Battling the Storm Within

Monday, August 28, 2017

For These Women Veterans, It Wasn’t Combat Trauma That Led To PTSD

women veterans ptsd header photo

Connie Davis was afraid to go into the bathroom. Fire escapes and stairwells at the Air Force bases where she was stationed also stirred fear.

Enemies within the ranks could be lurking in such secluded spots.
But Airman Davis, who started as a mechanic after joining the Air Force in 1974, said she was sexually assaulted despite her efforts to avoid places where she might be vulnerable.


VAs’ PTSD, pot study called ‘worthless’

VAs’ PTSD, pot study called ‘worthless’
Still no weed for you.
“Media inquiries were directed to a previous statement made by Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin during a White House press conference in May. At that time, he tread lightly on endorsing medical marijuana because of its status as an illegal substance under federal law.

“My opinion is, is that some of the states that have put in appropriate controls, there may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful,” Mr. Shulkin said. “And we’re interested in looking at that and learning from that. But until the time that federal law changes, we are not able to be able to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful.”


Trump signs bill to speed up veteran disability appeals process

Trump signs bill to speed up veteran disability appeals process

President Trump on Wednesday signed into law a measure meant to accelerate the appeals process for disability claims at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), easing for veterans a process criticized as too cumbersome.

The bill is aimed at helping veterans challenge rejected bids for benefits and to mitigate a backlog of appeals.


A trailblazing generation of black military servicewomen is embracing the natural hair movement.

  Image result for black military woman natural hair

In January of this year, the United States Army revised its grooming and appearance regulations, including its ban on dreadlocks for female soldiers. Word of the policy change spread quickly, with black servicewomen up and down the ranks posting jubilant videos to social media, some of whom had endured the discomfort of wigs and damaging straightening treatments in order to comply with the strict rules, wherein authorized hairstyles are measured down to a fraction of an inch.


Join the MVF-MIWVE Coalition

We had a great 1st meeting on Tuesday August 22nd 2017 at MVF 9 different women representing organizations were present it was ground breaking! Looking forward growing together as we build the women veterans community and support military family members in Michigan. Join the movement 👊🏾🇺🇸

Infantry drill sergeants suspended after sexual assault allegations from female recruits

The Army cannot confirm how many are under investigation

A group of Fort Benning, Georgia, drill sergeants has been suspended amid an investigation into multiple sexual assault allegations, a Fort Benning spokesman confirmed to Army Times on Wednesday.

What started out as a single report from one trainee has ballooned, according to a release from the Maneuver Center of Excellence. The story was first reported by U.S. Army W.T.F.! Moments on Tuesday  night.

"Initial review of this incident revealed indications of additional allegations of sexual misconduct involving trainees and drill sergeants,” the release said.


'I just pulled up my pants and went back to work': Women veterans reveal the shocking sexual and physical abuse they suffered in the US armed forces

Homelessness among veterans is expected to rise as female troops try and reintegrate into their communities
  • The number of homeless women veterans has more than doubled from 1,380 back in 2006 - to 3,328 in 2010
  • A new photo essay offers a glimpse into the lives of those women who served and have since been discarded 
  • They include Lurae Horse, who was 19-year-old B-29 bomber mechanic when she was raped by fellow soldier

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    MI women veterans empowerment garden harvesting

    It has been a rewarding healing and growth process of laboring, harvesting , cooking and enjoying some of the fruit of our labor from the MIWVEC garden this season. MIWVE is donating the rest to veterans and their family members to enjoy. 🇺🇸

    Image may contain: plant and food

    A woman who accused a former colonel of rape will be forced to pay millions in defamation damages

    Former West Point cadet Susan Shannon took to her blog in 2013 to recount the story of being raped by a fellow cadet in 1986 while at the military academy.

    Her accusation came amid a storm of press coverage about the prominence of sexual assault in the military, and it led to a criminal investigation and the end of the fellow cadet’s Army career.

