Study: Vets feel disconnected
State gathers information from troops returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan
By Jennifer Grogan Published on 1/31/2009
New Britain - Some of the veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are feeling disconnected from their loved ones, having trouble readjusting to work or school and failing to seek medical care for fear of being stigmatized, researchers from Central Connecticut State University found in a recently completed study.
Findings from the state's first “needs-assessment study” of recent Iraq and Afghanistan veterans - commissioned so officials can understand this unique generation of veterans and better formulate state programs and policies - were released Friday at Central.
State officials said it was too early to say what specific changes could result from the study, but Linda Schwartz, the state's veterans' affairs commissioner, said the data will “help us think out of the box.”
”The war is not over and we don't know when that will happen,” Schwartz said, “but this needs assessment can help drive some of the actions of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Marc Goldstein and Jim Malley, the principal investigators from Central's Center for Public Policy and Social Research, began the study in January 2007 by meeting with service providers who work with veterans to get their perspectives on veterans' needs.
One of their top concerns was that veterans' medical needs were not being adequately addressed, particularly for those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
”Veterans tend to not want to seek medical care because of the stigma associated with it. If there is one pattern we saw working with all the veterans it's that they don't want to be de-normalized. They want to come back and live a normal life,” said Malley, adding that veterans were worried about the confidentiality of their medical information and were unsure of how to navigate the VA system.
Researchers then met with small focus groups of veterans, who said they felt misunderstood and were more comfortable talking with fellow veterans than those who did not serve.
”There was a profound sense of being disconnected form one's community,” Malley said.
The last phase of the study was a survey mailed to veterans, with 557 veterans completing it for a response rate of about 27 percent.
The surveys were mailed in two sets, with the second batch asking questions about Traumatic Brain Injury. Of the 285 people who responded to that version, nearly one in five would most likely test positive for TBI, Goldstein said.
And 120 of the veterans had symptoms that would “reach diagnosable levels for PTSD” Goldstein said.
These veterans also reported that their jobs could sometimes feel mundane after serving in combat and that school could be a challenge when their classmates had such different life experiences. Those in school were upset that they were told that they would get a free education for their service but then had to pay expensive school fees.
Researchers used this information to compile a profile of a veteran who could have trouble readjusting to civilian life - a person who is young, with less education and no close personal relationship, like a spouse, who served on active duty.
The study recommends starting a public awareness campaign about veterans' services, developing an early identification and outreach system, creating more support organizations within veterans' communities, addressing veterans' concerns about educational costs and continuing a dialogue among service providers about these issues.
Most veterans could have told them this was the case without a 2000 person survey, this is the same as it has been since Vietnam, Korea and WW2, the stigma of of seeking counseling for mental health (not feeling normal or having issues at home, marriage counseling etc) keeps the soldiers or National Guardsmen and women from seeking help, in some cases they will lose their security clearances and they fear the loss of their jobs, that would only compound the problems. Until they make it "safe" to seek counseling, there will always be a simmering group of veterans that will feel they can not seek help or it will only make their problems worse.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Study: Vets feel disconnected
Friday, January 30, 2009
Veterans Groups Call for Incoming Secretary of Veterans Affairs to Cut Through Disability Benefits “Red Tape”
News: Veterans Groups Call for Incoming Secretary of Veterans Affairs to Cut Through Disability Benefits “Red Tape”
Posted on January 29, 2009 by gm
Letter to VA Secretary General Eric Shinseki Urges Swift Action to Deliver Lifeline to More Than 600,000 American Heroes
WASHINGTON, DC (January 29, 2009) – As General Eric Shinseki takes office as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, two veterans service organizations representing more than 63,000 veterans called upon the incoming Presidential Cabinet member to move quickly to deliver disability benefits to America’s veterans.
In a letter to Secretary Shinseki, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and Veterans of Modern Warfare (VMW) raised concern about a growing epidemic among America’s veteran community. More than 600,000 men and women, who served this nation honorably, often with great personal sacrifice, have been forced to endure excessive delays in receiving the disability benefits they have earned due to a service-connected disability.
Disability benefits are not only an entitlement – but an essential lifeline – for many veterans, and the failure to provide them in a timely way has had terrible consequences. Sadly, this backlog will only increase as more of the 1.7 million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan become eligible for benefits.
In his confirmation hearings Secretary Shinseki expressed a desire to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs to a 21st Century Organization that is people-centric, results-driven, and forward-looking. Additionally, General Shinseki pointed out the need to “streamline the disability claims system, increase quality, timeliness and consistency of claims processing…”
“It is critically important that Secretary Shinseki deliver on his promise to transform the VA and speed up the delivery of disability benefits to America’s veterans, because everyone agrees that benefits delayed are essentially benefits denied,” said John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America. “Behind each of the 600,000 claims awaiting response from the VA is a veteran who once proudly wore our nation’s uniform. These men and women served with honor and they simply want the benefits to which they are entitled.”
Documenting the wide-reaching impacts of disability benefit delays, the VVA and VMW’s letter summarizes the tragic consequences of the VA’s failure to treat America’s disabled veterans with dignity. These consequences extend beyond the individual veteran to spouses, children, and other family members who suffer from the stress and economic burden caused by the failure to award their veteran husbands, wives, parents, sons and daughters the benefits that they need to survive.
“Our most recent veterans are hit especially hard by delays in disability benefits,” said Julie Mock, National President, Veterans of Modern Warfare. “Delays in awarding disability benefits increase the suffering of veterans already struggling with an inability to cope, as the seemingly endless wait for the VA to make a final decision on a claim magnifies the alienation and anxiety they experience. As a consequence, there is a substantial increase in the number of broken families, cases of homelessness, and depression caused by the failure to provide disability benefits on a timely basis.”
VVA and VMW are taking action to Band-Aid a disability claims system that the General Accountability Office and the Congress have, on numerous occasions, deemed broken. These organizations are suing the VA in Washington, D.C. federal court. The groups have asked the Court to impose a 90-day deadline for decisions on initial claims for disability benefits, and resolve appeals of those decisions within 180 days, as a way to force the VA to act promptly. If the VA fails to meet these standards, VVA and VMW requested that the Judge order the VA to provide interim monetary payments equivalent to a disability rating of 30 percent to those veterans whose claims have been delayed as a minimal lifeline of support when it is most needed.
The VA acknowledges that it takes at least six months to reach an initial decision on an average benefits claim; in its federal lawsuit, the VVA and VMW assert that the delay is actually a year or more. While veterans await resolution on their claims, they receive no benefits whatsoever from the VA. Moreover, appeals of initial decisions average more than four years, with some stretching 10 years or more. More than half of those appeals, when finally heard, result in reversals of benefits denials.
Visit www.veteransnewsroom.com to learn more about the VVA and VMW lawsuit. To obtain a copy of the letter delivered to Secretary Shinseki contact Robin Crawford at 202-974-5025 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My own claim is in it's seventh year of appeals and I am far from finished.Sphere: Related Content
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 VA-deputy-secretary
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki praised President Barack Obama's intent to nominate W. Scott Gould as next Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Gould is currently vice president for public sector strategy at IBM Global Business Services and a former intelligence officer in the naval reserve. He has public service experience at both the departments of Commerce and Treasury.
Shinseki said, "Scott and I share a reverence for those who have served in uniform. He is fully committed to fulfilling President Obama's vision and my goals for transforming the Department of Veterans Affairs into a 21st Century organization, and he understands the fundamentals that will drive that transformation: Veteran-centric, results-oriented and forward looking."
Shinseki further said that Gould possesses a unique and wide-ranging set of skills in information technologies, acquisition, budget, human resources and leading the modernization of large, complex organizations. "Scott's expertise in these areas, as well as his broad experience in the public sector, the private sector and the military, will prove invaluable for better serving our Veterans," Shinseki added.
Gould worked in the public sector as the chief financial officer and assistant secretary for administration at the Commerce Department and deputy assistant secretary for finance and management at the Treasury Department from 1994 to 1999. As a White House Fellow, he worked at the Export-Import Bank of the United States and in the Office of the White House Chief of Staff.
Prior to his job at IBM, he was chief executive officer of The O'Gara Company, a strategic advisory and investment services firm, and chief operating officer of Exolve, a technology services company.
As a naval reservist, Gould served at sea aboard the guided missile destroyer Richard E. Byrd and as assistant professor of naval science at Rochester University. He was recalled to active duty for both Operation Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom as a naval intelligence reservist.
During President Obama's campaign and after his election, Gould was co-chair of the National Veterans Policy Team, Obama for America, and co-chair of the Veterans Agency Review Team for the Presidential Transition Team.
A fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, Gould is a former member of the National Security Agency's Technical Advisory Group and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Overseers. He has been awarded the Department of Commerce Medal, the Treasury Medal and the Navy Meritorious Service Medal and is coauthor of The People Factor: Strengthening America by Investing in the Public Service. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Cornell University and a masters in business administration and a doctorate in education from the University of Rochester. Gould is married to Michele A. Flournoy, and they have three children: Alec, Victoria and Aidan.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Secretary Shinseki Announces Choice for Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs
A great choice and welcome news to the disabled veteran community, it shows us a new direction is really at hand, now please accept DR Linda Blimes solution to fixing the backlog of compensation claims and get the VARO's nationwide on track to help this nations veterans rather than being the cause of them to end up divorced, cars repossessed, homeless etc while waiting on the VA appeals process which takes years, enough is enough. Thank you General Shinseki.
