Category: Fallen Soldiers



Soldier’s ‘Courageous Act’ Remembered as Fort Hood Begins Healing

 

Image: Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, of Florida, who served as a transportation supervisor and had been deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, is pictured in this undated handout Fort Hood Public Affairs Office via Reuters

Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, 39, of Florida, who served as a transportation supervisor and had been deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, is pictured in this undated handout from Fort Hood Public Affairs Office. Ferguson was one of three victims killed at the shooting at Fort Hood.

 

In a final heroic act, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ferguson threw his body against the entryway of a door as a fellow soldier-turned-gunman blasted away in a terrifying rampage at Fort Hood.

Ferguson, 39, was fatally hit in the moment he became a human shield — a sacrifice remembered in a news conference Saturday.

Ferguson’s “courageous act of blocking the door with his own body prevented further bloodshed,” said Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas.

Also killed in Wednesday’s shooting were Sgt. Timothy Owens, 37, and Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez, 38. Sixteen others were wounded. Gunman Spc. Ivan Lopez died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.

Rep. Williams, along with Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, met some of the wounded soldiers Saturday, and commended them on their valor. Among the victims was Maj. Patrick Miller, who was shot in the stomach with Lopez’s .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

Miller had called 911 as he tended to his own wounds.

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Slain Fort Hood counselor found his calling in Army

Courtesy of Mary Muntean – Timothy Wayne Owens, with his mother, Mary Muntean, at his wedding in August 2013.

 

Timothy Wayne Owens, a counselor at Fort Hood, was known to friends as a stand-up guy who triumphed over a hardscrabble upbringing to become an empathetic military man, one who helped people and defused conflicts.

So, it was no surprise to residents in his home town of Effingham, Ill., to hear that Owens lost his life trying to calm the shooter in Wednesday’s Fort Hood killings.

“He was a brave man,” said Owens’s mother, Mary Muntean, 77, who said she learned that her son had been killed as he tried to talk with Ivan Lopez, who has been identified as the man who killed three people and injured 16 in the shooting on the Army post.

Muntean said she received a call at her Effingham home from her son’s wife, Billy Owens, on Wednesday evening telling her that he had been shot five times after trying to calm Lopez in a post parking lot. Military officials have not released the names of those killed or injured or confirmed reports of how the violence unfolded. But friends of Owens said the account provided by his family fits the man they knew.

 

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Sgt. Timothy Owens was killed Wednesday night. Credit Courtesy of Glen Welton, via Associated Press

NYT Now

The names of the victims of the shooting in Fort Hood began to come out on Thursday, released by relatives and by officials offering their condolences.

In Effingham, Ill., family members told The Associated Press that Army Sgt. Timothy Owens was one of the three soldiers killed Wednesday in a mass shooting by Specialist Ivan Antonio Lopez. Sixteen others were wounded in the shooting. The Army has not released a list of the victims, pending notification of relatives.

The mother of Sergeant Owens, Mary Muntean, 77, of Effingham, told The Associated Press that she had learned of her son’s death in a telephone call with her daughter-in-law.

Unable to reach her son, she called his wife, Billie Owens, who first said he was in the hospital. Before long, Sergeant Owens’s wife called back, and Mrs. Muntean had her worst fears confirmed. “She said, ‘Mom, I want to tell you how sorry I am. Tim’s gone,’ ” Mrs. Muntean said, according to The A.P. “I broke down.”

Sergeant Owens dropped out of high school in 1995. But his mother said he earned his high school equivalency after joining the Army in 2004.

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Maj. Patrick Miller was wounded in the shootings.

A friend and former roommate, Paul Eatherton, said Sergeant Owens, whose family moved back to Effingham from Missouri in the mid-1990s, worked at Pizza Hut and studied tae kwon do at a local gym. Mr. Eatherton, a martial arts instructor at the time, said Sergeant Owens got his black belt and started teaching at a gym in Effingham.

“He was the best student I’d ever seen or known,” Mr. Eatherton said. “We’d go to tournaments, and he’d bring first places home every time.”

He said Sergeant Owens, who was in his mid-30s, had recently signed up for another six years in the Army. “I think he was going to be a lifer,” he said. He said he had not talked to Sergeant Owens for several months, but when he heard news of the shooting, he texted him immediately. He got no reply. “That really worried me,” he said.

