Battling the Storm Within

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sweeping veterans policy bill passed overwhelmingly in the House

WASHINGTON — House lawmakers advanced a $52 billion veterans legislative package on Wednesday that would overhaul outside medical care options for Department of Veterans Affairs patients, expand stipends for veteran caregivers and launch a review of the bureaucracy’s national footprint.

Despite the cost of the plan, the measure easily passed the chamber by a vote of 347-70 and has the blessing of the White House, which said the legislation “will help to ensure that veterans choose the VA by getting them the right care at the right time with the right provider.”


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VA Expanding New Holistic Health Programs

meditation yoga

According the the VA's website, the Whole Health Initiative is a new program that they say creates a personalized health plan that considers the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental needs of veterans. The VA says the Whole Health System "acknowledges that health care involves more than the physical human body."


Scientists Have Identified The Physical Source of Anxiety in The Brain

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We're not wired to feel safe all the time, but maybe one day we could be.
A recent study investigating the neurological basis of anxiety in the brain has identified 'anxiety cells' located in the hippocampus – which not only regulate anxious behaviour but can be controlled by a beam of light.

The findings, so far demonstrated in experiments with lab mice, could offer a ray of hope for the millions of people worldwide who experience anxiety disorders (including almost one in five adults in the US), by leading to new drugs that silence these anxiety-controlling neurons.


York Habitat for Humanity searching for veteran to fill vacant home

NEWBERRY TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, P.A. --- York Habitat for Humanity officials are sending out a plea for veterans or anyone who may know a veteran family in York County to contact them.

A home volunteers built on the 900 block of Conewago Avenue has been empty for more than a year.
"The process has taken a lot longer than we had hoped that it would," said Mark Mattern, associate director of York Habitat for Humanity.


How A 25-Year-Old Drug For Nerve Pain Called Gabapentin Showed Up In Opioid Overdoses

As the opioid crisis rages on in America, users who want to get high are now taking a drug that has been traditionally prescribed for nerve pain.

The Problem With The Drug

Gabapentin is a generic drug that is typically used to treat nerve pain and seizures. The 25-year-old drug was one of the most prescribed medications in 2017.


Care at VA Hospitals as Good or Better Than Elsewhere in U.S.: Report

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The overall quality of care provided by the U.S. Veterans Health Administration is equal to or better than that provided by other health care systems in the United States, a new report says.

The Rand Corporation study did find significant variation in quality among individual VA hospitals -- but less variation than was seen among non-VA facilities.


Betrayed by her own corporal: Foul-mouthed Army instructor faces court martial

  • Footage posted to Facebook shows the distraught female recruit crying uncontrollably as her British Army instructor subjects her to a torrent of abuse during a bayonet exercise
  • The footage posted to Facebook has been liked and shared thousands of times
  • It shows the distraught woman sobbing as her instructor shouts abuse at her
  • She cries uncontrollably and is reduced to a quivering wreck in disturbing clip 
  • British Army is now trying to track down the abusive corporal who could be fired

  •

    Sunday, April 29, 2018

    VA Now Offers IVF Treatment to Veterans

    In vitro fertilization. Source: Centers for Disease Control

    A new medical benefits rule allows some veterans to receive in vitro fertilization reproductive help through the Department of Veterans Affairs starting Thursday.

    The interim rule, published today in the Federal Register, is the final step in a law change passed late last year to clear the way for veterans who sustained reproductive injuries to receive the expensive fertility help through the VA.


    Pentagon chief calls sexual assault a cancer in military

    WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered all members of the Defense Department to re-double their efforts to aggressively work to prevent and respond to sexual assaults across the military.

    In a memo released Thursday, Mattis said that officers and commanders must act as substitute parents for their young troops, charging leaders to “use their authority and force of personality to prevent and eliminate sexual assault from our ranks.” His memo comes amid revelations that reports of sexual assaults across the military jumped by nearly 10 percent in 2017.