Deloris Roberts is asking folks to contact Se. Leahy's office and him a short note on Keith Roberts.
Form's at: http://leahy.senate.gov/contact.cfm
--- On Fri, 1/30/09, email@example.com
Subject: Fwd: Keith A. Roberts, VA Injustice, and Criminal Punishment without a Crime
Date: Friday, January 30, 2009, 10:41 AM
Marketing and Public Relations Consultant
(608) 270 9995 (home)
(608) 658 4891 (cell)
From: "Delores Roberts"
Cc: "Michael A Leon"
"Robert P. Walsh"
"Brian C. DeYoung"
Subject: Keith A. Roberts, VA Injustice, and Criminal Punishment without a
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 21:45:09 -0600
Dear Senator Leahy:
I am writing this email because I understand that you are interested in my
husbands predicatment with hopes that you may be able to help my husband, Keith
A. Roberts, who is currently serving a 4 year federal prison sentence for
"allegedly" making false statements to the VA to obtain VA benefits
for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
This is a simple case complicated by thousands of pages of information, a US
Attorney with a closed mind, a federal Judge with a closed mind, a court
appointed criminal defense attorney that did nothing whatsoever to help his
client, a veteran with a Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depression,
Dsythymia as well as several other physical disabilities and a complete lack of
finances to fight such a mess, an over zealous VA Office of Inspector General
Investigator and a VA Regional Office with no "conscious" or
Please allow me to point out some pertinent information:
1. VA is not allowed to grant service connected benefits based upon what the
Veteran says, instead there must be credible evidence in the Veteran's
service medical and/or service personnel records indicating an injury or disease
was incurred in service. On one VA document the VA says Keith provided false
statements, on another document the VA says he did not commit fraud, on another
document the VA says what the Veteran says is not sufficient as a matter of law
to grant benefits. (Obviously this is what caused some of the confusion.)
Unfortunately for my husband, some of the truths from the VA were obscured and
not presented to the Court and others were issued by VA after he was found
guilty of Wire Fraud - for receiving his benefits by means of Electronic Funds
Transfers - the mandatory method of receiving benefits from the VA. One such
document was issued in April of 2008 which states that Keith did not commit
fraud upon the VA.
2. Keith's service medical and service personnel records provide the
information that something happened to him while on active duty in the Navy and
that he was in a psychiatric hospital in bed restrains, a straightjacket and
twice injected with 75 mg of IM Thorazine. His service medical records also
indicate that he was twice given prescriptions for Librium six months after the
3. Roberts was honorably discharged on December 23, 1971.
4. The statement the VA and the Court says is fraudulent was made by my
husband in early 1994 as part of a Vietnam Stress Inventory and Mississippi
Scale for PTSD test issued by VA. This statement was about an incident that
occurred at NAF Naples, Italy on February 4, 1969.
5. In this statement Keith says that he was left in charge of the line shack
(he was a Navy Lineman) and during lunch an accident occurred in which a young
man lost his life and Keith goes on to tell what happened.
6. The government used this statement to prove that he lied to the VA, because
the Official JAG Manual Report of the Investigation does not mention my
husband's name. Yet this report is not who was at the accident, but it was
about what should be done so this does not happen again. (An improper safety
pin was used and said pin slipped out causing the accident.) Not everyone there
gave statements, or if they did those statements were not included in the
report. Even the government's own witnesses stated under oath at trial that
there were many more personnel at the scene of the accident than what were
mentioned in the report.
7. I can provide a copy of Keith's statement if needed, but basically
Keith told everything that happened as corroborated by those witnesses that
testified at trial. Those that testified however did not know Keith Roberts or
did not remember him. The government did not call to testify those that said
they remembered the name or knew Keith, however the statements given by those
individuals are part of the governments complete evidence. There were some
differences but most major points corroborated. Remember this accident happened
in 1969 and Keith wrote his statement in 1994. The government tried to say that
Keith somehow had access to the JAG Manual Report, but he did not. Senator Herb
Kohel obtained a copy of the report years after Keith gave his statement to the
VA. As corrobation of the death of a fellow shipmate, Keith provided to VA a
Navy Death Certificate and a report indicating the accident occured and Gary D.
Holland had died.
8. When Keith applied for service connected benefits on his application (VA
Form 21-526) he stated his problems began on "13 Dec 69" which was the
date of his in-service psychiatric hospitalization. At trial Ms. Barbara Nehls
testified that this application was not for PTSD benefits. However, VA did
nothing with this information until March 28, 2003 when they granted a
retroactive effective date back from his original date for service connection of
August 4, 1993 to July 16, 1992. This retroactive date was based upon a
Congressional Inquiry from then Congressman Toby Roth and a letter my husband
wrote to Congressman Roth about having been diagnosed with having delayed stress
and his in-service psychiatric hospitalization in 1969. VA had originally
received Keith's private psychiatric records in December 1990 with this
diagnosis, during what VA calls his non-service connected claim, but like I said
did nothing about granting any benefits for the in-service psychiatric
hospitalization until 2003. The claim forms filed in 2002 was written by a
local county veteran's service officer on Keith's behalf after review of
Keith's VA C-file.
9. He had been given a "Special Psychiatric Examination" on March
13, 1991 (during what VA calls a non-service connected claim) at which time he
told the VA psychologist that he witnessed the death of his friend at NAF
Naples, the doctor said there was nothing in his records to verify this. Keith
also told the psychologist about the psychiatric hospitalization and the VA Dr
says "This is corroborated in his records in a report of a brief
psychiatric hospitalization". I feel it was VA's responsibility to
look into this in 1991, however like I stated in the above paragraph did nothing
until March 2003.
10. VA then has ever since verbally denied adding the December 1969 claim date
for benefits. The US Attorney never presented the March 28, 2003 VA Rating
Decision at Trial, his court appointed attorney did not enter it at trial. The
US Attorney says that Keith never said anything about the December 1969 claim
until after he was severed by the VA in 2004. Yet in VA documents it is shown
that Keith told them personally about the December 1969 in-service psychiatric
hospitalization in the November 1, 1989 private psychiatric records given to VA
in December 1990 and in his "Special VA Psychiatric Examination" on
March 13,1991 and in his VA benefits claim for in 1972 when VA received his
service medical records for a service connected dental claim, when VA again
reviewed his service medical records for his "Non-Service Connected
Claims", and again when VA recieved his service connected claim and stated
that there was no evidence of a neurosis or psychosis while in service.
11. I knew Keith before he entered the Navy in 1968. I met Keith again in
briefy in 1972. I married Keith in 1982. He had self-medicated himself with
alcohol for many years, yet under the influence or not, he has told me many
times the story of what happened in Naples, Italy the day the young man, Gary D.
Holland had died. In all that time he has never faltered or waivered from what
he said happened.
12. One of our local FBI Agents spoke with Keith prior to indictments and said
that the FBI were not going to investigate as there was nothing to investigate,
nor criminal activity. I know his name and can provide it if you want it.
13. Keith went before the Board of Veteran's Appeals for a hearing in June
2005, after he was indicted by the U.S. Attorney for mail fraud. After the
decision of the BVA in August 2005 saying that he gave false statements, he
immediately appealed this matter to the Court of Appeals for Veteran's
claims. A superceding indictment was then issued in September 2005 for Wire
Fraud because he gave fraudulent statements to get his VA benefits. Yet the BVA
said a Veteran's Statements can not be used to grant service connected
benefits as a matter of Law, so why was he indicted for saying he witnessed the
death of fellow shipmate and friend. VA law says that there must be some type
of corroborating evidence of an injury or disease occuring while in service,
there is ample evidence in Keith's VA C-file to indicate that some kind of
injury or disease occurred to Keith while in service.
14. He was imprisoned at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago,
Illinois for a Court Ordered psychiatric examination. He was in prison for 89
days for this examination. Dr. Jason Dana, PhD, who had been already twice
certified by the VA National Center for PTSD to diagnose PTSD was the examiner.
His report indicated that there was nothing in the Government's Complete
record to say that Keith was not exposed to the death of Gary Holland and that
the Dr. believes that Keith suffers from PTSD from in-service occurrences. This
report was sealed and not presented to the Court. The Court refused Keith to
bring Dr. Dana in as a witness. The court refused to allow Keith to discuss VA
Law. The VA representative that testified at trial alluded to VA Law but no law
was ever actually cited that anyone could research to see if this was the truth
or a lie. The VA representative was the one that granted Keith 100% service
connection in 1999. She also testified that all VA needs is something to
indicate that the "stressor" occurred, ie: the death of Gary D.
Holland, and that Keith Roberts was exposed to it.
15. It was proven beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that Gary D. Holland died
as a result of his injuries incurred on February 4, 1969. It was proven beyond
a reasonable doubt that Keith Roberts and Gary D. Holland were stationed at NAF
Naples, Italy when the accident occurred. Therefore this stressor should have
been sufficient as a second stressor that caused Keith Roberts to suffer from
16. However, Keith was found guilty of Wire Fraud in November 2006, March 2,
2007 was sentenced to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the VA
in excess of $262,000.00 even though there was no restitution order from the
Secretary of the VA. He has been in prison ever since that day. He was placed
at Waseca, MN until October of last year then was sent to Englewood FCI in
Colorado. We can no longer visit him, as we live near Green Bay, Wisconsin. We
have children that need their father, and I need my husband.
