Battling the Storm Within

Saturday, January 27, 2018

If You are Brave Enough to Serve, You are bracve enough to heal" VA Make the onnection Video - 772K FBviews

“If you’re brave enough to serve, you’re brave enough to heal.”
That’s Stephanie’s message to her fellow #Veterans. You can find support and move forward like she did.

“If you are brave enough to serve, you are brave enough to heal.”
Sgt. Shannon ❤️🙏🏾🙌🏾✌🏾

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Married veterans more at risk of suicide than single soldiers

Married Veterans More at Risk of Suicide than Single Soldiers

Among recently returned veterans, a new study says those who are married or living with a partner are at higher suicide risk than soldiers who are single, and older married female veterans are at the greatest risk.
While one might assume soldiers returning from deployment would find comfort and support reuniting with a spouse or loved one, the transition to the domestic environment can cause stress, according to the analysis by researchers at the University of Connecticut and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.


National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

Photo of a Veterans playing a guitar

2018 National Veterans
Creative Arts Competition

Local Competitions Begin January 1, 2018
Nationwide, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help Veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. Across the country each year, Veterans enrolled at VA health care facilities compete in a local creative arts competition. The competition includes 51 categories in the visual arts division this year that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 100 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing. Through a national judging process, first, second and third place entries in each category are determined.


6 Bragg Women Become First in Army to Earn Expert Infantryman Badge

A soldier wears the Expert Infantry Badge after completing all the requirements. Nathan Maysonet/Air Force

Women quietly broke through barriers last fall when they became the first in the Army to earn the prestigious Expert Infantryman Badge at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The badge, which was created in the 1940s, only recently opened to women when the Department of Defense struck down regulations that prevented them from serving in infantry jobs.


Same-sex active-duty couple marries at West Point

WEST POINT, N.Y. — Two Army captains who met at West Point returned there to be married, in what is believed to be the first same-sex marriage of active-duty personnel at the storied New York military academy.

The New York Times reported Captains Daniel Hall, 30, and Vincent Franchino, 26, both Apache helicopter pilots stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, were married at West Point’s Cadet Chapel on Jan. 13.


Duckworth slams Trump: I won't be lectured on military needs by a 'five-deferment draft dodger'

“Does he even know that there are service members who are in harm’s way right now, watching him, looking for their commander in chief to show leadership, rather than [trying] to deflect blame?” Duckworth said. “Or that his own Pentagon says that the short-term funding plans he seems intent on pushing is actually harmful to not just the military, but to our national security?”


Proof Gulf War Illness Does Exist

Scans have shown loss of brain matter in two regions of the brain associated with pain regulation in Gulf War veterans, researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center reported in the journal PLoS One.
As background information, the authors informed that of the approximately 700,000 soldiers who served in Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991), nearly 30% developed Gulf War Illness (Gulf War Syndrome). Gulf War Illness presents itself with symptoms such as cognitive deficits, autonomic dysfunction, severe fatigue, and chronic widespread pain that implicate the CNS (central nervous system).


Sergeant Major dies of Cancer, almost half his platoon from Iraq deployment has diseases

When a 44-year-old Army Sergeant Major died of cancer back in 2013, he held the distinction of having been promoted to the rank while courageously battling an unwinnable war against cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of bile duct cancer.


DNA damage found in veterans with Gulf War illness

Researchers say they have found the "first direct biological evidence" of damage in veterans with Gulf War illness to DNA within cellular structures that produce energy in the body.
The findings appeared in the journal PLOS One in September 2017.


Gulf War Syndrome In Tax Court

Always root for the disabled veteran. That is one of my principles in reading Tax Court decisions.  This required me to do some digging in the case of Gregory Bruce.  Absent my root for the disabled veteran  principle Mr. Bruce, whose friends call him Chief, did not really have any case at all.  The story behind the story is much more interesting but we should take care of the Tax Court decision first.


Reporting abuse was risking my life – US veteran & rape victim- Video

As an enlisted woman, Jennifer Norris never thought she would be in danger from her fellow soldiers. Raped, assaulted and harassed, she was forced into a struggle that ended her career. Do victims of rape have a fair chance of justice in the US military? Norris, US Air Force veteran and former activist in the Military Rape Crisis Centre, shared the story of her battle.