    DoD: At least 126 bases report water contaminants linked to cancer, birth defects

    The water at or around 126 military installations contains potentially harmful levels of perfluorinated compounds, which have been linked to cancers and developmental delays for fetuses and infants, the Pentagon has found.


    When the Effects of Sexual Trauma Persist

    Veterans' Stories of Overcoming MST
    It was years after he had experienced sexual trauma in the military; years after he had left the Army, wrestled with drug problems, and lost a job.

    “I realized that the problem with me all along was what was going on inside of me, how I felt about stuff,” Tony says, tapping his chest. “I had to figure out a way to do something. … And I found out that I had to talk about it.”


    Airborne units getting new vehicle this year; legs will have to wait

    The Army’s five airborne infantry brigade combat teams are slated to begin fielding 300 Ground Mobility Vehicles in use by special operations forces troops this year.
    The legs? They’ll get theirs next year, if the funding request is approved.
    Thirty non-airborne Army IBCTS are slated to receive 1,700 GMVs, beginning in 2019.


    Federal Circuit Court Rules Veterans Can Get Disability Benefits for Pain

    Federal Circuit Court Rules Veterans Can Get Disability Benefits for Pain

    April 11, 2018 – The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held VA must award disability benefits for pain due to military service. Prior to this Court decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims had held that pain alone without an underlying diagnosis was not compensable.

    What Does This Mean?

    The Federal Circuit’s decision means that if a veteran has pain related to their time in service, but does not have an underlying medical diagnosis, they can receive VA disability benefits. Many veterans experience pain stemming from their time in service, but do not have a diagnosis that serves as a cause for the pain.



    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids restaurant owner Johnny Brann says he will not take down flags and a sign honoring police officers and military personnel killed in the line of duty.

    “The flags and the names of the fallen heroes on the building are not coming down," he told us.
    City leaders say the display on the Leonard St. restaurant is a violation of zoning ordinances. It has nothing to do with the content they say, but the quantity.


    The Inconvenience of Being a Woman Veteran

    I happen to be a woman. This is often inconvenient. It was inconvenient for the military and, now that I’m out of the military, it’s still inconvenient. In multiple surveys and anecdotes, both women who are serving and women who have served repeatedly list gender bias as an issue, though the way it manifests itself differs during and after their time in the military.

    Read more....

    The US Army Saved Me From Life As A Child Prostitute

    Amber Causey, now 29, has revealed her past as a child prostitute who was raped hundreds of times after being pimped out by a man she met at her local mall

    The US Army saved me from life as a child prostitute: Artillery soldier tells how she was forced to sleep with ten men a day before a recruiter rescued her

    • Amber Causey, from Chicago, Illinois, was just 16 when she was first trafficked 
    • Her ‘boyfriend’ ordered her to sell sex on the streets and threatened to beat her  
    • Her life was changed when a U.S. Army recruiter responded to an interest card
    • She served in the 2nd Battalion of the 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment in Iraq
    • The mother-of-two now tours high schools to fight against sexual exploitation 

    Army unit retracts memo touting VA benefits for soldiers due to bad anthrax vaccines

    In the past week, a memo has been circulating online about possible 100 percent VA disability benefits for a particular group of soldiers.

    The April 10 tasking order called on the unit to identify which of its soldiers had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, or Fort Drum, New York, between 2001 and 2007, in case they had been exposed to a bad batch of anthrax vaccine.


    Pentagon warns female service members not to wear dinosaur hand puppets while being sexually assaulted


    THE PENTAGON — The Department of Defense is warning female service members that they could face harsh punishment if they are caught wearing dinosaur hand puppets while being sexually assaulted by male colleagues, sources confirmed today.
    Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters in a press briefing Wednesday that women in uniform are to be held “to a higher standard” of behavior, meaning that they should not disgrace the dignity of their uniforms at any time male troops may be cat-calling them, tapping their ass, or retaliating against them should they report anything, ever.


