Saturday, April 25, 2009


Join the ride/caravan if only for a few miles

The escort will leave from Sacramento, California on May 21, 2009

Arco Arena to Elko, NV Night 1

Elko, NV to Green River, UT Night 2

Green River, UT to Limon, CO Night 3

Limon, CO to Topeka, KS Night 4

Topeka, KS to Haubstadt, IN Night 5

Haubstadt, IN to Beckley, WV Night 6

Beckley, WV to Washington, DC Night 7

The Funeral Services will be at Arlington on May 29, 2009, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm

For a more detailed route click HERE

From: Chris Brocksmith []
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 12:37 PM
Importance: High




Importance: High




The Missing in America Project is a nation-wide, non-profit 501c3 organization, whose mission is to locate, identify, and inter the unclaimed remains of American Veterans. To provide honor and respect to those who served this country. On 29 May 2009, they will do just that. This cross country honors mission, will take this group through the heart of Illinois and your participation would be appreciated.

On 25 May 2009, this escort will pass through Missouri and Illinois. Your participation would be appreciated to honor these heroes.

The Missing in America Project, with the assistance of the Buffalo Soldiers MC and the Old Guard Riders have the honor of escorting three American Heroes to Arlington National Cemetery to fulfill the nation’s obligation to show proper respect for these veterans.

Our Heroes are:


Johnnie Franklin Callahan’s dream was to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. On May 21, the Missing in America Project will escort Johnnie to Arlington to fulfill that dream.

Johnnie served in the Navy during WWII on the USS Aulick. While at sea, a Japanese bomber dropped a live bomb onto the deck of his ship. Johnnie picked it up and threw it out to sea thus saving countless lives. For his heroism, Johnnie received the nation’s third highest award for combat valor, the Silver Star.


James William Dunn served for 35 years in the US Army as a medical aid man.

While serving in the Republic of Vietnam, his base came under heavy enemy attack. James, without regard to

his own safety, retrieved a number of wounded soldiers, administered life saving techniques and carried them to safety thus saving many lives. For his heroism, James received the Silver Star for valor in combat.


Isaiah Mays, Buffalo Soldier served during the Indian Wars. In May of 1889, Isaiah was escorting the Army Paymaster when they were set upon by robbers. Isaiah was shot in both legs. The robbers got the money but Isaiah crawled for 2 miles to obtain help for the wounded.

For his heroism, he received the nation’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. Later he applied for a pension and was denied. When he died in 1925 he was buried in a field in a pauper’s grave. 110 years later, he finally received a Medal of Honor headstone. But he was still in a pauper’s grave. Recently, the Old Guard Riders and the Missing in America Project obtained permission to disinter Isaiah and escort him to Arlington National Cemetery on May 21 for a full military honors burial.

Johnnie Callahan and James Dunn will be escorted from California while Isaiah Mays will be escorted from Arizona. The two groups will meet in Topeka, KS and head for Kansas City, KS where they will meet with Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

Once at Arlington National Cemetery, the funeral for Johnnie Callahan will be at 1:00 PM, James Dunn’s ceremony will be at 11:00 AM and Isaiah Mays’ will be honored at 3:00 PM on 29 May 2009.

If anyone would like a flower/flag placed on a relative or friend’s grave at Arlington, contact Linda Smith at We will need the name of the veteran and location of the grave site. We will place the flower or flag and take a photo for the requesting person.

Anyone wishing to sponsor escort riders, purchase or advertise on mission t-shirts or donate to this mission, contact Fred Salanti, Missing in America Executive Director at or call 530-229-9000.


Christopher G. Brocksmith

Retired Chief Petty Officer

United States Navy



Wounded Warrior - USMC

Till the Last Shot's Fired

National Missing in America Project Veterans’ Organizations Coordinator

Soldiers Angels

Warriors Watch

Old Guard – Patriot Guard Riders

My Facebook

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Chairman Hall Holds Hearing to Discuss the COMBAT PTSD Act, H.R. 952





Chairman Hall Holds Hearing to Discuss the COMBAT PTSD Act, H.R. 952

Washington D.C. – On Thursday, April 23, 2009, Congressman John J. Hall (D-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, conducted a hearing to discuss H.R. 952, the Compensation Owed for Mental Health Based on Activities in Theater Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Act, or COMBAT PTSD Act. The bill addresses the difficulties veterans encounter when required to prove stressors in order to receive service-connected compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder incurred as a result of their military service.

Chairman Hall, the sponsor of H.R. 952, said, “The original intent of Congress in 1941 in enacting the statute in question, was to extend full cooperation to our war-time wounded veterans. Over time, VA regulations, procedures and General Counsel decisions have resulted in a more restrictive and unreasonable process for our veterans trying to prove an injury or stressful event occurred in combat. It is time to clarify the meaning of ‘combat with the enemy’ that reflects the realities of modern warfare and affords our veterans the benefits that they have earned.”

