Boone Cutler has become a very public face for WarFighters - Veterans - everywhere.
SSgt Workman is featured in the Hall of Heroes and a book review on this from Marine Till Death that read it as it was written: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2008/12/shadow-of-the-sword-by-jeremiah-workman-w-john-bruning.html
http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2008/12/ssgt-jeremiah-workman-navy-cross-usmc-iraq-marion-oh.html and links to prior articles.
http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2008/12/ssgt-jeremiah-workman-navy-cross-usmc-iraq-marion-oh.html and links to prior articles.
See information on Author and Book by Blake Hurdis here: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/07/by-blake-hurdis-editor.html
Boone Cutler has become a very public face for WarFighters - Veterans - everywhere.
"All right all here is the story. I road to the Dicks Sporting good in San Diego off of Sports Arena Blvd. I put two locks on my bike both to a bike stand. I went in the store. In roughly three to five minutes I went to check on my bike (I had a bad feeling) and it was gone."
Matthew walked back out of Dick's Sporting Goods Store with the clothes on his back and his cellphone. He not only lost his bike, but all his equipment and clothing that he had carried on his cross-country journey!
To recap.....Matthew is an Iraq Veteran who decided (while serving in Iraq) to ride across the United States to raise awareness about veteran suicides. He was in San Diego, California and had stopped at Dick's Sporting Goods Store, the one off Sports Arena Blvd. He needed some gear.
After double-locking his bike to the bike stand he went inside. After being in the store less than 5 minutes, he had a bad feeling, so he went outside to check on his bike only to find it was gone!!
Store personnel were less than helpful and the police department ambivalent.....they took the report and that was about it.
The idea for his biking adventure came back in 2003 when he was active duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army. He never done any long-distance biking prior to this trip.
“While doing this, I met a Marine who had just got home from Afghanistan,” said Lewis. “He lost his legs at the hips, and nobody knew he was home until they called for an honor guard, and I folded the flag for his funeral when he died by suicide.”
Story by Lance Cpl. Justin Rodriguez)-MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - The military suicide rate has increased dramatically over the last several years, and a Vietnam veteran is walking across country to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
According to a recent Department of Defense preliminary report, more than 349 service members across the four branches died by suicide during 2012, setting a record for the highest rate of military suicides ever. Since 2005, more active-duty service members were lost to suicide than combat.
Chuck Lewis, a former sergeant and now Walking for the Fallen founder, is walking from Everett, Wash., to the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., to remember those who have fallen in combat and through suicide.
“Five years ago, my wife and I were sitting home on Christmas Eve,” said Lewis. “And I realized none of our six children will be home for the holiday, they were busy with schooling and jobs. I remembered what it was like being away during those holidays.”
Lewis later stood in uniform on the corner of an intersection of his hometown to show his dedication to the families who wouldn’t be together for the holiday.
Before starting the walk, Lewis stood in his hometown of Rowan, Mont., on Christmas Day with a sign
stating “Standing here today in respect of those away.” News channels and local media approached Lewis and interviewed him to learn about his journey.
Lewis was later invited to stand at military appreciation events and gun shows. He used Vietnam-era equipment to raise awareness, give knowledge about past wars and invite people to donate money for wounded and disabled veterans.
“While doing this, I met a Marine who had just got home from Afghanistan,” said Lewis. “He lost his legs at the hips, and nobody knew he was home until they called for an honor guard, and I folded the flag for his funeral when he died by suicide.”
Lewis still follows the Marine Corps leadership traits and leads by example, nearly 40 years after leaving the Corps.
“Lewis is doing an amazing thing,” said Bo Pennock, retired captain. “He’s a strong man, and he’s still serving our country in a special way.”
Walking for the Fallen is more than just a walk, it’s a cross country journey for those Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen who have lost their lives to suicide and combat, said Lewis.
For more information or to track Lewis’ journey, visit www.walkingforthefallen.com.
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Story by Staff Sgt. Elvis Umanzor
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. service members have been in combat operations in Afghanistan since September 2001, and along the way they have faced many colossal obstacles and experiences like death, separation, and physical and mental weariness.
On Forward Operating Base Shank in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. service members use many of the services like the Morale Welfare and Recreation centers, chaplain services and the Austin Resiliency
Center to relax and unwind from the daily stresses of serving in a hostile combat zone.
June 19, 2013
During April 2013, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 16 potential suicides (13 Army National Guard and three Army Reserve): none have been confirmed as suicides and 16 remain under investigation. For March 2013, among that same group, the Army reported 12 potential suicides; however, subsequent to the report, another case was added bringing March's total to 13 (nine Army National Guard and four Army Reserve): none have been confirmed as suicides and 13 cases remain under investigation. For 2013, there have been 57 potential not on active duty suicides (36 Army National Guard and 21 Army Reserve): 21 have been confirmed as suicides and 36 remain under investigation. Updated not on active duty suicide numbers for 2012: 140 (93 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve); 138 have been confirmed as suicides and two remain under investigation.
