Battling the Storm Within

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.”

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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

Presented By


Upstate's last Buffalo Soldier to be laid to rest Friday

Tomie Gaines (Source: Watkins, Garrett & Woods Mortuary)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -            
The last Buffalo Soldier from South Carolina to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II was laid to rest Friday in Anderson, according to a news release.
Tomie L. Gaines, 93, died Sunday at McCall Hospice House.
Gaines served from March 1943 to December 1945 with the 27th Calvary, an all-black unit.


Doctors Have Finally Ruled Menstrual Cramps Are as Painful as Heart Attacks

Although we know that menstrual cramps/period pain/whatever you choose to call it, can feel like you're being repeatedly punched in the stomach from the inside out, explaining this to other people (read: generally men) can feel like a lost cause.

Worried about being dismissively diagnosed by coworkers and friends with female "conditions" such as being "delicate," "dramatic," or "oversharing," more often than not, we suck it up and suffer in silence. Add it to the list...


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

Before you start blocking Aunt Susan and your second cousin, it’s important to recognize the signs of a toxic person:
  • They’re judgmental. Constructive criticism is healthy, but persistent, unwarranted criticism can deteriorate anyone’s self-esteem.
  • They feed off drama. Have you ever turned to a family member for some personal advice? Yet, somehow after you’ve shared your most vulnerable moments with them—someone you thought was a trusted ally—somehow everyone in your family knows everything about your personal life (including your distant cousin in Hungary, who you’ve never met).


Neuroscientist Claims that Adderall Is Exactly the Same As Meth

The cannabis industry has recently come under fire recently for edible that might appeal to children, despite the fact that the edible treats are sold in dispensaries and only to adults with proper ID. But now the FDA just approved a candy-flavored amphetamine, Adzenys, that is much more dangerous for children that the cannabis treats yet it is being marketed towards them.
Recent government statistics show that 75% of children diagnosed with ADHD are being treated with amphetamine-based drugs. That figure alone Is astonishingly high, now render those drugs into a sweet, easy-to-eat candy and you have to wonder how prescription and overdose rates might change


The Murder of Pfc LaVena Johnson – Part 3

On July 19, 2005, Army Private First Class LaVena Johnson died on a military base in Balad, Iraq amidst mysterious circumstances. All of the physical and forensic evidence available to military investigators suggested she was murdered. However, these investigators shamelessly chose to disregard this glaring evidence and instead classified Private Johnson’s death as a suicide.

The totality of evidence surrounding Private Johnson’s execution-style murder strongly suggests that the person who killed her is former four-star Army General Kevin P. Byrnes. He was third in seniority among the Army’s eleven generals at the time. Byrnes, who was appointed to his command position by President George W. Bush in November 2002, headed the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (1st Cavalry Division), or TRADOC command. In this capacity, Byrnes supervised the recruitment and academic programs at thirty-three Army schools, from basic training to the war colleges.


Solving The Murder of Army Private LaVena Johnson

Republished on February 27, 2018

In January and February 2016, I published an exclusive series of articles that solved the July 19, 2005 murder of Army Private LaVena Johnson on a military base in Balad, Iraq. I updated and republished these articles during the past three days.

Next to securing a full and complete pardon in 1976 for Clarence Norris (the last known surviving “Scottsboro Boy”), my work in solving Private Johnson’s murder has been the second most satisfying accomplishment in my 45-year legal career. When I read an article three years ago about Private Johnson’s tragic death, I immediately knew something was not right about the circumstances surrounding her death. I vowed that I would use my extensive legal and investigative skills in solving murders and cover-ups committed by officials in uniform to solve Private Johnson’s mysterious homicide.


The Murder of Pfc LaVena Johnson – Part 2


Motive for Murder
The military personnel involved in the cover-up of Army Private LaVena Johnson's 2005 murder never thought anyone would care enough about a 19-year-old low-ranking black soldier on a military base in Iraq to break this criminal case wide open. They were terribly wrong. The Johnson family's undying love for LaVena kept this case alive long enough for them to find just the right person to help bring her murder to light. A decade after Private Johnson’s murder, a seasoned lawyer/investigative journalist with a long and demonstrated track-record of solving murders committed by officials in uniform and cover-ups by their peers has stepped up to the plate to help the Johnson family solve this tragic case.


