American Veteran News 06.15.16

“RADIOACTIVE VETERAN” DOCUMENTARY SHOWING TONIGHT — WFMY — GREENSBORO, NC — Some North Carolina filmmakers want you to come out and watch a documentary on an important topic — veterans.

The film is called “Radioactive Veteran” and tells a story many people have never head before. Producer Bradley Bethel joined Eric Chilton on the Good Morning Show to talk about the film.

“Radioactive Veteran” focuses on the story of Donald and Mary Guy. Donald was a Marine in the early 1950s when the military ordered him to the Nevada Test Site, where they had begun conducting nuclear testing. Along with thousands of other Marines and soldiers, Donald was assured he was safe as he gazed at the billowing mushroom cloud and marched through the desert toward the atomic blast. Within only a few years, however, Donald began experiencing serious medical issues resulting from radiation exposure and soon became disabled. For the rest of his life, he fought for disability benefits with Veterans Affairs, but in 2009 he died before receiving his due compensation. For the next seven years, his widow Mary continued his fight for justice.

FROM THE PACIFIC THEATER TO BRANFORD, WWII VETS MEET BY ‘SHEAR’ LUCK AT LOCAL BABERSHOP — SHORELINE — BRANFORD — Each of the two veterans enlisted in the Marine Corps in the wake of the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Each served as a radio field operator in the South Pacific. Each fought in pivotal military campaigns that would decide America’s fate in World War II.

In May 2016, Malcolm Schwab and Anthony Pegnataro happened to make appointments at the same time on the same day at the Branford institution that is Top Notch Haircutters.

“So many of us didn’t make it,” Pegnataro, 90, said when the two recently got together to swap more stories at his Branford home. “For the two of us to meet so many years later, that’s pretty special.”

And a few weeks before Memorial Day, no less.

SOUND OFF: SHOULD THE VA PRESCRIBE MEDICAL MARIJUANA? — MILCOM — There’s a widespread belief that medical cannabis can help treat patients dealing with PTSD, but the Federal government doesn’t allow Veterans Affairs doctors to prescribe the drug (even in the 23 states that have legalized it for medicinal purposes) and has specifically prohibited them from even offering an opinion about whether it might help an individual patient.

A new Quinnipiac University National poll has found that 87% of Americans believe that VA doctors should be able to provide marijuana pills to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Eight-seven percent. Can anyone think of another issue that 87% of Americans would agree on?

Even in military households (where one family member is a veteran or on active duty military service), there’s still 82% support for the proposition.

For any progress to be made, the DEA must first downgrade marijuana from its current Schedule 1 status alongside heroin and LSD. Even cocaine and morphine, which have recognized medical uses, are Schedule 2. In a letter to lawmakers this past spring, the DEA has indicated that it is considering the change.

For those interested in broader availability, the poll found that 54% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal without restrictions (although 57% of Americans over the age of 65 remain opposed to the question.)

What do you think? Should VA doctors be allowed to prescribe marijuana to their patients? Sound off!

6 UNBEATABLE BENEFITS OF VA LOANS — VETERANS UNITED HOME LOANS — Created before the close of World War II, the VA home loan benefit has helped millions of veterans, service members and military families achieve the dream of homeownership. Today, in many ways, it’s more important than ever.

VA loan volume has soared 370 percent in the wake of the Great Recession, driven in large part by historically low rates and increasingly tougher lending requirements. The VA program provides significant financial benefits that make homebuying possible for score of veterans who might not otherwise qualify.

Here’s a look at six of the biggest, most unbeatable benefits of these long-cherished home loans:

FEMALE VETERAN CRITICIZED FOR USING VETERAN’S PARKING SPACE — AP — CONCORD, N.C. — A Navy veteran in North Carolina who parked in a spot marked for veterans was surprised to find a note criticizing her when she returned.

Rebecca Hayes says she came out of a grocery store and found a note on her car that read, “This parking is for Veterans, lady. Learn to read and have some respect.”

Media outlets report that Hayes responded to the unsigned note on Facebook.