    Army Ranger instructor charged with sexual battery of minor

    An Army Ranger instructor at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida was arrested Monday and charged with sexual battery of a minor.

    Sgt. 1st Class Richard Cruz, a Ranger instructor with the 6th Ranger Training Battalion, was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child by providing her alcohol.
    On March 29, the 39-year-old took the minor with him to purchase beer, then they went to Navarre Beach, according to the arrest report provided by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.

    Read more....

    Immigrant soldier dies waiting for US military to clear him for duty

    A Fort Lee soldier caught in the bureaucratic limbo of the Pentagon’s new “extreme vetting” for non-citizen service members has died while waiting for the military to clear him for duty, Military Times has learned.

    Spc. Nemanja “Yani” Janicijevic, 25, died April 12 during a physical fitness training session at Fort Lee, Virginia, installation officials said in a statement.


    Everybody Involved In That Dino Puppet Reenlistment Video Just Got Fired

    In the worst military overreaction since the Faber College ROTC pledge pin incident of 1962, the Tennessee National Guard’s adjutant general announced Wednesday that everyone involved in a recent viral video of a kooky reenlistment ceremony would have their careers wrecked, because that’s how you honor our military traditions, dammit

    Read more....

    Now Mattis Admits There Was No Evidence Assad Used Poison Gas on His People: Opinion


    Lost in the hyper-politicized hullabaloo surrounding the Nunes Memorandum and the Steele Dossier was the striking statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the U.S. has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people.

    This assertion flies in the face of the White House (NSC) Memorandum which was rapidly produced and declassified to justify an American Tomahawk missile strike against the Shayrat airbase in Syria.


    Saturday, April 14, 2018

    1st black woman nominated to be Marine brigadier general

    Washington (CNN)Marine Corps Col. Lorna Mahlock has been nominated to serve as the first black female brigadier general, the Marine Corps media office said.
    Mahlock was nominated by President Donald Trump, and Defense Secretary James Mattis announced the nomination on Tuesday.

    According to his announcement, Mahlock is currently the deputy director of the Operations, Plans, Policies, and Operations Directorate at the Marine Corps headquarters in Washington.
    Her nomination was one of several by the President that Mattis announced Tuesday


    Court determines military burn pits caused lung disease in service members

    The thousands of U.S. military personnel and private contractors whose health was compromised by the dense black smoke of burn pits - and who were then denied proper treatment - may finally be vindicated by a recent court ruling.

    A judge under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office for Workers’ Compensation Programs decreed last month that open-air burn pits -- where thousands of chemicals were released into the air after trash and other waste were incinerated at American military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are connected to lung disease, Fox News has learned.


    The Army just made it harder to graduate from basic training

    FORT JACKSON, S.C. ― It’s day three of basic training’s culminating field training exercise, and the soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment are lined up along the side of a road on a thickly wooded training range.

    It looks a lot like a scene out of “American Gladiators,” actually — two soldiers at a time are suiting up to whack each other about the head and body with foam-padded pugil sticks. The weapons are stand-ins for rifles, and the soldiers are in round one of a battalion-wide combatives competition on the road to graduation.


    This retired Marine’s book says the Corps has a history of gender bias

    A retired Marine lieutenant colonel who was fired from her job commanding the Corps’ only female recruit training battalion has released a 304-page book outlining deep problems she saw in how the service handles recruiting and training women.

    Read more....

    12 Female Soldiers Have Now Graduated Army Ranger School

    From left, U.S. Army Capt. Kristen Griest, Maj. Lisa Jaster and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver share a moment following Jaster's graduation from Ranger School on Fort Benning, Ga., Oct. 16, 2015. (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Alex Manne/ Released)

    The U.S. Army's vice chief of staff praised the achievements of female soldiers Monday, describing how small numbers of women continue to join infantry and armored combat units and graduate from the service's most grueling training course.


