Friday, June 5, 2009

all logistics convoys on Iraq’s nonlinear battlefield of necessity are combat patrols

According to an article published by the U.S. Army Logistics Management College, "all logistics convoys on Iraq’s nonlinear battlefield of necessity are combat patrols

all logistics convoys on Iraq’s nonlinear battlefield of necessity are combat patrols

by Dave Barker a VSO in OH

Some pointers for discussion. Remember this is not a medical advice thread.
In filing a claim for PTSD you need a diagnosis from competent medical authority. That would be a psychologist, or psychiatrist. Your diagnosis must be linked to your verifiable stressor. The stressor must be an active duty situation described as a traumatic event out of the normal realm of human emotion. If your stressor does not meet the criteria establish the claim will not be well grounded.
The Diagnostic Criteria set forth in the DSM IV is: The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present: the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others and the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
This to say is the bottom line required.
Legislation known as the Veterans Claims Assistance Act 2000 changed the well ground issue in the year 2000; however, we still need to properly present a claim. For service connected disability we need the following:
• a condition that manifested itself on active duty, or within the first year from separation
• the condition must currently exist and be diagnosed by competent medical authority
• a nexus, or link of the current condition and the condition from active duty.
What you need to do is to build support for your claim by never missing a doctors appointment. Always be on time and be extremely careful of what you say and/or don’t say. When you go to the doctor follow these simple rules: When you see a medical doctor or any nurse, you should respond to How are you today? by saying "my nightmares bother me, the flashbacks are nearly unbearable " then discuss what else bothers you.
This issue is first and foremost, then you can complain about other things that bother you. You always respond with your service connected issue first. Never say fine, never say OK.
In development VA will ask a veteran if they were treated on active duty. This is a suggested response to a VARO duty to assist (DTA) letter asking for treatment in service. “In regard to your DTA letter in regards to my service connected issue: PTSD. The VA treatment records will link my current condition to my service.
You ask for “proof of treatment in service of this condition.” That is not possible. First, the reason it is called post is due to the fact it appears later, or after the factual happening of the traumatic event. If it had appeared while I was in service it would have been acute, unless a long duration which would be in my service medical records in your possession. Second, PTSD was not recognized as a mental disorder, until DSM III was published in 1980. The condition was not recognized by the VA until a year later. This was after the information was released by the American Psychiatric Association and reviewed by the then Veterans Administration Administrator.
Today we find many current OEF and OIF veterans claims, show Failure in some VA offices. Recent reviews of claims files forwarded to the VSC Front Office for evaluation by the JSRRC Coordinator have exposed a trend, specifically a failure to comply with the procedures outlined in M21-1-1MR IV.ii.1.D.13j concerning the use of Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) as evidence for corroboration of a claimed in-service stressor.
According to an article published by the U.S. Army Logistics Management College, "all logistics convoys on Iraq’s nonlinear battlefield of necessity are combat patrols. CLPs (combat logistic patrols) are susceptible to attack by improvised explosive devices, small arms fire and complex ambushes every time they leave their operating bases."
Motor Transport Operator, Wheeled Vehicle Repair, Light Wheel Vehicle Mechanic, and Combat Engineer are all examples of MOS’s which we may expect to see listed on a DD214 or in a personnel file which would signify the claimant’s assignment to a logistics convoy.
As detailed in M21-1MR, Part IV, subpart ii, 1D. 13j, a veteran’s MOS as specified on his/her DD Form 214, or in the personnel folder, may be used as evidence that he or she engaged in combat or to otherwise corroborate a claimed in-service stressor. Therefore, consideration should be given to claims exhibiting the following characteristics:
Army or Marine Corps OEF/OIF veteran, whose DD214 or personnel file shows a logistics related MOS;
Veteran reports a specific combat-related stressor (including date/location) such as an attack by improvised explosive devices, small arms fire or ambush;
Personnel file confirms that he/she served in the immediate area and at the particular time in which the stressful event is alleged to have occurred.
If the three requirements outlined above are met, the veteran’s reported combat-related stressor(s) may be conceded and a VA examination may be ordered if a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has also been provided.
In absence of concise information concerning the veteran’s reported combat-related stressor (ex: missing date/location, or his/her personnel file does not confirm that he/she served in the immediate area and at the particular time in which the combat event is alleged to have occurred), development should continue.
Please note that in all cases requiring stressor verification, the VSR/RVSR should carefully and thoroughly follow the established procedures for researching PTSD Stressors
Ultimately, if all established procedures have been followed and efforts to verify the claimed stressor prove futile, the case should be forwarded for review by the JSRRC Coordinator.
Resources for Research of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Stressors
CFR 3.304(f)
38 C.F.R. 3.102
38 C.F.R. 4.3
38 U.S.C. 1154(b)
M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart II, 1.D.13.j
“1st Infantry Division Movement Control Operations in Iraq” by Capt. Henry C. Brown (
Suozzi v. Brown, 10 Vet.App. 307 (1997)
Pentecost v. Principi, CAVC, No. 00-2083 (05/24/02)
Moran v. Principi, CAVC, No. 99-754 (06/20/03)
Sizemore v. Principi, No. CAVC, No. 02-1012, (09/03/2004)


