Wounded Times

Where Veterans Get Their News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Now Congress Thinks Military Suicides Are Caused by Money Problems?

OMG! Congress spends more money on
suicide prevention with "financial planners"
Landmark Military Suicide Prevention Study Approved by Congress 
Financial Planning
Ann Marshi
December 17, 2014
The $1 million cost of the study "is like pocket change in terms of the Department of Defense's budget," she says. "When are the servicemembers going to get the help they deserve?"
Tucked into the $1.1 trillion spending package just approved by Congress is a little-noticed provision for a study into connections between financial stress and the military suicide epidemic – legislation advocates believe represents a vital step forward in achieving more effective financial planning interventions for soldiers and veterans.

Prompted by a Financial Planning investigation, the measure sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) directs the Pentagon to analyze financial stress as a main precipitating factor to military suicide; other leading factors are mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder, marital problems and substance abuse. "This may be exactly what's needed to jumpstart attention to this issue," says former U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, an M.D. who spoke out in support of the bill.

"It may trigger more attention to get people to start recognizing that they need to take care of this issue for their soldiers and veterans." read more here

Eielson Air Force Chaplain Next Catholic Bishop

Air Force Chaplain Chosen to Become Catholic Bishop
Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage
by Dermot Cole
Dec 17, 2014

U.S. Air Force Maj. Chad Zielinski, 354th Fighter Wing Catholic chaplain,
preaches during Sunday Mass at Fort Wainwright, Alaska,
June 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford)
FAIRBANKS -- When the command post at Eielson Air Force Base summons an Air Force chaplain, it's almost always a crisis that requires immediate attention.

After the phone rang at 6:15 a.m. that Saturday morning in November, the Rev. Chad Zielinski, 50, thought it was not an emergency, but a big mistake.

In this case, the caller, perhaps not fully aware of the time zone, identified himself as Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the ambassador from the Vatican who represents Pope Francis in Washington, D.C. "Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed you Bishop of Fairbanks," Vigano told Zielinski.

Zielinski, a chaplain for 12 years and a Catholic priest for 18 years, asked Vigano who he was three or four times, thinking that the Apostolic Nuncio had the wrong Zielinski.

"I was so tired and could not think straight," Zielinski said, reconstructing the Nov. 8 conversation in a letter to those who worship with him at Our Lady of Snows Catholic Community at Eielson.
read more here

Soldier Fed Hungry Woman and Sat with Her a While

Family looking for soldier who bought hungry Petersburg woman a hot meal
NBC 12 Virginia
By Ashley Monfort
Updated: Dec 17, 2014

An effort is underway to find a soldier who bought a hungry woman a hot meal in Petersburg. Another customer posted a photo of the soldier sitting down with the stranger at the Hardee's off of Route 460 in Petersburg on Tuesday.

NBC12 tracked down the woman and now her family wants to thank the man who gave her a hot meal.

A motel off of Route 460 in Petersburg is where Roxie Delphine Edwards calls home, and a hot meal isn't always easy to come by. She says she goes hungry some days.

Edwards lives near a Hardee's restaurant where the manager says she usually just asks for a drink. On Tuesday she says she walked in the rain and asked a soldier for help. "I asked him if he could buy me something to eat and he said yeah," Edwards said.
read more here

Abuse of PTSD Civil War Soldiers Repeated in the Army Now

If you think things haven't changed much since then, you're right. Considering what was reported about Warrior Transition Units telling PTSD soldiers to "suck it up" and "man up" the attitude is still the same after all these years.
Did Civil War Soldiers Have PTSD? 
One hundred and fifty years later, historians are discovering some of the earliest known cases of post-traumatic stress disorder
Smithsonian Magazine
By Tony Horwitz
January 2015
The wounded soldiers above were photographed at a hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia, between 1861 and 1865. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs division)
This veil is now lifting, in dramatic fashion, amid growing awareness of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. A year ago, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine mounted its first exhibit on mental health, including displays on PTSD and suicide in the 1860s. Historians and clinicians are sifting through diaries, letters, hospital and pension files and putting Billy Yank and Johnny Reb on the couch as never before. Genealogists have joined in, rediscovering forgotten ancestors and visiting their graves in asylum cemeteries.
In the summer of 1862, John Hildt lost a limb. Then he lost his mind.

