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Author and former marine Anthony Swofford gets to the bottom of an epidemic.
I was sitting next to Melissa, a call responder at the VA Crisis Hotline in Canandaigua, N.Y., when she looked at me and whispered, 'He just said he thinks he should walk out into traffic on Interstate 5 and end it all, that life is not worth living.'
By Associated Press
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. â€” The jobless rate for veterans remains high, but a Missouri program is working to help.
The program known as Show-Me Heroes launched in 2010. The Southeast Missourian reports that 1,500 veterans have been hired, and 1,834 companies have agreed to participate in the program.
By Brett Zongker, Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- More than 1,600 museums across the country will offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families this summer in a program that has more than doubled in size since 2010.
IDES and IDVA Partner to Put Veterans to Work; Pre-Registration is Encouraged for Best Service, Results
CHICAGO--(ENEWSPF)--June 28, 2012. With a goal of hiring at least 100,000 Veterans by 2020, a coalition of more than 60 companies, government agencies and Veteran groups will be hosting a huge hiring event in Chicago July 12 for military Veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses.
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They came from Walker Basin, a speck of a community at the edge of the Sequoia National Forest. From the farm town of Reedley, where a barber gives boys joining the military free haircuts before they ship out.
They came from San Francisco. Los Angeles. San Diego.
When they died, photos went up on post office walls in their hometowns. On Veterans Day, there are parades and charity golf tournaments. Buddies gather at graves to drink to the ones who are gone.
In the 11 years since the wars began in Iraq and Afghanistan, 725 service members from California have been killed.
Many died young -- 41% were not yet 22. Sixty-three were still teenagers.
They were fun-loving singles. Forty-seven were engaged. They were married, leaving behind 307 wives and husbands. They had children -- 432 sons and daughters.
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By Michael M. Phillips
Wall Street Journal
HOOVER, Ala.—Two years ago, Matthew Proctor dropped to his knees in the Afghan dirt and watched his best friend bleed to death.
These days, when dreams get disturbing or guilt eats at his gut, there is one person the former Marine corporal is likely to call: Thomas Rivers Sr., his dead friend's father.
When Mr. Rivers, 60 years old and a pharmaceutical executive, feels himself sinking into black depression or misses the pleasures of raising a son, it is the 24-year-old Cpl. Proctor he confides in or invites over for a boat ride. "He lost a best friend, and in a sense I lost a best friend as well as my son," says Mr. Rivers. "That is a bond we share."
War sunders some relationships and forges others. More than 6,500 Americans have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, leaving gaping holes in families across the nation. Out of duty or kindness, guilt or need, the troops who survived often step forward to fill the voids their buddies left.
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By Robert Weintraub
New York Times
September 22, 2012
When No. 10 Clemson plays at No. 4 Florida State on Saturday night, Daniel Rodriguez, a walk-on wide receiver, will be a member of the Tigers' kickoff coverage unit. The sure-to-be frenzied atmosphere is not likely to affect him much.
That is partly because, at 24, Rodriguez is older than most college players. And also because his service in Iraq and Afghanistan will probably leave him unfazed by the raucous cheering of Seminoles fans.
On Oct. 3, 2009, Rodriguez was deployed in Nuristan Province, in the far northeastern corner of Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. He was a sergeant and had experienced a year of fighting in Iraq. About 50 United States and Afghan soldiers manned Combat Outpost Keating, a forward operating base near the remote town of Kamdesh.
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How does one doctor diagnose an Iraq war veteran with PTSD while another says the same soldier has a less severe condition called adjustment disorder? Medical records shared by one of the characters in our feature story this week offer some insight into the workings the controversial forensic psychiatry team at Madigan Army Medical Center.
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July saw a record number of suicides in the Army and among recent veterans. I was nearly one of them.
I suffer from both traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, the two most common conditions of suicidal veterans. Sometimes life becomes overwhelming.
This summer, as has happened often before, I experienced severe depression, which leads to isolation. Then, when I was feeling most hopeless, I also started feeling tremendously reckless. I found myself feeling aggressive and impulsive, feelings that fuel erratic behavior. With each passing week of the summer, as I pushed yet another friend or family member away, it became easier to envision suicide as an option to break this insufferable tension.
By Mike Mullen and Steven A. Cohen
Our nation is finally emerging from one of the worst recessions in American history, yet for our military veterans there is no recovery in sight. The nation's unemployment rate is 8.1 percent. But the unemployment rate of our youngest military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan hovers at a stunning 29 percent.
Saturday marked the first of what will be three days of Veterans Day commemorations across the United States.
The holiday falls on a Sunday, and the federal observance is on Monday. It's the first such day honoring the men and women who served in uniform since the last U.S. troops left Iraq in December 2011.
It's also a chance to thank those who stormed the beaches during World War II — a population that is rapidly shrinking with most of those former troops now in their 80s and 90s.
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DETROIT — Malcolm Byrd got out of the Marine Corps in 2003 and found work, first in a General Motors factory and then with a nonprofit group. But four months ago, he lost his job because of government budget cuts and has been job hunting since.
Telling potential employers that he was a Marine supply clerk who managed millions of dollars in Kevlar helmets and folding cots does not seem to have helped him find the management job he is seeking.
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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — At Amazon's Chattanooga distribution center, military veteran Scot Newport is using his leadership skills developed over 27 years in the Army to help run the busy distribution center during the annual holiday busy season.
"It's a very exciting time of the year for Amazon," he said.
Newport told The Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/XGl538 ) he joined the nation's No. 1 retailer, which has been named among the nation's top military friendly employers, because of the company's openness to veterans. He's a former U.S. Army colonel who now serves as senior operations manager for outbound shipping at the Chattanooga facility.