Specifically, H.R. 952 would clarify the definition of "combat with the enemy" to include “active duty service in a theater of combat operations during a period of war or in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities.” This expansion would help ease the adverse effects on veterans of having to provide non-essential corroborating evidence of engaging in combat with the enemy when a medical diagnosis is present and the injuries are consistent with the duties and hardship of service.

Barton F. Stichman, Joint Executive Director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, testified:

“Under current law, VA has to expend more time and resources to decide PTSD claims than almost every other type of claim. A major reason that these claims are so labor intensive is that in most cases, VA believes that the law requires it to conduct an extensive search for evidence that may corroborate the veteran’s testimony that he experienced a stressful event during military service. According to the VA, an extensive search for corroborating evidence is necessary even when the medical evidence shows that the veteran currently suffers from PTSD, and mental health professionals attribute the PTSD to stressful events that occurred during military service. Often there is no corroborative evidence that can be found – not because the in-service stressful event did not occur – but because the military did not and does not keep detailed records of every event that occurred during periods of war in combat zones.”

“Adoption of this bill would mean that Congress would enable disabled combat veterans, particularly those diagnosed with PTSD, to have their claims for benefits decided fairly without facing the unnecessary and often insurmountable documentation hurdles imposed by VA to show that an in–service stressor occurred.” said Chairman Hall. “Instead of helping these veterans reach an optimal point of social and emotional homeostasis, VA’s procedures are an obstacle to this end--inflicting upon the most noble of our citizens a process that feels accusatory and doubtful of their service."

H.R. 952 currently has 42 cosponsors including Bob Filner, Chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Chairman Filner commented, “We know the costs in lost lives, health impacts, and decreased employment productivity when the fallout from combat issues is not addressed. We must address the needs of our returning veterans and H.R. 952 reflects our understanding that PTSD can be a consequence of war--and the true cost of war includes the cost of the warrior. In fact, one in every five returning OEF and OIF veteran has been diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD. We cannot be content to send our troops to war and not be prepared to provide the compassion, care, and benefits that our veterans deserve upon returning from serving our country.”

At this time, a Subcommittee markup for H.R. 952 has not yet been scheduled. The bill must be approved by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs before being considered by the full U.S. House of Representatives.

Witness List

Panel 1

· John Wilson, Associate National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans

· Bart Stichman, Joint Executive Director, National Veterans Legal Service Program

· Norm Bussel, Trustee, Adjutant and Commander, Hudson Valley Chapter American Ex-Prisoners of War

· Richard Cohen, Executive Director, National Organization of Veterans Advocates

Panel 2

· Bradley G. Mayes, Director Compensation and Pension Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Ø Accompanied by Richard Hipolit, Assistant General Counsel, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Prepared testimony for the hearing and an audio recording of the hearing is available on the internet at this link:

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Man faked paralysis, caught dancing, roofing

Man faked paralysis, caught dancing, roofing

Amy L. Edwards | Sentinel Staff Writer
5:10 PM EDT, April 24, 2009
An Orlando man was sentenced to prison for faking paralysis and collecting about $155,000 in disability benefits, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported today.

Patrick Wilson had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of government property. He was accused of falsely representing to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Labor that he suffered from paralysis and could not use his legs. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison.

But investigators said Wilson was videotaped landscaping at his home, working on his roof, and dancing at social gatherings.

Wilson also has to pay $157,000 in restitution.


How do you fake paralysis for multiple years? What ever happened to nerve end tests? They take your word for it?

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Senate confirms Duckworth for V.A. position

Background following this article from WGN, Chicago.


Senate confirms Duckworth for V.A. position

Former Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth was confirmed unanimously by the Senate this evening for a post in the Obama Administration as an assistant secretary in the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department.

Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq War who was injured when the Blackhawk helicopter she was piloting was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade, will be Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Duckworth lost her left leg and her right leg has since been amputated due to injuries she sustained in the attack.

After treatment for her injuries, she unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the U.S. House and was later appointed director of the state veterans affairs department.

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) lauded her in a statement issued shortly after her Senate confirmation.

"President Obama and America's veterans now have Tammy Duckworth as their advocate and champion," Durbin said in the written statement. "I know Tammy will bring the same level of commitment to the VA that she has shown in fighting for her country and representing Illinois veterans."

