“eBenefits provides two main services:

  1. A catalog of links to other sites that provide information about military and Veteran benefits; and
  2. A personalized workspace called My eBenefits that provides quick access to eBenefits tools. Using eBenefits tools, you can complete various tasks. You can apply for benefits, download your DD 214, and view your benefits status.”

Click on this link to go to the ebenefits web site:


The Wounded Warrior Handbook.  A resource guide for returning Veterans.  (2009)  by Don Philpott and Janelle Hill.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60590-271-5 (paper book)

ISBN-13: 978-1-60590-273-9 (electronic)

A HANDBOOK FOR INJURED SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES’ (A 149 page handbook put out by the Wounded Warrior Project and Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.–“Navy Times” page 17, 12/17/07) Here is a direct link to the book/page/site: http://www.fallenheroesfund.org/common/page.php?ref=familyinfo


I would like to recommend a book:  Hope Unseen.  The story of the U.S. Army’s first Blind Active-Duty Officer.  by Captain Scotty Smiley with Doug Crandall.  (2010)  ISBN  978-1-4391-8379-3Captain Scotty Smiley

I really enjoyed reading this autobiography. Captain Scott Smiley shares his life’s journey in a relaxed, personal manner. I found his story to be inspiring, touching and encouraging. As he quotes Albert Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” He demonstrates with his life the decision and courage to not only face life’s challenges (or near death experiences), but the motivation to find the will to not be defined by adversities, rather to embrace the miracle of life and live it to the fullest.


Consider sending get well cards/post cards, holiday cards to wounded service men and women at the VA Hospitals–they would appreciate the kind words of support.

Audie Murphy VA Hospital
Spinal Cord Injury Unit GLD
San Antonio, Texas. 78229

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
Wounded Warrior Ministry Center
CMR 402
APO AE 09180

Walter Reed Medical Center
Medical Family Assistance Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

Michael De Bakey Veterans Hospital
Spinal Cord Unit
2002 Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX 77030

Brooke Army Medical Center
3851 Roger Brooke Drive
Fort Sam Houston, Tx 78234


Transition Service/guide

from military service back into civilian world: http://www.transitionassistanceprogram.com/register.tpp

The above link is to a web page/service that has down-loadable information, links and resource guides for active duty and reserve troops.







Wounded Warrior: “The greatest casualty is to be forgotten”



B.I.T.S. Back in the Saddle Bit by Bits


The above link will take the reader to a program that uses Equine therapy (horses) to facilitate strength, coordination, agility and confidence for Wounded Warriors and their families. The program is located in Colorado.



Farmer Veteran Coalition


“The mission of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition (FVC) is to mobilize our food and farming community to create healthy and viable futures for America’s veterans by enlisting their help in building our green economy, rebuilding our rural communities, and securing a safe and healthy food supply for all.  The coalition seeks to simultaneously assist the farming community by developing a new generation of farmers and to help our returning veterans find viable careers and means to heal on America’s farms.”



The USOC Paralympic Military Program provides post-rehabilitation support and mentoring to American servicemen and women who’ve sustained physical injuries. Veterans are introduced to adaptive sport techniques and opportunities through clinics and camps and are also connected with ongoing Paralympic sports programs in their hometowns.

The program isn’t just about sports; it’s also about attitude, camaraderie and promoting healthy, active lifestyles. A huge role in that process is played by mentors, made up of Paralympic athletes – athletes who’ve gone through similar experiences by overcoming their own physical disabilities to achieve excellence.




Our mission is to develop a national network of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. Our first target population is the U.S. troops and families who are being affected by the current military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Give an Hour is asking mental health professionals nationwide to literally give an hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families. Research will guide the development of additional services needed by the military community, and appropriate networks will be created to respond to those needs. Individuals who receive services will be given the opportunity to give an hour back in their own community.”



Acinetobacter Baumannii-a strain

Acinetobacter Baumannii – a strain is a bacteria that appears resistant to many antibiotics and has caused severe-fatal infections and complications in some recovering wounded warriors. Below are some links on this:





“Leishmaniasis” (Baghdad boil) results when a person is bitten by a sand fly (found throughout tropical and sub tropical countries-Iraq and Afghanistan-especially near/in Kabul-due to lack of waste disposal. It is a parasitic condition that infects/invades a person in four main types of leishmaniasis. (Skin sores form near the bite within days to weeks…internal symptoms fester/grow within victim and can remain undetected for years— enlarged spleen (spleen becomes larger than the liver!)– is a tale tale sign. Leishmaniasis, left untreated poses a serious health threat and can be fatal as a result of infections and other conditions that develop.