The commander of Fort Hood, Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, said in an afternoon news conference, that nine of the 16 people wounded in the attack were taken to Scott & White Memorial Hospital in nearby Temple, Tex., for treatment. Three were upgraded to serious condition on Thursday. Hospital officials said doctors had operated on two patients, a man and a woman, who had been shot in the abdomen and neck. The third person had an abdominal wound. The other victims taken there were discharged.

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Specialist Ivan Lopez served in Iraq but did not see combat.

Specialist Ivan Antonio Lopez had seen a military psychiatrist as recently as last month. He was being treated for depression and anxiety, and had been prescribed Ambien to help him sleep. He had come back from a four-month deployment to Iraq in 2011 and told superiors he had suffered a traumatic head injury there. But military officials said he had never seen combat, and there was no record of any combat-related injury. He was being evaluated for possible post-traumatic stress disorder.

Still, military officials said, they had seen nothing to indicate that Specialist Lopez, 34 — who killed three people and himself and wounded 16 others on Wednesday in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Tex. — was violent or suicidal.

“He had a clean record,” Secretary of the Army John McHugh said Thursday morning in testimony before a Senate panel in Washington. “No outstanding bad marks for any kinds of major misbehaviors that we’re yet aware of.”

Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Fort Hood commander, said Thursday at a news conference that there were “very strong indications” that there had been a “verbal altercation” between Specialist Lopez and one or more other soldiers in the minutes before the shooting started, but the authorities were still investigating what role, if any, that played in the attack.

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Before joining the Army, Specialist Lopez was in the Puerto Rico National Guard. Credit Puerto Rico National Guard, via Reuters

“We have very strong evidence looking into his medical history that indicated an unstable psychiatric condition,” General Milley said.

Friends from his hometown in Puerto Rico said that Specialist Lopez was angry with the Army when he returned home for his mother’s funeral in November. Ismael Gonzalez, a former schoolmate who had kept in contact with Specialist Lopez on Facebook, said the soldier was very upset that he had initially been given only 24 hours to attend the funeral.

In addition, Mr. Gonzalez said, Specialist Lopez, who was earning $28,000 a year, told him that he was “in a precarious economic situation” trying to support his family in Texas and two children in Puerto Rico from his first marriage. And he was angry that the Army would not allow him to move his family onto the base at Fort Hood, Mr. Gonzalez said.

None of this had found its way into Specialist Lopez’s official record, though.

“This was an experienced soldier,” said Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff. “He spent actually nine years in the Puerto Rico National Guard before coming on active duty, so he’s a very experienced soldier.”

Those who knew Specialist Lopez as a young man, obsessed with the high school band, were even more stunned to learn what he was suspected of doing.

“I cannot believe you are speaking about the same guy,” said Sgt. Maj. Nelson Bigas, one of Specialist Lopez’s superiors in the National Guard. “He was the most responsible, obedient, humble person, and one of the most skillful guys on the line.”

For a year beginning in 2006, Specialist Lopez was deployed with his guard unit on the Sinai Peninsula, watching the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

But, the authorities say, it was Specialist Lopez who went into Guns Galore in Killeen, Tex., near Fort Hood on March 1 and bought the .45-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol that was used in the shootings on Wednesday.

It was the same gun store where Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army major, had bought at least one of the weapons used in a 2009 mass shooting on the base.

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Specialist Lopez in an image from Facebook.

So information was emerging slowly on Thursday about Mr. Lopez. He was raised in the small fishing village of Guayanilla on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, about an hour and a half from San Juan. While there, he attended the School of Asunción Rodríguez de Sala, where he was active in the band and an enthusiastic drummer.

In 1999, he joined the National Guard, where he also played in the band. Later, he joined the Puerto Rico Police Department and became a member of its band. Officials said his record with the force was clean, with no disciplinary or behavioral problems.

His main job for the police was visiting schools and hospitals around Puerto Rico to give demonstrations on his percussion instruments. After he finished, other police officers would speak to the students or patients about gun violence, drugs and bullying, said Jeann Correa, the director of the unit for which he worked. His pay was $2,400 a month.

