of these veterans, and federal prisons held 12,500.

Male veterans were half as likely as other men to be held in prison (630 prisoners per 100,000 veterans, compared to 1,390 prisoners per 100,000 non-veteran U.S. residents). This gap had been increasing since the 1980s.

Veterans in both state and federal prison were almost exclusively male (99 percent).

The median age (45) of veterans in state prison was 12 years older than that of non-veterans (33). Non-veteran inmates (55%) were nearly four times more likely than veterans (14%) to be under the age of 35.

Veterans were much better educated than other prisoners. Nearly all veterans in state prison (91%) reported at least a high school diploma or GED, while an estimated 40% of non-veterans lacked either.
Pro Bono Resources for Veterans American Bar Association has a list by state where you can find legal help.

Vietnam veterans had been kicked out when they needed help, much like the newer veterans today still find as repayment for their sacrifices. It took a lawsuit before their records were reviewed.

“This decision will not be a blanket approval for every upgrade request, but it does open an avenue for those veterans who may have been diagnosed with PTSD years after separation to submit new evidence and hopefully correct an injustice from the past,” said John W. Stroud, the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States organization.

The Pentagon will now likely face scrutiny over how quickly petitions are processed, and what it will do for those affected. The lawsuit said 250,000 Vietnam-era veterans received other-than-honorable discharges, and that 80,000 of them could have post-traumatic stress.

Still as Vietnam veterans returned home, turned away from the major veterans organizations, they started their own group. Vietnam Veterans of America. Unlike the other groups though, they understood what it was like to be thought of as less than the other generations.
VVA'S FOUNDING PRINCIPLE "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."

Suicides are another subject that shows they have been left behind. While the false reports of 22 a day were supposed to be about all veterans, most folks thought it only meant the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's the truth on that one.

Veteran suicide numbers have gone up in recent years with much of the attention focused on veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan killing themselves. However, almost seven out of 10 veterans who have committed suicide were over the age of 50, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs study.

There were no wounds Vietnam veterans came home with that were different other than battlefield medicine had more surviving. There is no wound the newer generation suffers from today that is new, other than yet again, battlefield medicine has helped more survive.

The only difference between Vietnam veterans is they decided to fight for the wounds no one could see to be treated. They pushed for all the research done on PTSD. What was done to the was wrong and it is still going on.

When you watch this new video on Vietnam Veterans Remembered, ask yourself why they have been forgotten about then ask yourself what you can do to make sure they are not last of the list of veterans needing help.

Woman Charged with Stealing from Disabled Vietnam Veteran Was Care-taker

Care assistant charged with stealing from disabled veteran
WCBV News Boston
Mar 28, 2015
$128,500 stolen from a disabled Vietnam War veteran

BOSTON —A grand jury in Boston has indicted a personal care assistant on charges she stole nearly $128,500 from a disabled Vietnam War veteran for whom she was caring.

The Suffolk County grand jury Thursday indicted 48-year-old Michelle Allix of South Boston on eight larceny charges. Arraignment was set for April 16.
read more here

Six Decades After War Wounded Him, WWII Veteran Died After Vindication

Combat veterans face ‘cruel’ struggle to prove their service to VA, amid missing records 
FOX News
By Ruth Ravve
Published March 27, 201

"I have a huge box of letters that he sent to the VA over the years in his attempt to get benefits," said Friedman's wife of 61 years, Minna Rae. "He tried over and over and over again to get help, but they just kept turning him down."

Friedman -- who, as he would later learn, suffered from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder -- was not alone.
Garrett said he was stunned to learn that six decades after the war ended, a soldier was still locked in battle.

Once he got benefits, Friedman had greater access to care, which included long-awaited therapy for PTSD.

"We're very fortunate he lived long enough to get verification for his service because many other World War II vets died before that happened," Minna Rae said.

In the final years of his life, Stanley Friedman was eventually able to move to a veterans' residence not far from his suburban Chicago home, called the Green House homes at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center.

He found peace among the caring staff and his fellow veterans.

Friedman died in his sleep there at the age of 94
read the rest of his story here

Desperation Drove Vietnam Veteran to Seek Arrest

Vet who asked to be arrested gets help finding home 
Cincinnati.com
DeMio
March 29, 2015
"Nobody wanted me," McKenney explained simply. "I'd been to the hospitals. Everything. The only thing I had left was to have them arrest me."