The 25-year-old corporal from Michigan saw combat for the first time at the Seven Days Battle in Virginia, where he was shot in the right arm. Doctors amputated his shattered limb close to the shoulder, causing a severe hemorrhage. Hildt survived his physical wound but was transferred to the Government Hospital for the Insane in Washington D.C., suffering from “acute mania.”

Hildt, a laborer who’d risen quickly in the ranks, had no prior history of mental illness, and his siblings wrote to the asylum expressing surprise that “his mind could not be restored to its original state.” But months and then years passed, without improvement. Hildt remained withdrawn, apathetic, and at times so “excited and disturbed” that he hit other patients at the asylum. He finally died there in 1911—casualty of a war he’d volunteered to fight a half-century before.

The Civil War killed and injured over a million Americans, roughly a third of all those who served. This grim tally, however, doesn’t include the conflict’s psychic wounds. Military and medical officials in the 1860s had little grasp of how war can scar minds as well as bodies. Mental ills were also a source of shame, especially for soldiers bred on Victorian notions of manliness and courage.

For the most part, the stories of veterans like Hildt have languished in archives and asylum files for over a century, neglected by both historians and descendants.
“We’ve tended to see soldiers in the 1860s as stoic and heroic—monuments to duty, honor and sacrifice,” says Lesley Gordon, editor of Civil War History, a leading academic journal that recently devoted a special issue to wartime trauma. “It’s taken a long time to recognize all the soldiers who came home broken by war, just as men and women do today.”

Counting these casualties and diagnosing their afflictions, however, present considerable challenges. The Civil War occurred in an era when modern psychiatric terms and understanding didn’t yet exist. Men who exhibited what today would be termed war-related anxieties were thought to have character flaws or underlying physical problems. For instance, constricted breath and palpitations—a condition called “soldier’s heart” or “irritable heart”—was blamed on exertion or knapsack straps drawn too tightly across soldiers’ chests. In asylum records, one frequently listed “cause” of mental breakdown is “masturbation.” read more here

Warning: Tissues Required for These Hearttugging Videos

Dec 8, 2010
After receiving an email of the awe inspiring poem A Soldiers Christmas, written by Michael Marks, I felt compelled to create a video montage (using the song "I Believe" by Era) that would complement Mr. Marks words. I hope it touches you as much as it did me.
Marine Veteran
Semper Fi

And for those who are carried back home, Delta Honor Guard

Kiss Raises Funds for Fisher House Orlando and Veterans Spirits

Join 1059 SUNNY FM for the grand opening celebration on Tuesday, January 6th at the new Rock and Brews Oviedo location! Tickets are available now for a public meet and greet event with Simmons and Stanley from 2-4 p.m.

The meet and greet, hosted by Stanley and Simmons, is open to the public. Tickets to the meet and greet are $200 per person and include two adult beverages per person or unlimited soft drinks, a sampling of Rock and Brews cuisine, and a photo opportunity with Stanley and Simmons.

A percentage of proceeds, not less than $10,000, will benefit the Orlando VA Medical Center’s new Fisher House in Lake Nona located just steps from the Orlando VAMC’s newest hospital. The Fisher House is designed for Veterans and their families to stay at during hospitalization at no cost or restriction on the length of the visit.

Click here to purchase your tickets to hang with Gene, Paul and 1059 SUNNY FM’s Domino!