In 2010, getting a special leave from the police force, he shifted into the Army as a private first class and was quickly promoted to specialist and stationed with the First Armored Division at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Tex. He was an infantryman there but his military record shows that in November, because of a medical condition identified as plantar fasciitis, a painful foot ailment, he moved to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, where he trained to become a truck driver. In February, he was posted to Fort Hood in that capacity.

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Vets, Docs Worry Fort Hood Shootings Will Deepen PTSD Stigma

The word “PTSD” had barely left the mouth of Fort Hood’s commander late Wednesday when, across the nation, many veterans with those symptoms and doctors who treat the malady understood they faced a renewed battle: a resurgence of the stigma that comes with that diagnosis.

The Fort Hood tragedy –- 16 wounded and four killed, including identified shooter Ivan Lopez, a soldier being evaluated for PTSD –- is precisely the type of event that makes combat veterans cringe. Many worry they’ll be further mislabeled as dangerous time bombs, as the next to snap, and that post-traumatic stress will again be misrepresented and misunderstood as a condition that sparks public, violent outbursts.

“That is not what post-traumatic stress is or what it does,” said Ingrid Herrera-Yee, a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C. area who treats veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health issues as well as their family members and civilians. Her husband, Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Ian Yee, spent three combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Yes, there is anger and irritability (associated with PTSD), but it’s usually internalized. You’re more likely to see it as someone who is withdrawn, anxious and numb, who’s lost interest in life. Some veterans explain it to me this way: ‘The last thing you want is to go out and lash out,” said Herrera-Yee, adding: “Just like any victims of a trauma –- rape or domestic violence -– they can become fearful of their surroundings, but they’re not going to react angrily toward their surroundings. For them, it’s all about avoidance.”

“You’re more likely to see it as someone who is withdrawn, anxious and numb, who’s lost interest in life. Some veterans explain it to me this way: ‘The last thing you want is to go out and lash out.’”

For years, Pentagon brass and branch commanders have urged troops and veterans to seek mental-health help if they feel the need, while repeating the message that, if they do see a doctor, they will not be viewed as weak but as strong. That campaign seems to have finally dented the macho-military mantra that every soldier can handle his or her own business. Many veterans are turning to doctors to begin addressing post-service anxiety issues, often fueled by repeated or long deployments.

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Gunman in Fort Hood shooting had behavioral issues, authorities say

 

An Iraq war veteran who was grappling with mental health issues opened fire at Fort Hood, Tex., in an attack that left four people dead and 16 wounded Wednesday afternoon, according to preliminary law enforcement and military reports. The gunfire sent tremors of fear across a sprawling Army post still reeling from one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.Many basic details about the shooting remained unclear in the chaotic hours after the first calls for help around 4 p.m., but senior U.S. law enforcement officials said the incident did not appear to be linked to any foreign terrorist organizations. The shooter was among those who died, the officials said.

The officials identified the shooter as Army Spec. Ivan Lopez, 34, a military truck driver, who was dressed in his standard-issue green camouflage uniform. Lopez opened fire in two locations on the vast central Texas post, inside a building housing the 1st Medical Brigade and in a facility belonging to the 49th Transportation Battalion.

Police spent Wednesday night searching his apartment in Killeen, the city that abuts the Army facility. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the commander of Fort Hood, said the soldier, whom he did not identify by name, served four months in Iraq in 2011.

Milley said the shooter “had behavioral health and mental health issues.” He said the soldier, who self-reported a traumatic brain injury and was taking anti-depressants, had been under examination to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder. “We are digging deep into his background,” Milley said.

Milley said the soldier opened fire with a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol that was purchased recently but was not authorized to be brought on the post. He was eventually confronted by a female military police officer. He put his hands up but then pulled out a gun from under his jacket. “She engaged,” Milley said, and then the soldier put the gun to his head and shot himself.

The shooting was the third major gun attack at a U.S. military installation in five years, leaving the nation grappling with the prospect of yet more flag-draped funerals for troops killed on the homefront. A government contractor went on a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard in September, leaving 12 people dead. In 2009, Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan opened fire on a group of soldiers at Fort Hood preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30.

Doctors at the Scott & White hospital in Temple, Tex., said Wednesday that they have treated eight of the wounded and that one more was on the way. Three of the patients were in critical condition in the ICU, and five were in serious condition. Seven of them were male, and one was female. Their injuries ranged from mild to life-threatening, a majority of them caused by single-gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen.