Michelle McKenney, of Hebron, helps her father, Eugene McKenney, to a chair in his room at Atria Highland Crossing, Fort Wright. McKenney, 63, a Vietnam War veteran who was homeless and went to the Elsmere Police Department and asked to be arrested for vagrancy so he could get shelter. Several social service agencies and family members have worked to get him help and shelter. (Photo: The Enquirer/Patrick Reddy)
ELSMERE – The rail-thin man wore a cap that stood out to Elsmere Police Sgt. Todd Cummins. This was a Vietnam veteran.

The man had slowly pushed himself with a walker to the door of the Elsmere Police Department on March 12 and quietly demanded to be arrested, but Cummins wasn't about to do that.

The man had done nothing wrong. He just had no place else to turn.

The officer sought help from nearby homeless ministries for Eugene McKenney, starting a turn of events in the veteran's life that would lead to a future potentially more promising than he'd had since before he went to Vietnam in 1970. "I was a door gunner,"

McKenney offered last week, sitting with his daughter, Michelle McKenney of Hebron, and two advocates from Northern Kentucky homeless ministries who've been helping him. McKenney speaks little these days. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson's disease and has had multiple strokes. He sat back Wednesday as his daughter relayed one of his most vivid memories of Vietnam.
read more here

DAV Remembering Vietnam Veterans Suffered Same Wounds of War

Vietnam Vets Dealing With Effects of War Decades Later 
KDLT News
Caiti Blase, KDLT News Reporter
Mar 28, 2015
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Thousands of South Dakotans served during the Vietnam War with hundreds making the ultimate sacrifice.

Many returned home, but are still dealing with the effects of war decades later. An event to remember those who served during the Vietnam era was held in Sioux Falls Saturday.

Ritchie Wilson said, "I went to Vietnam in the spring of 1970." It's been over 40 years since Wilson served in the Vietnam War. "I was with the 25th Infantry Division. I was an infantry squad leader,” said Wilson. But the scars of battle are still with Wilson many years later.
read more here

Where Do Veterans Go When Everyone Stopped Watching?

Soldiers Failed, Veterans Turned Away
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 29, 2015

This is a great example of Congress pushing for "something" to be done to fix what reporters got ahold of.

Demand down for soldiers needing JBLM’s Warrior Transition Battalion reported by Adam Ashton for The Olympian shows how the community stepped up to help take care of the wounded soldiers.

It starts with
On the back of a horse at a farm in Yelm, Mike Buccieri began letting go of the psychological wounds he carried after an Afghan insurgent’s bullet tore into his back and ripped him from the Army life he loved.

He found the equine-based therapy that worked for him when the Army sent him to a Warrior Transition Battalion, a medical unit he had once disparaged as a purgatory for “broken soldiers” on their way to being “kicked out” of the military.

Yet as Congress claims to be investigating the facts discovered by The Dallas News and NBC joint effort to bring the suffering of the wounded to our attention, it has been going on right under their nose and they just didn't care enough to do the right thing before they were forced to even take a look at it.
Remember the scandal at Walter Reed Hospital?

Embarrassed by allegations of mistreated wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007, the Army spent more than $1.2 billion building facilities for its severely injured troops at large posts around the world.
So Congress did "something" about it.

Col. Chris Toner, chief of the Army Warrior Transition Command, told the House Armed Services Committee last month that 4,196 soldiers are enrolled in the program – down from a peak of 12,451 seven years ago.

Despite the falling numbers, Army leaders insist they want to maintain the warrior transition model rather than reuse the costly facilities for a different purpose.

“We’ve come a long way since the days of medical holding companies and long wait times for injured soldiers,” Toner told lawmakers. “We will not return to that setting.”

Yet, when reporters were not watching, this is what happened over and over again across the country to wounded servicemen and women.
Recently, The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV documented examples of mistreated patients and verbal abuse at warrior units at Army hospitals in Texas. Their investigation prompted the Army to issue new training guidelines for the soldiers who volunteer to work in warrior transition battalion.

A 2013 Defense Department Inspector General audit of JBLM’s Warrior Transition Battalion documented similar concerns from soldiers and staff members. It spelled out the systemic flaws that have dogged warrior transition battalions since the program launched, such as:
• Inconsistent training for staff members.
• High turnover among the active-duty and Reserve soldiers who oversee patients.
• Frustration among patients who felt stuck in a program of indeterminate length. Some could be enrolled in a battalion for two years or more.
• Barriers to connecting patients with job-training programs in the civilian sector that could prepare them for opportunities after they leave the military.

The report, based on site visits in the summer of 2011, included several revealing comments from anonymous patients and staff members about the pressures they felt inside the battalion.

The Warrior Transition Battalion “steals your soul and puts you in a deeper depression,” one National Guard soldier told the auditors. “They tell me to plan for the future, but they cannot tell me when I can leave.”