Veterans behind bars: US jails set aside special cellblocks

Veterans behind bars: US jails set aside special cellblocks

ALBANY — The military veterans playing cards in the Albany County jail wear the same orange uniforms as everyone else, with "INMATE" printed down the legs. But their service offers one distinct privilege: a special cellblock where they can work through problems they often share, such as substance use and post-traumatic stress disorder.


Veterans on Handling Anxiety

“Getting out of the military was interesting and exciting, and that maybe presented the most anxiety I ever felt,” says Schuyler, a U.S. Army Veteran. “It’s scary, because you have this whole life that you learned. For me, it was six years active duty in an infantry unit.

Now … I have to go be a civilian.”
Feeling anxious is a normal reaction to stress, and Veterans may experience stress and anxiety for a variety of reasons. It could be caused by a past event, like a traumatic experience in combat or military training, or stem from something like a job change or family conflict. Fortunately, there are many healthy ways to manage anxiety. Hear these Veterans share how they handle their anxiety.


Persian Gulf War History & Facts

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and occupation of neighboring Kuwait in early August 1990. Alarmed by these actions, fellow Arab powers such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt called on the United States and other Western nations to intervene. Hussein defied United Nations Security Council demands to withdraw from Kuwait by mid-January 1991, and the Persian Gulf War began with a massive U.S.-led air offensive known as Operation Desert Storm.


Survivors of military sexual assault demand change outside Pentagon

Protesters called for changes outside the Pentagon on Monday to better protect men and women serving in the military from sexual assault, harassment and retaliation that can result for reporting such behavior to senior officers.


Army announces deployments for about 10,000 soldiers

Four units will deploy across the world in the coming months, the Army announced on Wednesday.
Three of the four will deploy in the spring, while the fourth unit will deploy in the summer.
The deploying units, which include two armored brigade combat teams of about 4,500 soldiers each, are:


VA says Justice Department crackdown on marijuana won’t hit veterans

WASHINGTON — Veterans who talk to their doctors about medical marijuana use won’t be hurt by the new Justice Department crackdown on the drug, according to officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Vets May Now Be Able To Get Higher Disability Ratings For Service-Connected Injuries


The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims issued a decision last month that could make it easier for veterans with injuries to the back, neck, and joints to obtain higher disability ratings, even in cases where veterans are already receiving disability benefits for such injuries.


New Trump order focused on preventing suicide among new vets

WASHINGTON — In an effort to stem the tide of veterans suicides, President Donald Trump on Tuesday will sign an executive order mandating new mental health options for recently separated service members.

Federal officials estimate about 20 veterans a day nationwide take their own lives, but outside advocates say they believe that number could be even higher. The departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense have launched numerous initiatives in recent years to increase outreach to at-risk veterans, with mixed results.


Veterans' Group Calls on Troops to Own the 'Me Too' Movement

A protestor carries a sign at the #MeToo rally outside Trump International Hotel on Dec. 9 in New York City. (Getty Images/Stephanie Keith)

On Monday, the Service Women's Action Network plans to hold a demonstration outside the Pentagon that aims to bring the "#MeToo" sexual assault awareness movement home to the military.
It's unclear whether any active-duty service members will be in attendance.


The Basics of Military Sexual Trauma: A Primer

To the extent that conversations about military sexual trauma, at least online, shed little light and often a fair amount of heat, it seems wise to create some sort of primer about what military sexual trauma is and isn’t, who it happens to, and a few other crucial factors.

The cumbersome phrasing, “Military Sexual Trauma” (MST), is codified wording in use by both the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). At its core, it refers to the entire spectrum of incidents from sexual harassment through sexual assault and rape, including gang rape, that happens in the military. It’s important to note that it isn’t its own diagnosis, per se, with VA; so veterans who disclose to VA that they are MST survivors — and VA screens for that — have it noted in their medical charts but the actual diagnosis is for what MST leads to, for example, frequently Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Confused already? We understand.


Is mental illness physical or mental?