During March 2013, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 12 potential suicides (eight Army National Guard and four Army Reserve): none have been confirmed as suicides and 12 remain under investigation. For February 2013, among that same group, the Army reported 14 potential suicides (eight Army National Guard and six Army Reserve); six have been confirmed as suicides and eight cases remain under investigation. For 2013, there have been 40 potential not on active duty suicides (22 Army National Guard and 18 Army Reserve): 19 have been confirmed as suicides and 21 remain under investigation. Updated not on active duty suicide numbers for 2012: 140 (93 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve); 138 have been confirmed as suicides and two remain under investigation.
I don't always agree with Jon Stewart, but I do think he's funny, even when I disagree, and I respect him for his intellectual honesty. He's not a blind supporter of his party. He does call them out when they're wrong, at least when they're wrong according to how he sees things.
This Administration has been abysmal on the record of Veterans, and this is just one more example.
H/T This Ain't Hell
During February, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 13 potential suicides (eight Army National Guard and five Army Reserve): four have been confirmed and nine are still under investigation. For January 2013, among that same group, the Army reported 14 potential suicides; nine have been confirmed and five cases remain under investigation. For CY 2013, there have been 27 potential not on active duty suicides (14 Army National Guard and 13 Army Reserve): 13 have been confirmed as suicides and 14 remain under investigation. Updated not on active duty suicide numbers for CY 2012: 140 (93 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve); 136 have been confirmed as suicides and four remain under investigation.
Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org .
“In 1948 Earl Shaffer told a friend he was going to “walk off the war” to work out the sights, sounds, and losses of World War II. Four months later, Earl Shaffer became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.” …….WarriorHike.com
Mark and Sean had begun planning their next mission before they even finished their tour with the Marine Corps. Little did they know that it would lead to the “Walk Off The War” Program, a program designed to help veterans transition from military service back to civilian life.
By Claudette Roulo, AFPS, KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss., Jan. 16, 2013 - The senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today that he can't succeed at his job without the help of enlisted service members, and he called on noncommissioned officers to know their troops well enough to head off problems.
Air Force and Marine Corps first sergeants assigned to Keesler Air Force Base met with Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia and talked about several challenges faced by the enlisted force.
"You have a hard job," he told the noncommissioned officers. "I wish I could give you a pay raise."
Over breakfast, Battaglia answered questions about suicide prevention efforts and whether the position of senior enlisted advisor to the chairman would become an enduring one.
The fact that the military suicide rate is lower than that of the population at large shouldn't be considered a compliment or accolade, Battaglia said. "We don't use society as a bar," he noted, adding that instead, the military should stand as a model for society.
The military suicide prevention effort will succeed only if suicide is taken out of the decision-making process for service members, Battaglia said. "This is easier said than done," he acknowledged, but he told the first sergeants they are up to the challenge.
"You really have to know your folks," he said. "I just can't overemphasize this."
Battaglia said he recently came to the realization that "maybe we're studying the wrong thing" in the suicide prevention effort. Instead of studying what the military is doing wrong, he said, he is now focusing on what it's doing right.
For example, he told the NCOs, the suicide rate in U.S. Forces Korea is nearly zero. Discussions with the senior enlisted leaders there have shown him that command climate and operational focus are essential tools in battling suicide.
As to whether the job of senior enlisted advisor to the chairman continues to exist after he leaves it, Battaglia told the service members it depends on how he performs. The position is resonating well throughout the force, he said, adding that he hopes it continues.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey's first official act as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was to swear in his enlisted advisor, the sergeant major said. "That was huge," he added, because it indicated the value the chairman places on enlisted service members.
"I don't know why he selected me," Battaglia joked. "I don't plan on asking. Some things are better left unsaid."
I need to extend a huge THANKS to two very important people in my life.....one an Army veteran and the other a Marine!
The 2012 MCM was fast approaching, along with Hurricane Sandy. The runners were gathered in D.C. and surrounding areas watching the news, carbo loading, thinking about their race day strategy. Would the hurricane cancel the race? What would it be like running through wind and rain being pushed by a hurricane?
For this runner, it was a notable year as a first timer running the MCM 10k race.
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Jan. 3, 2013 - With a simple idea and their fallen Marine son's Servicemembers Group Life Insurance check, a retired soldier and his wife are honoring his memory through a program that's bringing new hope and self-confidence to wounded warriors.
Pictured: William "Mike" White, founder of Camp Hope for wounded warriors, left, chats with Army Capt. Joe Bogart, a wounded warrior who said the camp restored his sense of independence. U.S. Army photo by Michael William Petersen
William "Mike" White, an equipment operator at the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command here, remembers as if it were yesterday the dreaded knock on the door as he and his wife, Galia, learned that their son, Marine Pfc. Christopher Neal White, had been killed. The young White, an avid outdoorsman who grew up in rural Kentucky, died in Iraq's Anbar province two days after Father's Day, 2006.
Heartbroken and guilt-ridden that he had convinced his wife to allow their son to join the military, White struggled to find meaning in their personal tragedy. "I had to take a negative and make it a positive. It had to be done," he said.