    Women tell of rocky adjustment to civilian life after military service

    The female veterans who gathered in Thousand Oaks survived the perils of military service and the trauma that can follow. But returning to civilian life turned out to be one of their strongest foes. 

    "Transition is the most difficult thing," said Deon Watson, a former Navy Seabee who attended the discussion Wednesday at Rep. Julia Brownley's office


    The US Military Indeed Spends A Lot on Viagra—Because it Helps Veterans With PTSD

    When president Donald Trump announced his intention of banning transgender people from serving in the US military, he blamed “the tremendous medical costs [..] that transgender in the military would entail.” Many noted that in fact those costs were tiny: On its existing transgender personnel the military spends $8.4 million at most, or 0.13% off its total medical budget.

    To prove just how little that is, one comparison stood out: The military spends 10 times as much ($84 million) on medications for erectile dysfunction, half of which on Viagra alone. Quickly, the mocking outrage around the fact that “the military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops” took off.


    New HQ for Michigan Women Veterans Empowerment

    MIWVEC's new HQ office location is at MVF 4626 Grand River Ave Detroit MI "The Pentagon" gated and guarded 121 male veteran housing and community center who's mission is to not leave one veteran behind.  Looking forward to doing great things together for veterans.

    Senators’ Face Fight to Increase TRICARE Fees

    The Congressional Budget Office, in estimating the impact of key provisions in House and Senate defense authorization bills for fiscal 2018, also spotlights the higher out-of-pocket costs that military folks would face if various Senate-devised personnel initiatives survive negotiations with the House to shape a final bill.

    On health care, for example, Senators propose that TRICARE beneficiaries face higher co-pays for drug prescriptions not filled on base. Also, with removal of simple “grandfathering” language, current retirees, and currently-serving members who eventually retire, would see higher TRICARE fees and deductibles.


    VA staffing new White House VA Hotline Principally with Veterans

    Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that the two-month pilot phase of the new White House VA Hotline that began in June has demonstrated that Veterans calling the hotline respond best when their calls are answered by fellow Veterans and others with first-hand experience on their issues.

    As a result, VA announced that it will target highly qualified Veterans to staff the hotline going forward, instead of contracting the service to a third-party vendor, and is hiring additional VA personnel to complete the planned move to a 24-hour operation.

    “The message we’ve heard loud and clear is Veterans want to talk to other Veterans to help them solve problems and get VA services,” said VA Secretary David J. Shulkin. “We’re taking steps to answer that call.”

    This decision will delay the full-time stand-up of the 24-hour service by two months, to no later than October 15, in order to ensure the hiring and training processes are complete.
    Until that time, the hotline’s current pilot program service is available to receive calls from Veterans from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    Sunday, August 27, 2017

    How one woman vet broke barriers and ascended to the top

    mary legere How one woman vet broke barriers and ascended to the top

    Lt. Gen. Mary Legere (ret.) spent 34 years in the U.S. Army, including serving as the service’s senior intelligence officer. Joining the Army in 1982, women made up only 12% of those on active duty, and restrictions were in place limiting the assignments available to women.

    Speaking to the 2017 Veterans in Global Leadership fellows at the Women’s Initiative Lunch last month, Legere reflected on her time in the Army, shared her insights on leadership, and rising through the ranks in an environment dominated by men.


    Malaria drug causes brain damage that mimics PTSD: case study

    The case of a service member diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder but found instead to have brain damage caused by a malaria drug raises questions about the origin of similar symptoms in other post-9/11 veterans.

    According to the case study published online in Drug Safety Case Reports in June, a U.S. military member sought treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for uncontrolled anger, insomnia, nightmares and memory loss.


    VA To Prematurely Close Thousands Of Healthcare Applications, Again


    One well-known whistleblower just alerted the press that VA is likely taking steps to prematurely close incomplete applications, again.

    Scott Davis, a public affairs officer in Atlanta, says the agency is readying to close tens of thousands of incomplete healthcare applications despite promises a year ago to keep those applications open until IG investigates how the agency completes such applications.


