Veterans' News


Wounded Times

Where Veterans Get Their News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing Remembered at Camp Lejeune

Remembering Camp Lejeune Marines killed in 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing
Susy Raybon
Military Community Examiner
October 23, 2014

Yesterday’s attack in Ottawa, Canada, is another ugly reminder that there will always be radicals and extremists in the world who, by acts of terrorism, commit horrific deeds. One of the first and most deadly to American servicemen happened at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983.

Thirty-one years ago, today, 220 Marines of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines of Camp Lejeune were killed in the worst attack on the U.S. Marine Corps since Iwo Jima in World War II.

The American death toll that day was 241 servicemen; besides the 220 Marines, 18 were Navy and three were U.S. Army. The French also suffered the loss of 58 of their peace-keeping servicemen that day.

That deadly attack by suicide bombers in explosives-laden trucks marked the beginning of an era of terrorism not quite realized in the world before. Many of today’s Marines were not even born when that attack occurred.

In July of this year, some of those troops’ surviving family members were awarded a small restitution for their loss.

A settlement of $1.7 million from the Iranian government was awarded to 1,300 families who lost loved ones in the attack. The award brought an end some 13 years of legal wrangling.
read more here

Power to Heal PTSD Already Within You

You loved so strongly, you were ready to die for those you served with.  
That came from within the same place where your pain lives.
It is from that devotion to others that caused you to grieve.
It is from that strength of your soul that you dared to 
enter the valley where few others would go.
And it is from that place where love lives where you
will draw strength to mourn and remember
to live on and love abundantly so that others
may know the joy of a time to dance.
Everything you need to heal is already within you.
It is the same power that pushed you on from one moment to the next
in combat that holds the power to heal.
PTSD does not have to defeat you or control all that God has placed within you.

Veterans Affairs kept secret for years, and years and more years

Who are we talking about when articles appear on the Department of Veterans Affairs? Are we talking about the healthy and uninjured? No, we're talking about the wounded and disabled veterans we have comprised of veterans from all wars. The VA is compensating less than 4 million of them among the over 22 million veterans alive today. This is a nation of over 300 million people yet we can't even get it right for this percentage of veterans! There is seriously something wrong in this country and it begins with members of Congress.

A reminder of what was going on back in 2008 with the Department of Veterans Affairs
In his first appearance before Congress since becoming secretary, Peake also sought to assure lawmakers that President Bush’s proposed 2009 VA budget of $91 billion would be sufficient to meet the growing demands of veterans of a protracted Iraq war. The proposal is a 3.7 percent increase from the previous year, but several lawmakers have criticized it as inadequate after factoring in inflation.

Peake wants to reduce wait times from roughly 180 days to 145 days by the start of next year. He cited aggressive efforts to hire staff, noting the VA will have 3,100 new staff by 2009. VA also is working to get greater online access to Pentagon medical information that he said will allow staff to process claims faster and move toward a system of electronic filing of claims.

Peake promised to “virtually eliminate” the current list of 69,000 veterans who have waited more than 30 days for an appointment to get VA medical care. Such long waits runs counter to department policy, and a group of Iraq war veterans have filed a lawsuit alleging undue delays. He said VA plans to open 64 new community-based outpatient clinics this year and 51 next year to improve access to health care in rural areas.

“We will take all measures necessary to provide them with timely benefits and services, to give them complete information about the benefits they have earned through their courageous service, and to implement streamlined processes free of bureaucratic red tape,” Peake said in testimony prepared for a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing Thursday.

And by 2009, this was the report about veterans waiting to have claims approved.
A new report about Veterans Affairs Department employees squirreling away tens of thousands of unopened letters related to benefits claims is sparking fresh concerns that veterans and their survivors are being cheated out of money.

VA officials acknowledge further credibility problems based on a new report of a previously undisclosed 2007 incident in which workers at a Detroit regional office turned in 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents turned up in New York in December during amnesty periods in which workers were promised no one would be penalized.

“Veterans have lost trust in VA,” Michael Walcoff, VA’s under secretary for benefits, said at a hearing Tuesday. “That loss of trust is understandable, and winning back that trust will not be easy.”

Unprocessed and unopened mail was just one problem in VA claims processing mentioned by Belinda Finn, VA’s assistant inspector general for auditing, in testimony before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

But as bad as that was, the claim backlog in 2009 was this,
The VA's claims backlog, which includes all benefits claims and all appeals at the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Board of Veterans Appeals at VA, was 803,000 on Jan. 5, 2009. The backlog hit 915,000 on May 4, 2009, a staggering 14 percent increase in four months.