15. The VA Court had oral arguments on October 23, 2008 and still has not
issued a decision. The only decision that can be properly issued is to
reinstate his service connected benefits. Obviously this case is a can of worms
for everyone, as through the documents in Keith's VA C-file, he is not
guilty of anything except as he puts it "Enlisting in the US Navy"
however, he says he would "Do it all over again".
So if there is anything you can do to help, it would be greatly appreciated.
Mr. Robert P. Walsh, his VA benefits attorney is available at 269-962-9693. Mr.
Walsh also took it upon himself to help with criminal appeals as they was no one
we could afford to help him. Keith has issued me Power of Attorney in order to
help him seek justice.
Thank you for your time, I apologize for the length of this and possibly having
repeated myself more than once, but this is what happened in the smallest nut
shell I could squeeze it into. I am also going to be sending this letter to as
many people as possible, also asking for their help and support.
Delores J. Vigue-Roberts=============
Please take the time to contact Senator Leahy and let him know that this needs another look. The US Attorney should not have prosecuted Keith Roberts until the appeals process had been completed on the revocation of his PTSD benefits. He is doing time for having PTSD his main problem was wanting the VA to pay him back to the time of his discharge and that made the VA mad, but this is not how to get even with a veteran that is a nuisance.
CBS Evening News Investigation: Is The Army Doing Enough To Keep Military Families Safe?
(CBS) The Army reported Thursday that at least 128 soldiers took their lives last year - the most since they started keeping records, three decades ago. But sometimes soldiers direct their anger at others - cases of assault against wives and girlfriends are on the rise, and critics say the army is not doing enough about it. CBS News anchor Katie Couric reports in a CBS News investigation that the results can be tragic.
Sgt. James Pitts was a decorated soldier, part of the early ground offensive that stormed Baghdad.
He had spent a year serving with a combat engineer group providing Army operational support.
It wasn't long before the horrors of war became his daily reality.
"The only thing you could predict was that you were gonna get attacked," he said. "The worst part of it was ... smelling the dead bodies, because it lingers forever."
The terrifying images began to take a toll.
Pitts began abusing prescription drugs as a way to escape, and reached out to his command for help. He says they did nothing.
When it was time to come home, he hoped the joy of seeing his wife and 9-year-old son would make everything okay.
"I'm just overwhelmed," Tara Pitts, James' wife, said at the time. "Excited and relieved."
But the excitement and relief didn't last. Her husband was drinking heavily, experiencing flashbacks, having nightmares.
"I can't sleep, I can't get the war out of my head. I got my wife saying she doesn't love me anymore - I got no one in the military I can trust," James Pitts said.
Family members say despite some obvious problems, no one in the Army required, or even encouraged, Pitts to get psychological treatment when he returned to Fort Lewis in Washington State.
According to a police report obtained by CBS New, Pitts was "increasingly agitated" and had threatened to "put a bullet" through his wife's head.
Afraid for her life, Tara Pitts obtained a restraining order. She notified his command, who promised to help. But that help never came.
A week later, Pitts murdered his wife, drowning her in a bathtub. They had had a fight - and her screams, he said, set him off.
"It reminded me of those screams of fear with the mortars," he said. "I grabbed her and she bumped her head - bad. And when I looked down, she was under the water."
He was sentenced to 20 years without parole.
Pitts feels betrayed by an Army that once applauded his bravery.
"Not only did they turn their back on me, not only did they talk me out of counseling four times, but then they flew in from other units to testify against me," he said.
FYI: Find resources about domestic violence.
Read Part I of this CBS News investigation: The Hidden Casualties Of War.
Lynn McCollum is the Army Director of Family Affairs.
Couric asked her: "Doesn't it make you angry to hear these stories about wives who are being killed by soldiers who are actually calling out for help?"
"There's a tremendous amount of effort going into providing that safety network and assistance for those folks," McCollum said. "It's very frustrating and disturbing when we don't reach everyone."
The numbers are alarming. In the last decade, there have been nearly 90 domestic homicides and 25,000 substantiated cases of domestic violence at U.S. military installations.
When CBS News looked at the small town of Killeen, Texas, - home of Fort Hood - another disturbing trend became clear. Of the 2,500 domestic violence cases reported to police last year - half of them involved military personel.
The Army developed a "Battle Mind Training" program to help soldiers transition back into life at home and has pledged to increase funding for family advocacy.
Most agree that all the systems and services the military may offer are only as effective as the people willing to use them to help both traumatized soldiers and their potential victims.
Only then, they say, will double tragedies like the case of James and Tara Pitts be prevented.
"Everything that I thought I was, everything that I had lived for a decade - gone," Pitts said. "Gone."
PTSD is a family problem
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Vets See Chance for a Victory as Chemical and Biological Weapons Testing Victims
Jan 15, 2009
Vets See Chance for a Victory as Chemical and Biological Weapons Testing Victims
Talk about a betrayed veteran. Veterans are going to federal court for one thing that has eluded them from the federal government: The truth.
Check out the press release on the case, and letter from a betrayed veteran below.
Morrison & Foerster Files Suit Against CIA, DoD, and U.S. Army on Behalf of Troops Exposed to Testing of Chemical and Biological Weapons at Edgewood Arsenal and Other Top Secret Sites
What: Complaint Filed—Vietnam Veterans of America, et al. v. CIA, et al.
Where: United States District Court, Northern District of California
SAN FRANCISCO (January 7, 2009) – Attorneys at Morrison & Foerster LLP have filed an unprecedented action against the Defense Department, the CIA, and other government institutions based upon failures to care for those veterans who “volunteered” in thousands of secret experiments to test toxic chemical and biological substances under code names such as MKULTRA. The new case comes on the heels of an earlier case the firm filed on behalf of veterans afflicted with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”), which is now pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The firm is handling both cases on a pro bono basis.
The current action was brought in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans of America and six aging veterans with multiple diseases and ailments tied to a diabolical and secret testing program, whereby U.S. military personnel were deliberately exposed, by government and military agencies, to chemical and biological weapons and other toxins without informed consent. This multifaceted research program, which was launched in the early 1950s and continued through at least 1976, was conducted not only at the Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick, Maryland, but also across America by universities and hospitals under contract to Defendants.
Defendants include the CIA, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense (“DoD”), and various government officials responsible for these agencies. The CIA secretly provided financing, personnel, and direction for the experiments, which were mainly conducted or contracted by the Army.
Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief only – no monetary damages – and Plaintiffs seek redress for 25 years of diabolical experiments followed by over 30 years of neglect, including:
- the use of troops to test nerve gas, psychochemicals, and thousands of other toxic chemical or biological substances, and perhaps most gruesomely, the insertion of septal implants in the brains of subjects in a ghastly series of mind control experiments that went awry, leaving many civilian and military subjects with permanent disabilities;
- the failure to secure informed consent and other widespread failures to follow the precepts of U.S. and international law regarding the use of human subjects, including the 1953 Wilson Directive and the Nuremberg Code;
- an almost fanatical refusal by the DoD, the CIA, and the Army to satisfy their legal and moral obligations to locate the victims of their gruesome experiments or to provide health care or compensation to them;
- the deliberate destruction by the CIA of evidence and files documenting its illegal actions, actions which were punctuated by fraud, deception, and a callous disregard for the value of human life.
The Complaint asks the Court to determine that Defendants’ actions were illegal and that Defendants have a duty to notify all victims and to provide them with health care going forward.
According to Gordon P. Erspamer, a litigation partner in Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office, “Until this case is concluded, and all the victims are found and made whole, we cannot put behind us this sad chapter in American history when the government exploited the very citizens, both civilian and military, that it was supposed to protect.”
Vietnam Veterans of America’s President John Rowan commented, “Over 30 years ago, the government promised to locate the victims of the MKULTRA experiments and to take care of their needs. It now is painfully obvious that what it really wants is for the victims to just quietly die off while the government takes baby steps. VVA cannot leave these veterans behind.”
For further information, please contact lead counsel for Plaintiffs, Gordon P. Erspamer, 415-268-6411, GErspamer@mofo.com. Additionally, you may contact the following Plaintiffs: Vietnam Veterans of America, 800-882-1316 (John Rowan, firstname.lastname@example.org); Eric P. Muth, 203‑874‑4595, email@example.com; Wray C. Forrest, 719‑635‑9086, FaronYoung2@netscape.com; David Dufrane, 518-546-7870, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Franklin D. Rochelle, 910‑346‑5484. Bruce Price is available by special arrangement with counsel. The complaint can be viewed at http://www.edgewoodtestvets.org/.
Mike Bailey, human testing vehicle veteran seeks the truth.
Below is the text of his letter.
Ham, I entered the US Army by enlisting on October 31, 1973 I went to Basic at Fort Ord, Ca , in January 1974 I went to Fort Polk La, for Infantry AIT in Jan - March 74. In mid March I was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.
I was placed in Company C, 2/47th Infantry 3rd Brigade North Fort Lewis, old WW2 Barracks.