Ther entire country of Iraq is a combat area, there is NO safe places, flying in an airplane over it is NOT safe, all Iraqi freedom veterans of OIF as they abbreviate them should be given the benefit of the doubt as combat veterans, there are no rear areas there. Combat veterans are not required to PROVE a specific incident anyone in the country of Iraq or Afghanistan should be presumed to have been exposed to stressor events during their tour.

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Life with PTSD, Words From a Veteran

Life with PTSD, Words From a Veteran

May 20, 2009
Military Health System

Today we hear from retired Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel Marvin Rhodes Sr.

After 29 years of military service, I recently retired and began a new chapter in my service to my country and comrades. As someone who had struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I have been traveling across the United States to share my personal experience with veterans and active duty service members, and encourage them to acknowledge and seek help for mental health issues such as depression and PTSD.

When I returned from the war, I found myself struggling with thoughts of suicide and would often wake from dreams wherein I would replay scenes of explosions and gunfire in my mind. One day while attending a course at Fort Jackson, it all came full circle and I found myself crying continuously for about an hour, thinking about those soldiers who died in Iraq. After being diagnosed with PTSD while deployed in 2005, I decided to seek help, reminding myself how valuable my life is to my loved ones. After getting treatment, I found my voice and an inspiration within to share my story with other members of the military.

In my discussions with service members I not only encourage them to speak with loved ones about their struggles but direct them to resources such as the Military Pathways Program. This program offers service members, veterans, and their families the opportunity to take free, anonymous self-assessments in the privacy of their homes -- online and via the telephone. The self-assessments are a series of questions that, when linked together, help create a picture of how an individual is feeling. They address a variety of issues including depression, PTSD, and alcohol problems. After completing the self-assessment, individuals receive referral information including services available to them through TRICARE, Military OneSource and Vet Centers. These self-assessments can be accessed at: and 877-877-3647.

In recognition of May being Mental Health Month, I would ask anyone who has a family member or friend in the military or knows a proud veteran, to encourage them to seek help if they are struggling. Asking for help is a sign of courage, not weakness.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Silence is broken, Family finally gets the story of a hero

Silence is broken, Family finally gets the story of a hero



Silence is broken, Family finally gets the story of a hero

They called him Lucky, a nickname earned only after events have proven it true.

And then fate takes another turn.

Richard Arthur Browne was a teenager when he hitchhiked from Worcester to Montreal, and possibly lied about his age to join the Royal Canadian Air Force on Aug. 11, 1941. He was a scrappy, redheaded newspaper delivery boy who went to Commerce High School, worked in a dairy and lived with his parents at 604 Park Ave.

The United States hadn’t yet entered World War II and Mr. Browne was already training for the battlefront mission that would take him overseas in 1943 as a radioman and gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber. Accounts written in The Evening Gazette while he was home on leave in 1945 described in detail some of Mr. Browne’s 87 missions overseas as a wartime flying officer with the loss of only one crew member.

That’s why he was nicknamed Lucky. That, and even when Mr. Browne was wounded, sitting in the belly of the plane with shrapnel in his hip and knee, he was saved from the direct hit of a shell by the radio in his lap, escaping death yet again.

Mr. Browne married a Canadian, Catherine Dolores Kitchen, and brought her to live in Worcester with his family. Babies followed.

In 1948, Mr. Browne enlisted in the U.S. Army. As another conflict was getting under way, he was promoted to sergeant and by Christmas 1950 was in Korea.

On March 7, 1951, Lucky Browne was killed in action, the 271st casualty of the “Forgotten War.” He was 28 and one of the 62,423 service men and women, more than 191 from Central Massachusetts, who would perish in Korea or remain missing in action.

On the day Sgt. Browne died, he wrote a letter telling his wife he hoped to return soon to see his infant son, Timothy Edward, born after he had left for the war. Also at home with their mother were daughters Patricia Ann, 4, and Mary-Ellen, 2.

Mary-Ellen Canzano, now 60 and living in Valparaiso, Ind., with her husband, Gerald, since 1975, knew little of her father but his name, address and the year he was killed. “I have pictures of him, and I know what he looked like, but I don’t remember seeing him,” she said.