This article describes a direct link/cause between Sarin and Gulf War illness. some of the article and it’s link:

Study: Sarin at root of Gulf War syndrome

By Kelly Kennedy – Staff writer
Posted : Saturday May 26, 2007 15:59:15 EDT

As benefits administrators, officials and politicians argue the worthiness of studies on Gulf War syndrome, researchers say they have no doubts that they’ve found the root of the problem.

Sarin gas.

And they have advice for as many as 300,000 troops exposed to small doses of sarin in 1991: Don’t use bug spray, don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol.

“Don’t do anything that would aggravate a normal, healthy body,” said Mohamed Abou-Donia, a neurobiology scientist at Duke University who conducted two studies for the Army.

Research released in early May showed that 13 soldiers exposed to small amounts of sarin gas in the 1991 Gulf War had 5 percent less white brain matter — connective tissue — than soldiers who had not been exposed. A complementary report showed that 140 soldiers who were exposed had the fine motor skills of someone 20 years older — what researchers called a “direct correlation” to exposure.

The data was the work of Roberta White, chairwoman of the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health.

Her study was noteworthy because it was funded by the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, and used Pentagon data to triangulate the locations of troops who were in the path of a huge sarin plume unleashed when U.S. forces destroyed an Iraqi chemical weapons dump in Khamisiyah in March 1991. The study also used new technology to look at troops’ brains.

Of the 700,000 service members who served in Desert Storm, 100,000 have reported mysterious symptoms. Until recently, each study commissioned by the VA and Pentagon concluded the problems were caused by stress and had no physical cause.

“We’ve been asking for this for so long,” said Denise Nichols, a Gulf War veteran who spends much of her time fighting for more information. “It’s not surprising to me. It’s what I would expect.”

Nichols, like the other veterans, has heart palpitations, a cough, nose bleeds, joint aches, spine pain, twitching in her legs and leg pain. She also reacts to strong chemical smells with coughing so heavy she can’t breathe, she said.

The issue surged to the fore in a Senate hearing Wednesday as Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., asked if the VA would send out letters to veterans who may have been affected, as they did to 100,000 troops at higher risk of brain cancer because of sarin exposure.

Murray called the study a “great example” of how recent research can provide guidelines for care. It seems easy enough: If a soldier complains of Gulf War syndrome, why not check him out with an MRI?

She called the study’s findings “overwhelming,” but noted that the VA’s response, once again, was merely: “We’re going to study this.

“They were told, ‘It’s all in your head, you’re making it up.’ Now there is a study that provides a direct link. They deserve to know the answer,” Murray said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the research “profound.”

“We started out by denying there was any problem,” he said. “It shows that many soldiers may have suffered brain damage.”

Dr. Gerald Cross, acting principal deputy undersecretary for health at the Veterans Health Administration, agreed with Murray that troops deserve answers.

To read the entire article: http://www.navytimes.com/news/2007/05/military_sarin_gulfwar_070525w/

This is a link to the “Distinct Army and Air Force Units that were exposed to Sarin during the Gulf War. This page lists the units state by state.


How many of our Vietnam Veterans suffered and are still suffering from Agent Orange exposure— first shrugged off as psychosomatic and then the mounting evidence could no longer be ignored.

VA Must Pay Agent Orange Victims


Associated Press | July 20, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO – An appeals court chastised the Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday and ordered the agency to pay retroactive benefits to Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and contracted a form of leukemia.”The performance of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has contributed substantially to our sense of national shame,” the opinion from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals read.

Poll: Grade the VA Director

It was not immediately known how much the department would have to pay under the order or how many veterans would be affected.

VA spokesman Phil Budahn said late Thursday that officials were reviewing the ruling, and declined further comment.

The VA agreed in 2003 to extend benefits to Vietnam vets diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, known as CLL. U.S. troops had sprayed 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides over parts of South Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1960s and ’70s to clear dense jungle, and researchers later linked CLL to Agent Orange.

Related Agent Orange News and Information Links

But the VA did not re-examine previous claims from veterans suffering from the ailment, nor did it pay them retroactive benefits, which was at the heart of the latest dispute.

Thursday’s opinion was on a technical matter involving whether a lower court had properly interpreted a landmark agreement in 1991 on benefits, stemming from a class-action lawsuit originally filed in 1986.

The appeals court sided with veterans groups who said the veterans were entitled to retroactive benefits.