Still Time To Sign Up For Fisher House News/Talk Holiday Show Morning Mouth

THE MOUTH, DECEMBER 15TH, 2014 –– Fisher House Foundation and news/talk radio partner again this holiday season to bring attention to wounded warriors, veterans and military families. Fisher House is offering a three-hour, highly-produced public affairs show for air between Christmas and New Year's Day. "Zachary's Gift" tells the inspiring story of Fisher House founder Zachary Fisher through heroes served by the foundation's growing network of no-cost comfort homes built on the grounds of VA and military base hospitals. The show is free; no contract, no barter. Stations may air it multiple times. Affiliates include KABC Los Angeles, WLS Chicago, WPHT Philadelphia, KSFO San Francisco, WRKO Boston, WMAL Washington, WSB Atlanta, KTRH and KPRC Houston, KTAR Phoenix, KOA Denver, WTAM Cleveland, KFBK Sacramento, WTIC Hartford, KQTH Tucson, KSL Salt Lake City, KARN Little Rock, KRMG Tulsa and many others. "Many stations are using 'Zachary's Gift' to fill a local three-hour show on Christmas or New Year's Day," said executive producer Marshall Adams. The show's host is Mark Watkins, a radio newsroom vet who recently retired from the anchor booth at WBAP and KLIF Dallas. Jeff Davis is the show's promo voice. Jonathan Shaffer from WSM Nashville is leading production and imaging. Westwod One is handling affiliate relations pro-bono. To sign up, send a note with your planned air times to Stuart Greenblatt at sgreenblatt@westwoodone.com. Marshall Adams can answer questions about content at (412) 856-3400 or radio@fisherhouse.org.

Warrior Transition Unit Leaders Had to Be Ordered to Treat Wounded Better?

Army orders new training for Warrior Transition Units
Sen. John Cornyn, in a strongly worded letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, said he found “highly disturbing” complaints about verbal abuse, disrespect and unfair treatment within the Army’s Warrior Transition Units, or WTUs.

The complaints were gathered from interviews with current and former soldiers, as well as hundreds of military records obtained by The News and NBC5 through the Freedom of Information Act.

“These news reports indicate a need for increased congressional oversight. Moreover, they raise a number of serious policy questions,” Cornyn wrote in the letter dated Monday.

“The purpose of these WTUs is to help soldiers heal and recover from physical and psychological wounds of war and then either return to their units or transition to civilian life,” he wrote. “Yet, the environment described in the recent news reports ... falls far short of that standard.”

Cornyn’s points

In his letter, Cornyn raised several questions:

Has there been a hostile climate within the WTUs?

Within the WTUs, do key personnel understand post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and recognize it as a legitimate medical condition?

Does the organizational structure of the WTUs result in friction between military requirements and medical needs of soldiers?

Has the Army implemented recommendations from the Department of Defense Inspector General to improve training of the WTU leaders?

Are pharmaceuticals being overused as a treatment for wounded soldiers with PTSD or other psychological ailments?

The answer is yes. We've known about it, screamed about it, cried about it and members of Congress didn't listen.

Army had to issue orders at every Warrior Transition Unit to treat wounded with "dignity and respect." Top that off with they think that a day of training leaders will make enough of a difference to stop the widespread abuse of our wounded. Do they really think a day is enough to undo all this?
It was created 7 years ago. Think about that. For the last 7 years when we were told a totally different story about the care the wounded were getting and how serious the leaders were on addressing PTSD, this was happening. It took NBC news and the Dallas Morning News 6 months to uncover what we've all been talking about and now, finally, something may be done. If you want to know why there are so many suicides, this is a huge part of the reason.
I am very thankful for NBC and Dallas Morning News for uncovering this wide spread abuse of our wounded soldiers.

The best part is now members of Congress are paying attention to this too. Gee do you think they should have done some investigating on their own if they really cared about saving soldiers and veterans? Do you think they should have been paying attention to what all of us knew instead of passing bills to prevent suicides when the answer was already known to most of us?

It all starts with the bullshit of what the DOD has been doing to the soldiers instead of what they claimed they were doing for them!
Army officials order new training to address complaints made by injured soldiers highlighted in an NBC 5 Investigates report. NBC 5 Dallas By Scott Friedman Dec 17, 2014
Army Takes Action on Warrior Transition Units
Injured Heroes, Broken Promises: Army Orders New Training at Warrior Transition Units
NBC 5 report prompts Congressional action on harassment in the Army
By Scott Friedman
December 17, 2014

The training was to be specifically focused on how to treat soldiers with dignity and respect.

“So harassment and abuse is unacceptable in our force.” said Army Warrior Transition Commander, Col. Chris Toner, in an interview last month.