My platoon Sergeant was SFC Crosby and my Squad Leader was a Vietnam Vet named SSG Cierlik. I was assigned as an M79 gunner. In May 1974 we had a notice placed on the company bulletin board asking for volunteers for a 2 month Temporary Duty assignment testing new uniforms and equipment for the battlefield of the future at a base on the East Coast, if we were interested to tell the 1SG and he would make sure we were sent on Wednesday at 1300 to the Main Post Theater for the briefing.
Several men from the battalion volunteered for it, myself and SP4 Raymond Chase volunteered from our platoon, we were in the same squad. We went to the briefing, and we both stayed and filled out the paperwork to volunteer, after hearing that we would only work 4 day weeks, Monday - Thursday, 0800-1200 hours daily unless we were doing a test. We would have every Friday, Saturday and Sunday off and could travel anywhere on the East Coast and would not be restricted to within 50 miles of base, as was normal back then. We would never have KP, Guard duty or any other type duties like CQ or CQ runner, when we were off, we would be off. They would pay us TDY pay of 2 dollars a day and we would also be authorized travel by Privately Owned Automobiles which would give us nine days travel East and back West. 18 days travel plus 35 dollars a day per diem.
Over 200 men volunteered from Fort Lewis that day, they were only accepting ten of us. SP4 Chase and I were both surprised to receive orders on the first of June sending us TDY to Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland on 16 June 1974 with arrival on 25 June 1974. On 13 June 1974 while pulling CQ Runner duty someone slipped a 4 way hit of windowpane LSD in my coke, I awoke the next morning in a padded cell at Madigan Army Medical Center .I was released about 1100 hours to my platoon Sergeant SFC Crosby.
He informed me that they had conducted a health and welfare at 0100 hours on the 14th and found over 1000 hots of LSD in a SP4 's wall locker from our platoon, he admitted putting it in my drink without my knowledge. The Company Commander decided to send me TDY with SP4 Chase leaving on the 16th of June. We left Fort Lewis with a copy of my hospitalization report for the doctors at Edgewood to show the "bad trip".
We arrived at Edgewood Arsenal on the 25th of June, we processed in and there were approximately 30 of us enlisted men in the "med vol" group that would be there from June - August 1974. We were given thorough physicals and mental exams, the most strenous we had ever seen. MMPI exams for mental abilities and problems, all of us had GT scores over 110, on the ASVAB tests we took when we enlisted in the Army.
My inprocessing note had a special note to Dr Van Sim the Chief of the clinic to let him know I had just suffered a "bad trip" and was still having flashbacks, and the interviewer felt I would be a great candidate for all experiments. I was classified as a level A test subject for any and all experiments. I stayed at Edgewood Arsenal until 22 August 1974 when I left to return to Fort Lewis.
I stayed in the Army until September 1982 after serving in Korea on the DMZ, in Germany in the 3rd ID, Fort Gordon teaching basic trainees how to shoot on the BRM team. Sent again to the 9th ID at Fort Lewis in 198o and then was sent to Fort Irwin when they opened the National Training Center where I stayed until I ended my Army service as a Staff Sergeant in September 1982.
I joined the Army National Guard in Georgia in 1988, the 878th Engineer Battalion, until Desert Storm and I volunteered to join the 48the Infantry Brigade when they needed more men for the call to active duty for Desert Storm. I was activated on Nov 30, 1990. I served until May 1991.
Less than a year later I started suffering a series of TIA's and a full blown stroke in April 1992 less than 12 months after discharge. I later learned I should have filed for service connection due to the cardiovascular incident happening within the time line laid out in CFR 38, 3.307 and 3.309. But I had a job at the Post Office and none of the medical personnel told me, nor the people in the National Guard unit.
In Feb 1994 I suffered the first of 7 heart attacks. In Jan 1995 I was still having balance and memory problems and I went to another nuerologist for a second opinion, the one I had seen in April 1992 told me my problems were of a mental nature, which made me mad, I was 36, and had been infantry and a letter carrier my entire life, I weighed about 165 pounds, I did not fit the stroke profile to her. In January the new Doctor ordered an MRI and found a scar in the occipital and pareital lobes of my left brain, which explained the stroke symptoms the year and a half before.
In Feb 1997 I suffered another heart attack at work, the VA doctors admitted me and did an heart cath, I had three blockages, 100%, and 2 at 90% one team wanted to do a triple bypass and another team wanted to do stints. They told me if I did the bypass I would have 15 good years without anymore cardiac problems. I chose to have the bypass on the 17 the of Feb, I had a lot of complications and was not discharged from the VA until late March.
I started to file a VA claim for the cardiac problems then, but the process got so frustrating with the American legion, I gave up in frustration. In the next few years I would regret it. I went back to work at the Post Office where I had a good job and benefits, and I could not see fighting with the VA. I suffered another heart attack in May 1997, August 1997, November 1997, February 1998 (I am beginning to hate February's at this point) and on Father Day 1998 I suffered my final heart attack, I spent three days on a heart pump.
I finally walked away from the Postal Service in frustration in May 2002 and worked at America Online doing Tech support for the next two years. In June 2002 my legs swelled up and I had to buy new pants and shoes for my girlfriends fathers funeral the first week end in June. On Monday she took me to the VA hospital in Augusta. The doctor told me I had congestive heart failure and she scheduled me for a nuclear cat scan in August. The results of that bothered her she had me set up for a heart cath, which they set up in October which is fast for the VA.
They told me on October 22, 2002 that my heart was irrepareable and they could do no more surgery on me, and that I needed to retire from all work. I was on a medicate only regimen for care. They told me to file a Social Security claim and any VA claims I could. My SSD was approved in April, 2003, the VARO in Columbia SC denied my heart claim in July 2003.
In the meantime however I had been diagnosed with PTSD and the doctor said it was very severe, and just my PTSD symptoms alone made me unemployable., regardless of any other medical issues I had. I filed an amended claim in Dec 2003 asking for PTSD, IBS, GERD, psoriasis, 3 herniated disks, I filed a Notice of Disagreement on the cardiac denial. They denied me again. My shrink told me to write President Bush and explain my situation to him, about the chemical weapon and drug experiments at Edgwood Arsenal in 1974 and the stroke within a year of discharge from Desert Storm.
That made the DRO mad at Columbia VA Regional Office, and with the 4 court martials of some of the men who beat me unconscious in Fort wainwright Alaska on Feb 6, 1975 and they robbed me and left me to die in 20 below zero weather. They service connected me for PTSD at 50% and denied the rest of theproblems again. They refused to talk about anything that had to do with the human experiments at Edgewood.
In October 2005 they got caught lying to myself and then Senate VA Chairman Larry Craig that I had taken ill on 10 July 1974 and had been sent back to Fort Lewis, therefore I couldn't have been used in any experiments. I sent Senator Craig a copy of my out processing paperwork from Edgewood Arsenal dated 22 August 1974. On April 3, 2006 I got a letter notfying me that I was 100% P&T for PTSD and they denied my cardiac problems yet again, claiming I signed away my rights to the cardiac claim. I immediately filed another notice of disagreement. Now it is scheduled for a Board of Veteran Appeal Hearing. The VA is not supposed to "play let's make a deal" they are not Monty Python.
Mike Bailey 14 jan 2009
Mike thank you for publishing this on your web site
Officials: Army suicides at 3-decade high
By PAULINE JELINEK – 6 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — Suicides among U.S. soldiers rose last year to the highest level in decades, the Army announced Thursday. At least 128 soldiers killed themselves in 2008. But the final count is likely to be considerably higher because 15 more suspicious deaths are still being investigated and could also turn out to be self-inflicted, the Army said.
A new training and prevention effort will start next week. And Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatric consultant to the Army surgeon general, made a plea for more U.S. mental health professionals to sign on to work for the military.
"We are hiring and we need your help," she said.
The new suicide figure compares with 115 in 2007 and 102 in 2006 and is the highest since record keeping began in 1980. Officials calculate the deaths at a rate of roughly 20.2 per 100,000 soldiers — which is higher than the adjusted civilian rate for the first time since the Vietnam War, officials told a Pentagon news conference.
"We need to move quickly to do everything we can to reverse this disturbing ... number," Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said.
Officials have said that troops are under tremendous and unprecedented stress because of repeated and long tours of duty due to the simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The stress has placed further burdens on an overwhelmed military health care system also trying to tend to huge numbers of troops suffering from post-traumatic stress, depression and other mental health problems as well as physical wounds and injuries of tens of thousands.
Yearly increases in suicides have been recorded since 2004, when there were 64 — only about half the number now. And they've occurred despite increased training, prevention programs and psychiatric staff.
When studying individual cases, officials said they found that the most common factors for suicides were soldiers suffering problems with their personal relationships, legal or financial issues and problems on the job.
The statistics released Thursday cover soldiers who killed themselves while they were on active duty — including National Guard and Reserve troops who had been activated.
The previous year's rate of suicides — 18.8 per 100,000 soldiers — had also been the highest on record. But the new pace of 20.2 per 100,000 was the first time the rate surpassed the civilian number, when adjusted to reflect the Army's younger and male-heavy demographics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the suicide rate for U.S. society overall was about 11 per 100,000 in 2004, the latest year for which the agency has figures. But the Army says the civilian rate is more like 19.5 per 100,000 when adjusted.