“We would hope that this litigation will now end, that our government will now respect the legal obligations it undertook in the consent decree some 16 years ago, that obstructionist bureaucratic opposition will now cease, and that our veterans will finally receive the benefits to which they are morally and legally entitled,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the court’s opinion.

Richard Spataro, a lawyer with the National Veterans Legal Services Program, said Thursday’s ruling could finally halt years of legal battles – if the VA does not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Spataro said if researchers link other disabilities to Agent Orange the decision will prevent the VA from denying retroactive benefits for those veterans, too.



R.I.P. Bill 1/23/10

Landstuhl letter


26 Responses to “WOUNDED WARRIOR”

  1. olotliny Says:

    Thank you to all who have already responded to Operation Wounded Warrior with generosity of spirit and support. Thank you for joining together with us to support and send some comfort to those who have given so much to all of us.

  2. olotliny Says:

    Time is coming close to the roundup of supplies to send over to Germany. Thank you to all who are working diligently on Operation Wounded Warrior.

    If you have supplies that you would like to contribute, you can contact any of the above mentioned people/sites.

    If you would like to find a VFW near by to you, please click on the VFW web site, and do a local search with your zip code. Here is their link: http://www.vfw.org/

    Sincere, heartfelt thanks:) from,
    Operation Love Our Troops

  3. olotliny Says:

    OLOT would like to thank the VFWs and American Legion Posts for all their efforts to support the Wounded Warriors and of their constant support for those active and those who served.

    A thank you goes out to all those who donated supplies/support for the Wounded Warriors during the parade 12/3/06.

    A thank you goes out to the library for donating a large volume of magazines to be sent out to the Wounded Warriors and those deployed.

    A thank you goes out to Family Dollar for their generous support in supplying materials for the Wounded Warriors.

  4. olotliny Says:

    Star Power Behind Honoring Disabled Vets
    By Melissa Charbonneau
    January 31, 2007

    CBNNews.com — WASHINGTON — Approximately 1.5 million American service members have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 100,000 have come home with disabilities.

    Now, a familiar face from Hollywood is fighting to honor their sacrifice with a permanent tribute in the nation’s capital.

    Oscar-nominated actor Gary Sinise has landed a new role in a real-life drama, supporting the men and women of America’s armed forces.

    A Fisher House benefit helped support families of recovering injured Veterans with homes away from home.

    Between shoots on his hit television series “CSI: New York,” Sinise and his Lieutenant Dan Band are U.S.O. volunteers, performing for the troops from Guantanamo Bay to Baghdad.

    “We’ve played about 40 concerts for the troops in the past three years,” said Sinise to cheers from the live audience.

    actor Gary SiniseActor Sinise Talks about Disabled Vets
    Sinise has appeared in blockbuster films like “Apollo 13,” but his most memorable role is “Forrest Gump’s” Lieutenant Dan Taylor, the soldier who lost his legs in Vietnam.

    Here are some lines that he had with Tom Hanks, who played Forrest Gump. They are communicating during a battle in Vietnam.

    Sinise: “We got Charlie all over this area. I gotta have those fast movers in here now, over!”

    Hanks: “Lt. Dan, Colman’s dead. I know he’s dead!”

    Sinise says Lt. Dan’s tragedy is being repeated today with the thousands of permanently injured now returning from Iraq.

    After Sinise’s character, Lt. Dan loses his legs, he tells Hanks from the floor in a dramatic scene, “Look at me. What am I going to do now? What am I going to do now?”

    Sinise says 9-11 jolted him to the reality of terrorism, and moved him to serve the nation’s defenders, “That really shook me up and changed me, I think, and propelled me into active service in a way I’d never been before.”

    “It was clear to me that this president, the next president and the next president after is going to have to make hard decisions with regards to the troops and where to send them and how to deal with these issues we face, and this enemy that will not go away for many many years,” added Sinise.

    Tapped as spokesman for the Disabled Veterans for Life Foundation, Sinise addressed Washington’s National Press Club to call for the nation’s first memorial to honor the physical sacrifices of those on the front lines.

    “Look, if your house is on fire, and the firemen show up, and they’re going to try to put out the fire and save some people inside, you back them up and you tell them you’re grateful for what they’re doing. There are fires that are raging all over the world, and we’re going to be having to deal with some of them for many, many years to come. The troops are the firefighters , and they’re going to be deployed, and we’ve got to back them up,” asserted Sinise.

    A Wounded Vet in His Own Words
    Retired Sergeant Christian Bagge is a double-amputee. His legs were shattered by a road-side bomb in Iraq, “I knew it was terrible. I had seen my injuries, and they were bad. But I guess I never really thought they would take them off… That they would just have to throw them away.”

