Individuals who have lost their jobs during the ongoing recession would receive health-care and unemployment assistance. The bill would provide a $20 billion increase in the food stamps program and $2.1 billion to expand Head Start.
On the tax side, the bill calls for a two-year $400 credit to working individuals and $800 to working couples, distributed through a payroll tax deduction or claimed as a lump sum for the 2009 and 2010 tax years. Social Security recipients would receive a one-time $250 payment. College students and home and car buyers would receive incentives, although the latter two benefits were drastically reduced.
Stimulus Bill Would Aid Military Homeowners, Wounded
By Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, February 13, 2009; A09
To help military personnel forced to sell their homes amid the current real estate crisis, the compromise stimulus bill contains $555 million for the secretary of defense to acquire title to a military person's property or reimburse the individual for losses after a private sale or foreclosure. The bill also includes nearly $3 billion in construction funds to repair and modernize military facilities.
The new program established in the stimulus bill is called the Homeowners Assistance Fund. It is primarily for wounded who need to move for medical reasons, surviving spouses of those killed in action or Defense Department personnel suddenly ordered to relocate. The program is also available to the widows of Defense Department civilian employees killed in the line of duty. It builds on a program to help homeowners near military bases being closed.
Senate Appropriations Committee members described $2.3 billion of the military construction money as needed to aid "quality of life and family-friendly military construction projects," such as barracks for those returning from overseas deployments, family housing, child-care centers, and health and dental clinics on bases in the United States.
Another major element in that package is $481 million for new or expanded facilities to take care of medical and social service needs for the wounded and their families.
The only major security item dropped from the measure was $1 billion that the Senate had added for the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration for use in the nuclear weapons program. The Senate report said $900 million was to be used to handle the backlog of maintenance and to rebuild facilities, some of which date to the Manhattan Project during World War II. The remaining $100 million was to be directed at "advanced computer research and development."
An array of arms-control advocacy groups opposed the funding, as did several House members. "When I found out that the Senate had slipped in $1 billion for nuclear weapons programs, even as it was cutting funds for school construction, I was appalled," said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). "I'm pleased that this provision was dropped from the final version of the bill."
The compromise bill gives the State Department $228 million to upgrade its computers and computer security, a program that has had trouble getting fully funded.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Individuals who have lost their jobs during the ongoing recession would receive health-care and unemployment assistance. The bill would provide a $20 billion increase in the food stamps program and $2.1 billion to expand Head Start.
CHAIRMAN BOB FILNER
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2009
Filner and Akaka Reintroduce Legislation to Secure Timely Funding for Veterans’ Health Care through Advance Appropriations
Chairmen joined by veterans organizations in calling for passage of bipartisan plan
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, joined a bipartisan group of Senators and Members of Congress in reintroducing legislation today to secure timely funding for veterans’ health care through the “advance appropriations” process. Chairman Filner stood with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), other members of Congress, and leaders from several veterans service organizations and called for sufficient, timely and predictable funding for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA).
“I appreciate the sentiments of Secretary Shinseki to approve and implement future VA budgets on time, but we must also recognize the various obstacles that frequently prevent this from happening,” said Filner. “The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 is a way to explore a new manner in which to fund the VA. We need to consider a historic new approach to guarantee that our veterans have access to comprehensive, quality health care that they deserve and have earned. There is no greater priority facing our nation than providing health care to our veterans and we must be willing to pay the cost, whatever that cost may be. For too many years, VA has had to make do with insufficient budgets resulting in restricted access for many veterans. When funding is short, it is our veterans who pay the price.”
H.R. 1016 would authorize Congress to approve VA medical care appropriations one year in advance of the start of each fiscal year. Unlike proposals to convert VA health care to a mandatory funding program, an advance appropriation does not create PAYGO concerns since VA health care funding would remain discretionary. Congress employs a PAYGO rule which demands that new proposals must either be budget neutral or offset with savings derived from existing funds. In addition, an advance appropriation would provide VA with up to a year in which to plan how to deliver the most efficient and effective care to an increasing number of veterans with increasingly complex medical conditions.
Senator Akaka said: “We are a step closer towards securing timely, predictable funding for the nation’s largest health care system – the Veterans Health Administration. Our plan would create a transparent process that will help VA use its funding more efficiently and care for veterans more effectively than it has in the past. I am proud to be joined by a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders and major veterans service organizations in calling for an end to VHA’s unpredictable funding.”
“There is no question that we’ve made great strides towards correcting these funding problems during the past two years,” said Chairman Filner. “However, this new legislation offers us a historic opportunity to permanently reform the VA health care budget process in a commonsense way to help ensure that future generations never again face these kinds of problems.”
The new legislation would also task the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) with studying and reporting to Congress for the next three years on VA’s budget forecasting model and estimates. By shedding sunlight on VA’s internal budget process, Congress will have a much greater ability and incentive to develop appropriation bills that provide sufficient funding to meet the best estimate of anticipated demand for VA health care services in future years.
Five years free VA care for veterans
By Arlene Gross
February 11, 2009 | 02:59 PM
Two recent changes by the Veterans Administration will expand health care eligibility for veterans, thanks to a provision under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008.
Military veterans who served in combat since Nov. 11, 1998, including veterans of the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, are now eligible for five years of free medical care for most conditions from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The measure increases a two-year limit that has been in effect for nearly a decade.
"In these hard times, anything to help, particularly returning vets, is great," said Mario Buonpane, chairman of the Huntington Veterans Advisory Board.
The five-year deadline has no effect upon veterans with medical conditions related to their military service, according to a statement issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans may apply at any time after their discharge from the military — even decades later — for medical care for service-connected health problems. The new provision applies to care in a VA hospital, outpatient clinic or nursing home. It also extends VA dental benefits to 180 days after discharge, from a previous limit of 90 days for most veterans.
Combat veterans discharged between Nov. 11, 1998, and Jan. 16, 2003, who never took advantage of the VA's health care system have until Jan. 27, 2011, to qualify for free VA health care.
The five-year window is also open to activated reservists and members of the National Guard, if they served in combat after Nov. 11, 1998 and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
A second initiative announced by the VA last month opens enrollment to its health care system to about 265,000 veterans whose incomes exceed current limits.
Starting July 2009, Priority 8 veterans, whose incomes are up to 10 percent higher than current VA eligibility limits, will be eligible for coverage.
In 1996, Congress established a priority-based enrollment system for VA and a uniform package of medical benefits for all enrollees. The legislation required that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs reassess the demand for services each year, and determine whether to change eligibility requirements to provide timely, quality care to all enrollees.
A tremendous growth in the number of veterans seeking enrollment led the VA to initially suspend enrollment for Priority 8 veterans, the lowest priority classification.
VA Department computer systems are being modified to accommodate the changes.
Originally opened in April 1928, the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, on Middleville Road, is the only federally funded hospital for veterans on Long Island. Northport also has three community-based primary care/mental health clinics in Plainview, Patchogue and Westhampton.
With 201 hospital beds and 150 long-term care beds, the Northport facility treated more than 33,500 outpatients last year and 1,781 patients returning from Iraq and Afghanistan since October 2001, said Joe Sledge, spokesman for the facility.
Any expansion of veterans' health care is obviously a good thing, Sledge said. He added that veterans who haven't yet used VA services but are interested should contact the medical center director and speak with an eligibility specialist.
"We'll assist them in any way possible to determine their eligibility for health care," Sledge said. "It's our privilege to serve veterans. That's why we're here."
Woman fighting UPMC rejection of military health plan
Thursday, February 12, 2009
By David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Bill Wade/Post-GazetteJean Rohal, 40, of Bridgeville, is protesting that UPMC will not accept Tricare, a health insurance plan that covers active-duty military personnel.A Bridgeville woman is seeking congressional help in an effort to reverse a UPMC policy against accepting the health insurance plan for the region's 7,808 active-duty military personnel, their families and retirees.
Jean Rohal, 40, said it's shameful that University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals and medical centers turn away active-duty service members from all branches, including the National Guard and reservists, especially in a time of war and economic distress.
She said she's been told UPMC doesn't accept Tricare, the military health plan, because of low reimbursement rates.
"I'm lucky that my husband is currently at home, but what about the people with spouses deployed?" Mrs. Rohal said. "They have spouses overseas, and now they have to deal with this."
She said that UPMC is the region's largest health-care provider, so its refusal to accept Tricare puts undue burden on military families.
Mrs. Rohal and her husband, an Army staff sergeant whose name she asked not be published, received a Jan. 15 letter from Tricare assigning the Rohals a new physician. The change was necessary because their current physician is affiliated with UPMC.
She also would have to find a gynecologist unaffiliated with UPMC. "I guess they don't think our soldiers and military families deserve the best in health care," she said.
Only three of UPMC's 15 hospitals -- Mercy, Horizon in Mercer County, and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh -- accept Tricare. Because most hospitals don't accept the insurance, UPMC doctors don't accept Tricare patients.
Mrs. Rohal said lack of answers from UPMC prompted her to take her complaint public. She contacted U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, on Tuesday with plans to contact U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and other officials, to pressure UPMC to accept the military insurance plan.
