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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.'
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CBS Evening News, 6:30 PM
ANTHONY MASON: For 30 years, Marines and their families drank contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Today, many have cancer and other illnesses they blame on that water. Now they're battling the Veterans Administration for disability benefits. Mark Strassmann reports the Marines face an uphill fight.
Beefy trucks and trikes get these guys back on the road in style, feeling good
By Chris Woodyard, USA Today
Left a paraplegic by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan two years ago, retired Marine Jack Pierce vows not to let his disability leave him in life's slow lane.
Pierce applies that attitude to pretty much everything, including right now, his summer vacation.
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
August 23, 2012
A trade group says the civilian power industry needs to fill 25,000 positions over the next four years. Utility companies need to replace those retiring from an aging workforce and find new workers to staff plants now under construction in the southeast.
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.
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 Lee Chi-dong, Yonhap
WASHINGTON -- The United States plans to expand the presence of its Marines in Asia in tandem with diplomatic initiatives towards the increasingly important region, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Tuesday.
CBS Evening News, 6:30 PM
SCOTT PELLEY: Finally tonight, America of course owes a great debt to the men and women who have sacrificed so much in more than a decade of war. But it turns out many are forced to wait months, even years, to get disability benefits. David Martin has been investigating whatâ€™s behind the delay.
CNN Sunday Morning, 6:00 AM
RANDI KAYE: Thousands of U.S. troops are heading home from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But now many of them are fighting a war after the war. We're talking about post-traumatic stress disorder, also called PTSD. It is a term that we first started to talk about in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, but for today's troops, it is as relevant as ever. PTSD is a mental disorder that some get after seeing or living through a dangerous event such as war combat. A person may have a flashback or begin reliving the event. They may have bad memories or even nightmares. They might feel numb or become jittery, or always be on alert or on the lookout for danger.
Even knowing what PTSD does to a person, it's shocking that many veterans commit suicide in this country. How many? On average, as many as 18 every day. Mike Scotti is a former Marine lieutenant who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has recovered from PTSD. Good morning, Mike, thanks for joining us this morning.
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.
All Things Considered (NPR), 4:10 PM
ROBERT SIEGEL: When sick or seriously wounded troops return home from combat duty, most are assigned to special units called Wounded Warrior battalions. These units aim to give thousands of soldiers and Marines the month they need to recover.
Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families provides help from a professional tutor anytime you need it.
The Veterans Law Project provides help for veterans and families of veterans by providing Pro bono Legal Resources for Veterans and Military Families.
Transitioning from the battlefield to civilian life is wrought with legal issues for many returning soldiers, sailors, guardsman and marines. Divorce, child custody, bankruptcy, foreclosures, employment, Social Security and issues related to service and post traumatic stress are just a few of the conflicts commonly faced by our veterans and military families.
The Marine Corps League perpetuates the traditions and spirit of ALL Marines and Navy FMF Corpsmen, who proudly wear or who have worn the eagle, globe and anchor of the Corps. It takes great pride in crediting its founding in 1923 to World War I hero, then Major General Commandant John A. Lejeune. It takes equal pride in its Federal Charter, approved by An Act of the Seventy-Fifth Congress of the United States of America and signed and approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 4, 1937.
The League is the only Federally Chartered Marine Corps related veterans organization in the country. Since its earliest days, the Marine Corps League has enjoyed the support and encouragement of the active duty and Reserve establishments of the U. S. Marine Corps. Today, the League boasts a membership of more than 76,000 men and women, officer and enlisted, active duty, Reserve Marines, honorably discharged Marine Veterans and qualified Navy FMF Corpsmen and is one of the few Veterans Organizations that experiences increases in its membership each year.