Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fort Hood Soldiers Train to Protect Chaplains

Fort Hood: training to protect chaplains who don't carry guns
KXXV ABC 25 News
By Brooke Bednarz, Reporter
Friday, April 28th 2017
Fort Hood held a specialized, hostile environment training for their chaplains and chaplain assistants Thursday morning.

Chaplains are officers and chaplain assistants are enlisted soldiers in the U.S. Army.

They work in pairs as a Unit Ministry Team (UMT) and are assigned to each battalion level unit and above in the Army.

"We provide something that no one else in the Army can provide. We can touch the religious aspect or spiritual aspect of every soldier in the unit, and to be entrusted with that is a huge honor," MSG. Edrena Roberts,Command Chaplain Assistant, said.

Fort Hood trained the 110 soldiers, chaplains and chaplain assistants who are currently stationed at Fort Hood Thursday in a series of training exercises.

Each exercise was focused on the pairs moving as one to keep the chaplain safe.
read more here

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Curse of Being a Neglected Hero

Residual War Horrors and Neglected Heroes
Residual War
Kathie Costos
April 8, 2017

On Combat PTSD Wounded Times there are over 27,000 articles spanning nearly 10 years of news and government reports on what our heroes have to go through for our sake. They tell of the price men and women pay for doing what they believe in doing.

Oh, sure, we can boil it all down to being a patriot and doing it because freedom isn't free, but then you'd have to get into the reasons behind sending them into combat. The purest reason they have to risk their lives, is also what cuts them the deepest. They risk their lives for those they are with. 

War is often a wrong choice made by those who do not have to go. But those who go make the choice to be willing to die for the sake of their combat family members. Yes, family.

Think of what you'd do for your own family and then maybe you'll be able to understand how devoted they are to each other. That bond adds to what they face afterwards. That bond is what makes being out of combat more dangerous than being in it for them. 

In combat, the concern of the threat of death is not about their own lives. It is about the others. After combat, when it is about what the risk did to them, they run out of reasons to stay alive for.

"Life is like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending." Jim Henson
Residual War is out of my own brain but it is based on real accounts from heroes trying to recover from what we asked them to do. Wow, bet that hit you like a sledgehammer.

I envisioned a world where wounded soldiers were sent into a healing unit instead of being cast out of the military after it all cut too deeply into their soul. Fort Christmas was a place where they would stop risking their lives and start simply risking their pride, asking for help and getting it. 

The accounts of what placed them in jeopardy are based on what has happened to many different generations of soldiers and woven into a tale of what can happen...or should I say, what should happen.

It should have happened to someone like  Tech. Sgt Steven Bellino in the following report, but it didn't.
Audio recordings, military records, an Air Force psychiatric evaluation, and a timeline Bellino made of key events in his life — most provided to the San Antonio Express-News by his family — show Bellino dealt with steadily worsening symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder as he struggled to change careers after a stellar record throughout multiple Army deployments and CIA contract work in Afghanistan and Iraq.
What if the ending had been written differently and he received the help he needed after being convinced he was worthy of it? What if he got the help he needed and didn't have to worry about giving up the thing he dedicated his life to?

When you read the following story, please take a look at the pictures taken when this happened. Look at how many people were involved in this situation. Then remember none of them knew what was happening or the story behind the outcome. They only knew they had two dead servicemembers after something that should not have happened.

Gunman in Lackland murder-suicide had 66 rounds of ammunition
My San Antonio
By Sig Christenson
April 7, 2017
McKenna noted that Bellino had the chance to seek other victims after killing Schroeder, 39, of Ames, Iowa, but instead shot himself.
A bearded Steven Bellino stands on a base in Afghanistan. Undated.
Photo courtesy of Scott Workman.
The Air Force has long maintained that Lt. Col. William Schroeder made a heroic last stand when he fought and was killed by a disgruntled pararescue trainee who had arrived in his office armed with two handguns and a knife.

Days before today’s first anniversary of the killing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, commanders said Schroeder “saved the lives of countless fellow airmen” by confronting Tech. Sgt Steven Bellino, a veteran Special Forces soldier.

Citing a still-ongoing investigation, the Air Force now says Bellino also was carrying a stun gun — and 66 rounds of ammunition. The handgun he used to kill Schroeder, and then himself, had an extended magazine loaded with 30 bullets.

“Bill Schroeder is a hero,” said Col. Sean McKenna, chief spokesman for the Air Education and Training Command. “His swift and selfless actions have been recognized as preventing what could have been a much more terrifying event.”

The Air Force has credited Schroeder with sacrificing himself to save his first sergeant, who was in the office as the confrontation began.
read more here
cross posted on Combat PTSD Wounded Times

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Residual War Truths In The News

Veterans left with nothing after their service, instead of treatment for PTSD, they were mistreated and kicked out with less than honorable discharges. In the book and in the news, and the VA trying to help to them.

Veterans with bad discharges get mental health help
“Our goal is simple: to save lives. Veterans who are in crisis should receive help immediately. Far too many Veterans have fallen victim to suicide, roughly 20 every day. Far too many families are left behind asking themselves what more could have been done. The time for action is now.” Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin 

Left with nothing, they became homeless and fell prey to a greedy Chaplain holding them in a facility below the grounds of Fort Christmas. When they did not show progress taking a drug to numb them, taking away all of their emotions, they were murdered. Their deaths, passed off as suicides, no one else would bother to care about.

PTSD veterans treated like lab rats!

Female with the Medal of Honor, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, Army surgeon in the Civil War.