The brain is part of your body just like your legs or your heart.
Mental illnesses are brain-based conditions that affect thinking, emotions, and behaviors. Since we all have brains – having a mental health problem at some point during your life is common.
Unlike other general physical illnesses, mental illnesses are related to problems that start in the brain. The brain is an organ. Just like any other organs in our body, it can experience changes (healing or injury) based on life experiences like stress, trauma, lack of sleep, and nutrition. Generally, when someone has a mental illness, something has changed in such a way that their brain and the way that it works has also changed.


Monday, January 8, 2018

Military retirement is about to get a lot more complex-VIDEO

More than 1 million members of the military will start 2018 needing to make an important financial decision, as the government rolls out the biggest change to military retirement since World War II.

Members of the US Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard with fewer than 12 years of service will have to choose whether to stay on an all-or-nothing path toward a traditional pension after 20 years of service or to opt for a new "blended" retirement system that Congress approved as part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act.


San Antonio Veteran Named Chairwoman Of National VA Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday that Octavia Harris, a San Antonio-area veteran, is the new chairwoman of the National Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, a panel that advises the VA secretary on issues important to women veterans, their families and their caregivers.



MADISON, Wis. -- An Atlanta family says it was negligence that led to the death of their father, an Army veteran.
Vance Perry was found dead on New Year's Eve in a freezing-cold parking garage in Madison, Wis.
Erika Perry hasn't seen her father in five years. Now, she and her siblings are trying to figure out how to see him one last time --- for his funeral.


Michigan woman becomes first black female commander of VFW post

Kimberly A. Napoleon, the first female Commander in the Wallace C. Schultz/Dwight A Mcinney Jr. Post 9931 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars poses for a portrait on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. In her hands, Napoleon, an army veteran of Operation Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm, holds the memorial flag presented to her for her husband, Terrill Napoleon. Her husband also served in the army at the DMZ in Korea, where he picked up the bacterial brain infection that he would eventually pass away from in 1995.

SAGINAW, MI -- A national veterans organization that has been around for more than 100 years installed the first black woman commander in Michigan over the weekend.

On Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Wallace C. Schultz/Dwight A. McKinney Jr. Post 9931, Kimberly Napoleon was installed as a commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Bridgeport. Some describe Napoleon's accomplishment as historic and a trailblazer for other women.


Air Force Raises Enlistee Age Limit From 27 to 39

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David S. Fadok delivers the oath of enlistment to new Air Force enlistees during Military Appreciation night at Riverwalk Stadiumin Montgomery, Ala., June 2, 2012.  (Bud Hancock/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON — Thanks to a new Air Force policy announced Tuesday, enlisted recruits can now experience the joys of basic training in their late 30s.

The Air Force raised the maximum age for enlisted accession from 27 to 39, meaning it may now be the best choice for those who feel the call to military service later in life.


Men can be victims of rape too

Men can be victims of rape too

A young man who was brutally raped by two men after a guys’ night out has revealed he was left traumatized and “wanted to jump off a bridge.”

Sam Thompson was subjected to a horrific attack which lasted several hours after a night partying with a friend in Manchester, England in September 2016.


4 Things I Learned During My First Appointment At The VA

Airman Ear

Just before Veterans Day, and slightly over seven years after leaving the service, I finally had my first doctor’s appointment with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Like most vets, I’d heard both positive and negative stories about VA health care and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d have to say my experience was somewhere in the middle and, perhaps most importantly, very informative.


New FDA warnings on Cipro may tie into Gulf War illness

During the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, then-Navy corpsman David Ridenhour often browbeat troops in 1st Battalion, 5th Marines to take their medications — the anti-nerve agent pyridostigmine bromide and another pill, new to the market, to prevent anthrax.

Ridenhour took them. And while he doesn't completely blame his Gulf War illness symptoms on the drugs, he was interested to learn that last summer the Food and Drug Administration toughened its warnings for Ciprofloxacin, or Cipro, saying the potent antibiotic can cause severe and sometimes permanent nerve damage.


Soldier home for the holidays died rescuing neighbors from fire-VIDEO

New York (CNN)Private Emmanuel Mensah went off to serve in the Army National Guard, but it was back home where he made the ultimate sacrifice.