Brought up in a convent because her family couldn’t afford to care for nine children, Mrs. Canzano’s mother was a shy, quiet woman who rarely talked about her husband and did not remarry, she said. Nor did Mr. Browne’s parents talk about him. “I don’t know if it was too painful or what the problem was,” said Mrs. Canzano.

After her husband’s death, Mrs. Browne was given the first apartment at Curtis Apartments in Great Brook Valley in Worcester. Later, the family moved, sibling by sibling, to Indiana, where Mrs. Browne died in 1999. Around that time, bits and pieces of her memories began to be spoken.

“When she knew she was sick, she talked about him a little bit — about how they met, when they got engaged,” said Mrs. Canzano, who graduated from Burncoat Senior High School in Worcester. “She told me that they didn’t have a funeral until May, when his remains were shipped home. ‘How did you know it was him?’ I asked her. ‘I really don’t,’ she said. She was 28 and left with three young children.”

Earlier this year, Mrs. Canzano, a bartender at and member of the of the American Legion Post 170 in Chesterton, Ind., decided to join the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. She was told membership required documentation of her father’s wartime status. So she began her search.

A friend suggested she write to retired Col. Daniel K. Cedusky of Champaign, Ill., a National Guard veteran who helps veterans with claims and benefits and families tracking down military records. Col. Cedusky said her request was unusual. “I seldom get something from someone writing about someone they never knew.”

Col. Cedusky, who later contacted the Telegram & Gazette, found out where Mr. Browne was buried (in Farmingdale, N.Y., at Long Island National Cemetery under a headstone with the incorrect spelling — Brown — of his last name), discovered that the storied 17th Infantry Regiment with which Sgt. Browne served in Korea had been the subject of a documentary movie and that the World War II service of the man his children didn’t know was so extensive he had been the subject of lengthy stories in the newspaper.

“He wasn’t just somebody killed in action,” said Col. Cedusky. “He was a hero.”

Mrs. Canzano shared what Col. Cedusky found with her family and siblings. Patricia Ann is now 62, and Timothy Edward, 58.

“Every time I read about it, it makes me cry,” said Mrs. Canzano. “I wish someone had talked to me about him. It makes me sad. It makes me proud.”

That little was said about Mr. Browne is not surprising, said Col. Cedusky. “Korea was the Forgotten War. It was never declared a war. People were busy rebuilding their communities from World War II, the big boom time after the war, and it was quickly forgotten. They came home and got jobs. They weren’t sent as a unit; it was three guys here and there. It was everyone’s individual war, not a community war.”

Sometimes called a “police action,” sandwiched between World War II and Vietnam and lasting from 1950 to 1953, Korea was different in other respects, as well.

Kenneth B. Swift of Shrewsbury, a Marine sergeant who served 13 months in Korea and is past vice chairman of the Korean War Memorial Committee in Worcester, remembers no neighborhood efforts to help soldiers and their families, no big military funerals, no support network for returning service men and women.

And unlike multiple years of deployment in World War II, Korean War veterans served 12 to 14 months, an absence that to the rest of the community seemed brief and perhaps easily overlooked, said Francis R. Carroll of Worcester, a U.S. Navy Korean War veteran who guided the effort to raise funds for and build Worcester’s Korean War Memorial and is past chairman of the committee. “You went away, came back and people said, ‘Where you been?’ ”

“We did not get the recognition as victors. It was a different attitude. It wasn’t as if we really went away and were involved in something,” said Mr. Swift.

In Worcester, as elsewhere, life went on, said Mr. Carroll. People returned to school or work.

Yet Mr. Browne “was remarkable and his story is unique,” said Mr. Carroll. “To join the Canadian Air Force, fly all those missions and live through it — this family, their son, going back into the Army” may have been a decision difficult for them to accept and live with, he suggested.

In her own scrappiness, pale skin, freckles and red hair, Mrs. Canzano said she sees her father, sees him, too, in the same look her sister, brother, son and grandson have. She figures that had her dad lived, the family would have traipsed about after him, post to post, and she would have been an Army brat.

She almost was, without him, displeasing her worried mother by marrying an Air Force man, even as her sister married a Marine.

“Mother was not happy. She wanted us to wait until they got out — to make sure they came home,” said Mrs. Canzano.

Knowing the talk that can well up on the drinkers’ side of any bar, Mrs. Canzano thought twice about applying for her job at the American Legion. She wasn’t sure she could stand hearing veterans’ stories she knew would be heartbreaking. But they don’t really talk about it, she said. Only the crazy stuff, “the funny stories.”

“I’ve been a bartender for 34 years. You don’t talk; you listen. I’m there for them; they are not there for me. They have no clue.”

Contact Andi Esposito by e-mail at

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