Alone on a hunting trip -- an endeavor he and his son had often shared -- White came up with the inspiration for Camp Hope.
"I wanted to start a place for our wounded guys, to teach them that even if they have one arm or one leg or no arms or no legs or they're blind, that they could still get out and enjoy the outdoors," he said. "Little did I know it was going to lead to where we are today."
The Whites used Christopher's SGLI payment to buy Chris Neal Farm, a 170-acre retreat in southeast Missouri, and home of Camp Hope.
Five years later, Camp Hope is exceeding everything the senior White could have imagined. Hundreds of combat-wounded warriors from across the United States have flocked there to participate in everything Christopher White loved: skeet shooting, hunting, fishing, hiking, exploring the great outdoors and relaxing around an ever-burning fire pit.
The idea, White explained, is to allow wounded warriors to experience the healing powers of nature as they focus on what they can do, instead of what they cannot.
Operated through private and corporate donations and a legion of volunteers, Camp Hope provides a supportive, loving environment and a renewed sense of community to wounded warriors, White explained.
"We are really not doing anything special other than offering them a place and an opportunity to be able to get back and talk with other folks whose boots have been in the same dirt," he said.
White is the first to admit that he had no grand plan when he and his wife founded Camp Hope. "Everything that has happened has pretty much been an accident," he said. "You can't plan some of the things that have happened. There is no way. It just happens."
But the healing effect, he said, is undeniable.
"There is a magic thing about Camp Hope. I can't explain it. I really can't," White said. "All I know is that it does things for the good for people. It gives a lot of hope to a lot of people. It changes their attitude when they are there."
Army Sgt. Bobby Lee Lisek, a severely wounded warrior who attended the very first gathering at Camp Hope, said he was amazed at the transformation within himself.
"Camp Hope is the greatest place ever. They don't hold you or hold you back. They don't say, 'No you can't.' There is no limit to what you can do here," he said.
Admitting to White that he'd been struggling with suicidal thoughts before arriving at Camp Hope, Lisek said, "I don't know where I'd be today if I didn't have somewhere to go like Camp hope. I'm just at peace here."
So much at peace, in fact, that Lisek volunteers his time regularly as a hunting guide, helping other visitors to Camp Hope experience the same kind of transformation he did.
Army Capt. Joe Bogart, another Camp Hope veteran, said the experience gave him a renewed sense of independence. "I got part of my old self back," he said. "I healed in ways I didn't know I needed to."
For Army Spc. Adam Berkemeier, the healing came through taking on new challenges. "They push me to do more because they know I am capable of more," he said.
For Army Staff Sgt. Jonathan Kinnamore, who called his visit to Camp Hope "one of the best experiences I've had in years," healing came through camaraderie with fellow wounded warriors.
"I had forgotten how to socialize," he said. "It was good to be able to sit around the fire pit and talk with people who had been in the same place I had been in and who knew what was going on, what I'm going through. It helped me relax for the first time in a long time."
The Whites' work at Camp Hope has received national recognition. In 2010, the Army honored White with its prestigious Spirit of Hope Award, and the National AMVETS Ladies' Auxiliary presented him its Humanitarian of the Year award.
Veterans groups and individual and corporate sponsors have stepped up their support as volunteers or donors, covering all costs for veterans to participate and even sponsoring special trips to Alaska and other destinations.
The camp has become such a success that White hopes to open a second Camp Hope, near Pennsylvania's Allegheny National Forest to reach more wounded warriors. Once it's operational, White said he plans to rely on wounded warriors who have attended the camp themselves to run its day-to-day operations.
He even envisioned it creating a ripple effect, with Camp Hopes scattered around the country to help wounded warriors heal.
White said the calls he regularly receives from parents and spouses, thanking him for the difference Camp Hope has made in their loved ones' lives, is the driving force that keeps him motivated to drive on.
"That's our payday," he said. "That's what makes us continue to do what we do."
Six years after his son's death, White still gets choked up when he talks about the enthusiastic young boy who loved the outdoors and dreamed of becoming a Marine. Making things right after losing him would be impossible, he admitted.
"But now that we know we've been able to help some of these young folks coming back, even saving some of them from committing suicide or hurting themselves, it makes it a little bit easier to accept," he said. "Camp Hope is all about Helping Other People Excel. And as it honors Christopher's memory, that's exactly what it does for these wounded warriors."
Camp Hope website: http://www.chrisnealfarm.com/public/
During November, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 15 potential suicides (12 Army National Guard and three Army Reserve): two have been confirmed as suicide and 13 remain under investigation. For October, among that same group, the Army reported 13 potential suicides; since the release of that report, one case has been removed for a total of 12 cases (eight Army National Guard and four Army Reserve); six have been confirmed as suicides and six remain under investigation. For 2012, there have been 126 potential not on active-duty suicides (84 Army National Guard and 42 Army Reserve): 97 have been confirmed as suicides and 29 remain under investigation. Not on active-duty suicide numbers for 2011: 118 (82 Army National Guard and 36 Army Reserve) confirmed as suicides and no cases under investigation.