Mr. Murphy said he was appalled to learn that UPMC accepts elderly patients on Medicare, whose reimbursement rates are similar to Tricare's, but not active-duty military, their families and retirees.
"We should be finding ways to support and comfort military families and soldiers, not send them a cold letter that says, 'Sorry,' " Mr. Murphy said. "This situation is not satisfactory or acceptable."
He said he's scheduling a meeting with UPMC officials to get answers.
Mrs. Rohal said she received a voice-mail message Tuesday from a UPMC official who said it was unlikely UPMC would accept Tricare due to its reimbursement rate.
But Frank Raczkiewicz, UPMC spokesman, said the health system now is considering joining the network.
"As demand grows for this, we're addressing the issue," Mr. Raczkiewicz said. "We are going to get into discussions with Tricare so we can expand the coverage system-wide."
The surprise news delighted Mrs. Rohal: "I think it's great if they get it to happen soon."
Molly Tuttle, spokeswoman for Health Net Federal Services, which administers the Department of Defense's Tricare insurance program in the North region, also said it was "excellent news."
Ms. Tuttle said Health Net officials unsuccessfully contacted UPMC twice a year for the past five years to persuade it to join the network. While soldiers and their families can get treatment at any UPMC facility, there they would be assessed higher out-of-pocket expenses.
There's no government mandate requiring hospitals or medical facilities to accept Tricare, she said.
"They are a business," Ms. Tuttle said. "They can choose what health-care insurance companies they accept. Unfortunately, it's not Tricare. They are in the driver's seat as to whether they accept Tricare patients."
The West Penn Allegheny Health System, the region's other health-care provider -- including West Penn and Allegheny General hospitals and the West Penn Forbes Regional campus in Monroeville -- accepts Tricare.
"West Penn Allegheny understands the burden placed upon those who serve and those who have served this great country during time of crises," spokesman Dan Laurent said. "We are in the midst of two ongoing wars as well as the severest recession since the Great Depression. We will continue to accept Tricare patients as we have in the past."
Health Net's network includes 125,630 hospitals, medical centers and physician groups, with ongoing negotiations to expand it for the convenience of military families.
Health Net's coverage area extends from Maine to North Carolina and as far west as St. Louis. It and two other Department of Defense Tricare contractors, Humana Military in the South and TriWest out West, supplement the military health care system so military personnel, families and retirees can use civilian medical services.
"We're working hard to continually provide more choices for active-duty members and their families in all areas, and in the last five years we've doubled the size of our network," Ms. Tuttle said. "We'd love to have UPMC as a network provider."
Correction/Clarification: (Published 2/12/2009) All University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals accept military personnel, their families and retirees who have the military health insurance plan, Tricare. But patients who use UPMC hospitals not in the Tricare network potentially face higher out-of-pocket expenses for medical care. Three of UPMC's 15 hospitals -- Mercy, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Horizon in Mercer County -- are in the Tricare network. This story was unclear about what UPMC's policy is.
David Templeton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1578.
First published on February 12, 2009 at 12:00 am
Any hospital that takes federal funds of any kind which they all do, should NOT be allowed to turn away Tricare patients because the DOD does not pay enough of the bills that the hospitals think they should pay. Most Tricare enrollees have no choice in what amount Tricare pays, they have to enroll in it as military retirees and dependents for their medical care, and then they must also enroll in Medicare when they turn 62 or 65 despite the promise of "free medical care for life" if their spouses spent 20 years or more on active duty. The greatest lie ever told to millions of military personnel and we all believed them from WW2 until the early 80s when the lie was exposed. This is BS plain and simple
Guest Opinion: Obama and Shinseki should let vets get benefits
By AARON GLANTZ
President-elect Barack Obama should make it easier for disabled veterans to get their benefits.
The Department of Veterans Affairs routinely delays disability claims by wounded soldiers for months and years, often shunting them into poverty and homelessness. Retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, Barack Obama's pick for Veterans Affairs Secretary, should change this policy.
Former Lance Cpl. Bob O'Daniel's story is far too common. The proud Navajo has been fighting for more than 17 years to receive the veteran's benefits he earned.
During the 1991 Gulf War, O'Daniel worked on board the USS Nassau, which was stationed in the Persian Gulf. Even before he came home, O'Daniel knew something wasn't right. He was always tired, and he couldn't see or sleep properly. He experienced sexual dysfunction and "just a lot of things that a young man shouldn't have," he told me.
O'Daniel suffers from Gulf War Syndrome. This comes with a range of symptoms including - but not limited to - rashes, stomach distress, brain lesions, fatigue, severely swollen muscles and memory loss.
"Memories are what all people cherish," he said. "Good times, bad times - whatever. But I was missing a lot of those things."
Pentagon doctors now believe Gulf War Syndrome affects more than 175,000 veterans of the 1991 conflict. A blue-ribbon government report released in November said the condition is most likely due to exposure to toxic pesticides and pills that were given to soldiers to protect them against nerve gas.
Subsisting on charity
But even though O'Daniel's VA doctors tell him he has the syndrome, bureaucrats at the Department of Veterans Affairs refuse to grant him the benefits he earned in combat. O'Daniel lives in his wife's parents' home in North Carolina, subsisting off their charity with his wife and two children while they wait for the VA to begin paying his claim.
Across the country, more than 600,000 wounded veterans find themselves in the same position, twisting in the wind as they wait for the government to keep its promise to care for them.
Many descend into poverty during the months and years of waiting.
Others are simply unable to outlast the bureaucracy. In the six months leading up to March 31 of last year, 1,500 veterans died while they waited for the VA's response.
Trust the vets
There is a better way to handle military disability claims: Trust the vets.
In her exhaustive study of the long-term costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Linda Bilmes, who teaches management, budgeting and public finance at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, notes that almost all veterans tell the truth in their disability claims, with the VA ultimately approving nearly 90 percent of them. Given that reality, Bilmes suggests scrapping the lengthy process described above and replacing it with "something closer to the way the IRS deals with tax returns." Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand all use similar systems to compensate their injured veterans.
Obama and Shinseki should streamline the benefits process. Our disabled vets have waited too long already.
Aaron Glantz, a Rosalynn Carter for Mental Health Journalism fellow at the Carter Center, is the author of "The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans" (University of California Press). Guest Opinion: Obama and Shinseki should let vets get benefits
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Today, a long-overdue bill is being introduced in Congress by Rep. Ellen Tauscher which calls for increasing dwell time for our servicemembers who will serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Current deployment policies and operational tempo, which usually consists of a 1:1 ratio of time deployed and time at home, are compounding the wounds of war for our troops. It is a medical fact confirmed by DoD studies (see Mental Health Advisory Team reports IV and V) that repeated exposure to high-intensity combat with inadequate dwell time greatly increases the incidence of service-connected psychological problems.
In June 2007, the DoD Mental Health Task Force reported that almost half of the members of the Guard and Reserve who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing such problems, as are 38% of active duty Soldiers, and 31% of active-duty Marines. Those percentages -- and the damage done to our troops and their families -- will only increase if more troops are deployed with inadequate dwell time.
This bill, which would restore an approximately 1:2 ratio of time deployed to time at home, will help ensure that our brave men and women in uniform have the time they need to rest, recuperate, and retrain.
I, and all of us at Veterans for America, urge the members of the House Armed Services Committee and all members of Congress to support this important legislation. The well-being of our servicemembers depends on it.
Please join us in calling on congress to provide more dwell time for our troops. Click here to sign our letter to the House Armed Services Committee encouraging them to support this bill.
Veterans for America
It seems a House Member is renewing Senator Webbs call last year for ensuring our nations military get enough dwell time in the states or at their home base before being redeployed back into the war zones, thus decreasing the burn our rate currently hurting our all volunteer forces under the stress of fighting 2 wars at the same time.
LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO SECURE TIMELY FUNDING
FOR VETERANS’ HEALTH CARE
House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairmen joined by bipartisan cosponsors, major veterans’ organizations and a former VA official in calling for passage
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, was joined by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in reintroducing legislation today to secure timely funding for veterans’ health care through the advance appropriations process. Chairman Akaka joined House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA), other members of Congress, leaders from military and veteran organizations, and a former VA executive in calling for prompt consideration of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009.
Under the bill, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) would be funded one-year ahead of the regular federal funding process. Currently, VHA’s budget is subject to delay and uncertainty, hampering budget planning and threatening health care quality for wounded and indigent veterans. The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act has already received broad support from its Democratic, Republican, and Independent sponsors in Congress.
Senator Akaka said: “We are a step closer towards securing timely, predictable funding for the nation’s largest health care system – the Veterans Health Administration. Our plan would create a transparent process that will help VA use its funding more efficiently and care for veterans more effectively than it has in the past. I am proud to be joined by a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders and major veterans service organizations in calling for an end to VHA’s unpredictable funding.”
Congressman Filner said: “I appreciate the sentiments of Secretary Shinseki to approve and implement future VA budgets on time, but we must also recognize the various obstacles that frequently prevent this from happening. This bill is a way to explore a new manner in which to fund the VA. We need to consider a historic new approach to guarantee that our veterans have access to comprehensive, quality health care that they deserve and have earned. For too many years, VA has had to make do with insufficient budgets resulting in restricted access for many veterans. When funding is short, it is our veterans who pay the price.”
