Saturday, October 4, 2008

Statistics on Edgewood test experiment veterans

We have contact information on 24 former Edgewood Volunteers, five of whom are also Vietnam War Veterans. Of these: 8 are contact information only, 8 partially filled out a questionnaire, and 8 filled it out fully. The information herein therefore, comes from 16 men.

It must be made clear that Edgewood Volunteers we were not part of Whitecoat, Project 112, SHAD or Radiological experiments. However, the latter three are listed in VA “mandatory care” categories and Edgewood Veterans are not. The U.S Army Medical Research and Material Command informed us in 2007 that there were 7,839 Volunteers between 1951 to 1979. We were part of the formal experimentation years at Edgewood 1955-1975.

In 2003 the IOM stated that in 2000 they had contacted 4,022 Edgewood survivors. It is safe to suggest that there are less than 4,000 of us surviving today. The nagging question is; how many died of causes related to experimentation and how many living are disabled as a result of their Edgewood service? Col/Dr. James Ketchum wrote a book about Edgewood wherein he stated that there were no significant injuries amongst the volunteers and the DOD 2006 letter to Edgewood Veterans in stark contrast to the 1994 GAO report by stating that there were no significant long term effects.

The breakdown of Volunteer numbers of those known to us and the years they served at Edgewood are as follows: 1958: 313, 382, 781. [This is a sequential oddity because all served in the same month]

1965: 3738.

1966: 4088, 4095.

1968: 5247.

1969: 5619.

1970: 5984.

1972: 6145, 6566.

1973: 6640, 6692. [This is another sequential oddity, see 1969]

1974: 6778

The 16 answered as follows:

Military Records received: 6

Military Medical records received: 5

Medical Care promises received at Edgewood: 7

Edgewood Files received: 12

Volunteer Handbook received: 1 [1968 edition, none of the others ever saw one]

Signed Participation Agreement: 12

Signed Security Non-Disclosures: 5 [others received warnings and/or threats regarding disclosure]

Aware of Psychochemicals Projects before volunteering -0-

Aware of CIA participation at Edgewood: -0-

Medals promises received at Edgewood: 7

Received a letter of commendation: 11

Received a certificate of outstanding performance: 7

Contacted for the 1980 Army LSD study: 2

Contacted by the NAS for the 1980’s NRC studies: 7

Contacted by IOM for the 2000’s NAS study: 5

Contacted by the VA for its 2006 outreach: 11

Received the DoD enclosure in VA letter: 5

Listed on the DOD Edgewood registry: 4

Awarded Social Security Disability: 6

Awarded VA disability compensation: 1 @ 60%, 1 @ 80%, 6 @ 100%.

We see that 8 of sixteen men have Service Connected Disabilities, six of them Total and Permanent, and six of 16 are also Totally Disabled for Social Security purposes.

Seven of the 16 men reported partial or more PTSD disability compensation. The following may help us better understand this statistic.

1985 NAS/NRC long-term studies on volunteers Appendix C: [That the Army did not supply the names of all those exposed to drugs is evident]: “An issue of great concern was the relatively small group of men exposed to psychochemicals and their effects on interpretability. Briefly stated, it was felt at the outset by the panel reviewing psychochemicals that data obtainable from a survey might add little to our understanding of the long-term health effects of chemicals tested.”

The VA 2006 pg. 23, “Potential Health Effects Among Veterans Involved in Military Chemical Warfare Agent Experiments …” “Some of these exposures had the potential to cause substantial harm to the veterans health …” “ … long-term psychological effects could have resulted from just participating in these experiments.” DOD 2006 Fact Sheet: “Although the current medical literature indicates that such exposure may have some long lasting effects among some individuals, such as flashbacks [visual hallucinations] without new drug exposures.”

Finally, the 2007 Annals of Psychiatry state: “Interestingly, PTSD rates among veterans who participated in voluntary Chemical Warfare Agent research under controlled conditions, and were never expsoed to hostile enemy fire, were found to be higher than PTSD rates for veterans who participated in actual combat, in which the physical wounds inflicted were far more severe” “… the psychological trauma of Chemical Warfare Agents exposure is tantamount to the most intense and traumatizing types of stress found anywhere in human experience.”

We can now better understand why 8 men have Service Connected disabilities that include 7 with PTSD and their overall disabilities led to total Social Security disabilty for 6 of them.

To save the Army the cost of hazard pay they set the stage in 1958. The Chemical Warfare Laboratories published SP 2-13 wherein they stated that: “ … your participation in the various testing programs will be profitable to you and the U.S. Army” “… experimental procedures involving NON-hazardous exposure to compounds …” “ … volunteers are not allowed hazardous duty pay.” It is odd that they stated there were no hazards becausel, The volunteer’s participation agreements stated “I am completely aware of all hazards.” Additionaly, letters of commendation to Edgewood volunteers stated: ”… you deliberately made a commitment to undergo procedures whose outcome could not be fully known in advance” “….you not only displayed courage and maturity … .” The Army knew there were cosiderable hazards when they published AR 70-25 in 1962: “Volunteers as Subjects of Research”. “The experiment must be such as to contribute significantly to approved research …” “… unusual and potentially hazardous conditions are those that may be reasonably expected to involve risk, beyond the normal call of duty, of privation, discomfort, distress, pain, damage to health, bodily harm, physical injury, or death.” By 1975 all the latter had come to pass therfore, we could almost consider this AR to be an after action report.

The DoD certainly knew there were hazards. Defense Instruction 5030.29 1964: “DOD assumes full responsibility for humans involved in research under its sponsorship, whether this involves investigational drugs or other hazards.” In light of the Feres Doctrine their assumption of responsibility was meaningless and only intended to conform with the Helsinki Accords. “Edgewood Arsenal personnel knew well that experimentation was hazardous. In 1961 they published CDRL 2-44 wherein they lauded volunteers as ”Peacetime Heroes” “ … they serve far beyond the call of normal peacetime duty in a cause that vitally affects the nation’s defense posture.” They subjected themselves to risk in hazardous service and is reflected in the words on their commedndations: “above and beyond the call of duty.”

LTC Elfert served at Edgewood in 1958 and he suggested that the volunteers service was similarily stressful to combat. The DOD currently has a program entitled Combat Related Special Compensation for its Military retirees which is not limited to direct combat. Qualifiers include: While engaged in hazardous service, such as an experimental stress study [psychochemicals intended to cause maximum stress] and Instrumentality of War: Injury or sickness caused by gasses [mustard which is a carcinogen, CN a cyanide which causes heart damage, and DM an arsenic, all of which were tested at Edgewood along with 250 other chemicals].

The U.S. Army HRC Awards Branch in 2005 admitted to CIA MKULTRA participation at Edgewood when they answeried a volunteers query: “ … testing in the Edgewood Arsenal MKULTRA Program.” CIA MORI Documents clearly prove that the CIA funded Army experiments for over twenty years and that MKULTRA sub-project-45 in psychochemicals and K fields, known simply as the K agent program at Edgewood, was conducted using manufacturers reject drugs known to have bad side effects, and those were supplied by the CIA to Edgewood specifically for testing on Armed Forces volunteers.

That the Army and the DOD did not want to know about health cause and effect relationships, as they pertained to Edgewood volunteers, was made obvious by their actions and inactions.

In 1970-1971 the Army conducted a long term Follow-up Study of Medical Volunteers who received drugs at Edgewood. II Method. “It was decided to limit the study to volunteers who were serving on active duty. The study was limited to 40 men and conducted over a ten month period. “No subject felt that he had experienced physical or psychological changes as a result of participation in the program.” The army was likely pleased to know that its career soldiers suffered no ill effects. This gives rise to the question of what would have happened to the career soldier who admitted having residual mental issues?

The 1985 National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council final report pg. 50: “It appears that the subjects actually given psychochemicals in those experiments were selected from an optimal pool of mentally and physically healthy persons.” The 2006 DoD Fact sheet: “As a group, the volunteers selected to participate in the studies were above average in physical and mental qualifications when compared to other service personnel.” The DOD Fact Sheet sent to Volunteers informs them that the NAS/NRC stated: “The study did not detect any significant long-term health effects in Edgewood Arsenal Volunteers.” The NAS/NRC study final report actually stated: “However, the limited information available from follow-up on these soldiers does not permit definitive conclusions regarding the nature and extent of possible long-term problems resulting from chemical exposure at Edgewood.”