"As part of the Army's team-based and holistic approach to suicide prevention and stigma reduction, Army chaplains remain committed to fostering a resilient and ready force by enhancing strength, reducing stigma and encouraging help-seeking behaviors," said the Army's Maj. Gen. Donald L. Rutherford, Chief of Chaplains. "Our soldiers, families and civilians are our most precious resource, and the chaplaincy embodies the best of our Army values when it proclaims hope, embraces community, and stands with those who feel they stand alone."
They say that neither rain, sleet or snow will stop the mail but I know for a fact that an approaching hurricane, being hit by a car, a stress fracture, running through burn pit smoke and dangerous heat and/or humidity has not stopped members of the team "For Those Who Can't."
Five years ago I learned how one man left his mark,literally, in the dirt on Okinawa. His wife "was first told that her husband probably wouldn’t make it through the night. The couple was then told that he would never walk again.
“I told them, ‘I’ll let you know my time when I run my first marathon,’” he said. "This year’s Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) will be the fifth he has run with the team he created."
How do you train for a marathon while on crutches? Simple! "Use your on-line training buddy for inspiration" relates one team member.
"Team For Those Who Can't" was founded by a Marine (Jon White) who refused to accept that he would never walk again. Back in 2007, he founded his team, running his first marathon along with his wife and son. Each year his goal is the same, "....I just want to cross that finish line."
One franchise restaurant owner needed to chose a charitable cause to support. Realizing that most of his customer's were connected to a Marine he picked the Semper Fi Fund which supports all services.
Have you ever wondered about what a marathon training schedule involves? Prepping for a marathon is not something one decides to do a few weeks out from the race.
First off, you should be running on a regular basis for at least 6 months and have a base mileage of 12-15 miles a week. Secondly, you will need to dedicate yourself to running/cross-training 5 days a week for the next 20 weeks.
Jon runs in various half-marathons throughout the year to stay in shape for the MCM. He only runs ONE marathon a year. Along the way he has collected a bit of bling! He has inspired friends and colleagues to run in the MCM each year also. This year, after crossing the finish line he will be able to join a special group, the MCM Runners Club. Not only will he have run the MCM 5 times, he will have done it in 5 successive years. Not such a big deal? He is still active duty, flying in from overseas several times, across the country and trained on multiple continents.
I have known Jon since 2005 and have recently taken several "working vacations" with him to a third world country. It took him a bit to convince me to come along. It is pretty hard to say no to him. I was shocked to realize that he spends most of his family vacations doing these "working vacations." Trust me, they are work, I came back exhausted but a better person for having gone!
I had my game plan for this year's race.....what to carry in my backpack, what mile markers I would be standing near to watch for the members of "Team For Those Who Can't" during the marathon. I even had my husband, his sister and nephew coming out to cheer them on. After all, this was to be my 2nd year watching the racers! I was excited!!! Suddenly I get an email notification saying my registration for the MCM 10k race had been confirmed.......say WHAT?!!!!!
Did you know that Marines can be downright sneaky??! That includes my daughter who was in on this! So much for my marathon day plans! Yes, I could have said, "No thanks!" I almost did, but I couldn't let Jon down. He is not one to set you up for failure, but he will set that bar high! His wife, a Marine veteran, signed up for the MCM 10k also. She has strict instructions to drag me across the finish line if I fall or can't make it under my own steam. It is only 6.2 miles..........that is chump change compared to the 26.2 miles you run for a marathon!
Right now though, they are in need of a boost. With the 2012 Marathon less than a week away, they are still 9% short of their team goal.
They are $468 short of their $5,000 goal for the team. Yes, some of the team members are above their goal, but this is a "team" effort and the team is looking for more donations!!
Every dollar donated goes to help our wounded military members. Jon was once part of that community of wounded in need of help.....now he is on the other side of that equation once again....and trying his hardest to earn your support while supporting his brothers-in-arms!
I have seen the following statement and I believe Jon lives up to this in more ways than one......
A Veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check Made payable to "The United States of America " for an amount of "up to and including my life". That is Honor, and there are way too many people in This country who no longer understand it."
Jon chose to run for the Semper Fi Fund. He could have just entered the MCM with no fundraising requirements. He and his wife have made way too many visits to various hospitals overseas and stateside visiting his Marines and their friends who have been injured. He not only walks the walk and talks the talk........he goes the distance......one marathon...a 26.2 mile race once a year "For Those Who Can't."
He truthfully can say........Been there, done that! Can you???
Team fundraiser page:
During September, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 16 potential suicides (13 Army National Guard and three Army Reserve): one has been confirmed as suicide and 15 remain under investigation. For August, among that same group, the Army reported nine potential suicides. Since the release of that report two cases were added for a total of 11 cases (seven Army National Guard and four Army Reserve): five have been confirmed as suicides and six remain under investigation.
