Saturday, November 15, 2008

President Elect Obama Nov 15 weekly address on you tube

Shades of the "fireside chats with President Roosevelt" I hope this is the future of President Obama's choice to talk to the cittizens of the United States, if we miss the initial broadcast we can watch it at our pleasure on You Tube, thank god we have a President that is not afraid to use the new communication tools that average Americans use daily to speak to each other this is a "new day" and a brand new style of leadership.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Haley VA center apologizes after vet dies

Haley VA center apologizes after vet dies
By William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer
In print: Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jim Szamlewski was sent home without oxygen.

TAMPA — During his recovery from cancer surgery, doctors put Jim Szamlewski on oxygen to help keep him alive.

But they discharged him from the James A. Haley VA Medical Center without the thing most essential to his survival: oxygen.

For up to six agonizing hours on Sept. 5, the 75-year-old Army veteran struggled for breath as his condition deteriorated, his wife said. The oxygen finally arrived. But Szamlewski's heart stopped 12 hours after his discharge. Though it was restarted, his brain had been irreparably damaged.

Szamlewski, of Land O'Lakes, died with the removal of life support on Sept. 9.

His is the third case detailed by the St. Petersburg Times in recent months in which a veteran died after either being misdiagnosed or discharged without vital supplies or equipment.

After a Times inquiry, the Department of Veterans Affairs regional director requested a review of the Szamlewski case by the agency's independent watchdog, the Office of Medical Inspector.

Officials at Haley, one of the nation's busiest veterans hospitals, declined to comment on Friday outside of a brief statement. They have steadfastly maintained care at Haley is excellent.

"It just don't seem right," said Szamlewski's widow, Marie. "I just don't understand why they didn't give it to him. Maybe my story can help somebody else to know they've got to stay on the VA every minute."

Saying that Haley valued transparency, hospital doctors and administrators apologized on Friday during a meeting with the widow — a meeting Haley frantically scheduled after the Times asked about the case.

The hospital also noted, Marie Szamlewski said, that Haley failed to send her husband home with a separate device to suction saliva from his mouth or throat.

Haley would not make anyone at the hospital available for an interview, including Dr. Edward Cutolo, hospital chief of staff, who met with Szamlewski (pronounced ZAM-LEW-SKI) and her daughter on Friday.

Calling the case a "serious and tragic circumstance," Haley said in a one-paragraph statement that it had conducted an internal review "to take any action necessary to prevent further occurrences of this nature."

Neither in the statement nor, according to Szamlewski's wife, during the meeting did Haley acknowledge that it was responsible for the death.

Jim Szamlewski was a retired carpenter with a wide circle of friends who liked to hunt and fish. He was a veteran who, his wife said, never had any complaint with the care the VA provided.

A smoker and drinker, Szamlewski suffered serious health problems as he aged. Part of his lung was removed because of cancer. On Aug. 28, Haley doctors removed his larynx due to cancer.

Doctors never said he was terminal, his wife said, though she said he was clearly very sick.

When Marie Szamlewski visited her husband of 34 years on Sept. 5, she was surprised to be told he was being discharged.

Marie Szamlewski, 73, said she had yet to be given lessons in her husband's care, from administering drugs to cleaning his throat wound.

She walked out to her car to get her husband's clothes. As she returned, she was surprised to see a nurse had taken her husband, wearing just pajamas, outside in a wheelchair.

Szamlewski said she saw a bottle with her husband and assumed it was his oxygen. But when she got him home, she discovered it was just a water bottle.

"He could have died in the car ride," Marie Szamlewski said.

Notes taken by a nurse who visited the home confirm the absence of oxygen and Jim Szamlewski's "extremely apprehensive" state.

About the time they got home, a private company hired by the VA called to say it was on the way with the oxygen. It arrived about 7 p.m., or six hours after the hospital discharge.

A little after 1 a.m., Szamlewski's heart stopped beating. Paramedics revived Szamlewski, but it was too late.

"They just dropped the ball," said Elizabeth Messer, 53, of Dade City, Marie's daughter from a first marriage.

The family said the VA apologized profusely, but only after the newspaper began asking about the case.

Days after the death, a VA worker called and asked Marie if the agency could have done anything differently in her husband's treatment.

"I told him they should have given my husband oxygen when he went home," Szamlewski said.

The VA employee, she said, hung up on her.

William R. Levesque can be reached at or at (813) 269-5306.


Jim Szamlewski did not HAVE to die this way and he should NOT have died in this manner, it was negligence pure and simple, there were a multitude of mistakes made that day, sending Jim home without oxygen with him until the company could deliver the replacement tanks, the spouse should not have left the hospital grounds without it, the doctor should have made sure the veterans had everything he needed when he was discharged and the RN on duty should have fouble checked the discharge.

Haley has way to many mistakes, I realize it is a large hopsital and many patients and employees, but care and time must be spent to ensure proper care and discharges happen.

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Crackdown begins on 'personality disorder' separations

Crackdown begins on 'personality disorder' separations

By Tom Philpott, Special to Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, November 14, 2008

Under pressure from Congress and following the Army’s lead, the Department of Defense has imposed a more rigorous screening process on the services for separating troubled members due to “personality disorder.”

The intent is to ensure that, in the future, no members who suffer from wartime stress get tagged with having a pre-existing personality disorder which leaves them ineligible for service disability compensation.

Since the attacks of 9/11, more than 22,600 service members have been discharged for personality disorder. Nearly 3400 of them, or 15 percent, had served in combat or imminent danger zones.

Advocates for these veterans contend that at least some of them were suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury but it was easier and less costly to separate them for personality disorder. By definition, personality disorders existed before a member entered service so they do not deemed a service-related disability rating. A disability rating of 30 percent or higher, which most PTSD sufferers receive, can mean lifelong access to military health care and on-base shopping.

Over the last 18 months, lawmakers and advocates for veterans have criticized Defense and service officials for relying too often on personality disorder separations to release member who deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or other another areas of tension in the Global War on Terrorism.

A revised DoD instruction (No. 1332.14), which took effect without public announcement August 28, responds to that criticism. It only allows separation for personality disorder for members currently or formerly deployed to an imminent danger areas if: 1) the diagnosis by a psychiatrist or a PhD-level psychologist is corroborated by a peer or higher-level mental health professional, 2) if the diagnosis is endorsed by the surgeon general of the service, and 3) if the diagnosis too into account a possible tie or “co-morbidity” with symptoms of PTSD or war-related mental injury or illness.

Sam Retherford, director of officer and enlisted personnel management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, said adding “rigor and discipline” to the process when separating deployed members for personality disorder is “very important,” considering what is at stake for the member.

Last year several congressional hearings focused on overuse of personality disorder separation after The Nation magazine exposed apparent abuses in a March 2007 article. It described the experience of Army Specialist Jon Town. In October 2004, while Town stood in the doorway of his battalion's headquarters in Ramadi, Iraq, an enemy rocket exploded into the wall above his head, knocking him unconscious.

When he came to, Town was numb all over, bleeding from his ears, and had shrapnel wounds in his neck. For two years he struggled with deafness, loss of memory and depression before the Army, in September 2006, separated Town after seven years’ service. He was separated for a pre-existing personality disorder and without disability benefits. Writer Joshua Kors suggested there might be thousands of veterans like Town, separated administratively to save the services billions of dollars in benefits.

Last year, moved by this story and others, the Senate adopted an amendment to the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill from now president-elect Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Joseph Liberman (ID-Conn.). It directed Defense officials to report on service use of personality disorder separations, and the Government Accountability Office to study how well the services follow DoD own rules for processing such separations.

The Army meanwhile reviewed its own use of personality disorder separations for more than 800 soldiers who had wartime deployments. That review quickly found some “appalling” lapses, said an official, including incomplete files and missing counseling statements. A few months ago the Army tightened its own rules for using personality disorder separations.

In June, the Defense Department reported to Congress that it would add “rigor” to its personality disorder separation policy, previewing the changes implemented in late August. The Navy strongly had opposed the changes because it frequently uses personality disorder separations to remove sailors found too immature or undisciplined to cope with life at sea.

Requiring their surgeon general to review every personality disorder separation from ships deployed in combat theaters would be too burdensome, the Navy argued. But Defense officials insisted on the changes.

The DoD report in June showed the Navy led all services in personality disorder separations. For fiscal years 2002 through 2007, the Navy total was 7554 versus 5923 for the Air Force, 5652 for the Army and 3527 for the Marine Corps. The Army led in personality disorder separations to members who had wartime deployments, with a total of 1480 over six years. The Navy total was 1155, the Marine Corps 455 and the Air Force 282.

DoD said it found “no indication” that personality disorder diagnoses of deployed members “were prone to systematic or widespread error.” Nor did internal studies show “a strong correlation” between personality disorder separations and PTSD, brain injury or other mental disorders.

“Still, the Department shares Congress’ concern regarding the possible use of personality disorder as the basis for administratively separating this class of service member,” the report said.