So now they'll have empty buildings but it isn't as if they overplanned for the wounded. It is more that the wounded soldiers are no longer in the military.

So what happens to them now? It isn't as if their wounds have vanished. The DOD doesn't have to count them anymore. They don't have to count the number of veterans committing suicide or needing care for PTSD any more than they have to account for the physical needs.

The VA has had trouble for decades as reported by veterans going back to the 70's. Congress has not had to answer for what they failed to do on that end either.

Their latest answer is, "Hey we'll just privatize it" hand out cards so veterans could go see a doctor charging a lot more money for the same work the VA is supposed to be providing. Sure, no wait times in a private office or at hospitals. At least that is what Congress wants us to envision. Guess they never had to rely on what the rest of experience on a daily basis.

This is really simple. Congress has had since 1946 to get it right for our veterans and even longer to get it right for the wounded yet what veterans got were more problems than solutions.

Guess who is to blame? Us. We vote for folks to do a job (both sides) yet never bother to make sure they're doing it. It takes reporters to tell the stories they live with on a daily bases, so God love them for that, however, they forget that we need to be reminded about what happened before that made it this bad. It is for sure that Congress won't blame themselves but veterans do.

Any idea what members of Congress are up to knowing that more and more disabled veterans are heading home from combat? They show no indication of learning from the past about anything so just expect more of the same excuses and a longer line of veterans suffering.

They plan, as in the past, to  have communities step up and take care of them.  Sounds good until you ask about where all the billions a year spent to "care for them" went.  Also sounds good until you wonder what happened to all the money folks donated to huge charities using professional fundraisers to gain millions a year while Congress refuses to hold them accountable.

When it comes to veterans, it seems they can't really count on anyone for very long.

St. Pete Medal of Honor Veteran Says Patriotism Lives in Florida

Medal of Honor recipient recalls the ‘battle’ 
Tampa Bay News
By BOB McCLURE
March 25, 2015
“I look at it as honoring the men and women in uniform, present and past. It just shows the patriotism the citizens of Florida have toward our men in uniform.”

Photo by BOB McCLURE
Retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Gary Littrell of St. Pete Beach wears the Congressional Medal of Honor he was awarded in 1973 following his heroic actions during a 1970 battle in Vietnam.

ST. PETE BEACH – Winston Churchill once said success is not final and failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

That phrase sums up the actions of retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Gary Littrell of St. Pete Beach who for four days in early April 1970 took command of a South Vietnamese Ranger battalion under siege by more than 5,000 North Vietnamese troops. Out of an original group of 477, Littrell was among 41 walking and wounded to safely leave the hill they gallantly defended.

His actions and decisions led him to receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1973.

He is the only Medal of Honor recipient in the area, one of three in Florida and one of 79 currently alive in the U.S.
read more here

After Veteran's Wheelchair Stolen, Police and Overstock.com Stepped Up

Police surprise 84-year-old veteran with replacement wheelchair 
ABC 4 News Utah
Rick Aaron
03/24/2015
"I'll never forget it," Officer Wersland said while choking back a sob. "I've been doing this for 20 years and I've never experienced anything like this."
TAYLORSVILLE (ABC4 News) - A U.S. Navy Veteran who thought he would be homebound after his motorized wheelchair was stolen got a big surprise Tuesday thanks to the Salt Lake Unified Police Department, the City of Taylorsville and Overstock.com.

Roy Feragen can walk but at 84 years old not very far or very steadily. So what did he say when his wheelchair was stolen from the front of a Savers store in Taylorsville last week?

"I ain't gonna use that kind of language," Mr. Feragen said.

Officer Mike Wersland started working on getting Roy a replacement chair and Overstock dot com donated a top of the line Drive Medical model they surprised him with at Taylorsville City Hall. Mayor Larry Johnson presented Feragen with the device.
read more here

Disabled Gulf War Veteran Turns to News Station For Help

Disabled veteran’s long wait could be over 
WIVB News
By Al Vaughters, News 4 Reporter
Published: March 24, 2015
"Chris Krieger, co-founder of Western New York Heroes, a veterans self-help outfit, said the VA’s program of adapting homes and vehicles for disabled veterans is overrun with regulations."
HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Disabled veteran Dale Dart’s quest for a more independent life could soon be within reach.

Dart turned to the government to re-work his home to accommodate his wheelchair, but it got bogged down in government paperwork, so he contacted Call 4 Action.

The Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm (1991) does have a bedroom and bathroom in his family’s Hamburg home that are wheelchair accessible, but they are in the basement.

