American Veteran News 05.16.16

WOUNDED VETERAN MOVES INTO MORTGAGE-FREE, SPECIALLY ADAPTED HOME — HERALD-NEWS — MANHATTAN – For wounded Air Force Capt. Anthony Simone, a new home adapted to his needs is not only “key to his recovery,” but also means the freedom to serve again – this time to serve his family.

“I will fall into the role of the ‘man of the house,’ which will include cooking, cleaning, laundry and lawn care,’’ Simone told the cheering crowd of about 175 that came out on Saturday’s chilly morning to see him receive the keys to his new Manhattan home. Simone was the co-pilot of a combat search-and-rescue helicopter in Helmand Province in Afghanistan that was shot down in 2010. He was one of two survivors but suffered a traumatic brain injury and has limited use of the left side of his body.

He was chosen by the national nonprofit Homes For Our Troops to receive a new mortgage-free home with numerous adaptations, including widened doorways and hallways, lowered countertops, roll-under cooktops and sinks, a roll-in shower and a safe room to use in the event of a tornado or other emergency.

The home was funded by donations and fundraising by various corporations, local businesses and community organizations, including Wounded Warriors Family Support, Dunkin’ Donuts, American Legion Post 18, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 1994 and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Biros Real Estate.

SOLEMN CEREMONY RECALLS LOST SUBMARINERS — MUSKOGEE PHOENIX — They came from as far away as Pennsylvania to honor their comrades entombed in metal caskets at the bottom of the sea.

In a somber ceremony Saturday at the War Memorial Park, dozens of people gathered as submarine veterans honored those on eternal patrol — lost at sea — with the tolling of the bells.

“We honor the guys who went before us who couldn’t enjoy the ceremony today, and there are a lot of them — 3,313 just in World War II,” said Tom Hampton of Stuart.

Hampton was in the submarine fleet from 1964 to 1981.

With a crisp wind blowing flags about, the event included Boy Scouts John Lynch and Norman Gentry from Troop 217 out of Norman who retrieved the American and Oklahoma flags respectively at the ceremony’s conclusion.

Then, Ken Recoy of the United States Submarine Veterans Inc. announced that the purpose of the ceremony was to perpetuate the memory of those on “eternal patrol” while serving in the submarine service.

THE U.S. NEEDS TO REVISIT OUR PTSD TREATMENT GUIDELINES — ARMY TIMES — Post-traumatic stress disorder is arguably the most challenging problem combat veterans face. Estimates vary, but experts believe that between 10 and 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from the disorder. This puts the actual number of men and women affected in the hundreds of thousands.

Considering that PTSD wreaks havoc on the veteran and their loved ones, and costs billions of dollars each year, finding and using the most effective treatments are critical.

Historically, medications and talk therapy have been considered “first-line treatments.” This basically means they should be used first, and if they fail, then you try something else. In fact, the joint treatment guidelines published by the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs Department puts medications and psychotherapy on equaling footing. The same is true for the American Psychiatric Association.

Not all agree.

Organizations from the United Kingdom and Australia and the World Health Organization take the position that trauma-focused psychotherapies such as prolonged exposure, cognitive processing therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing are most effective when it comes to PTSD treatment. Basically, their stance is that the evidence for meds is just not as strong. A recent study carried out by military and VA researchers, and published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, supports this position.

THE DEATH OF FRIENDS IN BATTLE HAUNTS MARION VETERAN — SWVA TODAY — When Greg Miller of Marion graduated from high school in the spring of 2004, he and his friend Daniel decided to join the United States Army. On Sept. 22, 2004, he reported to Ft. Benning, Ga. He had chosen the infantry. Daniel, who had chosen to work as a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic, was stationed in Hawaii. Miller was on his way to the front lines in Iraq.

“Me and my buddy Daniel joined together. There was no real reason behind it. I just figured that was what I needed to do,” Miller said, adding that he completed his training on Dec. 14, 2004, came home for Christmas and then reported to Ft. Lewis, Wash.

In June of 2006, he was deployed to Iraq for the first time. He spent a month in Kuwait adjusting to the weather and getting the equipment together before reporting to Camp Liberty near Baghdad.

“On Aug. 27 (2006) at 1300, we were supposed to be going out to meet an informant. I was usually in the lead truck, but we switched the order that day. My wingman was in the front truck. Number 32 was hit by a very large, deeply buried IED [Improvised Explosive Device], equivalent to 500 pounds of TNT. It left a crater you could fit this room in. All I could see was haze and dust. We’re talking about a 20-ton vehicle. It was tossed up in the air like a Tonka truck. I saw all my friends tossed about. The main impact hit on the driver’s side. The explosion launched a 300-pound tire up in the air. It blew a hole in the side of the truck I could stand in,” Miller said.