Persian Gulf veterans still fighting for proper health care 25 years after war

Retired Marine Capt. David Winnett is grateful for his Tricare health program, which keeps him from having to go to the Veterans Affairs Department to treat his Gulf War-related illnesses.

At the VA, says the moderator of the 10,003-member Facebook group Gulf War Illnesses, veterans often are sent to mental health providers when they show up with symptoms considered classic of Gulf War illness, such as gastrointestinal dysfunction, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain, profound fatigue and cognitive issues.


Fibromyalgia is Linked to Childhood Stress and Unprocessed Negative Emotions

Starting the day with fibromyalgia pain made Vera angry
Fibromyalgia made it hard for 46 year old Vera to get her legs out of bed in the morning. As she moved toward the bathroom and began her toilette the pangs of pain moved to her hands, head and neck. It brought tears to her eyes. It made her angry to think that Kurt hadn’t even thought of organizing things around the house to make life a little easier for her. Vera remembered the arguments about accompanying her on doctors appointments and got even more angry. But she never said anything to him. She turned her mind to the support group she would attend later that day, although it wasn’t successful in easing her physical discomfort.

Read more....

Kansas soldier dies in non-combat incident while supporting ISIS fight in Iraq

An Army Reserve soldier from Kansas, Christina Marie Shoenecker, died Monday in a non-combat related incident in Baghdad, the military announced on Tuesday. It was her first deployment.

Christina Marie Schoenecker, an Army Reserve soldier from Arlington, Kan., died Monday in Baghdad, Iraq, the Department of Defense announced on Tuesday. She was 26.

Schoenecker was the third soldier to die since the beginning of 2018 in the ongoing, U.S.-led fight against ISIS called Operation Inherent Resolve. All three deaths were non-combat related, the military said.

Read more here:

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Former slave, two-time Olympian becomes an Airman

Airman 1st Class Guor Maker

After enduring countless hardships and overcoming unimaginable obstacles, Airman 1st Class Guor Maker, a dental assistant currently in technical training, found his way out of war-torn South Sudan, Africa and into the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.


The Army Is Officially Honoring Three Slain JROTC Cadets For Their Heroism During The Florida Shooting

The Army has awarded Medals of Heroism, the service’s highest medal for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets, to the three JROTC students killed defending their classmates from a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14


Who is in charge at the Department of Veterans Affairs?

WASHINGTON — After a week of scandal and internal turmoil at the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans groups and agency employees enter this work week wondering exactly who is in charge of the nearly $200 billion bureaucracy.

Is it VA Secretary David Shulkin, who in the last few days saw his reputation tarnished by a withering inspector general report, his top deputy threatened by political rivals, and his chief of staff abruptly resign?


Army strips star from general over flirty texts with wife of enlisted soldier

WASHINGTON — The Army stripped a star from a general who flirted on social media with the wife of an enlisted man, finding his actions "dissolute and immoral," and forced him to retire, the Army announced Friday.


Burn pits downrange caused lung disease in service members, court rules

Service members and private military contractors who worked around “burn pits” downrange, and later suffered from lung and respiratory issues, may soon get a breath of fresh air.

A January court ruling by a judge under the U.S. Department of Labor determined that open-air burn pits are connected to lung disease, according to the decision by the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

Read more..

How to Stop Violence-Mentally ill people aren’t killers. Angry people are.

U.S. soldier SPC Ivan Lopez

The deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, has reignited the debate about the mental health of mass shooters and whether treating mental illness could reduce the death toll wrought by gun violence. In 2014, psychologist Laura L. Hayes wrote about the relatively weak connection between mental illness and mass shootings and the much stronger connection between the inability to manage anger and violence. Her points are just as relevant today.


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.