Dart vented his frustration earlier this week, “I just sit in my room, and sit in my room.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs came up with a way to retrofit the Dart’s ranch style house with a first floor bedroom and bathroom that would be fully accessible, and the planning and permits have taken nearly two years to complete. But just as the contractor was about to break ground on the room addition, the VA threw more red tape at the project, which could delay the job enough to send it back to the drawing board.

 Dale’s sister-in-law, Pamela Dart said the VA cited regulations which require a second contractor for the project. read more here

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Iraq Veteran, Army Ranger Boston Officer John Moynihan in Coma

UPDATE
Boston officer improving after surgery to remove bullet
The Associated Press, March 29, 2015
Decorated Boston cop, Iraq veteran in coma after being shot in face 
South Coast Daily News
March 28, 2015

The suspect in the shooting hopped out of the stopped car on Friday evening and opened fire on officers, striking Officer John Moynihan just below his right eye and an apparent bystander in her arm, police Commissioner William Evans said

BOSTON (AP) — A police officer who was honored for his role in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing was in an induced coma fighting for his life early Saturday after being shot in the face during a traffic stop, authorities said.

The suspect in the shooting hopped out of the stopped car on Friday evening and opened fire on officers, striking Officer John Moynihan just below his right eye and an apparent bystander in her arm, police Commissioner William Evans said.

Other officers returned fire and killed the suspect at the scene, Evans said. The woman suffered a flesh wound and was in good spirits, and three other officers were taken to a hospital with stress-related problems, he said.

The names of the suspect and wounded woman weren't immediately released.

Moynihan, 34, is on the police Youth Violence Task Force and is a highly decorated military veteran, Evans said.

He is a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and was honored at the White House in May with the National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award. 

Moynihan received the award for being one of the first responders in Watertown following the April 2013 gunbattle with the Boston Marathon bombers.

Moynihan had helped transit police Officer Richard Donohue, who was shot in the leg and nearly bled to death when police tried to apprehend Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Lieutenant Michael McCarthy said. read more here

Congressional Leadership Failure Has A Price Paid By Military

I am not a Democrat and this is one reason why I will never be a Republican. Under their "leadership" we had sequestration. That cut fund to the military as well as what they and their families need. They had years to fix it but didn't. They spent billions a year on programs that don't work as we've seen with the rise of military suicides.

Well folks, here we go again. The USO had to step up at Fort Bragg to fill in for what got cut.

"When deep budget cuts hit Fort Bragg, one of the casualties was an Army program meant to promote resiliency and reduce suicides."
USO of N.C. helps fill gaps for Army programs affected by budget cuts
FayObserver.com
By Drew Brooks
Military editor
Posted: Friday, March 27, 2015
Fort Bragg's commander, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, has praised the partnership. He said the USO stepped forward to continue important training that otherwise would have been cut. Speaking to community leaders earlier this year, he cited the partnership as an example of ways the community can help Fort Bragg.
USO of N.C. helps fill gaps for Army programs affected by budget cuts Staff photo by Andrew Craft Along with yoga, the program included a juggling lesson and classes on stress management, suicide, substance abuse, leadership and financial literacy.
When deep budget cuts hit Fort Bragg, one of the casualties was an Army program meant to promote resiliency and reduce suicides. But Fort Bragg leaders didn't give up.

Instead, they turned to community partners to fill the gaps created by tighter purse strings. The result is Warrior Reset, a three-day gathering at Cape Fear Botanical Garden that is serving Fort Bragg soldiers as well as members of the North Carolina National Guard, Marines from Camp Lejeune and soldiers from Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

The program, which ends today, has brought together about 70 people - including servicemembers and their wives - for hands-on activities designed to help troops cope with stress and open up about their problems.

Kelli Davis, troop and family programs director for the USO of North Carolina, said the troops are leaders who are expected to take the lessons learned back to those who serve with and under them. Davis said the USO will host similar programs on a quarterly basis, rotating across the state to other military communities, Raleigh and Charlotte.

It is the latest step in a partnership that has continually evolved. read more here

Camp Pendleton Marine Going Down Under

Pendleton, K-Bay Marines to deploy to Australia
Marine Corps Times
By Joshua Stewart, Staff writer
March 27, 2015
In 2016, Corps officials hope to send 2,500 Marines — a full Marine air-ground task force — to Australia.

Members of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin conduct a helicopter insert during a live-fire exercise at Bradshaw Field Training Area during Exercise Koolendong in Australia. About 1,170 Marines will deploy to Australia’s Northern Territory in April. (Photo: Cpl. Scott Reel/Marine Corps)
The Corps has identified the third group of Marines to head to Australia for a six month deployment. 