“The message is you can't mistreat these soldiers. The message is you will treat them with dignity and respect,” said Toner.

The investigation showed soldiers with post-traumatic stress describe WTU army leaders cursing at them and telling to get over it.

Spc. Michael Howard said he was told to “man up” while in recovery at a WTU. Other soldiers complained of being ordered to drive to early-morning military formations while being prescribed sedating medications during their treatment.

“On one occasion, I fell asleep at a stoplight with my vehicle in drive,” said Sgt. Zach Filip.

Now Thornberry and Cornyn are calling on the Army to do more to address the allegations uncovered.

"I think it's very concerning,” said Thornberry, the new Chairman-Elect of the House Armed Services Committee.

He said as far back as 2008 the committee saw similar concerns from soldiers and demanded improvement from the Army.
Changes can’t come soon enough for Robin Howard, whose husband Michael Howard was at the WTU at Fort Hood until he retired earlier this year. Michael said commanders left him feeling verbally abused and threatened while receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress and a degenerative brain condition.

“These are real humans they've mistreated,” said Robin Howard.

The Howard’s hope Army leaders will take the new training that’s been ordered to heart.

“I'm hoping that it's more than lip service. I'm hoping they are going to make these changes. The soldiers need this,” said Robin Howard.

The new Army training orders specifically tells commanders care plans for the injured should be, “tailored to the soldier and family.” read more here
They've been getting complaints going back to 2008, yet when suicides went up, they didn't bother to figure out why.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Well meaning push for bill pushes PTSD facts out

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 17, 2014

Veterans and families are tired of waiting and wondering when reporters will talk about what we see on this side of the issues.

Sometimes I don't know if I will ever find the right words for people to finally get it. The troops do. The veterans do. The trouble is, well meaning folks online don't. They are trying. They are searching. They are reaching out and many are praying for answers. Trust me. If we keep settling for better than nothing the troops and veterans will be able to depend on the same old nothing they've been getting all along.

I've had a lot of discussions over the years but while the veterans community, at least most of us in it, totally understand where the failures began leading us to where we are, too many others believe whatever they are told.

I think the IAVA is great and means well by pushing the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill.
Shown Here:
Introduced in House (07/10/2014)

Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act or the Clay Hunt SAV Act - Requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Secretary of Defense (DOD), at least annually, to each arrange for an independent third party evaluation of, respectively, the VA and DOD mental health care and suicide prevention programs.

Requires a board reviewing the discharge or dismissal of a former member of the Armed Forces whose application for relief is based at least in part on post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury related to military operations or sexual trauma, to:
(1) review the medical evidence from the VA or a civilian health provider that is presented by the former member; and
(2) review the case, with a presumption of administrative irregularity, and place the burden on the VA or DOD to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that no error or injustice occurred.

Directs the VA Secretary to publish an Internet website that serves as a centralized source to provide veterans with regularly updated information regarding all of the VA's mental health care services.

Requires the VA Secretary and the DOD Secretary to enter into certain strategic relationships to facilitate: the mental health referrals of members of the reserve components who have a service-connected disability and are being discharged or released from the Armed Forces,
timely behavioral health services for such members,
communication when such members are at risk for behavioral health reasons, and
the transfer of documentation for line-of-duty and fitness-for-duty determinations.

Requires the VA Secretary to carry out a three-year pilot program to repay the education loans relating to psychiatric medicine that are incurred by individuals who: are eligible to practice psychiatric medicine in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) or are enrolled in the final year of a residency program leading to a specialty qualification in psychiatric medicine,
demonstrate a commitment to a long-term career as a psychiatrist in the VHA, and
agree to a period of obligated service with the VHA in the field of psychiatric medicine.

Directs the VA Secretary to carry out a program, as part of the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program, under which the VA Secretary and an institution of higher education (IHE) agree to cover the full cost of charges not covered by post-9/11 educational assistance that are incurred by veterans who: (1) are pursuing an advanced degree in mental health at the IHE, and (2) intend to seek employment as a mental health professional in the VA. Allows the VA Secretary to cover up to 64% of those charges, if the school covers the remainder.