    During his stay at Walter Reed Hospital, Bagge told his Commander-In-Chief he’d like to jog with him at the White House. After 13 surgeries and painful rehabilitation, his wish came true.

    President Bush commented on Bagge’s request, “He was in bed. He had lost both legs. I looked at him, like you know. There’s an optimistic person. But I could tell in his eyes that he meant it.”

    “For me to run alongside him was amazing. And hopefully, it served as an inspiration to other amputees and wounded veterans,” commented Bagge.

    Bagee says a memorial near the nation’s capitol would remind Americans of the true cost of war… And of lives forever changed, “People congratulated me and say, ‘Wow, you’ve really done it. You’ve carried on and gotten through this.’ I don’t think they really understand every day is a battle in itself. Every day I wake up. I put on legs. Every day at the end of the day, I go to bed and take them off.”

    Like Sergeant Bagge and Lieutenant Dan, Sinise says the vets he has met are uncomplaining heroes, moving on with their lives against overwhelming odds.

    As debate rages over the future of Iraq, Sinise is urging Americans to set aside politics, to honor the men and women who defend America’s freedom, “One of the hard lessons we learned from Vietman is how we should not blame our troops for the political situation they might find themselves in the middle of, or for just doing their job, which is, they sign up and they go where they’re told to go. And they serve and they do what they’re told. And they fight the battles they’re told to fight.”

    As fellow actor Tom Hanks lent his fame to promote the World War II Memorial, supporters hope Sinise’s celebrity will focus a national spotlight on the cause of disabled veterans… in hopes a grateful nation will give wounded warriors a tribute of their own.

    For information on how to help honor America’s disabled war veterans, please visit The Americans Disabled for Life Memorial.


  5. olotliny Says:

    The American Veterans Disabled for Life

  6. olotliny Says:

    Wounded War Vet Finds new Life
    Associated Press | February 02, 2007
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Robbie Doughty had lost his legs in a roadside bombing in Iraq and was searching for a new life outside the Army when a call came from a pizza magnate.

    Michael Ilitch, founder and owner of the Little Caesars pizza chain, offered a business proposition.

    Ilitch had read about Doughty’s recovery from the 2004 bomb blast and asked the former staff sergeant if he’d like to open a Little Caesars franchise in Paducah – in Doughty’s native western Kentucky.

    “I was just kind of floored,” Doughty said. “I didn’t hesitate a second to say, `Yeah, I’ll do it.'”

    Ilitch encouraged him to find a business partner, and Doughty picked Army comrade Lloyd Allard.

    After months of preparations, the two partners celebrated their pizza store’s grand opening Thursday, an event attended by Ilitch and other Little Caesars executives.

    It was Doughty’s situation in making the transition to civilian life that spurred the Detroit-based carryout pizza chain into offering incentives to recruit military veterans into its ranks.

    Since last November, any qualified, honorably discharged veteran can receive $10,000 in discounts to become a Little Caesars franchise operator – $5,000 off the franchise fee for the first store and a $5,000 credit for equipment. Discounts for veterans with disabling injuries can reach $68,000 – including a full waiver of the franchise fee, a $10,000 credit toward equipment and $20,000 in financing benefits.

    “We’re all frustrated and want to help our service people,” Ilitch, an ex-Marine, said in a recent telephone interview. “I’m fortunate that I’m in a position to be able to help.”

    Little Caesars has received hundreds of inquiries from veterans, and a couple dozen applications are being reviewed, said David Scrivano, president of Little Caesar Enterprises Inc.

    Brian Lawrence, assistant national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit advocacy group, said disabled veterans are a largely untapped source of business entrepreneurs.

    “They pour their entire being into that business,” he said. “They carry with them the discipline and the good work habits that they acquired in the military.”

    About 250 companies that are members of the International Franchise Association offer incentives to help honorably discharged veterans acquire franchises, said Terry Hill, a spokesman for the association. Incentives can include discounts on franchise fees and waivers on training costs, he said.

    Since 2002, more than 600 franchises have been sold to veterans across a spectrum of service companies as part of the program, he said, citing a survey last fall. At that time, more than 150 other sales were in the pipeline, he said. He didn’t know how many franchises were acquired by disabled veterans.

    The UPS Store chain has signed up 130 veterans to become franchisees as part of the program, offering them breaks on franchise fees and help in finding financing, said spokesman Rich Hallabrin. Some participants are Iraq war veterans, others served as long ago as Vietnam, he said.