    Russia Says it Will Attack U.S. Military if Trump Strikes Syria Again

    Top Russian officials have threatened to retaliate with force if President Donald Trump orders an attack that could endanger the lives of its soldiers stationed there in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's campaign against rebels and jihadis near Damascus.

    Read more....

    Vets say millage money being misused

    FLINT, Mich. – A petition is being circulated asking the Genesee County Board of Commissioners to reverse a decision involving taxpayer money.

    The petition's author claims the commission is misusing funds that are supposed to go towards veterans.

    Read more....

    Studies point to gene-based brain glitches in ill Gulf War vets

    Veterans Affairs researchers have found that certain forms, or alleles, of a gene known to play a key role in the immune system appear to offer protection from Gulf War illness (GWI). Further, they discovered how such protection is manifested in the brain.


    As many as 11,800 military families face deportation issues, group says

    As many as 11,800 currently serving in the U.S. military are dealing with a spouse or family member who is facing deportation, a national immigration advocacy group announced Friday.
    No previous estimate, official or unofficial, has been available on just how many of the 1 million married military members currently on active duty, National Guard or Reserve status may be dealing with the stress of having a spouse, dependent or parent deported.

    Read more....

    David J. Shulkin: Privatizing the V.A. Will Hurt Veterans

    It has been my greatest professional honor to serve our country’s more than 20 million veterans. Almost three years ago, I left my private sector job running hospitals and came to Washington to repay my gratitude to the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country.

    Read more....

    Deported Army veteran wins fight for US citizenship

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — A deported U.S. Army veteran has been granted U.S. citizenship, a move made possible by California Gov. Jerry Brown’s pardon of a criminal offense last year.

    Lawyers for Hector Barajas said the government informed them Thursday their client should attend a naturalization ceremony on April 13 in San Diego. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed the decision.

    Read more....

    93-Yr-Old D-Day Vet Dies With No One To Carry Casket. Then 6 Teens Arrive In Uniform

    Our veterans deserve our utmost praise and respect. They have sacrificed so much for us, that is the least we can do for them.

    Unfortunately, as veterans get older, many of them get forgotten and the respect starts to fade away. People move on with their lives and forget just what it was these brave men and women did to ensure we are able to live the lives we have.

    That’s why we love hearing stories like this one.

    Read more....

    Study: Magnesium Found to Treat Depression Better Than Antidepressant Drugs


    A breakthrough nutritional study conducted at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and published in PLoS ONE has found that just 248mg of magnesium per day leads to an astounding reversal of depression symptoms in study subjects.

    “New clinical research results show magnesium is effective at addressing symptoms and is safer and easier on the wallet than prescription therapies,” reports Science Daily, echoing the reporting of Natural News from over a decade ago. Today, even mainstream science is now confirming that magnesium is a safe, affordable and effective treatment for depression.


    13 Characteristics of People Who Have True Integrity

    Integrity, for those who are not familiar, is quite important. It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

    People who have a strong sense of integrity are sadly a rare breed. However, there are still some people left in this world with integrity, and usually, they share the following 13 traits.


    Vet suffering from PTSD fights for medical marijuana use after arrest


    - A Web M.D. study shows 69 percent of doctors in America believe marijuana can help certain treatments and conditions. Many states allow medical marijuana, but neither North nor South Carolina.

    Perry Parks, 74, is a marijuana user. His backyard is a place of peace.
    “This, as opposed to taking a handful of pills every day, makes a lot more sense to me,” he said.

    Read more....

    New court ruling jeopardizes military’s ability to pursue old rape cases

    A ruling by a U.S. military appeals court jeopardizes the Pentagon’s ability to prosecute sexual assaults committed before 2006, just as more people are coming forward with years-old allegations as part of the #MeToo movement.

    The ruling involves the case of Air Force Lt. Col. Edzel D. Mangahas, who in 2015 was accused of assaulting a woman in 1997, when they were both cadets at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces dismissed a rape charge against Mangahas this month, saying a five-year statute of limitations applied in the case.