--Mike Dorning


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VA staff manipulation of Institute of Medicine reports

Below is only a small reprint from the web site. All Gulf war veterans, VSOs, NSO’s and Advocates need to read it, and article below by Denise Nichols

FROM: James Binns, Chairman, Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans


SUBJECT: VA staff manipulation of Institute of Medicine reports

DATE: February 9, 2009

In its 452-page report released in November the Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory

Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses concluded that scientific research consistently

indicates that Gulf War illness is real, the result of toxic exposures during the 1991 war, and

affects at least 175,000 veterans -- one in four of those who served. The report is available from

the Committee scientific staff office at the Boston University School of Public Health at and online at

The report observes that these health problems have been “denied and trivialized” for seventeen

years. This process has included VA staff manipulation of Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports

relied upon by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in determining ill veterans’ benefits. [Report,

pp. 53-55] Because of the stature of the IOM, these reports have also misled researchers,

lawmakers, physicians, and the public regarding the health problems of Gulf War veterans.

VA subsequently announced that it was referring the Research Advisory Committee report to the

IOM. This new IOM report was requested before the new Administration took office, and VA

staff gave the IOM committee its charge on January 28.

The Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, is universally

respected as the high court of American medical science. Government compromise of its

processes is a breach of public trust that would have been unthinkable under traditional ethical

standards. It is of great importance that this matter be thoroughly investigated and reformed, on

both the government and Institute sides. The IOM Gulf War reports should then be re-done in

accordance with the law, as recommended by the Research Advisory Committee [Report, p. 57].

This memorandum will consider VA staff’s interaction with the Institute of Medicine in the

preparation of the Gulf War reports. It will demonstrate:

AN OPEN LETTER TO All Desert Storm Veterans, Gulf War Veterans, Vietnam Veterans, Family Members, Veteran Supporters

by Denise Nichols

Read this VA Staff Manipulation of Institute of Medicine Report closely! It has been 18 years and Desert Storm veterans ill from their service in the gulf war 90-91 wonder why the VA has not been more proactive, well I believe these are very hard and documented facts!

Delay, Denial, Avoidance.

It will only stop when we all raise our voices!

This means take this document and write a brief letter to your Elected Representative, Senators, House VA Committee, Senate VA Committee and


Panel 1: Should be the RAC GWI Committee

Panel 2: Should be each and everyone of the Gulf War Veteran Organizations that have fought for you since day1

NGWRC--Jim Bunker
AGWVA- Gail Reed
DSJF-Paul Lyons
Veterans for Common Sense- Paul Sullivan
National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition- Denise Nichols
Veterans of Modern Warfare- Don Overton
Wisconsin Veterans State Deptartment of Veterans- Anthony Hardy

Panel 3 Individual Gulf War Veterans ie Desert Storm Veterans or their Family Member if Desert Storm Veteran is now dead. and

Panel 4
most important the Army Preventative Medical Team that was there in theater! To finally lay out what happenned in theater!

It has been 18 years and the VA is still not taking care of the Desert Storm Veterans!
They ship you off and give you psychological drugs to keep you quiet. Does that help your body's response to all the exposures in theater?

You need the best diagnostic testing, regular screening for cancers, neuromuscular diseases, cardiac screening, checked for Autoimmune Disorders, etc.
You need detoxification, supplementation programs that Integrative Medicine and ACAM Physicians and Environmental Medicine Doctors on Civilian side know about!
You need to be tested for all the viral reactivation and that needs to be treated!

AS an officer nurse I was there to care for each of you and we did the best we could but we were not told the truth either as your medical officers! I have been involved since 1992 digging for the truth, going door to door on the hill in DC giving briefings, getting cosponsors on legistation, and testifying. WE have been into every rat maze of denial in DC and we can not wait any longer! So please write your letters!

IT is time for Joint hearings on the Hill in DC for Desert Storm Veterans!

I have written quite extensively about the IOM reports on Sarin Exposure that was done by William Page PHD in March 2003. The report was funded by DOD and was set to parameters that DOD set, they prevented an open assessment of all available chemical weapons data.

Primarily they ignored a report by the national Institute of Health done in 1994 on chemical weapon exposure, low level exposures titled Toxicity of the Organophosphate Chemical Warfare Agents GA, GB, and VX: Implications for Public Protection and they also ignored this report on long term health effects of chemical weapon exposure that definately shows many medical problems linked to exposures on page 40

A psychiatric delayed-effect syndrome was found as a result of systematic investigations
on former members of CW production and testing stations for the Wehrmacht. In
terms of frequency, two groups of symptoms can be distinguished–each consisting of
four separate symptoms or signs.
(1) The great majority of persons examined showed:
(a) persistently lowered vitality accompanied by marked diminution in drive;
(b) defective autonomic regulation leading to cephalalgia, gastrointestinal and
cardiovascular symptoms, and premature decline in libido and potency;
(c) intolerance symptoms (alcohol, nicotine, medicines);
(d) impression of premature aging.
(2) Further, one or more symptoms of the second group were found:
(a) depressive or subdepressive disorders of vital functions;
(b) cerebral vegetative (syncopal) attacks;
(c) slight or moderate amnestic and demential defects;
(d) slight organoneurological defects (predominantly microsymptoms and singular
signs of extrapyramidal character).
Our results are a contribution to the general question of psychopathological delayed
and permanent lesions caused by industrial poisoning. On the basis of our studies of
the etiologically different manifestations of toxication, the possibility of a relatively
uniform–though equally unspecific–cerebro-organic delayed effect syndrome is conceivable