USCIS TO IMPLEMENT FILIPINO WWII VETERANS PAROLE PROGRAM — MSN — Some Filipino World War II veteran family members who are beneficiaries of approved family-based immigrant visa petitions will be granted an opportunity to receive a discretionary grant of parole on a case-by-case basis, so that they may come to the United States as they wait for their immigrant visa to become available.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program beginning June 8.

The parole policy was announced in the White House report, “Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century,” issued in July 2015.

An estimated 2,000 to 6,000 Filipino-American World War II veterans are living in the US today. This policy will enable many eligible individuals to provide support and care to their aging veteran family members who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents.

“The Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program honors the thousands of Filipinos who bravely enlisted to fight for the United States during World War II,” USCIS Director León Rodríguez said.

WORLD WAR I-ERA CANNON STOLEN FROM VETERANS HALL RETURNS HOME — FRO — Police in the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday recovered a 1-ton, World War I-era cannon swiped from a Veteran’s Hall earlier this month. He contacted police investigators to return the artillery piece. Police had been searching for thieves who were caught on surveillance video stealing a cannon from the Veteran’s Hall in Richmond on May 1 as vendors set up the city’s Cinco de Mayo festival. The suspected thieves towed the inoperable cannon with a blue or teal regular cab, mid-size to full-size pickup truck with a gray or silver rear bumper and wheels. Officials are still investigating the theft in hopes of finding the cannon capers.

CAPITOL GROUP OKS NATIVE AMERICAN CODE TALKERS MEMORIAL — DAILY REPUBLIC — PIERRE (AP) — A proposed Pierre memorial to Native American wartime code talkers took a step closer to becoming a reality this week when the Capitol Complex Restoration and Beautification Commission unanimously approved the site and design for the monument.

“I think this is long overdue,” Carla Sahr, one of the eight commission members, said at the meeting.

Code talkers used their native languages to send battlefield communications during World Wars I and II so they couldn’t be understood by the enemy if they were intercepted.

VETERANS PUSH FOR ONE-TIME RETROACTIVE COST OF LIVING INCREASE — NORTH DALLAS GAZETTE — WASHINGTON – A Senior Lives Matter rally is scheduled at the Villages retirement mega-community near Ocala, FL on Monday, May 16, the Association of Mature American Citizens announced last week.

AMAC president Dan Weber said it’s part of an ongoing effort “to get the message out that we want a one-time, retroactive cost of living for Social Security recipients and veterans. The legislation is in place in Congress. The Seniors Act, H.R. 4140, will give recipients of Social Security and veterans’ benefits a special one-time retroactive payment to offset the lack of a Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment Increase this year. Now we need action in Congress and exhortations from America’s senior citizens and veterans who are urged to call on their lawmakers to move the bill.”

It’s only the third time in the last 40 years that nearly 70 million Americans will be denied a COLA in FY 2016. The government concluded in the fall that a flat year-to-year Consumer Price Index which, due to falling gasoline prices, fell sharply from 2014 to 2015, senior citizens and veterans should be denied a much-needed benefits increase.

WWII LIBERTY SHIP TO SAIL TO NORFOLK FOR ‘LIVING HISTORY’ REENACTMENT — WASHINGTON TIMES — BALTIMORE (AP) — During World War II, the Liberty ship John W. Brown pushed through the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf, bearing everything from men to meat to munitions in an effort to bring a victory for the Allies.

Later this month, the ship will slice through the Elizabeth River to bring a chunk of that past to Norfolk.

The Brown, now a floating museum in Baltimore, will be in Norfolk for its Living History Cruise on Sunday, May 22. It will have re-enactors portraying the U.S. Navy Armed Guard, who protected the ship, and entertainers such as the Andrew Sisters and comedy duo Abbott and Costello. After lunch, a “surprise” attack by a Japanese Zero might ensue.

The trip back in time, however, is to help keep the boat afloat now.

VETERANS’ GROUP IN CHICAGO SUSPECTS BEING ‘MUSCLED’ BY CITY OUT OF FACILITY NEAR PROPOSED OBAMA LIBRARY — — FOX NEWS A charity group that helps homeless military veterans on Chicago’s South Side says the city is trying to take control of the meager facility to make way for the restaurants, shops and other commercial venues that would complement the proposed Obama presidential library and museum.