In mid-April, about 1,170 California- and Hawaii-based Marines will deploy Down Under. They'll form Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, and will train alongside the Australian army in the Northern Territory.

Units include 1st Battalion, 4th Marines and a detachment from Combat Logistics Battalion 1 from Camp Pendleton, California, as well as Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, said 2nd Lt. Natalie Poggemeyer, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Forces Pacific. It's the second time HMH-463 will be a part of the rotation — the squadron was the Corps' first aviation unit to deploy to Darwin during last year's rotation. read more here

Body Found in RIver is Missing Indiana Veteran

Body found in St. Joseph River identified as missing Iraq veteran Jason Holland
The Elkhart Truth
Tabitha Waggoner
Posted on March 26, 2015

A body found in the St. Joseph River has been identified as a missing Mishawaka man, 33-year-old Jason Holland.
MISHAWAKA — A body found Wednesday afternoon in the St. Joseph River has been identified as that of missing Iraq veteran Jason Holland, our reporting partner WNDU reports.

Holland was a 33-year-old former Marine who was first reported missing on Oct. 26, 2014.

He was a student at Indiana University South Bend. read more here

All Generations In the Living Years of PTSD

Passing On Living Years With PTSD
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 28, 2015

Generations of veterans are still living in this country, ready and willing to help the younger ones but they have not been ready to learn. We're in this battle to defeat PTSD the same as them but forgotten. 

That is the saddest part of all because as you hear about younger veterans committing suicide, we remember the others no one ever talked about.

Jake Tapper of CNN put up a stunning picture "At the service for Iraq war veteran SGT Richard Miles, who took his own life last month."
I read the comments on his Twitter feed with most saying how sad it was. It is even sadder for folks paying attention all along. It isn't one family a day.

It isn't even the much publicized 22 a day. It is happening to veterans double the civilian population in state after state all over the country. The majority of those veterans are over 50. Veterans of the past wars no one really paid attention to. After all, when they came home, they came home to vanish into the general population. Reporters were not interested in what was happening to them.

What makes this even sadder is that for the last decade, Congress has been pushing bills faster than they research what is causing the increase. In other words, they are recycling failures. The result is newer veterans are committing suicide triple their peer rate after all the years of efforts.

Mike and The Mechanics had it right.
"The Living Years"


Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door
I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years


Every generation blames the one before because they refused to learn from them. Learn what worked as well as what failed so they wouldn't repeat the same mistakes or gain opportunities to avoid lost time learning the hard way on their own.

The older generation of veterans came home just as the other come home now, however while this generation uses the social media and the internet to spread the word about what is going on, the older veterans learned from the younger ones how to use what they have to help themselves. Too bad it didn't work the other way around.

It is almost as if the OEF OIF generation was appointed to be the only veterans suffering. After all, considering they are the only generation to receive mass attention from new charities popping up all over the country, reporters spread the word about how to donate to them and Congress passing bills just for them, it is hard to have the time to notice the others.
Early attempts at a medical diagnosis
Accounts of psychological symptoms following military trauma date back to ancient times. The American Civil War (1861-1865) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) mark the start of formal medical attempts to address the problems of military Veterans exposed to combat.

"In September 1914, at the very outset of the great war, a dreadful rumor arose. It was said that at the Battle of the Marne, east of Paris, soldiers on the front line had been discovered standing at their posts in all the dutiful military postures—but not alive. “Every normal attitude of life was imitated by these dead men,” according to the patriotic serial The Times History of the War, published in 1916." WORLD WAR I: 100 YEARS LATER


But you can read even more online about the WAR and Military Mental Health The US Psychiatric Response in the 20th Century, if you are not convinced that every generation suffered the same things that break your heart today.

They committed suicide but families didn't talk about it. They used drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, but no one talked about it. They were supposed to be ashamed of themselves and families didn't know any better, so they were ashamed as well.

Vietnam veterans and families like mine learned from the generation before. We used the buildings with a lot of books in them we could hold in our hands. The library was our safe haven where we could touch history learning from what others didn't talk about. We had to learn the hard way because it was the only way.

Wives like me were fighting for their lives, just as our parents did but we were not ready to simply suffer in silence. We were not just fighting for our own husbands. We found a way to discover others and ended up fighting for their families side by side. It was all one huge family writing letters by hand or typing letters to members of Congress in the 70's.

As more and more research was being done, we learned. We passed on what we learned to our parents so they would understand what all the "living years" with their veterans were caused by.