In late October, GAO released its findings based on a review of service jackets for 312 members separated for personality disorder from four military installations. It said the services were not reliably compliant even with the pre-August regulation governing separations. For example, only 40 to 78 percent of enlisted member separated for personality disorder had documents in their files showing that a psychiatrist or qualified psychologist determined that their disorder affected their ability to function in service.

To comment, e-mail, write to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120-1111 or visit:

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Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans join the homeless

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans join the homeless

Anna Sussman

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ethan Kreutzer joined the Army at the age of 17 and fought with the 19th Airborne in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. When he retuned home, he had no money, no education and no civilian job experience. He soon became homeless. He slept in an alley off Haight Street, behind two trash cans.

June Moss drove from Kuwait to Iraq as an Army engineer in a truck convoy. When she returned to the United States, she lost her home, and drove her two young children from hotel to hotel across Northern California.

Sean McKeen, a hardy, broad-shouldered 21-year-old with a wide smile, went to Iraq to clear land mines, and to get money for college. When he returned home, he became homeless in less than a week. He found himself sleeping in a cot in a crowded homeless shelter in San Francisco.

They are all part of a growing trend of homelessness among returning war on terrorism veterans.

More than 2,000 military personnel return home to California each month. Most have no specialized job experience, education or an easy familiarity with civilian life. And many have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), making it difficult to get along with friends and family, and almost impossible to hold down a job.

"You feel like the whole world is against you when you get home," said Kreutzer. "I was sleeping on the sidewalk, whereas I had been wearing a uniform less than a year before." Soft- spoken and restless, Kreutzer was recruited in a 7-Eleven while still in high school. After five months in Afghanistan, he had a mental breakdown, diagnosed as PTSD. When he returned to the United States, he spent almost four years living on the streets.

Kreutzer said he's met several veterans of the war in Iraq on the streets of San Francisco, or sleeping in Golden Gate Park. He also said he met several veterans of the war in Afghanistan, like himself, who were in similar situations.

Kreutzer now lives in a temporary housing facility for veterans on Treasure Island, run by the group Swords to Plowshares. He attends PTSD counseling with other war on terrorism veterans so that he can learn to maintain a job and house. "I was haunted by a lot of issues, a lot of things that I saw over there that were not good things. There are some times when I can wake up in a room and think I'm still there. I still remember what it tastes like, the air over there. I see all the rocks, I see the people," said Kreutzer.

One of the symptoms of PTSD is isolation and withdrawal, according to Amy Fairweather, director of the Iraq Veterans project at Swords to Plowshares. "So that interferes with your ability to get a job. People sit in the dark by themselves," she said.

Fairweather is seeing large numbers of homeless war on terrorism veterans come through her doors.

"Homelessness can happen very quickly, if they don't get the help they need. Their mental health will get worse, they will become more depressed," she said. "We are seeing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, who are homeless, coming in very quickly. After Vietnam, it generally took about five to 10 years to end up on the streets. We're seeing people on the streets three months after they come home."

Moss spent 12 years with the military and had purchased a house with a VA home loan, but she fell behind on payments.

"When I got back from Iraq, I knew something was wrong," she said. Diagnosed with PTSD, she found herself awake at night devising ways to keep her family safe. "I decided to move the refrigerator in front of the door to bunker us in," she said. "Then I would stay up all night baking cookies because I didn't want to go to sleep. Eventually, I stopped leaving the house altogether."

Moss lost her job and her income, and the bank foreclosed on her home.

She moved her two kids between temporary housing units and hotels until her PTSD was under control. Now, she has a temporary house for her family, and a full-time job at the VA. "It's because of my kids that I go to therapy and take my medication. If it wasn't for them, I don't know what would happen," she said.

Other veterans are not so lucky. McKeen was exposed to more than 300 bomb blasts in Iraq. He suffers from traumatic brain injury as well as PTSD. When he returned home, he slept on couches at friends' houses, and in his car while looking for a job. He spent many nights wandering the streets before he ended up in a shelter.

"It's like a culture shock returning home, but you are supposed to be used to it," he said. "Unless you are in war, nobody can understand what it's like. And they expect you to just function normally by yourself after that?"

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates about 2,000 war on terrorism veterans have become homeless upon returning to the United States. It's still a small number, when compared to the staggering numbers of homeless Vietnam War-era veterans, but one that could balloon in the coming months.

At the Palo Alto VA, the inpatient programs for PTSD and TBI are crowded with war on terrorism veterans - an indication that a large number are at risk for homelessness, according to director of homeless programs Keith Harris.

"Before it gets to the point where someone is living on the street, what they are typically doing is struggling with a mental health disorder, burning their bridges with the people around them, family, employers, spouses," he said. " I don't believe there is a large chunk of returnees literally homeless without a roof over their heads, but I think a large chunk of them are at risk for it."

The homeless shelter at the Palo Alto VA is full. And many veterans still complain that the VA is unprepared and overly bureaucratic. Most have to wait six to eight months for claims to be addressed.

But by all accounts, the VA is far better prepared this time than it ever has been in the past. With an understanding that the looming homeless crisis is best treated as a mental health issue, it has hired 17,000 mental health workers, making it the largest mental health program in the country.

But with some 2 million active service members still fighting and undergoing the trauma of war, Moss wonders if any amount of preparation by the VA can address the fundamental problem of readjustment.

"I think the problem is war itself," she said. "War changes a person. I talk to all vets. The same experiences we had coming home from Iraq are the same experience World War II (vets) saw, Vietnam saw, Korean War saw, so it hasn't changed. I think the real problem is probably just war itself."

Anna Sussman is a journalist who has reported from the United States, Africa and Asia. To comment, e-mail

This article appeared on page B - 7 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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From a War Zone to Stateside Nightmare

From a War Zone to Stateside Nightmare

Recruiters Describe Brutal Working Conditions They Say Led to Soldier Suicides
Nov. 14, 2008
60 comments FONT SIZE
RSS Staff Sgt. Nils Aron Andersson was a newlywed of just a few hours and had completed his first counseling session when he shot himself atop a parking garage.

Staff Sgt. Patrick Henderson, shown inset with wife Staff Sgt. Amanda Henderson, was one of four...
Staff Sgt. Patrick Henderson, shown inset with wife Staff Sgt. Amanda Henderson, was one of four Army recruiters in the Houston area to commit suicide. His wife said the high-pressure tactics placed on recruiters, combined with lingering combat-related mental health issues, led to his death.
(Courtesy of Amanda Henderson)Staff Sgt. Patrick Henderson had made plans with his wife and stepson to go fishing the night he hanged himself in his shed.

Now their friends and family members are speaking out against the job they say led the men to kill themselves -- recruiting for the Army.

The families have said high-pressure, sometimes abusive tactics used on recruiters combined with lingering combat-related mental health problems drove the soldiers to suicide. There have been four suicides in the Houston Recruiting Battalion alone, including three in the past 18 months.

The allegations have led one senator to call for an investigation into whether the military is covering up a "toxic" work environment.

The Army has launched an internal investigation into the Houston allegations, but spokesmen for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command and the Army itself did not respond to the specific charges raised by the friends and relatives of the recruiters who committed suicide, saying the investigation is a response in itself.

"Every soldier has a mission. Army recruiters have a mission to do the prospecting" for new members, Army spokesman Lt. Col. George Wright told "For some recruiters ... it's not the right fit and many of these sergeants are returned to the field Army."

But some say it's not that simple. "They kind of want you to slam people into the Army," Army Staff Sgt. Chris Rodriguez, a combat veteran with two tours of duty in Iraq who worked as an Army recruiter alongside Andersson, told

Are Mentally Unstable Troops Redeployed?Gov't Programs Give Vets a 2nd ChanceThe Wages of War: Alcoholism, SuicideRodriguez said recruiters were told to lure potential recruits with whatever promises they could -- offers of college educations, health benefits for their families, sign-on bonuses as high as $40,000. And to a teen, he said, those promises are irresistible.

"I think that's one of the problems Aron had," he said. "We don't want people who don't want to be there."

Recruiters, many of them combat veterans like Rodriguez and Andersson, 25, knew the picture they painted for incoming recruits was not the reality they would experience once the signature was in place, Rodriguez said.

"I'm sure it bothered him to no end," Rodriguez said of his friend. "He was pretty much just straight up with people."

'A Dog on a Leash'
But that's not what the Army wanted from its soldiers, Rodriguez said. There were consequences for not meeting the command's recruitment goal or even "rolling a goose egg" -- the term they used for not bringing in anyone.

"They will ridicule you in front of your peers," he said. "They try to make an example out of you."

And, he continued, they found ways to eat into the soldier's personal time as punishment, such as assigning them to recruit at remote places that are hours-long drives from their homes or scheduling presentations to higher-ups late at night. Houston-area recruiters, he said, worked about 13 hours a day, sometimes more, and weekends.

And all the while the recruiters watched their friends, their fellow soldiers, start new lives, go to college, get married.

"It's like being a dog on a leash," Rodriguez said. "You can see all of it happening, but you can't really interact with them."

Andersson, less than 24 hours after marrying a girl he'd been dating for a few months -- a marriage neither of his parents knew about until after his death -- sat in his new car in a parking garage near where he used to live with an old girlfriend and shot himself.

