Battling the Storm Within

Saturday, October 12, 2019

These 90 Army posts have contaminated drinking water

As a Pentagon task force looks into unsafe drinking water on its installations, a new list of Army posts has been added to the roster of bases where per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances have been found in ground water as recently as this year.
Ninety active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard posts are on the list, obtained by the Environmental Working Group by Freedom of Information Act request, the findings of which were posted to the organization’s site late Tuesday night. The Army says that despite the confirmed presence of PFAS in the drinking water, no one is taking in unsafe levels of the chemicals, because their filtered water complies with Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

More Men Are Speaking Up About Being Sexually Assaulted in the Military

Illustration for article titled More Men Are Speaking Up About Being Sexually Assaulted in the Military

The issue of sexual assault in the military is now widely acknowledged, and high-ranking military officials have started, due to sustained public pressure, to belatedly (if imperfectly) address it. And while the focus has largely been on the servicewomen who have been sexually assaulted, a new report from the New York Times is a reminder that sexual violence while serving in the armed forces affects large numbers of men as well. And more men in the military who have been raped and assaulted are speaking up. 


Air Force Is Desperately Looking For People To Adopt Some Of The Retired Military Working Dogs

Military dogs want the same things people want when they retire: comfort, some peace and quiet, and quality time with their loved ones.
That’s not too much to ask for a pup who served their country, now is it?
While 90% of canine veterans end up with their handlers, a few end up available for adoption.
Air Force officials at Lackland Air Force Base, the San Antonio base are worried over the sharp disinterest faced by the retired military working dogs post-retirement.
While the trainee puppies who don’t make the cut for active duty are readily adopted, the older K9s yearn for a home but keep getting overlooked.

'Everybody's Overworked:' String of Suicides Raises Questions About Sailors' Stress Levels

Chief Religious Programs Specialist Ana Douglas, attached to U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), attends a candlelight vigil in Yokosuka, Japan, in observance of Suicide Prevention month on Sept. 27, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Patrick Semales)

Three sailors assigned to the same ship died in apparent suicides in the last week, leaving some asking what more leaders can do to support troops as the military grapples with rising rates of self-inflicted deaths.

Do veterans lack social-emotional skills? A major study finds that many civilian employers believe they do.

Just based off their resumes and cover letters, veterans’ military service is working against them when they apply for jobs in certain fields, a new study says.
The study — conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and released Sept. 24 — found employers believe veterans are less suited for jobs that involve social-emotional skills and interacting with people than their non-veteran counterparts.
Veteran service organizations like American Legion, however, take issue with the study, saying it promotes the stereotype of veterans as brooding malcontents.

The National Guard’s suicide rate has surpassed the other military components

The National Guard’s suicide rate has climbed higher than the active duty and Reserve’s, according to an annual Pentagon study released Thursday. In response, officials are looking for new ways to help troops feel comfortable coming forward about their issues and getting help they need.
The most recent figure is about 30.6 deaths per 100,000 service members, according to the Defense Department Annual Suicide Report for calendar year 2018, well above the Reserve’s 22.9 per 100,000 and the active component’s 24.8.

In a First, Pentagon Releases Data on Military Spouse and Child Suicides

In what was hailed as the Pentagon's first-ever report on military family suicides, the Defense Department said Thursday that 123 spouses and 63 children took their own lives in 2017.

According to the inaugural Department of Defense 2018 Annual Suicide Report, the 186 deaths included 122 among of active-duty personnel families, 29 among Reserve families and 35 within National Guard families.

To the Suicidal Mama Fighting to Stay Alive for Her Kids

Sad crying daughter hugging her mother with sad face on dark shadows background

Fellow Mama,
I see you lying there in bed, trying to will yourself to get up. I know some part of you might wish you hadn’t woken up this morning – that you could fade away into nothingness because it seems a hell of a lot better than dealing with the demons you fight off daily in your head. I recognize that question in your eyes: “Is this life really worth all the effort?”

Why your relationship is at risk when you leave the military

Leaving the military and transitioning back into the civilian world is a very high-stakes time for close relationships.
The military is more than just a unit or an organization — it’s a band of brothers and sisters. It’s a family. The situations you’ve encountered while in the military often create a level of trust unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
Even if you came from a tightly knit family, the personal bonds formed in the military are uniquely strong and intense. Your survival may have depended on it. You were each other’s keepers. You celebrated the great moments together and, in many cases, you faced tragedy together. You hold and share secrets you’d never reveal outside of your tribe. Together you have “embraced the suck,” and accomplished things that you would never have thought possible.

Active duty suicides are on the rise, as the Pentagon works on new messaging and strategy

The rate of active duty service members who take their own lives has been rising an average of 6 percent year-over year the past five years, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
The number of suicides jumped from 285 to 325 between 2017 and 2018, according to the 2018 Annual Suicide Report, for a rate of about 22 suicides per 100,000 service members to about 25. Officials did not draw any conclusions about why the numbers continue to rise despite efforts to train commands and troops on preventing suicide and seeking behavioral health care.
“Although the suicide rate among most of our military populations is comparable to broader civilian rates, this is hardly comforting, and our numbers are not moving in the right direction,” Elizabeth Van Winkle, the Defense Department’s executive director of force resiliency, told reporters in an off-camera briefing.