In the 80's the Department of Veterans Affairs finally honored these veterans. Not just Vietnam veterans, but all generations.
In 1980, APA added PTSD to DSM-III, which stemmed from research involving returning Vietnam War Veterans, Holocaust survivors, sexual trauma victims, and others. Links between the trauma of war and post-military civilian life were established.

"So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts"

Our heartaches even more for the newer generation because they are getting the attention. They are getting more help than we ever did because everyone seems to want to do "something" to help. Yet as the result produces more and more suffering, it is clear to us that "something" is not what is needed. It is not what we fought so long and so hard for. It is not what worked for us and what was discovered by our generation has been forgotten.

While everyone seems to be able to shed a tear pretending there are not a million reasons to cry a river, we only sacrifice the future and let the bitterness last. It doesn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to end this way for thousand of veterans a year. The new generation has an obligation to learn from older veterans, not just for their own sake but for the generation coming after them. Our generation will be gone by then.

Let this be the start of the living years!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Man Convicted of Killing Fort Stewart Soldier for Insurance Money

Jasper man convicted of beating soldier to death for insurance money 
The Associated Press
March 27, 2015

A federal jury took less than an hour to convict an Alabama man of murder in the 2013 baseball bat slaying of a Fort Stewart soldier found beaten on government property near the southeast Georgia Army post.

The U.S. District Court jury returned its guilty verdict Thursday against 43-year-old Carl Evan Swain of Jasper, Alabama. Prosecutors say Swain killed his brother-in-law, 29-year-old Army Spc. John Eubank, in a plot with the defendant's sister to collect $500,000 in life insurance and benefit payments from the soldier's death.

"He is penniless. He is desperate, and he is willing to kill her husband if she'll pay him," Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Rafferty told jurors in his closing argument.

Swain didn't testify at during his trial, the Savannah Morning News reported. His defense attorney, Edward Tolley, asked jurors to consider Swain's statement to FBI agents after he was arrested in December 2013. read more here

Utah Remembers Vietnam Veterans Day

Utah Vietnam Veterans Day: Remembering and honoring those who have served 
Daily Herald
Cathy Alfred
March 27, 2015
When we came home, nobody said nothing, and they made all kinds of foul remarks about it,” Robinette said of his military service. “Even my friends made derogatory remarks."
HIGHLAND -- Dennis Callanta is a Vietnam veteran. He knows how to fight in the hot, humid jungle, has felt the effects of Agent Orange, has seen the horrors of battle, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. “I like to call it PTSI for post-traumatic stress injury,” Callanta said.

On Monday, the state of Utah will observe its first Vietnam Veterans Day, a tribute to those who fought and served in the Vietnam War.

President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Vietnam Veterans Day on April 23, 1976.

Since then, several states have declared their own Vietnam Veterans Day, usually on March 29 because it is the date the last American combat troops left Vietnam in 1973.
read more here

Ex-Marine and Wife Found in Burning Car

Ex-Marine, wife dead in car; cops suspect suicide 
IOHUD
Thane Grauel
March 27, 2015
"No way it could be suicide," said Arendt, now a civilian. "He had his whole life planned out ahead of him, investments, he was going to make a business with his wife."
Elijah and Shannon Woodson, both 22, were found about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday.

YONKERS A former Marine and his wife found dead late Tuesday in a car at The Mall at Cross County likely committed suicide, police said.

Elijah and Shannon Woodson, both 22, were found about 11:45 p.m. in a car with burning charcoal briquettes according to the Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office. 

The cause of death was asphyxiation. Lt. Patrick McCormack, a police spokesman, said Thursday that the department was not confirming their identities because it was still trying to locate relatives of the two.

"We feel, based on what we found inside the vehicle, that it was a suicide," said Lt. Patrick McCormack, a police spokesman.
read more here

USO Honors Medal of Honor Recipients

Joint Chiefs of Staff, USO Salute Medal of Honor Recipients 
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2015 – On the eve of National Medal of Honor Day, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff partnered with the United Service Organizations Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore to salute the nation’s Medal of Honor recipients here yesterday.
Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Mary, speak before an audience of about 600 during the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore’s 33rd awards dinner in Arlington, Va., March 24, 2015. The Winnefelds and the Joint Chiefs of Staff honored the nation's Medal of Honor recipients on the eve of National Medal of Honor Day. DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nathan Gallaha

The USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore held its 33rd annual awards dinner, where it paid special tribute to nearly 30 recipients of the nation’s highest military honor, as well as yearly accolades to those who serve America’s troops.

