Veterans' News


Wounded Times

Where Veterans Get Their News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

If you have a PTSD service dog, remember your responsibility

This is our dog Harry. He is more of a guard dog than service dog because we trained him to just be a normal dog. While he does fine on walks and at the vets, we don't take him places with us because frankly, I doubt it would end well. We tried it when he was younger but at 80 lbs, this 3 year old takes tantrums and sulks. Forget the dog park for this guy.
Harry is also a Momma's boy. No one comes near me. He is my "baby" and I adore him but I have a responsibility to other people. It is one I respect as much as I want them to respect a dog like him. Harry was adopted from a shelter. We later found out that he is Rottweiler-Rhodesian Ridgeback
Hound Group; AKC recognized in 1955. Ranging in size from 24 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and 70 to 85 pounds. Lion hunter; guard dog

I am a huge supporter of PTSD service dogs and value the fact they were trained to get veterans out in public again. It is reprehensible turning veterans away when they have them. I approve of businesses being subjected to protests and publicity when they refuse service because of service dogs. On the flip side, we don't seem to talk much about the responsibility of the owners to the general public.

If your dog cannot behave in public, then take him for retraining otherwise you are defeating his purpose of calming you down.

As for papers, would it hurt you to carry them when things are getting out of control and showing someone the proof your dog is trained would calm things down?

There are a lot of people buying a vest and pretending their dogs are like yours. Do you really want to put up with that? After all, training a PTSD service dog is very expensive and you not only value your dog, you have shown how much you love them, so don't let a liar put your dog in the same category as their dog.
Proliferation of Service Dogs Leads to Conflict
Valley News Staff Writer
By Maggie Cassidy
Sunday, September 21, 2014

White River Junction — Elroy Litchfield, a Vietnam War veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, recently acquired something that he believes will prove a tremendous help in coping with his condition: a five-month-old dog named Mischief who’s being trained to recognize Litchfield’s early signs of an anxious episode — “getting ready to blow up,” as he calls it — to help prepare the vet and try to calm him down.

Mischief will also be able to help comfort Litchfield in case he experiences an episode.

That explains why Litchfield became upset earlier this summer when a bus driver for Advance Transit prohibited him from taking Mischief aboard. The bus driver informed him that other passengers had complained about Mischief’s behavior on previous rides — the dog had pulled on its leash, jumped on bus seats and on other people, according to the driver.

Litchfield and Advance Transit officials quickly ironed the matter out. Advance Transit Executive Director Van Chesnut says that there is no question that service dogs are allowed on the bus, but only as long as they are kept under control.

In fact, such conflicts are likely to become increasingly common these days, as the use of service dogs grows and the variety of disabilities for which they are used expands.
read more here

Human cost of war for British servicemen and women

Iraq and Afghanistan: Human cost of war for British servicemen and women
BBC News
By Jonathan Beale
Defence correspondent
September 21, 2104

From January 2001 to March 2014, 220,560 individuals were deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan, the MoD says
Medically discharged
A study carried out by King's College London in 2012 found that 27.2% of those deployed to the front line had symptoms of common mental disorders.

Therefore, of the 220,560 who've served in either Iraq and Afghanistan, it's been assumed that 59,992 have or could have mental health issues.

For Britain's armed forces the war in Afghanistan is fast drawing to a close.

To date, 453 UK servicemen and woman have lost their lives there.

But the human cost goes much further.

Many soldiers are still recovering from severe physical injuries.

Others are counting the cost with unseen mental scars.

For the first time we now have a sense of the scale of the potential problem.

Figures released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) show that nearly a quarter of a million men and women have served on the front line.

Between January 2001 and March 2014, 220,560 individuals have been deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan. Many in that number would have had multiple tours.
read more here

Another organization steps up for veterans with PTSD

Suicide awareness month: Helping vets with PTSD
HLN News
By Kelly Bowman
September 21, 2014

An average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day
Battle Saint is an organization raising money to help wounded warriors

When military men and women leave the battlefield, their fight doesn't always end when they get home. Psychiatrists believe that one in three U.S. service members will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

September is National Suicide Awareness Month. Battle Saint is an organization raising money to help wounded warriors with physical rehabilitation and post-traumatic stress. The organization's founder says with only one percent of the U.S. population serving in the armed forces, it’s up to the rest of us to come together and do something for the men and women who sacrifice so much.
read more here

When does Wounded Times earn support from the veterans community?