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By Mohana Ravindranath
Kelly Perdew has founded and led at least three Internet companies, won the second season of “The Apprentice,” served as the executive vice president of the Trump Foundation and is a former Army Ranger. He also has written a book on leadership principles learned from the military.
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Critics warn that some schools are misleading veterans, giving them expensive educations with little chance of a job or credit transfer.
WASHINGTON -- After Moses Maddox left the Marine Corps in 2006, he took a sales job with the for-profit University of Phoenix, making up to 100 calls a day to persuade veterans to enroll using their GI Bill benefits.
Only after he enrolled himself did the former corporal discover that the state university he wanted to attend didn't accept the nine course credits he'd earned at Phoenix.
"Basically, I wasted my GI Bill benefits -- just like a lot of other veterans I talk to," said Maddox, who until recently was a veterans benefits counselor at Palomar College in San Diego County.
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SAN DIEGO -- Two dentists and two Navy dental corpsmen are working on the mouth of John Gardinier, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and now lives in Tijuana near the clinic where he can get methadone for his drug addiction.
"It's no good to have teeth that are rotten," Gardinier, 64, had said as he waited to be treated at the dental services area at the 25th annual Stand Down in San Diego for homeless and hard-luck military veterans. The relief effort brings together dozens of government agencies, nonprofits and volunteers to provide veterans with a variety of health and social services.
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Forensic Methods Led To Loss Of Pensions; Soldiers retested after problems at Madigan
The policy, obtained by The Seattle Times, specifically discounts tests used to determine whether soldiers are faking symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It says that poor test results do not constitute malingering.
The written tests often were part of the Madigan screening process that overturned the PTSD diagnoses of more than 300 patients during the past five years.
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The Army Medical Command has a hotline available for soldiers and veterans who have been screened by forensic psychiatric teams since 2007 as part of the evaluation process for medical retirement. Soldiers and veterans with concerns about their diagnosis may call 800-984-8523.
Army Joins Veterans Affairs and Other Military Services in Standardizing PTSD Diagnosis and Treatment
The Army, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other military services, is standardizing the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, otherwise known as post-traumatic stress disorder, in an attempt to increase the soldiers’ level of trust and fairness in the system.
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Even with an 8.2% unemployment rate, the United States has a massive problem with getting manufacturing positions filled in this country. This problem isn’t going away any time soon, but it looks like the Army is trying to do something about it:
On Monday, the Army launched a six-week pilot program, in coordination with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, to provide military-to-civilian engineering certification for the tens of thousands of servicemen/women who will be exiting the Army over the coming years as the U.S. winds down operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
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In 1999, President Bill Clinton convened the first White House Summit on Mental Health. The aim of the conference and the public campaign that followed was, in part, to educate the media on the moral and ethical imperative related to dispelling the stigma associated with mental illness. In a radio address to announce the conference, Mr. Clinton said, "Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all."
In recent years, the Department of Defense has made unprecedented progress toward eliminating the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues affecting service members. This cultural shift within the military is a sea change, as more and more of our service members are seeking and receiving the support they need and deserve from a grateful nation. In the face of that progress, itâ€™s unfortunate that some in the media continue to perpetuate a stigma linking military service to mental illness and violence.
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WASHINGTON – Although the Obama administration has stepped up efforts to process medical disability claims by U.S. veterans, a top Department of Veterans Affairs official is set to tell lawmakers Wednesday that the agency's backlog continues to grow.
Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits at the VA, said in written testimony submitted in advance of a hearing before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that the flow of VA claims has increased 48% over the past three years.
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Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday blamed Republicans for blocking a budget deal and risking automatic Pentagon cuts. But he promised a veterans group that America's fighting men and women won't suffer and will be guaranteed the best medical care for life.
"We're going to keep our commitment to American veterans no matter what happens," Biden said, winning applause from an audience of 3,000 people attending the Disabled American Veterans convention at Bally's hotel-casino in Las Vegas.
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The jobless rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans fell dramatically in June despite an overall economy that produced few jobs and left the national unemployed rate unchanged.
The unemployment rate for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans fell to 9.5 percent, down from 12.7 percent the previous month and from 13.3 percent in June 2011, according to the employment situation report released Friday by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For veterans of all generations, the June jobless rate was 7.4 percent, a slight improvement over the 7.8 percent rate for May.
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WASHINGTON -- The roadside bomb that exploded outside Andrew Robinson's Humvee in Iraq six years ago broke the Marine staff sergeant's neck and left him without use of his legs. It also cast doubt on his ability to father a child, a gnawing emotional wound for a then-23-year-old who had planned to start a family with his wife of less than two years.
The catastrophic spinal cord injury meant the couple's best hope for children was in vitro fertilization, an expensive and time-consuming medical procedure whose cost isn't covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robinson and his wife were forced to pay out of pocket, with help from a doctor's discount and drugs donated by other patients.
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By Tom Philpott
What if the military gave every service member an expensive car as a reward for honorable service, but they could take delivery only at night and the headlights didn't work? Many of those gift cars might end up damaged.
As the rate of military service members transitioning into the work force continues to exceed the employment rate for veterans each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration has launched a training program to encourage entrepreneurship on military bases, ultimately creating jobs and driving economic growth.
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By David Lerman, Bloomberg News
The election-year defense budget that President Barack Obama will present today is destined to receive a frosty reception in Congress this week, particularly from Republicans.
By David Wallis
FALLING asleep in a crowded lecture hall was never a problem for Adam Connell. Just the opposite.
As a freshman at the University of Iowa in fall 2010, he uneasily eyed his classmates. "I had feelings of bad anxiety," recalled Mr. Connell, 25, a Navy veteran. "When you pull into ports, because terrorism is so high, you are always super-vigilant at all times. In these 300-person lecture halls, you are just surrounded by people you don't know."