Following a video presentation, Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, began the Medal of Honor recipient tributes.

Heroism ‘Thrust Upon Them’
“Our veterans have forged the story of American patriots,” he said. The fabric of our society continues to be built upon the foundation of these patriots who display extraordinary heroism, courage and selfless sacrifice for our nation, Grass said. “They do not go out seeking to become heroes; it’s thrust upon them,” he said.

Grass quoted a fifth-century writer who once said, “‘the purpose of all wars is lasting peace.’”
read more here

TEAM RUBICON Run to End Veteran Suicides

Memorial run on Saturday to raise veteran suicide awareness
KOCO News
By Rob Hughes
Mar 27, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY —A 5K memorial run to raise veteran suicide awareness will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Earlywine Park in Oklahoma City.

Team Rubicon, Team Red, White and Blue and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have partnered to lead the fourth annual "Suicide and Prevention and Awareness Run as One."

The event is in honor and memory of Clay Hunt, a Marine Corps veteran who lost his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2011. The nationwide event also raises awareness of PTSD.
read more here

Team Rubicon mourns the loss of a veteran, volunteer, and brother. Neil Landsberg, a former Combat Controller in the United States Air Force, was an active Region 3 team member. As an Air Force Special Operator, Neil completed multiple overseas combat deployments. When he took off the uniform he volunteered at Walter Reed and served as a role model for many TR volunteers around the Washington, DC area. Neil is remembered by his teammates and fellow volunteers as a “total stud”.

Heart Problems and PTSD Connection Linked Years Ago

When will they do a study to find out how stressful it is to keep funding these studies?

This is a study of PTSD and hearts
MUNICH, Germany, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Patients with cardiac defibrillators may have a higher death risk if they have post-traumatic stress disorder, German researchers said.
It was reported by UPI PTSD linked to increased heart death risk and is still an active page showing;
"Our findings provide direct evidence for an independent influence of PTSD symptoms on fatal outcome in these patients," the study authors said in a statement.

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found those experiencing PTSD symptoms conferred a 2.4-fold long-term age- and sex-adjusted mortality -- death -- risk for patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators.
But if you already checked the links, then you know this report was from 2008.

For years there has been more research on this but we're not talking a decade. We're talking about decades. Now unless the human body has been changed, unless the human mind has been totally rewired and war has changed so much that it caused PTSD to morph into something else, not much results came out of all these repeated research projects.

So here's the latest headline everyone is talking about as if it is something totally new. It ain't new and it hasn't improved for veterans. Gee wonder why that is?
Study adds evidence on link between PTSD, heart disease
In a study of more than 8,000 veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, those with posttraumatic stress disorder had a nearly 50 percent greater risk of developing heart failure over about a seven-year follow-up period, compared with their non-PTSD peers.

The findings appear in the April 2015 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence linking PTSD and heart disease. The research to date—including these latest findings—doesn't show a clear cause-and-effect relationship. But most experts believe PTSD, like other forms of chronic stress or anxiety, can damage the heart over time.

"There are many theories as to how exactly PTSD contributes to heart disease," says Dr. Alyssa Mansfield, one of the study authors. "Overall, the evidence to date seems to point in the direction of a causal relationship."

Everything in the human body is connected. Get under stress and it causes heart problems. What is more stressful than combat? Easy. Living the rest of your life with PTSD and then getting a load of stuff instead of help. This was reported on the UK Daily Mail about a study done in Massachusetts.
Proof that stress really does cause heart attacks
Adrenaline can increase white blood cell production which can cause ruptures

Extra white blood cells can cause inflammation in people whose arteries are already thickened with plaque

These inflammations can lead to ruptures which can cause heart attack in minutes

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vietnam Veteran Gets Dying Wish To Go Back to Pearl Harbor

Vietnam War Veteran Gets Dying Wish to Visit Pearl Harbor
Associated Press
By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii
Mar 25, 2015

When a Vietnam veteran briefly stopped in Hawaii on his way home from war, he vowed to return one day to honor the people who perished during the attack on Pearl Harbor. With just less than two months to live, Joseph Hooker realized his longtime dream on Wednesday.

The Marine Corps veteran, who has heart disease and cancer, traveled from his home in Essex, Maryland, to Honolulu to visit the site of the Japanese attack that pushed the United States into World War II. The Dream Foundation, which grants wishes for those who have life expectancies of a year or less, arranged for the journey.

Hooker's brother and sister-in-law, who are his caregivers, took turns pushing him in a wheelchair as they went on a private tour of the battleship USS Missouri.