Many of the above symptoms are the illness many people call Gulf War Illness these men were the Wermacht soldiers of Germanys WW2 chemical weapons program

I am one of the soldiers used in the control group for the march 2003 Sarin report, I am Med Vol 6778A of the 7120 enlisted men and women used at Edgewood Arsenal from 1955 thru 1975 in the Army's chemical weapons and drug experiments.

These veterans are now suing the CIA, DOD and the Army for neglecting them and denying them medical care and recognition for the dangerous assignment

What This Case Is About
Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief only – no monetary damages – and Plaintiffs seek redress for 25 years of diabolical experiments followed by over 30 years of neglect, including:

the use of troops to test nerve gas, psychochemicals, and thousands of other toxic chemical or biological substances and perhaps most gruesomely, the insertion of septal implants in the brains of subjects in a ghastly series of mind control experiments that went awry;
the failures to secure informed consent and other widespread failures to follow the precepts of U.S. and international law regarding the use of human subjects, including the 1953 Wilson Directive and the Nuremberg Code;
an almost fanatical refusal to satisfy their legal and moral obligations to locate the victims of their gruesome experiments or to provide health care or compensation to them;
the deliberate destruction of evidence and files documenting their illegal actions, actions which were punctuated by fraud, deception, and a callous disregard for the value of human life.
The Complaint asks the Court to determine that Defendants’ actions were illegal and that Defendants have a duty to notify all victims and to provide them with health care going forward.

Bottom Line the truth is it's the money, if they have to service connect all of these problems, the costs will run into the billions of dollars, it's that simple.

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Special Report: Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans; Notice of Meeting

Special Report: Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans; Notice of Meeting

Special Report: Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans; Notice of Meeting
Posted on April 24, 2009 by gm

by Denise Nichols

Time is drawing close and this Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans will not go on indefinitely!!! Encourage each of you to speak up and input to the committee.... Your frustrations with VA Care/Claims/etc. At bare minimum submitting written comments. I would encourage as many gulf war ie Operation Desert Stor Veterans to be there in person if at all possible! Nothing will happen without your efforts. Tell them what your suggestions are for making it better! I know there is fear out there about speaking up and lossing benefits dont know how to put those fears to rest except to say it is about you and each of your peers that served with you! Are you heard when you go to VA for help? What problems have you experienced?

Speak up Now! Federal Registry notice follows

[Federal Register: April 20, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 74)]
[Page 18039-18040]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans; Notice of Meeting

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) gives notice under Public Law 92-463 (Federal Advisory Committee Act) that the Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans will meet on May 6-7, 2009, at the Residence Inn by Marriott, 1199 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC, from 8:30 a.m.
to 5 p.m. each day. The meeting is open to the public.

The purpose of the Committee is to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on issues that are unique to Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the 1990-1991 period of the Gulf War.

On May 6, the Committee will hear from a panel of outreach professionals from various VA staff offices. The Committee will also receive briefings from the Executive Director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and other subject matter experts on
Gulf War Illness research.

On May 7, the Committee will receive a briefing from the National Director of the Post Deployment Integrated Care Initiative Model about VA's strategic plan to implement the Model. In the afternoon of May 6 and 7, the Committee will discuss recommendations for its final report. Public comments will be received on May 6, from 3:15 p.m. until 3:45 p.m. Individuals wishing to speak must register not later than May 4, 2009, by contacting Ms. Lelia Jackson at (202) 461-5758 and by submitting 1-2 page summaries of their comments for inclusion in the official record. A sign-in sheet will be available each day. Members of the public may also submit written statements for the Committee's review to the Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420. Interested parties may also listen in by teleconferencing into the meeting. The toll-free teleconference line will be open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). To register for the teleconference, contact Ms. Lelia Jackson at (202) 461-5758 or via e-mail at

Any member of the public seeking additional information should contact Laura O'Shea, Designated Federal Officer, at (202) 461-5765.