In this video for US Navy veteran Sharona Young, BG Deborah Kotulich talks about heroic military women during Women's History Month and included this fabulous woman. Ask your friends if they know a female has received the Medal of Honor after you look this up and stun them.

Want to discover what else is true in Residual War? Read it and then let me know what you followed up on and how you found it. If you want to be part of the solution, you have to know how this history was made.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Major General Retires After 35 Years

El Paso woman retires from Army after historic career
El Paso Times
David Burge
March 1, 2017
“You always believed in me and provided me with opportunities not because I was a female soldier but because I was a soldier.” Maj. Gen. Heidi V. Brown
Maj. Gen. Heidi V. Brown, most recently U.S. Strategic Command's director of global operations, receives her personal colors during her retirement ceremony on Friday at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
(Photo: Courtesy photo -- U.S. Strategic Command by Steve Cunningham)
El Pasoan and Army Maj. Gen. Heidi V. Brown, the first woman to lead and command a brigade during war, is retiring from the Army after 35 years, officials at her most recent assignment at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska announced Tuesday.

Brown, an Austin High School graduate, had most recently served as the director of global operations for U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt.

A retirement ceremony was held for her at Offutt on Friday and her official retirement date from the Army is April 1.

She was the first female combatant command operations officer and first U.S. Army soldier to serve in the position for Strategic Command.

It was one of many ground-breaking moments for Brown during her illustrious three-decade-plus career.
read more here

Thursday, February 23, 2017

National Guard Bonus Trapped Soldier Needs Help

Phoenix veteran struggles to repay National Guard bonus
The Republic
Craig Harris
Feb. 22, 2017

Army National Guard wants $15,000 bonus back, saying veteran didn't serve in Arizona long enough before transferring to Nevada
Ashley Christopher
(Photo: Special for The Republic)
Ashley Christopher, whose nearly 10 years in the military included stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, spends her days in downtown Phoenix helping homeless veterans find housing.

But the 33-year-old might soon be on the streets herself.

Christopher said she was forced to sell her home to try to repay the government, which threatened to garnish her wages because of a dispute over whether she fulfilled her Army National Guard commitment and was entitled to a $15,000 bonus. A National Guard spokesman said Christopher could have cleared up the problem in 2012, but did not do so, triggering the current controversy.

"I don't have anywhere to go," Christopher said Wednesday. "It wouldn't be a big deal if I didn't have two dogs. But couch surfing with two dogs is a lot to ask of my friends."

Christopher said she fulfilled her National Guard duties and was honorably discharged in February 2015.

But problems with the federal government began last August, when she received an $11,079 bill from the U.S. Treasury Department, alleging she didn't fulfill the full terms of her military contract. She disputed the claim and didn't pay the tab, causing the bill to rise to $14,182 in November, when interest was added.

In December, she said the government informed her that her wages would be garnished unless she started a repayment plan of nearly $400 a month.
read more here

Monday, January 30, 2017

Residual War on PTSD

A Veteran Needs Your Help 
Combat PTSD Wounded Times 
Kathie Costos 
January 30, 2017
A veteran needs your help. He did everything possible to stay alive in combat. After all, the lives of everyone in his unit depended on him. It didn't matter if he was sick, tired, hungry, or if he spent the night battling memories he didn't want to keep. He was always watching over everyone else.

When he got back home, everything came with him. It wasn't a matter of staying alive, because someone else needed him. It was a matter of not knowing how to get up when he no longer knew who he was. Nightmares, flashbacks, mood swings, pushing people away when he needs to have someone care. 

Hope? No hope of healing. Hell, he didn't think he deserved to and even if someone told him he could, he wouldn't believe them. Not that he would have told anyone he needed help at all. He feels totally alone like no one will ever understand him and even if they did, they would think he was just weak or there was something mentally wrong with him.

All he needs is someone to show up the same way others were watching his back with each deployment. Someone to just show they care about him. That's all he needs to know. He is worthy of someone sitting with him, listening to him, buying him a beer or even a cup of coffee. Picking up the phone and showing some compassion, listening without any judgment or competition.  

Do you think you can do that? Ok, then. That veteran is you. 

It is a safe bet you'd do anything for one of your brothers or sisters, without thinking anything less of them than you did in combat. So what's stopping you from doing what you need to help now? If in your mind your buddies deserved your help, then why don't you deserve their help?

That was what I just posted on Combat PTSD Wounded Times. In the book Residual War, which is a work of fiction, the truth is within its pages.

General David King saw within each of the soldiers he sent to Fort Christmas a deep devotion for all those they served with. The trouble was they did not think they deserved help for themselves.

Maybe you'll see something in the soldiers rescued by this caring General that remind you of, well, you. Most of the stories came from actual accounts of war going back over the last three decades of listening to veterans just like you. They were willing to do anything for a brother or sister, but unwilling to do anything for themselves. 

Their brothers, their sisters were worth everything they could do and that is what General King saw within them. He was sure all he had to do was put them together and sooner or later, all of them would get the help they needed simply by offering it to others. It worked because they were willing to die for them in combat and discovered after combat, it was worth doing whatever they could to help them heal, even if it meant they had to let others help them heal in the process.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Rock Gives Veteran New Mustang to Ride

‘The Rock’ Surprises Purple Heart Recipient With New 2018 Ford Mustang 
Pat McAssey 
Jan 17, 2017
In a video “The Rock” posted Tuesday, he surprised one of his fans, Marlene, who was receiving Ford’s “Go Further” award. Marlene served in the U.S. military, suffered two injuries during her three tours of active duty and currently works with the Military Warriors Support Foundation, which provides financial guidance to veterans. read more here