President Obama said he was “heartbroken that something like this might have happened again.” Speaking during a fundraising trip to Chicago, he pledged “to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

 

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Four killed in shooting at Fort Hood; gunman dead, multiple injuries

A shooting at the Fort Hood military installation in Texas left at least four people dead, including the gunman, and more than a dozen were injured, according to authorities.

The gunman, identified by multiple government sources as Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, took his own life, officials said.

Lopez, 33, of Kileen, Tex., was wearing an Army uniform at the time of the shooting, Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told reporters.

Four people were taken to Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Tex., and another two are being brought there, said Glen Couchman, the facility’s chief medical officer. Their injuries that “range from stable to quite critical,” he said.

The installation was locked down for much of the afternoon and into the evening after the shooting before being lifted shortly before 9 p.m. local time.

Speaking in Chicago, President Obama said his administration was following the shooting closely.

“I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” he said. “We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again.”

The base was the site of a shooting in 2009 that ultimately killed 13 people and wounded another 32, the worst mass murder at a military installation in U.S. history. Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death last year for the shooting after being found guilty of premeditated and attempted premeditated murder.

 

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BREAKING: Shooting at Fort Hood Military Base – 1 Death Confirmed

 

Published on Apr 2, 2014

SHOOTING SITUATION STILL ACTIVE, Multiple Gunned Down
FORT HOOD (April 2, 2014) At least one person is dead after a shooting late Wednesday afternoon on Fort Hood, a post spokesman confirmed.
Others were injured in the shooting, but the spokesman didn’t say how many.
The gunman is still at large and the spokesman said the incident is being treated as an active-shooter situation.
Warning sirens sounded late Wednesday afternoon at Fort Hood because of the incident.
A man who said he was a witness told News 10 that about 20 shots were fired in a post motor pool in the area of Motor Pool Road and Tank Destroyer Boulevard.

He said at least three people were hit.

He said the three victims were taken to a hospital.

The post was on lockdown as a result of the shooting, which occurred at around 4:25 p.m.

People on post were told to stay indoors.

A message that scrolled across the top of the post’s website said, “Shelter in place immediately. This is not a test.”

The 1st Calvary Division, which is based at Fort Hood, sent a Twitter alert telling people on base to close doors and stay away from windows.

Texas A&M Central Texas in Killeen canceled evening and night classes Wednesday at Fort Hood and at its Fairway building because of the situation on post.

First responders from surrounding communities were headed to the post.

Bell County sheriff’s deputies and Department Public Safety troopers were also responding, sheriff’s Lt. Donnie Adams said.

Media were being directed to the post’s Visitor’s Center.

On Nov. 5, 2009, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Center, killing 12 soldiers and one civilian and wounding 29 others before two Fort Hood civilian police officers shot him.

He is now on the military’s death row.

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Disabled vet kicked out of Houston restaurant over service dog

by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 27 at 9:54 AM

 

HOUSTON — A U.S. Army and Navy veteran says he was told he had to leave a west Houston restaurant because of his service dog.

Aryeh Ohayon says it happened Tuesday at the Thai Spice Buffet II restaurant in the 2500 block of South Voss Road.

Ohayon called Houston Police and waited inside the restaurant.

He claims the officer who responded made him feel even worse.

“I told him what my disabilities were. That’s when he said, ‘you’re not blind’,” recalled Ohayon. “[He said] ‘I don’t see why you need the dog.’”

Ohayon served this country for 23 years.

He says the memories from his more than two decades of service have led to depression and PTSD, both of which his service dog Bandit is there for.

“He’s the alert if I start to have a panic attack or start to go into a flashback mode,” said Ohayon.

 

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Houston police kick out veteran with service dog from restaurant

Published time: February 27, 2014 20:24

Reuters / Richard Carson

Reuters / Richard Carson

A Houston, Texas, police officer allegedly kicked a US Army and Navy veteran out of a local restaurant for bringing in a service dog on the grounds that he wasn’t actually blind.

According to local news outlet KHOU, Aryeh Ohayon served in the US military for 23 years. Ohayon said his service dog, named “Bandit,” helps him deal with the lingering effects of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially if he begins to suffer from panic attack or a flashback linked to his prior experiences.