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said: “The breakdown in the process of providing funding for our veterans has a bipartisan history spanning over two decades – under Republican and Democratic control of the White House and Congress. However during this time, health care funding for veterans has only been approved on schedule three times! This is unconscionable. With this bipartisan initiative, we can ensure our veterans and their families truly benefit from the healthcare that these patriots have rightfully earned and deserve.”
Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) said: “It’s about time we take the uncertainty out of the annual funding for VA health care. Making sure all veterans have access to quality, affordable health care—so they don’t have to come to Congress every year with hat-in-hand—is a promise we owe all men and women who served in uniform.”
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) said: “Like the mandatory funding legislation I introduced in the last Congress, advanced appropriations is the means to an end. That end is ensuring veterans receive the best care possible from a VA that has access to timely, sufficient, and predictable resources. I enthusiastically support this bill and commend Chairmen Akaka and Filner for introducing it.”
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said: “One of the best ways we can honor the service of our brave veterans is by providing them with the high-quality health care and services they need. Advance funding for veterans health care will allow the VA to make strategic budgetary decisions that will improve the care provided to our veterans.”
Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) said: “The VA needs to receive its budget in advance so it can hire the right number of staff to take care of our veterans without waiting for Congress to pass their spending bill. How can we expect the second largest agency in the federal government, which provides health care to over 5.5 million people, to function when they don’t know when they will get their budget? That is why the time for advanced funding for the VA has come. I look forward to working with the president, Secretary Shinseki, Chairman Akaka and our nation’s veterans’ service organizations to make sure this bill is signed into law this Congress.”
Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said: “Our veterans deserve to know that they will receive the health care they need in a timely and predictable fashion. This is just one small way we can thank them for their service to our country. By authorizing two-year budget authority for the VA, the nation’s largest health care provider will have the funding and stability to adequately plan and prepare to deliver a level of service and care that our nation’s veterans so richly deserve and have so honorably earned.”
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said: “We owe our veterans and their families the best quality care we can provide. Our soldiers and sailors do their duty to protect America, so it’s our duty to provide for them when they return home.”
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said: “Setting funding two years in advance will help ensure that no veteran is ever turned away, and I am pleased to support this important legislation introduced by Senator Akaka.”
Congressman Mike Michaud (D-ME), Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, said: “Too often in recent years, VA has been funded after the beginning of the fiscal year and in one case, so underfunded that they required a supplemental appropriation. This cannot be allowed to occur when we are dealing with the health care of our veterans. There must be a timely, sufficient, and predictable funding stream for VA health care. That is what this legislation will achieve.”
Senator David Vitter (R-LA) said: “Veterans’ health care is a particularly important issue, and as our servicemembers return from combat theatres in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Veterans’ Administration has seen a significant growth in demand for health services. Historically, the VA’s health care budget has been delivered late, and appropriations levels have been often too low. This bill would allow the VA to plan better by allowing appropriations to be made for the upcoming and following fiscal years.”
The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act is supported by the Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform, a coalition of major veterans service organizations including The American Legion, AMVETS, Blinded Veterans of America, Disabled Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America. The bill received unanimous support from a panel of six veterans organizations at a recent Senate hearing.
For Chairman Akaka’s prepared remarks on the bill, click here.
Kawika Riley (Senate Veterans’ Affairs): 202-224-9126
Jesse Broder Van Dyke (Akaka): 202-224-6361
Kristal DeKleer (Filner): 202-226-9756
Julia Wanzco (Snowe): 202-224-1304
Patrick Devlin (Tester): 202-224-2644
Tim Schlittner (Hare): 202-225-5905
Stephanie Allen (Landrieu): 202-224-5824
Will Wiquist (Sanders): 202-228-6357
Julie Hasquet (Begich): 907-258-9304
Lautenberg Press Office: 202-224-4858
Nathan Britton (Boxer): 202-224-8120
Ed Gilman (Michaud): 202-225-6306
Joel DiGrado (Vitter): 202-224-4623
It is my hope and my goal to find as many veterans of the Cold War Programs that used veterans from 1952 thru 1975 in chemical weapons, drugs, biological weapons and other stimulants and other substances to test on the soldiers who either willingly volunteered or were used without their approval and were told afterwards to never speak about the experiments or they would be court martialed for violating the National Securities Acts.
The investigations into these experiments by Congress, DOD and the VA have lifted the veil of secrecy, you can tell your family members about the tests, your doctors and yes now even lawyers.
I wish you would contact me at testvet at aol dot com or Eric Muth at eepmuth at NYC dot com, he is the veteran leader of the group that is now suing the CIA, DOD and the Army in this Lawsuit led by Gordon Erspamer of Morrison & Foerster as of now it is the six plaintiffs and the VVA, they are hoping to expand it to a class action lawsuit that would benefit all of the Cold War experiments that used CBR and drugs on the "volunteers" and non volunteets, there is also the issue of consent and informed consent.
Were these doctors doing things that would do no harm to the volunteers? It is doubtful as to many of the substances they had no clue what the long term affects would be let alone the short term affects, and there was NO follow up to the men used in these experiments, in most cases they said CYA don't call us we will call you. In the past 35 years they mailed twice both times it was to cover their backsides, not the veterans, in the latest mailing in FY2000 they lied and said it was to check up on us, in reality it was to deny Gulf War veterans any type of disability compensation related to known chemical weapons released at Kamiasayah, Iraq on March 19, 1991 when the Army destroyed the Iraqi ammo dumps with artillery and missiles containing Sarin and mustard agents, the March 2003 report ignored mustard agents altogether and downplayed known long term medical problmes related to Sarin expsoure.
Please contact myself, Eric Muth or Gordon Erspamer at Morrison/Forrestor and get your names onto the list of "volunteers" with current e mail addresses, street addresses and or phone numbers so we can get as complete a list as possible.
VA Identifies Problem with a Transcription Services Contract
WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2009) - During a routine internal inspection, the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) discovered a contractor providing
medical transcription services who was not following the Department's
rules for protecting medical information.
Although there is no evidence that any patient information was disclosed
as a result of the violation, VA has suspended the contractor from
receiving any sensitive information from the Department until the
contractor guarantees compliance with VA's standards for information
technology (IT) security.
"VA insists that contractors, as well as our own personnel, adhere to
the highest standards for protecting personal information," said
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "When we detect a
problem, as happened in this case, we will quickly fix it, and we will
ensure such problems are not happening elsewhere."
The issue involves a contractor whose employees create written
transcripts of recordings made by health care professionals while
performing physical examinations, reporting on surgeries, and taking
patients' histories. VA officials found the contractor's employees used
computers that do not adhere to government policy on security.
Based on this incident, the Secretary has launched an intensive
examination of all VA's contracts to ensure all contractors properly
safeguard information about VA patients, Veterans and employees.
Secretary Shinseki appears to be a lot more forthcoming about problems within the VA system than all of his predecessors ever were. This is the second time in less than a week that the VA has admitted a problem and announced corrective action at the same time, I applaud and SALUTE him for this new era of transparency at the VA. This nations veterans deserve to be told the truth even when it's ugly. Thank you
Mon Feb 2, 2009 9:18 pm (PST)
Potential VA benefits chief has new ideas
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Feb 2, 2009 17:36:26 EST
A Harvard University researcher with some radical ideas about how to reduce
the backlog of veterans disability claims appears to be in line to head the
Veterans Benefits Administration.
Linda Blimes, a public policy lecturer and research at Harvard's Kennedy
School of Government, wants the Department of Veterans Affairs to operate
like the Internal Revenue Service - on an honor system that trusts veterans
claiming service-connected disabilities. All veterans claims would be
approved as soon as they are filed, with a random audit conducted to "weed
out and deter fraudulent claims," Blimes told the House Veterans' Affairs
Committee in testimony in 2008.
Ninety percent of veterans disability claims end up being paid after they
make it through the system, she said - proof, she said, that most veterans
are asking only for what they deserve.
Immediate payment of at least a minimum benefit would help to reduce the
average 180-day waiting time for initial benefits claims to be processed and
allow VA to redeploy the employees processing those claims to work on more
complicated appeals, she said.
Blimes also has talked of a vastly simplified disability rating system that
would have just four ratings instead of the current 10 for service-connected
disabilities and illnesses.
Blimes has not been formally announced as a nominee, but her name is being
circulated among lawmakers and congressional staff in what has become a
standard procedure to determine whether there is any strong opposition to
her taking the key post.
Her idea of a streamlined claims process has some prominent supporters,
among them Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., the House Veterans Affairs Committee
chairman who has talked of automatic claims approval as a way to quickly
eliminate the claims backlog.
Retired Rear Adm. Patrick Dunne, a holdover from the Bush administration,
has stayed on to run the VBA until a successor is named. He is not the only
VA executive who has stayed around; Dr. Michael Kussman also remains as VA's
undersecretary for health.
In addition to Blimes, another name being circulated is that of disabled
Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who could become VA's chief of
intergovernmental affairs. Duckworth, the Illinois director of veterans
affairs, is closely associated with President Barack Obama.