By Gregg Zoroya, USA Today
Most companies canvassed in a study published Monday say it's good business to hire veterans because of their leadership and teamwork skills, but some negative perceptions about veterans persist among business leaders.
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Neither the Defense nor the Veterans Affairs department -- which operate the world’s largest electronic health records systems -- tracks treatments used for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report the Institute of Medicine issued last week. What’s more, Defense does not even know how many PTSD treatment programs it or the services provide.
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By Patricia Kime, Staff writer
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs told Congress on Tuesday he would willingly pay more for health care in retirement than the rate structure currently enjoyed by military retirees.
The Department of Veterans Affairs' efforts to transform its broken disability claims process is yielding concrete results, despite a growing number of cases, a senior VA official told a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee Wednesday.
Allison A. Hickey, undersecretary for benefits for the VA, said training initiatives and a new paperless system being introduced are yielding faster and more accurate decisions on pending claims.
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By Andrew Tilghman
An Air Force B-2 Spirit pilot can fly across oceans carrying nuclear payloads, but he will need to apply for a civilian pilot's license before he can get a job shuttling businessmen from New York to Washington, D.C.
By Patricia Kime, Army Times
An internal Pentagon task force is recommending the creation of a single defense health agency that would have broader reach and responsibilities than the current Tricare Management Activity, but would leave command of military treatment facilities within the individual services.
More than 40 companies have signed on to take part in a Career Fair geared specifically for veterans and members of the military. These employers will be in Stamford on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 in order to recruit and interview to fill open positions at their companies.
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A bill to put veterans to work preserving and restoring national parks and other federal, state and local lands has become mired in a political fight, facing a procedural vote Wednesday in the Senate that could leave the legislation's future in doubt.
Democratic sponsors charge that the Veterans Job Corps bill is being held up by Republicans who refuse to allow any legislative victories to the Obama administration. Republicans counter that a GOP version of the legislation would lower veterans' unemployment without deepening the deficit.
The Democrats' bill is based on a proposal for a $1 billion program outlined by President Obama during his State of the Union address, but has been amended to include a number of Republican-sponsored provisions, including measures that would improve veterans' access to Internet tools to find jobs, and make it easier for troops leaving military service to get transition training for civilian life.
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Picture this: An applicant walks into a job interview, extends a firm handshake, looks the hiring manager straight in the eye, and begins to detail her impressive qualifications.
Her resume clearly shows a record of dependability and enthusiasm. It is evident that teamwork and commitment to the mission at hand are hardwired into her DNA. She has received world-class training from one of the most revered and demanding organizations in the world. And she has been tested, time and again, in pressure-cooker situations.
What's more, if she is hired, the company may receive a tax credit from the federal government of $5,600 or more.
In an effort to provide more opportunities for wounded veterans, multiple federal agencies discussed what they could do to employ veterans as they continue their medical recovery.
Wednesday's meeting was the first time many of the local agency representatives had heard about the program and what opportunities are available to them to provide extra training to wounded veterans and to get extra hands at their office. Those in attendance included a wide range of agencies, from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the National Weather Service.
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Tulsa, Oklahoma - World War II veteran Pietje Wall served in the Marine Corps from 1945 to 1950, with 13 months of that time on active duty.
Her job during active duty was to help give the military ships returning from combat new orders, she said. It was a time when women were finding their place in the military and were allowed to serve only in limited roles.
Now, female troops are serving in more positions in the military, and the number of female veterans is expected to rise in the coming years, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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By Damian Ghigliotty
Since the Obama administration appealed to private companies to hire veterans, more than 70,000 vets and military spouses have found jobs, making President Barack Obama's goal for industry to hire 100,000 by the end of 2013 likely to be achieved.
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By JAMES R. HAGERTY
Even so, many veterans are still struggling to explain the skills they learned in the military in ways that are relevant for employers, and the unemployment rate for younger veterans remains well above the national rate for non-veterans.
By Nancy Benac, Associated Press
WASHINGTON--Michelle Obama has been everywhere from a West Point mess hall to a NASCAR speedway in the past year to drum up support for military families, and now she's capping the yearlong effort with a two-day, four-state tour to take stock of what's been done.
Opening another front in her nearly year-old campaign to support military families, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled a push for jobs on or near military bases.
By Beth Brown
San Antonio Express-News
September 20, 2012
The transition into civilian life hasn't been easy for Michael Jenkins.After 23 years in the Army, he retired as a sergeant first class in February. He has been unemployed ever since.
Jenkins is not alone in his struggle. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that while veterans have a nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.6 percent, Gulf War-era II veterans — or those who have served in the military since Sept. 11, 2001 — have an unemployment rate of 10.9 percent. The country's overall unemployment rate is about 8 percent.
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By James Dao
Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to be prescribed opioid pain killers than other veterans with pain problems and more likely to use the opioids in risky ways, according to a study published Wednesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
44 percent polled say they are not ready to make civilian transition
Despite a continued drop in the unemployment rate among Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans, a new survey reports that more than two-thirds of their post-9/11 generation believe that finding a job is the greatest challenge they face in making the transition to civilian life.
Among the most striking findings of the Veterans’ Employment Challenges study, released last week, is that 44 percent of veterans participating in the poll said they were not ready to make the transition to civilian life.
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Many who served on battlefields seek refuge from and ways to cope with Fourth of July displays
He knows it's just fireworks, but Andrew Sabin's heart races anyway and he starts to sweat profusely.
The concussive booms sound like Iraq.
The 26-year-old Army veteran from Racine, Wis., didn't have trouble when he returned from the war. But gradually fireworks displays began to affect him.
This Fourth of July, many combat veterans like Sabin will try to stay far away from fireworks displays. Fireworks take them back to combat, when the sound of explosions meant death and injury, not colorful rockets lighting the sky on a peaceful, happy holiday.