Requires the DOD Secretary to submit to Congress a zero-based review of the staffing requirements for individual State National Guard Commands with respect to Directors of Psychological Health.

Directs the VA Secretary to establish a pilot program at not less than five Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) to assist veterans transitioning from active duty and to improve the access of veterans to mental health services. Requires the pilot program at each VISN to include: (1) a community oriented veteran peer support network, and (2) a community outreach team for each medical center in such VISN.

They mean well however there is nothing new in this bill that hasn't been done before.

It isn't as if no one knew it has been happening. They just didn't know what to do about saving lives so they tried anything and everything.
Suicides Seen Among Vets Treated By VA
CBS News March 20, 2008
According to the experts, two age groups stood out between 2000 and 2007. First, ages 20-24 - those likely to have served during the Iraq-Afghan wars. Suicide attempts rose from 11 to 47.

And for vets ages 55 to 59, suicide attempts jumped from 19 to 117.

In both age groups, the attempted suicides grew at a rate much faster than the VA patient population as a whole.

In addition, this VA study, also obtained exclusively by CBS News, reveals the increasing number of veterans who recently received VA services ... and still succeeded in committing suicide: rising from 1,403 suicides in 2001 to 1,784 in 2005 - figures the VA has never made public.

But even that turned out to be wrong considering a lawsuit filed by Veterans For Common Sense produced documents showing the VA knew they had 1,000 veterans attempted suicides every month
But in this e-mail to his top media adviser, written two months ago, Katz appears to be saying something very different, stating: "Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in our medical facilities."

Katz's e-mail was written shortly after the VA provided CBS News data showing there were only 790 attempted suicides in all 2007 - a fraction of Katz's estimate.

"This 12,000 attempted suicides per year shows clearly, without a doubt, that there is an epidemic of suicide among veterans," said Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense.

This is why veterans cannot wait for another bill to do the same as every other bill has done. They cannot wait for someone to wake up to the fact that these struggles begin in the military and so far, the toxic leadership has done a great job feeding the stigma between their "resilience training" the abuse of soldiers in Warrior Transition Units, and then all of this topped off with bad conduct discharges by the thousands a year in each branch. The Army discharged 11,000 in 2013 alone.

The reporters told us that the DOD is doing pre and post deployment screenings however the Joint Vice Chiefs of Staff told the Senate Armed Services Committee they were not doing post deployment screenings.

Reporters told us that the majority of the suicides were committed by soldiers that had never been deployed yet they never asked how they expect resilience training to work on multiple deployed troops if it didn't even work on the non-deployed.

Reporters told us that the number of suicides went down but reporters didn't bother to also mention the fact that so did the number of enlisted personnel.

Reporters told us that families were being trained and taught about PTSD, but families say they didn't have a clue and no one told them anything.

Reporters told us that Comprehensive Soldier Fitness costs about $125 million but didn't bother to mention the fact that was just a down payment for a research project designed to give school aged kids a better sense of self-worth and experts said it didn't fit with military culture topping off the fact resilience cannot be taught.

There are a lot of things the general public is led to believe but the reality we live with everyday is much different.

Problems in the VA are not new and they have been going on for decades. I know because my Dad was a 100% followed by my husband. So I've been exposed to the issues all my life.

The VA has been accused of being a pill-mill and rightly so for the most part even though pills only numb and do not heal. Peer support groups work best for veterans and for the families but they are not supported across the country. It all still depends on where a veteran lives how much they are helped or harmed.

Healing PTSD requires a three level approach treating the mind-body-spirit of the veteran and this has been known for 40 years.

The families are on the front lines and knowledge or lack of it contributes to the outcomes.

There is so much reporters are not telling the citizens so when things happen like the murders in Pennsylvania, they jump to the conclusion veterans with PTSD are dangerous without ever thinking about how few reports they read like that but how many they read about a veteran harming themselves instead.

They are not reminded of the simple fact that there are over 7 million people in this country living with PTSD but not many of them are dangerous to anyone but themselves in the general population.

There are many things that can be done and have been done proven to work yet when we are willing to settle for anything, these other things are ignored, history is repeated while veterans wait for a different outcome.