On Friday, the White House announced its intention to nominate W. Scott
Gould, a former Navy Reserve intelligence officer, to be VA deputy secretary
under retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, the former Army chief of staff
recently named to head VA.
Gould does not have experience running veterans programs, but he was
co-chairman of the review team that looked at VA for Obama and has
experience in trying to centralize and streamline organizations. Gould is
vice president for public sector strategy at IBM Global Business Services.
Gould is married to Michelle Flournoy, whom Obama has nominated to be
undersecretary of defense for policy.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed
without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes. Reference:
Dr Linda Blimes to be new Benefits Chief
It appears that Dr Blimes will be replacing Patrick Dunne as Under Secretary for benefits this could be the best news for disabled veterans in decades......
Special court's sole function is support of military veterans
By Jim Suhr
EDWARDSVILLE -- With combat duty in Vietnam under his belt, Madison County Circuit Judge Charles Romani Jr. knows veterans often have special issues in terms of drug treatment and mental illness. Soon, many of them may be getting an offer of special judicial help.
Taking a page from a similar program launched a year ago in New York, court administrators plan to launch a court designed to deal with only military veterans charged with nonviolent crimes.
The mission: Divert many of the veterans from the criminal courts to a program that, much like popular drug courts, will offer them treatment for underlying issues, perhaps sparing them a criminal conviction if they complete the treatment.
“There are a lot of services out there; one thing the court will be able to do is get them connected” with veterans, ideally keeping them from becoming repeat offenders, Ann Callis, the county’s chief judge, said.
Veterans’ participation will be voluntary and Callis said it will be staffed by veterans from virtually every branch of the military. The prosecutor will be former Marine Corps Cpl. Michael Stewart, the public defender former Navy Lt. Tyler Bateman — officials Callis said “hopefully would have more of an understanding (of veterans’ issues) from being there.”
Callis said she hoped the veterans’ court would be under way locally by early March, with no immediate expectations about how many veterans might take part.
No additional funding would be required for the court, and Madison County Bar Association lawyers will donate their services, Callis said.
Such courts have been cropping up elsewhere. One in Rochester, N.Y., has the same judge who already oversees the local drug treatment and mental health court. That court was modeled after one launched in Buffalo about a year ago.
A similar court is being considered in Nevada’s Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, and in western Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County, which serves
Special court's sole function is support of military veterans
West Point addressing recent suicides
By Kimberly Hefling - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Feb 12, 2009 9:40:44 EST
WASHINGTON — Following four suicides at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, officials said Wednesday they are emphasizing to cadets that seeking help for mental health problems won’t jeopardize their military careers.
In the last seven months, two cadets, a faculty member and a staff member at the academy have taken their lives. The suicides were the first at the school in upstate New York since 1999.
They are part of a larger trend as the strained military wages war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army had its highest rate of suicide on record in 2008 and is investigating a spike in the number in January.
Academy Chaplain Col. John Cook, who addressed the issue Wednesday at a board meeting on Capitol Hill, said there does not appear to be a common denominator among the four West Point suicides — the most recent of which occurred in January. None of the four had faced a recent deployment, for example.
In addition to the suicides, two cadets recently attempted to take their own lives, he said.
“We’re doing everything we can to study these cases, understand why they happened, and see what we can do to move ahead,” Cook said.
He said three times the number of cadets are seeking mental health help, which leaders view as a positive sign that the stigma associated with getting assistance has been reduced.
Brig. Gen. Michael Linnington, commandant of cadets, said there is a misconception among cadets that seeking help will jeopardize their military careers, so leaders have aggressively emphasized that’s not the case.
Army Secretary Pete Geren, who also attended the meeting, said that’s also a challenge Army-wide. He said surveys show the stigma associated with seeking help has decreased, but more than half of soldiers surveyed still believe that getting help could damage their futures.
Cook said the academy has reframed its training on suicide prevention to include it as part of its leadership development curriculum. In small group settings, he said, future military officers discuss preventing suicide as part of being a good leader.
“How are you going to ... make sure your soldiers remain alive so they can continue their service to our nation?” Cook said the cadets discuss.
Linnington said there’s an understanding that with each new class, mental health needs to be discussed.
“It’s not something we can ever rest on,” he said.
DoD leaders seek clues to Army suicide spike
I hope they are telling the truth.....seeking mental health in the past I was in during Vietnam was the end of your military career it is way past time for this mentality (no pun intended) to change....if these young men and women can get help now when the need is immediate maybe they won't do what I did and lie and bury the problems and let them fester to the point where they became chronic PTSD and I ended up a total recluse and my kids won't even let me see my grand children but I was one hell of an NCO in the Infantry I ended up being a lousy person but I was a soldier
Change in Tricare hospital payments delayed
By Karen Jowers - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 11, 2009 16:35:30 EST
Civilian hospitals that provide outpatient services to Tricare beneficiaries got a temporary, 11th-hour reprieve from the Pentagon’s proposed plan to have Tricare switch to using Medicare’s payment system for those services.
Critics said the change, which had been set to take effect Monday, has the potential to disrupt outpatient services in civilian hospitals for Tricare users.
In 2002, Congress required the Defense Department to use Medicare payment rates for the Tricare system “to the extent practicable.”
The Pentagon’s proposed plan, outlined in the April 1, 2008, Federal Register, would have Tricare adopt Medicare’s fee schedule for reimbursements to hospitals for outpatient services, which is about 25 percent less than Tricare’s current payment rates to hospitals.
Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., one of the critics of the propsal, said the Pentagon plan “does not provide for a broad, multi-year transition period that is necessary for hospitals offering Tricare services to adjust to a lower payment schedule.”
In a statement Tuesday, Webb said he welcomes the decision by Defense Secretary Robert Gates “to postpone any action that could jeopardize services to our military men and women who rely on the Tricare health care system.”
In a notice published in the Feb. 6 Federal Register, defense officials said they have moved the effective date of the proposed change to May 1 in order to ensure that administrative claims processing procedures are fully in place to accommodate the new payment schedule.
Defense officials also noted that in the meantime, a Jan. 20 memorandum from the Obama administration asked agencies to consider delaying the effective dates of pending rules, and to invite additional public comments on the final rule.
The Pentagon has reopened the public comment period on the proposed change in the hospital fee schedule until March 9.
In a November letter to defense officials, 57 senators said the transition period for the outpatient payments should cover all services in all hospitals serving Tricare patients, to cushion hospitals from across-the-board reductions in payments from Tricare.
In a Jan. 28 letter to Gates, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., urged reopening the public comment period and consider revisions.
“This is an opportunity to reverse course on a rule that would cut nearly $500 million in payments to hospitals serving our nation’s servicemen and women and their families,” Don May, vice president for policy for the American Hospital Association, said in an advisory posted on the AHA Web site.
Slimmer stimulus deal OK'd
Compromise totals $789B, votes may come this week
By RICHARD WOLF • And JOHN FRITZE • February 12, 2009
WASHINGTON — Racing a self-imposed deadline to get a bill on President Barack Obama's desk, congressional negotiators agreed on a two-year economic stimulus package Wednesday that reduces the size of the tax cuts being offered to workers by 20 percent, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Reid said the legislation should create 3.5 million jobs once Obama signs it into law and it takes effect.
"The middle ground we've reached creates more jobs than the original Senate bill and costs less than the original House bill," said Reid, D-Nev., one of the participants in an exhausting and frenzied round of bargaining.
The emerging legislation includes help for victims of the recession in the form of expanded unemployment benefits, food stamps, health coverage and more, as well as billions for states that face the prospect of making deep cuts in school aid and other programs.
Another provision will mean a one-time payment of $250 for millions of beneficiaries who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and veterans' pensions and disability, according to officials.
The measure also preserves Obama's signature tax cut — a break for millions of lower- and middle-income taxpayers. Wage-earners who don't make enough to pay income taxes would get a reduction in the Social Security and Medicare taxes they pay.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, put the cost at $789 billion, less than either of the bills that the House and Senate passed earlier.
Included in the measure are a $400 tax credit for individuals and an $800 credit for couples, said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the Joint Economic Committee.
Plans were being made for a House vote today or Friday. The Senate was to act immediately thereafter.Slimmer stimulus deal OK'd
It does not say if the veterans or Social Security recipients will have to file for the benefit check or if they will be automatically sent to the people on the rolls, unlike last years stimulus where everyone had to file for the checks, people like me have not filed tax returns in years because we have no taxable income, so I refused to file a form to get a check I am not desperate for money, I don't pay taxes, although I did from 1971 until 2002 when I became totally disabled by my service connected injuries. I get benefits I earned by my military service, I am not a welfare case.
Iraq Vets Storm the Hill, Congress Rapidly Responds
Earlier this week, I told you about an amazing group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that were coming to Capitol Hill for a historic trip to Congress, to advocate on behalf of their fellow vets. Today, I want to tell you just one of their extraordinary stories.