    Sunday, March 18, 2018

    You Can Get PTSD From Staying In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

    Tied up hands
    Stop. Just stop asking why a woman is so stupid and so weak when she stays in an abusive relationship. There’s no answer you can possibly understand.

    Your judgment only further shames abused women. It shames women like me.
    There was no punch on the very first date with my ex-husband. That’s not normally how abusive marriages start. In fact, my first date was probably pretty similar to yours: he was charming, he paid attention to me, and he flattered me.


    Audit: VA incorrectly recorded hundreds of patient waiting times

    Audit: VA incorrectly recorded hundreds of patient waiting times

    An internal audit published Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) revealed that the agency incorrectly reported wait times experienced by veterans seeking first-time care from the agency's doctors.

    The report, issued by the agency's Office of Inspector General (OIG), found that the Veterans Health Administration incorrectly recorded wait times in 2017 experienced by veterans through its electronic records system, resulting in inaccurate public reports from the agency amid its wait-time scandal.


    Vice chief: Women serve in every BCT battalion, but sexual harassment battle is far from over

    Female paratroopers with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, conduct a jump at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Since the Army began to allow women in direct-combat units in 2016, more than 600 women have joined infantry and armor units, Gen. James McConville said at the Army Women’s Summit on Capitol Hill, and they still face discrimination from fellow soldiers. (Army)


    Marine Corps Commandant: 'Less Than 30% of Young Men and Women' Qualified to Join Military

 - The United States Marine Corps Commandant told Congress on Wednesday that recruitment is "hard work," because so few people are qualified to fill the ranks.


    Explicit photos of female service members are being shared in a Dropbox folder called “Hoes Hoin’”

    A spokesperson for Dropbox told VICE News that the folder described in this story has been removed from the platform: "This link has been taken down and banned so it cannot be recirculated on Dropbox. As always, we investigate reports of content that violate our Acceptable Use Policy. If we find a violation, we take down the content and, when appropriate, take other measures such as banning the content and/or reporting to law enforcement."


    Why It’s Okay To Cut Toxic Family Members Out of Your Life

    Why It's Okay To Cut Toxic Family Members Out of Your Life


    Women are the Most Visible Servicemembers, and the Most Invisible Veterans


    One of the questions I’m most frequently asked when people find out I’m a veteran is, “But you didn’t go in harm’s way, did you?”

    I’ve been asked this question since I first joined the Navy. After nearly a decade of people asking me some version of this question, I have come to understand its implicit assumptions: that the only “real” military service is in combat; that a “front line” exists; and that women aren’t on it. None of these are true, and these assumptions overlook the fact that the military is fraught with hazardous and psychologically taxing assignments that don’t involve direct combat.


    The Lies Still Killing Gulf War Vets

    Some cover-ups are scandalous. Others, like those surrounding the First Gulf War, suggest an official callousness that shocks and awes.

    During and immediately after the war, 200,000 of 700,000 U.S. troops were exposed to nerve gas and other chemical agents. The Department of Defense (DOD), fully aware of the chemical hazards and the troop exposure, deployed a litany of lies. After this, it concocted a cover-up. That cover-up continues to this day.


    Most Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will not be able to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery

    Many veterans who served in the Global War on Terror may find themselves without a place to take their final rest- at least at the Arlington National Cemetery.

    Despite giving vocal opposition on Thursday, veterans groups learned they may face severe eligibility restrictions when it comes to burial in one of America’s most iconic cemeteries.

    “We are filling up every single day,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries. “Within the next few years, Section 60 -known for the recent wars- will be closed. This is on our mind every day.”

    Read more....

    Gulf War Veterans Suffer Disproportionately from Memory Problems, Chronic Pain

    While diverse groups of Gulf War veterans continue to report a number of symptoms collectively known as Gulf War Illness, uncertainty surrounds the prevalence of the symptoms compared to non-Gulf War veterans.