Dated: April 10, 2009.
E. Philip Riggin,
Committee Management Officer.
[FR Doc. E9-8972 Filed 4-17-09; 8:45 am]



I know Denise Nichols and she is one of the most ardent advocates of Gulf War Illness, and we are getting down to the wire to have Congress listen to us, make an attempt to attend the meetings or at a minimum contact Ms. Lelia Jackson at (202) 461-5758 or via e-mail at if you are affected by any of the symptoms of Gulf War Illness it behooves you and your family to speak up either in person or by a written summary to Ms. Jackson so it can be entered into the official record. As they say "speak up or forever hold your piece" it's now ot never folks. Given the fact that 25% of Gulf War veterans have medical problems which far exceeds all other war periods which all of them average approximately 9% WW2 9%, Korean War 9%, Vietnam 9% Gulf War 25% what caused the giant leap in disabilities?

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Hospital in NC fires officer for excessive force

Hospital in NC fires officer for excessive force

Published: Fri, Apr. 24, 2009 08:21AMModified Fri, Apr. 24, 2009 08:22AM
Text Size: tool nameclose
tool goes here
DURHAM, N.C. -- A police officer at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham has been fired after accusations of excessive force, but his lawyer says he did nothing wrong.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Friday that attorney Jason Wunsch said Peter Maroney was fired and plans to appeal.

Officials accused Maroney of using pepper spray and his night stick last October on a patient with a history of mental illness. Maroney says the patient hit him in the face.

An initial review found no wrongdoing by Maroney, but administrators later decided he used excessive force.

The attorney said Maroney was a military police officer in the Army before joining the VA police force seven years ago.

Information from: The News & Observer,


I am mixed on this yes Police Officers have a right to defend themselves, but at what point does self defense become excessive force, and at VA hospitals thoughts must be used that the veterans are normally there because they are ill, force should be a last resort not the first option.

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Researchers found that the 206 exposed to Agent Orange had nearly a 50 percent increased risk of their cancer recurring

A recent study found that veterans exposed to Agent Orange are at increased risk of aggressive recurrence of prostate cancer.
Abstract of Study at:

The study, published in the May issue of British Journal of Urology International, followed 1,495 veterans who underwent radical prostatectomy to remove their cancerous prostates. Researchers found that the 206 exposed to Agent Orange had nearly a 50 percent increased risk of their cancer recurring, despite the fact that their cancer seemed relatively nonaggressive at the time of surgery. Further, their cancer came back with a vengeance: the time it took the prostate specific antigen, or PSA, level to double – an indicator of aggressiveness – was eight months versus more than 18 months in non-exposed veterans.

The PSA of prostate cancer patients is typically measured every three months for two years after surgery then every six months for life. After surgery to remove the diseased prostate, the PSA should be zero, but any prostate cancer cells left behind continue to make PSA, a red flag of recurrence. The PSA often "percolates along," so physicians tend to watch it for a while to determine if additional therapy is needed. However in patients with Agent Orange exposure, radiation or hormone therapy to kill remaining cells may need to be done sooner rather than later.

Increasing evidence is emerging that exposure to Agent Orange, a herbicide and defoliant used during the Vietnam War, increases risk for a variety of health problems, including prostate cancer, although the exact mechanism is unclear. Dioxin, a known carcinogen, also is found in herbicides and pesticides used by U.S. farmers and forestry and chemical plant workers. Studies have shown them to have an increased cancer risk. Scientists suspect dioxin activates regulatory regions of genes to enable the uncontrolled cell division that is a cancer hallmark.

A separate study of 1,653 veterans at VA medical centers in five cities between 1990 and 2006 also showed recurrence rates were higher and recurring cancers were more aggressive with Agent Orange exposure.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and trails lung cancer as the second leading cause of cancer death.

The study was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program and the American Urological Association/Astellas Rising Star in Urology Award.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Combat Veterans Quality of Life

Combat Veterans Quality of Life

Combat Veterans May Have Poorer Long-Term Quality of Life Than Non-Combat Veterans
April 22, 2009

Study highlights:

Combat duty is associated with impaired long-term quality of life in male veterans — erasing the more favorable health they had when entering the military.

In general, healthier people are more likely to be selected for military participation and they have a lower death rate than the general population.

However, combat exposure negatively affects veterans’ mental health, risk of all-cause mortality and short-term cardiovascular health, researchers said.

American Heart Association meeting report:

WASHINGTON — Military combat is associated with lingering detrimental effects on veterans’ quality of life that may cancel the benefit of their once-healthier status compared to non-veterans, researchers reported at the American Heart Association’s 10th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke.

“Veterans with no exposure to combat reported better health and functional status than men who had no military experience. However, combat veterans did not exhibit the more favorable long-term quality of life and functional health levels of their non-combat veteran counterparts,” said Anna M. Johnson, Ph.D., lead author of the study and an epidemiology researcher at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

“Instead, the combat veterans reported status similar to non-veterans. This suggests that combat exposure is associated with impairment in long-term quality of life and well-being among men that counteracts or overcomes the more favorable baseline health these men had when they entered the military.”