The new estimated rate of 20.2 is more than double the 9.8 in 2002 — the first full year after the start of the war in Afghanistan
The new Army statistics follow a report earlier this month showing that the Marine Corps recorded more suicides last year than any year since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
That report said 41 Marines were possible or confirmed suicides in 2008, or 16.8 per 100,000 troops. The Marine rate remained unchanged from the previous year.
Marine and Army units have borne most of duty in the two wars, which have required more use of ground forces to fight the insurgencies.
The numbers kept by the service branches don't show the whole picture of war-related suicides because they don't include deaths after people have left the military. The Department of Veterans Affairs tracks those numbers and says there were 144 suicides among the nearly 500,000 service members who left the military from 2002-2005 after fighting in at least one of the two ongoing wars.
The true incidence of suicide among military veterans is not known, according to a report last year by the Congressional Research Service. Based on numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the VA estimates that 18 veterans a day — or 6,500 a year — take their lives, but that number includes vets from all previous wars.
"The suicide numbers released today come as no surprise to the veterans' community who has experienced the psychological toll of war," said Paul Rieckhoff, director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "But we cannot let current trend lines continue. These are preventable deaths for which the Department of Defense and the VA can and must take bold action."
On the Net:
Army suicide prevention: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/HR/suicide/default.asp
As a veteran who deals daily with the demons of PTSD and who has attempted suicide three times in the past, these numbers are disturbing to me and the amount of deaths coming from the war zones that are under investigation as to the cause, which means they were NOT combat connected and are either suicides or murders, there are more and more every week, these multiple deployments are reeking havoc on the military community soldiers, marines, spouses, children etc, suicides affect the entire family there has to be more focus on mental health.
Fort Carson will pass on the newest trendy treatment for PTSD
By ANTHONY LANE
Col. George Brandt wants combat vets to be able to play with their children after returning home.
Photo by Anthony Lane
The most exciting news in recent months about treating post-traumatic stress disorder involves MDMA. Otherwise known as Ecstasy.
Michael Mithoefer, a South Carolina psychiatrist, has researched the effects of giving the drug to help patients confront their traumatic pasts. He's nonchalant when asked if it actually worked.
"It did," he says, explaining the drug seemed to enable a large majority of subjects to "change their relationship to their trauma."
Excitement about Mithoefer's work sent ripples across the media landscape, with the results described in The Economist magazine and trumpeted on CNN by none other than Dr. Sanjay Gupta, President Barack Obama's nominee to become surgeon general.
But at Fort Carson, where PTSD has become part of the military vernacular, a question about MDMA's potential is met with decidedly less ... enthusiasm.
"If someone is so emotionally numb that they can't affectively connect, that would be an interesting place to ask that question," Col. George Brandt says quietly as a couple onlookers chuckle in an Evans Army Community Hospital meeting room. Then he adds for clarity: "We're not doing that here."
A wider net
That's not to say they're doing nothing. Fort Carson and the Army took fire in 2006 and 2007 after combat veterans started talking about being ignored, ridiculed or even kicked out of the Army for reporting the nightmares, sleeplessness or anxiety that can accompany PTSD. Screens to find soldiers who've experienced these symptoms have increased, and Army has announced efforts to make soldiers more comfortable admitting to having them.
Brandt, a psychiatrist and the hospital's chief of behavioral health, talks in general about one brigade with about 4,000 soldiers that was given a total of around 9,000 screens. About 650 soldiers screened positive for possible behavioral health problems and were sent on to be evaluated by social workers.
In the end, Brandt says, about 160 were sent for further evaluations to see if they had PTSD, depression or another disorder.
"I'm screening more people positive than actually get referred for care, but that's the way I want it to be," Brandt explains. "That's the way a screening procedure should work — the goal is to go fishing, to identify cases, pull people in, and refer them accordingly."
The numbers bear that out, at least partially. According to Fort Carson statistics, 547 PTSD cases were identified in 2005 and 535 in 2006. With all the attention devoted to PTSD, diagnoses climbed to 750 in 2007.
They dropped again in 2008 to 450. Brandt couldn't be reached for follow-up after Fort Carson released the PTSD numbers, but the drop could be related to a lull in soldiers returning from combat or a reduction in the severity of fighting.
When Brandt came to Fort Carson in August, there were fewer than 50 psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers handling mental health care at Evans.
"Now we're well over 60, on our way to 70," he says.
"We have many open hiring agreements out there, looking for psychiatrists and psychologists," notes Lt. Col. Nicholas Piantanida, deputy commander for clinical services at Evans. "My guidance is that we will continue to hire these individuals."
After reports of untreated PTSD cases circulated, congressional pressure built to change procedures and attitudes so soldiers can get help. In August 2006, then-Sen. Ken Salazar called for a hearing on the subject, and legislation was eventually passed giving some protection to veterans discharged for mental health reasons or injuries.
Salazar, now Barack Obama's secretary of the Interior, could not be reached to comment on how the Army is now handling PTSD cases. Newly sworn-in Sen. Mark Udall, in an e-mail, offered only: "It is important for the Army to identify and treat soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) cases as soon as possible."
Rick Duncan, with the Colorado Veterans Alliance, says programs now are in place. But there's still what Duncan calls a "structural" problem, with soldiers facing skeptical colleagues once a mental-health problem rears up.
Duncan describes the experiences of a soldier he knows who is now in Fort Carson's Warrior Transition Unit, a special unit for wounded troops. The soldier, he says, was involved in an incident during which Iraqi civilians were killed in 2006, and he started having sleeplessness, nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD when he returned to combat in 2008. Even if he makes a full recovery from PTSD, Duncan says, this combat veteran will have to worry, "Are soldiers going to trust me?"
This reminds me of the Army experimenting with LSD back in the 50s thru the 70s can you imagine an active duty soldier being told to report to the base hospital and told to take Ecstacy? But if they did it off base on their own they would be arrested, is this a road that the active duty military wants to go down?
full IG Report at:
The e-mail message which prompted this review was an interoffice communication from one individual to one clinic team. It was not intended for general distribution. Our interviews with all recipients of the message revealed no consistent perception that inappropriate diagnoses should be rendered. The e-mail was written on the author’s initiative, without direct or indirect instruction from local, regional, or national VA leadership.
From: VAEmail (Veterans Affairs) [mailto:_@VETAFF.SENATE.GOV]
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 2:37 PM
Subject: INSPECTOR GENERAL RELEASES INVESTIGATION ON VA STAFFER'S EMAIL DISCOURAGING PTSD DIAGNOSIS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kawika Riley (Veterans’ Affairs)
January 28, 2009 (202) 224-9126
INSPECTOR GENERAL RELEASES INVESTIGATION ON
VA STAFFER’S EMAIL DISCOURAGING PTSD DIAGNOSIS
Chairman Akaka remains concerned that VA is overburdened and underfunded
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, commented today on a new VA Inspector General (IG) report into an email sent by a VA psychologist last year that appeared to discourage health care staff from diagnosing veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The IG investigation, requested by Akaka and released today, found that while the email was poorly written and inappropriate, it did not result in a change in diagnoses at that VA facility.
“I appreciate the IG’s investigation into this matter. It is fortunate that the actions of a single health professional did not result in an artificial decline in the number of veterans diagnosed with PTSD. I remain concerned that VA’s health care system is overburdened and underfunded as the needs of veterans grow greater and more complicated. I will continue to work towards making VA funding more timely, predictable, and robust,” Akaka said.
Chairman Akaka requested the IG’s investigation when the email was brought to light last year. He held a hearing on systemic indifference to invisible wounds on June 4, 2008.
full IG Report
A Soldier's Story: "Taking Chance"
(CBS) After they are brought to Dover Air Force Base, all fallen soldiers, Marines, airmen, and sailors are escorted home to their families and loved ones by a uniformed member of the U.S. armed forces. In mid-April 2004, 38-year-old U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Michael R. Strobl, a manpower analyst assigned to the Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., accompanied the body of a young Marine killed in Iraq to his final resting place in Wyoming. Strobl wrote the following description of his journey to Wyoming in a small, spiral notebook on his way back to Virginia.
A personal narrative by Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Strobl
Chance Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday. Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn't know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him.
Over a year ago, I volunteered to escort the remains of Marines killed in Iraq should the need arise. Thankfully, I hadn't been called on to be an escort since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. The first few weeks of April, however, had been tough ones for the Marines. On the Monday after Easter, I was reviewing Department of Defense press releases when I saw that a Private First Class Chance Phelps was killed in action outside of Baghdad. The press release listed his hometown as Clifton, Colorado — which is near where I’m from. I notified our battalion adjutant and told him that, should the duty to escort PFC Phelps fall to our battalion, I would take him.
I didn't hear back the rest of Monday and all day Tuesday until 1800. The battalion duty NCO called my cell phone and said I needed to be ready to leave for Dover Air Force Base at 1900 in order to escort the remains of PFC Phelps. I called the major who had the task of informing Phelps’ parents of his death. The major said that the funeral was going to be in Dubois, Wyoming. (It turned out that PFC Phelps only lived near my hometown during his senior year of high school.) I had never been to Wyoming and had never heard of Dubois.
