Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Still time to change the road you’re on, and heal

Not too late for Vietnam veterans to heal
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 6, 2017 
“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”Led Zeppelin




World War I to the first Gulf War -- "second-class veterans"
El Paso Times by Chris Roberts
October 2007
In the past 18 months, 148,000 Vietnam veterans have gone to VA centers reporting symptoms of PTSD "30 years after the war," said Brig. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, deputy commanding general of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He recently visited El Paso.

Two-tiered system of healthcare puts veterans of the war on terror at the top and makes everyone else -- from An internal directive from a high-ranking Veterans Affairs official creates a two-tiered system of veterans health care, putting veterans of the global war on terror at the top and making every one else -- from World War I to the first Gulf War -- "second-class veterans," according to some veterans advocates.

"I think they're ever pushing us to the side," said former Marine Ron Holmes, an El Paso resident who founded Veterans Advocates. "We are still in need. We still have our problems, and our cases are being handled more slowly."

Vice Adm. Daniel L. Cooper, undersecretary for benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs -- in a memo obtained by the El Paso Times -- instructs the department's employees to put Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans at the head of the line when processing claims for medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation, employment and education benefits...

Veterans Affairs officials say prioritizing war-on-terror veterans is necessary because many of them face serious health challenges. But they don't agree that other veterans will suffer, saying that they are hiring thousands of new employees, finding ways to train them more quickly and streamlining the process of moving troops from active duty to veteran status.

"We are concerned about it, and it's something we are watching carefully," said Jerry Manar, deputy director national veterans service for Veterans of Foreign Wars in Washington, D.C. "We'll learn quickly enough from talking with our veterans service officers whether they're seeing a dramatic slowdown in the processing of claims."

Manar and Holmes said Afghanistan and Iraq veterans deserve the best care possible, but so do all other veterans.
Shocking? Not really. I posted it back in 2007 soon after El Paso Times reported it. The thing is, none of what has been happening to our "senior" veterans is new, even though it seems the rest of the country never noticed.

Our generation is pretty much on our own but the truly remarkable thing is, nothing the new generation has for them would have been possible if you did not come home and fight for all of it. 

As you read above, before most of the new groups paid any attention at all, you were fighting for a very long time, then had to get in line behind the newer veterans.

It is easy to wonder why none of these "awareness" raisers noticed any of it until the first VA Veteran Suicide report came out. Back then aside from the warning about the data being taken as "all there is to know" there was this being reported by the Washington Post

To account for uncertainties, researchers gave a range of 18 to 22 veteran suicides a day, which is consistent with previous VA estimates using CDC data. The report does not include some states with the largest veteran population (including California, Texas, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina), so it is unclear how this would affect the rate.
But safe guess is that it was just an easy number for all of these groups to remember. Too bad they also forgot the other part of the report. 

Meaning that your generation was committing suicide at higher percentages. Why? Because back in 1999, there were over 5 million more veterans in the country. Yes, before the young veterans came back from Afghanistan and Iraq.

As they became the focus of the "project" of the famous group now playing a commercial about naming what PTSD used to be called, like during your generation, they omit the fact that you came home at a rate of 1 out of 3, instead of 1 out of 5. Oh, yes that same group that says how bad it is to be forgotten about. 

Guess they never heard of a study going back to the 70's called "The Forgotten Warrior Project" but none of you forgot about those who came before you any more than you forgot about those who came after you.

The question is, why do you fight so hard for everyone else but yourself?

Within all the reports from the VA, there is one part that stands out. 65% of the veterans committing suicide are over the age of 50.

Most of you are more involved with supporting the groups who want nothing to do with you. 

So when do you start fighting for each other again? 

It is not too late to change the road you're on, after all, that is the message you've been giving to younger veterans since you were younger!