For 2012, there have been 101 potential not on active-duty suicides (67 Army National Guard and 34 Army Reserve): 67 have been confirmed as suicides and 34 remain under investigation. Not on active-duty suicide numbers for 2011: 118 (82 Army National Guard and 36 Army Reserve) confirmed as suicides and no cases under investigation.
KAJAKI, Afghanistan – The brotherhood and friendly rivalry between sailors and Marines spans across the history of both military branches. Whether it’s a sailor jokingly calling a Marine a “jarhead” or a Marine retorting with calling the sailor a “squid,” the two branches are always closely linked. Corpsmen, who support both the Navy and Marine Corps, often find themselves stuck in the crossfire.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Norberto Zamora, a hospital corpsman with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, finds himself surrounded by Marines every day.
Service members from the Army, Navy and Air force, can find it difficult to attach to a Marine infantry company because they must earn the respect of the Marines around them. They have to be able to prove themselves.
Pictured: Petty Officer 3rd Class Norberto Zamora, a hospital corpsman with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, patrols to a new compound during Operation Jaws, May 27, 2012. Zamora wanted to be a corpsmen for the challenge of working with Marines.
“We always tease (Zamora) about being a sailor,” said Lance Cpl. Kevin Wallen, an infantryman with the battalion. “He jokes back and holds his own with the Marines.”
Zamora, a native of Houston, looked forward to proving himself to the Marines. That challenge attracted him to becoming a Fleet Marine Force corpsmen. The FMF corpsmen are navy personnel assigned to Marine units.
Take Gabe for instance, a yellow Labrador Retriever who has three Army Commendation Medals and an Army Achievement Medal for finding explosives in Iraq. Actually, Gabe’s awards are not for finding weapons, ammunition, or bombs; but for saving lives.
How about Cairo, the Belgian Malinois that accompanied SEAL Team Six to Pakistan on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden? Cairo and the Navy SEALs were honored in a presidential ceremony marking the mission’s success – they got the bad guy.
If dogs can be heroes, can they also suffer the ravages of combat, just as humans do?
US Army Medical Command 6.6.2012
WASHINGTON - The Army is fully committed to the use of service animals as adjuncts in managing physical and psychological disabilities, to include post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While the evidence for the effectiveness of service dogs in assisting those suffering with PTSD is not yet definitive, Army Medicine is committed to the employment of safe and effective therapies, to include service animals, to treat our wounded warriors and families.
We have reviewed our Service Animal policy with many stakeholders and outside agencies to best shape it to meet the needs of Soldiers and the Army. We are currently collaborating with the Department of Defense team that is building DoD guidance, as we must be certain that our policy aligns with established DoD guidelines.
Growing up, I HATED running! I only ran when I had to, usually the requisite 1 mile timed run in gym class which I barely passed each time. My father still shakes his head each time I finish a race and says “but you hated running before.”
During the summer of 2009, I was working on losing weight and decided I might want to try training for a half marathon. It would accomplish two things: help me lose weight and I would do something that I never thought I could do before. I even told a friend about wanting to train for a half marathon. My friend laughed at me and said, “No way are you ever going to be able to do that!”
For many folks, the running season is never ending, depending on where you are located. With its members scattered halfway across the United States, members of "Team For Those Who Can't" begin their marathon training at different times. For many, they have been running all year long, others are just beginning to conquer races in the lead up to when their actual marathon training schedule begins.
You see, the team is made up of veterans, civilians and a rank newbie. Several members have previously run the Marine Corps Marathon. One will be running their first ever marathon. What brings them all together you might ask?
I would answer that question this way. They are all CRAZY!!!!!
15 May 2012 By Dave Smalley, Office of Naval Research Office of Naval Research
ARLINGTON (NNS) -- U.S. Navy divers take on dangerous tasks every day-and starting this week, they will be part of a multinational effort near Estonia to help clear the Baltic Sea of underwater mines left over from as long ago as the First and Second World Wars.
"Open Spirit" will be among the biggest naval exercises in the Baltic Sea this year, where more than 150,000 naval mines were planted during the two world wars. It is all part of a day's work for U.S. Navy divers, who in addition to hazardous missions face natural perils like oxygen toxicity and decompression sickness every day.
A video, released May 15, highlights how Office of Naval Research (ONR) scientists are working with medical experts to protect America's undersea warriors.
The Army released suicide data today for the month of April. During April, among active-duty soldiers, there were 14 potential suicides: two have been confirmed as suicides and 12 remain under investigation. For March, the Army reported 18 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, 12 have been confirmed as suicides and six remain under investigation. For 2012, there have been 61 potential active-duty suicides: 35 have been confirmed as suicides and 26 remain under investigation. Active-duty suicide numbers for 2011: 164 (164 have been confirmed as suicides and none remain under investigation).
Written by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Catrina Dorsey, RC-East Public Affairs Tuesday, 08 May 2012
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Airmen from the 10th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Team reconfigures a C-17 Globemaster aircraft to transport injured and wounded patients from Bagram Airfield to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for further care and treatment. The C-17 can accommodate up to 36 litter and 50 ambulatory patients. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Catrina Dorsey, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The team of nurses, medical technicians and litter carriers wait for the C-130 Hercules aircraft to arrive, ready to receive, in-process and prepare patients to go forward to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for further treatment.