    Hallabrin said the veterans have many attributes for business success, including “a sense of self-responsibility – you have to look to yourself to succeed.”

    Doughty, 32, who is married with a 3-year-old son and another child expected in the spring, had been in Iraq for two months when he was wounded. He sought out a front-lines assignment after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. In Iraq, he coordinated intelligence for several Army special forces teams.

    He planned on spending 20 to 30 years in the Army, and then starting a second career, possibly in law enforcement or health care as a physician’s assistant.

    Doughty’s plans were shattered by the bomb blast that hit his patrol in July 2004 at Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack by Iraqi insurgents.

    After spending time in hospitals in Iraq and Germany, Doughty was sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he spent five months in rehabilitation. He was fitted with prosthetic legs.

    “I was pretty dedicated to getting recovered,” he said. “Once I made the decision that I was going to retire (from the Army), I decided I need to get home and find a way to move on with life.”

    It was Doughty’s attitude that appealed to Ilitch when he read about the wounded soldier.

    “It was an impulse thing, I just picked up the phone and called,” Ilitch said.

    Later, Ilitch traveled to Paducah to meet with Doughty, and the ex-soldier visited Little Caesars’ headquarters for training.

    Doughty incurred no upfront costs to open his store, which started serving pizzas about a week before the grand opening. He said business has been brisk, and he was preparing for a big rush on Super Bowl Sunday. Doughty and Allard have put in long hours, from opening to closing, though they have about 35 employees.

    “We’re very hands on,” Doughty said. “We do a little bit of everything.”

    Sound Off…What do you think? Join the discussion.

    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  7. olotliny Says:

    Here is the Department of Defense link to “Wounded Warriors Climb Strong”
    (The Skies the Limit)

  8. olotliny Says:

    Kmart, Sears help collect for Fisher Houses

    By Karen Jowers – Staff writer
    Posted : Friday Feb 9, 2007 11:07:50 EST

    Customers at Kmart and Sears stores can donate to the Fisher House Foundation from Friday to Sunday, in a “Have a Heart for Military Families” initiative.

    The Fisher House Foundation has built 37 comfort homes near military or veterans’ medical facilities since 1990. Those Fisher Houses provided lodging to more than 10,000 service members and their families in 2006, said David Coker, president of the Fisher House Foundation, in a statement announcing the donations.

    “We plan to build 21 additional Fisher Houses, primarily to assist combat casualties and their families, so the support from Sears, Kmart and their customers is timely and needed,” he said.

    Customers can either donate at their stores, or online at http://www.sears.com or http://www.kmart.com.

    As always, donations can be made directly to the Fisher House Foundation through its Web site at http://www.fisherhouse.org.

  9. olotliny Says:

    Survivors of Afghan Helicopter Crash Airlifted to Germany

  10. olotliny Says:

    “They battled our foreign enemies; they should not have to battle American bureaucracy”
    “Wounded Should Not Have to Battle Bureaucracy”

  11. olotliny Says:

    A site for employers and wounded warriors

  12. olotliny Says:

    Operation Comfort provides free therapy and help to those who served and their families.

  13. olotliny Says:

    Vets blast SHAD study

    Survey left out many sailors involved in chemical weapons tests, group says
    By Chris Amos – Staff writer
    Posted : Thursday Jul 5, 2007 6:29:56 EDT

    A group of Navy veterans says that findings from a study of the health effects of at-sea biological and chemical weapons testing on thousands of sailors 40 years ago are flawed because the study ignored those with the highest levels of exposure.

    The $3 million study, paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs but conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy, took four years to complete. It was commissioned after years of complaints from veterans that the tests made them sick.

    The Institute of Medicine is a private organization created by the federal government to perform medical tests.

    Findings from a medical records survey and questionnaire mailed to more than 6,000 sailors who were aboard 22 Navy ships and Army tugs during the tests cast doubt on claims that exposure to the tests led to severe medical problems in ensuing years.

    The findings, released last month, found that participants had higher death rates from cardiovascular disease and had higher self-reported rates of memory loss, attention problems and neurodegenerative disorders than a group of sailors who did not participate in Project SHAD, or Shipboard Hazard and Defense. But scientists were unable to point to medical links between these problems and the real and simulated chemical and biological weapons used during the tests.

    Moreover, since participants also reported higher rates of medically insignificant symptoms such as earlobe pain, scientists questioned whether some of the discrepancies were caused by participants’ belief that something was wrong with them.