    Wednesday, August 9, 2017

    Two Marine commanders fired this year for behavior toward women

    Nearly half of the Marine commanders who have been fired this year were relieved in part due to their attitude toward women, said Assistant Commandant Gen. Glenn Walters.

    “We have relieved commanders this year,” Walters said on Tuesday. “Two out of those five that have been relieved I can directly attribute to an awareness of this issue and the fact that they didn’t have the correct command climate, and what they did. To me, that’s progress.”

    Read more....

    Vets hurt by school shutdowns would get benefits restored under new ‘Forever GI Bill’ law

    Jason Nyikos was working a high-paying, high-stress job at an Indiana machinery company when he decided to quit for what he thought would be a more laid back life as a college student, pursuing a degree that would eventually land him his dream job.


    VA chief: Time to rethink disability system; current setup 'not sustainable'

    It's time to rethink a veteran disability system that "incentivizes disability," Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said during a Friday forum in Washington, the same day President Trump signed new VA accountability legislation.   

    "Our current disability system that is designed from 50, 60 or 70 years ago….. I would suggest it's not sustainable and it may not be achieving the results of well-being for our veterans," Shulkin said at an event organized by the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative. 

    "Our system incentivizes disability, when our system should be incentivizing health and well-being." 


    US Puts Boots on the Ground in Yemen


    The Pentagon won’t rule out more troops being sent to Yemen in the coming weeks.

    (ANTIWAR.COM) — A day after the US was reported to have participated in an anti al-Qaeda offensive in southern Shabwa Province of Yemen, the Pentagon is confirming that a “small number” of US ground troops have been deployed into Yemen for an ongoing operation against the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) force.


    Military chaplains help traumatized soldiers, but who helps them?

    Army chaplain. Credit: Defence Images via Flickr (CC-BY-NC 2.0).

    .- As military veterans and victims of violence are treated for psychological trauma, the emotional wounds of missionaries and military chaplains might be overlooked, but are just as present.


    Presumptive Service Connection - Gulf War Illness

    Presumptive Service Connection for Diseases Associated With Service in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations During the Persian Gulf War: Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders


    Army veteran becomes first woman to lead big three veterans service organization

    Delphine Metcalf-Foster

    NEW ORLEANS – Retired Army veteran Delphine Metcalf-Foster was elected National Commander of the nearly 1.3 million-member DAV (Disabled American Veterans) today at the organization’s 96th National Convention.


    VA opens mental health services to veterans with 'other than honorable' status

    For the first time, veterans with an other than honorable discharge can access mental health services at VA centers. Veterans with this kind of status served in the military but have not been eligible for benefits until now.


    JOIN US!! For the NEW MVF-MWVE Coalition

    Join Us!! For The New MVF-WVEC - Michigan Veterans Foundation - Women Veterans Empowerment Coalition every 3rd Tuesday of the month @ 5:30 pm at "The Pentagon" 4626 Grand River Ave Detroit MI. Working together to build the women veterans and military family members community. Meetings open to women veterans and military family members only. For more info 810-373-5744

    Find out more...

    Inside the painful memory of PTSD- VIDEO

    Inside PTSD: We followed a vet through his ‘triggers'

    Watch Video

    New deal reached to fix VA budget crisis after vets protest

    WASHINGTON — Members of Congress reached agreement Thursday on a $3.9 billion emergency spending package to fill a shortfall in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ program of private-sector care, seeking to avert a disruption to medical care for thousands of veterans.


    Gulf War Illness Claims- VIDEO

    Two House Veterans' Affairs subcommittees held a joint hearing examining how the Veterans Affairs Department reviews Gulf War illness claims. A report released by the Government Accountability Office found that the VA denies more than 80% of claims for benefits in Gulf War associated illnesses. The report also found that ninety percent of VA medical examiners have no training on how to conduct Gulf War illness exams.


    Shortchanging Gulf Vets

    The federal government has been using the delayed onset of undiagnosed illnesses in Gulf War veterans to cast doubt on some battlefield cause and effect justifications for benefit claims.