Army’s New Physical Fitness Test Will Be Gender-Neutral, Secretary Says - VIDEO

The Army plans to take a step forward in eliminating the military gender gap by requiring men and women to meet the same standards on the service’s proposed new physical fitness test.

Army Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Thursday that he believes the new test should have both gender- and age-neutral standards “because the enemy does not specify who they’re going to shoot and not shoot. Combat is combat.”


Comcast Newsmaker Interview - Sgt. Shannon - Empowering Women Veterans

Image may contain: 2 people, including Author Stephanie Shannon, people smiling, people sitting

Millions of viewers nationwide will discover more about women veterans needs and help us provide solutions, that’ll empower us to achieve our all life goals.
If you’re Brave Enough to Serve - You’re Brave Enough to Heal”

Watch Video

US Army Going Old School With Training After Too Many Recruits Act “Entitled”-VIDEO

It’s little secret that millennials have been stereotyped as “entitled” or “undisciplined.” But is that just an unfair oversimplification by cranky baby boomers and Gen X’ers? After all, every generation seems to grouse about the work ethic of their progeny (or progeny’s progeny, as the case may be).

Well, according to the Army, the lazy, entitled millennial isn’t just a pernicious stereotype. In fact, things are so bad that basic training is actually undergoing a redesign to deal with a new generation of recruits that can most charitably be described as “discipline-challenged.”


Neurontin and Lyrica are a Death Sentence for New Brain Synapses : Shocking Study

Image result for Neurontin and Lyrica are a Death Sentence for New Brain Synapses : Shocking Study

A shocking study shows that these two drugs block the formation of new brain synapses1, drastically reducing the potential for rejuvenating brain plasticity – meaning that these drugs will cause brain decline that apparently robs one of the ability to rebuild. The study demonstrating this type of brain damage with these two drugs came out in 2009 but apparently the media has been very lax in getting any of this information to the public – most likely because they do not want to jeopardize their advertising income from this company.

 But the patients are not the only ones not getting this information because the doctors are apparently clueless as well. I say that because first our Facebook group for these two drugs “Neurontin (Gabapentin) & Lyrica (Pregabalin) Should Be Illegal” is growing so quickly. Then this past Spring my brother working on some things in the backyard pulled a muscle in his back. I was shocked to learn that he had gone to the doctor for that and the doctor gave him a prescription for Neurontin!

Read more....

VA employees wanted a gender-neutral mission statement. The agency refused.

What began as a rallying cry among post-9/11 military veterans has revealed deep divisions within the Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters, where, in an apparent act of rebellion, staffers amended the agency’s 59-year-old motto on a newly released strategic document because the words exclude mention of women’s service and sacrifice.

The document, outlining VA’s objectives through 2024, was posted to the agency’s website Monday evening and removed a day later when officials learned its mission statement had undergone unauthorized editing. At issue is omission of the word him, which appears in a line from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address in 1865 — and VA’s motto since 1959: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”

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Seabee command triad fired after XO found strolling naked in woods

The entire command triad of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, currently deployed to Okinawa, Japan, was fired Feb. 11 after the unit’s executive officer was found intoxicated and walking naked in the woods on Camp Shields.

Lt. Cmdr. Jason M. Gabbard, the unit’s XO, was relieved after being discovered in the woods wearing only his boots following a command gathering for chiefs and officers, Navy officials said.
The commanding officer, Cmdr. James J. Cho, and Command Master Chief (SCW/EXW) Jason K. Holden, were also relieved for their handling of the incident, which they attempted to cover up, a source told Navy Times.


Proposed Food Stamp Cuts Would Hit Military Families

Shoppers at the Fort Drum commissary. Ashley Patoka/Northern Regional Medical Command

President Donald Trump's proposals to cut eligibility for food stamps in 2018 would hit hard on thousands of military families who receive the benefit, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
"It's a very unfortunate situation," Army Lt. Gen. Anthony R. Ierardi, the Pentagon's Joint Staff Director for force structure, readiness and assessment, said of the difficulties of troops who have to resort to food stamps

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