The 1975 Army Inspector General report stated Edgewood informed them that as of 1966 there were no volunteer deaths. The 1994 Government Accountability Office Report stated that there were some deaths and that “adverse health problems were not discovered until many years later --- often 20-30 years and longer.” VA Veterans Health Initiative 2003: “… ultimatley to compensation for a few families of subjects who had died during the experiments.” 1993 DOD {Human Experimentation}: “ … the DOD will, to the extent feasible, make available to the Department of Veterans Affairs information that may be useful in assessing disability claims of veterans. Edgewood veterans arriving at the doors of a VA prior to 2006 received little more than a denial of such a programs existance [Edgewood human volunteer experiments]. The NAS Institute of Medicine [IOM] conducted a study for the DOD beginning in 2000. In 2007 the Director wrote: The IOM committee was not charged with examining past exposures to specific chemicals, like those at Aberdeen/Edgewood, and assessing whether they caused disabilities in military personnel” “… where veterans were exposed to agents in classified experiments, the veterans were at a disadvantage, because it was difficult to get access to secret information needed to adjudicate their claims

Seven men remembered being promised medals at Edgewood. If the reader sees things as the DOD and the Army, then the rational for denying an Edgewood veteran medals earned the hard way is obvious because a medal for an Edgewood volunteer a road to culpability and an admission that their service was hazardous, that they were brave, courageous, and some valorious in their perilous Edgewood journey. Psychiatrists agree that it is rare for two individuals to have the same reactions to drugs and stressors or for them to have the same degree of suffering. Few had exactly the same agents and doses at the same time therefore, they were all set apart from their fellows making them eligible for individual awards.

U.S. Army HRC Awards Branch 2005: “ … volunteer service at the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Center, Edgewood, MD, is noteworthy, but he is not eligible for consideration of an individual award since the purpose and intent of the Army’s Awards Program is to recognize soldiers who actively engage in acts of heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service. Accordingly, these four recommendations cannot be considerd for review by the Army Decorations Board.

The DOD has stated that there were no significant long term effects leaving us to ponder the word significant, because the self evident truths herein can only lead a prudent man to conclude that the DOD and the Army cannot defend against, what they term allegations, because the issues of injuries that led to disabilities of half a sample presented herein are not reasonably debatable. Edgewood service was hazardous which caused death and injuries. A grateful nation needs to recognize these facts and properly reward those who gave of themselves in the name of National Security.

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Veteran law seminar

Contacts: Phone: 312.987.1420
The John Marshall Law School, Chicago
Joseph Butler - Director/Clinical Professor

Brian Clauss - Executive Director

Legal and Medical Issues Facing Our Nation's Veterans
November 7 and 8, 2008

Veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious physical and mental disabilities. In many cases, it may take years for the full extent of the injuries to become manifest.

A Pentagon study of more than 300,000 servicemen showed that combat veterans were twice as likely as the general population to commit suicide.
Another study found that one-third of the soldiers and Marines who have seen high levels of combat in Iraq report depression, generalized anxiety, or posttraumatic stress.
Modern medicine is able to keep more battlefield casualties alive, but survivors often come back without limbs or with debilitating impairment to their senses.
The John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Support Center is proud to present a two-day program featuring experts from the medical, military, and legal professions, who will discuss the legal and medical issues that our wounded warriors face upon their return home.

Among the goals of this conference are educating the legal and medical professions by developing efficiencies and improving the quality of the services given to our nation's veterans, and developing best practices and enhancing coordination between the legal and medical professions.

To enroll in the seminar, please complete the registration information provided by the link above.

Please fill out this form below and fax or mail it to the following address:

The John Marshall Law School, Dept. of Event Management
315 S. Plymouth Ct.
Chicago, IL 60604

Fax: 312.427.7128
Phone: 312.987.1420

Registration Deadline is
October 24, 2008

CLE Credit: Approx. 10 Hours
The John Marshall Law School will advise the appropriate state bar or agency indicated below of the presentation of this Conference.

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Voter Registration Table at the Durham VA Table

Date: Thursday, October 2, 2008, 1:47 PM

In the latest "Army Times", there was an objectionable full page advertisement promoting a book entitled, "The Audacity of Deceit." You can well imagine the type of publication this is. The national campaign is devising an address to this misrepresentation aimed at our Soldiers.

In the same "Army Times", the roll up of our honored dead for the period of September 19-25 was notable and, yet, unseen by most Americans. Twenty four died with another 47 wounded in action. The ages of the dead ranges from 18 to 69, in rank from private to colonel. Although the bulk of the dead are Army, service members from the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy are all represented in this roll up. They were from active duty and reserve units. The casualties were split almost exactly evenly between Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although I immediately sent the slanderous "Deceit" article up the chain for action, only a President who understands the waste of Iraq and the threat of Afghanistan will return honor to the nation and stability in the world. With my uniforms now hung in the closet, I will fight with you to restore our honor and put Barack Obama into the White House.

Never forget the valor of our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors. Remind our civilian brethren daily


COL (ret) Randall K. Stagner, USA
Executive Chair, NC Veterans for Obama
Raleigh, North Carolina

As you know, there are >12,000 members in the VETERANS FOR OBAMA GROUP alone!! DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE AT THE DURHAM VA? I am traveling from SC to NC to help register voters & want to set-up a Voter Registration Table at the Durham VA it can be non-partisan only). We've had great success (& were very welcomed) doing Voter Registration at the Charleston, SC VA this week. WE REGISTERED 250+ VOTERS in 4 1/2 days. Our table was swarmed with veterans (& family members) clamoring to register. Many were disabled &/or minority Veterans living in nearby (non-VA) nursing homes, rehab centers & group homes & low-income housing (coming to the VA for much needed medical care)...facilities that have NOT been the focus of registration drives (SINCE VOTER REGISTRATION WASN'T ALLOWED TIL SEPT 09, 2008). MANY, MANY, MANY registrants were overtly PRO-OBAMA (for numerous obvious reasons!)...or came by the table to express SUPPORT FOR OBAMA.

This is obviously an IMPORTANT voting population that certainly deserves EASY access to voter registration during this important week in NC!!!! If you have a "CONTACT" PERSON AT THE VA -- please let me know ASAP. If you'd like to volunteer, please let me know ASAP!

Paulette MacDougall RN, BSN
(843) 817-5454

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Friday, October 3, 2008

my claim for heart disease Secondary to PTSD

I was notified today that my claim was denied at the Columbia VA Regional Office, however the good news my attorney was told that I have a good case, for appeal to the Board of Veteran Appeals and that if they approve the claim the Regional Office has agreed that the effective date of my disability for heart disease will go back to December 2002. Which in itself is a major victory, it will mean another years of back pay at the 2003 rate, I will also be elevated to SMC S which is more money per month for the past 6 years, the home grant for making the house power chair accessible and the auto allowance. The benefits will be great. Now the goal is to live long enough to get the hearing before the Board of Veteran Appeals.

You either have to love the system or hate the system, me it's just another chess game.

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Kelley's thoughts

Hall/Clinton on VA process changes with comments.

Link below is an article on the changes coming to disability claims process.

Comments and suggestions are below this article I think would have a tremendous impact on this backlog of claims and equal justice for a single Veteran versus another Veteran or widow with the exact same denied Service Connection.

Approving some and not some others with the exact same scenario for Service Connection is inexcusable.


Once again I am overwhelmed at the lack of outside the box thinking and just more of the same. More computer usage, more training, employee evaluations, give a year to make up some more crap as to why it takes so long; and on and on with the same diatribe stuff we have heard for who knows how long. I wonder how many millions will be spent on some creative software that will never work without millions more being poured into the system - that is never going to work. Have not we been there already on this issue?

It is just beyond comprehension that Veterans and their family’s have to suffer because of failed VA philosophy and processes for timely Service Connection and the failure of our own government to mandate some logical common sense processes that are non-adversarial. Which most on the VAC’s have agreed the process and philosophy of Veterans Affairs is nothing but adversarial.

Congressman Hall ----“America’s disabled veterans cannot afford to wait a moment longer,” said Hall, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee on disability assistance, Hall said processing a first-time claim by a disabled veteran can take 180 days, and even longer if a veteran appeals the initial decision. The long processing time is part of the reason there is a backlog of about 400,000 claims awaiting a decision by VA.

How many of the above in this mythical 180-day decision was nothing but a denial? Does anyone really believe VA can actually make a positive decision in 180 days when their philosophy and even reward system is based on denials. Presumptive disorders take at least that long if not longer and those should be automatic within minutes of hitting the door of the VA office, at least Service Connection should be established immediately.

Senator Clinton ---“Improving VA procedures so that claims can be processed and benefits delivered quickly, fairly and accurately for our veterans, their families and their survivors is the least we can do,” said Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Then by God do something positive with action that mandates some level of common sense and repercussions for those that do not follow the mandates. Talk talk talk….TALK.

Congressman Hall ---… reduce the disparity in decisions involving similar issues and cut the number of claims decisions that end up being overturned.

My Presumptions:

I am assuming that Congressman Hall is discussing the disparity of C & P ratings for the same disorders or similar.

I am assuming that Congressman Hall is discussing the thousands of VA claims that get overturned at the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). Which should include those claims at VA that are consistently being denied and then when the claim gets to the BVA they are commonly overturned. (Meanwhile four years has passed)

I am assuming that Congressman Hall is discussing that computer information shareable, searchable, and criteria based.

Certainly we can consider the Board of Veterans Appeals computerized decisions as Information Sharing Technology. Is this used for anything but posting on the Internet…NO! Even the BVA does not use this searchable data for their decisions to expedite claims that are similar or even exactly the same.