Rey Leal served as a Marine in Fallujah during some of the heaviest fighting, earning a Bronze Star with valor as a Private First Class, an almost unheard of accomplishment for a soldier of his rank. But when he returned to southern Texas, he needed help coming home from war. Instead of having resources at his fingertips, his closest VA hospital was over five hours away. Rey’s a tough Marine, and a boxer, but he shouldn’t have to fight to get care at a veterans’ hospital. And at his nearest outpatient clinic, there was just one psychologist, taking appointments only two days a week.
The psychologist only works two days because that Texas clinic, like many VA clinics and hospitals, has to stretch its’ funding to make sure the money lasts the whole year. They don’t know how much funding they’ll have next year because the VA budget is routinely passed late. In fact, 19 of the past 22 years, the budget has not been passed on time. As a result, the VA is forced to ration care for the almost 6 million veterans that depend on its services.
For the millions of veterans like Rey, we must fix this broken VA funding system.
Imagine trying to balance your family’s budget without knowing what your next paycheck will be. That’s what we’re asking of the largest health care provider in the nation to do. And it doesn’t work.
The good news is that there is a solution. “Advance appropriations,” approving the VA health care budget one year in advance, would supply timely and predictable funding, and it’s an effective way to ensure the highest quality care that our veterans deserve. It doesn’t make for a sexy news story. But it is a critical, comprehensive way to tackle many of the challenges facing vets ranging from PTSD, to homelessness to military sexual trauma. And it wouldn’t cost a dime. That is not something you hear much down in Washington lately.
While the lack of cost is highly unusual, advance appropriations is not a new concept for how the federal government does business. Low-income housing and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting already depend on the advance appropriations process to plan their programming. If this policy is good enough for Big Bird, then it should be good enough for vets like Rey.
That has been our message all week in Washington. Now this week, in the face of a surge of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from across the country, Congress has rapidly responded. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA), the chairmen of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees, are introducing bipartisan legislation to provide advance appropriations for the VA. And Rey and the rest of our Storm the Hill team of young veterans will be there to support this historic change.
It’s reassuring to know that in these tough fiscal times, Congress is not only listening to Wall Street CEOs, but that they are also listening to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
And Senator Akaka and Congressman Filner are not alone in supporting advanced VA funding. It has a broad coalition of support. President Obama and Senator McCain both backed the idea during the 2008 campaign, and new VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has signaled early support for the concept.
Every major veterans’ organization in America is also on board. The IAVA crew in Washington this week represents the first wave of veterans’ groups hitting Capitol Hill to push for advance appropriations in 2009. This week, the young vets have boldly taken the beach. And in the coming days and weeks, other generations of veterans will follow. We are coordinating our political fire—just like we did on the battlefields of Baghdad and Normandy. Together, we will show Capitol Hill, the media, and the entire country, that 25 million veterans of all generations stand united behind the right solution to fix VA health care funding once and for all.
Crossposted at IAVA.org.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kawika Riley (Veterans’ Affairs)
February 11, 2009 (202) 224-9126
AKAKA & BURR CALL FOR PROMPT TOP LEVEL
DOD/VA MEETING ON SOLDIER SUICIDES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, and Senator Richard M. Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, called on the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs, the current acting Co-Chairmen of the DoD/VA Senior Oversight Committee (SOC), to convene a meeting to address the alarming rise in soldier suicides. The Army reported seven confirmed and 17 suspected suicides in January. If the suspected incidents are confirmed, the number of suicides would surpass the number of troops killed in combat last month in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Between 1995 and 2007, there have been over 2,200 suicides among active-duty servicemembers.
“Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy. But the persistent trend of active-duty suicides punctuated by last month’s alarming spike suggests something more – an escalating crisis threatening to take even more of our servicemembers if we don’t act,” said Senator Akaka.
Chairman Akaka and Ranking Member Burr’s letter to Secretaries Gates and Shinseki is copied below:
Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301
Honorable Eric K. Shinseki
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave.
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Secretary Gates and Secretary Shinseki,
We are writing to request that you convene the DoD/VA Senior Oversight Committee (SOC), because we are very concerned about the recent reports of increased suicides among active duty servicemembers. Between 1995 and 2007, there have been over 2,200 suicides among active duty servicemembers.
Such loss is unacceptable if there is any measure that can be taken to reduce it. We request that you meet as soon as possible to ensure that both the resources of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs are brought to bear on this problem. The SOC should move immediately to determine whether deficiencies exist in the way potential military personnel are screened, or in the diagnosis or treatment of active duty servicemembers who are suffering from psychological problems.
We believe that convening the SOC to look specifically at suicide prevention is a first and necessary step in a coordinated effort.
Daniel K. Akaka Richard M. Burr
Chairman Ranking Member
Subject: request help email talk radio,tv,newspapers GA and SE states
Gulf War Vets Need to Know: Several Big Meetings Upcoming -- Outside of D.C.; be there!
Some vigilant veterans are concerned that federal officials are not doing nearly enough to get the word out about important upcoming meetings concerning research and treatment of sick veterans.
Former gulf war Air Force nurse Denise Nichols, Vice Chair of National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, is strongly concerned that not enough veterans will show up for these meetings, including the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses meeting in Dallas, Texas Feb 23-24, 2009; and the meeting of a newer committee in Decatur, Georgia on Feb. 18-19.
The first of the two committees, whose July 2007 and November 2008 meetings were covered by AFP, also meets June 29-30, 2009 in Boston, and Nov. 2-3, 2009 in Washington D.C. again. The D.C. meeting last November featured the long-awaited release of the committee's special report that moved gulf war illness from the status of "it's all in your head, soldier," to an array of physical symptoms linked to certain causes in the gulf war theater of military operations in the early 1990s.
The second panel (www1.va.gov/gulfwaradvisorycommittee) will meet at the VA Medical Center in Decatur, Georgia; that panel will meet again March 18-19, 2009 in Waco, Texas; and April 7-9, 2009 in Washington, DC (last two venues TBD)
"In April 2008, the Secretary of U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs established the Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans," notes an official VA statement on the newer committee. "The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to provide advice to the Secretary on the full spectrum of health care and benefits issues that confront veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the 1990-1991 period of the Gulf War. To carry out these duties, the Committee is expected to assess both the effectiveness of existing benefits and services and to determine the need for new initiatives and/or policies that relate exclusively to this population of veterans."
Nichols added: "Committee meetings are open to the public and include time reserved for public comments. A sign-up sheet for five-minute comments will be available....veterans, veteran family members and members of the public who speak are invited to submit a 1-2 page summary of their comments to Lelia.jackson@ va.gov before the meeting so that committee members will have it at the meeting or at least present the documents and copies(15) at the time of the meeting for inclusion in the official meeting record. Individuals do not need to preregister to attend or speak.... However, when meetings are held at VA headquarters or facilities, all attendees will be required to check in and show valid ID at the security desk."
"This is your chance gulf war veterans!" Nichols continued. "We have had only at most half
a dozen vets show up in D.C., Baltimore, Seattle [other recent meetings]. So if you have problems, now is the time to come forward. Have your input [ready]. Family members, too!"
"Nichols continued that elected officials of state and federal level should also send their staff members to see how the process is going in accessing the needs of gulf war veterans! "This process needs to include US Senators, US Reps, State Reps, State senators, state departments of veterans affairs, veteran service organizations Commanders at state level and their service officers so they can input and see for themselves the needs that exist. These individuals need to be notified by the VA but sadly the VA does not use their extensive public affairs to communicate with veterans or the elected or appointed leaders from Federal to local levels. "
Nichols has asked the committee to open the VA's vast teleconferencing network at each VA hospital across the nation to facilitate a more rapid and open dialogue. In this manner, the advisory committee could quickly access all across this country veterans, care providers, all officials, and veterans' family members in a more cost saving method to find out the facts and needs. Nichols states "veterans and their families have been disenfranchised over 18 years, the gulf war veterans tried repeated to access the VA system and were denied!" Now they are expecting veterans like that to travel and spend money they don't have to again try to get the system to respond! If they would open the door to each VA auditorium across the country and turn on the videoconferencing system we could accomplish this more quickly and hear the veterans.
Nichols states that she is "in despair that the gulf war illness has been so neglected by the media, public officials, and the common citizen." "She goes further to state that it is an outright crime that VA/DOD and our government that has public media resources and assets fails so miserably in sharing communication of utmost importance to these veterans and expects the ill and often dying veterans to do the public relations work and outreach that is so urgently needed."
Nichols used her most recent communication from just one of thousands of gulf war veterans to highlight problems. The message text she received is one of thousands she has received and reflects how the gulf war veterans are suffering.
"I am unable speak for other Gulf War Vets, but I can tell you how I feel about the meetings and such. I am not able to attend the meetings because they are so far away, either lack of funds or my illness prevent me from attending. I know that we have waited a long time to be heard, but I know of some; like me, who have lost everything! If it was not for family I would be just another homeless Veteran. My elderly parents have taken me in, and I still have my claim on appeal."
All veterans and their local leaders, said Nichols, should place postings on grocery store bulletin boards, email networks, write letters to the editor to local papers, call radio shows, get public service announcements on the air, discuss the upcoming meetings at local veterans' posts and do all they can to get the word out and boost attendance and input for both committees.
