Thursday, March 20, 2008


From yesterday's issue of "Buffalo Chips", a daily NewsLetter
by Bill Brabant.

From The Collection of Sonny Gutin, wb2dxb

THE SILENT RANK :-Author Unknown

I wear no uniforms, no blues or army greens.
But I am in the military in the ranks rarely seen.
I have no rank upon my shoulders. Salutes I do not give.
But the military world is the place where I live.

I'm not in the chain of command, orders I do not get.
But my husband is the one who does, this I can not forget.

I'm not the one who fires the weapon, who puts my life on the line.
But my job is just as tough. I'm the one that's left behind.

My husband is a patriot, a brave and prideful man,
and the call to serve his country not all can understand.

Behind the lines I see the things needed to keep this country free.
My husband makes the sacrifice, but so do our kids and me.

I love the man I married. Soldiering is his life.
But I stand among the silent ranks known as the Military Wife.

-----> From The Collection of Sonny Gutin, wb2dxb

With the above ingredients add two teaspoons of elbow grease.
Let it set alone for one year.
Marinate frequently with salty tears.
Pour off excess fat.
Sprinkle ever so lightly with money.
Knead dough until payday.
Season with international spices
Bake 20 years or until done, and serve with pride.

Buffalo said they checked and couldn't find an author on the net for
either of these, although they wouldn't be surprised if Mary Greeley
did the first one, as her husband was one of the survivors of the
attack on the USS Cole.

Our profound thanks and appreciation to Marnie Mowles, the proud
wife of a US Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran - Semper Fi !

Monday, March 10, 2008

MEDIC, 2nd Woman to be Awarded Silver Star

The Price of Freedom is Priceless!

A Medic Stationed in Afghanistan Becomes
2nd Woman to be Awarded Silver Star
Sunday , March 09, 2008
CAMP SALERNO, Afghanistan

A 19-year-old medic from Texas will become the first woman in
Afghanistan and only the second female soldier since World War II
to receive the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for valor.

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after
a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern
Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.

After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown
ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield
wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the
military said.

"I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys
to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them
out of there," Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday at a
U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost.

Brown, of Lake Jackson, Texas, is scheduled to receive the
Silver Star later this month. She was part of a four-vehicle convoy
patrolling near Jani Kheil in the eastern province of Paktia on April
25, 2007, when a bomb struck one of the Humvees.

"We stopped the convoy. I opened up my door and grabbed my
aid bag," Brown said. She started running toward the burning
vehicle as insurgents opened fire. All five wounded soldiers had
scrambled out. "I assessed the patients to see how bad they
were. We tried to move them to a safer location because we were
still receiving incoming fire," Brown said.

Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in front-line combat
roles in the infantry, armor or artillery, for example. But the nature
of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no real front lines, has
seen women soldiers take part in close-quarters combat more
than previous conflicts.

Four Army nurses in World War II were the first women to receive
the Silver Star, though three nurses serving in World War I were
awarded the medal posthumously last year, according to the Army's
Web site.

Brown, of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade
Combat Team, said ammunition going off inside the burning
Humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. She said they were
sitting in a dangerous spot.

"So we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from
the Humvee a little bit," she said. "I was in a kind of a robot-mode,
did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of."

For Brown, who knew all five wounded soldiers, it became a race to
get them all to a safer location. Eventually, they moved the
wounded some 500 yards away and treated them on site before
putting them on a helicopter for evacuation.

"I did not really have time to be scared," Brown said. "Running
back to the vehicle, I was nervous (since) I did not know how badly
the guys were injured. That was scary."
The VA has set up a 24-hour suicide hotline for
around-the-clock access to mental health professionals.
The number is 1-800-273-TALK.
To learn more about PTSD-- visit the

and the Lessons of WAR-- by Penny Coleman __and--->

...A Journey Into PTSD-- By E. Everett McFall
Both Books are Available on

Halliburton Water Sickens Troops

by Dave McGill
March 09, 2008

According to an Associated Press Report today, "dozens of troops
in Iraq fell sick
" at bases using water supplied by a company that
was, at the time, a subsidiary of Halliburton.