The investigators studied the link between combat stress and quality of life among 5,347 men who took part in the national Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study of heart disease risk.. Twenty percent were African American 80 percent were Caucasian and their ages ranged from 52 to 75 when outcomes were measured in 1996-98.

Health and military status was based on responses to eight questions in follow-up interviews in 2001–02. Men were classified as non-veterans (NV, 38 percent), veterans with no combat exposures (NCV, 40 percent), and veterans with one or more combat exposures (CV, 22 percent). The veterans had served during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam Conflict eras. The study found:

Non-veterans were 37 percent more likely than non-combat veterans to report poor or fair health vs. good or excellent health, even after adjusting for age, race, health insurance, father’s education, adult education, income and occupation.

Combat veterans were 31 percent more likely to report poor or fair health than non-combat veterans, even after adjusting for demographic factors, era and duration of service.

In adjusted models, non-veterans and combat veterans both were 75 percent more likely to report inability to walk half a mile unassisted compared to non-combat veterans.

Results were either unchanged or modestly reduced but statistically unchanged when combat veterans who reported having been wounded or missing in the course of service were removed from analysis.

“Healthy warrior effect or healthy soldier effect describes the fact that healthier persons are more likely to be eligible and selected for participation in the military,” Johnson said. “Those selected must meet physical and mental requirements of the armed forces, and they have a significantly lower mortality rate than is found in the general population.”

However, combat exposure negatively affects veterans’ mental health, risk of all-cause mortality and short-term cardiovascular health, Johnson said. “The psychosocial stress experienced by veterans who have engaged in active combat is a uniquely traumatic stressor that can have positive as well as negative consequences and can have both short-term and long-term effects. And the long-term impact of combat stress is not well understood.”

About 65 percent of American men older than age 55 served in World War II or the Korean conflict, and about a quarter of all older men were exposed to military combat at some time in their lives.

“With active service populations involved in conflicts in the Middle East since the early 1990s, new groups of American men and women continue to be exposed to combat-related stress,” she said. “Given the pervasiveness of combat exposure in our community, it is important to understand the long-term effects it has on the individuals who experience it.”

While the researchers did not include veterans who served in wars more recent than Vietnam, Johnson said, “there is reason to believe that combat exposures today would be similar in some if not many ways to those in other conflicts.”

Researchers should continue to search for “pathways to prevention” by uncovering possible mechanisms through which stress can influence long-term health and well-being, she said.

Co-authors are: Kathryn Rose, Ph.D.; Thomas Mosley, Jr., Ph.D.; and Gerardo Heiss, M.D., Ph.D.

This study was primarily supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


I am not a doctor and I could have made similar statements, I am 54 with the health of a 75 year old and I watched my father and step father age to early. My father served 1914-1916 and my step father was on B17s and other bombers until he retired in 1962 after 21 years of military service he made 42 bombing runs over Germany in WW2 and was part of the Berlin Airlift, besides which he bomber Korea during the Korean War

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 Schedule for Week of April 20, 2009





Schedule for Week of April 20, 2009

Thursday, April 23 at 10 a.m. – 334 Cannon House Office Building

**Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Hearing

Legislative Hearing on H.R. 952, COMBAT PTSD Act

Witness List

Panel 1

· John Wilson, Associate National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans

· Bart Stichman, Joint Executive Director, National Veterans Legal Service Program

· Norm Bussel, Trustee, Adjutant and Commander, Hudson Valley Chapter American Ex-Prisoners of War

· Richard Cohen, Executive Director, National Organization of Veterans Advocates

Panel 2

· Bradley G. Mayes, Director Compensation and Pension Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Ø Accompanied by Richard Hipolit, Assistant General Counsel, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Thursday, April 23 at 1 p.m. – 334 Cannon House Office Building

**Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity Hearing

“VA Non-competitive Contracts”

DRAFT Witness List (subject to change)

Panel 1

· Mark J. Gross, President and Chief Executive Officer, Oak Grove Technologies, Raleigh, NC

· Anthony R. Jimenez, President and Chief Executive Officer, MicroTech, LLC, Vienna, VA

· Charles Maurice Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer, MCB Lighting and Electrical, Owings, MD

· Lisa N. Wolford, President and Chief Executive Officer, CSSS.NET, Bellevue, NE

Panel 2

· Ray Bjorklund, Senior Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer, FedSources, McLean, VA

· Scott F. Denniston, Director of Programs, National Veteran-Owned Business Association, Coraopolis, PA

· Joe Wynn, Chairman, President/Chief Executive Officer, Veterans Enterprise Training and Services Group, Inc. (VETS Group)

· Christina Roos, Legislative Assistant, American Veterans (AMVETS)

Panel 3

· Shawne Carter McGibbon, Acting Chief Counsel, Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration

· Joseph Jordan, Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration

· Jan R. Frye, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Logistics, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


**Link to webcast available here:

Keep updated on the committee schedule here: HVAC Website

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Duckworth nomination to top VA post advances

Duckworth nomination to top VA post advances

SPRINGFIELD - A U.S. Senate committee has approved Tammy Duckworth's nomination to a top job in the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. The full Senate must now approve her appointment before she takes the job.

Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, saw her nomination held up earlier this month by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who said he had questions concerning paperwork Duckworth submitted to the committee. A spokesman for Burr said at the time the senator was just doing "due diligence" on the nomination.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously approved Duckworth's nomination Monday night. The full Senate could approve her nomination as soon as today.

"While I have been frustrated that this vote was held up and her confirmation delayed, I am pleased that Tammy received the unanimous support of the committee," said U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, a Hawaii Democrat.

President Barack Obama chose Duckworth to be the public face of the VA as assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs. She was previously head of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Duckworth lost a 2006 campaign for Congress against U.S. Rep Peter Roskam, a Wheaton Republican. She appeared with Obama several times during his 2008 presidential bid and gave the keynote speech on veterans issues at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

She served as an assistant operations officer for a 500-soldier aviation task force in Iraq. She lost both of her legs when she was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while piloting a helicopter in 2004.


Congratulations to a fine leader, and one many of us veterans have been waiting for. Just don't forget us now that you made the big time.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Birmingham Set to Host National Veterans Golden Age Games

Birmingham Set to Host National Veterans Golden Age Games

23rd Year of VA-Sponsored Sporting Competition

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2009) - From California to New York, an estimated
700 "golden age" Veterans will travel to Birmingham, Ala., to compete
June 1-5 in the world's largest sports and recreational competition for
senior Veterans.

The Golden Age Games are open to all U.S. military Veterans age 55 or
older who receive care at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical
facility. The games give participants the opportunity to compete in
ambulatory, visually-impaired and wheelchair divisions, according to
their ages. Events include swimming, bicycling, bowling, croquet, air
rifle, golf, shuffleboard, horseshoes, discus and shot put.

The 23rd National Veterans Golden Age Games are co-sponsored by VA, Help
Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) and the Veterans Canteen Service (VCS).
This year's event is hosted by the VA medical center in Birmingham.

The games are designed to improve the quality of life for all older
Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and
disabilities. Through a partnership with the National Senior Games
Association, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the games serve as
a qualifier for the National Senior Games held every other year.

"HHV is extremely pleased to continue its support of this wonderful
therapeutic program," said Mike Lynch, executive director of HHV. "The
games continue to demonstrate VA's commitment to offer programs that
help Veteran patients in their health recovery and to send the message
that Americans support their service to our country."

"The Golden Age Games continue to grow every year, and the athletes who
participate are testimony that the spirit of competition, camaraderie
and commitment to an actively invigorating lifestyle. This spirit not
only helps to prevent illness, it strengthens the hearts and rejuvenates
the soul," said Marilyn Iverson, director of the Veterans Canteen

The majority of the competitive events for the Golden Age Games,
including opening and closing ceremonies, will be held at the Birmingham
Jefferson Convention Center. The opening ceremony will take place at 7
p.m. on Monday, June 1. The competition begins with golf on Tuesday,
June 2, at 8 a.m., at Highland Golf Course. Closing ceremonies will be
held at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 5, at the convention center.

For more information on the Golden Age Games, log onto the games Web
site at
, or call Jenny Tankersley
Ballou, public affairs coordinator for the National Veterans Golden Age
Games, at (757) 728-3450 or (757) 660-5239.

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Veterans' court proposal passes

Copy of bill as introduced..pass to your local State Rep & Senator

Veterans' court proposal passes

RACHELLE GINES Associated Press Writer

Posted: 04/20/2009 12:03:30 PM PDT

Updated: 04/20/2009 12:03:30 PM PDT

CARSON CITY, Nev.—A Nevada Senate panel voted unanimously Monday for an Assembly-approved plan that would set up a specialized court for military veterans charged with nonviolent crimes while struggling to readjust to civilian life.

With the Senate Judiciary Committee approval, AB187 now moves to the full Senate for a final legislative test.

Advocates of AB187, proposed by Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said it would help veterans charged with crimes and who suffer from mental or substance abuse problems stemming from their military service.

Under the plan, such veterans could go through a treatment program and, if they complete the program, have their criminal files sealed. In earlier testimony, Buckley said the bill was the least that could be done for veterans who risk their lives to protect the nation.