"We need every gulf war veteran and their families notified of these meetings," Nichols continued. "They need to write a summary including: name, former rank, unit, location in theater, when and what symptoms occurred, when and what happened when they went to VA for help, how/if was their VA claims were handled, where did they turn next to get help, what state their health is in right now, and any problems that the spouse and family may have had -- and suggestions for changes."
For more specific information on places, times, schedules, etc. go to www.va.gov and proceed to "search," and enter "advisory committees." For the latest casualty figures, see that same website and enter GWVIS in the search box.
Suggestions and information from veterans, physicians, scientists, and members of the general public are welcome at these committee meetings.
Key VA contacts are: Laura O'Shea, Designated Federal Officer, Laura.O'shea@ va.gov; and Lelia Jackson, Alternate Designated Federal Officer, Lelia.jackson@ va.gov
Denise Nichols, MAJ,USAFR(ret), Gulf War Veteran and Veteran Advocate can be reached at DSNurse1@yahoo.com
GIs' New Armor Too Heavy, Army Says
February 05, 2009
WASHINGTON - Concerned that U.S. troops are already saddled with too much heavy gear, military officials will not require them to wear improved body armor until manufacturers cut the weight of the new protective plates.
The Army plans to buy 120,000 sets of the advanced bullet-blocking plates this year. This initial purchase of the plates, known as "XSAPI," will be stocked in Kuwait and be available if commanders need them, service officials said at a congressional hearing Wednesday.
The quality of small numbers of the current plates, called "ESAPI," was questioned last week in an audit by the Defense Department inspector general's office. The audit said the ESAPI plates from one body armor manufacturer - Armor Works of Chandler, Ariz. - were tested improperly and may not provide troops adequate protection.
The Army disputed the conclusion. ESAPI is the best body armor available and a lifesaver in Iraq and Afghanistan, service officials insisted. Nonetheless, as a precautionary step the Army decided to withdraw nearly 33,000 Armor Works plates in question from an ESAPI inventory of about 2 million produced by nearly a dozen different companies.
The body armor used by most American forces consists of a vest with a series of inserts that protect most of the upper body from armor-piercing rounds. The specially hardened ceramic plates are the largest of the inserts; one is placed in the front of the vest and another in the back.
But making the roughly 6-pound XSAPI any lighter is harder than it sounds. The plate has to be thick enough to defeat new and more potent bullets finding their way onto the battlefield, says Joel Moskowitz of Ceradyne in Costa Mesa, Calif., one of the companies making XSAPI.
"A certain amount of thickness is required," Moskowitz said Wednesday in an interview. "You just need that to stop that first hit."
The Army's testing methods were backed by the Pentagon's director of operational testing, an independent office that assesses how gear performs.
But in an action separate from the ESAPI armor recall, the Army in December voluntarily withdrew just over 8,000 plates because of testing gaps. Those plates were made by Armor Works and other manufacturers, including Ceradyne.
Contracts potentially worth $6 billion for XSAPI and ESAPI plates were awarded in October 2008 to Ceradyne, BAE Systems of Phoenix, and The Protective Group of Miami Lakes, Fla. The work was put on hold after BAE filed a protest over the manufacturing schedule.
Overall, the military could acquire up to 1 million sets of XSAPI plates.
ESAPI plates range in size from extra small to extra large and weigh on average 5 1/2 pounds each. XSAPI plates come in the same sizes and weigh about half a pound more.
An extra pound may not seem overly burdensome. But when added to the combat loads the troops already carry - backpack, combat rifle, ammunition, helmet - it creates more strain, particularly in harsh environments like Afghanistan, the Army says. The elevation and rugged terrain there means troops must often track insurgents on foot and every pound counts.
"Over time, the body armor, it does wear on your body," said Army Staff Sgt. Fred Rowe, who has done two combat tours in Iraq. "I couldn't imagine doing what I did, carrying what I carried, in Afghanistan."
Rowe appeared at the hearing along with several senior Army officers, including Maj. Gen. Robert Lennox, who oversees operations and training.
Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, head of the Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va., agreed with Army leaders who said that the vast majority of requests from commanders in the field, especially those in Afghanistan, ask that the troops' load be lightened.
"We must balance levels of protection in order to maintain the agility, mobility and lethality of our Marines," according to Brogan's written testimony.
Concerned that U.S. troops are already saddled with too much heavy gear, military officials will not require them to wear improved body armor until manufacturers cut the weight of the new protective plates.
It's bad enough to carry the full battle load as it is for the soldier but to add extra weight to the armor plating is ludicrous, forget getting shot, you are looking at heat strokes and damage to the spinal system from packing this much weight around in hilly and mountainous terrain. It would be hard to do at sea level let alone at 10-15,000 feet of Afghanistan/Pakistan border region.Sphere: Related Content
Military One Source
Benefits and Entitlements
Savings and Thrift Savings Plans
Army Family Programs
National Guard Family Services
Army Reserve Family Services
Grocery shopping information
Clothing shopping information
The Army Structure
As an Army Spouse, you are eligible to take online classes in the Lifelong Learning section on this site. All you need to do is simply register for this site and select the training of your choice. If you’re already registered, click here to select a training opportunity. The Army Family Team Building (AFTB) program has numerous online modules which teach all about the Army, its customs, traditions, Chain of Command, Rank and the Role of the Army Spouse. After you've mastered the basics about the Army by taking AFTB Level I, move on with Level II and III which reveals more than you can ever imagine. A few of the training topics in AFTB Level I are listed below:
Army customs and traditions
Chain of Command
Role of the Army Spouse
The Military Life
Click the links below to find information on moving to your first installation, deployments, financial management and children education support services.
Relocation and Moving Tips
Children Education Support
Explore the links below to develop and grow personally and/or professionally. Click below to discover the thousands of employment opportunities available, take a computer course or mentor training.
Army Spouse Employment Partnership
Military Spouse Job Search Bank
Computer Internet Training
Army Mentoring Training
As you can see this is a program for active duty and reserve and National Guard troops and their families, it has all the information on one web site that anyone would need in dealing with the military regardless of what branch they belong to, they have pages for the Army, Navy, Marine Corp and the Air Force, broken down by states and installations. I hope those of you who need information find this a useful site, it appears that DOD is attempting to do something great here.
Hat tip to my friend Larry Meirow for introducing it to me. SALUTE
HONOR AND TAPS RENDERED
Ages 39, 41(2), 42(2),54, 67 FEB DEATHS
1. Proffitt Feb 8 , age 39,Navy
2. Smith, FEB 1,41,Army, at home
3. Bailey,67, Navy, MChief, VN and GWVet, Navy, Cancer
4. Gonzales, Feb 4, 41,USMC, Sgt, aircraft line mechanic
5. Bousquet ,Feb8, 54, Navy, USS Kitty Hawk and Enterprise, Aviation structural Mechanic, Massive heart attack
Dixon, Jan 27, USAF Special Ops(8th and 16th), 43, short illness
6. Boren , age 42, Feb 6, Army
Brewer, Jan 21, Navy, 60, E9 Master Chief Aviation Ordanceman Specialist. He served on the USS Coral Sea, USS Nimitz and USS America. He also served in Vietnam, Desert Storm and Libya.
7. do Carmo,Feb 3, unexpectedly, 42, USAF
Full obits below:
Proffitt, Michael Michael Bryan Proffitt was born November 21, 1970 to Van and Carolyn Proffitt in Dallas, Texas and passed away on Sunday, February 8, 2009 in Hillsboro, Texas. He is survived by his parents, Van and Carolyn Proffitt, uncle, Charles Proffitt, aunt, Gayle McDonald and cousins, Kimberly Fountain and Kelly McDonald. He served in the U.S. Navy and was a Desert Storm veteran. He worked for Solo Cup Co. as a boiler tech. and his hobbies were fishing, hunting, golf, riding his motorcycle, watching NASCAR races and playing video games. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Visitation will be from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 and services will be at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at Midlothian Funeral Home. Midlothian Funeral Home 200 E. Ave E, Midlothian,Texas www.midlothianfh.com
Jeff A. Smith
Jeff A. Smith, 41, Davis, Illinois, died at 8:07 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009 in his home surrounded by his family. Born June 12, 1967 in Madison Heights, Michigan, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lou and Jackie (Collin)
Lockett. Married the former Julie Smejkal in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 19, 1990. He was employed in the heating and air conditioning business. Veteran of Desert Storm serving in the U.S. Army in Panama and Japan. Graduated from Morton East High School in Berwyn, Illinois. Jeff was friends with all he met, was caring and loving and always thoughtful of others. He was a kind soul with lots of love who tried hard at everything in life. He was always first in line with helping hands whenever needed. He enjoyed his Coca Colas and movies. Survivors include his wife Julie Smith; children Alexa, Spencer, Lili and Harrison all of Davis, Illinois; parents Jackie and Lou Lockett, Lake Summerset, Illinois; brothers Jason Smith, Woodridge, Illinois and Jimmy (Val) Smith, Hampshire, Illinois; foster brother James Herman, New Mexico; father and mother-in-law John and Lil Smejkal, Lake Summerset, Illinois and several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, James A. Smith and his grandparents. Funeral Ceremonies will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 in McCorkle Funeral Home, 101 Main Street, Durand, IL. Cremation rites to be accorded. Visitation will be held from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7 at the funeral home. A memorial has been established to Gift of Hope, Organ & Tissue Donor Network 660 N. Industrial Drive Elmhurst, IL 60126. Visit www.mccorklefuneralhome.com to send on-line condolences. For more information call 800-213-7070
Paul C. Bailey
Retired United States Navy Master Chief (EQCM) Paul C. Bailey, 67, of Kingston, passed away peacefully early Monday morning in Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
His wife is the former Jean C. Doyle. Together, Paul and Jean celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary on Sept. 21, 2008.
