Battling the Storm Within

Saturday, January 14, 2017

U.S. agrees to pay billions of dollars to Marines affected by toxic water

Image result for marine times logo
WASHINGTON — After years of waiting, veterans who were exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina may now be able to receive a portion of government disability benefits totaling more than $2 billion.

Beginning in March, the cash payouts from the Department of Veterans Affairs may supplement VA health care already being provided to eligible veterans stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 cumulative days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987. Veterans will have to submit evidence of their diagnoses and service information. 


No Pushback on Plan to Arrest General Kevin P. Byrnes- Justice for Lavena Johnson

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No Pushback on Plan to Arrest General Kevin P. Byrnes
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on March 1, 2016
Something strange but positive is happening in the murder case of Pfc LaVena Johnson. On February 14, 2016, we publicly named former four-star Army general Kevin P. Byrnes, a Huntsville, Alabama resident, as the person who murdered Private Johnson. On February 28, 2016, we announced our plan to effectuate a citizen’s arrest of General Byrnes using the arrest powers codified in Section 15-10-17 of the Alabama Code. After his arrest, Byrnes will be delivered to a U.S. magistrate in Birmingham, Alabama, as required by the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000.

Since we made these two announcements, there has been absolutely no pushback from the Pentagon or any federal law enforcement officials on our plan to arrest General Byrnes. Back-channel communications in Washington suggest that the current Pentagon leadership wants General Byrnes arrested and held accountable for the murder of Private Johnson. However, they do not want to initiate criminal proceedings themselves. The arrest will be used as a triggering event for the Pentagon to reopen its 2005 investigation into Private Johnson’s death.

The murder of Private Johnson and subsequent cover-up by the Pentagon occurred on the watch of President George Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. There is no longer any perceived strategic value or vested interest in the Pentagon carrying out a cover-up of Private Johnson’s murder for the purpose of protecting General Byrnes.

Rumsfeld fired Byrnes as an Army general on August 8, 2005. His close military friends are no longer in positions of power and influence. Byrnes, who now works as a top executive at Raytheon, is presently viewed by the Pentagon as a "liability".

Interestingly, General Byrnes has not demanded a retraction of our designation of him as Private Johnson’s murderer. In Alabama, “truth” is a complete defense to any defamation of character legal action. No such action has been threatened, and such is not likely to occur in the future.
Our arrest team has been assembled and is making detailed plans for General Byrnes’ arrest. He will not be arrested at his home or place of work. Byrnes’ arrest will be effectuated in a professional manner and in accordance with state and federal laws.
Stay tuned….

US troops enter Poland, 1st deployment at Russia’s doorstep- VIDEO

BRUCKE-LEHNIN, Germany – Soldiers assigned to 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colorado stage their military vehicles before beginning their third day of their convoy to Poland for their nine-month deployment training along side multinational partners, Jan. 11. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Tarr)

troops enter Poland, 1st deployment at Russia's doorstep
US troops enter Poland, 1st deployment at Russia's doorstep

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — American soldiers rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream some Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have U.S. troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia.

Some people waved and held up American flags as U.S. troops in tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland from Germany and headed toward the town of Zagan, where they will be based. Poland’s prime minister and defense minister will welcome them in an official ceremony Saturday.

“This is the fulfilment of a dream,” said Michal Baranowski, director of the German Marshall Fund think tank in Warsaw. “And this is not just a symbolic presence but one with a real capability.”


5 Things No One Tells You About Getting Out Of The Military

Soldiers of the 144th Military Police Company, 210th MP Battalion, 177th MP Brigade, Michigan National Guard, road march across a foot bridge in McCurdy Park as part of the Blackhats' Last Charge through Corunna, Mich., May 7, 2016.

In interviews with dozens of veterans, the author found 5 things that kept coming up about transitioning from the military to a civilian career.

When I decided to leave the Navy, I had no idea what I’d do. When I decided to seek an MBA, my thought process was as simple as:


Millions More Vets to Be Able to Shop at Exchanges Online

Edwards AFB Exchange. (U.S. Air Force Photo)

Military Update: After two years of study and debate, the Department of Defense has made a policy change, effective next November, to allow 16 million honorably discharged veterans to shop online for discounted military exchange products.

Peter K. Levine, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, signed a memorandum Wednesday announcing the benefit expansion, effective Veterans’ Day Nov. 11, and giving Congress the required 30 days’ notice before actions begin to implement the plan.