    Now, a new study led by a School of Public Health researcher has found that Gulf War veterans suffer disproportionately from a variety of symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, lack of sleep, and memory problems.


    Erin Brockovich’s New Fight: Toxins at Military Bases-VIDEO

    Environmental activist Erin Brockovich and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman (Ret.) James Bussey detail the disturbing effects of water contamination at hundreds of U.S. military bases.


    Veteran’s Assistance Program provides financial help to thousands of West MI veterans

    Soldiers serve our country, and often come home to find themselves in some very tough financial situations. Fortunately West Michigan Veteran's Assistance Program is here to help, providing financial assistance to thousands of veterans in West Michigan.

    The organization serves veterans in five counties: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa. In the year 2017 they serviced 2726 households with nearly 5,600 participants in those households.


    Half of VA patients who experienced sexual trauma are men

    - Thousands of women and men have reported sexual misconduct within the ranks of the U.S. military, but survivors say the #MeToo movement left them behind.
    Several of those survivors who are receiving treatment and care for military sexual trauma (MST) told FOX 13 news strikingly similar stories.
    One survivor said she was attacked multiple times during her service, sending her into a state of depression.


    Facing High Denial Rates for VA Claims, 3 Gulf Vets Intervene

    Ronald Brown, a disabled veteran of Operation Desert Storm, spends most of his days helping other veterans get connected to VA benefits for illnesses caused by their Gulf War service. (Nikki Wentling/Stars and Stripes)

    ROANOKE, Va. -- From his small home office more than 200 miles from Washington, Ronald Brown has a direct line to top Department of Veterans Affairs officials, including VA Secretary David Shulkin.


    Curcumin shows promise for treating Gulf War illness

    Turmeric, a spice commonly found in curry, has long been touted for its health benefits. Now, evidence in animal models suggests that one of its components, called curcumin, may be able to reverse some of the effects of Gulf War illness (GWI), according to recent research published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. This research was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.


    Over 130,000 wounded warriors eligible for tax refunds dating back to 1991

    An alert for more than 130,000 wounded warriors—over the next few weeks, the Department of Defense will be sending out notifications to combat-injured veterans eligible for tax refunds.

    Virginia Senator Mark Warner says that's because the military heroes paid federal taxes on their one-time, lump-sum disability severance payments—but they weren't supposed to


    Burn pits at US bases in Iraq, Afghanistan blamed for veterans’ illnesses

    Andrea Neutzling lives in fear of not being able to breathe.
    She suffers from constrictive bronchiolitis, a rare, incurable lung disease. Her doctors blame her condition on the toxic smoke she inhaled from the trash burned in open pits during her year of deployment in Iraq with the U.S. Army.

    Read more....

    How the VA Fueled the National Opioid Crisis and Is Killing Thousands of Veterans


    Late one summer night in 2014, Kevin Keller broke into his best friend’s home. Keller was a U.S. Navy vet wracked with constant pain, and because his right arm had been crippled by a stroke, he had to use his left hand to scrawl a note of apology to his buddy: “Marty, Sorry I broke into your house and took your gun to end the pain! FU VA!!! Can’t take it anymore.” He then drove to his nearby Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Wytheville, Virginia, and pounded on the locked doors of the medical office, probably out of frustration or as a final protest, since the facility had been closed for hours. Keller then put the barrel of his friend’s 9 mm pistol to his head and shot himself.


    Sunday, March 4, 2018

    Veterans with PTSD sue Navy over claims of biased discharges

    WASHINGTON – By the age of 21, Marine Corps Cpl. Tyson Manker led infantrymen into battle in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. His actions as a Marine garnered him the Presidential Unit Citation and other awards, yet the military doesn’t consider his service as honorable.

    Manker endured intense combat, saw civilians killed and witnessed the death of a close friend – experiences that caused nightmares and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that only worsened when he returned home.


    TIME First: Women Leaders who break the glass ceilings

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