Born Jan. 31, 1942, in Philadelphia, Paul was the son of the late Paul C. and Danielle G. Rivera Bailey.
He was a graduate of William Tennent High School, Warminster, and attended Penn State University, Main Campus, Collegeville.
Paul was also a 1988 graduate of the Naval Enlisted Academy, Newport, R.I.
A proud and decorated United States Navy veteran, Paul served his country for 31 years. Paul served three tours in Vietnam, as well as deployments for Desert Storm/Desert Shield.
During his time of service, Paul was the recipient of many decorations including, but not limited to, the Purple Heart with two stars, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Battle E Ribbon, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Southwest Asia Medal, as well as the coveted Meritorious Service Medal.
Upon his honorable discharge, Paul had attained the rank of master chief of the United States Navy.
Paul greatly enjoyed restoring classic cars and loved to take on building projects. He especially enjoyed antiques and previously owned and operated an antique store in Fayetteville, N.C.
He was a member of St. Ignatius Church, Kingston. Paul was also a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Disabled American Veterans.
Paul served as Imperial Red Eyed Gnawer of the National Order of Trench Rats at the organization's national headquarters in Kingston.
Paul was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle and friend who will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
In addition to his beloved wife, Jean, Paul is also survived by his children, Paul C. Bailey III, New Jersey; Kymberlee L. Bailey, Oregon; Donna Lee McGinnis, California; Steven M. Bailey and David J. Bailey, both of Hatboro; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren; brother, David J. Bailey, Georgia; one niece; and one nephew.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the funeral Friday at 9 a.m. from the Wroblewski Funeral Home Inc., 1442 Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. in St. Ignatius Church, 339 N. Maple Ave., Kingston.
Military honors will be accorded following the Funeral Mass at St. Ignatius.
Interment will be private and held at the convenience of the family.
Family and Friends may call Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m., at the funeral home.
For additional information or to send the Bailey family an online message of condolence, you may visit the funeral home Web site at www.wroblewskifuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Paul's memory to the Seabee Memorial Scholarship Association Inc., P.O. Box 6574 Silver Spring, MD 20916 or to the American Cancer Society, 71 N. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701.
Christopher David Gonzales was called to eternal life with the Lord on Wednesday, February 4th, 2009 at the age of 41 after have been in a coma for eight years. He was an employee of United Parcel Service in El Paso, Texas as an Aircraft Line Mechanic for 10 years. He is survived by his mother, Irma Medrano; father, Samuel Gonzales; maternal grandmother, Mary Medrano; daughters, Crystal Kyle and Maegan Gonzales; son, Joshua Gonzales; grandchildren: Trace Kyle, Adison Gray, and Michael Blaze Gray; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He was a graduate of Jefferson High School, class of 1985. He joined the Marine Corps on April 5th, 1989 and received a valuable military education. He was a life-time member of the Veterans of Foreign War, Post 8936. His primary specialty was as an Aircraft Line Mechanic. He did a tour of Desert Storm in 1990 and earned the rank of Sgt. He was released from active duty with an Honorable Discharge and received the National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Mast (2), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Good Conduct Metal w/1 star, Southwest Asia Service Metal, Kuwait Liberation Metal, Naval Aircrew Insignia, Navy Unit Commendation and the Meritorious Unit Commendation. We would like to thank the caregivers from San Pedro Manor and Vitas Hospice for their wonderful care and compassion. He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed. ROSARY
FEBRUARY 11, 2009
FROM PORTER LORING CHAPEL
FEBRUARY 12, 2009
CATHOLIC CHURCH 10703 WURZBACH ROAD Military honors to be rendered at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery following.
You are invited to sign the guestbook at www.porterloring.com
View/Sign Guest Book
Richard Joseph Bousquet, 54, of Idaho Falls, passed away Feb. 8, 2009, at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center of a massive heart attack.
He was born April 10, 1954, in San Diego, Calif., to Charles Eugene Bousquet and Patricia Wright Bousquet. He attended many schools around the world and graduated from Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, Calif. In his youth, he was very active in the Boy Scouts of America.
He served his country as an aviation structural mechanic in the United States Navy and lived in many cities because of his Naval career. He worked on the Kittyhawk and Enterprise Aircraft Carriers and served during Desert Storm. He received many awards for his work and retired with more than 21 years service. He was a member of the Catholic faith and enjoyed riding Harley motorcycles, studying American Indian culture and watching and collecting movies.
Survivors include his fiancee, Sandy Snow of Idaho Falls; father, Charles Bousquet of Idaho Falls; sisters, Theresa Bousquet-Walker of Ammon and Elizabeth S. Bousquet of Rigby; and niece, Jessica M. Bousquet of Rigby. He was preceded in death by his mother, Patricia.
Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, at Wood Funeral Home, 273 N. Ridge Ave. The family will visit with friends for one hour prior to the services Thursday at Wood Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com. Military rites will be performed by the Bonneville County Memorial Veterans Team and the Idaho Honor Guard.
Roy Dean "Stoney" Dixon
1966 - 2009
Roy Dixon, or "Stoney" as he was known by family, died after a short illness on Jan. 27, 2009, in Pensacola, Fla.
Roy was born the second child of the late Roy Dee Dixon and Freda Dixon Hatton on Jan. 2, 1966, in Ronceverte, W.Va. He moved with his family as an infant to Virginia and, soon after, to his childhood home in Hopewell. Roy was very athletic and enjoyed playing football, basketball, baseball, and track and field. He was coached frequently in sports by his father. All throughout his school years he continued in sports and made several life-long friends in the process.
Roy is predeceased by his grandparents and both parents. He is survived by his wife, Rose Dixon; his children, Trenton Dean Dixon and Caroline Rose Dixon, and their mother, Diana Dixon Carli, all of Destin, Fla.; his sister, Cynthia Dixon Browning, and her two daughters and son of Dublin, Va.; and by his brother, Kelly Scott Dixon of Charlotte, N.C.
He will be remembered by his many friends and aunts, uncles and cousins in the tri-city area as a big guy with a big smile. They have many happy memories of Roy during family vacations in the Outer Banks, N.C., and swimming at the Moose pool. Roy enjoyed traveling very much and at the age of 19 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and got to see much of the world.
Roy spent 19 years in the Air Force until medically retired due to injuries while serving. Roy was a member of the 8th and 16th Squadrons, which are part of AFSOC (Air Force Special Operations Command) stationed at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Roy and his family were very proud of his service record. His accomplishments while serving in the Air Force are many and vast. While a member of AFSOC, Roy participated in "Operation Just Cause," "Desert Shield," "Desert Storm" and the "Gulf War." Roy was also the recipient of a number of medals. The ones that meant the most to him were the Humanitarian Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Expeditionary Service Medal, and Kuwait Liberation Medal. The men and women who have served with Roy will sorely miss him.
On July 4, 1992, Roy married Diana L. Dixon. They lived most of their 10-year marriage in Navarre, Fla. Roy and Diana had two wonderful children, Trenton Dean Dixon, now age 15, and Caroline Rose Dixon, now age 11. Roy loved his family dearly and spent his spare time cooking fabulous meals for them, coaching t-ball teams, building pirate ships, waterslides, haunted houses, and giving "horsey back" rides. His love for his family will stay with us always. Roy, we miss you more than you could ever know.
On Nov. 22, 2008, Roy married Rose Sherrer, of Alabama, who also loves him very much.
A memorial service will be held at Trahan Funeral Home, Pensacola, Fla., on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 1 p.m.
Gregory L. Boren
Sept. 30, 1966 - Feb. 6, 2009
MIDDLEBURY - Gregory L. Boren, 42, of Middlebury, Indiana, died February 6, 2009. He was born in Mishawaka on September 30, 1966, to James C. and Barbara E. Boren. Greg is survived by his father, James (Sherry) Boren of Little Elm, Texas, and his mother, Barbara Anderson of South Bend. His wife, Noell, who he married in Maumee, Ohio, on August 18, 1995, survives along with a daughter, Holli Boren, and a son, Todd Boren, both of Elkhart; six sisters, Vickie Snyder, Valerie Shylace and Dawn Thompson, all of Las Vegas, Tammy (Boren) Guriel of Hastings, Michigan, Amanda Anderson of South Bend and Misty Boren of Dallas, Texas; three brothers, Ron Boren of Mishawaka, Jerry Boren and James C. Boren Jr., both of Little Elm, Texas. He is also survived by a maternal grandmother, Betty R. Vance of Mishawaka; paternal grandparents, Ralph and Gertrude Boren of South Bend; his mother-in-law, Pamela Bradley-Moellering of Mishawaka; a brother and sister-in-law, Marnie and David Kisner of New Mexico; a special niece, Melissa Boren; and nephews, Andrew Guriel, Nolan Moore and R.J., Morgan; and several other nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Alva R. Vance in 1991, and by his stepfather, David H. Anderson in 2006. He served in the Army during Desert Storm and was honorably discharged in 1991. Friends may visit with the family on Wednesday, February 11th, in the Bubb Funeral Chapel from 4-8 p.m. and from 10 to 11 a.m. prior to services on Thursday at 11 a.m. in the funeral home. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery. Mementos for Greggy may be brought to the funeral home. Condolences to the family may be sent to Bubbfuneralchapel.com.