The team is part of the contingency aeromedical staging facility, a modular staging facility designed to support worldwide expeditionary missions. Patients are staged at the CASF for approximately 24 hours where they’re provided medical attention while waiting for transport to a higher level of medical care.
by Cpl. Kyle Wagoner 43rd PAD
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Standing next to his starting blocks on the track he shakes out his legs and arm to get all the jitters out. Concentrating on relieving the stress and everything that’s been bothering him, he locks his feet in his block. Around his neck are two dog tags with pictures of friends he lost; reminding him of the opportunities they won’t have.
“I’m running for them. They can’t compete anymore so I’m competing for them,” said Retired Army Staff Sgt. Michael Kacer, a disabled veteran athlete. Kacer, a native of Throop, Pa., is competing in the third annual Warrior Games, hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee, in the track, field and swimming events beginning April 30, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Pictured: Retired Army Staff Sgt. Michael Kacer, a stay-at-home dad and inspirational speaker, prepares to run laps during track practice at the McKibben Physical Fitness Center at Fort Carson, Colo., April 25, 2012. Kacer, a native of Throop, Pa., sustained injuries in Afghanistan while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008. Kacer will be competing in the track, field and swimming events in the upcoming 2012 Warrior Games beginning 30 April, 2012.
Story by Aquita Brown 4.26.2012 Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment
FORT CARSON, Colo. — “There is nothing wrong with having post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. You are not letting anyone down when you seek help for the symptoms that you are encountering and you are not alone in the fight.”
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2012 – With $633 million and 472 active research projects on traumatic brain injury alone, the Army is driving the science behind this neglected public health problem that affects everyone from kids on the sports field to service members in Afghanistan.
TBI, and especially mild TBI, “is essentially a frontier of medicine,” Army Col. (Dr.) Dallas Hack, director of the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program, said in a recent interview with American Forces Press Service.
From 2000 to 2011, just over 133,000 soldiers were diagnosed with TBI. For the Defense Department as a whole in that period, 220,000 service members were diagnosed, according to an Army behavioral health specialist.
Traumatic brain injuries range from severe to moderate to mild and can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function.
There has been a feeling of betrayal in Troops and Veterans over the Obama Administration plan to charge Military Retirees for Health Care. General Dempsey says he can afford it, though in other speeches he has told Army leaders that they should look out for their Troops and not just themselves. General Dempsey can afford to pay a few thousand back to the government, because his retirement check will be more than his Active Duty check, about 20x more than he would pay back above his Active Duty check more.
I took a look at an average National Guard/Reserve Soldier's retirement instead. I made him up, so he's neither extraordinary, nor lazy. He joined the Guard when he was 18, and it was 1992. He served his 1 weekend a month and his two weeks a year, but he didn't chase extra Active Duty assignments. He served a year each in Iraq and a year in Afghanistan, when his unit was mobilized. Over 20 years, he was promoted to Sergeant First Class, an E7. In 2012, he'll retire, but he won't get a retirement check until he's 60, in 2034. Based on my calculations, his check will be $644.83 a month when he turns 60, but he'll enroll in Tricare Prime in 2012, because he doesn't want to be fined under ObamaCare.
He'll "break even" in 2051, when he's 77 years old. He'll have paid the government $129,137.21 for the joy of having served, before he gets there, if he gets there.
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2012 - A Pentagon Channel documentary sheds light on how military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are finding help through the power of horse therapy.
"Recon: Unbridled" highlights "Horses for Veterans," at Flag is Up Farms in California, an intensive three-day program designed to help veterans of all ages who have PTSD, free of charge.
"I think No. 1 is to work with veterans who have given up on life," said Monty Roberts, a renowned horse whisperer. Roberts uses his horse-friendly "Joining Up" techniques on abused and mistreated horses, and adapts it for self-isolating veterans who have post-traumatic stress.
By Elaine Sanchez, AFPS, WASHINGTON, March 30, 2012 - Service members can draw strength from each other rather than attempt to deal with tough times alone, a highly decorated wounded warrior who triumphed over great adversity said here today.
Adversity "is not best dealt with by oneself; it's overcome by the help of others and hard work and the will to get through it," Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry, the Army's most recent Medal of Honor recipient, told an audience of nearly 750 behavioral health experts and military leaders.
Petry discussed his recovery and the people who helped pull him through during the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury's Warrior Resilience Conference. This conference, in its fourth year, is intended to equip service members, units, families and communities with resilience-building techniques and tools.
Petry was wounded May 26, 2008, during an operation to capture an insurgent leader in a compound in Afghanistan's Paktia province, near the Pakistan border. His unit was met with heavy automatic weapons fire when they moved into the area. He and several of his fellow soldiers were wounded and sought cover as an enemy lobbed a grenade at the unit.