Veterans or widows cannot even use this data as pointing to prior overturns that are exactly the same issues and Service Connected scenarios.

Make any sense? It does if your intent is to delay or stall in an adversarial VA setting that is supported by White House after White House and some members of our own Congress.


· You have Veterans that served in Vietnam which are presumptive to exposures to Agent Orange. (This by itself is a joke when you look at the congeners that these men were actually exposed and tested positive for years after the war. In looking at the great work done by the POINTMAN Project I and II early after the war and recognizing the congeners found and the data put out by Hatfield last year of those congeners still found in the hotspots that still exist today; these are very very similar. So AO in and by itself seems to be more of a government perpetrated myth as to causations.)

· These Veterans either die or become disabled from presumptive exposures while serving in theatre.

· All of them meet the requirement for presumption.

· The only decision factor is the association to either the toxic chemical exposures or Service in that Environment for Service Connection. (Do Veterans really care which one since they are dying and/or disabled?)

· The Veterans or Widows put in the same claim to VA, which is disapproved. (Knowing full well that BVA in many cases has overturned the exact same decisions for the exact same scenario. Overturned for the exact same reasons. (It is on the Internet for heavens sakes.)

· This continues on by VA day after day year after year knowing full well they are denying a claim that will be, in due time if the Veteran lives long enough, overturned by BVA. (Make any Sense?)

Do not get me wrong folks. This year for Veterans has been the Year of the Veterans. Thanks to Congressman Filner and indeed Congressman Hall and his hard work.

However, if Congress is going to start introducing pilot programs to reduce the backlog of claims or get disabled Veterans at least partial support then…

I would suggest that Vietnam Veterans have waited long enough and many are dying from AO issues. (ABC report 400,000 Vietnam Veterans are dying from AO issues. Not new to us... we already knew this.) Vietnam Veterans and their Widows have faced government-corrupted studies, politicians who could care less that scientific fraud is and had being committed against them, and White House after White House of nothing but self cover up indifference to the massive issues created by their own arrogance.

Congressman Kagen a medical doctor has concluded the additional cancers should be presumptive.

See HR 6798

You will notice that only 8 congress folks have cosponsored this bill. Where is all the support of those in Congress who go home to you every two years and tell you they support Veterans/Widows/Orphans. Where is the support from that only talk and do nothing! Do not let them lie to you any longer? This bill is a primary target to look at to see who in congress is for Veterans and those that passively say they are for Veterans and then do nothing.

The above link documents constituent comments also and everyone should contact their political leaders (cough) to support this bill.

But I digress.

If we are going to do pilot programs, the one I have suggested has very little risk/chance for any claim to be approved that should have been disapproved. At this time we are denying based on not letting one single claim get through that should not be approved thus the adversarial nature of VA. Of course this puts undue hardship on the dying Veteran Family’s denied VA claim…then overturned by BVA. Much is being lost between denial and overturned including some level of comfort for the dying Veteran.

Why the VSO’s are not supporting this as a way to get these dying or disabled Veterans approved and widows the support they need with existing computerized data, already accumulated and searchable; is a real question. That is if the real intent is get the help needed and stop this dumb process of VA denying clams that at least as likely as not will be overturned at BVA. Overturned claims that are fully documented.

How can one Veterans claim or a Widow’s claim for the exact same thing and the exact same presumption be approved for 20 and then denied for 20 for others?

Should the data and facts of an overturned disapproval mean nothing when considering similar approvals at VA?

Should we have a pilot program that looks at BVA overturned decisions and then establish criteria for similarity and then demand these claims get immediate approval and reduce the backlog of claims within six months. YES!

I can think of nothing else that would reduce the backlog within months with little risk to the government as to validity of claims being approved. This would also free up time to work on newer claims and those claims that are unique and do not fit the denial/BVA overturned scenario that exists.

The other issue I would like to comment on is the massive amount of Veterans with diabetes that have secondary damages or at least according to science and medicine today that have well established associated disorders with the diabetes and insulin resistance. These are not just some subjective list of associated maladies but are listed and medically treated as common with the diabetic process and time of disease.

Veterans with these secondary issues already known to be associated should not have to prove over and over again to VA clerks what every medical university or college has already agreed with and recognized as medical fact and physician treated as fact.

There are some very common issues and some issues that may or may not be associated to every case of diabetes. However, would it not make sense to establish an already approved list of known secondary disorders that must be approved by VA or BVA and then get the Veteran his C & P for his rating for his new associated disorder to diabetes in a timely manner. More time is spent trying to convince what medicine has already concluded a half century ago than the actual rating. Common sense and medicine/science clearly has stated that if you have diabetes then these other disorders or symptoms are indeed associated.

Even a standardized form/check list for these secondary disorders could be used for the Veterans doctor to check off one time and one time only with no discussion or denial by VA clerks the doctor checked as "at least as likely as not associated to the diabetic condition" and did not say “the exact words deemed needed so the VA clerk instead denies the claim.”

How much time would that save? I would suggest a bunch since the claim now would only need one form, no delays and no bickering between the doctor and the VA clerk; claim association as secondary is automatically approved with that form and then over to C & P scheduling for rating.

No we do not need more talk talk talk with no actions that certainly define that nothing is being done but the same discussions over and over and over.

Thanks folks,

We need to get going on HR 6798 and now! Make sure your congressperson and senator supports this bill. It has been long enough. And the reasons for the long enough are despicable at best.

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Presumptive Service Connection Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Read full pages at:

Subpart A—Pension, Compensation,
and Dependency and Indemnity
■ 1. The authority citation for part 3,
subpart A continues to read as follows:
Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), unless
otherwise noted.
■ 2. Add § 3.318 to read as follows:
§ 3.318 Presumptive Service Connection
for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph
(b) of this section, the development of
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis manifested
at any time after discharge or release
from active military, naval, or air service
is sufficient to establish service
connection for that disease.
(b) Service connection will not be
established under this section:
(1) If there is affirmative evidence that
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was not
incurred during or aggravated by active
military, naval, or air service;
(2) If there is affirmative evidence that
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is due to
the veteran’s own willful misconduct; or
(3) If the veteran did not have active,
continuous service of 90 days or more
By statute (38 U.S.C. 1155),
VA disability ratings are based on
average impairment of earning capacity,
as reflected by evaluation criteria in the
rating schedule, which the Secretary
may revise from time to time ‘‘in
accordance with experience.’’ While
medical information and expertise are
significant factors in revising the list of
rating schedule disabilities and
evaluation criteria, they are not the only
relevant factors that VA must rely upon
in crafting its rating schedule. We must
also consider social and sociological
factors in determining the level of
impaired employability caused by a
particular disability.

Sent: Thursday, October 02, 2008 8:57 PM
To: Dale Hettmansperger; Glen Johnson
Subject: FW: new TBI and ratings regulations

Robert P. Walsh

Two West Michigan Avenue

Suite 301

Battle Creek, Michigan 49017

Telephone (269) 962-9693

Telecopier (269) 962-9592


Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 10:03 AM
To: hammerm2; Margaret Costello; Bob Walsh; Tammy Kudialis
Subject: new TBI and ratings regulations

VA implemented its final rule changes amending the TBI ratings regulations in 38 CFR 4.124a. It appears that the veterans will generally have a higher rating under the new regs.

VA also promulgated new regs adding ALS as a presumptive disease for herbicide exposure in vietnam.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Changes coming to disability claims process

Changes coming to disability claims process

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Oct 2, 2008 7:00:00 EDT
Lawmakers have high expectations that they can reduce the backlog and processing time for veterans’ benefits claims through a combination of new procedures, including two pilot projects.
The Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2008, which passed Congress on Saturday and is being prepared for submission to the White House for President Bush’s signature, pushes the Department of Veterans Affairs to use electronic filing and processing of claims to try to improve the speed of claims decisions, reduce the disparity in decisions involving similar issues and cut the number of claims decisions that end up being overturned.

The bill also creates a new authority to provide a temporary disability rating for some veterans who have severe and multiple disabilities that are not fully healed. Stabilized and unstabilized disabilities that have an impact on employment could be considered in assigning the temporary rating that would be used to provide disability compensation during the first year after leaving the military.

One of the pilot projects ordered by the compromise bill requires special, expedited treatment for disability claims where the veteran had the help of a veterans’ service officer to prepare the paperwork. This one-year test would be carried out in at least 10 regional offices.

A second pilot project, to run over three years in at least four regional office, would have processors and veterans use a checklist when submitting claims in an effort to bring more organization and uniformity to the claims process.

The bill also gives VA one year to develop a program using information technology to process claims that would allow veterans to file applications and to track the progress of their claim online.

Several provisions in the bill were drawn from a claims modernization bill sponsored by Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., that attempts to improve training for VA workers who are processing claims and to change how employees are evaluated.

“Improving VA procedures so that claims can be processed and benefits delivered quickly, fairly and accurately for our veterans, their families and their survivors is the least we can do,” said Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“America’s disabled veterans cannot afford to wait a moment longer,” said Hall, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee on disability assistance,

Hall said processing a first-time claim by a disabled veteran can take 180 days, and even longer if a veteran appeals the initial decision. The long processing time is part of the reason there is a backlog of about 400,000 claims awaiting a decision by VA.