The bill, modeled after a veterans' court in Buffalo, N.Y., the first of its sort in the nation, was backed by veterans' organizations but faced initial criticism for creating a justice system specifically for veterans that isn't open to others.

A change to the bill included a preamble that lists "limited circumstances" for program eligibility, said Judiciary Chairman Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, adding, "This indicates this won't be the broadly used court some people think it might be."

Another purpose of the preamble is to prevent the perception that all veterans develop serious problems after serving their assignments, Care said.

"We don't want to foster the stereotype that all veterans are somehow maladjusted when they return to the civilian world," Care said, noting several of the panel members are veterans themselves.

Another amendment would let successful program participants apply immediately to seal court records, instead of going through a three-year wait proposed in the original bill. That change mirrors pending legislation dealing with defendants in drug and mental health courts.

Former Washoe County District Judge Peter Breen previously told lawmakers that sealed records and avoiding prison would account for a large part of veteran participation in the proposed program.

If approved, the proposed veterans courts would be optional for any jurisdiction that wants to create one.

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Gates: DoD health system harmed by frozen fees, old hospitals

Gates: DoD health system harmed by frozen fees, old hospitals

By Tom Philpott
April 21, 2009
Defense Secretary Robert Gates' prescription for what ails military health care includes replacing aging hospitals and raising TRICARE fees for working-age retirees, which Congress has kept frozen since 1995.

"Health care is eating the (Defense) department alive," Gates told officers attending the Air War College at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., after a Wednesday speech there on the budget.

The defense chief is visiting each service war college to take questions on plans for "rebalancing" defense spending, starting with the fiscal 2010 budget request to be sent to Congress soon. Goals are to take care of warriors and their families, enhance U.S. capabilities to fight wars, and reform weapons procurement, acquisition and contracting.

One question came from a lieutenant colonel in the Louisiana Air National Guard, who complained active-duty health services were "worse" than those given "Medicaid recipients." He told Gates, "TRICARE does not even require professional-board certification for its physicians."

The officer asked Gates what initiatives might be in the works to make "uniformed health care providers" the "norm" again or at least to raise standards for TRICARE providers that would be deemed acceptable for civilian government employees.

Gates conceded that reports he received on TRICARE seemed to run in "parallel universes." In one, department health officials present him survey data showing "how well TRICARE is doing and how popular it is and how well it compares with private HMOs. ... And I leave the room feeling gratified."

Then he gets a "very different story from every soldier, sailor, Marine and airman that I talk to" and from military spouses, Gates said. Common complaints range from delays in getting appointments to routine bureaucratic hassles to difficulties getting referred to medical specialists.

Meanwhile, Gates said, the department will spend $47 billion on health care in 2010, costs that are "eating the department alive."

The economic stimulus package passed in February includes money for new hospitals at Fort Hood, Texas, and Camp Pendleton, Calif. "But I also want the services to try and find the money ... to upgrade the hospitals at other posts," Gates said, because more "world-class hospitals" on base will relieve pressure on the TRICARE network of civilian physicians.

It also might persuade more retirees "to come back on post or base" for quality care, he said.

Many retirees likely would tell the secretary that they've been denied access to base care and forced to use TRICARE.

"Another part of the problem," Gates said, "is we cannot get any relief from the Congress, in terms of increasing either (TRICARE) co-pays or the premiums. TRICARE is now about a dozen years old. There has not been a single premium increase allowed since the program was founded. What medical plan in the nation has not had a single increase in the premium or co-pays in the last dozen years?"

Gates said the department didn't seek fee increases for active-duty members or their families — or retiree beneficiaries old enough for Medicare.

Targeted, he said, are fees for younger retirees, "mostly working another job. And employers will influence them to stay on TRICARE because it saves the employer money."

But the department also has learned a lesson, Gates said. For 2010, the defense health budget will not assume again $1.2 billion in savings from Congress approving TRICARE fee increases. Bush administration budgets did so the past three years to force Congress either to approve higher fees or to find ways to fill the financial hole. Those tactics only made lawmakers angry.

Congressional staffers on key committees are divided on whether the Obama 2010 budget request will call for any TRICARE fee increases. With wars being fought on two fronts, some argue that the politics of such a move remain unacceptable.

Even some retiree associations have said they wouldn't protest some fee increases — as long as they didn't exceed the annual percentage increase in retiree cost-of-living adjustments and that Defense officials first exhausted all other reasonable ways of curbing health care costs.

"Our main objection," a senior congressional staffer said, "is that the department hasn't done any thoughtful analysis of what fees should be. They've just gone with that massive 10 years worth of inflation adjustment" to bring relative out-of-pocket costs for retirees back to 1995 levels quickly.

E-mail; write Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA 20120-1111; or visit military

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