Two days later, his new wife followed suit.

Andersson's mother, Charlotte Porter, said the marriage was the last in a string of signs that her son was slipping. He wasn't a complainer, but Porter said she remembered her son telling her that his job "sucked."

Hours before his suicide, Staff Sgt. Nils Aron Andersson told his mother, pictured here, that he'd recently completed his first mental health counseling session.
(Courtesy of Charlotte Porter)"He said, 'Mom, I'm very honest,'" Porter said. "I said, 'I know you are, Aron.'"

Whether or not the recruiting tactics directly led to the soldiers' suicides may never be known, but the rigors of the recruiting practices were enough of a concern for a senator to call for action.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, sent letters in September and October to Army Secretary Pete Geren after reading about three Houston-area suicides in less than two years -- Andersson, Henderson and Staff Sgt. Larry Flores Jr. -- in a series of articles in the Houston Chronicle.

After news broke of his first letter, Cornyn said his office started getting calls from anonymous recruiters and their family members telling him about the intense, sometimes unbearable pressures placed on recruiters.

"Some have alleged that the senior leaders in the battalion, including members of the chain of command, are interfering with official investigations and also working to cover up serious problems that evidence a toxic command climate and poor unit morale," Cornyn wrote to Geren in his second letter, dated Oct. 9.

Cornyn went on to reference alleged improper recruiting practices, including "mass punishment" and organizing hazing sessions for recruiters who fail to meet their monthly quotas for new recruits; confrontational "counseling sessions" for these same recruiters, at which they have been personally insulted and threatened with separation from the Army if their performance does not improve.

32,000 Vets To Be Warned About Suicide-Linked DrugStress, Not Injury, Blamed for Vets' SymptomsWar Vets Go to CollegeIn a letter dated Nov. 3, Geren wrote back to Cornyn that Brig. Gen. Frank Turner had been appointed to conduct an internal investigation into the allegations and that an Army chaplain would provide pastoral care to the families and soldiers of the Houston Recruiting Battalion.

Geren said he has also directed the commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command to assess the soldiers' mental health support access with the surgeon general. And U.S. Army Recruiting Command deployed a critical response team in October that included a chaplain and a psychologist. The visit, postponed from September after Hurricane Ike hit Texas, was originally scheduled to start six days before Henderson died.

Cornyn, elected last week to his second six-year term, told that he was surprised to hear the stories about the high-pressure recruiting tactics and how families and other recruiters said the job may be driving some soldiers to suicide.

Douglas Smith, spokesman for USAREC, referred to Geren's commitment to an investigation when asked for comment on the allegations out of the Houston Recruiting Battalion.

Smith said there are more than 8,800 recruiters across the country and 17 have committed suicide since fiscal year 2001. But Houston seems to be a unique case as neither Wright nor Smith had heard of similar allegations anywhere else in the country.

"I am not familiar," Wright said, "with other recruiting battalions' situations as it compares to Houston."

USAREC records show that of the 17 suicides, the only other area with more than one such death was Milwaukee, with one in fiscal year 2001 and another in 2003. Army-wide, there have been 93 suicides this year through Aug. 31 -- so Henderson is not included in that figure -- and there were 115 suicides in 2007.

Warning Signs
Staff Sgt. Amanda Henderson, Patrick Henderson's wife, said the pressures of recruiting, plus a career-threatening knee injury and mental scars from his days as an infantryman in Iraq, were just too much for her husband.

Staff Sgt. Amanda Henderson said she was immediately attracted to her husband's leadership qualities when they met in recruiter training.
(Courtesy of Amanda Henderson)He first tried to commit suicide in August, less than a month after Flores, his wife's boss, hanged himself, leaving a wife and two children behind. Amanda Henderson said that when her husband drove home for what would have been one last kiss goodbye, she was able to get the keys away from him and lock the door to his car where the loaded gun was stored.

Henderson, 35, was driven six hours to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio after three or four days in a clinic. Two evaluations there by civilian doctors declared him not a danger to himself or others, Amanda Henderson said, though they recommended he leave his high-stress recruiting job.

Less than a month later, he was dead -- his body found by his wife and stepson. He had been waiting on papers to transfer back into the infantry.

"I depended on Patrick for so much. He was my rock," Amanda Henderson said. "I would do anything in this world to have him back."

The couple had been married for less than a year. They met in 2007 in recruiting training school in South Carolina where Henderson was training for a second round of recruiting.

They had both served tours of duty in Iraq, Amanda Henderson for a year between 2004 and 2005 and Patrick Henderson for a year between 2005 and 2006. While she had volunteered for a recruiting position, he had received orders for the job before his time in Iraq and after.

New Calls to Investigate Vet Drug TestsRepeat Screenings May Find More PTSDPsychologist Promises No More Nightmares"He had a presence about him and he was handsome," she said. "And when he spoke -- when he spoke everyone listened to him."

But knee surgery for an injury sustained in Iraq led to a devastating staph infection that dragged out his recovery time for months and led to rumors that not only would he never be allowed back in the infantry, he could be let go from his recruiting job because he wasn't able to work.

Amanda Henderson said he tried to go to physical therapy, but his phone would ring and ring with command wanting to know where he was and when he could come back to work.

"He had a lot of pressures going on about work," she said.

He hated the recruiting job, she said, even though he was good at it. In Iraq he had been a respected leader, she said, but in the recruiting office he was forced to take orders from a lower-ranking official who would criticize his methods.

Amanda Henderson said she went to bed the night of Sept. 20 after discussing plans for the next day with her husband. She said she was mentally and physically exhausted, having spent the past month watching her husband's every move, afraid he might try again to commit suicide.

And when she fell asleep, her husband of less than 10 months ended his life.

Achieving Their Goals
Cornyn, Rodriguez and Amanda Henderson all said the mounting pressures of finding recruits for an ongoing war are compounded by the fact that some of the Houston-area assignments are located in rural towns, leaving the soldiers little or no time to seek mental health help either on the road or on assignment.

And the recruiting commands, Rodriguez said, are typically led by men who have no combat service and do not understand how the pressure of moving from one intense situation to another can put a strain on a soldier. The combat veteran recruiters, he said, have a name for them -- the "USAREC mafia."

"We often talked about how we'd rather be in Iraq than recruiting," he said, adding that he jumped at the chance to go back to Iraq for a second tour after about 15 minutes with the Houston Recruiting Battalion.

Smith said that during the 2008 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the command's goal for active Army recruits was 80,000 and they achieved 80,517. It was the third year in a row that the goals set for active Army and Army reserves were achieved.

"I fully concur with you that soldiers we assign to recruiting duties must have the full range of support services they need," Geren wrote in his response to Cornyn. "I share your concerns that the remote assignments of recruiters may prevent a recruiter's full access to the Army's mental health services."

But Geren noted that USAREC had reported no evidence that leaders without command experience were ill-equipped to lead those who recently returned from overseas deployments.

'So Many Things to Be Changed'
Andersson's mother said her eldest son should not have felt that he had no other choice than to end his life. And the only way to stop it is to keeping talking about what happened to her son and the men who died before and after him.

"I really don't want anyone to have to go through this. I believe education will be the factor," she said. "The American people always step up to the plate."

Porter said she watched her son become more and more distant and listened to his fears that if he was more vocal about getting help he'd jeopardize the career he'd worked so hard for.

"I think there's so many things to be changed," she said from her home in Oregon. "It's hard to know how to work within [the military] when you're not in it."

Cornyn said he's disappointed the investigation ordered by Geren is internal and not independent, but he's willing to give the military the benefit of the doubt. He's expecting the report after the new Congress convenes in January.

"I don't know what to think yet," he said. "We'll want to see what the product is and whether it's credible before we ask for an outside investigation."

But while Rodriguez is unimpressed by the impending investigation -- "We call it the mafia because nothing ever changes," he said -- Amanda Henderson is optimistic.

Still working out of a recruiting station in Tyler, she's applied for a transfer to finish out her three remaining years in the Army in a different post. She said her 12-year-old son has slept in her bed since her husband died, and both of them are still reeling from the shock.

Her husband, she said, is "going to be my hero for the rest of my life."


Even back in the 70s recruiting was a stressful job, I can see where people forced into recruiting would rather be in a war zone, the Chain of Command is like a baby diaper (full of chit and all over you) if you aren't hitting the numbers for yourself or the station or the region, once you made your numbers you were supposed to keep pushing to help the others make their numbers, forget the fact we have 2 wars going on, and even the bonuses the military is offering is not enough to entice qualified people in, not even the recruits that need multiple waivers for crimes committed as a juvenile or as an adult want to join to go to war. I have met illegal aliens that said they would rather be deported than have the chance to enlist and get their citizenship, and we expect and require combat veterans to become recruiters and then push them to "make the numbers" something is wrong and it's not the recruiters.

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Keith Olberman "Special Comments" the best of

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Someone had way to much time on their hand to make this satirical copy of one of Keiths special comments it's priceless

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57 years later, black GI buried at Arlington

57 years later, black GI buried at Arlington

Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post
Clara Robinson, 10, great niece of Army Sgt. Cornelius Charlton, greets his sister Fairy Mae Papadopoulos at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where Charlton was buried Wednesday. Charlton is the only black Medal of Honor recipient from the Korean War buried at Arlington.

Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post
Sgt. Cornelius Charlton was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in the Korean War. It’s taken 57 years for him to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. He is the first black Medal of Honor decorated Korean War veteran buried at Arlington. More than 100 family, friends and veterans made the trip to honor Charlton

WASHINGTON — Army Sgt. Cornelius Charlton was two months shy of his 22nd birthday when his platoon tried to take a hill near Chipo-Ri, South Korea. The platoon leader was wounded, so Charlton took command.
He rallied his men, who had suffered heavy casualties, and led the next assault, only to be pushed back again. Despite a severe chest wound, he refused medical attention and led another charge. He alone eliminated the remaining enemy emplacement, though he had been hit again by a grenade. His wounds led to his death on June 2, 1951.
The next year, Charlton was awarded the Medal of Honor, reserved for the "bravest of the brave," and he was supposed to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. But it didn’t happen.
Until Wednesday.
No one knows exactly why it took 57 years for Charlton to receive his hero’s burial in the nation’s cemetery. But Wednesday, all that mattered was that more than 150 friends, relatives and others gathered for the long-awaited ceremony.
Charlton is the only black Medal of Honor recipient from the Korean War buried at Arlington; there are 15 other black Medal of Honor recipients buried there. Medal of Honor recipients automatically qualify for burial at Arlington.
"This was a historical moment, not only for the family but also for myself," said Bob Gumbs, a veteran and one of the many people who worked to get Charlton buried at Arlington. "It’s really a culmination of a series of events. ... It’s the culmination of a long effort."
Charlton’s niece, Zenobia Penn, said she grew up hearing stories about her uncle "Connie," the good guy, the nice guy. But the conversation would inevitably shift to "the injustice of him not being buried in Arlington Cemetery," said Penn, 57, of New London, Conn.
According to family history, relatives had received Charlton’s medal and were in a caravan, on their way to Arlington Cemetery, with a horse-drawn buggy carrying the flag-covered coffin, Penn said.
"As they were approaching Arlington Cemetery, they were stopped by some folks in pickup trucks with shotguns, pointing at them and telling them he wasn’t going to be buried there," Penn said. "They were just racists. They weren’t military. They weren’t Arlington representatives. They were just racists. They didn’t want to celebrate — it wasn’t time yet for the South to celebrate a black military hero."
Penn’s grandparents buried Charlton in Pocahontas, Va., just across the border from West Virginia. In 1989, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the American Legion made arrangements for him to be buried at the American Legion cemetery in Beckley, W.Va., where he remained until this week.
Charlton was honored in other ways. The Navy christened the USNS Charlton in 1999. There is a Charlton Memorial Bridge in West Virginia and a Charlton Gardens in New York.
Charlton Gardens is in the Bronx, where Charlton lived before enlisting. New York City named the property in his honor the year after he died. The city Department of Parks and Recreation Web site says Charlton "was barred from burial in Arlington National Cemetery because he was African-American."
Arlington Superintendent John Metzler said credentials, not skin color, are what matter at Arlington. "We have always buried soldiers and race was never a question," Metzler said.
Arlington historian Tom Sherlock said black servicemembers were buried at the cemetery within days of its opening on May 13, 1864. Members of what were then called the "United States Colored Troops" were buried in Section 27, right over the hill from Section 40, where Charlton was buried Wednesday.
The separate-sections policy ended after President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces with Executive Order 9981 on July 25, 1948. Sherlock said he doesn’t doubt that the family might have encountered hostility on the way to the cemetery in the 1950s. But Wednesday’s burial was a "victory over whatever nonsense they heard," he said. "This brave soldier is here in Arlington, where he belonged all along, and we’re honored to have his remains here."
The family’s decision to resume the push for an Arlington burial stemmed from a racist incident Penn’s 6-year-old granddaughter suffered at school this year.
"I made a conscious decision to research Uncle Connie, to do the best I could and compile everything the best I could," Penn said, "so she was aware of her history, of black history — to be proud of being a black female, despite the shade of her skin."
Penn learned for the first time about the Bronx park named after her uncle. She discovered that a group of primarily black veterans had formed the Friends of Charlton Gardens and had raised $1.5 million to renovate the park and rededicated it in 2005. Penn contacted her congressman, Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., for help.
Ed Burke, Courtney’s military and veterans affairs field representative, said that he helped the family obtain certification that Charlton had been awarded the Medal of Honor and that Arlington accepted it. In September, the family was given the date when Charlton would be buried for the third and final time.
"It was bigger than anything I ever expected," Penn said. "We only just wanted to right the wrong. "We had no idea this was going to keep going into something as monumental as this."


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Holiday Peace card

Dear Michael,

On behalf of everyone at the American Friends Service Committee, let
me express my deep and heartfelt thanks for your response to our recent challenge gift opportunity. Even in these uncertain times, you showed overwhelming support. Thank you.

Holiday Peace card

Renewed violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), threatens the lives of millions of people. Many aid workers have had to suspend operations, leaving many without water, food, and sanitation. AFSC is working in the DRC and calling for an end to the violence.

On a more upbeat note, we're letting our voices ring for peace in communities around the world. This month, you can read about a "Peace is Always in Fashion" fashion show in Chicago, which started as a reaction to Sears' military-inspired clothing, and workshops in Pittsburgh that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

November also ushers in the year-end holiday season. If you're looking for the perfect gift, why not give Peace -- our beautiful Gift with Heart and Hope card and festive ornament -- or browse our list of favorite children's books for ideas?

If you haven't already, please join us in endorsing the Roadmap for Peace, a document that could guide the new president and Congress to a more peaceful future. So far, we've received thousands of endorsements, but we can always use more.

As always, I thank you for your continued support.


Mary Ellen McNish,
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

In this newsletter:

Trouble in the Congo
Read our comments from the field >

Read the AFSC-FCNL joint letter to Condolezza Rice > (PDF)

actors recreating stories from the Middle East
The Play's the Thing
Recently, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Israelis met in a Pittsburgh
theater to act out their differences.
Read more >

Styles of the Times
When word got out that Sears would bring out a clothing line inspired
by the Army's First Infantry Division, Chicago students and AFSC
staff planned a stylish protest.
Learn about the show >

The Subpriming of Iraq
Read Great Lakes regional director Michael McConnell's op-ed
connecting the financial bailout and the cost of war in The Hufftington Post.
Read op-ed >

Give Peace
If you're looking for the perfect gift for the holidays, we've got it: A special card and ornament that promote peace by supporting AFSC's programs.
Brighten the holidays >

Books for Children
For several days this summer, e-mails about favorite children's books swarmed through AFSC in response to a request for recommendations of favorite children's books, especially ones related to peace, justice, and other Quaker values.

They were for use in AFSC's Quaker Action magazine, but space was limited. Only a small selection of the books could be included. So we compiled a comprehensive electronic document and put it on the web at

Tell us about your favorite children's book at


Most veterans and military personnel that I know believe in Peace rather than war, it is NOT something that professional military are against, peace is far more preferable to the other "war" and I support the "Quakers" mission to promote peace, I think more people should. Please visit their site and read about their work.

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Timeless Quotes, always applicable


'If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed, if you do read the news paper you are misinformed.'
-Mark Twain

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
- George Bernard Shaw

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!
-P.J. O'Rourke

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
-Mark Twain (1866 )

Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it.

Suppose you were an idiot.
And suppose you were a member of Congress....
But then I repeat myself.
-Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by thehandle.
-Winston C hurchill

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
-G Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
-James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
-Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
-P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
-Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
- Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
-Will Rogers

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-Voltaire (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!
-Pericles (430 B.C.)

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
- Ronald Reagan

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
-Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
-Mark Twain

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

There is no distinctly Native American criminal Congress.
-Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-Edward Langley, Artist (1928 - 1995)

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
-Thomas Jefferson

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Wes Clark speaking at SMU tomorrow

Dallas area people: Wes speaking at SMU tomorrow
Submitted by Susan ClevelandOH on November 14, 2008 - 7:34am.
The Program on National Security and Defense at SMU’s John G. Tower Center for Political Studies will present its inaugural event – “The Future of Conflict: Military Roles and Missions – on November 13-14 on the SMU campus.
General (ret.) Wesley Clark
Wesley K. Clark

General Wesley K. Clark (Ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, will deliver the keynote address at a luncheon at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in the Umphrey Lee Ballroom. Reservations are required, and registration begins at noon, with a $35 per person fee for the address. (SMU students, faculty and staff may attend at no charge with SMU IDs.)

The two-day program also will feature military and business leaders, policymakers, analysts and scholars, who will discuss challenges to national security. At a time when security threats have become extraordinarily complex, those challenges include a growing isolationist mood, declining defense budgets and contending approaches to the use of force.

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AP NewsBreak: Gulf War vet health research lacking

AP NewsBreak: Gulf War vet health research lacking

By KIMBERLY HEFLING – 12 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even as possibly hundreds of thousands of veterans suffer from a collection of symptoms commonly called Gulf War illness, the government has done too little to find treatments for their health problems nearly two decades after the war ended, a panel commissioned by Congress said.