When does Wounded Times Earn Your Support?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 21, 2014

When does Wounded Times earn support from the veterans community? That is a question I struggle with daily. Has 7 years been long enough? Has over 22,0000 posts been enough? With over 15,000,0000 views on my profile, over 1.7 million pages views on the site, sure, Wounded Times is clearly getting attention but I wonder what kind of attention. Is it good or bad?

When I was attending events, most the complaints I heard from veterans was that the media didn't care about them anymore. So I decided to do something about it. Researching reports on PTSD I was frustrated with the fact I had to search for hours to discover what was happening in towns and cities veterans called home. The national news dropped covering your news so long ago I can't even remember when they actually decided veterans no longer mattered. When they decided to dedicate a couple of minutes to a hero receiving the Medal of Honor at the end of the broadcast right behind a story of a celebrity getting airtime between commercial breaks. (That really ticks me off)

In 2003 I self-published by first book FOR THE LOVE OF JACK, HIS WAR MY BATTLE and re-released it in 2012. Why? Because when I wrote it, no one was telling our story. The secrets we kept from the public because most veteran families thought PTSD was something to be ashamed of. Top that off when we dared to talk to members of the press about what had become America's secret war after war, they didn't want to hear any of it. They told families like mine it was all old news.

They didn't care when they had a chance to fix what was wrong in the 80's for Vietnam veterans, or the 90's for them plus Gulf War veterans. Yes, they had the chance to make a difference as we were dealing with VA long waits to see doctors for treatment as many died before they could be seen, having claims in a pile of other backlog claims, being sent home from the hospital trying to be admitted to the rehab because there were not enough beds and above all, dealing with PTSD with no support from anyone.

People think all of the problem Afghanistan and Iraq veterans have today are new. I supposed it helped them sleep better at night to think they were actually paying attention so they could wash their hands of what they did not do decades ago.

In 1982 I went from being a veteran's daughter and niece of WWII veterans to advocate for Vietnam veterans. That's how long I've been researching PTSD caused by combat after I fell in love with one of them.

In 2006 more research on how veterans learn caused me to create videos so they could learn the easy way.

The first one was Wounded Minds telling their story and ours. It was up on YouTube for a long time until they started blocking music. It was followed by years of more videos.

Years ago it was one site after another but 7 years ago a Marine serving in Iraq actually caused me to rethink what I was doing. I fell into the political trap so many others seemed more involved with than the original mission they had. After responding to his complaint, which I am still ashamed of, defending my right to post what I wanted, he asked me a simple question. "Are you doing this for yourself or us?"

When I stopped crying, realizing he was right, after my eyes cleared up enough to see the computer screen, I sent him an email with a promise. That I would start this site to stay focused on all veterans and servicemembers without being political. I kept my promise.

They only time I get political is when a politician does something positive for you or against you. Really tough holding back because most days I want to explode on some kind of rant. I usually type it to get it off my chest then delete it so I can get back to the story.

By 2010, after two years of training on Crisis Intervention, I decided to go back to college for Digital Media so that I could make better videos and film the events the media didn't think was worthy of air time when they bothered to show up at all.

These are the videos on YouTube for veterans events

One of them was for Orlando Chief Petty Officers.
7 new Navy Chief Petty Officers were pinned today in Orlando at the Reserve Center with a couple of really funny moments.