The report went on to say that the soldiers "experienced skin
abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other

illnesses." The water, described as being "discolored and smelly,"
was being used for personal hygiene and laundry at three sites run
by the Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc.

Over two years ago, on January 22, 2006, the Boston Globe re-
ported that troops were being provided with water by Halliburton
that had approximately twice the contamination level of untreated
water from the Euphrates River. Raw sewage is pumped into
the Euphrates.

The Globe article said that employees of Halliburton had been
unable to get the company to inform the people living on the bases
of the problem, as revealed by interviews and internal company

In considering the overall extent to which Halliburton and its
subsidiaries have allegedly cheated the U.S. government and,
essentially, our troops in Iraq, the words of Elizabeth Barrett
Browning come to mind - "Let me count the ways."

Over three years ago, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), counted
the ways. The then ranking minority member on the House
Committee on Government Reform released a bulletin notifying
his constituency that government auditors had issued at least nine
reports criticizing Halliburton's Iraq work and that there were
multiple criminal investigations ongoing into overcharging and
kickbacks involving the company's contracts.

Furthermore, while some Halliburton and government employees
attempted to draw attention to the problems, and were
subsequently punished for their good intentions, others, who
committed serious crimes, were apparently protected. Three months
ago, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) said that in addition to the case of Jamie
Lee Jones, who was allegedly gang-raped by her fellow Halliburton
employees, three other women had come forward to claim they were
also sexually assaulted in Iraq while working for Halliburton's then
subsidiary, KBR.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) was also so incensed he sent a letter to
the Justice Dept. concerning the alleged rapes. One of the matters
that upset him was that the Jones evidence, in the form of the initial
rape examination kit, had been given to the victim's employer by the
military doctors and that, as a result, nothing had been done to
prosecute those involved, despite the fact that two years had gone by.

Halliburton's luster was further tarnished by accusations that it has
avoided paying its fair share of taxes and also, that it was actually
moving out of the country - yes, this country - the U.S.A.
Last Thursday, the Boston Globe reported that KBR, Halliburton's
subsidiary until less than a year ago, had avoided paying hundreds
of millions of dollars in federal, Medicare and Social Security taxes
by hiring workers through purely shell companies that occupied
nothing more than post office boxes in the Cayman Islands.

And on 3/12/07, CBS News reported that Halliburton was "shifting
its corporate headquarters and chief executive from Houston to
Dubai," an oil-rich emirate in the eastern Arabian Peninsula.

Halliburton is, of course, the company that Dick Cheney headed
before becoming vice president. Over the past five years
Halliburton's common stock has increased by over 300%.
According to Cheney's previous disclosure forms, he owned
100,000 Halliburton options, worth around $4 million, that
expired at the end of last year and that were presumably
exercised. He also owned over 333,000 options, worth about
$12.6 million, that have yet to expire. He has pledged to donate
the options to charities of his choice but the Congressional
Research Service (CRS) has concluded that even by making such
donations he could realize a substantial windfall. CRS has ruled
that these options do represent a "financial interest," as well as
the deferred payments of approximately $200,000 that the vice
president receives each year from Halliburton.

Of his relationship with Halliburton, CBS News reported way back
on September 26, 2003 that Cheney had said on NBC "I've severed
all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest.
I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't
had, now, for over three years."

A few months later, Kevin Kellems, a spokesman for Cheney, also
announced "Vice President Cheney and his office have had no
involvement whatsoever in government contracting matters since
he left private business to run for vice president."

However, Time magazine, in May of 2004, reported that a
Pentagon e-mail it had uncovered said Cheney's office
"coordinated" a multi-billion dollar Iraq reconstruction
contract awarded to Halliburton.

It is the contention of this column that the mismanagement of
monies and responsibilities in Iraq, and the potential conflicts
of interest therein, have served as a detriment to the conduct of
the war and have had a negative impact on the troops and their
ability to function effectively and safely.
The good news, at least for now, however, is that deaths among
our forces in Iraq have dropped to a very low level.

