Wounded Times

Where Veterans Get Their News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Controversy Surrounds Wounded Warriors, Lavish Salaries, and White House

Controversy Surrounds Wounded Warriors, Lavish Salaries, and White House
By Ryan Schuette
April 23, 2014

Last week, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki welcomed wounded veterans to Soldier Ride, one in a series of cycling events that the Wounded Warrior Project organizes every year.

The White House rollout was one of 19 the Florida-based nonprofit plans to hold with amputee veterans, whom it equips with adaptive bicycles specially made to fit each veteran’s specific handicap.

The South Lawn kickoff on Thursday was the fifth for the Wounded Warrior Project and represents its ascension to a place in the national spotlight that other charities can only covet.

Left unmentioned at the media-friendly reception with the president was a lawsuit in the works against a disabled Indiana veteran who claims the Wounded Warrior Project didn’t do much for wounded vets with the more than $150 million in revenue it raised in 2012.
"They want to send a message to every other person who wants to speak out against (the Wounded Warrior Project)."
Ret. Staff Sgt. Alex Graham

The defendant, Ret. Staff Sgt. Alex Graham — a veteran of combat operations in Iraq with diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder — first criticized the charity in a blog post he made last year, with claims the Wounded Warrior Project spent little on wounded vets and paid senior execs lavish salaries. The post appeared on the now-defunct website for Help Indiana Vets, his own tax-exempt charity, which he says he had to shut down in the wake of the lawsuit.

That was a post heard around the world.

Graham’s claims quickly ricocheted around the Internet, with numerous blogs — including Veterans Today, a news website and benefits forum — publishing his article and amplifying a Google search that now pulls up 84,000 results for the phrase “Wounded Warrior Project scam.”

The charity subsequently filed charges against Graham in December that accused the vet of defamation and unfair business competition, alleging that his post confused donors and led to a $75,000 drop-off in contributions.
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Help Indiana Vets Responds to Wounded Warrior Project lawsuit against them

Wounded Warrior Project sues veterans charity

Army's Wounded Warrior Program Helps Recovery

This is Wounded Warrior Program,,,,,not Project
Wounded Warrior Program Highlights Amputee Soldiers Recovery
by Maria Adebola
April 23, 2014

The 10th anniversary of the U.S. Army's Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) was celebrated April 22. AW2, joining with the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command (WTC), hosted a media and bloggers roundtable to commemorate the years of successful service.

The panel featured three wounded soldiers, each sharing their story on recover and successful transition into Continuation on Active Duty (COAD) through AW2.

Along with soldiers Staff Sgt. Julio Larrea, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Redman, and Spc. Joshua Budd, Col. Johnny Davis, director of the Army Wounded Warrior Program, and Thomas Webb, acting commander of the Warrior Transition Command, spoke about the AW2's role –advocating for wounded soldiers and their families.

"What makes AW2 unique is that we support the most severely wounded, and that our support is completely personalized," said Col. Johnny Davis. "Each soldier is assigned an AW2 advocate as soon as they're found eligible, and our AW2 Advocates work with each soldier and family to resolve whatever challenges they're facing, at whatever point of their recovery and transition."

The AW2 program is a major component of the Army's Warrior and Transition Program (WCTP), established in 2004 to support wounded, ill, and injured soldiers, including veterans and their families, with the recovery and reintegration process they will need to reach a stated of independence.
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Police in New South Wales with PTSD kept on job to save money?

Psychologist blames police compo scheme for traumatised officers not leaving the force
ABC Australia
By Giselle Wakatama
Updated 2 hours 19 minutes ago

A Hunter Valley psychologist says traumatised and injured police officers who should be leaving the force are staying on because of an overhaul of the New South Wales government's compensation scheme.

The state's death and disability scheme was changed in 2012 to rein in costs but since then, there has been a 40 per cent drop in police officers leaving the force.

Newcastle psychologist Roger Peters has treated thousands of officers but says many should get out.

"People who have suffered post traumatic stress disorder are more likely to suffer it again if they're exposed to trauma," he said.

