ELDERLY VETERAN RESCUED AFTER 4 YEARS AS A HOSTAGE — T&P — An elderly New York veteran was allegedly held captive in a hotel for four years before being rescued.
After four years as a hostage in an Orange County, New York motel, 86-year-old Marine Corps veteran David McClellan was rescued by police on July 19.
According to authorities, McClellan spent those years in a shabby motel room full of smashed flower pots and stacked furniture, as he was held captive by Perry Cogliano, a 35-year-old who occupied the room next door.
Cogliano was reportedly using McClellan to steal his social security, food stamps, and pension checks. He did not bathe or clothe him, and allegedly beat him.
“We believe [McClellan] is the recipient of a tremendous amount of money on a monthly basis,” Chief Jack Quinn of the Highland Police Department told ABC 7 News.
Because McClellan has an advanced form of dementia, he thought he had only been hostage a few days, not years. After being checked out at a hospital, New York adult services will provide him with a new, safe home.
COURT: FLORIDA TOWN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST VIETNAM VET WITH PTSD — STARS & STRIPES — Delray Beach must pay a 68-year-old decorated Vietnam veteran for discriminating against him because he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder but questions still swirl around how deep the city will have to dig.
The 4th District Court of Appeal on Wednesday upheld a Palm Beach County jury’s decision that the city in 2010 illegally forced Robert Desisto to retire from his 29-year job as a water plant operator because crippling panic attacks made it impossible for him to comply with a new rule that required him to drive a 20-ton truck.
But while the West Palm Beach-based appeals court upheld the 2013 jury verdict and the $262,000 it awarded Desisto for lost wages, it threw out the $500,000 it awarded him for emotional distress. Desisto, it ruled, “presented no proof of physical injury or psychological evidence of emotional pain and suffering as the result of the city’s discrimination,” the court ruled.
TEEN HISTORY BUFF SEEKS TO CHRONICLE ‘HEROES’ OF WORLD WAR II — NBC LOS ANGELES — The wound didn’t shock Art Sherman until he saw how much blood he lost, and realized he was still alive.
He’d seen the fire coming close, and reached for his helmet. Seconds later, he was on the floor of the plane flying over Austria with blood gushing from his head. A thumbnail-sized chunk of flak had penetrated his skull.
Sherman was lucky. He survived being wounded in World War II. Seventy years later the nonagenarian recalled his story to a kid who was about his age when Sherman was battling the Nazis as a bombardier overseas.
“It would have killed me if it had gone a few millimeters more,” Sherman said in a video interview at Heroes of the Second World War. “I’m still alive and appreciate living this long.”
The “kid” who created the project, Rishi Sharma, recently graduated from Agoura High School.
The history buff came up with the idea because he felt that members of the “Greatest Generation” are being forgotten by younger generations. Some 16 million Americans served during WWII, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
KILLING OF OFFICERS BY VETERANS TOUCHES NERVES — DAYTON DAILY NEWS — Back-to-back attacks on police in Texas and Louisiana by former military men have touched a nerve among veterans who traditionally share a close bond with law enforcement.
Many southwest Ohio veterans fear the service records of the Baton Rouge and Dallas gunmen will feed a false perception that combat veterans are volatile and violent, turning back years of efforts to change such stereotypes.
Vietnam veteran Thomas Hagel, who was wounded in combat, said he hoped people wouldn’t assume the actions of the police shooters were representative of veterans or their service.
“These people are clearly not representative of combat veterans,” said Hagel, who served in Vietnam as an Army infantry soldier alongside his brother, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
“If you think about how many people have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, you have two examples of people who did these things,” said Hagel, a past commander of the Dayton chapter of Disabled American Veterans. He’s also a University of Dayton law school professor emeritus.
FORUM WILL DISCUSS NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS MEMORIAL IN DC — TULSA WORLD — The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa will host a public forum Thursday on the construction of a Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Congress has authorized the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian to build the memorial on the National Mall, and before settling on a design an advisory committee is gathering input from tribal leaders and Native American veterans nationwide.
Thursday’s forum in Catoosa will begin at 11 a.m. and last two hours.
Ben Nighthorse Campbell of the Northern Cheyenne tribe and Chickasaw Nation Lt. Gov. Jefferson Keel are leading the advisory committee for the project.
The group is composed of Native American veterans and leaders representing the diversity of Indian Country and the several branches of the military. Through the committee, the museum will consult with Native American veterans and leaders throughout the country to gather their input on the project and seek support for the memorial.