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Some former soldiers in North Carolina say they've had to fight inconsistencies in how University of North Carolina campuses grant in-state residency for lower tuition.
One soldier said she was accepted by Fayetteville State University as a North Carolina resident but classified as out-of-state by UNC-Pembroke.
At stake is thousands of dollars per semester. Veteran students have been scrambling since last year to prove they are in-state students since cost-cutting changes were imposed on the GI Bill, according to the N.C. Student Veterans Advocacy Group. A year ago, the GI Bill program quit paying out-of-state rates at public colleges and universities.
More than 244,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with some form of brain injury over the past 12 years, according to Pentagon statistics.
They are the most common injuries among combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet little is known about how to treat these wounds or cure the illnesses that result from them, says Peter Chiarelli, retired four-star general and former vice chief of the Army.
For a nation that takes pride in taking care of its wounded soldiers, he laments, it is a shame that the so-called invisible wounds of war get so little attention.
Back in the spring, close to 50 unemployed young veterans gathered in a state agency building in Richardson to learn how to rework their résumés and make themselves more attractive job candidates.
The first speaker was someone from the University of Phoenix, a mammoth for-profit college that does an overwhelming amount of its educating online, not in classrooms. She passed out brochures, then detailed why the veterans should use their generous education benefits at her school.
Jim DePaolo, laid off just weeks before, was stunned.
According to a study that was based on U.S census data and was conducted for the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation, U.S. military veterans own and operate almost 15% of franchise businesses. In the United States, more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses provide jobs for 815,000 people, generating in excess of $41 billion in GDP.
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Over the next five years, more than one million military service members will return from active duty.
By Stan McChrystal
'Wanted for hire: Enterprising, reliable self-starter. Must work well in teams. Technological literacy and leadership experience a plus."
This notice could be posted by many businesses today as they look for employees to help them survive, and thrive, in difficult economic times.
Marine turned entrepreneur and filmmaker Zach Iscol on an extraordinary and undervalued talent pool.
Retired Master Sergeant Ken Holman was confused when Scott Miller and Paul Cotter approached him about applying for a job at Microsoft.
On Feb. 21, 2002, his vehicle flipped over during a training exercise. His seatbelt broke, flinging him against the windshield. He broke his neck in three places and shattered his lower vertebrae, leaving him partially paralyzed. He had to relearn how to talk, walk, read, and write.
He'd served 26 years in the Marines specializing in bulk fuel and later in acquisitions. Though he had run a 2:35 marathon, served as a drill instructor and as a Marine recruiter, he had zero IT background.
So why were they interested in hiring him?
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MATT LAUER: It is a startling number. More than 244,000 U.S. troops have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries, an issue that is front and center for the NFL, a league dealing with the problem of concussions among many of its current and former players. The league is now teaming up with the U.S. Army and National Institutes of Health to research ways to limit these types of injuries. Roger Goodell is commissioner of the NFL. Dr. Story Landis is the director of the NIH's Neurology Institute, and General Odierno is the chief of staff of the Army. Good morning to all of you. It's nice to see you.
General, that's a huge number, 244,000 returning military personnel with these brain injuries. I know the seriousness of those injuries varies from person to person, but it's a problem that has to be addressed.
GEN. ODIERNO: Absolutely, and one of the problems we have are soldiers coming forward first to say I have a problem. And so one of the things we're really focusing on is making sure that the same qualities -- mental toughness,physical toughness,dedication to mission accomplishment -- does not impede people from saying "I have a problem and I need to get help." That's why this initiative is important to us. We're now putting sensors in helmets, our kevlar helmets for the first time. About 7,000 soldiers have those in their helmets. As we're collecting more and more data, we're learning more and more information, but we have a lot of work to do yet.
New program provides extra year of training for those aged 35 to 60
By Rick Maze
A new veterans education benefit could help 99,000 unemployed veterans learn new skills in career fields forecast to have high job growth over the next decade, a senior Veterans Affairs Department official said.
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More than 20,000 men and women have left the Army and Marines in the last four years with other-than-honorable discharges, jeopardizing their benefits and leaving some of them struggling to find treatment for health problems.
Jarrid Starks, a troubled Army veteran who received the Bronze Star for Valor but was dismissed from service with an other-than-honorable discharge, has been granted health-care benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Starks was featured in an Aug. 12 Seattle Times story that examined the plight of veterans whose other-than-honorable discharges have put their veteran's benefits at risk.
Starks had been told that it might take a year or more for the VA to undertake a review to see if he is eligible for benefits.
Agencies to expand services within state
Veterans homeless shelter receives VA funding: Veterans homeless shelter receives VA funding
Officials with state-based nonprofit groups that provide shelter and other emergency services to at-risk military veterans say the $847,000 grant awarded them Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs is a windfall that will provide tangible benefits soon.
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September 21, 2012
By Mike Hixenbaugh, The Virginian-Pilot
Hackers accessed personal information of more than 200,000 service members earlier this year and posted a sampling of the data online.
The information came from the Smart Web Move system, an online application run by the Navy and used by all branches of the military to arrange household moves.
HAMPTON, VIRGINIA -
The "Hiring Our Heroes - Hampton Roads"Â job fair will go from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, 1610 Coliseum Drive, in Hampton, VA. This job fair is open to veterans, active-duty military personnel, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and military spouses.
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By Hugh Lessig
The Obama administration has selected the Hampton VA Medical Center and a site in San Antonio as launch points for a massive medical record-sharing program between the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense.
Many families of military veterans face the fear of not finding employment once discharged from military obligation. Military veterans experience the highest unemployment rate in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011), the unemployment rate for nonveterans is 8.3 percent. For the approximately 2.4 million men and women who have served on active duty since 2001 and are no longer active-duty, the unemployment rate holds at 29.1 percent.