With two other escorts from Quantico, I got to Dover AFB at 2330 on Tuesday night. First thing on Wednesday we reported to the mortuary at the base. In the escort lounge there were about half a dozen Army soldiers and about an equal number of Marines waiting to meet up with "their" remains for departure. PFC Phelps was not ready, however, and I was told to come back on Thursday. Now at Dover with nothing to do and a solemn mission ahead, I began to get depressed.
I didn't know anything about Chance Phelps; not even what he looked like. I wondered about his family and what it would be like to meet them. I did push-ups in my room until I couldn't do any more. On Thursday morning I reported back to the mortuary. This time there was a new group of Army escorts and a couple of the Marines who had been there Wednesday. There was also an Air Force captain there to escort his brother home to San Diego.
We received a brief covering our duties and the proper handling of the remains, and we were shown pictures of the shipping container and told that each one contained, in addition to the casket, a flag. I was given an extra flag since PFC Phelps’ parents were divorced.
It turned out that I was the last escort to leave on Thursday. This meant that I repeatedly got to participate in the small ceremonies that mark all departures from the Dover AFB mortuary.
Most of the remains are taken from Dover AFB by hearse to the airport in Philadelphia for air transport to their final destination. When the remains of a service member are loaded onto a hearse and ready to leave the Dover mortuary, there is an announcement made over the building's intercom system. With the announcement, all service members working at the mortuary, regardless of branch, stop work and form up along the driveway to render a slow ceremonial salute as the hearse departs. On this day, there were also some civilian workers doing construction on the mortuary grounds. As each hearse passed, they would stop working and place their hard hats over their hearts. This was my first sign that my mission with PFC Phelps was larger than the Marine Corps and that his family and friends were not grieving alone.
Eventually I was the last escort remaining in the lounge. The master gunnery sergeant in charge of the Marine liaison there came to see me. He had a pouch with Chance Phelps’ personal effects. He removed each item: a large watch, a wooden cross with a lanyard, two loose dog tags, two dog tags on a chain, and the Saint Christopher medal, which was on a silver chain. Although we had been briefed that we might be carrying some personal effects of the deceased, I was taken aback. Holding his personal effects, I was starting to get to know Chance Phelps.
Finally we were ready. I grabbed my bags and went outside. I was somewhat startled when I saw the shipping container, loaded three quarters of the way into the back of a black Chevy Suburban that had been modified to carry such cargo. This was the first time I saw my "cargo," and I was surprised at how large the shipping container was. The master gunnery sergeant and I verified that the name on the container was Phelps', and then they pushed him the rest of the way in and we left. Now it was PFC Chance Phelps’ turn to receive the military — and construction workers' — honors. He was finally moving towards home.
As I chatted with the driver on the hour-long trip to Philadelphia, it became clear that he considered it an honor to contribute to getting Chance home. He offered his sympathy to the family. I was glad finally to be moving, yet I was apprehensive about what things would be like at the airport. I didn't want this container to be treated like ordinary cargo, but I knew that the simple logistics of moving around something this large would be difficult.
When we got to the Northwest Airlines cargo terminal at the Philadelphia airport, the cargo handler and hearse driver pulled the shipping container onto a loading bay while I stood to the side and executed a slow salute. Once Chance was safely in the cargo area, and I was satisfied that he would be treated with due care and respect, the hearse driver drove me over to the passenger terminal and dropped me off.
As I walked up to the ticketing counter in my uniform, a Northwest employee started to ask me if I knew how to use the automated boarding-pass dispenser. Before she could finish, another ticketing agent interrupted her. He told me to go straight to the counter, then explained to the woman that I was a military escort. She seemed embarrassed. The woman behind the counter already had tears in her eyes as I was pulling out my government travel voucher. She struggled to find words but managed to express her sympathy for the family and thanked me for my service. She upgraded my ticket to first class.
After clearing security, I was met by another Northwest Airlines employee at the gate. She told me a representative from cargo would be arriving to take me down to the tarmac to observe the movement and loading of PFC Phelps. I hadn't really told any of them what my mission was, but they all knew. When the man from the cargo crew met me, he, too, struggled for words. On the tarmac, he told me stories of his childhood as a military brat and repeatedly said that he was sorry for my loss. Even here in Philadelphia, far away from Chance's hometown, people were mourning with his family.
On the tarmac, the cargo crew was silent except for when they gave occasional instructions to each other. I stood to the side and saluted as the conveyor moved Chance to the aircraft. I was relieved when he was finally settled into place. The rest of the bags were loaded and I watched them shut the cargo-bay door before heading back up to board the aircraft. One of the pilots had taken my carry-on bag himself and had it stored next to the cockpit door so he could watch it while I was on the tarmac. As I boarded the plane, I could tell immediately that the flight attendants had already been informed of my mission. They seemed a little choked up as they led me to my seat.
About forty-five minutes into our flight, I still hadn't spoken to anyone except to tell the first-class flight attendant that I would prefer water. I was surprised when the flight attendant from the back of the plane suddenly appeared and leaned down to grab my hands. She said, "I want you to have this," as she pushed a small gold cruciﬁx, with a relief of Jesus, into my hand. It was her lapel pin and it looked somewhat worn. I suspected it had been hers for quite some time. That was the only thing she said to me the entire flight.
When we landed in Minneapolis, I was the first one off the plane. The pilot himself escorted me straight down the side stairs of the exit tunnel to the tarmac. The cargo crew there already knew what was on this plane. They were unloading some of the luggage when an Army sergeant, a fellow escort who had left Dover earlier that day, appeared next to me. His "cargo" was going to be loaded onto my plane for its continuing leg. We stood side by side in the dark and executed a slow salute as Chance was removed from the plane. I then waited with the soldier and we saluted together as his fallen comrade was loaded onto the plane.
My trip with Chance was going to be somewhat unusual in that I had an overnight stopover. We had a late start out of Dover and there was just too much traveling ahead of us to continue on that day. (We still had a flight from Minneapolis to Billings, Montana, then a five-hour drive to the funeral home. That was to be followed by a 90-minute drive to Chance's hometown.)
I was concerned about leaving him overnight in the Minneapolis cargo area. My 10-minute ride from the tarmac to the cargo holding area eased my apprehension; just as in Philadelphia, the cargo guys in Minneapolis were extremely respectful and seemed honored to do their part. While talking with them, I learned that the cargo supervisor for Northwest Airlines at the airport is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. They called him for me and let me talk to him.
Once I was satisfied that all would be okay for the night, I asked one of the cargo crew if he would take me back to the terminal so that I could catch my hotel's shuttle. Instead, he drove me straight to the hotel himself. At the hotel, the lieutenant colonel called me and said he would personally pick me up in the morning and bring me back to the cargo area. Before leaving the airport, I had told the cargo crew that I wanted to come back to the cargo area in the morning rather than go straight to the passenger terminal. I felt bad for leaving Chance and wanted to see the shipping container where I had left it for the night.
The next morning, the lieutenant colonel drove me to the airport, and I was met again by a man from the cargo crew and escorted down to the tarmac. The pilot of the plane joined me as I waited for them to bring Chance from the cargo area. The pilot and I talked about his service in the Air Force and how he missed it.
I saluted as Chance was moved up the conveyor and onto the plane. It would be a while before the luggage was loaded, so the pilot took me up to board the plane where I could watch the tarmac from a window. With no other passengers yet on board, I talked with the flight attendants and one of the cargo guys. He had been in the Navy and one of the attendants had been in the Air Force. Everywhere I went, people were telling me about their relationship to the military. After all the baggage was aboard, I went back down to the tarmac, inspected the cargo bay, and watched them secure the door.
When we arrived at Billings, I was again the first off the plane. The funeral director had driven five hours up from Riverton, Wyoming, to meet us. He shook my hand as if I had personally lost a brother.
We moved Chance to a secluded cargo area, and it was now time for me to remove the shipping container and drape the flag over the casket. I had predicted that this would choke me up, but I found I was more concerned with proper flag etiquette than the solemnity of the moment. Once the flag was in place, I stood by and saluted as Chance was loaded onto the van from the funeral home. I picked up my rental car and followed Chance for five hours until we reached Riverton. During the long trip I imagined how my meeting with Chance's parents would go. I was very nervous about that.
When we finally arrived at the funeral home, I had my first face-to-face meeting with the casualty assistance call officer (CACO). It had been his duty to inform the family of Chance's death, and I knew he had been through a difficult week.
Inside I gave the funeral director some of the paperwork from Dover and discussed the plan for the next day. The service was to be at 1400 in the high school gymnasium up in Dubois, population about 900, some 90 miles away. Eventually, we had covered everything. The CACO had some items that the family wanted inserted into the casket, and I felt I needed to inspect Chance's uniform to ensure everything was proper. Although it was going to be a closed-casket funeral, I still wanted to make certain his uniform was squared away.
Earlier in the day I wasn't sure how I'd handle this moment. Suddenly, the casket was open and I got my first look at Chance Phelps. His uniform was immaculate — a tribute to the professionalism of the Marines at Dover. I noticed that he wore six ribbons over his marksmanship badge; the senior one was his Purple Heart. I had been in the Corps for more than 17 years, including a combat tour, and was wearing eight ribbons. This private first class, with less than a year in the Corps, had already earned six.