Watchdog report on Veterans Affairs kept secret for years
Washington Examiner
OCTOBER 22, 2014

Deliberate falsification of patient wait times was confirmed at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix in 2008, but the agency’s inspector general kept its findings secret, a report obtained by the Washington Examiner shows.

The 2008 investigation confirms the IG and VA officials were aware that schedulers were using bogus tactics to “game” the system, allowing them to falsely claim patients were getting the medical care they needed within agency deadlines.

The tricks used to hide the delays are virtually identical to those that were revealed earlier this year, leading to a nationwide scandal and confirmation that the use of falsified waiting lists was deliberate, “systemic” and potentially criminal.

Yet the 2008 investigation by the IG was deemed “restricted,” meaning it was not publicly released. So the problems identified in 2008 festered at the Phoenix facility until a whistleblower took charges of manipulation of patient records to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which in April directed the IG to thoroughly investigate the practices.
read more here

Any questions should be directed to members of Congress asking for your votes next month.

Watchfire at Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall in Oklahoma

Replica Of Vietnam War Memorial Touches Local Veteran
Posted: Oct 22, 2014

OKMULGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - The American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a replica of the Vietnam Wall War Memorial, stopped in Henryetta Wednesday, and the community held a welcoming ceremony for its arrival. The traveling memorial lists the more than 58,000 names of those who died in the Vietnam War - 19 of those were from Okmulgee County - and one local Navy veteran shared what it meant to him to see the wall.

“I think I'd have to be dead not to feel anything,” Alfonso Mogana said while wiping a tear away.

Mogana has never had the chance to see the wall before, and he isn't sure he'll be able to recognize any names when it goes up in Henryetta, but said it will touch him all the same as he hopes it will others.

“It's a reminder for everybody what was going on there. And because that was an unpleasant war that a lot of people didn't like," he said.
read more here - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Patrice Vincent, soldier killed in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was close to retirement

Patrice Vincent, soldier killed in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was close to retirement
Warrant officer served in the military for 28 years
CBC News
Posted: Oct 23, 2014

The family of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed Monday when he was struck in a targeted hit and run in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., is struggling to come to terms with his death.

“It's actually hard for us.… When it happens to somebody else in Canada — you hear that on the news — personally it touches me, but when it's closer to your family, it's harder to accept that,” said Vincent’s cousin and former soldier Sylvain Guerette.
'“My cousin was a nice guy … always ready to help, always smiling.' —Sylvain Guerette, cousin of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent

“When you lose a member of your family, especially in the Armed Forces, it's harder because you would like to be there. You would like to do something, but you can't.”

Guerette said Vincent had been thinking about retirement.
read more here

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's Dogs Wait For Him To Come Home

Gut-Wrenching Photos: Dogs Belonging to Canadian Soldier Killed in Terrorist Attack Seemingly Wait for Their Master to Return
The Blaze
Jason Howerton
Oct. 23, 2014
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Peter Power)

TORONTO (TheBlaze/AP) — Canadians mourned the army reservist killed in a terrorist attack on Parliament Hill, with friends remembering Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as a devoted father so ready to make people smile that he was once known as the class clown.

Gut-wrenching photos showing Cirillo’s dogs seemingly waiting for their master to return also emerged Thursday. Cirillo, a 24-year-old a reservist from Hamilton, Ontario, was shot dead as he stood guard before the country’s Tomb of the Unknown soldier, that start of an attack Wednesday that ended with a lone gunman storming into Parliament and opening fire before being shot dead himself.
read more here

Ottawa shooting: Haunting last picture of soldier Nathan Cirillo moments before he was killed

Black Hawk Down CSM Robert Gallagher Died at 52

Decorated soldier from 'Black Hawk Down' battle in Somalia dies at 52
Published October 23, 2014
Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher was in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 and in Baghdad for the U.S. invasion in 2003. When he retired, he worked to serve soldiers. He died on Oct. 13 at age 52.
(3rd Infantry Division/Facebook)

A decorated soldier who participated in the Somalia battle immortalized by Hollywood blockbuster “Black Hawk Down” was reportedly found dead in his Georgia home earlier this month.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher, 52, died of natural causes as a result of a heart condition, the Army Times reports. He served as the command sergeant major for the Army’s Wounded Warrior Program, but had extensive experience in major combat operations, including Operation Just Cause in Panama and with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia, which was later made famous by the 2001 film.

“You know, I don’t say this lightly, but Bob is probably one of, probably the best soldier I ever served with, retired Col. Greg Gadson told the newspaper. “That man really cared about soldiers.”

Born in Bayonne, N.J., Gallagher joined the Army in 1981 and later earned several awards and decorations, including a Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. He earned the Silver Star in 2002 during Operation Iraqi Freedom as troops advanced from Kuwait to Baghdad, when he suffered a leg wound but continued to direct his men.
read more here

New Military Suicide Research Says Don't Blame the Army Again!