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LESTER HOLT: Tonight we're proud to announce our NBC News network-wide initiative in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help more than a million unemployed veterans get back into the workforce. Tonight we're focusing on unemployed women veterans and the mentors helping them realize their full potential.
Utica, NY - The "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair will go from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Utica National Guard Armory, 1700 Parkway East, Utica, NY 13501. This job fair is open to veterans, active-duty military personnel, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and military spouses.
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The money will be used primarily on housing initiatives across the nation, including in Atlanta.
All Things Considered (NPR), 4:10 PM
MELISSA BLOCK: You're listening to All Things Considered from NPR News.
This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans in Connecticut will finally have a place to call their own, thanks to the American Legion. They'll stay at the legion's post in the small town of Jewett City. Lucy Nalpathanchil from member station WNPR reports.
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WORCESTER — In the years after John A. Doherty left the Air Force, he was diagnosed with chronic depression, worked a series of what he calls “meaningless jobs” and struck out at three job fairs.
No more, he claims. Mr. Doherty, 36, landed a bed at the Veterans Inc. shelter for homeless veterans in Worcester three months ago and, about three weeks ago, started a temporary full-time job at Eaton Corp. assembling computer server cabinets.
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Nonprofit — Soldier On — provides affordable housing, support and job training
Four years ago, Michael Shindler's home was a sleeping bag under a pine tree in a park in Pittsfield, Mass. Today, the 54-year-old Air Force veteran, recovering alcoholic and mentor to at-risk kids lives just up the street, but worlds away in his own gleaming apartment. He also owns a share of the complex and has a voice in how the place is run.
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By Eric Tucker and Kristin M. Hall, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Misha McLamb helped keep fighter jets flying during a military career that took her halfway around the world to the Persian Gulf. But back home, the Navy aircraft specialist is barely getting by after a series of blows that undid her settled life.
She was laid off from work last year and lost custody of her daughter. She's grappled with alcohol abuse, a carry-over from heavy-drinking Navy days. She spent nights in her car before a friend's boyfriend wrecked it, moving later to a homeless shelter where the insulin needles she needs for her diabetes were stolen.
The Social Security numbers of Army recipients of the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross were inadvertently posted online by a Pentagon contractor and were available to the public until they were discovered by a Vietnam veteran who researches military medal awards.
The Social Security numbers of 31 recipients of the military's top two awards for valor in combat were posted by a contractor conducting medals research for the Pentagon.
HOUSTON — A 73-year-old attorney pleaded guilty in Houston federal district court Tuesday to conspiring with his wife to steal $2.3 million from 49 disabled veterans and then hiding the thefts by creating fake reports, imaginary bank accounts and filing a bogus income tax return.
As part of his guilty plea to two of 21 charges against him, Joe B. Phillips admitted to transferring more than $1.36 million from veterans clients' accounts directly to a joint checking account that he shared with his wife between 2003 and 2007.
FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Access to care for U.S. military service members and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) must improve, says an Institute of Medicine report released Friday that also calls for better tracking of treatments and results.
The congressionally mandated report also said that the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs should launch research programs to evaluate the effectiveness of their PTSD programs and make the findings widely available.
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WASHINGTON — Tanya L. Towne was wearing her full “battle rattle” when she got injured preparing for war. Now the Pentagon must explain why that should be treated differently from a combat-related injury.
What happens next will put the Defense Department on the spot. It also could mean a lot to veterans other than Towne, who served 17 years in the New York Army National Guard before her 2009 medical discharge.
DENVER--Busy, tech-savvy and often miles from their peers, thousands of new veterans are going online to find camaraderie or get their questions answered -- forcing big changes in long-established veterans groups and inspiring entrepreneurs to launch new ones.
"We're going back to school, we have full-time jobs, we have families and kids," said Marco Bongioanni, 33, of New York, who deployed to Iraq twice while on active duty in the Army.
That leaves little time for what he calls "brick-and-mortar" groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
By Greg Barnes, Staff writer
Fayetteville (NC) Observer
Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick stood in front of 14,000 soldiers on Fort Bragg in February with a message:
"We have got to stop the violence."
Just weeks before, Helmick had closed out the combat mission in Iraq and brought the troops home. Now, as he congratulated them for a job well done, he could not ignore some disturbing numbers. In just the past six weeks, he knew of six suicides and 25 accusations of spousal abuse.
Since Helmick retired in May, the violence at home has only gotten worse.
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Starting now: Personalized support for your post-service life
The 22-year-old Transition Assistance Program is getting a total makeover, aiming to make the classes and workshops more helpful for troops leaving the military and entering a struggling civilian economy.
The new program, unveiled by President Obama after heavy prodding from Congress and veterans groups, recognizes that troops don’t all have the same needs.
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MANHATTAN, Kan.--The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday he wants to increase the national conversation about war veterans and how they're treated and regarded in society.
Gen. Martin Dempsey spoke to a large audience of soldiers, faculty and students at Kansas State University. He said he believes the nation has a positive image of its military men and women and that there is a conversation taking place about how to help veterans reintegrate with work, school and their families.
House Veterans' Affairs chairman decries waste, lavish conference costs
The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee said Wednesday that an inspector general’s report on Department of Veterans Affairs spending on conferences raises questions about its leadership’s ability to cope with problems faced by the people it serves.
“Disappointed is a polite word to describe my thoughts about this,” Rep. Jeff Miller, (F-Fla.) said at a joint hearing with the House and Senate veterans affairs committees to hear legislative requests from the American Legion.
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Military training would count for occupational licenses
Congress has sent the White House a bill to promote faster hiring of veterans by generally crediting relevant military training toward occupational licenses issued by the federal government.