The incident began when Ohayon entered a Thai restaurant for dinner and was denied service by the manager. The veteran called police to clear up the situation, but he said the responding officer only denigrated his condition.

“I told him what my disabilities were,” Ohayon told KHOU. “That’s when he said, you’re not blind. [He said] I don’t see why you need the dog.”

“It feels like your service and experience that you’ve done to defend and uphold the Constitution and protect this country have been belittled,” he added.

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Lobotomy

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Army Times

Dec. 11, 2013 – 08:37PM

The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans — and likely hundreds more — during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal.

“They got the notion they were going to come to give me a lobotomy,” Roman Tritz, a World War II bomber pilot, told the newspaper in a report published Wednesday. “To hell with them.”

Tritz said the orderlies at the veterans hospital pinned him to the floor, and he initially fought them off. A few weeks later, just before his 30th birthday, he was lobotomized.

Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals, according to the report.

The VA’s use of lobotomy, in which doctors severed connections between parts of the brain then thought to control emotions, was known in medical circles in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and is occasionally cited in medical texts. But the VA’s practice, never widely publicized, long ago slipped from public view. Even the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it possesses no records detailing the creation and breadth of its lobotomy program.

The Wall Street Journal’s reporting series began with Wednesday’s Forgotten Soldiers and included a documentary, archived photos, maps and medical records.

The Journal quoted the VA’s response to its inquiry: “In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, VA and other physicians throughout the United States and the world debated the utility of lobotomies. The procedure became available to severely ill patients who had not improved with other treatments. Within a few years, the procedure disappeared within VA, and across the United States, as safer and more effective treatments were developed.”

The newspaper reported that musty files warehoused in the National Archives show VA doctors resorting to brain surgery as they struggled with a vexing question that absorbs America to this day: How best to treat the psychological crises that afflict soldiers returning from combat.

Between April 1, 1947, and Sept. 30, 1950, VA doctors lobotomized 1,464 veterans at 50 hospitals authorized to perform the surgery, according to agency documents rediscovered by the Journal. Scores of records from 22 of those hospitals list another 466 lobotomies performed outside that time period, bringing the total documented operations to 1,930.

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The Lobotomy Files: Inside the Mind of Roman Tritz

WSJDigitalNetwork WSJDigitalNetwork

Published on Dec 12, 2013

Roman Tritz was one of thousands of WWll veterans who were lobotomized by the Veterans Administration. The nation forgot, but Mr. Tritz remembers. WSJ’s Michael M. Phillips reports. See the complete project at http://WSJ.com/LobotomyFiles.

Click here to subscribe to our channel:
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Lobotomy – PBS documentary on Walter Freeman

ting196 ting196

Uploaded on Jan 27, 2008

The Lobotomist, Walter J. Freeman

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/lobotomi…

Click the links to learn more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_F…)

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Hmmm, gee I  wonder why no one is calling for budget cuts in  Political or Presidential pay  ?

All the money being  squandered on  keeping former Presidents comfortable and politicians receiving Gold plan  medical  care.

But  it’s the money  used for Veterans  and  Military  pay  that are  breaking the bank , RIGHT?

Sure it is ……..

 

~Desert Rose~

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Obama Urges Congress to Support Tricare Fees

Nov 19, 2013

Retiree Health Fair 600x400

On Monday the White House pressed the Pentagon to rein in Tricare costs and begin a new round of base closings as the Senate took up the National Defense Authorization Act on the military’s 2014 budget.

There are a number of areas of agreement with the initial markup of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the NDAA, but the administration “has serious concerns with certain provisions,” Office of Management and Budget officials said in a lengthy response to the markup.

OMB called on SASC to control Tricare costs at the Department of Defense “while keeping retired beneficiaries’ share of these costs well below the levels experienced when the Tricare program was implemented in the mid-1990s.”

Slowing the growth of Tricare costs would result in savings of $902 million in fiscal year 2014 and $9.3 billion through fiscal year 2018. Those savings were needed to offset projected increases in personnel costs, OMB said.

President Obama has proposed slowing this growth by introducing a new set of enrollment fees and higher co-pays to retirees under the age of 65.