The advisory panel of medical experts and veterans wants at least $60 million spent annually for research, calling it a "national obligation," according to its report, obtained by The Associated Press.

The report, which goes to the Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake on Monday, said the Defense Department cut research money from $30 million in 2001 to less than $5 million in 2006. Both departments have identified some of their research as "Gulf War research" even when it did not entirely focus on the issue.

"Substantial federal Gulf War research funding has been used for studies that have little or no relevance to the health of Gulf War veterans," the panel concluded.

Independent scientists have declared that the symptoms of veterans of the 1991 Gulf War do not constitute a single syndrome. They have pointed to pesticide, used to control insects, and pyridostigmine bromide pills, given to protect troops from nerve agents, as probable culprits for some of the varied symptoms.

Based on earlier studies, the panel estimates that between 175,000 and 210,000 veterans from the war suffer from a pattern of symptoms related to their service. It notes that about one-quarter to one-third of those who served are affected by complex symptoms at rates higher than those in the military who did not deploy. Symptoms include fatigue, memory loss, pain, headaches, and difficulty sleeping.

"Studies indicate that few veterans with Gulf War illness have recovered over time and only a small minority have substantially improved. ... Few treatments have been studied and none have been shown to provide significant benefit for a substantial number of ill veterans," the panel concluded.

"Regrettably, 17 years after the war, this research still has not provided tangible results in improving the health of ill Gulf War veterans," according to a draft of the 450-page report.

The findings are welcome news to Bobby O'Daniel. The 39-year-old Marine veteran said he has suffered from a hyperactive immune system, joint and muscle pain in his extremities, psychological problems and other issues since he spent several months in the Persian Gulf loading cargo on ships and on land. He said he first noticed problems when he was deployed, but his health has steadily gotten worse since he came home at 21.

O'Daniel, a member of the veterans advocacy group Veterans of Modern Warfare, left the military shortly after his war duty. He said he has been discouraged over the years that more attention was not paid to help these veterans.

"We're the forgotten warriors," said O'Daniel, who lives in Greenville, N.C. "I just feel forgotten."

The panel said that since 1994, the government has spent $340 million for studies associated with Gulf War research. While the research has provided valuable insights, it has not advanced understanding of the problem, the panel said.

In 2004, the VA said it would no longer pay for studies that sought to show combat stress was the primary cause of the veterans' health problems. That decision came after the same advisory panel recommended that the department abandon stress studies and focus on toxic substances that veterans encountered during the war.

In 2006, the panel said congressional action resulted in changes in research at both agencies.

Congress allocated an additional $15 million annually for Gulf War research at VA. The University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas is using the money to identify biological abnormalities associated with Gulf War illness and working to develop tests and treatments.

Lawmakers also set aside $15 million for a research program managed by the Defense Department's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.

"Early indications suggest that development at both VA and DOD represent promising new directions in the federal Gulf War research effort," the panel concluded. But, the panel said, it is "far below that warranted by the scope of the problem."

Jim Bunker, the president of the National Gulf War Research Center in Kansas City, Kan., said taking care of the health of the Gulf War veterans has gotten pushed back repeatedly to the needs of veterans from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We feel it's important to look at the veterans coming home now, but we're still pretty sick," Bunker said.

On the Net:
Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses:
Congressionally Directed medical Research Programs:

To us veterans of Gulf War One this is not a shock, we have known for years that DOD and the VA just want us to go away, they do not care what caused the multitude of medical problems, it is easier to call them mental health issues and that the war exposures had nothing to do with what ever is wrong with these men and women, they feel these veterans just want free checks, most of the vets I know just want to be healthy again and the govt can keep the checks, we want our health back.

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Dead veteran's kin demand inquiry


PTSD DRUG COCKTAIL -- Nine veterans across the country

have died in their sleep after taking antidepressant

and antipsychotic medications.

Andrew White's dog tags and his Marine Corps ring.
(from Washington Times video)

The story of Andrew White's death, and the unusual deaths of three other veterans, is here...

The VAOIG report on two of the above deaths is here...

Other stories about Andrew White are here...

Today's story here... http://www.washingtonti

Story below:

Your comments accepted at bottom of page.


Dead veteran's kin demand inquiry

Andrea Billups and Audrey Hudson


HURRICANE, W.Va. -- A West Virginia man whose son survived the battlefields of Iraq only to die in his sleep at home is crusading to find other military families whose loved ones also have died after taking drugs prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Stan White's son Andrew, who was found dead in bed at the family's Cross Lanes, W.Va., home on Feb. 12, 2007, is one among a cluster of young veterans in the state who have died in their sleep with little explanation. Now Mr. White wants the federal government to monitor the drugs it prescribes to some 375,000 soldiers who have been diagnosed with mental trauma.

So far, he has identified nine veterans across the country - including four in West Virginia - who have died in their sleep after taking antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.

Mr. White has met with members of Congress and asked for Capitol Hill hearings to investigate the deaths. His research prompted a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) investigation into Andrew's and one other death, which were found to have been caused by "combined drug intoxication." But the investigation could not determine whether the prescribed medications were at fault.

The father is taking up the crusade amid increased criticism of VA medical treatment of veterans suffering PTSD upon their return from Iraq or Afghanistan, including media and government reports that several VA centers failed to adequately care for patients and inform them of potentially dangerous drug side effects.

Finding out why his son died and keeping others from suffering a similar fate has become a personal cause for Mr. White.

"Our goal was to find out if the medications are safe," said Mr. White, who, with his wife, continues to grieve the loss of his son. "If they are, that needs to be publicized. But if they are not, that also needs to be publicized as well.

"I believe there are many more soldiers and Marines who have died in their sleep just like the four in West Virginia," said Mr. White, a retired high school principal. "I think what we have found is just the tip of the iceberg, but we need more national publicity to help us find others who have lost loved ones and are looking for answers."

The VA's Office of Inspector General conducted a review of the quality of care received by Marine Cpl. Andrew White and another veteran whose name was not made public but whom The Washington Times was able to identify as Army National Guard Sgt. Eric Layne, an Iraq war veteran.

According to the Aug. 14 findings, the two combat veterans were taking three prescribed psychiatric medications:

• Paroxetine - an antidepressant that can produce panic attacks, sleeping problems and suicidal thoughts.

• Clonazepam - an anticonvulsive that should not be used with alcohol or other drugs, including narcotics or barbiturates.

• Quetiapine - an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia but, combined with clonazepam, can increase sedative effects.

"The medical examiner found that these patients died from combined drug intoxication involving prescribed and nonprescribed medications," the report said. "In the presence of PTSD, other mental health conditions, and uncertain use of medications by patients, we are unable to draw conclusions about the relationship between medication regimens and these deaths."

The report said Cpl. White "died as a result of combined drug intoxication," including a nonprescribed medication that the IG declined to identify. "No contributory natural diseases or physical injuries were identified," the report said.

Sgt. Layne died as a result of the VA-prescribed drugs and two unidentified nonprescribed medications, "under circumstances significant for fatal over-use of prescribed paroxetine" along with "apparent misuse of nonprescribed medications of uncertain intentionality."

The VA conducted an agencywide analysis of all cases of death among veterans who were taking a combination of the same drugs and "found no high mortality rate in veterans in the referenced group compared to those taking other similar psychotropic combinations or veterans taking the single agents," said VA spokeswoman Alison Aikele, who did not specify the death rate.

Nevertheless, a California neurologist who contacted Mr. White after reading about his efforts to investigate the veterans' deaths in a local newspaper article, expressed alarm over seemingly healthy young veterans suddenly dying in their sleep.

"The drugs and the occurrence there in the four vets in West Virginia really jumps out at you," said Dr. Fred Baughman of El Cajon, Calif. "They are seemingly OK, and then they go to bed and they die in their sleep.

"The constant drugs that all four of them are on are the Paxil [paroxetine] and Seroquel [quetiapine]," said Dr. Baughman, who has long had his own concerns about PTSD drug prescriptions in the military.

Miss Aikele said it is not unusual for veterans suffering PTSD to be prescribed several psychotropic drugs for various symptoms, including sleep disturbance, nightmares and anxiety.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is re-evaluating whether there are safety issues with recommended doses of quetiapine and possibilities of "overdose due to sample pack labeling confusion."

The VA, meanwhile, has consented to review all drugs it prescribes to veterans who suffer PTSD.

At the urging of Mr. White, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia Republican, met with four victims' families in mid-July to hear their frustrations with the VA system.

Mrs. Capito said afterward that it was important for the families to learn whether there is any relation between the medications and the deaths of the young veterans.

"These are returning veterans, and we want to make sure we take as good of care as possible," she said.

VA Secretary James B. Peake, in an interview with The Times in June, shared Mrs. Capito's concerns.

"My concern is that there is a perception that we don't care about our veterans, but that is just the opposite," he said during the 90-minute interview. "Our first responsibility is to our veterans. My whole life has been about taking care of them."