Last night my husband and I were at the VFW for dinner when I found out there was a Chief's party going on in the hall. I went out to tell an officer I met early about the video and then met the Chief standing near the podium in the video. I actually had a chance to tell him about the video being seen thousands of time and gave him a hug. (Actually the thousands of times is more than 10,000 but who is counting? ha ha)

Last year it was THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR about military suicides, why they happen, why what has been done failed and what we can do about them. I wrote it after families asked me to. They were torn apart learning to late why they had to bury someone they loved and lost to suicide. Few people understand they blame themselves for something they had no control over. I know that feeling as well because we lost my husband's nephew over a decade ago to suicide. He was another Vietnam veteran, uncounted even by today's press as the majority of the suicides.

Sometimes being ahead of the crowd can leave someone behind and that is exactly how I feel when some yahoo steps out of the covers, gets some attention from the press then suddenly becomes an expert on what was happening before they were even born. Instead of giving real answers, they give slogans. Instead of actually helping a veteran, they pass them off with a fix all answer like "I'm prayin' for you" when what they are really saying is, give me your money because I am preying on you.

It isn't my job to watch them or out them. I leave all that up to you. It is only my job to make sure you understand some very simple facts starting with the one that hurts the most. When you don't feel as if you matter at all. This site and the hours I put in are here for you, so you do matter. Trust me, if you didn't, I'd be doing what everyone else is doing in their free time. I have no clue what most of my coworkers are talking about when they watch some kind of apparently popular TV show.

Coworkers? Yes, I have to work for a living because everything I do is free to veterans and their families. I couldn't even break even with donations or ads from Google and lose a few thousand a year out of my own pocket. But the way I look at it, how much does it cost me to do what I am doing right now? Electricity, phone, internet, gas and tolls, the price for attending events and camera equipment aren't really that expensive. Ok, there is the tiny matter of paying back student loans, but I didn't have to do that. I wanted to.

If you read Wounded Times can you take a minute and let me know why? Can you tell me the types of things that matter to you the most? Let me know if you let other people know this site is there for them or why you don't pass it on. I have no clue why there are so many people reading this or what you think.

That is how you can support what I do. Tell me! Share with me the way I share with you. What does this mean to you?

Gulf War Veterans, The Silenced After Service

Gulf War vets: VA trying to silence claims of illness
The Arizona Republic
Paul Giblin
September 20, 2014
Approximately 37 percent of the 700,000 U.S. troops who deployed to the war suffer chronic multisymptom illness, according to "Gulf War Update," a VA newsletter issued in March of this year.

The head of a national committee that studies the health of Gulf War veterans says senior Department of Veterans Affairs officials are obscuring scientific evidence that points to war-related illnesses among an estimated 250,000 veterans who served in the 1990-91 conflict often called the First Gulf War.

VA officials are trying to suppress the number of veterans who would be eligible for treatment and compensation to keep down costs and waiting lists for care, said committee Chairman James H. Binns, a Vietnam veteran and Phoenix business executive involved in the medical equipment industry.

Binns made his claims in a four-page letter to former interim VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors and congressional leaders on June 3 and during a private meeting with new VA Secretary Robert McDonald on Sept. 10.

"The duplicity reaches the highest levels of the department and obstructs hopes for better health of an entire generation of veterans," Binns wrote in the letter.

In response to the group's call for more attention to Gulf War vets, VA officials instead are working to eliminate the congressionally mandated committee's independence by replacing its members with hand-selected new members, Binns told The Arizona Republic.
Hundreds of thousands of veterans, who now primarily are in their 40s, suffer health problems associated with the Gulf War, Binns said.

The conflict, led by the United States, countered Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Coalition planes bombed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's military relentlessly for more than a month, then ground forces raced through Kuwait into Iraq in four days.

The skies above the battlefield were blackened for days with smoke from burning oil wells.

The Gulf War committee and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies have concluded that Gulf War illness exists and that it likely was caused by exposure to neurotoxins from oil-well fires, anti-nerve-gas pills, pesticides and chemicals released from low-level chemical weapons damaged in the destruction of Iraqi facilities.

About a third of those involved in the ground war suffer from a variety of ailments including respiratory conditions, unremitting pain, memory loss, intestinal disorders and skin rashes, which have combined to ruin careers, Binns said.