Group leaders said the RTW Veterans Center is the last privately-owned property on a stretch of S. King Boulevard near the proposed Washington Park site for the Barack Obama Presidential Center and that city building inspectors unexpectedly arrived last April to find an overwhelming 32 code violations at the facility.

“We don’t appreciate being muscled out and put in the situation of having to negotiate from a position of despair,” facility center Director Jah Ranu Menab told on Saturday.

FOR MILITARY WIDOWS, THE LAW PROTECTING THEIR BENEFITS DISCOURAGES FINDING LOVE AGAIN — AIR FORCE TIMES — After her husband was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2012, Heather Gray never imagined that the biggest obstacle to falling in love again would be financial penalties from the government.

But that extra level of stress and heartache are what faces the 37-year-old war widow as she looks at getting remarried this year.

“I am a Christian, and I believe very strongly in the sanctity of marriage,” Gray said. “But you’re being forced to give up the [widow] benefits you have if you do.”

She has three children from her first marriage, and her husband-to-be is a widower with three more. Both want them to grow up in a traditional family with two parents, but that’s a decision that will cost them thousands of dollars a month.

“There’s a generation of [military] kids that will grow up in non-traditional families because their parents were forced to make these decisions based on economic realities,” she said.

Gray was among a group of widows whose hopes for help were dashed by Congress, after a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee panel cast aside a proposal to end financial penalties for military widows and widowers who remarry.

GRANITE FALLS WOMAN DEVELOPS A RETREAT FOR VETERANS ON HER PROPERTY — HERALD — The clamor of power saws, a generator and sledgehammers rang out Friday in the forest near Granite Falls. Soon, those peaceful woods will be quiet enough to hear the voices of people who served their country.

Healing Hearts in Hope Veterans Retreat Center, just off the Mountain Loop Highway, was founded by Teresa “Flying Eagle” Baird, whose husband Bill Baird served in the U.S. Army’s 1st Signal Brigade during the Vietnam War.

On July 8, 1987, William L. Baird committed suicide on the couple’s property.

In a 2001 Herald column, his widow spoke of how he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. The year before he died, she said, he was signed up for a PTSD inpatient program at the Veterans Affairs American Lake facility near Tacoma. “He was too afraid to go,” she said.

VETERANS HELP VETERANS USE THE VA HOME LOAN — ARIZONA DAILY STAR — Sandy Heath stood with invitations to her wedding in hand, two destinations before her: garbage can or mailbox.

She picked the garbage can — and headed to a recruiting office. Military service would define the next chapters of her life.

Heath, who advanced to sergeant, spent the next four years working in aviation supply and as a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps. After getting out, she decided she would become her own boss.

She became a licensed real estate agent in Tucson in 1983.

Since then, Heath has jumped to work with veterans, and in January 2015 launched the Tucson chapter of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals, or VAREP. Phyllis James, a retired U.S. Army sergeant first class, joined her soon after.

VAREP is a national nonprofit started in 2011 to educate real estate professionals, veterans and active military about their benefits, specifically the VA home loan. Saturday, May 14, it held its first summit in Tucson to help veterans and active military by providing education on the loan, credit counseling and other services.

VA WANTS TO SCAN DARK WEB FOR STOLEN DATA — AIR FORCE TIMES — Navigating the Internet has become a routine thing since the invention of strong search engines like Google but not everything on the web is indexed and searchable. Websites that aren’t meant to be found — from criminal sites to backend systems not meant for public consumption — are part of what’s known as the “dark web.”

The Veterans Affairs Department suffers from millions of cyberattacks and attempted breaches every month and wants to make sure its data — including the sensitive personal information on millions of veterans — isn’t being sold or otherwise leaked in the dark corners of the Internet.

The agency released a request for information on May 12 asking vendors about their ability to scan the dark web for data that should be solely in VA’s control.

BUFFALO SOLDIER TO BE HONORED IN CENTRAL CITY — GRAND ISLAND INDEPENDENT — CENTRAL CITY — A Nebraska soldier will be honored this Memorial Day in Central City 71 years after his death.

The grave of Benjamin Jackson, a veteran of the Indian Wars, will receive a military headstone. The grave has been unmarked since Jackson’s death in 1945.

Military records show that he served in the U.S. Army from 1881 to 1886 as a Buffalo Soldier, a name given to African-Americans serving in the Indian Wars.

“The Indians gave them the name because of their curly hair like the curly hair on a buffalo,” said Merrick County Historical Society President Bill Bolte, who has spent decades researching the Indian Wars.


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