SOUTH HADLEY WORLD WAR II VETERAN RECALLS B-24 MISSIONS OVER EUROPE — MASS LIVE — SOUTH HADLEY – James Eisenstock spread out a white silk map of Germany onto a fold-up table in the basement of his South Hadley condominium.
The map was detailed with the names of villages and cities, some of which were stained red.
“There are 26 red dots,” Eisenstock said as he smoothed creases out of the fabric. “I had 26 missions.”
Eisenstock was a navigator flying in a B-24 Liberator with the 783rd Bomb Squadron of the 465th Bomb Group in the U.S. Air Force during World War II.
“I told the pilot where to go,” said the now 94-year-old, unfolding another silk map, this one of Italy, and pointing at a blue circle. “It was such a small village,” he said. “They didn’t even have it on most maps.”
He was pointing at Pantanella, Italy, “a village of olive orchards,” where, in 1944, Eisenstock and his crew in the 783rd were stationed.
CONFEDERATE VETERANS RECOGNIZED AS AMERICANS — DEL MAR VA NOW — Confederate soldiers are also U.S. veterans. The U.S. government recognized Confederate veterans as equivalent to Union vets via the Congressional Act of 1900, signed June 6, 1903, the Congressional Act of 1906, by the 17th Congress in February 1929 and U.S. Public Law 85-425, Section 410, of May 1958.
These famous Americans were also descendants of Confederate States of America veterans:
• Marine Gen. John A Lejeune’s father was Confederate States Army Capt. Ovide Lejeune.
• Marine Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller’s grandfather was CSA Maj. John Puller, killed in 1953.
• Army Lt. Gen. George S. Patton III’s grandfather was CSA Col. George Patton, killed in 1864.
•The father of Army Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., killed in Okinawa in 1945 as commander of the U.S. 10th Army, was CSA Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner.
• U.S. Air Corps Brigadier Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest III was shot down and killed over Germany in 1942; his great grandfather was CSA Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.
•President Theodore Roosevelt’s uncle was CSA Chief Foreign Agent, Capt. James D. Bullock, Confederate States Navy.
•President Woodrow Wilson’s father,Rev. J.R. Wilson, was CSA chaplain.
•President Harry S. Truman, who was a Sons of Confederate Veterans member, is a descendant of William Young, a trooper in the Missouri Partisan Rangers.
• CSA generals Joe Wheeler, Fitzhugh Lee, Thomas Rosser, Mathew C. Butler and Col. William Oates all served our nation after the war as generals in the Spanish-America War in 1898.
More than 70 million Americans, many of whom served honorably in our U.S. armed forces, are descended from these men.
THIS SOLDIER’S TRANSITION SERVES AS A ROADMAP FOR OTHER VETS — T&P — Instead of losing his sense of purpose and drive after the military, this vet channeled it into his civilian life.
A few key decisions made all the difference for Justin McCarty, a former soldier now living in San Francisco. He grabbed opportunities as they were presented, accelerating the successful transition to a rewarding post-military career. McCarty, 30, now works in operations for a fast-growing startup. There he applies everything he learned in the military, college, and at previous jobs.
Transitioning from the military can be daunting. Many veterans, particularly those who enlisted, have a hard time navigating the complexities of the civilian world. Is my hometown the best place for me or is it smarter to get a fresh start? Should I go for an education, then get a job? Or take a lower paying job while going to school? These are difficult questions to answer, and it can help hear from others who have walked the path and have some wisdom to share.
DISABLED VETERAN HELPING OTHERS WITH MISSISSIPPI TRIP — HOMETOWN SOURCE — For Marine Corps and Army veteran Bennie Giles, a trip down the longest river in the United States is letting him help other veterans and himself.
As a fundraiser for Homes For Our Troops, an organization that builds homes tailored to the needs of disabled veterans, Giles is taking a trip down the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico.
Along the way, Giles will pass out brochures about the organization, connect with local veteran organizations like the American Legion and advertise the charity on his blog.
Giles himself is a disabled veteran. During the Iraq War, he fell 15 feet, suffering a traumatic brain injury. He also said he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There wasn’t a specific event that gave him PTSD, Giles said, rather it was years of seeing the worst things people could do to one another in places like Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq.
FLAGS MADE IN AMERICA BY COMBAT VETERANS BECOME BIG HIT AT RNC — WOIO — CLEVELAND, OH – A veteran-owned and operated business is making a big impression at the Republican National Convention.
Flags of Valor is a Virginia-based company that employs combat veterans who make American flags.
“They’re all made with American tools and materials and we believe in making things with our hands and giving back,” said owner Brian Steorts. “It’s about our guys and it’s about inspiring patriotism.”