The next morning, I wore my dress blues and followed the hearse for the trip up to Dubois. This was the most difficult leg of our trip for me. I was bracing for the moment when I would meet his parents and hoping I would find the right words as I presented them with Chance's personal effects. We got to the high school gym about four hours before the service was to begin. The gym floor was covered with folding chairs neatly lined in rows.
There were a few townspeople making final preparations when I stood next to the hearse and saluted as Chance was moved out of the hearse and into the gym. A Marine sergeant, the command representative from Chance's battalion, met me inside. His eyes were watery as he relieved me of watching Chance so that I could go eat lunch and find my hotel.
At the restaurant, the table had a flyer announcing Chance's service. Dubois High School gym, two o'clock. It also said that the family would be accepting donations so that they could buy flak vests to send to troops in Iraq.
I drove back to the gym at a quarter after one. I could have walked; you could walk to just about anywhere in Dubois in 10 minutes. I wanted to find a quiet room where I could take Chance's things out of their pouch and untangle the chain of the Saint Christopher medal from the dog-tag chains and arrange everything before his parents came in. I had twice before removed the items from the pouch to ensure they were all there — even though there was no possibility anything could have fallen out. Each time, the two chains had been quite intertwined. I didn't want to be fumbling around trying to separate them in front of his parents. Our meeting, however, didn’t go as expected.
I practically bumped into Chance's stepmom accidentally and our introductions began in the noisy hallway outside the gym. In short order I met Chance's stepmom and father, followed by his stepdad and, at last, his mom. I didn't know how to express to these people my sympathy for their loss and my gratitude for their sacrifice. Now, however, they were repeatedly thanking me for bringing their son home and for my service. I was humbled beyond words.
I told them that I had some of Chance's things and asked if we could try to find a quiet place. The five of us ended up in what appeared to be a computer lab — not what I had envisioned for this occasion. After we had arranged five chairs around a small table, I told them about our trip. I told them how, at every step, Chance was treated with respect, dignity, and honor. I told them about the staff at Dover and all the folks at Northwest Airlines. I tried to convey how the entire nation, from Dover to Philadelphia, to Minneapolis, to Billings and Riverton expressed grief and sympathy over their loss.
Finally, it was time to open the pouch. The first item I happened to pull out was Chance's large watch. It was still set to Baghdad time. Next were the lanyard and the wooden cross. Then the dog tags and the Saint Christopher medal. This time the chains were not tangled. Once all of his items were laid out on the table, I told his mom that I had one other item to give them. I retrieved the flight attendant’s crucifix from my pocket and told its story. I set that on the table and excused myself. When I next saw Chance's mom, she was wearing the crucifix on her lapel.
By 1400 most of the seats on the gym floor were filled and people were finding seats in the fixed bleachers high above the gym floor. There were a surprising number of people in military uniform. Many Marines had come up from Salt Lake City. Men from various VFW posts and the Marine Corps League occupied multiple rows of folding chairs. It turned out that Chance's sister, a petty officer in the Navy, worked for a rear admiral — the chief of naval intelligence — at the Pentagon. The admiral had brought many of the sailors on his staff with him to Dubois to pay respects to Chance and to support his sister. After a few songs and some words from a Navy chaplain, the admiral took the microphone and told us how Chance had died.
Chance was an artillery cannoneer and his unit was acting as provisional military police outside of Baghdad. Chance had volunteered to man a .50caliber machine gun in the turret of the leading vehicle in a convoy. The convoy came under intense fie but Chance stayed true to his post and returned fie with the big gun, covering the rest of the convoy, until he was fatally wounded.
After the admiral spoke, the commander of the local VFW post read some of the letters Chance had written home. In letters to his mom, he talked of the mosquitoes and the heat. In letters to his stepfather, he told of the dangers of convoy operations and of receiving fire.
The service was a fitting tribute to this hero. When it was over, we stood as the casket was wheeled out with the family following. The casket was placed onto a horse-drawn carriage for the mile-long trip from the gym, down the main street, then up the steep hill to the cemetery. I stood alone and saluted as the carriage departed the high school. I found my car and joined Chance's convoy.
All along the route, people had lined the street and were waving small American flags. The flags that were otherwise posted were all at half-staff. For the last quarter-mile up the hill, local Boy Scouts, spaced about 20 feet apart, all in uniform, held large flags. At the foot of the hill, I could look up and back and see how enormous the procession was. I wondered how many people would be at this funeral if it were in, say, Detroit or Los Angeles — probably not as many as were here in little Dubois, Wyoming.
The carriage stopped about 15 yards from the grave, and the military pallbearers and the family waited until the men of the VFW and Marine Corps league were formed up and the school buses had arrived, carrying many of the people from the procession route. Once the entire crowd was in place, the pallbearers came to attention and began to remove the casket from the caisson. As I had done all week, I came to attention and executed a slow ceremonial salute as Chance was being transferred from one mode of transport to another.
From Dover to Philadelphia, Philadelphia to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Billings, Billings to Riverton, and Riverton to Dubois, we had been together. Now, as I watched them carry him the final 15 yards, I was choking up. I felt that, as long as he was still moving, he was somehow still alive. Then they placed him at his grave. He had stopped moving.
Although my mission had been officially complete once I turned him over to the funeral director at the Billings airport, it was his placement at his grave that really concluded the mission in my mind. Now he was home to stay and I suddenly felt at once sad, relieved, and useless.
The chaplain said some words that I couldn't hear and two Marines removed the flag from the casket and slowly folded it for presentation to his mother. When the ceremony was over, Chance's father placed a ribbon from his service in Vietnam on Chance's casket. His mother removed something from her blouse and put it on the casket. I later saw that it was the flight attendant's crucifix. Eventually friends of Chance's moved closer to the grave. A young man put a can of Copenhagen on the casket and many others left flowers.
Finally, we all went back to the gym for a reception. There was enough food to feed the entire population for a few days. In one corner of the gym there was a table set up with lots of pictures of Chance and some of his sports awards. People were continually approaching me and the other Marines to thank us for our service. Almost all of them had some story to tell about their connection to the military. About an hour into the reception, I had the impression that every man in Wyoming had, at one time or another, been in the service.
It seemed like every time I saw Chance's mom, she was hugging a different well-wisher. After a few hours at the gym, I went back to the hotel to change out of my dress blues. The local VFW post had invited everyone over to "celebrate Chance's life." The post was on the other end of town from my hotel, and the drive took less than two minutes. The crowd was somewhat smaller than earlier at the gym but the place was packed.
The largest room in the post was a banquet/dining/dancing area and it was now being renamed "The Chance Phelps Room." Above the entry were two items: a large portrait of Chance in his dress blues and a wooden carving of the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, the Marine Corps emblem. In one corner of the room there was another memorial to Chance. There were candles burning around another picture of him in his blues. On the table surrounding his photo were his Purple Heart citation and his Purple Heart medal. Above it all was a television that was playing a photomontage of Chance's life from small boy to proud Marine.
As had been happening all day, indeed all week, people were thanking me for bringing Chance home. I talked with the men who had handled the horses and horse-drawn carriage and learned that they had worked through the night to groom and prepare the horses for Chance's last ride. They were all very grateful that they were able to contribute.
After a while we all gathered in the Chance Phelps Room for the formal dedication. The post commander told us of how Chance had been so looking forward to becoming a life member of the VFW. Now, in the Chance Phelps Room of the Dubois, Wyoming, post, he would be an eternal member. We all raised our beers and the room was christened.
Later, a staff sergeant from the reserve unit in Salt Lake grabbed me and said, "Sir, you gotta hear this." There were two other Marines with him and he told the younger one, a lance corporal, to tell me his story. The staff sergeant said the lance corporal was normally too shy to tell it, but now he'd had enough beer to overcome his usual modesty. As the lance corporal started to talk, an older man joined our circle. He wore a baseball cap that indicated that he had been with the 1st Marine Division in Korea. Earlier in the evening, he had told me about one of his former commanding officers, a Colonel Puller.
So, there I was, standing in a circle with three Marines recently returned from fighting with the 1st Marine Division in Iraq and one not-so-recently returned from fighting with the 1st Marine Division in Korea. I, who had fought with the 1st Marine Division in Kuwait, was about to gain a new insight into our Corps. At that moment, in this circle of current and former Marines, the differences in our ages and ranks dissipated — we were all simply Marines. The young lance corporal began to tell us his story.
His squad had been on a patrol through a city street. They had taken small-arms fire and had literally dodged a rocket-propelled grenade that sailed between two Marines. At one point they received fire from behind a wall and had neutralized the sniper with a SMAW (shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon) round. The back blast of the SMAW, however, kicked up a substantial rock that hammered the lance corporal in the thigh, missing his groin only because he had reflexively turned his body sideways at the shot.
Their squad had suffered some wounded and was receiving more sniper fire when suddenly he was hit in the head by an AK-47 round. I was stunned as he told us how he felt like a baseball bat had been slammed into his head.
He had spun around and fallen unconscious. When he came to, he had a severe scalp wound but his Kevlar helmet had saved his life. He continued with his unit for a few days before realizing he was suffering the effects of a severe concussion.
The staff sergeant finished the story. He told how this lance corporal had begged and pleaded with the battalion surgeon to let him stay with his unit. In the end, the doctor said there was just no way; he had suffered a severe and traumatic head wound and would have to be medevac'd.