    But retired Cmdr. John Alderson, who served as a commanding officer of the five Army light tugs — numbered 2080, 2081, 2085, 2086 and 2087 — that were a central part of the tests, said the study was incomplete because it failed to include many of the sailors who served on the tugs, at a test laboratory on Johnston Island — a small island about 700 miles west of Pearl Harbor — and at a base near Pearl Harbor where the weapons were mixed.

    The study’s director confirmed Alderson’s claims but said he could not be sure what effect the omission had on the findings because he did not know how many people were excluded or the severity of the illnesses they reported.

    “We got as many people on the light tugs as possible from the Defense Department,” study director William Page said. “They didn’t have complete rosters. We would have loved to have included the light tug personnel, but we just couldn’t find [all of] them.”

    Alderson estimated that more than 500 sailors served on the tugs during the experiments. Neither he nor Page could say how many were included in the study, but Page admitted that the majority of tug sailors were never contacted.
    Extended exposure

    John Olsen, who served on the tugs as an electronics technician second class in 1965, said the ships’ 13-man crews — and sometimes three monkeys kept above deck — were exposed to a variety of chemical and biological agents on a daily basis over three-month periods, while sailors on larger Navy ships included in the study had much less frequent levels of exposure, sometimes only once or twice overall, and were exposed to simulated chemical and biological agents.

    The IOM report says tug crew members were exposed to a nerve agent, staph bacteria and bacterial agents that could cause rabbit fever and Q fever.

    Alderson said tug crew members were exposed to at least four other biological weapons not mentioned in the findings, but he said he could not name them because they are still classified.

    A second veteran confirmed Alderson’s account, but asked not to be identified.

    Although the tugs’ crews were required to stay inside during the tests, and state-of-the-art paper filters and specially designed air conditioning systems were used to protect the crews, the filters sometimes failed after they were soaked with sea water. Sensors in the boats’ interior spaces periodically detected trace amounts of biological and chemical agents, Olsen said.

    After each test, the crews sprayed the tugs’ exterior surfaces with a decontaminant, that, while thought to be safe at the time, has since been found to be toxic, he said.

    Another veteran said the study was flawed even among the crews of larger Navy ships such as the destroyer Herbert J. Thomas and the dock landing ship Fort Snelling.

    Retired Cmdr. Norm LaChappelle, who served as technical project director for Project SHAD, said the study failed to do aggressive outreach to participants. He also said it did not distinguish between exposures to crew members who were at different places on the ship.

    “They didn’t differentiate between whether you were a deck hand or in an engine room,” he said. “If you were on a ship, you were a participant,” he said.
    SHAD background

    The SHAD tests, which were classified until a few years ago, were conducted between 1962 and 1973 to determine whether Navy crews could be protected from chemical or biological attacks, Navy officials have said. Alderson said he thinks the study had a more nefarious purpose: to determine how effective American chemical and biological weapons could be against enemy navies.

    The five tugs were sent to sail in a line formation that could be as long as 100 miles. Two Marine A-4 Skyhawks would then drop substances close to the first ship. Scientists would measure readings on each ship to determine how far weapons clouds would travel before they dispersed to levels that were ineffective.

    The larger ships had simulants blown aft from their bows by giant fans or had them dropped from passing aircraft.

    But even these simulants, such as E. coli and bacillus globigii, were later found to be toxic.

    Participants aboard the light tugs say they had clandestine meetings with officers in San Francisco restaurants, were given hotel suites isolated from other sailors, wore civilian clothes, served on tugs with no Navy markings and were threatened with imprisonment if they talked about the tests with anyone after they were completed.

    That is one reason they say it took so long to notice problems, they said.

    “Most of my skippers are dead from cancer or respiratory illnesses,” Alderson said, before adding that since no study has been done on illness and mortality rates of the group, he can only offer anecdotal evidence of medical problems caused by the program. But he said that he developed severe allergies within days after the first test. Since then, he said he has suffered from prostate cancer and several skin cancers.

    Olsen said he has also had health problems.

    “I am one of the few survivors of something called massive malignant hypertension,” Olsen said. “It is extremely rare. For white males, it is 1 in 10 million. My blood pressure went up over 300, top and bottom. I was in my early 40s.”

    LaChappelle says he has no health problems that he believes are directly traceable to the experiment, but he says he has received many phone calls from participants who say the project ruined their health.

    Bernard Edelman, deputy director for policy and government affairs for the Vietnam Veterans of America, said sailors were given inoculations but that they were not entered on the sailor’s medical records, meaning the sailors don’t know what they received.