Steorts started the company less than a year ago. The mission is important to him because he’s a veteran himself.
“I got injured when I was deployed and I started woodworking because there was an American flag I found that wasn’t made in America and that upset me,” he said.
Steorts employs five combat veterans who hand-make and hand-paint every flag. “They’re used to working in high stress environments and being deployed and being shot at and having boots on the ground. Now, they get to do something they love and share it with everyone else,” he said.
Employing veterans isn’t the only way Flags of Valor is giving back.
CHIROPRACTIC CARE – AN EFFECTIVE PAIN MANAGEMENT OPTION FOR VETERANS — HEALTH QUEST — Chiropractic Care – An Effective Pain Management Option for Veterans The use of chiropractic care by veterans has increased greatly over the years, which proves its efficacy in treating musculoskeletal issues.
An effective alternative for managing musculoskeletal pain and non-operative neuromuscular conditions, the popularity of chiropractic treatment has soared in recent years with the efforts to reduce opioid addiction. Recent reports indicate increased use of chiropractic services by veterans. Susceptible to musculoskeletal and neurological injuries, veterans are benefiting from this manipulation technique which restores joint mobility and relieves pain by promoting tissue healing. How Chiropractic Care Works Chiropractic care is based on the theory that the spine is closely linked to the nervous system.
LOCKHEED SUBSIDIARY GETS AWARD FOR SUPPORT TO VA PROGRAM — GOVCON WIRE — TYSONS CORNER, VA, — Lockheed Martin‘s (NYSE: LMT) Systems Made Simple subsidiary has received recognition from the Association of Management Consulting Firms for the company’s support for the Department of Veterans Affairs‘ My HealtheVet sustainment program, GovCon Executive reported Thursday.
Systems Made Simple earned the association’s 2016 Spotlight Award in the customer engagement category, Lockheed said Wednesday.
“We take our commitment to the VA and improving healthcare and benefits to our nation’s veterans extremely seriously… This award reinforces our dedication,” said Horace Blackman, vice president of health and life sciences at Lockheed’s information systems and global solutions business.
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VETS IN PRISON HAVE COLLECTED OVER $100 MILLION IN BOGUS FEDERAL PAYMENTS — FISCAL TIMES — Military veterans incarcerated after criminal convictions were improperly paid more than $100 million in federal benefits from 2008-2015, and a total of more than $300 will have been wasted by 2020 if improvements are not made.
In an audit of disability and pension benefits payments to vets behind bars by the Veterans Affairs Administration, the department’s Inspector General found that federal prisoners got almost $59.9 million in improper payments between 2008 and 2015. An additional $44 million in improper payments were made to vets in state and local penal institutions in just 2013 and 2014.
According to the IG report, the VA is required to cut back on disability compensation and pension benefits to veterans who have been jailed for more than 60 days. It found that in more than 50 percent of federal cases, the VA regional offices and the unit that oversees pensions had failed to act.
FAIRNESS FOR VETERANS PROVISION IN FINAL DEFENSE BILL — UP MATTERS — WASHINGTON, DC – U.S Senator Gary Peters (MI) today led seven of his colleagues in sending a letter to Senators John McCain and Jack Reed, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, urging inclusion of a provision to help veterans who may have been erroneously discharged from the military in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report. The Senate unanimously passed an amendment led by Senators Peters, Steve Daines (MT), Thom Tillis (NC), and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) that would give liberal consideration to veterans petitioning to upgrade a less than honorable discharge due to behavior resulting from mental traumas such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), but the amendment was not included in the NDAA passed by the House of Representatives. The two chambers will be meeting in a conference committee to resolve differences between their two versions of the NDAA.
“[The amendment] has strong, bipartisan support and is a necessary step forward to ensure that certain veterans suffering from mental traumas such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI) have access to earned benefits,” wrote the Senators. “The need for this liberal consideration standard remains all too clear as the number of returning Post-9/11 veterans continues to increase.”
PROPOSED RULE WOULD COMPLICATE VETERAN INFERTILITY TREATMENT — MILCOM — A measure passed by a House committee last week would make it harder and potentially dangerous for active-duty troops and veteran couples to receive some federally funded fertility treatments, critics say.
Injured troops still on active duty currently can receive infertility treatment, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), through the Defense Department. A measure to extend the same benefit to veterans treated through the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-connected infertility received bipartisan support in recent legislation, but was blocked from passing after a dispute between Senate Democrats and Republicans over Zika virus research funding attached to the bill.
Now both could be jeopardized through an amendment included in a Labor and Health and Human Services spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on July 14.