"These sick veterans have no effective treatments, but remedies can likely be discovered with the right research, according to the Institute of Medicine," Binns stated in his letter to Gibson, Nabors, Miller, the Senate VA Committee chairman, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and others.
read more here

PTSD Veteran's Widow Places 22 Crosses on Lawn

This is a story of love and suffering but beyond that, trying to prevent other families from suffering the same way. The only problem with it is the numbers are wrong. The "22 a day" number comes from the veteran population and not the military. The DOD doesn't count them when they are veterans and the veteran numbers do not include military folks.

The media gets these two groups confused all the time but if they are so important that an article is written about them and their tragedies, shouldn't they matter enough to get their numbers right?

One more thing to point out is even the "22" veteran suicides a day is wrong because it was taken from a study done with just over 20 states not including the 3 states with the highest veteran populations.

Veterans were more than twice as likely as other civilians to commit suicide. They were twice as likely to be a victim of a fatal motor vehicle crash and a quarter more likely to suffer other deadly accidents.

Suicide rate for young veterans three times higher than active duty
Scores of recent Texas war veterans have died of overdoses, suicide and vehicle crashes, investigation finds

Military, veteran suicides account for nearly one in every four in Florida ... but the numbers don't explain why. Rate is one of the nation's highest

Keep in mind that veterans are only 7% of the population.
Also another under-reported fact is that 78% of the veterans committing suicide are 50 and over.
"Veterans over the age of 50 who had entered the VA healthcare system made up about 78 percent of the total number of veterans who committed suicide"

The crosses they bear
Military widow places flags, crosses to honor husband and others
Military Industry Today
September 19, 2014
The crosses they bear
Jennifer McNulty placed 22 crosses in her front yard with photos of veterans who have committed suicide to bring awareness to soldier suicide. September is designated national Suicide Prevention Month.

COEUR d'ALENE - The small American flags flying over the white crosses in Jennifer McNulty's front yard Thursday accompanied photos of 22 servicemen and women who have taken their own lives.

She pointed to the picture of a handsome man in a green Army jacket in the front row.

"This is my husband," she said. "He died Oct. 31, 2012."

Jennifer's husband, Sgt. Wyatt McNulty, suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury. He was in the military for 11 years, serving in Kosovo and suffering the brain injury during training before being deployed to Iraq. He was out for seven years before his death.

"Ever since he came home from Iraq he wasn't the same," Jennifer said. "He was getting sick a lot, and the (Veterans Affairs) wasn't really doing anything to figure out what was making him sick. They were just, like I said, putting a Band-Aid over it and sending him home."

Jennifer, who serves as the treasurer for the Ladies Auxiliary at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 889, wore a special T-shirt and bracelet honoring her husband as she glanced at the many photographs of fallen heroes. She married Wyatt in 1994.

"The year he passed, we had just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary," she said. "This last July would have been our 20th. I was 18, right out of high school."

She said she didn't notice a huge change in Wyatt's personality leading up to his death, but he did experience mood swings. She said they discussed the PTSD with their son and daughter, who are now 14 and 18.

"The mood swings were harsh on the kids," she said. "I always would try to be really honest with them and say, 'That's not really your dad, it's just he's sick. Now, we go to church and just lean on each other."

Jennifer placed the flags, crosses and photos in her yard Thursday morning to answer an Internet challenge issued by, which asked people across the nation to generate awareness about the realities of suicide and how it affects military families.

"It was not something that I ever thought would happen," she said. "He had a friend commit suicide when they were teenagers, and he was mad at him forever, so it was not something I ever expected."
read more here

White House intruder is an Iraq Veteran

Turns out the man who got past Secret Service and into White House is an Iraq veteran. He is also an amputee, has PTSD and is homeless.

White House intruder was an Army vet with PTSD, family says
LA Times
September 20, 2014
“The family’s hope is that this sad event brings awareness to the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said, “and the need for proper treatment.”

“Omar is not some maniac,” he added. “He’s a veteran who needs help.”

The intruder who scaled a White House fence and made it through the front doors was an Army veteran diagnosed with combat trauma, but authorities said Saturday the case was still under investigation.