    “We’re still trying to uncover the facts,” Edelman said. “As Yogi Berra said, ‘It ain’t over ’til it’s over.’”

  14. olotliny Says:

    Dad of wounded helps families at Walter Reed

    By Brandon Leonard – The Washington Times via AP
    Posted : Wednesday Jul 4, 2007 14:48:44 EDT

    WASHINGTON — Michael Sparling spent a recent afternoon helping an injured soldier around Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It was a gesture the man from Michigan has performed many times in the past year and a half since his son also arrived at the hospital to recover from war injuries received in Iraq, but one that may soon be coming to an end.

    “When my son leaves, I don’t know if I’ll be able to,” said Sparling who also volunteers his time, expertise and energy to help other families navigate the paperwork and stress he has faced during his son’s recovery.

    His son, Joshua, 25, a paratrooper for the Army’s 82nd Airborne, is receiving medical treatment at the hospital in Washington for severe injuries from a bomb that hit him while he was pursuing insurgents in Iraq.

    Thousands of mothers, fathers, wives and husbands have left home at a moment’s notice to be by a soldier’s side since Sept. 11, 2001, but many didn’t expect the emotional, financial and bureaucratic struggles of the transition.

    “Very few [families] have everything together when they get here, and I want to show them someone cares,” Sparling said. “When these soldiers are injured, families need to be able to take care of their sons and daughters first.”

    Sparling quit his job as a marketing director and drove more than 550 miles from Port Huron, Mich., to Walter Reed after receiving the call telling him his son was severely wounded.

    Walter Reed’s Malone House already has a support group of volunteers, known as Soldiers’ Angels, that works daily with the families. But Lynette Frascella, director of the group’s Wounded Soldiers Program, still tells families to go see Sparling.

    “He takes them under his wing and through the process,” Frascella said. “He is very knowledgeable about the workings of the Malone House and the Walter Reed system.”

    Walter Reed, off Georgia Avenue Northwest, is a part of the U.S. military’s primary health care system and specializes in surgery and rehabilitation for head, limb and upper-body injuries.

    The Army medical center’s Soldier Family Assistance Program assigns an escort to every family, who begins by taking members to the buildings they will need to visit on the 113-acre campus.

    Cliff Stanback, one such liaison, was introduced to Sparling and his son when they came to Walter Reed in November 2005.

    Stanback said he often refers families to Sparling because he knows all the shortcuts for the paperwork and the staffers who can help families quickly receive what they need.

    “He’s on call all of the time,” Stanback said. “I don’t know how he does it. I’ve called him at 2 or 3 in the morning, and he’s always ready.”

    Injured soldier Cpl. Adam Poppenhouse has lived at Walter Reed since December 2005.

    He said his wife quit working as a preschool teacher and stopped studying for an undergraduate degree in child development to move her and their 10-month-old daughter to Walter Reed from base housing at Fort Lewis, Wash.

    Poppenhouse said Sparling voluntarily took him to a rifle match at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia and surprised him by arranging for the corporal to receive a rifle as a gift.

    “He goes out of his way to meet everybody, see what they need and help them,” Poppenhouse said.

    Sparling makes about 15 trips a week to local airports, dropping off and picking up soldiers and their families. Such trips can often cost as much as $70 each.

    Sparling also has formed a foundation called America’s Wounded Hero to support any service member wounded or injured defending the United States.

    After soldiers leave Walter Reed, Sparling also helps them return to civilian or military life.

    Among the biggest problems is surviving financially until military benefits start.

    Sparling said the foundation will help service members get necessities that military benefits and Medicare do not cover.

    “You can tell the charities that care for the people, and those that are charities to be charities,” Sparling said.

  15. olotliny Says:


    “Leishmaniasis” (Baghdad boil) results when a person is bitten by a sand fly (found throughout tropical and sub tropical countries-Iraq and Afghanistan-especially near/in Kabul-due to lack of waste disposal. It is a parasitic condition that infects/invades a person in four main types of leishmaniasis. (Skin sores form near the bite within days to weeks…internal symptoms fester/grow within victim and can remain undetected for years— enlarged spleen (spleen becomes larger than the liver!)– is a tale tale sign. Leishmaniasis, left untreated poses a serious health threat and can be fatal as a result of infections and other conditions that develop.

  16. olotliny Says:

    Peer Amputee Volunteer Puts Experience, Compassion Into Recovery
    By Fred W. Baker III
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON, July 16, 2007 – An admitted golf “nut,” Jack Farley said he has heard probably every handicap joke there is, having hit the green for the last four decades wearing a prosthetic right leg. Still, nobody cuts him any slack, he said.