Although wounded in both legs by assault-rifle fire, rather than turn away or seek cover, Petry picked up the grenade to throw it back at the enemy. Instead, the grenade detonated, amputating his right hand.
Story by Sgt. James Mercure
Regional Command Southwest
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WHITEHOUSE, Afghanistan — If a Marine gets injured in combat, the response by those he serves with is immediate. If a Marine has problems handling operational stress, they are there for him just as quickly.
Marines from India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, make their way through Trek Nawa, Afghanistan, back to Patrol Base Poole after completing Operation Mako, Sept. 21, 2010. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga)
To help Marines identify the stages of operational stress, the Operational Stress Control and Readiness program is taught to all infantry battalions across the Marine Corps. Keeping with a long-standing tradition of small unit leadership, the OSCAR program teaches leaders at all levels how to get their Marines the help they may need.
“The OSCAR program is an effective tool we use to help our own,” said 1st Sgt. James Robertson, OSCAR instructor and Weapons Company 1st sergeant, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. “It teaches all Marines not to just stand by and watch a Marine struggle. You may be a lance corporal and he may be a sergeant, but you should still step up and talk to him if you see a change.”
By Jim Garamone, AFPS, WASHINGTON, March 9, 2012 - Iraq and Afghanistan have been dangerous places over the past decade, but deployed troops often passed a saying on to new arrivals: "If you've got to get shot, this is the best place to do it."
The saying spread because the medical care for wounded service members was state-of-the-art, with the survival rates significantly higher than in previous conflicts.
Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, told the House Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee yesterday that he wants to retain this excellence while controlling spiraling costs.
"Over the last 10 years, the men and women of the Military Health System have performed with great skill and undeniable courage in combat," Woodson said. "Their contributions to advancing military and American medicine are immense. The Military Health System's ability to perform this mission and be able to respond to humanitarian crises around the globe is unique among all military and nonmilitary organizations on this globe."
Story by Lance Cpl. Chelsea Flowers, CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Sgt. Maj. Raymond Mackey has been in the Marine Corps for 29 years but will be the first to tell you he can still hang with even the youngest Marines on the basketball court. As he quickly maneuvers his wheelchair by other players to get open for a pass, puts up shots in the key and shouts directions to others on his team, it is easy to see that Mackey is a natural-born leader – as an athlete, a Marine and a Wounded Warrior. For the past two years, Mackey has mentored and inspired other injured Marines he met while at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. It is these Marines who are now playing and competing alongside Mackey because of his gentle prodding and unwavering example. With every step he takes on his prosthetic legs and every push of the wheels on his wheelchair, Mackey is showing them what it means to be a Wounded Warrior.
While deployed to Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, in 2009 Mackey’s unit came under fire while on patrol. While returning fire and moving for cover through a ditch, the Marine directly in front of Mackey stepped on the trigger mechanism of an improvised explosive device, causing it to detonate. The IED explosion funneled in the ditch, spreading out instead of up, and hit Mackey harder than the Marines around him. Most of the Marines suffered class four concussions and shrapnel wounds. Mackey lost both of his legs. But this setback did not change Mackey’s desire to lead and mentor Marines. This same desire prompted Mackey to compete with more than 300 other wounded Marines, veterans and allies in the 2012 Marine Corps Trials.
Pictured: Sgt. Maj. Raymond Mackey lost both of his legs in an improvised explosive device blast in 2009. Now Mackey is stepping up to inspire and mentor other wounded Marines at the 2012 Marine Corps Trials and wherever else life may take them. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga)
February 15, 2012
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding its efforts to prevent suicide through several new initiatives that increase the availability of services for Veterans, Servicemembers and their families.
The new initiatives include a new, free, confidential text-messaging service in the existing Veterans Crisis Line, introduction of toll-free access from Europe, and collaboration with Vets Prevail and Vets4Warriors, two groups providing crisis help to Veterans, Servicemembers and their families.
“Offering text messaging services will help VA reach more Veterans and their friends and families,” said Dr. Janet Kemp, VA’s national mental health director for suicide prevention. “We are working to meet their needs by communicating through multiple channels -- over the phone, through online chat, and now via text, which provides quick, easy access to support. VA wants all Veterans to know that confidential support is only a text message away.”
Since its founding July 2007, VA’s Veterans Crisis Line and the later Chat Service have received 500,000 calls and engaged in 31,000 chats resulting in over 18,000 rescues of Veterans in immediate crisis.
Now, in addition to the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1) and online chat (www.VeteransCrisisLine.net), Veterans and Servicemembers in crisis—and their friends and families—may text free of charge to 83-8255 to receive confidential, personal and immediate support. The text service is available, like the Veterans Crisis Line and online chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and connects a user with a specially trained VA professional -- many who are Veterans themselves.
As a part of the effort to extend VA’s reach, Veterans and members of the military community in Europe may now receive free, confidential support from the European Military Crisis Line, a new initiative recently launched by VA. Callers in Europe may dial 0800-1273-8255 or DSN 118 to receive confidential support from responders at the Veterans Crisis Line in the U.S.