A family member in California said Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas, near Ft. Hood, has been homeless and living alone in the wild and in campgrounds with his two pet dogs for the last two years.

“We talked to him on 9/11 and he said he planned to go to a Veterans Administration hospital to seek treatments,” said the family member, who asked that he not be identified pending completion of the Secret Service investigation.

A spokesman for the Army confirmed that Gonzalez served on active duty in the Army and was ‎retired in 2012.

Gonzalez joined the Army in the mid-1990s, the family member said. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after his first tour in Iraq. “But they sent him back for a second tour,” he said.

During a second tour, about three years ago, Gonzalez was reportedly injured by a homemade explosive device. “His job was running patrols in Baghdad when his Humvee was hit,” the family member said.
read more here

Man claiming to be Iraq Veteran got past Secret Service and into White House

Man claiming to be Iraq Veteran got past Secret Service and into White House

“The family’s hope is that this sad event brings awareness to the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said, “and the need for proper treatment.”

“Omar is not some maniac,” he added. “He’s a veteran who needs help.”

He is a two tour Iraq veteran diagnosed with PTSD on his first tour but sent back. Then had became an amputee. Then he was discharged to become a homeless veteran!

How safe are we when someone can hop the White House fence, run across the lawn and make it into the White House?
White House Intruder Had Knife, Claims to Be Iraq Vet
ABC News
Arlette Saenz
Digital Journalist
WASHINGTON — Sep 20, 2014

Gonzalez was arrested just after going through the North Portico doors of the White House.
The man who jumped over a White House fence and made it all the way inside the executive mansion before being caught was carrying a 3 1/2-inch knife and told officials he was a veteran of three tours in Iraq, according to the complaint released today.

In the wake of the incident Friday night, the Secret Service announced it is stepping up its security procedures at the White House complex.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson ordered an immediate increase in "officer patrols and surveillance capabilities along the Pennsylvania Avenue fence line" of the White House complex, the Secret Service said Saturday.

The steps went into effect Friday night after Omar Gonzalez, 42, scaled the White House fence, sprinted across the North Lawn, and entered the White House.

The Secret Service dealt with a second security incident in as many days on Saturday after a man was arrested at the White House after trying to enter a barricaded entrance to the White House complex with his car.
Gonzalez was carrying a three and a half inch Spyderco VG-10 black serrated folding knife in his front pants pocket when he was arrested, according to a police affidavit.

On Friday, Secret Service Spokesman Ed Donovan had initially said Gonzalez was unarmed at the time of his arrest.

The affidavit says after he was apprehended, Gonzalez, of Copperas Cove, Texas, told a Secret Service agent "he was concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and need to get the information to the President of the United States so that he could get the word out to people."

He told officials he served 18 years in the military and did three tours in Iraq, according to the affidavit. He said he lived in Washington, D.C., for three months but has no known address.
read more here

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Could some of the wounded survive instead of die?

Are U.S. Soldiers Dying From Survivable Wounds?
Despite Advances in Care, the Military Failed to Save Some Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan From 'Potentially Survivable' Wounds
Wall Street Journal
Sept. 19, 2014

In an unassuming building in suburban Washington, a team of military medical specialists spent six months poring over autopsies of 4,016 men and women who had died on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

They read reports from the morgue at Dover Air Force Base, where bodies arrived in flag-draped coffins. They examined toxicology reports. They winced at gruesome photos of bullet wounds and shredded limbs. In each case, the doctors pieced together the evidence to determine the exact cause of death.

Their conclusion would roil U.S. military medicine: Nearly a quarter of Americans killed in action over 10 years—almost 1,000 men and women—died of wounds they could potentially have survived. In nine out of 10 cases, troops bled to death from wounds that might have been stanched. In 8%, soldiers succumbed to airway damage that better care might have controlled. "Obviously one death or one bad outcome is too many, but there are a lot of them," said one of the researchers, John Holcomb, a former commander of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.