Ok. Really? Then how do they explain the fact there are mental health screenings for every recruit? How do they explain that part of all of this? Are they saying they are giving weapons and training to "unstable" recruits? They never even try to explain why they missed it if they actually did.

How do they explain that Comprehensive Soldier Fitness was supposed to be the answer for all but wasn't even good enough to prevent non-deployed soldiers from committing suicide? Any clue? They sure don't have any.

If any of this is true, although given the small percentage of the findings, it would indicated a massive failure of the Department of Defense to establish recruitment standards as well as failing to fulfil what they have claimed for years. They claim to have trained military folks and families to be "resilient" spending billions every year. Then why are families not informed and veterans don't even know the basics of how to heal?

This is more BS!
The Army May Not Increase Risk Of Suicide, More Suicidal People May Join
Science 20
By News Staff
October 23rd 2014
The second Army STARRS paper reported that 14.1 percent of new soldiers had considered suicide at some point in their life before enlisting, 2.3 percent of new soldiers had made a suicide plan, and that 1.9 percent of new soldiers previously attempted suicide.

Due to increased awareness of suicide and military life, there has been concern military lifestyle may be causing more suicides. A new study instead finds that new soldiers are twice as likely to have three or more psychological disorders, or comorbidity, prior to enlisting as civilians.

They may regard the military as a solution to their problems.

One recent study found that new soldiers and matched civilians are about equally likely to have experienced one major episode of mental illness in their lifetime (38.7 percent of new soldiers and 36.5 percent of civilians) but that some mental disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and conduct disorder) are more common among new soldiers than civilians. Only 6.5 percent of civilians were likely to have experienced a combination of three or more disorders, versus 11.3 percent for new soldiers.

Another study focused on suicide, finding that new soldiers had pre-enlistment rates of suicide thoughts and plans at rates roughly the same as matched civilians, but rates of pre-enlistment suicidality are higher among soldiers than civilians later in the Army career, implying that Army experiences might lead to chronicity of suicidality or that people more inclined to suicide joined the military and then stayed in.
read more here

Alaska Rep. Don Young Should Apologize to Families After Suicide Comment

Murkowski asks for Young apology on suicide comments
Alaska Dispatch News
Alex DeMarban
October 23, 2014

Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she has asked Rep. Don Young to apologize to Alaskans for hurtful comments he made to high school students struggling with suicide.

“Earlier today, I talked to Don Young and encouraged him to rethink the past few days and apologize to Alaskans so we can all be rowing in the same direction against suicide,” Murkowski said in a Facebook post Thursday.

The request came after Young stunned students and staff at Wasilla High School on Tuesday -- just days after the suicide of a student -- by saying suicide was caused by a lack of support from parents and friends. That comment and others Young made at the school offended many in Alaska, where suicide rates are some of the highest in the country.
In a press release issued Thursday night, Sen. Mark Begich, who is also running for reelection, said "I believe Congressman Young’s statements were uninformed and inappropriate."

The statement said Begich had received dozens of calls to weigh in on the subject. "In addition to the alarming rates of suicide in our rural communities, especially among young Alaska Native men, there are troubling rates of suicide in the ranks of Alaska’s military and among our veterans," the statement continued, in part. "We need to encourage open conversations about this tragedy -- not make hurtful statements."
read more here

Cops Caught Taking a Stand with PTSD Iraq Veteran

They not only stood by him, they helped him! They stood by him in court and then helped get community involved with helping him get on his feet again!
Allegheny County law enforcement officials honored at awards luncheon
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Liz Navratil
October 25, 2014

That February morning began like many others for detectives in the non-support squad at the Allegheny County sheriff's office. They intended to arrest a man on a warrant for failing to pay his child support.

But when they stepped inside the suburban Allegheny County home, “Immediately, there were red flags,” said Detective James Klingensmith.

The man’s wife told them her husband sustained a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq. He didn’t understand what was going on, and he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, she told them.

“The officers were legally bound to bring the man to court, but they understood that he was a man in need,” Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Durkin said while presenting Detective Klingensmith and four of his colleagues Friday with an award for their service.

He, Sgt. Michael Scherbanic and Detectives Vincent Longo, Jay Stegena and Mark Zimmerman were among 14 officers recognized Friday at the annual Amen Corner Senator John Heinz Law Enforcement Awards Luncheon.

“It wasn’t expected,” Detective Klingensmith said of the award. When he and his colleagues learned that the man was having trouble paying his bills, they gave him money.