Last week the Department of Defense released the obituary of
one 24-year-old Air Force Sgt. killed in Iraq when his helicopter
crashed in a sandstorm north of Baghdad.

According to the web site
, total U.S. deaths in Iraq now stand at 3,975, including
one whose family is being notified today.

The Department of Defense also released the obituaries of two
paratroopers, ages 22 and 23, killed in Afghanistan when an
improvised explosive device detonated near them outside a
government building southeast of Kabul.

Total U.S. deaths in Afghanistan were 416 as of March 1,
according to the Pentagon.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Post Traumatic Stress Hits Army Unit Hard

Alpha Company hit hard by post-traumatic stress disorder.
In all, 46 percent said they had been treated at clinics or hospitals.

“Those are big numbers,” one expert said.

By Tom Infield

The Alpha Company humvee is
destroyed on Smugglers Road.

Four guardsmen were killed and
the driver was thrown from the vehicle.

Of all the things that Alpha Company has had to struggle with
since it came home from Iraq, the most pervasive may be
post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Of the 126 veterans interviewed or surveyed by The Inquirer,
almost half- 46 percent - said they had been treated for PTSD,
most at VA hospitals and clinics in the region.

Alpha's rate of PTSD is higher than that of most U.S. troops who
served in Iraq or Afghanistan - partly, no doubt, as a result of its
being a frontline combat unit that lost six men.

Shelley M. MacDermid, a Purdue University professor who served
on a Defense Department mental-health task force last year, said
typical PTSD rates among returning veterans were about
14 percent.

"Those are big numbers," she said of The Inquirer's Alpha
findings. National Guard and Reserve units, in general, have
shown slightly higher PTSD rates than have regular Army units,
she said.

The Defense Department task force said this might be in part
because civilian-soldiers were separated after they returned home,
rather than staying together as units in which the members could
support one another.

Ira Katz, director of mental-health services for the Department of
Veterans Affairs, said that among the 300,000 or so veterans who
have been seen by the VA, about 20 percent have been diagnosed
with PTSD.

But he said that twice that number - about 40 percent - have had
some form of "mental condition." "That's not all that different from
your [46] percent," he said. Both MacDermid and Katz said that
PTSD had become a popular shorthand for all sorts of emotional
symptoms that veterans experience.

These may include depression and anxiety disorders, but not
rise to the level of PTSD.

Steven Silver, who recently retired as director of the inpatient PTSD
unit at the Coatesville VA hospital, predicted that as time went on,
more and more combat veterans would be shown to have the high
PTSD rate that the National Guard Company Alpha now shows.

PTSD, as a term, has been used only since 1980.
(An after study of Vietnam Veteran's). World War II soldiers talked
of battle fatigue. In World War I, it was shell shock.

Silver said that both the military and the VA had become more
aggressive in warning troops about PTSD and getting them
treatment. He said that although "Alpha's" rate was high, "in some
ways, it's good news. It means that people are coming in for

PTSD typically is treated with psychotherapy and
antidepressant drugs, including Zoloft and Paxil, Sertraline
and or Bupropion. About two-thirds of Alpha veterans have received
care at VA hospitals and clinics - for PTSD, physical ailments, or both.

Of those who expressed an opinion, 57 said they were satisfied with
VA care and 19 said they were not.

Contact staff writer Tom Infield at 610-313-8205 or
The VA has set up a 24-hour suicide hotline for
round-the-clock access to mental health professionals.
The number is 1-800-273-TALK.
To learn more about PTSD-- visit the National Center for PTSD website.
Private Battle, Part 1
Private Battle, Part 2
Flashback, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide,
and the Lessons of WAR by Penny Coleman and--->

I Can Still Hear Thier Cries, Even In My Sleep...
A Journey Into PTSD By E. Everett McFall
Both Books are Available on

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Mental Consequences of Multiple Deployments

The Mental Consequences of Multiple Deployments
Posted by: echidne

Soldiers on their fourth or fifth tour in Iraq
report more mental health problems than those on their
first tour, say:

More than a quarter of U.S. soldiers on their third or fourth tours in
Iraq suffer mental health problems partly because troops are not
getting enough time at home between deployments, the
Army said on Thursday.