Over the last two years, members of the House and Senate veterans’ affairs committees have tried to push VA to process claims more quickly while also complaining about the rate of mistakes in claims and evidence that similar claims are decided differently between VA regional offices.

In the report accompanying the benefits bill, the two committees say they want a process that is perceived as fair by veterans, but realize “it is unreasonable to expect states to have exactly the same average compensation or percentage of veterans receiving compensation.”

The bill requires a report — due one year from now — that looks at variances in benefits between regional offices and between veterans of different states to determine whether the differences are justified.

Changes coming to disability claims process


I bet they can teach pigs to fly first or even apply lipstick

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

tips for veterans from Eric Muth

We have read that the Army stated Edgewood Veterans were among the healthiest and brightest in the military. We note that in 2000 the IOM stated they contacted 4,022 of us.

We are somewhat familiar with 24 Edgewood volunteers who served between 1958 and 1975. Of this group ten answered our questions as to whether or not they have been compensated for disabilities.

6 @ 100% VA, 1 @ 80% VA, 2 @ 60% VA compensation and of the 10, six [6] have received Social Security disability which is much harder to get because one must demonstrate total disability.

Based on this sample one would think that a whole lot of 4,022 are either dead or disabled.
Dr. Ketchum stated in his book that no one was "significantly" injured. The 1994 Government Accountability Report stated that volunteers died and that many had long term effects that did not show for 20-30 years and more.

To clarify a question posed: You do not have to be enrolled in the VA Hospital System to file a claim for disability. You can file a claim directly with the VA Regional Office in your home state or through various service organizations such as the DAV [Disabled American Veterans] who will take your case whether or not you are currently disabled.

If you are at the point, after filing a notice of disagreement on a claim denial, of needing an attorney you could start with the National Veterans Organization.

I hope all of you saw the CRSC Q's answered in [Jim Strickland #63]

Col. Dan's site has my letter to the DOD regarding their revisionist history.

Nice that we are getting some friendly press.

Interesting? You are eligible to join the DAV as long as you have a VA disability rating, even if it is zero %. This is usually assigned when you have established service connection for a condition which does not meet the requirements for compensation, though it may at a later date, so zero is not so bad for today because if the condition worsens you need only apply for an increase rather than beginning with a claim at ground zero.

No matter the percentage of disability many states allow for DAV license plates which have a DAV insignia and the words "disabled veteran."
If you are eligible for a handicap sticker or license plate then the DAV plates can be ordered with the wheel chair insignia or you can just get a state plate with that on it. There are mixed feelings about these plates which I will not exploit, but as an aside those plates could get you a pass from an officer who is a veteran, when you need it.

If you are rated 100% by the VA you and your wife are eligible for a DOD ID card for MWR [Moral, Welfare, and Recreation]. PX and Commissary shopping come foremost to mind and good discounts at Military Vacation spots around the globe. Though you would not be eligible for flights on militray aircraft. If you are 100% but rated say 80% and given 20% IU [Individual Unemployability] then you are not eligible for the MWR card.
Even if you did not serve in Vietnam you are eligible to join the VVA if you served in any duty location between Aug 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975. To those of you who have not been able to find a VVA organization close by you can call the Viet Nam Veterans of America 800-VVA-1316 or visit their site: www, Your membership will be of value to this group. More on that later....

If you want to obtain your military records, assuming they have them write to the St. Louis address below skipping the line Medals..... NPR has stated that a 1973 fire destroyed the major part of amy personnel records from 1912-1959 other than myself I doubt any of you will be affected by the recrods lost in the fire.
It could be very important to have your medical records at some date now or in the future so ask for all records. If this is too much trouble for you and you can afford it then you could get an agency to handle this for you. I used the one below: 314-423-0860
U.S. Locator Service
PO Box 140194
St. Louis, MO 63114-0194

Medals: If you intend to make applications please contact me so that I can advise you of potential pitfalls you may encounter.

If you seek replacement medals for yourself:
National Personnel Records Center
Medals Section [NRPMA-M]
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

Certificates accompanying medals are for ARCOM and up and the Good Conduct Medal issued after Jan 1, 1981.

If you are wanting to receive that medal you were overlooked for the address is below. They can issue medals based on copies of your official documents proving you deserved it. However, from the ARCOM up, you will need to be nominated and the nomination must be referred by a member of Congress which is no big deal. The nominator simply sends a nice letter to their Congressperson asking them to forward the package.

HRC Military Awards Branch
200 Stovall St.
Alexandria, VA 22332-0471

If you need to right a wrong on your record, correct a discharge, make appeals for denials from other agencies for medals, etc. The ABCMR [Army Board for the Correction of Military Records] is located in VA and may take your case, but your appliaction must be forwarded by the following address. Be advised the ABCMR says they dispense justice, still it will be a hard fight to obtain it.

Army Review Boards Agency
Support Division, St. Louis
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63132-5200

Cold War Certificate Program. You will need your DD-214 to show you have served in a component of the armed forces between Sep 2, 1945 and Dec 26, 1991.

U.S. Army Human Resources Command
Cold War Recognition Program
same address as address above.

A certificate from the Army honoring your sevrice []

Freedom Team Salute
2511 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202

If you would like to obtain a Presidential Memorial Certificate for a deceased family member veteran: Presidential Memorial Certificates [41A1C]
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Rd.
Quantico, VA 22143-3903

VA: 800-827-1000 to ask Q's, information on your claim and to reach your VARO.

888-440-6580 for meds or to find out when your appointments are scheduled at a
VA facility. Ordering meds over the internet in the end is easier than by calling
once you are set up to do so.

Special authoriztion for care outside the US 206-277-4545

800-749-8387 VA help line: Self reporting chemical exposures to the VA.

VA Secretary


Office of the Medical Inspector {OMI} a part of the VA Inspector General helps resolve medical problems and issues. of veterans and families.

810 Vermont Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20420

All VA facilities have an office "Patient's Advocate" If you have a problem of any kind to do with your treatment make a report. When your complaint is in the system it shall be attended to more quickly than your running about from one department to another seeking an answer or resolution.

If you are trying to obation a record say, a Comp & Pen exam and they give you a hard time. Put in a freedon of information request to the VARO and they will yield it. In fact on a one time basis they will supply you with the contensts of your VARO file if requested.

DOD Assist line: Call to report yourself as an Edgewood Veteran. They will look you up and if you are in the system they will tell you what exposures you had.

Don't have your Edgewood file? Call 410-436-3628 or write to:

Freedom of Information Office
Commander U.S. Army MRICD
3100 Ricketts Point Rd.
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010-5400

I hope some of this was useful to one or more of you all. Please save this e-mail because sure as hell onceyou delete it you will need one or more contacts erein.

-Regards, Eric

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Accomplishments for Our Nation’s Veterans in the 110th Congress

Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2008, 11:08 AM

October 1, 2008

Keeping the Promise:

Accomplishments for Our Nation’s Veterans in the 110th Congress

Dear Colleague:

When I became Chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the VA was strained to its breaking point by years of chronic underfunding and a “business as usual” attitude. The Committee set out an aggressive agenda to identify the needs of our veterans and to ensure that the promises we made to them were kept. The Committee held 107 hearings, 50 percent more than the previous Congress, and we followed through and passed 75 quality veterans’ bills – more than the previous two Congresses combined.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created hundreds of thousands of veterans. It is simply our duty as a Nation, when we put our men and women in harm’s way, to care for them when they return. Although this Democratic Congress has focused on the issues affecting our returning service members, I vowed, when I became Chairman, to never forget the service and sacrifice of our veterans from previous conflicts – and we have lived up to that promise. Thanks to our efforts, the VA is in a better position today to care for all of our veterans.

Our aggressive agenda culminated last week in the passage of comprehensive legislation to improve health care and benefits for our veterans. I have attached a list of accomplishments that this Democratic Congress has been able to achieve. We were not able to do all that we wanted to, but we did a lot, and next Congress, working together, we plan on building upon our successes and making sure that we honor our warriors by taking care of them when they return. We will keep our promise to our Nation’s heroes of the past, present and future.


Bob Filner

Member of Congress

1. A G.I. Bill for the 21st Century

· The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill is the greatest overhaul of the G.I. Bill in over 20 years, covering the cost of a college education at a public university.

· Reserve and National Guard benefits are tied to length of service better reflecting the sacrifice of these citizen soldiers.

· Soldiers and veterans now have the option of transferring education benefits to their spouses and children.

2. Address the Housing Needs of Veterans

· Sweeping legislation provided veterans with the necessary time to readjust from the battlefield back into their communities without fear of losing their home.

· The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 prohibits foreclosure for nine months after military service and provides a much needed increase to the VA home loan limit.

· The Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 revamped the VA home loan program by enabling more veterans to refinance their existing high-risk loans with VA loans.

· The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 expands homeownership opportunities by making thousands of veterans eligible for low-interest loans.