The VA was plagued with controversies this year, including its own acknowledgment of "failures" in numerous human subject experiments and tests involving new drugs.

A joint investigation by The Times and ABC News of a behavioral study of veterans suffering from PTSD who also were taking the smoking-cessastion drug Chantix exposed "unacceptable failures" in ensuring safeguards for soldiers in the experiment, according to an internal agency report.

VA officials took anywhere from two weeks to 134 days to warn veterans that the FDA had issued new warnings that the drug could cause suicidal behavior and that more than 40 suicides had been reported among people taking the drug.

Sen. Barack Obama was the first lawmaker to demand an investigation just days after The Times' story ran June 16, and Rep. Bob Filner, California Democrat and chairman of the House Veterans Affairs' Committee, held an investigative hearing into the matter weeks later.

"Our veterans - particularly those suffering from mental health injuries - should have the very best health care and support in the world; they should never be needlessly exposed to drugs without proper notification of the dangers involved or effective monitoring of the side effects," said Mr. Obama, now the president-elect.

According to the VA, more than 83,000 veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan had received diagnoses of actual or suspected PTSD as of Aug. 15.

"Without going through each patient's medical record, we don't have a way of knowing exactly how many have persistent symptoms or confirmed diagnosis of PTSD for which specific treatment is needed," Miss Aikele said.

• Audrey Hudson reported for this article from Washington.
Veterans Kin Demand Answers

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Stop Denying That Military Suicides Are Casualties of War

Stop Denying That Military Suicides Are Casualties of War

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- November 12, 2008

CONTACT: Sean Donahue, Communications Director -- 617-983-0710 (w), 978-809-8054 (c),




Nationwide -- Members of Military Families Speak Out are condemning comments by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs suggesting that the dramatic increase in the suicide rate among young veterans is not connected to the war in Iraq. The suicide rate among male veterans under the age of 29 is now twice that of the general population.

In an interview aired Monday November 10th on PBS's NewsHour, Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake said that Veterans' suicides are the result of:

"the same kinds of issues that have to do with suicide in the general population. It is issues of failed relationships, senses of hopelessness, transitions in life, that are at the root cause . . . we're not making a direct correlation with combat."

Specialist Scott Eiswert committed suicide in May after being told by a friend that his unit of the Tennessee National Guard would be returning to Iraq. His widow, Tracy Eiswert, a member of Military Families Speak Out, expressed outrage at Secretary Peake's comments:

"I am not a statistic. We are a military family. We are real people with real experiences as a result of my husband's PTSD and his suicide. He wasn't that way before he went to Iraq, he came back changed."

After returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, Spc. Eiswert had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by civilian doctors, but the Veterans Administration denied that his condition was the result of his experiences in Iraq. The Veterans Administration reversed that ruling in August. Tracy Eiswert said:

"It took him having to put a gun in his mouth for the military to admit that the changes in my husband were a result of the war. If they had admitted that earlier he might still be alive."

Kevin and Joyce Lucey are members of Military Families Speak Out and the parents of Corporal Jeffrey Lucey, a Marine Corps Reservist who suffered severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his service in Iraq in 2003. Shortly after being turned away from a Veterans Administration hospital, Corporal Lucey killed himself on June 22, 2004. Kevin Lucey said:

"Secretary Peake's words are the kind of self serving comments that this nation does not need to hear from the Veterans Administration and its leadership. This is why many regard this VA administration to be steeped in disgrace and dishonor when it comes to our loved ones. They feel that they need to explain away, rationalize, justify or minimize - instead of committing their resources, time and efforts to create the best healthcare system on God's earth."

Joyce Lucey also had strong words for Secretary Peake:

"This is dishonorable, disgraceful and shameful behavior from someone who is charged with giving the best of care to our warriors. With this type of message and thinking, Is it any wonder that many of our troops and veterans don't seek help from those who are so callous and uncaring?"

Specialist Joe Hafley, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out who has had to fight to get treatment for his own Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, agreed. Hafley served in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserves from 2004-2005, and his brother, a Major with the U.S. Army Reserves is scheduled to deploy to Iraq early next year.

When Hafley returned from Iraq, the Veterans Administration diagnosed him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and severe depression -- but ruled that none of those conditions were the result of his service in Iraq. He said:

"My treatment at the VA was belittling and frustrating. To have them diagnose me with PTSD and not attribute it to my service in Iraq is a slap in the face. To have them tell me the problems could be the result of failed relationships rather than the result of my experiences in combat makes me feel that as a veteran I have no place at the VA.

"The thing that is most baffling to me is this 800 pound gorilla in the room not being addressed. Why are we feeling hopeless? Why do we have failed relationships? The common denominator is we all served in Iraq. Maybe my feeling of hopelessness is that I served my country with honor and I am still trying to figure out for what reason? For what just cause?

"Secretary Peake, it doesn't matter how many additional mental health workers you hire if you as the person at the top still feel we are just losers that failed to adjust or that we entered our military service unfit. No amount of false support will help us

Stop Denying That Military Suicides Are Casualties of War

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cluster Bomb 'Soon To Be Thing of The Past'

Cluster Bomb 'Soon To Be Thing of The Past'

{There are two video's about cluster bombs at the site page, visit and view!!}

Angus Crawford shows how the cluster munitions are disposed of

On 3 December, more than 100 countries, including the UK, will sign a treaty banning cluster bombs.
As a result Britain, by law, will have to destroy more than 30 million explosives.
The UK does not have the facilities, so they are being exported to Germany for disposal.
"I feel good to work for a good thing in the world and for peace," says Jorg Fiegert, production manager for Nammo Demil.
It runs a site in Pinnow in Germany which destroys munitions.
Over the next five years its work will include taking apart bomblets from British cluster munitions.
"It can punch through armour," Jorg explains as he holds up a British bomblet.
It is only the size of an egg cup, and came from the MLRS, the Multiple Launch Rocket System.
Each one has six rockets, and within each rocket are 644 bomblets. They are designed to split open in the air and spread small bomblets over a wide area.

How cluster bomb warheads can be recycled

Cluster bombs have been used in countries including Cambodia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Lebanon, and were used in the conflict in Lebanon in 2006.
Those who ratify the convention in December will then have eight years to get rid of their stockpiles of the weapons.
The UK government had already begun getting rid of its stocks by shipping them to Germany and elsewhere.
Nammo has a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence to destroy 28 million of these bomblets, and there are another 3.5 million in other systems to be disposed of.
"In principle everything except the explosive can be recycled," explains Ola Pikner, Nammo's vice president of marketing.
Whole weapons enter the factory, but raw materials for civilian use leave it.
He shows me how the MLRS rocket is split open.
The bomblets are extracted, the fuses are cut off and the copper inners are removed.
The explosive is then burnt off using red hot plasma.

The bombs have been used in Cambodia, Lebanon and Kosovo
The copper, aluminium and other metals are sold for scrap. The packaging for the bomblets is burnt for heating.
This will take up to 40% of their work for the next five years.
"There is huge potential", says Ola Pikner, "but the number of cluster munitions from each country is not known."
Campaigners believe there may be as many as a billion of them across Europe.
But the world's biggest users - Israel and the USA - will not sign this treaty.
Nor, it's thought, will China, Russia, India and Pakistan.
But Thomas Nash from the Cluster Munition Coalition remains undaunted by this.
"What you are going to see is a comprehensive stigmatisation of the weapon," he says.
"Countries that don't sign up won't be able to use this weapon on operations with those that do.
"You're going to see this weapon becoming a thing of the past."

=BBC Cluster bombs a thing of the past

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Obama supports advance funding for VA

Obama supports advance funding for VA

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Nov 12, 2008 16:48:01 EST

President-elect Barack Obama promised days before the Nov. 4 election that his administration would support the idea of approving veterans’ funding one year in advance in an effort to avoid disruptions in critical programs.

His pledge, made in an Oct. 28 letter to the American Federation of Government Employees, puts him on record as supporting what a coalition of veterans organizations sees as the answer to a perennial problem: funding for veterans programs that comes in fits and starts — and, in the process, diminishing the quality of health care.

“First and foremost, the way our nation provides funding for VA health care must be reformed,” Obama says in the letter. “My administration will recommend passage of advance appropriation legislation for the [fiscal] 2010 appropriations cycle, instead of yearly continuing resolutions that lead to delays in hiring and facility construction. I will also work to fully fund veterans care.”

Nine veterans’ groups, united in what they call the Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform, have been calling for reform because only twice in the last 14 years — and only three times in the last 20 — has the Veterans Affairs Department budget been approved by the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1. This has been one of the years when the budget passed on time.

The nine groups proposed that Congress pass a budget for veterans programs a full year ahead of time, which would mean that in 2009 lawmakers would need to pass both a fiscal 2010 budget and a fiscal 2011 budget. Obama’s letter indicates support for that idea.

Delayed budgets hurt veterans because they make it harder for VA to plan capital improvements and buy major medical equipment, and also delays hiring, said Joseph Violante, national legislative director of Disabled American Veterans.

Another benefit to advanced funding is that veterans programs would get a first slice of the federal budget, without having to directly compete with other federal programs, Violante said.