There were less suicides when less was being done and that, that is the thing reporters should have been telling folks all along because frankly, it is what we live with year after year.

One more thing we're tired of is when this generation of veterans gets pushed up so they get more benefits than older veterans do. Either we take care of all veterans now equally or when this generation takes over as the "old guys" they'll be pushed back too. I doubt they'd like it very much.

"Toxic Command Climate" Linked to Sailor's Suicide

Report: Bullying, Abuse Contributed to Sailor's Suicide
The Virginian-Pilot
by Dianna Cahn
Dec 16, 2014

A sailor's suicide on board the Norfolk-based destroyer James E. Williams in June can be blamed in part on a toxic command climate that involved bullying and reprisal, a command investigation has found.

The investigation was spurred by the death of the sailor but grew in scope when investigators began examining the ship's leadership. What they found was misconduct and abusive behavior among the senior enlisted while the commanding officer and the executive officer failed to take charge.

Among the allegations to surface in the report were accounts of sexual assault, a reprisal and unruly alcohol abuse by the ship's command master chief -- the top enlisted officer.

The ship's skipper, Cmdr. Curtis Calloway, handed over the reins in September in a scheduled change of command. He was reassigned, along with his deputy, Cmdr. Ed Handley, and Command Master Chief Travis Biswell, to a desk job in Norfolk pending the investigation. All three faced non-judicial punishment for dereliction of duty in October, while Biswell was also found guilty of drunk and disorderly conduct.
read more here

Military Commissary Shoppers used $130.6 million in food stamps 2013

Just wanted to share this in case you didn't care when food stamps were cut and didn't know many of the people on them are in the military and veterans.
Food Stamp, WIC, Debit Terminals Down at Many Commissaries
by Amy Bushatz
Dec 16, 2014
Commissary shoppers used $130.6 million in food stamps, officially known as the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in fiscal 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the Defense Department. About $29 million in WIC benefits were redeemed that same year.

Some stateside commissaries are unable to process food stamps, and some WIC and debit card payments after the security certificate in store PIN pad terminals expired Dec. 7, shutting down the system.

The problem, which was not a data security breach and did not put any patron payment information at risk, impacted Defense Commissary Agency stores as well as some civilian grocers across the U.S., officials said.

"On December 7 thousands of older model PIN pads produced by Hypercom were unable to process debit card, EBT and electronic WIC transactions because the terminals' cryptographic certificate expired," Kevin Robinson, a DeCA spokesman, said in a statement. "As of Dec. 14, approximately 60 percent of DeCA's total PIN pads are able to process all of our customer's electronic transactions requiring a PIN."

The problem has the biggest impact on commissary shoppers who want to use electronic benefits transfer (EBT) food stamp benefits.

Stores where terminals are down can still run debit cards as credit cards, but are unable to give cash back. They can also process Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) transactions on paper. However, patrons who want to use food stamp benefits will need to do so at a different store or wait until the system is repaired.
read more here

500 Fort Irwin Soldiers March 38 Miles to Honor Veterans

ABC 7 News
By Rob McMillan
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

BARSTOW, Calif. (KABC) -- About 500 soldiers marched 38 miles from their base in Fort Irwin to the California Veterans Home in Barstow as part of an annual tradition to spread holiday cheer to our nation's heroes.

Through rain or shine, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment spent two days marching. When they arrived, more than 160 veterans greeted them.

"Everybody here is a veteran and to see this kind of acknowledgement is really good," Vietnam veteran Jim Wilson said.
read more here

If you have Dishonorable Discharge and PTSD this May Help You

Dishonorable Discharges Will Now be Reviewed by Mental Health Specialists
December 16, 2014

Soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, many of whom have been unfairly kicked out of the service because of their condition, will now have their discharges reviewed by mental health experts.