"In the case of New South Wales police, trauma is their everyday currency."
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Marine's wife grieves after burn pit in Iraq killed husband in Colorado

'Our plan was to grow old together': Heartbroken widow of decorated Marine, 33, who succumbed to cancer blames his early death on controversial burn pits in Iraq
Daily Mail UK
23 April 2014

The family of a retired 33-year-old U.S. Marine who succumbed to cancer over the weekend believe that his untimely death was the direct result of his exposure to open-air burn pits in Iraq.

Sean Terry, a married father of three from Littleton, Colorado, passed away Saturday after a seven-month battle with terminal esophageal cancer.

‘We had plans. Our plans were to grow old together and raise our kids together. We can't do that now,’ his wife Robyn Terry told 9News just days before his death.

Mrs Terry and the veteran's friends insist that the Marine who earned a Purple Heart while serving in Iraq in 2005-2006 was sickened by toxins from burns pits, which for years had been used in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of waste.

According to information available on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs site, at this time, research does not show evidence of long-term health problems associated with exposure to burn pits.

However, the agency's site concedes that 'toxins in burns pits may affect the skin, eyes, respiratory respiratory and cardiovascular systems, gastrointestinal tract and internal organs.’

The portal goes on to say that most of the irritation is temporary and resolves once the exposure is gone. ‘This includes eye irritation and burning, coughing and throat irritation, breathing difficulties, and skin itching and rashes,’ the statement reads.

The VA's page also cites a 2011 Institute of Medicine study, which found that high levels of fine dust and pollution in Iraq and Afghanistan 'may pose a greater danger to respiratory illnesses than exposure to burn pits.'
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Veterans on secret VA list in Arizona died waiting for care

A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital's secret list
CNN Investigations
By Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin
April 23, 2014

CNN has been reporting on delays in appointments and veterans' deaths
New revelations of 40 deaths involving Phoenix VA are perhaps the most disturbing yet
Retired VA doctor says there's an official wait list that he calls a sham
He says the real list is kept secret and has wait times that stretch into the months

(CNN) -- At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.

For six months, CNN has been reporting on extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care. But the new revelations about the Phoenix VA are perhaps the most disturbing and striking to come to light thus far.

Internal e-mails obtained by CNN show that top management at the VA hospital in Arizona knew about the practice and even defended it.

Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments:
There's an "official" list that's shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there's the real list that's hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.
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Four American workers shot at the CURE hospital in Afghanistan

3 American workers shot, killed in Afghan hospital
By Qadir Siddiqui and Holly Yan
April 24, 2014

4 American hospital workers were shot, 3 fatally
Police: A guard at the hospital opened fire
The guard also shot himself but survived, police say
It's the latest in a series of deadly attacks against foreigners

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least three American hospital workers in Afghanistan were killed Thursday by an officer guarding the hospital, Kabul police said.

The three men killed were among four American workers shot at the CURE hospital in downtown Kabul, city police spokesman Hashmatullah Stanekzai said.

The police guard shot himself but survived, Stanekzai said. The motive for the attack was not immediately clear. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul confirmed the shooting.

She was married at 6 years old Can Afghan rappers turn out youth vote? Afghans vote for future despite threats "With great sadness we confirm that three Americans were killed in the attack on CURE Hospital," the embassy tweeted. "No other information will be released at this time."
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Newest Medal of Honor Hero Talks About Battle With PTSD

Medal of Honor nominee urges fellow soldiers to get help for PTSD
Associated Press
Article by: MITCH WEISS
April 23, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For U.S. Army Sergeant Kyle White, the firefight began without warning.

White's platoon left a meeting with village elders in Afghanistan after an interpreter heard suspicious chatter on an Army radio.

On the way back to their outpost, White's platoon was ambushed. Over the next few hours, White put his own life at risk to save fellow service members during the Nov. 8, 2007 attack.

"I remember thinking multiple times that day I wasn't going to make it," said White, who will be awarded the Medal of Honor next month by President Barack Obama.

On Wednesday, the 27-year-old White, who now lives in Charlotte, was honored by the North Carolina military community. Gov. Pat McCrory, who was at the gathering, called White a "true American hero."