The day after his election, Obama pledged as president to fully fund VA and establish a “world-class VA planning division” so that future budgets were more accurate, according to a transition agenda that was briefly placed on the president-elect’s transition Web site. The transition agenda has since been removed.

Staff writer Rebecca K. Neal contributed to this report.

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Letter to President Obama and New VA Secretary

We do not yet know who President Obama will nominate for this very important Cabinet position. Many in the veteran community are hoping it will be Tammy Duckworth, currently Illinois Veterans Affairs Director we feel she is attuned to the problems that all veterans are currently dealing with in trying to obtain their promised benefits.

She is a disabled Iraq War veteran who does not just advocate for the "new veterans" she advocates for all veterans, Desert Storm or Gulf War One whichever name you prefer, Vietnam era veterans, Korean War veterans and WW2 veterans and peacetime veterans, she represents them all equally.

I will be asking her or whomever it is that President Obama selects as the new VA Secretary to correct an injustice that has been allowed to continue for more than fifty years, the ignored and abused veterans of the Cold War human experiments, my blog named Military experiment veterans 1941-now deals with the various programs known as MKULTRA, Operation WhiteCoat, Operation SHAD, Project 112, Dugway Proving Grounds (sheep kill 1966) Edgewood Arsenal - chemical weapons and drug experiments using 254 different substances, Fort Greely Alaska, and other experiments spread across military bases in the US and around the world.

Many of these experiments were done without the full "informed consent" of the men involved in them, in some cases consent was obtained but the "volunteers" were not told the full circumstances nor the long term health consequences as they were not known. In other cases many of the men used were not even told they were being used in experiments as in Operation Shad.

These veterans are in many cases disabled from the long term affects of the exposures, yet due to classified data, they can NOT prove the links needed to obtain medical and financial compensation. The Department of Defense has been notorious in writing the parameters for the health studies done by the National Academies of Science (NAS) thru the Institute of Medicine (IOM) by ignoring previous health studies showing the known long term health problems caused by low level exposures.

These two studies show many medical problems caused by low level exposures, yet DR William Page of the IOM ignored these for the medical studies paid for by DOD, the first is a January 1, 1994 National Institute of Health (NIH) study on chemical weapons Toxicity of the Organophosphate Chemical Warfare Agents GA, GB, and VX: Implications for Public Protection the second study is based on German soldiers from WW2 that were cared for and treated by DR Karl Heinz Lohs the suthor of this study Delayed Toxic Effects of Chemical Warfare Agents from page 40 the known medical problems:

To conclude this section, the closing observations from Spiegelberg’s monograph
will be cited (these remarks do not refer exclusively to organophosphorus
CW agents) [2]:
A psychiatric delayed-effect syndrome was found as a result of systematic investigations
on former members of CW production and testing stations for the Wehrmacht. In
terms of frequency, two groups of symptoms can be distinguished–each consisting of
four separate symptoms or signs.
(1) The great majority of persons examined showed:
(a) persistently lowered vitality accompanied by marked diminution in drive;
(b) defective autonomic regulation leading to cephalalgia, gastrointestinal and
cardiovascular symptoms, and premature decline in libido and potency;
(c) intolerance symptoms (alcohol, nicotine, medicines);
(d) impression of premature aging.
(2) Further, one or more symptoms of the second group were found:
(a) depressive or subdepressive disorders of vital functions;
(b) cerebral vegetative (syncopal) attacks;
(c) slight or moderate amnestic and demential defects;
(d) slight organoneurological defects (predominantly microsymptoms and singular
signs of extrapyramidal character).
Our results are a contribution to the general question of psychopathological delayed
and permanent lesions caused by industrial poisoning. On the basis of our studies of
the etiologically different manifestations of toxication, the possibility of a relatively
uniform–though equally unspecific–cerebro-organic delayed effect syndrome is conceivable

We veterans of the test programs are not asking for the government to expose classified material to support our compensation claims, we are just asking that after more than 30 years of being lied to, lied about, being denied that the tests even took place, that we be given the "benefit of the doubt" and if we have any of these medical problems that we be awarded our compensation claims and be financially compensated and be given the medical care that we are entitled to regardless of our income levels, we are not charity cases asking for help, we are veterans that were harmed by exposures in human experiments that would be today under any circumstances illegal, they violated the Nuremberg Codes of 1947, and today they violate laws passed by President Gerald Ford and President Jimmy Carter after the human experiments of Edgewood Arsenal became public knowledge in 1975, after the Army publicly released the Department of the Army Inspector General Report of 1975 on Human Experimentation.

These men are caught in a Catch 22 they have been told they would receive the Soldiers Medal for volunteering for these experiments due to the nature of dealing with chemical wepaons and some of the drugs they were exposed to, the Army broke the promise and did not award the medals, when asked for now, they are told what they did was not "heroic" and was not "above and beyond the call of duty" yet many of the Army's top doctors have plainly stated that without these men many of the equipment used on todays battlefield to protect the soldiers from chemical weapons would not be possible.

LTC Bernard G. Elfert, retired of Florida was assigned duty at the facility. He recalls, "Clinical and other testing was conducted to determine the effects of various agents on humans. The testing programs were highly classified. I am unaware as to the current security classifications of the toxic chemicals and phychochemicals employed there, so I cannot specify their designations, the agents involved or regimens. However, I have heard that since then most agents tested have been outlawed for military use."

Elfert says, "In the absence of volunteer participation the various chemical agents could not have been tested. The nature of the testing involved agents that posed unknown risk factors and such hazards could not be forced on military personnel as a duty." He believes the exposure to these various tests placed volunteers in danger and at great personal risk going far beyond the call of duty. In his opinion, those who underwent the tests were heroic.

This quote comes from an article written by
Tom Segel titled For Veterans ... Justice Delayed ... Is Justice Denied dated 22 July 2005.

These men and their widows just deserve the "benefit of doubt" and their medical care and if they are disabled they should be compensated. We are not asking the government to give up any classified data, but rather to keep the promises made when we volunteered. If we were harmed by the experiments that the Army and the VA would take care of us and or our families, the same PROMISE made to all military personnel.

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Military to follow up with wounded vets

Military to follow up with wounded vets

By Gregg Zoroya - USA TODAY
Posted : Thursday Nov 13, 2008 6:20:28 EST

WASHINGTON — The military has launched a detective effort to find at least 2,300 veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan to see how they are faring, and whether they are missing out on health and other benefits.

Army and Marine commanders says the outreach effort is due to several factors, including greater concern in these wars for long-term consequences of combat and more funding to get it done.

About 33,000 troops have been wounded in the two wars, but not all have been located or reached.

“We are trying to catch up to six years worth of war,” says Col. Gregory Boyle, commander of the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment.

Callers who reach these new veterans help eliminate red tape to resolve compensation and health care needs, educate veterans about new benefits and link them to resources or potential employers.

Congress last year authorized expanded efforts to manage cases and advocate for wounded service members leaving the military, at a cost of about $65 million, records show.

The outreach is so unexpected that some veterans ask if the service is trying to call them back to duty, says John Chavis, who directs a call center for the Wounded Warrior Regiment. ”We reassure them that’s not our intent,” he says.

The military is concerned that “some of its people may fall between a crack somewhere,” just as some Vietnam veterans ended up homeless, said historian Dale Smith of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Marines have contacted more than 6,000 current and former members, Boyle says. They are still looking for 1,871, Chavis says. The Army Wounded Warrior Program is searching for about 400 ex-GI’s they want to assist, but who have left the service, says Army Col. Jim Rice, the program director.

If callers determine that veterans have more complex problems, they ask advocates to visit them in person, Boyle says.

Maj. Jennifer Potter, a Marine reservist on active duty, has three dozen local Marine veterans she helps from her home in Columbus, Ohio. She can connect them with the Department of Veterans Affairs, local veteran service groups, employers, elected officials and key former Marines in the area.

”It makes us feel like somebody has our back and we’re not forgotten,” says one veteran on her list, former lance corporal Carl Schneider, of Cincinnati. He suffered severe burns to his hands and face in a roadside blast in 2005.

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New disability process set to expand soon

New disability process set to expand soon

By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Nov 7, 2008 10:56:58 EST

A limited test of a streamlined system to more speedily and equitably evaluate wounded and injured troops will be expanded over the next seven months from the Washington, D.C., area to 16 additional bases in the continental U.S., Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs officials say.

The pilot program, which officials emphasize is a work in progress, aims to replace the cumbersome evaluation system exposed by the 2007 Walter Reed scandal with a single exam and disability rating that officials say is cutting in half the time spent in the system from the initial recommendation for medical evaluation to the point of either medical separation or return to duty.

Launched 11 months ago at three Washington-area military hospitals and expanded to three more since Oct. 1, the program has shown enough promise to warrant an expansion in areas outside Washington, said Tom Pamperin, deputy director of VA’s compensation and pension service, and Sam Retherford, the Pentagon’s director of officer and enlisted personnel management.

“It was an improvement, and we met all the major objectives” of the pilot program, Retherford said.