3. A Budget Worthy of Our Veterans

· The cost of the war must include the cost of the warrior. This Democratic Congress added $16.3 billion dollars worth of new money for veterans’ health care and services.

· House Democrats did more to increase veterans funding in the last 2 years than Republicans did in the last 12 years.

· This unprecedented increase proves that supporting our troops and veterans is not just a slogan for Democrats – it is our mandate!

4. Addressing Health Care Treatment & Access

· Over 40% of our veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom are entering the VA health care system. Of these veterans, 41% are seeking mental health care.

· The Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act addresses the troubling increase of suicide in our veteran community. It offers comprehensive services to veterans and set up a 24-hour toll-free suicide hotline. The hotline has already served more than 30,000 veterans, family members, and friends.

· The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 provides an additional three years of VA health care eligibility for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans (for a total of five years) and improves and expands the VA’s ability to care for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury.

· The Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 expands mental health services, increases research through the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and provides much needed counseling for families of veterans. This bill also mandates a program to help rural veterans get the health care they need closer to home.

5. Increasing Benefits for Veterans

· Last year Congress dramatically increased the gas reimbursement from 11 cents to 28.5 cents a mile. This year, we will increase the veteran’s mileage reimbursement rate to the same as a government employee and freeze the required deductible at last year’s level.

· The Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 adds job protections for returning veterans, increases the opportunity for injured veterans to participate in independent living programs, allows deploying service members to terminate or suspend cell phone contracts without penalty, and provides additional support to veteran-owned small business when contracting with the government.

· The Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 also provides grants to allow severely injured veterans and service members participate in the United States Olympic Paralympics program.

6. Cleaning up the Benefits Backlog

· The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 increased the VA budget and focused added attention on the disgraceful claims backlog. Already, the VA has hired 3,100 additional claims processors, with 2,000 more planned for this year.

· The Veterans Disability Benefits Claims Modernization Act of 2008 provides essential reforms to bring the claims processing system up-to-date for more accurate and timely delivery of benefits to veterans, families, and survivors.

· The Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 also includes a pilot program that dramatically alters the way claims are processed for veterans. Fully-developed claims certified by a Veterans Service Officer are eligible for expedited processing allowing veterans to receive their benefit more expeditiously.

7. Oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs

· The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs took seriously its responsibility to make sure that veterans’ programs and the VA were getting the job done for veterans.

· After rising rates of veteran suicide were reported, the Committee held a series of explosive hearings to investigate the manipulation of suicide data and to hold VA senior leadership accountable for their handling of the issues.

· The Committee scrutinized a series of PTSD-related issues, including a volatile e-mail from a VA employee suggesting that VA providers downgrade the diagnosis of PTSD to “adjustment disorders.”

· When Chantix, an anti-smoking drug, was linked to suicidal thoughts and aggressive and erratic behavior, the Committee investigated whether the VA adequately protected veterans during an on-going research study involving Chantix and veterans suffering from PTSD. Immediate action by the Committee determined that the VA failed to immediately contact veterans participating in the study to discuss the increased risk.

· When the VA announced it was outsourcing the administrative implementation of the new GI Bill, the Committee held hearings to get at the facts.

8. New Cooperative Approaches – Seamless Transition and Continuum of Care

· Transmission of electronic medical records between the Pentagon and VA is critical for the continuum of care of our wounded warriors. This Congress mandated that VA and DOD establish electronic medical records that can be quickly and easily shared, and made tremendous strides increasing cooperation between these two federal agencies to improve benefits and services for active-duty service members and veterans.

“It has never been more important than during this time of war to keep the promises that have been made to our veterans. This Democratic-led Congress will continue our aggressive approach as we work together to provide our veterans with the benefits that they have earned and deserve.”

Bob Filner

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Among Military Reporters & Editors Winners

'Wash Post,'DMN' and 'Military Times' Among Military Reporters & Editors Winners

By Joe Strupp

Published: October 01, 2008 12:12 PM ET

NEW YORK The Washington Post, Providence (R.I.) Journal, and Dallas Morning News were among the winners of the Military Reporters & Editors annual awards, announced on Wednesday.

In addition, Joshua Kors of The Nation won the prestigious Joseph Galloway Award for his "Thanks for Nothing" report on the misdiagnosis of some combat veterans.

The first James Crawley Award, named for the former MRE president who died earlier this year, went to April Johnston and Kevin Maurer of The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer.

The list of other newspaper winners follows:


Category 1 - Overseas Coverage - large newspapers/magazine: Kelly Kennedy, Military Times, for "Blood Brothers."

Category 2 - Overseas Coverage - small newspapers/magazines: James Kitfield, National Journal, "The Thin Iraqi Line" & "Baghdad, Surged."

Category 3 - Domestic Coverage - large newspapers/magazines: Kristin Henderson, The Washington Post magazine, "Us and Them."

Honorable Mention: John Mulligan, The Providence Journal, "Back from the Brink."

Category 4 - Domestic Coverage - small newspapers/magazines: Sydney Freedberg Jr, National Journal, "The Other Three Thousand" & related stories.

Honorable Mention: David Simon & The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, "Nine Lost Warriors."


Category 1 Large newspapers/ wire services/ magazines: No winner

Category 2 Small newspapers/magazines: Drew Brown, Stars and Stripes.


Lara Solt, Dallas Morning News, “Among the Wounded.”

Other non-newspaper categories can be found here.


I like many other veterans appreciate the hard work these reporters have put into telling the stories that affect us....thank you and SALUTE

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Secretary of Army encourages MilBloggers

Secretary of Army encourages MilBloggers

Sep 30, 2008
BY Lindy Kyzer
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Army News Service, Sept. 30, 2008) -- Secretary of the Army Pete Geren and Chief of Public Affairs Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner participated in a live blogger's roundtable panel at the 2008 MilBlog Conference held Sept. 20 in conjunction with the Blog World Expo.

The live blogger's roundtable was an inaugural event for the conference, providing military bloggers with the opportunity to ask questions of Army leadership.

The 3rd annual MilBlog Conference brought together key military bloggers, including active-duty Soldiers, military supporters, civilians and veterans who blog about military issues.

Secretary Geren led off the panel by taking questions from bloggers on topics from policy to how he would rate his own Internet savvy.

"I use the Internet a great deal," said Geren. "I use it for research; I have many Web sites that I go to regularly as a way to research and get news to stay informed.

As far as blogging, I can tell you that it's not something that I was very familiar with more than a couple years ago."

Geren went on to say that the rise of bloggers who were able to influence news and make headlines made him take a closer look. And over the past year, in particular, he has looked for ways to increase the Army's knowledge of blogs and new media, and has participated in two roundtables with on-line journalists, in addition to encouraging other leaders within the Army.

Geren acknowledged that the Army's increased awareness of blogs is critical as it looks to reach out to 17-25 year-olds - "the heart and soul of our Army."

"It's just a recognition that the world changes, and there's probably nothing more dynamic in the word than information technology and communications technology," said Geren. "And the way we communicated 20 years ago is different than 10 years ago and 10 years ago is different than today, and six months from now is going to be different from today as well. And as an organization, as an institution, we've got to work very hard to keep up. We're a national institution - we've got over 1 million Soldiers, Active, Guard and Reserve, over a million dependents, when you consider spouses and kids. And we have multi-millions of parents out there. And as an institution, it's critical that we reach out and communicate with as many parts of the expanded Army family as well as the general public as we can."

The Secretary also offered that as young people increasingly find their news online, the need to be in that space is crucial to educating and informing the American people.

"We've got to embrace every form of media, and this new medium - and particularly blogging, for many people - has replaced traditional media as a way to get news," said Geren. "And not only to get news, but to educate themselves, the back and forth that blogs offer. So I see it as an addition of what we're doing, and a mechanism to reach some people who you don't reach at all through so-called traditional media."

Maj. Gen. Bergner offered the unique perspective of having participated in blogger's roundtables as a spokesperson for Multi-National Force-Iraq.

"I found in the course of doing those that I sometimes learned just as much, if not more, from the questions and the perspectives I was offered, as perhaps those who were participating in the roundtables learned from me," said Bergner. "So I really do value the interaction and the opportunity to hear the perspectives of milbloggers in particular."

Bergner offered his perspective on what bloggers bring to the table that makes their perspective so critical.

"It's the personal aspect of what bloggers are able to convey," said Bergner. "No one can do it with the same personal insights, the perspective, and the texture that comes with those dialogues. That is what is so meaningful for the American people and so important for the Army because all of us want Soldiers to be able to tell their story, like only a Soldier can do."

Bergner also offered a roadmap toward the future, stating that the Army has and will continue to evolve its practices with the growth of new media and on-line communications.

"We really do have some cultural challenges, and it really is all about getting some new ideas into the Army, but also getting some of the old ideas out of the Army," said Bergner. "And that's going to be a bit of a generational challenge."

Bergner went on to say that the secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George Casey are just the people to help bring about that cultural change, having already made tremendous progress in the growth and advancement of the Army. Bergner highlighted the advances the Army has made in just a short time, and credited the operational organization of the Army as a great "forcing function."