In his first public discussion of the attack, White made a brief statement and then answered questions about the firefight that killed five members of his platoon and a Marine embedded with his unit.

He also discussed his life since leaving the Army in May, 2011. The Seattle native graduated from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte with a finance degree, and he now works as an investment analyst at a bank in North Carolina's largest city.

White said that after the ambush, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He urged veterans suffering from the illness to get help.
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Politician doesn't think Iraq Vet had real job?

‘Reckless and Irresponsible’: Dem Maryland Gov. Candidate’s Attack on His Iraq War Vet Opponent Backfires
The Blaze
Jason Howerton
Apr. 22, 2014

Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler, a Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland, has a public relations problem on his hands after he suggested his opponent, an Iraq war veteran, isn’t qualified for a “real job.”

Speaking at an event organized by the Tech Council of Maryland on Monday, Gansler took aim at Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, his opponent for the Democratic nomination, when asked about Maryland’s state-run health insurance exchange.

He touted his leadership skills and experience working with budgets when explaining why he is the better candidate to tackle the state’s issues.
read more here when you are done screaming.

Here's the video

"That's all fine an good but this is a real job."

More Military Officers Getting Help for PTSD Including Chaplains

Just because they have faith does not protect them from feeling the emotional toll of what they do. I am a Chaplain (Civilian, not military) and I depend on a large group of spiritual leaders in Point Man Ministries for support. Without them and the support I have received over the last 30 years, I wouldn't be able to help anyone including my own husband.

Some people just assume if you are faithful then you wouldn't be suffering. Yet it is because you are, you did what was needed for the sake of someone else, that you can be torn. The more you feel, the more you feel everything. Get help to feel better. You are not stuck suffering with PTSD and your life can change again.

Less silent suffering: Veterans’ post-traumatic stress taken seriously
The Washington Times
By Maggie Ybarra
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Baseball stadiums are some of the few places where Navy Cmdr. Steven Dundas feels safe, where his mind is not anxiously inching toward the past and latching onto memories of children with missing body parts and the stench of burning swamp fires.

The crack of the bat and the whiz of the ball during a minor league Norfolk Tides game at Harbor Park pulls him into the present and reminds him that he is no longer working at a trauma hospital in a war zone. Cmdr. Dundas, a 54-year-old chaplain for the Joint Forces Staff College, is one of a growing number of military officers struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I came home feeling completely isolated. I didn’t fit in society,” said Cmdr. Dundas, who served in the military for more than 25 years before he was afflicted with PTSD in 2008 while deployed in Iraq.

“Other chaplains and clergy did very little for me. I felt even cut off from God and for about two years, until about December 2009, I was pretty much an agnostic, just hoping that God was still around.”

The Defense Department has reported an uptick in the number of military officers who, like Cmdr. Dundas, are seeking help to cope with the disorder, borne out of war zone trauma and characterized by bouts of anxiety and paranoia. It is often accompanied by night terrors and irrational behavior and has spawned violent behavior and suicides.
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Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center opens Mental Health Center

Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center opens new mental health suite
By: Ashley Park
Apr 22, 2014

BONHAM, TX -- As more and more veterans are diagnosed with PTSD, getting help has become vital to their health, even survival.

The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center has just opened up a new mental health outpatient clinic to offer more services to veterans who need them and who might be hesitant to seek help.

The new suite at the medical center in Bonham offers more space and privacy, something officials say will be beneficial to veterans with mental health disorders.

They say they've seen an increase in veterans and now that they have more space, they believe more will come forward for help.

Veterans will now have a new facility to help them through the challenges some say are even tougher than combat.

The Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center opened a new mental health suite complete with more than 20 offices, giving officials more space to offer more services.

"Individual and group therapy for veterans dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, substance abuse disorder and addiction, and then areas that the VA call seriously mentally ill," says Dr. Steven Bender, clinical director of the mental health services.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Naval officer shoots wife, kills self in west San Antonio

Naval officer shoots wife, kills self in west San Antonio, police say
by Marvin Hurst, Andrew Delgado
Posted on April 22, 2014

SAN ANTONIO -- Local investigators were called to the scene of a fatal double shooting on the west side early Tuesday morning.