The findings appeared in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery in 2012 to almost no public attention. But in military medical circles, they have fueled a behind-the-scenes controversy that rages to this day over whether American men and women are dying needlessly—and whether the Pentagon is doing enough to keep them alive.

Indeed, a new internal report concluded that the military still hasn't fully adopted battlefield aid techniques that could have kept many wounded men alive in Afghanistan. Some of those techniques have been used to great effect—often with little extra cost—by elite commando units, such as the Army Rangers, for more than a decade, say active-duty and retired military trauma specialists.
read more here

National Guards, First to Fight, Last to Rest

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 20, 2014

National Guards
The National Guard is a unique and essential element of the U.S. military. Founded in 1636 as a citizen force organized to protect families and towns from hostile attacks, today’s National Guard Soldiers hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training part time, always ready to defend the American way of life in the event of an emergency.
National Guard Soldiers serve both community and country. Our versatility enables us to respond to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. The Guard always responds with speed, strength and efficiency, helping to defend American freedom and ideals.
Army History
What is the oldest part of our Army?
The Army National Guard (In December 1636, the Massachusetts Bay Colony organized America’s first militia regiments, some of which still serve today in the Army National Guard.)
What did the U.S. Army begin?
June 14, 1775
Who was the first commander in Chief of the Continental Army?
George Washington
When was the start of the Revolutionary War?
19 April, 1775
When was the Declaration of Independence signed?
July 04, 1776
The Army received it's first real training from what former Prussian Officer at Valley Forge in the winter of 1778?
Baron Fredreich von Steuben
Next came the US Navy
Navy Birthday Information - 13 October 1775
Benjamin Stoddert, 1st Secretary of the Navy
The Chief of Naval Operations has stated that the Navy Birthday is one of the two Navy-wide dates to be celebrated annually. This page provides historical information on the birth and early years of the Navy, including bibliographies, lists of the ships, and information on the first officers of the Continental Navy, as well as texts of original documents relating to Congress and the Continental Navy, 1775-1783.

Next came the Marine Corps
"On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress approved the resolution to establish two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore. This date marks the official formation of the Continental Marines."
1st Commandant: Major Samuel Nicholas (1775-1783)

Then came the Air Force
The Army Reorganization Act of 1920 made the Air Service a combat arm of the Army, and the Air Corps Act of 1926 changed its name to the Air Corps on July 2 of that year. On March 1, 1935, General Headquarters Air Force (GHQ AF) assumed command of U.S.-based Air Corps tactical units, which previously had been parceled out to regional Army corps commands. Yet even after Germany, Japan and Italy began to build up their armed forces, the Air Corps (as well as the rest of the Army) remained a small, peacetime establishment with only limited funds for growth or modernization.

Maybe some really smart reader will explain to me how it is that the national media never really pays attention to any of this.
Suicide Rates Increase In National Guard, Reserves

Fighting suicide is Sgt. Maj. Bill Davidson’s full-time job.

“We just had a soldier a couple weeks ago that was suicidal,” Davidson said. “He was on Facebook. I got on with him on Facebook — not only me, but there was a team effort — you know, talked to him through Facebook and explained to him that it’s not worth sacrificing your life for something that time will heal.”

The program Davidson heads, called Resilience, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention, was started in 2010 in response to a dramatic national increase in suicides among active duty soldiers.

Since then, the number of active duty soldiers killing themselves has dropped while suicides have increased in the Reserves and National Guard. The Department of Defense recently reported the Army National Guard now has the highest suicide rate of any part of the military.  There have been almost 700 suicides in the last six years.

Not a good outcome considering they went up after this program started.
Overwhelmed by life
“One of the theories might suggest that coping strategies haven’t fully developed,” said Richard Doss, Ph.D., 416th Theater Engineer Command suicide prevention program manager, and a licensed clinical psychologist. “They haven’t had an opportunity to experience adversity and realize that they can overcome adversity.”

Doss also cited that in many cases, a sound financial system and personal support system hadn’t been established.

“They recently left home and are establishing themselves as adults so that transition period into early adulthood is challenging,” he said.