What Everyone Should Know Before Joining the Military


You’ve probably heard the ads and the recruiter’s sales pitch. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? All advertising does. But if military life doesn’t live up to the advertising, you can’t bring your enlistment agreement back to the recruiter for a refund. You are obligated to the military for a total of eight years, including time in the Reserves when you could be recalled.

Read more....

Gulf War Veterans Still Fighting Serious Health Problems

The veterans of the victorious 1990-91 campaign against Iraq suffer from the mysterious Gulf War Illness, and are getting little medical assistance.
Gulf war soldier
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Persian Gulf War.
It was fought in late 1990 through early 1991 by a U.S.-led coalition of 34 countries against Iraq in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

It also was the first U.S. war to be waged after the advent of the 24-hour cable television news cycle.


The number-one disability among vets isn’t PTSD. And it’s getting worse every year.

William Milzarski was 40 years old when he ​finished his infantry training. His two sons had enlisted, and he felt a midlife crisis coming on. “It was either enlist, or buy a red convertible,” he says. Shipped off to Afghanistan, Lt. Milzarski led his platoon into 244 combat missions, until a bullet ricocheted off a rock during a firefight and hit him in the face. He stayed with his troops, wounded and bloody, until the battle was over. Then, seven months later, he rotated home.


Trump considering 'public-private option' for VA reform

Trump is also weighing the creation of an advisory committee on VA reform. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

President-elect Trump is considering a "public-private option" at the Department of Veterans Affairs that would allow all veterans to choose whether they want to receive care from the VA or from private doctors.

"We think we have to have kind of a ... public-private option, because some vets love the VA ... some vets want to go to the VA," a transition official told reporters at Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday.


Healing through the Arts Event- Sat. March 18th 2017 12 to 4pm

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday March 18, 2017 from 12 to 4 pm at the Peace & Art Gallery Join us for the Healing through the Arts - Art Therapy and Writer's Workshop. We will be working on artistic work that will be published in the next Our Voice United Women Veteran Anthology Book

 REGISTRATION is open for more info
to Register visit:

Treating Women For Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Treating Women For Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Once considered a problem limited to active duty male military service members and veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder is regularly diagnosed in female service members and veterans who most often suffer the condition because of sexual assault while serving in the military.

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For Veterans, Trauma Of War Can Persist In Struggles With Sexual Intimacy

Much has been said about the physical and psychological injuries of war, like traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. But what we talk about less is how these conditions affect the sexual relationships of service members after they return from combat.

Since 2000, service members who were deployed received at least 138,000 diagnoses of PTSD. More than 350,000 have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since 2000. Evidence suggests the numbers are actually higher because many don't seek treatment.

These conditions cause their own sexual side effects, such as emotional numbness, loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. And the long list of medications used to treat PTSD, TBI and other medical conditions can worsen those side effects.


Child abuse in the military: Failing those most in need

Talia Williams was killed in 2005 at the age of 5 by her father, Naeem Williams, then an active-duty infantryman stationed in Hawaii.          

Talia Williams was killed in 2005 at the age of 5 by her father, Naeem Williams, then an active-duty infantryman stationed in Hawaii. (Inform)
Naeem Williams in an undated photo.

Talia Williams, left, was killed in 2005 at the age of 5 by her father, Naeem Williams, right, then an active-duty infantryman stationed in Hawaii. (Helene L. Allen / U.S. Army; Inform)

In September 2011, Army Sgt. 1st Class Crispen Hanson’s commander at Ft. Bliss ordered him into a military treatment program for child abusers.

Texas child welfare authorities had formally reported a “reason to believe” the 20-year Army veteran had severely beaten his 6-month-old son, Malachi, leaving him with a broken leg.

Read more....

Iraq Veteran Takes His Own Life After No One Answers His Suicide Hotline Call

Thomas Young
Thursday, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) chaired a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, at which he told the story of 30-year-old Thomas Young, an Illinois veteran who struggled with alcohol addiction and PTSD after serving in Iraq.

Sometime between July 22 and 23, 2015, Young called the VA's suicide hotline in desperate need of help, but he didn't get an answer. After leaving a message, Young went to the local Metra tracks, lay down, and was killed by an oncoming train. It wasn't until the next day that the hotline returned Young's call.


The VA Hooked Veterans on Opioids, Then Failed Them Again

The agency overprescribed painkillers to returning soldiers, fueling addiction; now rehab facilities are overwhelmed

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.—Robert Deatherage, a 30-year-old Army veteran who has battled addiction to pain pills and heroin since suffering severe injuries in Afghanistan, says he reached rock bottom a year ago when he holed up in an empty church and tried to kill himself. Twice.