Mensah died trying to rescue people from his burning apartment building this week in the Bronx, New York, in the city's deadliest fire in more than 25 years, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
As Mensah's father tells it, he went back into the building twice to rescue neighbors. But he did not make it out alive.


"Veterans have a very different view of service. If you can do it, you just do it."

A fifth generation military veteran, Vonetta Daniels 02C completed her time in the United States Air Force and headed to Emory to complete her undergraduate degree. In late 2001, Daniels, a senior at the time, accidentally crashed the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni (CEBA) holiday party at Justin’s downtown. She was a non-traditional student, just out to celebrate her birthday. But soon after, Daniels went to a CEBA meeting, was pegged to be the service chair, and that is where it all began.


Researchers cite new findings on Gulf War Illness

WASHINGTON – Researchers have discovered two areas of brain atrophy in Gulf War veterans who responded differently to a heart-rate test, leading scientists to believe that even those with the same Gulf War Illness symptoms may need different kinds of treatments.

"It was shocking to us," said Rakib Rayhan, lead author of the study and a researcher at Georgetown University Medical Center. "We were just floored."


Life-Size Bronze Statues Honoring Women Veterans Installed In Las Cruces

The much-anticipated life-size, one-of-a-kind bronze statues representing women veterans of the United States Armed Forces who have served since WWI were installed at the newly-constructed Women Veterans Monument at Veterans Memorial Park

The much-anticipated life-size, one-of-a-kind bronze statues representing women veterans of the United States Armed Forces who have served since WWI were installed at the newly-constructed Women Veterans Monument at Veterans Memorial Park in Las Cruces, NM on Dec. 20, 2017.

The realistic figures, which took more than one-year to create, represent branches of the military during various eras and are the focal point of the monument. The Women Veterans Monument will be officially unveiled at a formal dedication tentatively scheduled for March 10, 2018. 


Top general tells Marines to be prepared for a big fight

The Marine Corps commandant told about 300 Marines in Norway this week that they should be prepared for a “bigass fight” to come, remarks his spokesman later said were not in reference to any specific adversary but rather intended to inspire the troops.

“I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,” Gen. Robert Neller told the Marines on Thursday, according to “You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.”


New VA Rules Allow Docs to Talk About Medical Marijuana

Doctors and pharmacists at the Veterans Affairs Department have been cleared to talk about the pluses and minuses of medical marijuana use with vets who ask about the drug.

The doctors will still be barred from recommending or prescribing marijuana, but under a new VA directive they will be able to "discuss with the veteran marijuana use, due to its clinical relevance to patient care, and discuss marijuana use with any veterans requesting information about marijuana."


VA struggling to manage $543M contract for medical equipment tracking system

Department of Veterans Affairs IT contract is riddled with “uncertainty” after it failed to provide adequate oversight and properly manage information security risks, a watchdog reported.

VA’s inspector general found in a recent audit that the department obligated $431 million to HP Enterprise Services — which since merged with CSC to become DXC Technology in April — since 2013 for development of the Real Time Location System “without a Government acceptance of a functional RTLS solution.” The system is supposed digitally track medical equipment and devices so that “medical staff have optimal equipment and supplies to treat Veterans” in a safe manner, according to the VA.

Trump signs bill opening VA to more investigations

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed legislation allowing for more and faster investigations of Department of Veterans Affairs facilities by permitting nongovernment groups to inspect them.

The bill, titled the Enhancing Veteran Care Act, would allow regional VA officials to enter into contracts with accredited nonprofits to identify and report deficiencies at VA hospitals. It’s the latest move this year in a larger effort by the VA and Congress to bring accountability to VA workers

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Gulf War Syndrome: US Veterans Suffering from Multiple Debilitating Symptoms

After their service in the Gulf War conflict from 1990-1991, hundreds of thousands of our country’s veterans began suffering from multiple and diverse debilitating symptoms including neurological and respiratory disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, psychological problems, skin conditions and gastrointestinal issues.

This cluster of symptoms came to be known as Gulf War syndrome. Independent investigations, including those conducted by many of the Gulf War veterans themselves, showed multiple causes behind Gulf War syndrome, including experimental vaccines and medications; exposure to depleted uranium (DU); toxicity from biological and chemical weapons, oil fires, and other environmental contaminants.