Overall, about 17.9 percent of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan had
mental health problems in 2007, according to an annual Army survey.

That is slightly below the 2006 figure of 19.1 percent but relatively
consistent with previous years.But the incidence of mental health
problems for soldiers in war zones climbs significantly among troops
returning for a third and fourth combat tour, the survey showed.

Among noncommissioned officers, for example, 27.2 percent on their
third and fourth tours suffered mental health problems in 2007.

That compares with 18.5 percent for those low-ranking officers on
their second tours and 11.9 percent of those on their first tours, the
Army said.

"Soldiers are not resetting entirely before they get back into theater,"
said Lt. Col. Paul Bliese, who led the Army's Mental Health Advisory
Team survey for 2007.

By "resetting" Bliese meant soldiers are not getting enough
time to recover from the trauma of duty in a war zone.

In other words, the military is overstretched.

I'm not sure how possible it is to "recover from the trauma of duty" in
general, given the Vietnam veterans who still suffer from PTSD.
Some probably recover, some don't, but in either case the
circumstances in Iraq are such that we should expect greater rates
of PTSD in the future. This means that more money is required
for the mental health care of returning veterans.
Posted by: echidne / 3/06/2008 06:38:00 PM

The VA has set up a 24-hour suicide hotline round-the-clock
access to mental health professionals.
The number is 1-800-273-TALK.
To learn more about PTSD-- visit the National Center for PTSD website.
Private Battle, Part 1
Private Battle, Part 2

Flashback, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide,
and the Lessons of WAR by Penny Coleman and--->
I Can Still Hear Thier Cries, Even In My Sleep...
A Journey Into PTSD By E. Everett McFall

Both Books are Available on

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Military Deterioration

Military Deterioration

by Donald H.
March 06, 2008 08:53 AM EST

Almost seven years ago I sat, as did millions of other Americans,
and watched as our government underwent a peaceful transition
of power.

At first, I felt a swell of pride and patriotism as I watched
George W. Bush take his oath of office. However, all that pride
quickly vanished as I later watched the Clintons board
Air Force One for the last time.

I saw 21 United States Marines, in full dress uniform, with rifles,
fire a 21-gun salute to the outgoing President and first lady.

It was then that I realized how far America 's military had
deteriorated under the Clinton administration.

Every last one of those Marines missed....!
The VA has set up a 24-hour suicide hotline round-the-clock access
to mental health professionals.
The number is 1-800-273-TALK.
To learn more about PTSD-- visit the National Center for PTSD website.

and the Lessons of WAR by Penny Coleman

A Journey Into PTSD By E. Everett McFall
Both Books are Available on

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Falling Short on Providing for OUR Veterans

Falling Short on Providing for Veterans
By Kacey M.
February 28, 2008 01:58 PM EST

Paralyzed Veterans of America, along with their co-authors
AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, and the Veterans of
Foreign Wars, have for the 22nd consecutive year, published
the 2009 Independent Budget, a comprehensive policy
document that recommends to Congress, the funding levels
necessary for the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide
adequate health care and benefits for veterans.

The Independent Budget recommends $42.8 billion for total
medical care but the Administration has only requested
$41.2 billion - a short fall of approximately $1.6 billion. In
addition, the Administration has chosen to recommend an
increase in certain veterans' prescription drug co-payments
from $8 to $15 - almost double!

I know I'm not the only concerned and appalled citizen here.
Where are veterans going to receive the care, programs and
services they have rightfully earned and deserve if not
available through the Department of Veterans Affairs? This
is especially true for those coming back with catastrophic
injuries who require specialized medical care.