They appeared alongside him in court and explained his situation to the judge. In the months that followed, they persuaded local businesses to give gift cards to the family and to help with home repairs.
read more here

Death of 19 Year Old Marine in Iraq "Non-combat Injury"

First US military death announced since Isis offensive started in Iraq
The first US service member has died in the third US-Iraq war, although not in combat, the Department of Defense says
The Guardian
October 24, 2014

Nearly three years after Barack Obama withdrew the US military from its bloody, exhausting second conflict in Iraq, the first US service member has died there in the third US-Iraq war.

Marine Lance Corporal Sean P Neal, one of 1,600 troops serving in Iraq to support the Iraqi struggle against Islamic State (Isis), died of a “non-combat” injury, the US announced late on Friday. Neal, of Riverside, California, died in Baghdad, more than 7600 miles from his home, on Thursday.

Neal, 19, was the first American acknowledged to have died in Operation Inherent Resolve, the US military’s new name for the war Obama launched on August 7. Americans have been dying in Iraq since 1991, some four years before Neal was born.

Technically, Neal may not have been the first US fatality of the Iraq-Syria war against the Islamic State. Naval forces assigned to US Central Command, which has operational control of the war, acknowledged on October 3 that a Marine, Corporal Jordan L. Spears, went missing at sea in the North Arabian Gulf after bailing out of his MV-22 Osprey. Spears took off from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, which carried Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, assigned to support the war in Iraq and Syria.
read more here

Friday, October 24, 2014

Queens Police Officers Attacked by Terrorist with Hatchet

'Rookie cops' recovering after hatchet attack
By Shimon Prokupecz and Kevin Conlon
October 24, 2014

There's no indication the attack is tied to radical Islam, official says
Officials: New York police told to be on alert "against random attacks"
A man rushed four police officers in Queens, New York, police commissioner says
Two were hit; the two who weren't shot at the attacker, who was killed, commissioner says

New York (CNN) -- A New York City police officer remains in critical condition at a Queens hospital Friday, one day after suffering a hatchet wound to the head.

Officer Kenneth Healey and three on-duty colleagues were posing for a picture on the sidewalk Thursday afternoon when a hatchet-wielding man charged at them "unprovoked," according Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

The suspect, identified as Zale H. Thompson, was hiding behind a bus shelter as if he was waiting to attack the officers, according to a law enforcement official, who said it almost appeared as if he were stalking them.

Healey, 28, was struck in the back of the head. Officer Joseph Meeker, 24, was struck in the arm. The remaining two officers fired at Thompson, killing him.

In the chaos, one of the officer's bullets struck a nearby pedestrian in her lower back. Bratton said she was recovering in surgery Thursday evening.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the officers' swift response. "Here are four rookie cops, just starting out in their career, when the absolute unexpected happened," de Blasio said at a Thursday press conference. "They responded exactly as their training dictated and ended the situation -- thank God -- very, very quickly. "
read more here

Central Alabama VA Healthcare System Director Removed

October 24, 2014
Central Alabama VA Healthcare System Director Removed

Permanent Director Sought

Montgomery, AL – Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) formally removed the Director of the Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHCS) from federal service. This decision followed an investigation by the Office of Accountability Review (OAR) in which allegations of neglect of duty were substantiated.

This removal action underscores VA’s commitment to hold leaders accountable and get Veterans the care they need. OAR, which reports directly to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, assists VA facilities in accelerating leadership accountability actions and ensuring that such actions are applied consistently across the Department.

The Veterans Health Administration will begin recruiting a Director for CAVHCS. To ensure continuity of care for Veterans and leadership for VA employees during the recruitment period, Dr. Robin Jackson, Deputy Network Director, VISN 7, has been designated acting CAVHCS director.

Fake Navy SEAL Vietnam Veteran Arrested for Child Porn

Man arrested for child porn in San Antonio
Tyler Paper
Written by By KENNETH DEAN
23 October 2014

LINDALE — A man who has falsely claimed he was an elite Navy Seal and a veteran of the Vietnam War, and who last year clashed with police over his arrest for animal cruelty, has been arrested on much more serious charges by U.S. marshals — three felony counts of possession of child pornography.

Gaylord Stevens, also known as Steven Hawke, was arrested in San Antonio on Wednesday on the Smith County charges and was expected to be booked into the Smith County Jail late Thursday on the charges and with bonds totaling $300,000.

Stevens, 65, reported to media outlets last December that Lindale Police illegally seized his horse as he traveled across the country attempting to raise awareness for American history.
Stevens’ claims to have served as a Navy Seal in Vietnam were proven false.

A book titled “Stolen Valor” indicates Stevens actually served in the U.S. Coast Guard stateside from 1969 to 1972. He never went to Vietnam and never was a Navy Seal.

Craft said Stevens also was considered a con man who traveled the country collecting money from unsuspecting individuals and businesses for a Vietnam War museum.
read more here