The new defense authorization bill approved by Congress included a provision requiring the military to add one mental health professional to review boards that determine service members’ discharge status. The mandate applies both to current military personnel and those previously discharged who received less-than-honorable designation. The latter group will have the opportunity to have their discharges reviewed by a board that includes a mental health professional.
read more here

Marines recoiled at media reports that link Stone to PTSD

A simple reminder of facts substantiated by numbers. Over 22 million veterans in this country yet suicides claim more lives than crimes like this. They are more likely to harm themselves than someone else and news reports from all over the country prove that everyday. PTSD does not make them dangerous. If it did then we'd be reading more reports like this than about them committing suicide.
Questions linger as ex-Marine sought in Montco killing spree stabs self to death
December 17, 2014

A community pray vigil at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Souderton for the shooting victims in Montgomery County, Tuesday, December 16, 2014. ( STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer )

A GENERATION FROM NOW, people will still talk about the way Bradley William Stone went about butchering his ex-wife and her family, leaving a trail of blood and gore across Montgomery County as he moved from house to house, town to town, ambushing them in the middle of the night like a demon from hell.

But no matter how many times the story is revisited, no one will ever be able to answer the question that gnaws at the soul of anyone who discovers all of this heartache and horror: Why?

Any hope of making sense of the Monday morning massacre that claimed the lives of Nicole Stone and five of her relatives was snuffed out yesterday afternoon, when investigators found the killer's body in the woods in Pennsburg, about a half-mile from his house.

Brad Stone, 35, committed suicide, apparently hacking away at himself in his final moments with a knife, District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

The discovery of his body brought an end to a manhunt that had left the area increasingly on edge as authorities struggled to pinpoint Stone's whereabouts.

Those who were friendly with Stone and his ex-wife, meanwhile, were left with the impossible task of trying to reconcile the guy they thought they knew - a father who adored his two daughters - with the cold-blooded killer whose fury made national headlines.

Military veterans who served with Stone in the Marines recoiled at media reports that seemed to link the bloodshed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that Stone was supposedly saddled with from a tour in Iraq.
"A lot of us come home with it, but you can't blame what happened there on PTSD," said a veteran who once worked alongside Stone. "It really is the person you are underneath that will decide if you do something like this."
read more here


After Former Marine's Killing Spree, Questions Raised About PTSD

WWI Hero Closer to MOH and out of "bureaucratic no-man’s land"

World War I veteran one step from getting Medal of Honor
St. Louis Post Dispatch
By Jesse Bogan
December 15, 2014
A family photo of Sgt. William Shemin during his service in World War I.

WEBSTER GROVES • Twelve years and many phone calls since Elsie Shemin-Roth started on a mission through bureaucratic no-man’s land, her father, a deceased World War I veteran, is one step away from getting the military’s highest decoration.

Under normal circumstances, the Medal of Honor is awarded within five years of an act of heroism. A waiver of time limitations cleared the U.S. Senate Friday as part of a minuscule addition to the massive military spending bill. The vote clears the deck for a final obstacle: approval from President Barack Obama.

“I am just so pleased that we are finally going down the homestretch,” Shemin-Roth, 85, said from her home in Webster Groves.

In 1919, her father was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for “extraordinary heroism,” according to a citation signed by Gen. John J. Pershing. That medal is the Army’s second-highest award.

Decades later, Shemin-Roth heard about a group of Jewish-American World War II vets getting their Army Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross citations reviewed for an upgrade due to anti-Semitism. She wanted her father and other World War I vets to have a shot at the Medal of Honor, too.
But first she’d have to get a new law passed. She succeeded with passage of the William Shemin Jewish World War I Veterans Act in 2011.

It allowed a one-year window for cases like her father’s to be resubmitted. There were strict guidelines. Eyewitnesses were needed to verify acts of valor being studied nearly a century later.
read more here

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Watertown Police Standoff with Man Barricaded in Home

Watertown man barricades himself in home, shoots at officers 
By Jesse Gosselin,
News 8 Digital Executive Producer
Published: December 16, 2014
WATERTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Watertown police are negotiating with a man accused of firing bullets at police after he barricaded himself inside his home Tuesday. Watertown police tell News 8 they responded to 179 Bryant Road at 9:15 a.m. after a family member called for help.

The family member told police that their relative was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Officers arrived on the scene discovered that the man was alone in the house, armed, and refused to come outside.

Police immediately setup a perimeter around the home and called in the Regional Emergency Response team for assistance. read more here