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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.
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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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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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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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.
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."
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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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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.
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.
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.
'Blatantly misleading' enlistment agreements acknowledged
At the time, the deal seemed irresistible to Eric Hickam: Give six years to the Army, a recruiter told him in 2003, and you can get a $50,000 "kicker" -- the Army College Fund.
When his payments started coming last fall, his first year at Columbia University in New York City, the amount fell far short of what Hickam had anticipated. He thought the college fund was a bonus on top of his GI Bill, worth about $35,000 at the time. The Army says the $50,000 figure was a total of all benefits. Last month, it denied Hickam's appeal seeking $50,000 more than what he's receiving for his GI Bill.
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Fewer than 9,000 spots remain open in a government program that pays for unemployed veterans to get retraining in high-demand jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Part of the federal VOW to Hire Heroes Act passed in 2011, the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program offers 12 months of assistance to 45,000 participants who sign up between July 1 and Sept. 30.
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By Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today
A national advocacy group for student veterans, concerned that some for-profit colleges may be misrepresenting the organization to boost their image as military-friendly schools, has revoked chapter membership from 26 for-profit campuses and is reviewing compliance at its remaining 35 for-profit members.
Some colleges milk federal student aid
The 1944 GI bill helped catapult a generation of veterans into the middle class and beyond, financing the education of three future Supreme Court justices, three presidents and thousands of doctors and scientists while democratizing many of the nation's leading universities.
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Nonprofit grooms ex-military for jobs via service projects
Jeffrey Hall knows the look of an empty pantry.
“I do remember some days when we only had crackers in the house,” said Hall, 45, who recalled frequent trips to a food bank on the North Side. “A family of four, and crackers and water.”
Hall left Chicago to join the Navy, but he will return this week as a fellow with The Mission Continues, a nonprofit group dedicated to involving veterans of recent wars in meaningful service projects. More than 100 veterans will gather in Chicago this weekend to prepare for six months of work at nonprofits across the country.
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Workshop to Educate South Florida Veterans on Franchising & Small Business
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- As July 4th approaches, and with unemployment rates for some groups of veterans hovering at more than 18 percent, business leaders at Nova Southeastern University's H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the International Franchise Association (IFA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will host the New Opportunities Workshop (NOW) to educate veterans across South Florida on franchising and small business opportunities.
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DENVER -- Exasperated veterans who work part-time for the Veterans Administration while attending college say their paychecks are sometimes weeks late, leaving them in trouble with bill collectors or having to borrow money to avoid eviction.
The two-week paycheck is typically about $360, and can be vital to veterans raising families and juggling expenses.
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Civilian employers are reluctant to hire them, they say.
By David Zucchino
WASHINGTON -- Matt Pizzo has a law degree, can-do attitude, proven leadership skills, and expertise in communications and satellite technology from his four years in the Air Force.
Motorcycle rally marks 25th year of taking D.C. by storm
By Ben Wolfgang, The Washington Times
For Walt Koren, it would be easier to know that his old friend is dead. Instead, he's lived with uncertainty for 41 years. Whether William Patrick Millner, an Army Air Cavalry pilot in Vietnam and high school classmate of Mr. Koren's, survived a crash landing in Laos in 1971, and whether he remains in captivity somewhere in Southeast Asia, are questions that haunt him to this day.
The tragic signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or battlefield concussion are all too evident. Even more alarming for researchers is emerging evidence that these newest American combat veterans -- former GIs and Marines in their 20s and 30s -- appear to be growing old before their time. Scientists see early signs of heart disease and diabetes, slowed metabolisms and obesity -- maladies more common to middle age or later.
By Greg Barnes, Staff writer
Kyle Maynard implored Fort Bragg's wounded soldiers to set impossible goals for themselves and then strive to reach them.
When he had finished speaking, about 300 strong from Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion responded with a standing ovation.
Official site of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Allows you to apply for benefits online, research schools, calculate your benefits and, if you get stuck, ask a question right then and there.
Department of Veterans Affairs' step by step â€œRoadmap for Successâ€ to determine what GI BILL benefits or combination of benefits are the best fit for you.
The American Council for Education â€“ the national organization for accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities and higher education associations within the United States â€“ GI Bill site includes step by step guides determining your eligibility, calculating your benefits and much more.
NEED A LIFT? Helps guide you through the higher education application and financing process. Although the focus of the guide is to help children of deceased and disabled veterans in their pursuit of higher education, it offers information that can benefit all students.
The American Legion, an organization of wartime veterans, wrote Need A Lift?, a college financial aid guide, to spare you frustration and save you time as you plan your "after-high-school" education.
While the focus of this guide is to help children of deceased and disabled veterans in their pursuit of higher education, all students can benefit from the information offered. The American Legion wants to help all students go as far as they can.
This guide is filled with scholarships, grants, fee waivers, student loans, and the organizations that offer them. We've also included information to help you select a school, apply for student financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), learn about loan forgiveness, understand tax credits, and much more!
Some educational institutions may make additional funds available through the Yellow Ribbon Program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement.
Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) is a free U.S. Department of Education TRIO program designed to help eligible U.S. military veterans enter and succeed in the postsecondary school of their choosing.
Troops to Teachers is a U.S. Department of Education and Department of Defense program that helps eligible military personnel begin a new career as teachers in public schools where their skills, knowledge and experience are most needed.
The mission of the Children's Grief Education Association is to provide grief education and support to bereaved children, their families and professionals in schools and community organizations through local, national and international outreach and training.
Complicated grief is a debilitating condition that has been under-recognized by the mental health profession.
Our Complicated Grief Treatment Program focuses on finding treatments that can help people with complicated grief, and on teaching professionals to recognize and treat this condition. Our goals are:
- To improve the lives of people suffering from complicated grief; and
- To find the best ways to disseminate and implement complicated grief research and treatment information
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Air Force Association (AFA) is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.
We promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor Airmen and our Air Force Heritage. To accomplish this, we:
- EDUCATE the public on the critical need for unmatched aerospace power and a technically superior workforce to ensure U.S. national security.
- ADVOCATE for aerospace power and STEM education.
- SUPPORT the total Air Force family, and promote aerospace education.