Hayes wrote that she’s sorry the writer couldn’t see her eight years in the United States Navy, and can’t imagine that there are female veterans. She also said she was sorry she had to explain herself “to people like you,” and couldn’t speak in person to whoever left the note.

She concluded by saying, “I served, did you?”

THIS MARINE VETERAN SAVED DOZENS IN ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING — T&P — Marine veteran Imran Yousuf saved dozens during the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting.

A Marine veteran reportedly saved dozens during the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 people dead, including the gunman.

Imran Yousuf, a 24-year-old bouncer at Pulse and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, helped guide patrons down a back hallway and out through a rear exit to safety during attack, reports CBS News.

Shortly after last call, Yousef went around the bar and to the staff hallway in the back of the club, barely missing coming face to face with the shooter, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, who moments later, walked into the building armed with a Sig Sauer MCX rifle.

When the shooting began, Yousuf said he recognized the sound.

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS MAY CONSIDER OPPOSING CONFEDERATE FLAG — TIME-PICAGUME — Such a simple gesture shouldn’t have been remarkable in the least: When Dr. Ronnie Floyd, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, heard that Dr. Jerry Young would be the next president of the National Baptist Convention USA, the head of the nation’s largest evangelical denomination wrote his new counterpart in the nation’s largest historically black denomination a brief congratulatory note.

The aftermath of that note was resounding, echoing with the fraught racial history of the Southern Baptist Convention. And on Tuesday, Floyd and Young will share the stage — the first time the leader of the black Baptists has been invited to address the Southern Baptists’ annual meeting in at least 35 years, the Southern Baptists say.

VA DEPLOYS MENTAL HEALTH STAFF IN ORLANDO AFTER MASS SHOOTING — MILCOM — The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Orlando is providing emergency mental health assistance to people affected by the bloody rampage at a nightclub early Sunday that killed 49 and left 53 wounded.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, the VA said its services would be available to veterans and department employees, as well as the general public “in the wake of the tragic mass shooting.”

Police say Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen and Muslim who lived in Fort Pierce, Florida, entered The Pulse, a gay nightspot, early Sunday morning and opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a 9mm Glock handgun.

The medical center’s Mobile Medical Unit is located at the Beardall Senior Center, 800 Delaney Ave., about three miles from The Pulse nightclub at 1912 South Orange Ave. The mobile unit will remain open Monday night until 11 p.m., officials said, and can be contacted at 321-277-6672.

“This MMU is staffed with world-class mental health professionals and outreach staff ready now to assist anyone experiencing high levels of anxiety or fear due to the mass shooting,” the VA said in a statement.


EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL COMPOUND NAMED FOR FALLEN AIRMAN — S&S — The name of an explosive-ordnance-disposal expert killed in Afghanistan will live on at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron renamed its EOD compound after Tech Sgt. Adam Ginett during a May 20 ceremony attended by family, friends and former colleagues.

Ginett, 29, an EOD airman assigned to 31st CES at Aviano Air Base, Italy, died Jan. 19, 2010, when a remote-controlled explosive device detonated during a foot patrol out of Kandahar Air Field. Army Capt. Paul Pena, 27, of San Marcos, Texas, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, was also killed.

Ginett’s mother, Christina Kazakavage, said her son — a Knightdale, N.C., native who served with 20th CES from 2004-07 — died doing what he loved.

“I couldn’t be more proud of what he did and what he accomplished,” she said in an Air Force statement. “He left a legacy … I just want people to know that he didn’t take his job lightly.”

Ginett was the fifth Aviano-based servicemember to die downrange since the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. He was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star with valor and a Purple Heart.

An annual golf tournament at Aviano founded in Ginett’s name raised more than $12,000 last year for the EOD Warrior Foundation, which “honors fallen EOD warriors and provides assistance to wounded EOD warriors and the families of wounded and fallen EOD personnel,” the foundation’s website says.

“Adam’s death was a tragic loss to the EOD community,” Col. Stephen Jost, 20th Fighter Wing commander, said at the ceremony. “But we take heart in his ultimate sacrifice, and we know that through his memory and the EOD training complex lives will be saved by the EOD technicians just like him.”

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