The Hawaii dream stems from a 20-minute stop in the islands in 1971 as Hooker headed home from Vietnam, Hooker said from his Waikiki hotel room Tuesday. He was let off the ship just long enough to make a phone call to his family and eat some ice cream. He promised to come back someday "to honor the men and women that gave their life at Pearl Harbor."

More than four decades later, Hooker visited the spot where Japan surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri and got a rare peek inside the captain's cabin. "I've never seen a battleship like this before," he said.

The Dream Foundation's new program, Dreams for Veterans, made Hooker's wish possible. In applying, Hooker wrote a letter saying that he longed to visit Pearl Harbor to "learn, touch and understand what happened there."
read more here

Marine Hit and Killed By Plane in Yuma Arizona

Marine Killed in Plane Crash Was Escorting Construction Crew 
Associated Press
YUMA, Ariz.
Mar 25, 2015
A U.S. Marine who was killed when a civilian plane struck his government truck was serving as an escort to a construction crew when the crash happened at an Arizona military base, federal investigators say.

The construction crew was working near a runway at the base March 11, and the Marine was in a truck about 140 feet from the runway, according to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report into the plane crash at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and Yuma International Airport.

The Marine Corps has identified the Marine who died as Lance Cpl. Anthony T. DuBeau, 23, a native of Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

The pilot and a passenger were not injured. During takeoff, the plane banked to the left and then to the right, despite the pilot's attempts to regain control, the NTSB said. read more here

Yet Again Congress Puts Lives in Danger

Bureaucrats Block Special Ops Intel Requests 
Associated Press
by Ken Dilanian
March 26, 3015
Email messages and other military records obtained by The Associated Press show that Army and special operations command bureaucrats have been pressing troops to use an in-house system built and maintained by traditional defense contractors. The Distributed Common Ground System, or DCGS, has consistently failed independent tests and earned the ire of soldiers in the field for its poor performance.
WASHINGTON— Military bureaucrats have been trying to force an unpopular government-built intelligence system on special operations units deploying to war zones while blocking soldiers from using the commercial alternative they say they need, according to government records and interviews.

Over the last four months, six Army special operations units about to be deployed into Afghanistan, Iraq and other hostile environments have requested software made by Palantir, a Silicon Valley company that has synthesized data for the CIA, the Navy SEALs and the country's largest banks, among other government and private entities. But the Army has approved just two of the requests after members of Congress intervened with senior military leaders.

Four requests pending with U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida-based Special Operations Command have not been granted.
read more here

Stellate Ganglion Block No Better Than Placebo for PTSD

The VA has been spending millions on useless PTSD research It isn't as if they just discovered the price being paid by servicemen and women. They discovered it about 100 years ago and all hands on deck were called in the 70's.

Stellate ganglion block offers hope for PTSD treatments was one of those "projects" that was supposed to take care of servicemembers but as reported today, it didn't work.
Stellate Ganglion Block No Better Than Placebo for PTSD
MEDSCAPE
Nancy A. Melville
March 26, 2015

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD — While promising preliminary research has shown some benefits of stellate ganglion block (SGB) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new randomized controlled trial shows the treatment is not superior to sham injection.

An increasing number of case reports showing benefits from SGB for PTSD for several months after treatment has generated much buzz in the popular press, and the treatment has recently been featured on various TV programs.

One of the largest studies of the treatment to date was a case series involving 166 patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in which 70% of military service members with PTSD reported significant improvement of their PTSD symptoms, with benefits persisting beyond 3 and 6 months after the procedure.

Robert N. McLay, MD, PhD, lead author of the new study, said such improvements were seen even in a small case series of patients with PTSD at his center, prompting the placebo-controlled study.

"We were hoping for a benefit," Dr McLay, of the Naval Medical Center, in San Diego, California, told Medscape Medical News.

"We tried this out informally in our clinic and did see some benefit in about half of patients, but in this more formal study we were not able to reproduce those results."
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This is from Eyewitness News 2010
Dr. Lipov says when a traumatic event is experienced, nerves in the brain sprout like flowers. By applying the local anesthetic, the nerve growth factor returns to normal.

In a recent study at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, doctors found the shot provided "immediate, significant and durable relief" for two soldiers who didn't respond to pills. Other doctors say more safety studies need to be done before the treatment is widely used.

The real questions we should be asking is, "If any of this worked, then why didn't it work? If it didn't work then why did we still have to pay for it? When do we get the tax funds back so we can invest in what does work? Who is being held accountable for all this wasted time and money? The biggest question I have is, who is going to bring back the lives lost after all these years?