Doss said part of that transition happens when they return home and try to return to life as a civilian.

“They come from a military environment where many decisions are made them and now they have to make their own decisions,” he said. "It can be overwhelming.”

“Soldiers come back from making life and death decisions to ‘clean up on Aisle Nine,’” he said.

The truth is, no matter how tough you think the "regular" Army has it, or any other branch, the fact is the National Guard is the oldest branch. They were the first to fight and will be the last to rest.

Why? Because when the regulars leave the military, they don't have to put their lives on the line anymore. When a National Guardsman leaves combat deployments, they continue to risk their lives in their own communities.

Their "support system" is basically us, but we're too busy doing other things and watching Reality TV shows instead of paying attention to real life.

Next time a natural disaster hits your community, and you wonder when help is coming for your sake, you won't have to wonder long because they'll be there no matter how much you ignored them when they needed you.

Silver Star for Navy Corpsman After Battle in Sangin

Silver Star for Doc who fought to save Marine
Navy hospital corpsman repelled machine gun fire in Sangin, Afghanistan
UT San Diego
By Gretel C. Kovach
SEPT. 19, 2014

During a ceremony at 5th Marines in Camp Pendleton, Jonathan Kong is awarded the Silver Star from Maj. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson. Kong was a Hospital Corpsman Second Class while serving in the U.S. Navy and assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines when he was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan.
Nelvin C. Cepeda / UT San Diego/Twitter

CAMP PENDLETON — When “Doc” Kong saw a Marine drop from a shot to the chest, he didn’t hesitate.

While shooting his rifle to suppress the enemy attack, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Kong rushed into the open under heavy machine gun fire to retrieve the Marine and administer life-saving medical care.

The former Navy hospital corpsman “courageously fought through an enemy ambush to save the life of a wounded Marine,” on June 13, 2011 in Sangin, Afghanistan, the Marine Corps announced.

For his heroic achievement, Kong was awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest medal for valor in combat, during a ceremony Friday afternoon at Camp Pendleton.

In brief remarks on the 5th Marine Regiment parade deck, Kong told guests he didn’t feel he deserved the award.

“Honestly, these other corpsmen out here… I was with them in Afghanistan and I know for a fact if they were in my shoes they would have done the same thing. If I was the one laying on my back, someone else would be dragging me behind the wall,” he said.
read more here

40 Members of Congress Don't Want Cuts to Army?

Odierno: More troops in Afghanistan may get pink slips
Stars and Stripes
By Jon Harper
Published: September 20, 2014
(Here are the highlights)
Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ariz., said in a written statement in July. “It’s deplorable the Obama administration would treat them this way.”

Hmm, can only guess that he was AWOL when the Congress passed sequestration when they couldn't pass a budget ahead of that.
Active duty Army end strength is slated to drop from 510,000 troops this year to 490,000 in 2015. Defense officials expect it to go down to about 450,000 by 2019. If lawmakers don’t put an end to budget cutbacks known as sequestration, which are scheduled to go back into effect in 2016, the force level could fall to 420,000.

Congress comes up with the Bills and Congress controls the money. When do politicians understand the rest of the country has grown very tired of hearing it isn't their fault?
Odierno blamed lawmakers for soldiers losing their jobs. He told reporters that he recently received about 40 letters from members of Congress asking him not to cut soldiers from bases in their districts.
read more of this here

Fort McClellan Veterans Sick and Dying From Toxic Exposures

Sick veterans who served at shuttered, toxic Army base turn to Congress, VA for help
By Barnini Chakraborty
Published September 19, 2014

WASHINGTON – Sue Frasier spent the first six months of her military career at Alabama's Fort McClellan. But that short stint -- 44 years ago at an Army base the EPA later would find so toxic it would shut it down -- was all it took for her to start getting sick, she says.

Her problems began shortly after completing boot camp in 1970 at the Anniston, Ala., base. Today, she says she's coping with asthma, a life-threatening gastrointestinal disease that required surgery, and fibromyalgia that results in long-term pain and tenderness in her joints and muscles.