The Pentagon proposed an annual enrollment fee based on a percentage of retired pay for Medicare-eligible retirees in the Tricare For Life Program. Working age retirees in the Tricare Standard and Tricare Extra programs also would face new annual enrollment fees phased in over five years.

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New budget cut options include military pay, veterans

Military members, retirees and veterans have a few more reasons to be wary of politicians who say their top priority is to cut federal spending.

The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday released a report of more than 100 options for reducing budget deficits.  It’s a timely product as House and Senate conferees strive to negotiate by mid-December a new debt-cutting deal to replace automatic budget cuts of sequestration.

More than a few of the CBO options are fresh ideas to roll back compensation for categories of veterans or to raise TRICARE fees for military retirees, on suggestions that the government is being too generous.

To be fair, CBO is not singling out veterans here.  There are options in the report to make nervous many segments of society dependent on federal payments, from social security recipients to drug manufacturers.

But for select veterans’ programs, CBO makes some hard-edged points that lawmakers bent on cutting spending might find compelling, if not persuasive, to help address the nation’s debt crisis.

Here are some of those ideas:

Cap Military Pay Raises – From 2000 through 2010, Congress approved basic pay raises that averaged a half percentage point above private sector wage growth.  The military could save $25 billion from 2015 to 2023 by reversing course, capping raises yearly at .5 percent below civilian wage growth.  CBO predicts only a “minor” effect on force retention.

Evidence in favor of this move are data showing cash compensation for enlisted members now exceeds wages of 90 percent of civilian counterparts, well above the Defense Department’s goal of keeping service pay ahead of 70 percent of civilians of similar age and educational background.  CBO says officer compensation exceeds 86 percent of private sector peers.

The case against capping raises is that recruiting and retention goals could be compromised, CBO says, and smaller raises also dampen other elements of military compensation including retirement annuities.

Raise TRICARE Fees – CBO floats two options to have military retirees pay more for health care.  One is to have TRICARE-for-Life users — retirees, spouses and survivors age 65 and older — pay the first $550 of costs not covered by Medicare and then 50 percent of the next $4950.  CBO says this would slow TRICARE costs by $31 billion from 2015 to 2023 but also save Medicare dollars as older beneficiaries seek fewer health services.

The drawback is some TLF users might not seek needed preventive care or manage their chronic conditions as closely as they do now.

The second option targets “working age” retirees and families enrolled in TRICARE Prime by raising fees, deductibles and co-pays in a complex combination too detailed to describe here.  The Prime changes for retirees could save from $2 billion to $11 billion by 2023, depending on final details.

 

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ReasonTV ReasonTV

Published on Nov 10, 2013

Over the last 12 years more than two million Americans have been deployed to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. But for thousands who return home with injuries, another battle is just beginning – this time, with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA).

Upon enlistment service members are promised that, should a service-related injury occur, the US government will provide them with care and financial compensation. The VA is responsible for providing this care but have been unable to render these services in a timely manner. The average time a veteran waits to receive his or her benefits from the VA is one year. The growing backlog of veterans waiting for their compensation has severely tarnished the department’s public image.

In August 2010 President Obama stated it was the country’s “moral obligation” to provide veterans with timely compensation. Under VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the Obama administration promised that all claims would be processed within 125 days and with a 98 percent accuracy rating by the year 2015.

Since the President made that promise, the backlog grew and reached its peak in March of 2013 when the number of pending claims reached nearly 900,000 with 70 percent backlogged. This past August, the numbers dipped slightly: nearly 800,000 pending claims with 63 percent backlogged.

The VA points to the August numbers as a sign of improvement, but reports of processing errors reveal a poor quality of work. The VA makes a mistake in 30 percent or more of the claims that they process. When a mistake is made, the veteran must appeal. Once an appeal is filed, the average waiting time for the veteran is another four years.

About 4 minutes.

Produced by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Joshua Swain and Winkler. Narrated by Todd Krainin.

Go to http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/11/10… for links and downloadable versions. Subscribe to Reason TV’s YouTube Channel to receive automatic updates when new material goes live.

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File:Defense.gov photo essay 111111-A-ZU930-001.jpg

 

Image Source :  Wikimedia.Org

U.S. and troops gather in the courtyard of the Joint Operations Center for a tribute to Veterans Day on Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2011. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ken Scar  .  PD

Author   Spc. Ken Scar

photo essay http://www.defense.gov/photoessays/photoessayss.aspx?id=2523

 

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As Veterans Small Business Week kicks off, Starbucks has announced plans to increase veteran hiring and use community stores to support service members.