The Senate late Wednesday approved the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act, which had passed the House unanimously on Monday. The bill requires federal agencies to credit relevant military training toward the requirements for occupational licenses they issue, unless that training is found to be substantially different from the requirements for the license.
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A divided Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a law that made it a crime to lie about having earned a military decoration, saying that the act was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.
The case arose from the prosecution of Xavier Alvarez under the Stolen Valor Act, a law signed in 2006 that made it a crime for a person to falsely claim, orally or in writing, “to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States.”
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The Macho Spouse, Male Military Spouse online community, has started a new video series on PTSD. Check out the first video, Defining PTSD with Nicholas Lind, and view the other great videos they provide on topics ranging from depression and deployments to finding work and career building.
"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious battle injury we wanted to know more about, so we found Nicholas Lind, PsyD, Co-Owner of Post Traumatic Resources (Columbia, SC). In this multi-part series, Dr. Lind defines PTSD, explains the symptoms, shares how and when to seek help, and offers insight into living with someone who struggles with PTS symptoms. This first video offers a thorough explanation of what causes PTSD and how it may affect our families."
Macho Spouse Male Military Spouse Community Released Second PTSD Video: Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The Macho Spouse, Male Military Spouse online community, has a great video series on PTSD. Be sure to check out this video series and the other great videos Macho Spouse provides on topics ranging from depression and deployments to finding work and career building.
The second Macho Spouse PTSD video, Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is now live! Dr. Nicholas Lind, Co-Owner of Post Trauma Resources (Columbia, SC), discusses typical PTSD symptoms while offering some advice on how best to start an initial conversation with a loved-one who may have PTSD.
"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious battle injury we wanted to know more about, so we found Dr. Nicholas Lind, Co-Owner of Post Trauma Resources(Columbia, SC). In this multi-part series, Dr. Lind defines PTSD, explains the symptoms, shares how and when to seek help, and offers insight into living with someone who struggles with PTSD symptoms. This second video discusses typical PTSD symptoms while offering some advice on how best to start an initial conversation with a loved-one who may have PTSD."
Caleb Getscher's new home means a lot to him.
The 21-year-old Marine lance corporal lost both of his legs and part of an arm while on duty in Afghanistan last year. His parents' home in Chaptico, where he spends weekends when he is not at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, was not easy to get around in a wheelchair or with prosthetic limbs.
Now he is able to live more comfortably in an addition built to that house, thanks to a program administered by Patuxent Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers and elected officials gathered at the house Aug. 25 to dedicate the new living space.
Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer is fighting for a new cause: helping veterans find jobs back home
With his marine unit caught in an ambush, Dakota Meyer knew what he had to do. In September 2009, Meyer and Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez drove their Humvee into the thick of the action in the Afghan village of Ganjgal, stopping repeatedly under murderous fire so that Meyer could leave the vehicle to pick up stranded Afghan soldiers. Using a machine gun and grenade launcher to ward off the swarming Taliban militants, Meyer darted house to house searching for four missing Americans. They were dead, and while the precise details of the action have been a matter of controversy, an official review of the battle credited Meyer with saving the lives of numerous fellow marines and Afghan troops.
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by Lisa Reed
Media Matters for America
The economy and national security have been two of the most significant issues facing the United States in recent weeks, and the intersection of those issues -- veteran employment -- should be an important component in media coverage of the economic recovery. But unlike much of America and their male counterparts, female veterans are suffering from a deteriorating employment situation -- and the media are ignoring it.
Given how negatively right-wing media figures have reacted to the mere discussion of women's rights -- see Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Bill O'Reilly's steady attacks on Georgetown law graduate Sandra Fluke -- it's no surprise that the issue of female veterans' unemployment has taken a back seat in the media.
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The National Alliance on Mental Illness released a report Thursday calling on the Defense Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate barriers to mental-health care and make better use of local care in the treatment of military service members, veterans and their families.
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by: Rob Kane
Veterans have turned to psychology to become mental health professionals, and they’re filling in gaps in veteran care that government and civilian efforts have left open. And while they are still rare, programs to train them are slowly emerging at universities and nonprofit organizations around the United States.
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There's no question that plenty of soldiers from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But exactly how many soldiers? That's a question that even top medical experts, not to mention military officials, still can't quite answer.
Now a new consortium, manned by some of the nation’s top scientists where PTSD is concerned, is hoping to develop an objective means of diagnosing the condition. In other words, the group hopes that the illness can — one day soon — be diagnosed using medical techniques like blood tests or brain scans, rather than self-reported symptoms.
By Kevin Loria, Christian Science Monitor
Federal grant program to put more cops on the street emphasizes jobs for military veterans who served after 9/11. Unemployment among recent veterans stood at 12.7 percent in May.
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Misplaced markers, interment mix-ups at 2 Calif. cemeteries
By Christian Davenport
The Department of Veterans Affairs has found more than 100 unmarked or mismarked graves at two more national cemeteries, adding to a mounting toll of problems at military burial grounds across the country.
By John H. Cushman Jr.
Members of the military services who lost their homes in unfair foreclosures have won a big victory â€“ and will receive big payouts â€” in the comprehensive settlement of mortgage litigation that was reached last week.
Senator Calls For New Evaluations; Army investigating screening process
By Hal Bernton, Seattle Times staff reporter
The Army Medical Command has identified some 285 Madigan Army Medical Center patients whose diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder were reversed as they went through a screening process for possible medical retirements, according to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.
Some mourners at the funeral for 26-year-old Jonathan Blunk also said they've been told by officials that there are indications he may have tried to stand up to the heavily armed gunman and stop him during the July 20 attack in Aurora, Colorado.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs has quietly released a new report on post-traumatic stress disorder, showing that since 9/11, nearly 30 percent of the 834,463 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with PTSD.