5 Things Women Veterans Want Everyone To Know

“M,” an Army veteran who deployed with Army Special Forces in the 1980s, cries when I ask her what she thinks the public should know about women veterans. She wipes tears from her eyes and laughs that she had put on mascara just for our interview. “Really, nothing different than male veterans,” she tells me, smiling and weeping at the same time. “We’re veterans. We served. We wore the uniform, and we were there to do our country’s bidding and we did it. … I think all veterans deserve that recognition and acknowledgement of service.”


Women Veterans Have Unique Transition Problems, But We Don't See Them

"It's great to see your successful transition."

"I knew you'd do well after you left the service."

My transition from the Air Force looked successful. Yet in the privacy of my commute, in the evenings at home or during my lunch break, it looked anything but. No one saw my uncontrollable sobbing, how unsure and alone I felt, or how scared I was of what was to come.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Statue Honors Female Veterans

USDA: Washing Raw Chicken Puts You at Risk for Illness
Irma Boulet Darphin was a 20-year-old Army nurse when she landed on the shores of Utah Beach just six weeks after D-Day.
"We jumped onto the Higgins boats, and they brought us right on up to the shores because there were no docks for big ships," she said. "I felt very safe; maybe we were just too young to be frightened."

Sexual assault numbers, suicides on the rise: 'Clearly we have to do something different,’ acting Army secretary says

The number of sexual assault cases and suicides in the Army are on the rise, and the service’s new top leaders say they are looking at how to change culture at the squad level to address it.
The rise in sexual assault is focused in the 17- to 24-year-old demographic, meaning soldiers who are relatively new to the Army. Suicides among active-duty soldiers also rose about 20 percent late last year.

Military sexual assaults rise by 44% among females in ranks: Pentagon report - VIDEO

Military sexual assaults reported by its female members rose by 44 percent between 2016 and 2018, according to a new Pentagon report released Thursday.
In 2018, 6.2 percent of female military members reported being the victim of sexual assault based on a military-wide anonymous survey. In 2016, 4.3 percent of females in the military reported being sexually assaulted.
The rate of sexual assault for women ranged from 4 percent in the Air Force to 11 percent in the Marine Corps. Nearly 1 in 4 of all women experienced an "unhealthy climate" because of sexual harassment, the report states.

America has failed our female veterans. Here's how we can fix it

Transitioning from military to civilian life can be daunting for those who have served in uniform. But military women, especially, face unique obstacles during this transition.
Research suggests it takes female veterans three months longer than male veterans to secure employment after leaving the military. And once they land jobs they earn, on average, 30% less than their male counterparts.
These disparities are unacceptable and threaten the future foundation of our nation's military.

DoD will soon manage all military hospitals. Here’s what it could mean for you.

For more than 60 years, each branch of service has managed its own healthcare system. But all that is changing. Last October, the Defense Health Agency began taking over each military hospital and clinic -- moving them from individual service branches’ medical commands to Defense Department authority. The transition is taking place in phases, aiming to have all military hospitals under DHA by 2021.

Why McSally is right, and wrong, about military sexual assaults

As a former Navy helicopter pilot and victim of military sexual assault, I watched with great interest and respect Senator Martha McSally’s disclosure, during a recent congressional hearing, that she, too, was a victim of sexual assault in the military. Rape in the armed forces has been in the limelight before, dating back to my own public complaint of sexual assault at the infamous 1991 Tailhook Convention, which painfully ended my naval career. Sen. McSally is right. Military sexual assault is a threat to national security.

VA just updated its disability rating schedule for these health concerns

The Department of Veterans Affairs just updated parts of its Schedule for Rating Disabilities for infectious diseases, immune disorders and nutritional deficiencies, VA announced this week.

“VA is in the process of updating all 15 body systems of the VASRD (rating schedule) to more accurately reflect modern medicine and provide veterans with clearer rating decisions,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “By updating the rating schedule, veterans receive decisions based on the most current medical knowledge of their condition.”

New DOD program promotes sexual perpetrator data sharing

Sexual aggressors don’t always limit themselves to just one victim, said Galbreath, a forensic psychologist who has assessed and treated a variety of offenders. What’s more typical is they tend to commit multiple assaults over time.
“Research suggests that some suspects commit multiple incidents before being reported or caught. With the launch of the CATCH Program, the department has a new tool to identify these suspects,” Galbreath said.
The CATCH Program allows victims of sexual assault who’ve opted to file a restricted report to anonymously put the details of the assault into an online repository. Details can include such things as the name of the perpetrator, rank, height, tattoos or other distinguishing factors. Both recent victims and those from years past can participate in the program, Galbreath said.