I guess my invitation got lost in the mail or in Ted Stevens "tubes" I guess keeping veterans news up and commenting on it, does not make me a military blogger....oh well I will keep on keeping on...

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CB Exposures Web Site

Eric P. Muth

Milford , CT 06460


Force Health Protection and Readiness

Department of Defense

ATTN: CB Exposure Manager

5113 Leesburg Pike, Suite 901

Falls Church, VA 22041

September 19, 2008

Dear CB Exposure Manager,

I have gone through your CB Exposures Web Site and as a former Edgewood Volunteer I find it troubling and believe the writers were uninformed or deliberately printed misinformation and revisionist fabrications.

In the recent past I sent documents to the DOD proving what I am about to address and I can supply them again if need be. Army "core values" dictate corrections, lest a stain be left on its Honor for not owning up to having crossed the line at Edgewood in the name of National Security.

First I'd like to address an omission: For many years the CBR NCO School at Ft. McClellan placed Mustard agent on the wrists of students, I was one of them, exposing them to GB and CS gas environments and flamethrowers, but there is no mention of that on the site. Mustard is now known to be a carcinogen.

Cold War Exposures background: While Nazi's were being tried at Nuremberg and some hanged for their human experimentation the U.S. gave the Japanese experimenters a pass [War Crimes Office 1947]. This was in order to obtain their research results on Chinese, Manchurians, and POW experiments which resulted in many deaths. From those Secret documents it can be readily seen that the Cold War was changing our morality.

You state that DOD is conducting extensive research to find names of those exposed. In the case of 7,839, 1951-1979 Army volunteers, their records were in the hands of the Office of the Surgeon General from 1979 [USAMRICD 2007]. The Edgewood Volunteers 1955-1975 were included in those files. In addition Edgewood Arsenal had the volunteer's names and all their personal information. They supplied their data bank containing that information to the CIA. [CIA IG report, 6 May 1974] "The following activities were conducted with the Edgewood Arsenal. We obtained a large data base from them. They supplied U.S. Army volunteers for testing our candidate compounds. We transferred funds to them for their efforts."

[CIA Memorandum 3 May, 1974] "I asked about the listings of peoples names. He said it was a stack a foot high. Names would cross check to their Edgewood ID number." Among the "other organizations" you mentioned being at Edgewood you failed to mention the CIA and that the Army was a CIA contractor. During the 1977 Senate Hearings CIA's Admiral Turner promised the Congress that he would find those who were subjects of their unwitting experimentation directly or by funding same. He stated that the agency would aid and compensate victims and the Edgewood Veterans were certainly victims under projects MKULTRA and MKSEARCH. In 2004 he wrote that the agency only found one person, but that he was dead.

The National Academy of Sciences received Volunteer's information from the Army for a study conducted by its National Research Council, a CIA contractor whose heads were involved in the original research at Edgewood. You point to these studies as Army redemption, as though no one was hurt. You neglected to include important issues say drugs, and you did not mention the final NRC report in 1985 which stated: "An issue of great concern was the relatively small groups of men exposed to psychochemicals and their effects on interpretability. Briefly stated, it was felt at the onset by the panel reviewing psychochemicals that data obtainable from a survey might add little to our understanding of the long term health effects of chemicals tested. However, the limited information available from follow-up on these soldiers does not permit definitive conclusions regarding the nature and extent of possible long-term problems resulting from chemical exposure at Edgewood ." These studies are over two decades old and are virtually irrelevant. For example; today the DOD admits that flashbacks can re-occur in the absence of re-exposure to drugs.

The original case files on Edgewood Volunteers were transferred to the National Archives in Suitland , MD in 1982. [GAO, 1994] Veterans Disability: "The Army's Medical Research and Development Command in Ft. Detrick , MD , has the names and service numbers of all test participants and a list of chemicals to which the service members were exposed." NAS supplied our contact information to its IOM in 2000 for another purported study on Edgewood volunteers.

[IOM 2007] "DOD asked IOM to perform a more focused study on long term effects of anticholinesterase agents given to participants." The IOM committee was not charged with examining past exposures to specific chemicals, like those at Aberdeen/Edgewood and assessing whether they caused disabilities in military personnel." Edgewood veterans thought this study was to help them, but it is obvious now that this was a Gulf War issue and we were deceptively recruited for it.

Many agencies and commands had the volunteer's information and the DOD wrongfully resisted releasing our names for decades. It was two Congressmen [Evans & Strickland] who somehow obtained the lists of our names sending them directly to the VA for notification in 2005. The VA Secretary [Nicholson] sent the lists to the DHSD DOD and asked them to find addresses. He was alerted by some of us that the current contact addresses of some 4,000 survivors were in the hands of the IOM.

DOD Experimentation, according to your site, was conducted to evaluate the ability of US Forces to fight on a Chemical and Biological battlefield. You also state that the purpose of the studies was to ensure that the U.S. Military could adequately protect its service members from possible wartime exposures to chemical warfare agents. You describe medicines tested and mention benadryl. There were others including ecstasy EA 1475, radioactive alcohol, Ritalin, Benzedrine, Dexedrine, Lydocaine and Mescaline which Edgewood doctors used to kill Harold Blauer.

[AR 70-25 1962] DA-Use of Medical Volunteers: 2. c. The experiment must be such as to contribute significantly to approved research and have reasonable prospects of yielding militarily important results essential to an Army research program. There is little doubt that this AR was not faithfully observed or followed because these substances did not have any military importance. We allege that it is likely that these compounds had importance to covert CIA operations and that testing humans had great importance to the manufacturers of the drugs who likely paid Edgewood for our services.

In 1993 the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, in response to [GAO Report, 1992] "Human Experimentation" stated: The DOD will, to the extent feasible, make available to the Department of Veterans Affairs information that may be useful in assessing disability claims of veterans. The DOD did nothing for Edgewood Volunteers.

Regarding the security non-disclosures we signed: According to your site in 1993 Deputy Secretary of the DOD issued a memorandum which never reached those for whom it was intended, the volunteers. He stated that volunteers were released from their oath, but in sharp contrast to this memo, in 2006, the VA sent us a letter;

"To former service members who participated in these tests DOD has stated: You may provide details that affect your health to your health care provider. On the other hand, you should not discuss anything that relates to operational information that might reveal chemical warfare vulnerabilities or capabilities." It would appear that DOD attempted to continue to perpetrate a hoax on volunteers in league with the VA. You see, we did not have copies of the non-disclosures [ US Senate report 1977] which stated that the penalty for violating our oath was punishment under UCMJ, but that Code only applies to active duty personnel. Our oath wrongly, but effectively, kept us out of the VA, and from making applications for medals many of us were promised. Men of Honor, Edgewood Volunteers were silent all those years for naught.

You state that testing was conducted with the volunteers consent and that Volunteers were given study information. This cavalierly implies that we volunteered so we got what we deserved. [U.S. Army IG Report page 84, 1975]

"… most cases the agreement was signed prior to arrival or the first day after arrival. In either case, it was usually signed before a subject was selected for a specific test. Therefore, it was unlikely that meaningful information regarding all hazards to his health were provided the Volunteer prior to his signing the Participation Agreement." The only known volunteers to have ever received a volunteer information booklet were those participating in 1969. The Participation Agreements included the statement "I am completely aware of all hazards." The Volunteer's letters of Commendation stated [DA HQ Edgewood Arsenal 1973]

"… medical volunteer, you deliberately made a commitment to undergo procedures whose outcome could not be fully known in advance." Obvious it is, the "consents" were nugatory the moment they were signed as is ratified by Edgewood itself.

[GAO Veterans Disability, 1993] "Military procedures have long required that volunteers be fully informed of the nature of the studies in which they participate and the foreseeable risks. However, prior to 1975, these procedures were not always followed." " … were not informed about the nature of the experiments, the chemicals to be administered, or potential adverse effects." Experimentation ended in 1975. The Army IG and the GAO seem to agree that our consents were a sham.

Often you point to "low dose" exposures to somehow exonerate illegal experiments, and the unethical experimenters, who routinely violated their Hippocratic Oath's.

I am citing only one of my references on dosage. [Army LSD Study, 1980] "The highest single dose known to have been administered to Army Volunteers was approximately 5,250 micrograms. As of 1971 only eight cases have been reported in which seizures have apparently resulted from LSD administration." You state that the study investigators assured the participants that the exposure levels administered would not result in serious or life threatening side effects, but you reveal that there were 400 substances and that "not all" were harmful and you show "14%" of the agents administered "were lethal" compounds. It would appear that you do not consider seizures serious or lethal compounds lethal.

As a sidebar, note that you erroneously stated IOM, but it was the NRC three volume studies 1980-1982.

Your page of Briefings and Reports does not contain important documents such as the [Army IG Report, 1975] which informs that most procedures and regulations were virtually ignored at Edgewood, nor have you considered the [GAO 1994] report which reveals that there were VOLUNTEER DEATHS at Edgewood and that long term effects to exposures often did not present for 20-30 years and more.