But, he added, “We’d hadn’t really stressed the pilot, because inside the National Capitol region, you get all kinds of support from senior leadership to make things happen. We also needed a diverse set of data on the Guard and reserve ... and we wanted to see if the pilot procedures could work — because it’s very resource-demanding — in areas across the DoD.”

That data, he said, will better inform decisions on the program’s future and on recommendations for any needed legislative changes to Congress. A final report to Congress is due in March; a decision to expand the program to all bases could follow, he said.

The sheer numbers alone will provide plenty of stress; Retherford said he expects the expansion to add more than 500 cases per month to the system, which in the Washington area is now handling a total of around 600, according to VA. The moves will also serve to broaden the base of pilot program-trained case managers and other personnel critical to improving service, he said.

Over the next seven months, according to Pamperin, the pilot program is projected for expansion to:

•Fort Stewart, Ga., Nov. 30.

•Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 31.

•Bremerton Naval Hospital, Wash.; Vance Air Force Base, Okla.; and Fort Polk, La., Feb. 28.

•Jacksonville Naval Hospital and MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright, Alaska, March 31.

•Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; Fort Drum, N.Y., Apr. 30.

•Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; Fort Carson, Colo.; and Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas, May 31.

The program was begun in November 2007 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.; and Malcolm Grove Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. It was expanded Oct. 1 to hospitals at Fort Belvoir, Va., and Nov. 1 to Fort Meade, Md., and Balboa Naval Medical Center, San Diego, Pamperin said.

One problem identified during the controversy at Walter Reed was the long delay service members experienced in the processing and receipt of VA benefits. Under the pilot program, the delays appear to have been significantly reduced.

As of Oct. 26, a total of 779 service members had entered the D.C.-area pilot program, Pamperin said. All received one physical exam from a VA-qualified provider using VA’s evaluation standards — normally a two-part ordeal with differing standards. Under the pilot program, the exam is administered as part of the standard Medical Evaluation Board, which determines a member’s fitness for duty.

Of the 779 troops, 73 were found fit for and returned to duty, while 611 remain in the program, with some yet to be evaluated and others having received ratings and awaiting discharge.

A total of 46 were retired — nearly all of them medically retired — and 15 were awarded severance pay and separated from the service. Of this group, Pamperin said, all but three were awarded VA benefits on the day they separated.

One of the three took an additional week because of a severance pay issue, he said; the physical or mental condition of the other two required fiduciary assistance and more time to complete, he said.

Service members rated at 30 percent disabled or higher are medically retired; those rated at 10 or 20 percent are separated with severance pay.

Two of the troops were separated without being awarded severance pay. Pamperin said such cases involve unfitting conditions considered zero percent disabling or conditions judged to be pre-existing.

The remaining 32 members left the program for a variety of reasons. Two died, some were administratively separated and some moved out of the Washington area, Pamperin said.

All service members who have been evaluated in the pilot program received VA’s decision on their disability percentage the same day they had the finding of the Physical Evaluation Board. After the MEB renders its decision, the PEB decides whether to retain or separate the service member, Pamperin said.

When the pilot program was launched, officials also said they hoped to cut in half the amount of time spent in the system. “It’s actually a little bit better than that,” Pamperin said of the pilot program results.

Time spent in the Washington-area pilot, in which a member’s VA claim is processed concurrently with the Defense Department evaluation, runs from 180 to 220 days, according to Retherford. In the current system, which requires an additional physical and rating on top of that already conducted by the service, processing through the VA system alone takes about 180 days, he said.

“What used to be sequential and long is now in parallel,” he said.

The pilot program also gives service members enhanced rights of appeal. Previously, a service member could appeal to the PEB the conditions considered unfitting, and the fitness determination.

Under the pilot program, when a service member rebuts that determination, the PEB notifies VA, which initiates a Decision Review Officer Process that considers a service member’s medical evidence or legal argument about the application of the ratings schedule. VA’s decision is then binding on the PEB, Pamperin said.

If the early numbers are any indication, service members in the pilot program are more satisfied with the new system. As of Oct. 28, only 33 out of more than 200 service members rated have asked for a formal Physical Evaluation Board, Pamperin said.

In customer satisfaction surveys taken in the Washington-area pilot, Retherford said, “We got great marks for professionalism, transparency [and] case management. We still got remarks [to the effect of], `I’m not satisfied with the outcome.’ There’s a lot more to be done there.”

A somewhat parallel legislative effort fell short last year. The pilot program, officials say, is the best the Pentagon and VA can do without new laws.

“We are continuing to expand the pilot program within the current existing legal authorities,” Pamperin said.

VA is preparing an interim report on the pilot program for Congress, he said.

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Patriot Golf Day raises over $1.7 million thus far in 2008

Patriot Golf Day raises over $1.7 million thus far in 2008

By The PGA of America-
Nov. 4, 2008 -- PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The second annual Patriot Golf Day, a nationwide campaign to support the families of those military veterans who have been disabled or lost their lives in the line of duty, has produced donations to date of more than $1.7 million.

The campaign, which benefits the Folds of Honor Foundation, is jointly supported by The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association. Patriot Golf Day was conducted over the Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29 through Sept. 1, and received support from 3,800 golf facilities. Patriot Golf Day was originated by Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 pilot, PGA Professional and USGA member from Broken Arrow, Okla., who this month returned from his third tour of duty in Iraq. The 2007 inaugural fundraising campaign produced funds of more than $1.1 million.

Rooney, who will receive the first PGA Patriot Award on Nov. 8 at The PGA of America's 92nd Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., served as an F-16 pilot in the 125th Fighter Squadron of the Oklahoma Air National Guard.

"Once again, America has come together for Patriot Golf Day, a campaign that is a perfect match for those who love both our country and the game of golf," said PGA of America President Brian Whitcomb. "Both PGA Professionals and amateur golfers responded with both innovative and inspiring fundraising efforts. The PGA of America is proud to be associated with this great cause and we anticipate that more Americans will step forward in the years to come."

PGA Professionals throughout the country engaged their communities and respective club members to participate in innovative programs during Patriot Golf Day. Leading the fundraising for facilities was The Old North State Club of New London, N.C., which received $42,000 through donations, and a club tournament conducted Oct. 10, which featured the raffle of a donated four-bedroom condominium.

Old North State Club PGA director of golf Tom Ducey said the enthusiastic response was due to the efforts of amateur golf and eight-year club member, Johnny Hall, a co-owner/president of two local lumber companies.

"I am not looking for any praise," said Hall. "This is a tremendous fundraiser that all of us should embrace. People came together to make this a success and we look forward to next year's Patriot Golf Day."

In late 2007, Rooney developed the Folds of Honor Foundation to serve as a legacy foundation designed to provide scholarships for dependents and spouses of service members that have been killed or disabled as a result of their military service. While other fundraising is carried out by the Folds of Honor Foundation, Patriot Golf Day remains its primary fundraiser.

Donations to this year's Patriot Golf Day included $130,000 from Captain Paul Azinger and the 12 members of the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup Team.

Patriot Golf Day is jointly supported by The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association. During Patriot Golf Day, golfers added an extra dollar to their greens fee, and private facilities asked for donations.

This past spring, the Folds of Honor Foundation awarded nearly 200 scholarships to aid students, most of them beginning classes in the fall semester. Participating facilities for Patriot Golf Day are listed on Individuals interested in contributing to the Folds of Honor Foundation, and those applying for scholarships should visit

About Patriot Golf Day
Patriot Golf Day, the primary fund-raiser for the Folds of Honor Foundation, was created by Major Dan Rooney, a PGA Professional and USGA member from Broken Arrow, Okla. From Aug. 29 through Sept. 1, 2008, golfers across the nation added $1 to their greens fees or more in making a donation at their golf club in support of the event. Patriot Golf Day is jointly supported by The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association and also receives support from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) and from many of the country's leading golf manufacturers and media outlets.

About Folds of Honor Foundation
The Folds of Honor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) legacy foundation designed to provide educational scholarships for dependents and spouses of service members who are either killed or disabled while serving and defending our great nation. (

About the USGA
The USGA is the national governing body of golf in this country and Mexico, a combined territory that includes more than half the world's golfers and golf courses.

The Association's most visible role is played out each season in conducting 13 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open. Ten additional USGA national championships are exclusively for amateurs, and include the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Women's Amateur.

The USGA also writes the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, provides expert course maintenance consultations, funds research for better turf and a better environment, maintains a Handicap System and administers an ongoing "For the Good of the Game" grants program, which has allocated more than $62 million over 11 years to successful programs that bring the game's values to youths from disadvantaged backgrounds and people with disabilities. For more information about the USGA, visit

About The PGA of America
Since 1916, The PGA of America's mission has been twofold; to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.

By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the $76 billion golf industry. By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable golf promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf.


I spend Thursday thru Sunday either watching the tournaments on my computer at or whatever channel it is on TV or both at the same time, I spent 15 years delivering mail in Augusta Ga and met many of the pro golfers and learned where they live during Masters week and watched Charles Howell III since he was 10 years old, his college career and his pro career, I always had a vision of becoming his caddy one day after retiring from the Post Office, life didn't work out that way, now I live vicariously thru him and his golf game.

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