"It hurts everywhere, but at least I can still walk and talk," she told

Frasier is among thousands of veterans who were stationed at the former Army base who believe they were exposed to dangerous polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. They repeatedly have turned to the Department of Veterans Affairs for help, seeking aid for medical treatment and a formal study of their ailments -- but say their pleas have been largely ignored or buried in red tape for decades. Today, they're looking to fresh leadership at the VA, and allies in Congress, to finally take on their case.

The true cause of the veterans' ailments has never been officially determined. Fort McClellan housed several Army components, including a division for chemical weapons training and research. But many veterans suspect they were sickened by chemicals dumped near Anniston by Monsanto Co., which had facilities in the area and disposed of chemicals near the base.
Two pieces of legislation have been introduced to deal with the veterans' medical claims. A proposed Senate bill would establish a national center for research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of the descendants of veterans exposed to toxic substances during service in the Armed Forces. The bill has not advanced.

Over on the House side, a bill more specific to Frasier and similar veterans' claims, and backed by Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., would require the VA to create a registry of everyone who served at Fort McClellan from 1935 to 1999. It then would require the department to reach out to those veterans and offer health exams and information about the effects of toxic exposure. It also would open up disability payments to the veterans.

The House bill, though, has been stuck in congressional gridlock for five years and hasn't made its way out of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
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Kitchen Commandos Debate War Again Ignoring Cost

War Computer Games vs Real Call of Duty
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 20, 2014

The debates about sending troops back into Iraq, keeping them in Afghanistan and spreading them out into other countries leaves most of us sick because they never manage to consider the cost. Hell, they never really do while they show their knowledge, or lack of it, defending their opinions on the options never thinking beyond their limited view. Kitchen Commandos think they understand because more Americans play computer war games than actually go to do it for real.

The New Yorker has an article about "Isis's Call of Duty" computer game "In a recruitment video for the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS (also known as ISIL or I.S.), that has been making the rounds of some uglier parts of the Internet"

The real Call of Duty on Google Plus has this many followers
3,522,318 followers 57,054,760 views

More people are paying attention to computer war games than the real battles being fought as the politicians push for more. The real price paid is what they ignore the most.

Sep 18, 2014

Press Release

Congressman calls for ‘well-funded, well-planned campaign’ to halt epidemic WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, noting that a veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes, called for increased attention to the issue, saying that soldiers and veterans “are left to face the ghosts of war alone.”

“The suicide rate among our country’s brave service men and women and veterans is at a frightening level,” Barber said yesterday on the floor of the House. “Some estimates have shown that as many as 22 veterans take their own lives every day.”

Barber, who represents 85,000 veterans in Southern Arizona, called for an increased focus on identifying members of the armed forces and veterans who may be at risk of taking their own lives and increased attention to preventing that from happening.

“We must combat military and veteran suicide with the same conviction that we take on an enemy of war – because it is killing our men and women in and out of uniform,” Barber said. “We must wage a well-funded, well-planned campaign to fight this heartbreaking epidemic.”

Video of Barber’s entire remarks can be seen by clicking on the photo below:
Published on Sep 18, 2014
Rep. Ron Barber spoke on the floor of the House on veterans suicide prevention. "The suicide rate among our country’s brave service members and veterans is at a frightening level. Some estimates have shown that as many as 22 veterans take their own lives every day.

“We must combat military and veteran suicide with the same conviction that we take on an enemy of war. Because it is killing our men and women in and out of uniform. We must wage a well-funded, well planned campaign to fight this heartbreaking epidemic. we must do more for those who have borne the brunt of war. We must come together, Congress, the administration, the health care community, mental health experts and build upon a plan to help the veterans who served this nation proudly, yet may be suffering." September 17, 2014.

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Kathie Costos DiCesare
Being appalled is one thing, knowing how long it has been going on is inexcusable. By 1978 there were 500,000 Vietnam veterans with PTSD. Their suicides were 200,000 many years ago and today, today veterans over 50 are 78% of the suicides no one talks about. How many more years does it take to stop being home more deadly than being in combat?