Finally, please note the findings published in the [Psychiatric Annals, November 2007]. Chemical Weapons Exposure: "Interestingly, PTSD rates among veterans who participated in voluntary Chemical Weapons Agents research under controlled conditions, and never were exposed to hostile enemy fire, were found to be higher than PTSD rates for veterans who participated in actual combat, in which the physical wounds inflicted were far more severe. Thus, the psychological trauma of CWA exposure is tantamount to the most intense and traumatizing types of stress found anywhere in human experience." Apparently the DOD is in denial, because I am acquainted with Edgewood veterans who are PTSD VA compensated and the acknowledged cause was Edgewood .

You state that there was other testing at Edgewood outside the auspices of the Volunteer program. This testing, you suggest, was conducted by various organizations. Why is it you are reluctant to name the CIA, FBN and Army Intelligence? Evidence proves that the CIA funded Army programs at Edgewood for twenty years and the evidence [CIA Family Jewels pg. 413] shows clearly that the CIA supplied drugs to Edgewood given them by manufacturers because they had bad side effects [CIA MORI DOC 1451843]. Pharmaceutical manufacturers gave drugs to the CIA and they delivered them to Edgewood specifically for use on military volunteers and that was despite having themselves written that "No US citizen should be the object of CIA operations." Obviously volunteers were not informed of these efforts therefore; the Army wrongfully condoned unwitting experimentation along with uninformed witting experimentation.

In 1956 Edgewood changed the name of its psychochemical program to K agents. CIA MKULTRA 1958, Sub-Project-45 in the psychochemical and "K" fields dealt with chemical stressor drugs. " … the major effort will be related to studies directly concerned with the production and control of the stress reaction in human beings." In 2005 the Army HRC Awards Branch admitted that an Edgewood Volunteer applicant was in the Edgewood MKULTRA Program. In 1973 contrary to law the CIA destroyed what they thought were all the MKULTRA and the drug files.

The big lie! [Chemical Warfare Laboratories Special Publication 2-13, 1958]. Stated therein: Volunteers would be subjected to "non-hazardous" exposures therefore, it follows that they would not receive hazardous duty pay saving the Army some $55.00 per month, per man. However, Edgewood experimentation was hazardous and similarly stressful to combat therefore, combat related as is noted in

the Supplemental Guidance on Combat Related Special Compensation, established by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense 2008. Edgewood Volunteers meet criteria under Hazardous Service and Instrumentality of War. The DOD knew our service was hazardous [Defense Instruction Number 5030.29, 1964] Investigational Use of Drugs: "DOD assumes full responsibility for the protection of humans involved in research under its sponsorship, whether this involves investigational drugs or other hazards." The Army at large also knew what we were doing was hazardous.

[AR 70-25 1962] DA-Use of Volunteers as Subjects of Research

2. Definition: " … unusual and potentially hazardous conditions are those which may be reasonably expected to involve risk, beyond the normal call of duty, of privation, discomfort, distress, pain, damage to health, bodily harm, physical injury, or death." All the latter came to pass. Of twenty-two survivors known to me half, including myself, are VA disabled and therefore, fully know now, that this service was hazardous and that we were all set apart from our fellows psychologically.

1958 Letter of Commendation to Volunteer: "3. You are hereby commended for exposing yourself above and beyond the call of duty." Cover letter: "The participation of military personnel in these activities contributes materially to the accomplishment of work which is vital to the National Defense."

[CDRL Special Publication, Edgewood Arsenal, 1961] Medical Research Volunteers, Peacetime Heroes: " .. they serve far beyond the call of normal duty in a cause that vitally effects the nation's defense posture.

We were patriotic young men wanting to do something for our country. However, because of those like you, who lack documentation, or do not possess a full understanding of the history in this matter, our services to this nation are denigrated. Rather than to reveal the truth and give just praise to the volunteers you are history revisionists portraying that which you wish had happened at Edgewood . Joining you, just recently the Army HRC Awards Branch denied Volunteers even a lowly ARCOM [HRC Award Branch 2005] " … service as a CW Volunteer at Edgewood is certainly NOTEWORTY, he is not eligible for consideration of an individual award since the purpose and intent of the Army's Awards Program is to recognize those soldiers who actively engage in acts of heroism, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service." Like you, they do not understand. Otherwise moral men with bunker mentalities assault the dignity of yesterday's heroes. We can no longer allow such actions to stand because we know that somewhere, yet to be found, there is a grateful nation.

I expect a satisfactory response to this return receipt sent letter within seven days of receipt or it will be c.c. addressed along with the documents to many officials who may not see this as nearsightedly as you do.

In the 2003 VA VHI CBR, they admitted that we Edgewood Volunteers were justifiably angry men. If you have seen that in this letter hopefully you have been convinced to understand and accept it, because we have good reason to be hurt and therefore, angry.

Sincerely Yours

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Officers learn to help veterans in crisis

Posted on Mon, Sep. 29, 2008 Recommend (0)share email print comment reprint
Officers learn to help veterans in crisis
Orlando Sentinel
ORLANDO -- Though aging vets from past wars present ongoing problems, Barbara Lewis, crisis intervention training commander for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said deputies are facing the issue more now because of veterans home from the current wars.

''We're seeing it in these economic times: stressors in their lives pushing them over the edge,'' Lewis said. ``Anything we can do as law-enforcement officers to protect our returning vets is important.''

Given the troubling incidence of post-traumatic-stress disorder -- or PTSD -- associated with recently returned troops, mental-health experts have pushed for alternative ways for law enforcement to deal with vets in nonviolent incidents.

A recent RAND Corp. study found nearly 20 percent of returning troops -- about 300,000 -- have PTSD or major depression.

Of those, only 53 percent sought treatment. Many others are battling traumatic brain injuries and depression that also can alter mood and behavior.

''A lot of these kids in Iraq and Afghanistan are 21-, 22- and 23-year-old kids,'' said Lt. Victor Uvalle, who commands the crisis intervention team for the Orlando Police Department, which partners with Lakeside Alternatives for training. ``We need to understand they are people in crisis, and that could be from a variety of things.''

In the field, police officers trained in crisis intervention try to calm volatile situations by building rapport, Uvalle said. They ask simple questions: What's your name? Where do you live? Are you a veteran? Officers also probe the subject's mental state: Are you hearing noises?

Keeping vets out of the justice system is an important payoff of crisis intervention training, said Michele Saunders, executive director of Florida's Partners in Crisis, a grass-roots mental-health and substance-abuse coalition that during the past four years has pushed for expanding such programs statewide.

''It helps that veterans feel the officer is here to help them, that they will take care of them, especially if the veteran is paranoid or having a flashback,'' she said.

Since debuting its program, Act Corp., a Daytona Beach community mental-health center, has trained 468 police officers and community leaders in Volusia and Flagler counties.

''The goal . . . is to show law-enforcement officers or other first responders that . . . you get to see people at their worst,'' said Sini Summerlin, a crisis intervention training coordinator with Act Corp. ``I want to show that these are everybody's sisters, brothers and mothers.''

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The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA)

$31-million initiative provides military families with access to youth development, family strengthening, and health and well-being programs at America’s YMCAs

WASHINGTON DC, September 18, 2008—The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) today announced a new $31-million initiative with the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide eligible military families and active duty personnel with access to youth development, family strengthening, and health and well-being programs through memberships at community YMCAs nationwide. Membership fees will be underwritten by the DoD and administered through Military OneSource. YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for America’s 2,686 YMCAs, will help launch the initiative at Ys across the country.

The ASYMCA-DoD Outreach Initiative responds to a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to support military family readiness and to ensure that military family readiness programs and activities are available to all military families, including those of the National Guard and Military Reservists.

“YMCA of the USA is proud to partner with ASYMCA and DoD to ensure that our nation’s military and their families have access to some of the best youth development, family strengthening, and health and well-being programs available at YMCAs in communities across this country,” said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of the YMCA of the USA. “Our YMCAs have the unique capability to provide families of deployed military service members with support that is generally only available to families who live near a military base.”

The program is expected to serve more than 27,000 military families and active duty members.

“The YMCA and ASYMCA have a history of commitment to developing innovative programs that help military families lead healthy lives, improve personal and family relationships, become better leaders, strengthen positive values, and develop specific skills, while at the same time building a sense of community,” said Frank Gallo, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret), national executive director for the ASYMCA. “Seldom has our support been as critical as it is today with active duty soldiers, National Guard, members of the reserve and their families under more strain than at nearly any time in our history.”

Eligible participants can sign up by identifying a participating local YMCA on during the month of October, providing proof of eligibility by showing a military identification card and a copy of deployment orders, and completing an eligibility verification form. Eligibility forms can be found at .

Those eligible to participate in the new initiative include:

All interested families of joint deployed National Guard and Reserves;
Active Duty families assigned to newly established Joint Bases created by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process;
Active Duty Independent Duty station personnel (single or family members); and
Relocated spouses and family members of deployed Active Duty personnel.
“There is no question — deployed soldiers who know their families are well taken care of during deployment are better equipped to deal with its pressures,” added Gallo. “This partnership between the DoD, YMCA of the USA and ASYMCA seeks to provide this support.”