Veterans advocates say the new V.A. report is the most damning evidence yet of the profound impact multiple deployments have had on American service men and women since 9/11. Troops who've been deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan are more than three times as likely as soldiers with no previous deployments to screen positive for PTSD and major depression, according to a 2010 study published by the American Journal for Public Health.
The report, which revealed that 247,243 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars have been diagnosed with PTSD, was buried on the V.A.'s website without fanfare.
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Senator Jim Webb
Recently, I introduced bipartisan legislation to preserve veteransâ€™ education benefits, offered under the Post-9/11 G.I. bill, from abuses by certain schools. Troubling statistics show that the cost to taxpayers to send a veteran to a for-profit school is more than double the cost of a public university and that eight of 10 educational institutions collecting the most V.A. benefits are for-profit schools.
Average case now drags on for more than a year
Five years after launching a combined effort to cut the time it takes to complete disability evaluations and begin paying benefits to wounded, injured and ill troops, it now takes the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments an average of 100 days longer to close a case.
The Integrated Disability Evaluation System was launched in 2008 to combine the separate DoD and VA systems into one and cut the time it takes to complete to 295 days for active-duty troops and 305 days for reserve-component members.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is processing more than a million disability compensation claims a year, for veterans of every age and era, whether they served in wartime or during periods of relative calm.
But that has not been enough to keep the claims backlog from rising through current wars and the expansion of compensation eligibility to more medical conditions, particularly for veterans who served in Vietnam.
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Written by R. Norman Moody, FLORIDA TODAY
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki today unveiled a new portal on their departments’ websites designed to help military veterans find jobs in the transportation industry.
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By Rick Maze, Staff writer
At a time when Congress is facing big questions that will affect military careers, the percentage of lawmakers who served in uniform has increased slightly and remains higher than the general population.
Colleges sign on for Joining Forces national initiative
With nurses often at the front lines of medical care, there's a movement in the Chicago area and across the country to ensure that nursing students are better trained to tend to a new generation of patients who are military veterans.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the National League of Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and other industry groups are calling on nursing schools to take a pledge to do more to educate students on handling veterans and their families. The pledge is part of Joining Forces -- a campaign championed by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, to support veterans. Hundreds of nursing schools have already signed on, according to nursing groups.
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By Aamer Madhani, USA Today
WASHINGTON â€“ For months, President Obama and his surrogates have been spotlighting his efforts on behalf of military veterans â€” a group they think potentially could play an important role in determining who wins several battleground states in November.
$1 billion program would focus on conservation
By Steve Vogel
President Obama will announce details Friday for a $1 billion Veterans Job Corps that the White House says will put up to 20,000 veterans to work over the next five years on projects to preserve and restore national parks and other federal, state and local lands.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on Thursday described the program as "a bold new effort" to lower the high unemployment rate for post-Sept. 11 military veterans, which stood at 13.1 percent in December. The government estimates that 250,000 post-Sept. 11 veterans are unemployed.
Biden highlights drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, criticizes Romney during speech
By Amy Gardner and Scott Wilson
President Obama and the first lady will greet soldiers at Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Ga., on Friday at a time when his reelection campaign is focused more intently than ever on a novel and potentially fruitful voter set: military families.
By Brad Plumer
President Obama on Tuesday unveiled two housing initiatives intended to assist members of the military and Americans with government-insured loans.
President Obama will sign a bill on Monday to give health care to thousands of sick Marine veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., according to a White House official.
Obama will host a signing ceremony at the Oval Office. The time of the ceremony and guest lists have not been released. But several guests from the battleground state are expected to attend.
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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand mental health services and suicide prevention efforts.
The president made the announcement in a speech to troops at Fort Bliss, Texas, where he was scheduled to hold a roundtable with soldiers and their families.
Much of what’s outlined in the executive order are initiatives that were previously announced earlier this summer by the VA.
Doug Sterner has for 14 years been doing what the Pentagon has failed to do: catalog all 350,000 recipients of top medals of valor.
ALEXANDRIA, VA. -- Doug Sterner drives from his cluttered apartment here to the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., carrying a portable photocopier and a belief in American heroes.
Inside the Navy archives, he flips through thousands of typed index cards detailing bravery in battle. Sterner pulls out a card and starts reading. He's mesmerized by this story:
Charles Valentine August, a Navy pilot who shot down two enemy planes in World War II, was later shot down himself and captured in North Africa. After escaping, August returned to combat and was shot down again and taken prisoner by the Japanese.
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The U. S. Small Business Administration has numerous programs designed to support military veterans, like loans and classes to help them make the transition back into civilian life.
The SBA announced the activation of Operation Boots to Business July 12. The program gives veterans access to valuable resources to help them accomplish their dreams of starting and operating small businesses.
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By Steve Vogel
The White House's personnel chief is calling on senior federal executives to ensure that National Guard and Reserve troops returning to their civilian federal jobs are not penalized for their military service.
The Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs approved legislation on Wednesday that would expand access to infertility treatment for disabled veterans. The bill would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to cover the cost of in vitro fertilization treatment for veterans and spouses.
By Associated Press
New York Times
By Marcus Weisgerber
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will begin a weeklong visit to the Asia-Pacific next week, his first visit to the region since the Pentagon announced an increased focus on that area earlier this year.
Panetta will attend high-level meetings with leaders from key U.S. partners and deliver a speech at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, a forum for discussing regional defense issues and equipment modernization.
By Dan Moran
NORTH CHICAGO â€” Standing in the nation's first facility that combines the medical services of the Navy and the Veterans Administration, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his VA counterpart, Eric Shinseki, outlined their commitments Monday to both the ongoing military presence in Afghanistan and the care that will be required for those returning from the mission.