    It is reminiscent of the government in the 1990s’ trying to cut costs by initially rejecting Vietnam veterans’ illness claims. Those vets sought compensation for sicknesses alleged to have resulted from exposure years earlier to the toxic battlefield defoliant, Agent Orange. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials were slow to recognize any connection between servicemen’s exposure to the herbicide and the subsequent emergence of a broad array of diseases ranging from cancers to respiratory ailments.


    Veteran commits suicide at VA medical center

    AMARILLO (KVII) - Wednesday morning, a veteran committed suicide in front of the Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center.

    The Amarillo Police Department was dispatched to the VA hospital just after 7:00 am Wednesday morning for a call of a man suffering from a self inflicted gunshot wound. APD has confirmed the man was dead when officers arrived.


    Fewer rapes in the military, but retaliation still a problem, survey shows

    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02:  Former U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Annie Kendzior (R), testifies before the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Military Personnel with fellow sexual assault survivors (2nd R-L) former U.S. Military Academy cadets Stephanie Gross andAriana Bullard and Naval Academy Midshipman Second Class Shiela Craine in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill May 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Recruited as a student athelete, Kendzior was twice raped after enrolling at the Naval Academy in 2008. After reporting the crime she said the superintendent at the time told her to "grow up." The academy superintendents were called to testify following the release of a survey last month by the Pentagon that said 12.2 percent of academy women and 1.7 percent of academy men reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact during the 2015-16 academic year. The number of reports at West Point increased from 17 to 26, while reports at the Naval Academy ticked up from 25 to 28 over the last academic year.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Staff / Getty Images / 2017 Getty Images

    The number of sexual assaults in the military continued its steady decrease last year, and victims are more willing to report the crimes, the Pentagon’s latest survey shows.

    But nearly 60 percent of victims who did tell authorities about being raped said they faced some form of retaliation and the conviction rate for prosecutions remains low, according to the Pentagon’s Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, released this week.


    Transgender airman: ‘I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military’

    After President Trump’s surprise announcement Wednesday barring transgender people from serving “in any capacity“ in the military, one prominent transgender airman said he’s more determined than ever to continue serving in the Air Force.

    “I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military,” Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland said in an interview with Air Force Times. “You are not going to deny me my right to serve my country when I am fully qualified and able and willing to give my life.”


    Veterans' Access to Medical Marijuana Hinges on Monday Vote

    (Photo courtesy of National Institute on Drug Abuse)

    A measure allowing veterans easier access to medical marijuana garnered bipartisan support in Congress last year and nearly became law. A vote on Monday could be the end of the line this year in another attempt to pass it.

    The House Rules Committee will soon decide whether to allow Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., to offer an amendment to the Department of Veterans Affairs budget on the House floor. His "Veterans Equal Access" amendment would allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their veteran patients in states where the drug is legal. VA providers would also be able to complete veterans' paperwork required by some states to purchase marijuana.


    What military recruiters aren't telling women: You'll face disproportionate health risks

    Jennifer Hunt
    Recently, 18 brave women graduated from the U.S. Army Infantry School, pioneers headed for fully gender-integrated “ground close-combat” units. Women have long served valiantly and effectively in almost every military role, but now they are tackling extremely physical combat jobs that, until recently, were designated men-only.


    House approves expanded GI Bill benefits and several other veterans-related bills

    WASHINGTON — House lawmakers on Monday unanimously passed a host of changes to veterans’ education benefits that boost aid, expand who’s eligible for benefits and eliminate the expiration date for veterans to use them.

    The 405-0 vote came just nine days after Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., and a bipartisan group of cosponsors introduced the bill, H.R. 3218.


    As administration wages war on legal marijuana, military veterans side with pot

    WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) -- The Trump administration's attack on legal marijuana, already stymied by large states determined not to roll back the clock, is increasingly confronting an even more politically potent adversary: military veterans.

    Frustrated by federal laws restricting their access to a drug many already rely on to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and opioid addiction, veterans have become an influential lobbying force in the marijuana debate after sitting on the sidelines for years.

    Read more..