The Marine Corps is a special fraternity. There are moments when we are reminded of this. Interestingly, those moments don't always happen at awards ceremonies or in dress blues at Birthday Balls. I have found, rather, that they occur at unexpected times and places — next to a loaded moving van at Camp Lejeune's base housing, in a dirty tent in northern Saudi Arabia, and in a smoky VFW post in western Wyoming.
After the story was done, the lance corporal stepped over to the old man, put his arm over the man's shoulder, and told him that he, the Korean War vet, was his hero. The two of them stood there with their arms over each other's shoulders, and we were all silent for a moment. When they let go, I told the lance corporal that there were recruits down on the yellow footprints tonight who would soon be learning his story.
I was finished drinking beer and telling stories. I found Chance's father and shook his hand one more time. Chance's mom had already left, and I deeply regretted not being able to tell her goodbye.
I left Dubois in the morning before sunrise for my long drive back to Billings. It had been my honor to take Chance Phelps to his final post. Now he is on the high ground overlooking his town.
I miss him.
HBO Will air this Kevin Bacon film on Feb 21 at 8:00 PM Eastern time I think this film should be required viewing for all Americans.......
Spat stalls eye-trauma center for troops
By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — A military center devoted to finding new treatments for combat eye injuries has been delayed for a year by an ongoing squabble between the Congress and the Pentagon over who will pay the $5 million needed to get it started, according to interviews and Pentagon records.
"I'm the named leader of a concept," says Army Col. Donald Gagliano, an ophthalmologist and retina surgeon chosen in November as director of a "Vision Center of Excellence" that doesn't yet exist. "I don't have a computer."
The delay comes as roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to take a toll on the eyes of servicemembers: 13% of all casualties suffered eye damage ranging from distorted vision to blindness, according to military research.
And a new category of impaired vision has emerged for soldiers suffering traumatic brain injury (TBI) from blast, according to research by the Department of Veterans Affairs. These victims have eyes that no longer work together properly, says VA researcher Gregory Goodrich.
While the military and VA doctors treat these eye wounds, the center is designed to efficiently identify and track them, connect victims with specialists, and promote advancement of eye-care medicine.
FIND MORE STORIES IN: Congress | Afghanistan | Virginia | Iraq | Pentagon | George W Bush | Department of Veterans Affairs | Rep. John Murtha | Pennsylvania Democrat | Matthew Mazonkey | House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee | Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania | Traumatic Brain Injury
Even so, a year after President Bush signed the 2008 law mandating the center — a co-sponsor was then-senator Barack Obama — Gagliano has no staff beyond a deputy director and no offices.
Congress provided "more than enough funding to stand up the eye center within the $1.2 billion appropriated for TBI and related injuries," says Matthew Mazonkey, spokesman for Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
The language in the financing bill limited use of the money to treatment and research psychological war injuries and traumatic brain injury, says physician Joseph Kelley, Defense deputy for clinical and program policy for health affairs. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury were created in November of last year.
"No money was appropriated (for a vision center)," Kelley says.
In a letter to Murtha last May, three House Democrats — Tim Walz of Minnesota, Zack Space of Ohio and Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania — urged appropriation of $5 million for the center and $5 million for vision-wound research. Congress provided only $1 million in supplemental funding in 2008. Walz says he was disappointed.
The Pentagon "needs to find the money one way or another and has to move forward with the project," he says.
For this fiscal year, Congress has appropriated $4 million for eye-wound research. The Pentagon has budgeted $3 million to help create the vision center. Gagliano says he may have it up and running in three to four months.
with billions being pizzed in the wind on stimulus packages and war costs for 2 wars, and thousands of veterans with PTSD being ignored I am sure someone in the Pentagon or Congress can FIND a measly 5 million in a hidden slush fund
Officials: Army suicides at 3-decade high
By Pauline Jelinek - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Jan 29, 2009 12:45:02 EST
WASHINGTON — Suicides among soldiers soared again last year and are at a nearly three-decade high, senior defense officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.
At least 128 soldiers killed themselves in 2008, said two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the data has not been formally released.
The final count likely will be considerably higher because more than a dozen other suspicious deaths are still being investigated and could also turn out to be self-inflicted.
The new figure of more than 128 compares to 115 in 2007 and 102 in 2006 — and is the highest since record keeping began in 1980.
It also calculates to a rate of 20.2 per 100,000 soldiers — which is higher than the adjusted civilian rate for the first time since the Vietnam War, officials said.
The Army plans to announce the figures at a news conference later Thursday.
Officials have said repeatedly that troops are under tremendous and unprecedented stress because of repeated and long tours of duty due to the simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yearly increases in suicides have been recorded since 2004, when there were 64 — only about half the number now. And they’ve occurred despite increased training, prevention programs, increased psychiatric staff and other Army efforts to stem the rise.
Officials are expected to announce additional attempts to help soldiers at the news conference.
When studying individual cases, officials said they found that the most common factors for suicides were soldiers suffering problems with their personal relationships, legal or financial issues and problems on the job.
The previous number of suicides, combined, among the Army’s active-duty soldiers and National Guard and Reserve troops also was the highest on record — 18.8 per 100,000. But the new pace of 20.2 suicides per 100,000 soldiers is startling because it for the first time surpasses the civilian number, when adjusted to reflect the Army’s younger and male-heavy demographics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the suicide rate for U.S. society overall was about 11 per 100,000 in 2004, the latest year for which the agency has figures. But the Army says the civilian rate is more like 19.5 per 100,000 when adjusted.
The new rate of 20.2 — which also will be higher if more suicides are confirmed — compares to 18.8 per 100,000 in 2007, 17.5 in 2006 and 9.8 in 2002 — the first full year after the start of the war in Afghanistan
The new Army report follows one earlier this month showing that the Marine Corps recorded more suicides last year than any year since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
That report said 41 Marines were possible or confirmed suicides in 2008, or 16.8 per 100,000 troops. The Marine rate remained unchanged because the Corps is increasing in size, officials said.
Marines and Army units have borne most of duty in the two ongoing wars, which have required more use of ground forces to fight the insurgencies.
But the numbers kept by the service branches don’t show the whole picture of war-related suicides because they don’t include deaths after people have left the military. The Department of Veterans Affairs tracks those numbers and says there were 144 suicides among the nearly 500,000 service members who left the military from 2002-2005 after fighting in at least one of the two ongoing wars.
The true incidence of suicide among veterans is not known, according to a report last year by the Congressional Research Service. Based on numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the VA estimates that 18 veterans a day — or 6,500 a year — take their own lives, but that number includes vets from all previous wars.
Can we get help now for mental health?
VA USES NAS/IOM In Illegal Manner that Minimizes All Efforts To Get Gulf War Veterans The Help They Need
News: VA USES NAS/IOM In Illegal Manner that Minimizes All Efforts To Get Gulf War Veterans The Help They Need
Posted on January 28, 2009 by gm
by Montra Denise Nichols, MAJ, USAFR(ret)
Urgent!!!! This demonstrates the VA using NAS IOM illegally! There is no legal requirement to have VA tell IOM to form a new panel to review!!!! This is a move by Mark Brown Environmental Agent at the VA headquarters to sabotage the work of the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Gulf War illness Research!
We were notified at last minute on Monday that this meeting would occur. We had previously had months ahead notification!
This time it is not even listed in Events Scheduled on NAS or IOM websites.
I had to do significant hunting on both websites to find this and others also are still trying to find it on their website
Here it is http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/meetingview.aspx?MeetingID=3170&MeetingNo=1
Now this was done "in cover of darkness" They knew they were doing it but normal procedure was not even followed not listed in calender of events re NAS IOM We found out at last minute! We asked for the phone system to call into as we have done previously we were given wrong number to call in! Then emailing to a blackberry got me the right number not 800 but 866 area code..........but after the meeting had already started by 45 minutes!
VA Mark Brown is up to his usual deny and delay under whose orders or directions!
"The Research Advisory Committee report shows how VA have been skewing IOM Gulf War reports for years. Then VA staff turns around and refers the report to the IOM!"
I request that a full investigation be launched into the misuse of NAS/IOM on gulf war illness! They are sabotaging science and scientist for the past 10 years on gulf war illness.
Please call for a full investigation into VA and NAS/IOM actions to deny and delay Gulf War Veterans from getting real help. This is what VA has done to sabotage the efforts of gulf war veterans and the intent of Congress!
Email Montra Denise Nichols at DSNurse1@YAHOO.COM
Gulf War Veteran Nurse, Gulf War Veteran Advocate
Vice Chair National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition
Liked this story? Get top stories in your inbox each week VA USES NAS/IOM In Illegal Manner that Minimizes All Efforts To Get Gulf War Veterans The Help They Need
I have stated in the past that the March 2003 Sarin study conducted by the IOM's William Page is bogus, and how it ignored mustard agents and ignored the high death and disability rates of the Edgewood veterans used as a control group, these men in reality have a 40% death rate and of the 4022 survivors of the Edgewood experiments 54% of them are disabled they are now suing in Federal Court
www.edgewoodtestvets.org The VA and DOD pay for the IOM/NAS studies and they write parameters to ignore known evidence, that show liability.