Via  NBC News.com

By Kate Taylor

updated 11/6/2013 3:47:11 PM ET

Starbucks announced  plans today to hire at least 10,000 veterans and active duty spouses in the next five years, as part of a wider strategy of veteran support.

With Starbucks’s growth and more than 1 million active duty members of the U.S. military transitioning to civilian life in the coming years, Starbucks sees the commitment as a strategic form of outreach to the military community. The coffee chain will also attempt to engage active duty spouses, a group who faces an unemployment rate more than double the national average.

“The values we are creating for shareholders is tied to the values that guide us as an organization,” said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in a statement. “As I look at the opportunity ahead of us, we’re going to need to hire men and women with like-minded values and the right job skills in order to continue our current levels of growth.”

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On Monday, Microsoft said it will offer a free 16-week IT course for soldiers transitioning out of the military into civilian life—with a guaranteed job at the end of it.The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy will be based on the Microsoft IT Academy, offering the training necessary to take the next step and pursue training to become a developer, applications engineer or IT project manager. At the end of the course, Microsoft said, participants will be hired as software testers by either Microsoft or Launch Consulting, the technology consulting firm administering the program. As the program expands, those additional soldiers will be guaranteed at least a job interview.Microsoft launched a pilot implementation of the Academy at the Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) in Washington, where about 8,000 service members are expected to move out of the military into civilian life as the U.S. winds down conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Vow to Hire Heroes Act, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), allows those soldiers to begin the transition process while they’re actually employed by the military.

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I do not  condone anyone of any nationality taking it upon themselves to violate the Sovereignty of another Nation; without  that  Nations consent or request.

However, it seems to me a bit  hypocritical of governments condemning individual  citizens for becoming involved in wars that they  themselves antagonize and support from the shadows.  Western governments do not  respect   a Nations Sovereignty  unless it  is beneficial to their own  agendas.

However, Citizens becoming involved is a crime?

I suppose that  would be  tantamount for do  as I  say  and not  as I  do ?

~Desert Rose~~

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ABC.net.au  News Home

Updated Mon 28 Oct 2013, 10:56pm AEDT

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he expects there would be bipartisan support for any move to block Australians who have been fighting in Syria from returning to this country.

Spy agency ASIO says about 200 Australians have taken up arms in the Syrian civil war.

Former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr says that while in government, he sought advice on how to block Australian citizens from returning home after fighting in Syria, but was told it could not legally be done.

He has urged the current government to revisit the idea.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Morrison said the Federal Government was concerned about Australians involved in the Syria conflict returning to “disrupt the significant social cohesion we have in this country”.

“We don’t want that in Australia, we just don’t want it in Australia, and I agree with Senator Carr on that,” he said.

“I’m sure there’d be broad-based support across Parliament to ensure that these sorts of things were not imported back into Australia.”

Mr Morrison says he would expect bipartisan support in Parliament for any action taken by the Government.

“We are keeping a very close watch on this, a very close watch and I’ve had consultations before the election where Islamic communities in Australia have raised this with me, in particular about people returning, that they wouldn’t want to see a return,” he said.

The Labor MP Michael Danby first raised the issue last week.

Australia has ‘by far largest number’ of Western fighters in Syria

An expert from Melbourne University’s School of International Relations says Australians make up “by far the largest” contingent of Western recruits to Syrian armed groups.

Dr David Malet has just published a book about recruits to overseas insurgencies, called Foreign Fighters: Transnational Identity in Civil Conflicts.

He says that while Australians are often involved in overseas conflict, the number in Syria is higher than usual.

“There have been Australians serving as foreign fighters in a number of other conflicts, like Somalia most recently,” he told The Word Today.

“But they’ve never been the largest group of Westerners. So Syria’s a little bit unusual. You have just a handful of Canadians and Americans, maybe a hundred or so British and French citizens. But Australia has by far the largest number.”

Dr Malet says many Australians are joining the war in Syria because of family ties to the region.

“Australia has an active, politically active Lebanese community which happens to have a lot of local ties to the conflict in Syria,” he said.

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