More information about the ASYMCA-DoD Outreach Initiative can be found by visiting For information about participating YMCAs, please visit after Oct. 1.

# # #

About the ASYMCA: The ASYMCA operates more than 150 program centers around the globe. The ASYMCA has consistently provided educational, recreational, social and spiritual programs to military members and their families since the Civil War. It earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for the second consecutive year, and an A- rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. The ASYMCA, an affiliate of the YMCA of the USA, is headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

About YMCA of the USA: YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the nation's 2,686 YMCAs, which serve 21 million people each year, including nearly 10 million children under the age of 18. YMCAs respond to critical social needs by drawing on their collective strength as one of America's largest not-for-profit community service organizations. Through a variety of programs and services focused on the holistic development of children and youth, family strengthening, and health and well-being for all, YMCAs unite men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. From urban areas to small towns, YMCAs have proudly served America's communities for nearly 160 years by building healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Visit/ to find your local YMCA.

Robert Jameson
Armed Services YMCA

Mamie Moore
YMCA of the USA

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Monday, September 29, 2008

VA’s delays preventing urgent care for veterans



"I asked them why they couldn't get me in sooner,

and they said they were filled right up."

Helped by daughter Marlene Neamon, veteran Delonne J. Scharf and wife Patricia leave Roswell Park after his tests. (photo: Robert Kirkham / Buffalo News)

For more about older vets being pushed to the end of the line at the VA, click here...

Story here... http://www.buffalonews.c

Story below:

Comment on this story and interact
with other readers... below...


VA’s delays preventing urgent care for veterans
Congestion, system of funding at issue

Delonne J. Scharf has lost a lot in his service to the United States.

Now the 64-year-old disabled Vietnam War-era veteran from West Valley may face life-or-death consequences because the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system, he says, is overwhelmed by returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I want other veterans to know what I have gone through. Maybe it will help someone else,” said Scharf, who Thursday finally won a battle to have the VA pay for follow-up cancer surgery and tests at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

In two weeks, when the procedures are performed, he says, he will know for sure whether his cancer has spread.

Scharf said that Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Buffalo imposed repeated delays in providing him care and that he never once saw a VA cancer specialist after he first complained of a lump below his right ankle in May.

His story of delays is a familiar one, according to the Disabled American Veterans, a Washington, D. C., veterans advocacy group. “It sounds like Mr. Scharf has been caught up in the funding system,” said Thom Wilborn, an official of the group, explaining that toward the end of the federal fiscal year in September, medical procedures and referrals are sometimes delayed.

“Without Congress’ approval of a funding plan, the VA is forced to reduce its health care services,” Wilborn said.

Although Scharf signed and hand-delivered a release authorizing the VA to respond to his complaints, VA spokeswoman Evangeline E. Conley on Friday declined to discuss his situation, explaining that it has been the VA’s long-standing policy to refrain from publicly discussing patient cases.

Scharf said he found himself in unfamiliar territory when the VA began delaying his treatment. For decades since the Air Force veteran lost his right eye and sense of smell in a service-related motorcycle accident in Spain, he said, the VA provided him excellent health care.

“They have great doctors, but they’re overcrowded,” Scharf said of the increased workload the VA faces with newly returning wounded veterans.

According to the military, an estimated 33,000 service members have suffered injuries, and thousands of them have filtered into VA hospitals across the country.

It’s an increase that local VA officials have acknowledged when announcing ways to improve keeping up with the demand for services. For Scharf, the increase hit home when he was told that the soonest he could receive an MRI was in late July.

The scan, he said, determined that surgery was needed. That was scheduled for about two months later. Scharf and his wife, Patricia, began complaining.

“I asked them why they couldn’t get me in sooner, and they said they were filled right up,” Scharf said.

A VA doctor in Buffalo, he said, confided to him that if Scharf were a patient in his private practice, care would be delivered a lot faster.

Scharf’s complaints about delays appear to be confirmed by copies of his medical records he provided to The Buffalo News. A July 31 report from Dr. Bhaskar Bhattacharyya states:

“[Scharf] is strongly adamant about having it removed ASAP, however it was explained to the patient that availability is an issue for podiatric surgery. Given that fact, patient will be sent to Dr. [Mark] Finkelstein to see if surgery schedule can be accommodated for patient.”

Patricia Scharf said VA doctors explained to her “that we have some [patients] who are more serious than your husband, and we have to see them first.”

But the complaining cut the wait for surgery. On Aug. 15, a VA surgeon removed a tangerine- size section from Delonne Scharf’s right foot. A body scan was then scheduled for five weeks later to determine whether the cancer had gone into his lymph nodes.

That’s when the husband and wife, frustrated at more waiting, began seeking a VA referral to Roswell Park.

Patricia Scharf said the referral was denied because of the costs.

“I said they have doctors at Roswell and that’s all they do is treat melanoma,” she said. “The VA doctor told me he didn’t think we could get a referral because it would cost the VA thousands of dollars.”

Desperate, they went to Roswell Park anyway, as Delonne Scharf’s health began to slip. He said he lost 30 pounds, was sleeping all the time and was filled with anxiety. His relatives, seeking help, sent out e-mails and posted messages on an Internet site. The Scharfs also kept calling the VA.

Thursday, the pressure paid off. “I’m doing a whole lot better,” Scharf said. “The VA just called and told me they’re giving me the referral.”

Friday, he was at Roswell Park getting preoperative tests.

He says he won’t know for sure whether he is cancer-free until he undergoes the additional surgery in two weeks, but whatever happens, he wants to let the public know how he was treated by the VA.

His hope, he says, is that other veterans with serious illnesses are not forced to accept what he believes is government-rationed health care.

“They can spend the money over in Iraq,” Scharf said, “but they can’t spend the money to help the veterans. My story may help somebody down the line by getting priorities straight.”


This is a damn shame that any person is treated this way, veteran or not, given the fact that it is a VA hospital treating him this way, then they should be held accountable, would anyone want their family members treated like this.

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U.S. Troops Partner With Costa Rican Officials to Provide Medical Care

U.S. Troops Partner With Costa Rican Officials to Provide Medical Care

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Joel Mease
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2008 – More than 20 servicemembers from Joint Task Force-Bravo deployed to Costa Rica Sept. 23 to provide airlift support and partner with Costa Rican health officials for a medical readiness exercise Sept. 25-27 in two remote villages.

A Costa Rican health department dentist helps a patient in La Pena during a medical readiness exercise with Joint Task Force-Bravo Sept. 25. During the three-day MEDRETE U.S. servicemembers partnered with Costa Rican medical teams to provide care to more than 2,000 patients. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Meas
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

During the three-day exercise, medical professionals from the United States and Costa Rica are providing medical care to an estimated 2,000 patients.

Health officials with the Costa Rican government said the opportunity to work with U.S. servicemembers is very appealing to them.

“This was my first time working with the U.S., and I was very impressed with how organized they are to provide these services,” said Luis Jimenez, a dental assistant with the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social. “It would have been very difficult for us to provide care to these areas without the (airlift JTF-Bravo) provided.”

The terrain in some of the more remote areas of Costa Rica can make it extremely difficult to bring in medical supplies. In the village of La Pena, it might have taken anywhere between 12-14 hours by horse because there are no roads a truck could have taken, Jimenez said.

Because of the difficult terrain, the last time the village of La Pena was seen by a team of medical professionals was about five years ago, said Dr. Mario Lopez, JTF-Bravo liaison officer.

“The access JTF-Bravo provides with its airlift and medical supplies to people in need is just tremendous,” Lopez said. “The support they can provide allows me to do what I love, which is helping people make their lives better.”

Helping people in need and working with another government is what Jason Vargas, a Costa Rican. nurse, also enjoys about participating in these missions.

“It’s very important to me to help these people out. They don’t have many medical services, and it’s not too often we are able to come out to help them,” Mr. Vargas said. “The support (JTF-Bravo) provides is very helpful and allows us to provide care much faster than we would have.”

(Air Force Staff Sgt. Joel Mease works in the Joint Task Force-Bravo public affairs office).


Our military doing some constructive good work and helping people at the local level in Costa Rica SALUTE to them and the outstanding job they have performed on nehalf of the American public.....

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Vermont gets grant to help troubled vets

Vermont gets grant to help troubled vets

September 29, 2008 3:05 PM ET

WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) - The state of Vermont is getting a $2.1 million grant to help serve veterans and other people with post-traumatic stress disorder and similar problems.

The grant will help the state create new services to help victims of trauma-spectrum illnesses who are at risk of getting in trouble with the law if they're not already.

An early goal is to shift 300 people away from detention to treatment and support. Eventually, state officials hope to screen an additional 38,500 adults and divert about 825 of them to treatment.

The grant money is being made available by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.


Why are the states being forced to deliver the mental healthcare that the Veterans Administration is supposed to be delivering? Is the VA not able to provide the help veterans need, if not why not?

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