Police said a man shot his wife in the chin during a dispute inside their home in the 2200 block of Muuga Manor.

The husband then walked into another room and shot himself to death, according to the San Antonio Police Department.

The man's wife was transported to an area hospital and is expected to survive the attack, police said.

Four children were reportedly inside the home when the shooting happened, around 12:30 a.m. Police said one of the children called police and reported that her 'step dad' had shot her mom.
Ramirez's mother told KENS 5's Marvin Hurst that Ramirez served in Afghanistan. She believes her son was suffering from PTSD.
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The family of Senior Chief Petty Officer Ramirez claims he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Bones from Southeast Asian buried in Arlington grave with MIA remains

This sounds even to strange for an episode of Bones
Documents reveal Southeast Asian remains buried with US vet at Arlington
Stars and Stripes
By Matthew M. Burke
Published: April 21, 2014

Remains from an indigenous Southeast Asian were buried with those of an Army Reserve pilot from the Vietnam War at Arlington National Cemetery, America’s shrine for its fallen heroes.

According to internal POW/MIA documents, when the remains of Chief Warrant Officer 3 William Smith Jr. were turned over to investigators in Vietnam in 1999, a portion belonged to someone else.

Central Identification Laboratory documents stated that the unrelated remains had been identified and segregated from those of the pilot and that only Smith’s remains were shipped to Arlington for burial.

However, an internal memo from the laboratory obtained by Stars and Stripes said that did not happen.

After a ceremony that included a slow march, a horse-drawn caisson and a lone bugler, Smith was buried with foreign remains.

Laboratory anthropologist Gwen Guinan wrote in the internal memo that “subsequent to the shipment and the burial’’ it was discovered that a fragment of a leg bone that should have been separated from Smith’s remains “had been inadvertently included.’’ The memo, addressed to “record” and included in Smith’s case file, was dated Sept. 20, 2000, 12 days after Smith was buried.
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Ohio veteran finally applies for benefits at 106

Ohio veteran turning 106 recently applied for VA care
Lancaster Eagle Gazette
Written by
Ron Simon
News Journal
April 21, 2014

MANSFIELD — When William Dormaier joined the Army in 1943, he was 35 years old and just married. The young men in his unit called him “Pops.”

It’s not likely all of those young men still are alive, because Pops is about to celebrate his 106th birthday Thursday.

Daryl Boggs of the Richland County Veterans Service Commission is sure Dormaier is the oldest living veteran in Richland County and perhaps in all of Ohio.

Dormaier, blind in one eye and almost deaf, isn’t up to doing interviews these days, but his grandson, Robert Dormaier, knows all the stories and wants to share them.
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Australian Soldier Suicides Triple Afghanistan Combat Deaths

Soldier suicide: Number of veterans taking own lives more than triples Afghanistan combat toll
ABC News Australia
AM By Rachael Brown
Updated Tue 22 Apr 2014

Friday's Anzac Day events will commemorate those who fought and fell in wars - but what of those whose names will never be on memorial plaques, those who continued their struggle with demons back home, and lost?

The number of serving and former soldiers who have committed suicide is now more than triple Australia's combat toll in Afghanistan.

Retired Major Anthony Krupa has been married for 15 years, but he was wedded to his job even longer - 18 years, including 11 deployments.

He was addicted to the work, but now it haunts him.

"Back in Bougainville, one of the locals murdered a woman and child," he said.

"[They were] massacred with a machete. That was very difficult, we weren't armed, we weren't in a position to be able to do anything.

"I do have flashbacks of the situation in Iraq in 2005. The Iraqis had detained this insurgent, they were electrocuting him. I still recall the smell of the burning flesh to this day."

On the eve of a posting in 2012, Major Krupa suffered a mental breakdown and tried to kill himself. He confesses he hit rock bottom again last month.

"I crashed that night and once again I found myself in a dark place - 4:00am, not being scared, not worrying about the future of my wife and children, and just saying, 'That's it'," he said.

As with countless veterans, the question nags: "If I'm not a soldier, who am I?"
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