VA’s Veterans Crisis Line continues to add external resources to provide Veterans with additional support. Two of these organizations include Vets Prevail (www.VetsPrevail.org) and Vets4Warriors (www.Vets4Warriors.com).
In December, Vets Prevail launched a chat service that connects Veterans to caring responders who provide information on a wide variety of resources. If the Veteran is in crisis or needs mental health support, the conversation is then seamlessly transferred to a VA Veterans Crisis Line responder.
Vets4Warriors has helped thousands of their peers connect with confidential assistance through a free hotline (1-855-838-8255/1-855-VET-TALK) and online chat (www.Vets4Warriors.com). If a Veteran is in need of professional crisis or mental health support, Vets4Warriors’ responders will transfer the Veteran to a responder at the Veterans Crisis Line.
For more information about VA’s suicide prevention program, visit: http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/
By Rob McIlvaine
Army News Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2012 – The Army is investigating how post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed to ensure consistency at all hospitals, the service’s surgeon general told Congress yesterday.
Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho and the surgeons general from the Air Force and Navy testified at a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee.
Honcho addressed concerns over closure of the intensive outpatient center at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., reportedly because the staff concluded too often that patents suffered from PTSD. She said she has launched an investigation to look into the variance of behavioral health diagnoses at Madigan, and to investigate why the intensive outpatient center was closed, whether undo command influence contributed to the closure, and whether patients were negatively affected.
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division Story by Sgt. Ryan Hohman
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Soldiers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, commonly known as the Lancer brigade, began the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program Jan. 30 to ensure soldiers with the Lancer brigade are not only physically and mentally ready for any upcoming deployment, but emotionally ready as well.
Staff Sgt. Marko Milosevic, who serves as the Master Resiliency Trainer with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, conducts pre-deployment resiliency training with Master Resiliency Trainers and Resilience Training Assistants at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Jan. 30.
2nd SBCT Master Resiliency Trainers and Resilience Training Assistants began the CSF program with pre-deployment resiliency training designed to help trainers prepare soldiers for the emotions and stresses that come with prolonged exposure to combat.
Warrior Hike started out as the ultimate dream vacation after college graduation for Sean Gobin. He had always wanted to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. It wasn't a whim, he had even done his research and knew what kind of a commitment of time, equipment and money it would involve.
What better way to celebrate his graduation from college? Right? Wrong....unfortunately the Marine Corps had other ideas for Sean. So, a few years have passed (10), but that dream of Sean's will begin in just under 2 months time and here is how.
By David Vergun Army News Service
FORT MEADE, Md. (1/25/12) – The Master Resilience Training aspect of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is working well. That's the conclusion of an Army report, released last month, covering a 15-month period of statistical evaluation.
Army Sgt. Brandon Bregel, team leader, prepares to clear a bridge during a bridge quality assurance inspection along Highway 1 in Zabul province, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2011. Through the U.S. Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, Soldiers like Bregel can better prepare for the physical and emotional trials of combat. (Courtesy photo)
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness was launched in 2009 to teach Soldiers how to be psychologically strong in the face of adversity, such as combat. The program, also available to family members and DA civilians, was designed at the University of Pennsylvania by behavioral specialists using proven research-based methodologies.
Within CSF, all Soldiers, active, National Guard and Reserve, are required annually to take the Global Assessment Tool, an online questionnaire which measures a Soldier's psychological health. The GAT scores give Soldiers an indicator of where they are strong and where they can improve. Those needing improvement could take Comprehensive Resilience Modules, which are online help tutorials, or seek professional counseling.
GAT scores are confidential but the results are aggregated for statistical purposes, such as for use in the recently released Longitudinal Analysis of the Impact of Master Resilience Training on Self-Reported Resilience and Psychological Health Data.
MRT is the second aspect of CSF. Master resilience trainers are Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians who are graduates of the 10 day MRT-C course taught at University of Pennsylvania, Victory University, or by the Mobile Training Team. They teach leaders to instill resilience in subordinates – meaning they help fellow Soldiers learn to bounce back from adversity.
The study evaluated GAT scores of eight randomly selected brigade combat teams, known as BCTs. Four received MRT and four did not. Over the 15-month period, scores of the four BCTs receiving the training were significantly higher than the others, irrespective of other variables, such as unit leadership and cohesion.
"This report represents a significant milestone with respect to the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program and the Army's broader efforts to develop a more resilient and capable force," wrote Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, in the report's forward. "It is my hope that this report will spark fruitful discussions; leading to new and improved ways, we may help our Soldiers, Army civilians and family members to improve their overall psychological health."
The study has demonstrated that the program is successful, said Army Brig. Gen. Jim Pasquarette, the CSF program director.
"I believe this is something we're going to have forever, similar to physical training," Pasquarett said. "I think in the future, even under this budget, we're going to fund it. We believe this will save us money through prevention [because] it helps our Soldiers, family members and Department of the Army civilians deal with adversity in their life and more importantly – thrive in their lives.