Christopher M. Brewer
ASTOR, Fla., Christopher M. Brewer, 60, of Astor, Fla., died Jan. 21, 2009, in De Land, Fla., after battling cancer for two years.
Services were Jan. 27 at Allen-Summerhill Memorial Chapel. Burial was in Bush Nelle, Fla., National Cemetery.
Family will be greeting friends from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14 at the VFW in Grand Island.
Mr. Brewer was born March 2, 1948, at Aurora, Colo.
Survivors of the immediate family include three sons and daughters-in-law, Christopher II and Lori of Lincoln, Kevin and Terinia of Tampa, Fla., and Jason and Gaberale of Virginia Beach, Va.; a daughter, Trisha of Virginia Beach, Va.; his mother, Thelma; three brothers and two sisters-in-law, Don and Bev, Mike and special friend, Sally, and Rodger, all of Grand Island; and a sister and brother-in-law, Sue and Don Dunning of Grand Island.
Additional survivors include eight grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Christopher was raised in Grand Island and attended Grand Island Public Schools. He entered the U.S. Navy in 1967. He was a E9 Master Chief Aviation Ordanceman Specialist. He served on the USS Coral Sea, USS Nimitz and USS America. He also served in Vietnam, Desert Storm and Libya. He retired in 1993.
He was a life member of VFW Post 2380, serving as current Quarter Master and former Post Commander, also a Cooties life member.
He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents, his father, Don, and a brother, John.
Memorials are suggested to the family.
His beautiful blue eyes were donated so someone else could see what a hero he was to all who knew him.
Sign the guest book at theindependent.com/obits.
James Bradford do Carmo
do CARMO, James Bradford, 42, passed away unexpectedly on February 3, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn and sons, Daniel and James of Tucson, AZ; grandmother, Ruth do Carmo, of Alexandria, VA; father, Daniel do Carmo and wife, Barbara, of Casselbury, FL; brother, Ted do Carmo and wife, Dianne, of Lakeside, CA; sister, Cathy Lucero of Lakeside, CA; brother-in-law, Robert Leyba and wife Tammy of Santa Fe, NM; sister-in-law, Maddy Rubi and husband William of Albuquerque, NM and numerous nieces and nephews. He served in the United States Air Force and served in the Gulf War, retiring in 2006. He was a great husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend and will be missed dearly. Mass will be offered 9:30 a.m., Monday, February 9, 2009 at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church, 1800 S. Kolb Rd. Burial to follow in Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Sierra Vista, Arizona, at 1:00 p.m. Visitation 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, February 8, 2009 at BRING'S BROADWAY CHAPEL, 6910 E. Broadway, with Rosary recited at 7:00 p.m.
These are all Gulf War One veterans, look at their ages, they should NOT be deceased already, they are nowhere near the average life span of Americans, especially Americans who passed the physicals to enter military service in some cases less than 20 years ago or 30 years ago, these are or were among the healthiest Americans we had to offer. Medical screenings before entering military service are stringent and they were enlisted as being of sound mind and body, so why all the premature deaths?
These are all deaths that are related to Gulf War Illness that our government refuses to believe in. why?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Are you a pussy?
When Army Pvt. Adam Lieberman tried to commit suicide, his mother had to paint over his suicide note. See the photos here, as well as the "Hurt Feelings Report."
Editor's note: "Coming Home" is a weeklong investigative series on preventable deaths at Fort Carson, a U.S. Army post in Colorado, among troops who have returned from combat tours in Iraq. Salon national correspondent Mark Benjamin and Colorado-based journalist Michael de Yoanna reviewed more than two-dozen incidents of suicide, suicide attempts, prescription drug overdoses and murder involving Fort Carson troops and examined 10 of those cases painstakingly. (Read an introduction to the series here.) The first story in the series, "The Death Dealers Took My Life!" concerns the attempted suicide of Pvt. Adam Lieberman.
By Mark Benjamin and Michael de Yoanna
Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 S S S RSS Print Email
Read more: Mark Benjamin, Primary sources, Michael de Yoanna
Feb. 9, 2009 | On Oc. 30, 2008, Army Pvt. Adam Lieberman attempted to kill himself via prescription drug overdose at Fort Carson, Colo. After swallowing the pills, he painted a suicide note on the wall of his barracks that read, "I FACED THE ENEMY AND LIVED! IT WAS THE DEATH DEALERS THAT TOOK MY LIFE!"
Lieberman survived the attempt. Five days later, his mother, Heidi, arrived in Colorado and was told that her son would be charged with defacing government property for scrawling his suicide note on the barracks wall. Heidi Lieberman told her son's commanding officer that she would repaint the wall herself to "make this stupidity go away." The officer took her up on her offer.
Heidi Lieberman painted over the note, documenting both the note and the paint job photographically. Those photos appear on this page and Pages 2, 3 and 4. On Page 5 there are two undated photos of Adam Lieberman in uniform.
The final page shows a mock Army document produced by an unknown person in Fort Carson's 3rd Brigade Combat Team (which is not Lieberman's unit), apparently to poke fun at troops who seek medical attention. Stacks of the "Hurt Feelings Report" were found near a sheet where soldiers sign out to see a doctor. "Reasons for filing this report: Please circle Yes or No," the Hurt Feelings Report directs. Options include: I am thin skinned; I am a pussy; I have woman-like hormones; I am a queer; I am a little bitch; I am a cry baby; I want my mommy; All of the above.
this is all visual you must go to the website and see the pictures it hits home I promise you
Army explores new ways to curb suicide rate
Soldiers could be be taught stress-handling skills from first day
Soldier suicides exceed combat deaths
Feb. 6: The fight to save soldiers' lives has moved away from front lines as a shocking rise in military suicides has prompted U.S. Army officials to step up suicide prevention efforts. NBC's Ron Mott reports.
Bringing the fallen home
Feb. 9: Actor Kevin Bacon and Lt. Col. Mike Strobl talk about the new HBO film “Taking Chance” which chronicles the journey of a Marine escorting the body of a fallen fellow Marine home from Iraq. Bacon portrays Strobl in the film.
updated 7:10 p.m. ET, Fri., Feb. 6, 2009
FORT JACKSON, S.C. - To battle a growing suicide rate, the Army may have to start teaching soldiers how to handle stress from the first day they take their entry oath, the service's top trainer said Friday.
"The new idea I suppose I would offer is getting at it right from the beginning of the career," said Gen. Martin Dempsey, the new four-star commander of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, which operates 33 schools and training centers at 16 Army installations.
Dempsey, who led soldiers during two combat tours in Iraq, was questioned about the issue after addressing 1,150 soldiers who graduated from basic training at Fort Jackson, the Army's largest training installation.
According to figures obtained by The Associated Press, there were seven confirmed suicides last month, compared with five a year earlier. An additional 17 cases from January are under investigation.
Army Secretary Pete Geren acknowledged last week that officials have been stumped by the spiraling number of cases.
Dempsey said the issue was vital to an Army that has been at war for seven years and may well be at war for several more.
"I think we need to take a look at a comprehensive fitness program ... that right from the beginning of a young man or woman's experience in the Army, we begin building coping skills before the stress comes. Because once the stress hits, then you are really into last-minute intervention," Dempsey said.
The general said the Army is working with the Department of Defense on new approaches, and he hoped some action might be taken "within the next year."
Dempsey said the new training could include elemental things, such as learning to balance a checkbook so a soldier with a young family doesn't fall into debt and open the way to further stress.
"What we are trying to do is identify skills we can give our soldiers, whether they are intellectual skills, physical skills, spiritual skills ... so that when the stress hits, you are armed to deal with it," Dempsey said.
The Army has already added suicide prevention training, more psychiatrists and other mental health staff, and programs both at home and at the battlefront for troops and their families.
Suicides have risen steadily since 2004 amid increasing stress on the force from long and repeated tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The service has rarely, if ever, released a month-by-month update on suicides. But officials said Thursday they wanted to re-emphasize "the urgency and seriousness necessary for preventive action at all levels" of the force.
In October, the Army and the National Institute of Mental Health signed an agreement to do a five-year study to identify factors affecting the mental and behavioral health of soldiers and come up with intervention strategies at intervals along the way.
Dempsey took over his new post after serving as acting commander of the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for all military operations in the Middle East.
Dempsey commanded the 1st Armored Division in Iraq in 2003-04, and later served in Baghdad for nearly two years in charge of the training and equipping of the Iraqi security forces.