By David Lerman, Bloomberg News
The Pentagon and Labor Department must become "more adept" at translating military experience into marketable skills to help veterans find work, according to a report by a Washington-based research group.
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By Elisabeth Bumiller
WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has warned that runaway personnel costs at the Pentagon are "unsustainable," and on Monday he tried to put a big brake on the spending: Over the next five years the Defense Department plans to nearly quadruple the health insurance fees paid by many working-age military retirees.
Pima County One-Stop Career Center is preparing to open the nation’s first workforce center aimed at helping military veterans find jobs and get training, benefits and support services.
The center will also help employers hire veterans.
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Planned Invictus San Diego facility would treat veterans, and later civilians, who have had amputations or traumatic brain injuries
A group of military, veteran and community health care heavyweights began meeting last year in San Diego to think big about improving treatment for amputation and traumatic brain injury.
The plan that took shape is unlike any nationwide, organizers say: a community center offering medical treatment, family and mental health counseling, job placement and education services under one roof.
As GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama prepare for Monday's foreign policy debate, a new poll shows that members of the armed forces view veterans' unemployment as their top concern, and a majority think the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Eighty-eight percent of military members think Iraq and Afghanistan war vet joblessness is a problem, according to the poll from non-partisan advocacy group Concerned Veterans for America and obtained by POLITICO.
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Recognized for Support of Employees Serving in the National Guard and Reserve
AKRON, Ohio, July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- James Rebholz, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) National Chairman joined Steve McClellan, President of Goodyear's North American tire unit, today at an event in Akron, Ohio, supporting Veteran and Reservist employment at Goodyear. During the event, McClellan announced Goodyear's intent to hire 1,000 veterans over the next three years through its partnership with the United States Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes program and signed a statement of support for the Guard and Reserve on behalf of Goodyear.
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The Center for Custom Prosthetics in Naples, Florida, is making an impact on U.S. military veterans by providing them with unique prosthetic solutions. The Center also provides the same quality service that veterans receive to the general public, which includes creating custom prosthetic eyes, noses, ears, hands and more. Based out of the west coast of Florida, the practice will be expanding its reach this Fall by opening new offices on Florida's east coast.
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For 22 years, Shirley Booze attributed her husband’s violent nightmares and depression to “mental fatigue.”
It was clearly more than just everyday stress that was affecting the Army veteran, but Booze had no other way to classify his emotional isolation.
“It was like he was in a foxhole and trying to protect himself,” she said.
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Largest research project in U.S. military history, started in 2001, follows 187K service members for 21 years
The largest research project in U.S. military history aimed at studying the long-term effects of post-traumatic stress disorder has now passed the halfway point.
The Millennium Cohort Study, run out of the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, is a 21-year study that is comprehensively following the lives and habits of 187,000 service members. Researchers began accumulating data 11 years ago, in 2001. The project is scheduled to run another decade, until 2022.
Researchers hope the massive amount of data they collect will help them pinpoint who gets PTSD and why.
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By Alicia Tarancon, CNN
Facing an aging rail industry workforce and an influx of returning military veterans, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday an initiative in which the growing rail sector will hire more than 5,000 veterans this year, matching the same number hired in 2011.
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By Tom Philpott
If Congress blocks Defense Department plans to raise TRICARE fees for military retirees and beneficiary co-pays on drug prescriptions filled off base, the services will have to make even deeper cuts in force strength than now planned, the military's top health official told lawmakers Tuesday.
By Tom Philpott
Older retirees, like Air Force Master Sgt. Floyd Sears, 81, stand shoulder to shoulder with younger retirees in opposing the higher fees being proposed for TRICARE benefits.
But Sears also agrees with many retirees that there's something especially wrong with the Obama administration's plan to impose a first-ever enrollment fee on 900,000 retirees age 65 and older and their surviving spouses.
By Michael Melia, Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn.--As a truck driver for the U.S. military in wartime Iraq, Ed Young racked up 7,000 miles, facing a constant threat of attack that left him struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.
Four years later, he is driving long hauls again, but now in the U.S. as one of a growing number of veterans turning entrepreneur. The Navy veteran who had seen his post-war life spiraling out of control says his Connecticut-based car transportation business has helped to put him on the road to recovery.
By James R. Carroll, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal
WASHINGTON -- If massive Defense Department cuts go through next year, little-noticed potential victims on the chopping block include the schools on military bases in the U.S. and abroad.
Republicans object to the $1-billion price tag and Obama's plan to pay for it. Other bills also appear doomed.
WASHINGTON -- President Obama's proposal to create a Veterans Jobs Corps to stem high unemployment among recent military veterans was shelved Wednesday after Senate Republicans balked at the five-year, $1-billion cost, giving both sides fresh ammunition for the November election.
The jobs bill was on Obama's to-do list for Congress, a set of initiatives that Republicans have largely rejected. The measure was designed to help veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by providing jobs on federal public lands projects and by building job training centers.
The jobless rate among post-Sept. 11 veterans was 10.9% in August, compared with 8.1 % in the general population.
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By Sen. Kay Hagan
Ask a random American if they know someone who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and the answer is likely to be "no." That's not surprising. Nationwide, military service members account for only 1 percent of our population.
Petraeus -- Holly, that is -- makes mark on military by putting herself between soldiers and swindlers
By Rick Hampson, USA Today
When 18,000 members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division flew back to Fort Campbell, Ky., in 2004 after a year in Iraq, Holly Petraeus was there to meet them, no matter the hour, the weather or her other duties.
Rep. Howard Waxman says the Veterans Affairs bureaucracy is impenetrable. His opponent says Waxman hasn't tried hard enough.
By Steve Lopez
Los Angeles Times