Check this out if you're interested in learning more:

After all veterans have done for us, is this the best the
Administration can do for them? What do you all think
about this? Yes it is appalling.
Amorita R., Mar 2, 2008, 4:11am EST

I think that, among other things, the problem of PTSD for
recent combat veterans needs to be addressed NOW instead
of waiting 20 or 30 years down the road when it becomes
so severe that it's hard to treat. My husband has PTSD, and
while we were at his compensation and pension appointment
1 1/2 weeks ago, we were told (as we were ALSO told
through a letter in the mail) that his PTSD part of the claim
has been denied.

He was even diagnosed with PTSD WHILE he was in the
military, and has it on record. While talking to one of the
VA reps who will handle his questions, etc, she told us that
they always deny that part of the claim until enough time has
passed - which she said is usually years later. It's a very real
problem.As for me, when I was there I asked some of my own
personal questions, since I will have to fight even harder for
VA benefits. I submitted a claim back in November, and still
have some evidence I need to pull together to support it.

I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease while in the service, and
they separated me trying to say it was a pre-existing condition,
ONLY with the argument that it is an auto-immune disease
which it really isn't, since it attacks bacteria in the intestines and
not the actual organs), so I had to be predisposed to it in order to
get it. Which again, is not true. So for 3 years I never knew I was
eligible for benefits. Now I know I am, I just have a lot of fighting
to do in order to get it.
That's MRS BooBoo to you!, Mar 3, 2008, 4:51pm EST

Very appalling! And the above comment about the Crohn's Disease,
ought not to take this long. Pre-existing condition my arse. Can they
prove he enlisted with it??
Dina - Nature Babe!, Mar 3, 2008, 5:07pm EST

It is unforgivable that a single veteran be without ANYTHING they
need to help them rebuild the families and their lives when they
return from active service -- in a war zone or anywhere else. I'm not
one of those gung-ho types!! I've protested my share of wars. But
I have never held one ill feeling or harbored an ounce of ill will for
those who serve to protect my right to do so!THIS should be one of
the major presidential platform issues. For any who may think these
are exceptions, or that this contention is inaccurate, it's not. One of
our oldest friends served in the military and was exposed to a
chemical agent that ultimately caused his 80% disability. It was
some agent that was supposed to incapacitate the enemy. It took
him 10 years to receive a permanent disability status. By the way
-- he is 51 years old right now - the same age as I am - our
birthdays are only 1 day apart.
Mary M., Mar 3, 2008, 5:45pm EST

First they have to go to war without needed protection and now
they have to fight again, perhaps for the rest of their lives for the
treatment they need. I remember the poor Vietnam vets coming
back unable to live in a house and yet, no treatment. This has
always been bad, but under this administration it's become the
worst I've seen.I, too, do not support pre-emptive wars but I
certainly support those who give their own comfort and their
well-being to carry out their orders around the world. They
deserve so much more.The long tours of duty, short R & R and
lack of equipment is shameful. To those who have lost families,
and those who are struggling with emotional damage; I'm so very
sorry that your country has not responded to you in kind for your
service. I write letters, sign petitions, post rants and vote to
support you. It's the least we can do for your service to us.
Sandy F., Mar 3, 2008, 6:48pm EST

Please remember that increasing Co-Payments for Prescriptions
is just another "Back Door" TAX on Veterans so the administration
can keep cutting taxes for the obscenely wealthy who feel no
obligation to pay for ANYTHING! These kinds of reports make me
physically ill, and increase my loathing for this administration
(as if it could get any worse)!
Spartan *, Mar 3, 2008, 9:24pm EST

I am a part of the brain injury community. It is hard for vets to find
the programs they need to rebuild cognitive skills. Sadly, this is also
true for the rest of us who are not near a research hospital or
university that works with brain injured people.Because these guys
have some special needs there are only a few vet centers that have
trained staff to work them. It seems to me it would be easy enough
to develop programs along the lines of those at Coastline Community
College's ABI Program or the Reiker Institute in New York.
Anita Dehghani, Mar 4, 2008, 12:06am EST

Hopefully whomever is elected will overturn this travesty in 1/09.
Its a crying' shame.
donna f., Mar 4, 2008, 8:40am EST