    Click photo for screen-resolution image
    Jack Farley visits a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Farley is a peer amputee visitor at the center. His right leg was claimed by a mortar in Vietnam nearly 40 years ago. Farley was fitted for his first prosthesis at Walter Reed and met his wife there while being treated. Photo by Fred W. Baker III
    (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
    “I try to get strokes for this and nobody will give me any strokes,” Farley said and laughed.

    Farley is a peer amputee visitor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here. A retired federal judge, Farley is quick with a joke and a smile. He knows nearly everybody at the center it seems and knows nearly everything there is to know about prosthetics.

    His right leg was claimed by a mortar in Vietnam nearly 40 years ago. He was fitted for his first prosthesis at Walter Reed. It was there, on a blind date, that Farley met the woman who would later become his wife. It was there he started a new life. If he hadn’t lost his leg, Farley said, he wouldn’t have returned to college to study law and subsequently would not have become a federal judge. It is only fitting, Farley said, that he returns to help others.

    “It’s a sense of paying back. I had mentors and people visiting me when I was here in Walter Reed in 1969 and ‘70,” he said. “I get more out of it than they do. It’s a real selfish act on my part.”

    The peer visitor program began four years ago at Walter Reed when, due to the war in Iraq, an influx of amputees started entering the hospital system. It began with a small group of amputees experienced in visiting and listening and helping new amputees and has grown into a formal program offering training and certification. Peer amputee visitors are considered part of the treatment team at the center. They have access to every floor.

    “In the beginning our job is just to listen. I don’t come in and say, ‘Hey, look at me,’” Farley said. “The peer visitor comes in and just tries to deal with the family and deal with the patient, explaining that life is going to be different, but whether it’s better or worse it’s still up to the patient.”

    On this visit, Farley talked with Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Bleill, who lost both legs in Iraq when the Humvee in which he was riding struck a bomb. It killed two fellow Marines, one riding to the front and one to the left of him. The gunner lost his right leg. Remarkably, the driver was uninjured and is still serving in Iraq, Josh said.

    Josh was getting a new socket, the piece of the prosthetic leg in which the residual portion of the leg fits. New bone growth in Josh’s leg rubbed against his old socket, causing pain.

    Wearing a pair of khaki shorts, Farley sported a star-spangled socket — blue with white stars, just like an American flag. It is the most important piece of the prosthetic leg, he said.

    “You can put a million dollars in technology below the socket, but if it doesn’t fit right or is uncomfortable, nobody is going to wear it,” he said.

    Josh said Farley’s experience sometimes helps him explain things to the doctors and technicians that are hard to put into words.

    The program consistently receives the highest ratings from patients at the center, he said.

    “It’s a great program,” Josh said. “It’s nice to see when you are first injured that there is life after this.”

    Farley said his role changes during the progress of the amputee. Each goes through five stages: enduring, suffering, reckoning, reconciling and normalization.

    For many, though, there is a sixth stage — thriving, Farley said.

    “You’ll see people who actually accomplish more having gone through the trauma … than they would without it,” Farley said.

    “I wouldn’t have gone to law school. I already had an MBA. I was going into business. I would have never been a lawyer, much less a federal judge,” Farley said. “By overcoming this in a positive way, it actually can assist you in other challenges in life.”

    Farley said that some younger servicemembers resist help at first. He told the story of a young man who was trying to do everything himself, resisting the helpful efforts of a new bride.

    “He wanted to do everything himself,” Farley said. “One day I just pulled him aside and said, “You know, the greatest gift of love you can give is to maybe allow somebody to help you.

    “Later on, we all realize we need the help of everybody,” he said.
    Related Sites:
    Special Report: Defense Leaders Make Wounded Warrior Care Top Priority
    Video Report: Jack Farley Speaks With Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Bleill at Walter Reed
    Audio Report: Peer Amputee Volunteer Puts Experience, Compassion Into Recovery
    Walter Reed Army Medical Center
    Click photo for screen-resolution image Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Bleill, who lost both legs in Iraq when the Humvee in which he was riding struck a bomb, talks with peer amputee visitor Jack Farley at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Bleill said that Farley’s experience helps him articulate problems to the doctors and technicians. Defense Dept. photo by Fred W. Baker III

  17. olotliny Says:

    Thank You Cabela’s for sending out beautiful rods/reels and fishing caps to the Veterans’ Place in Yaphank:)))))

  18. olotliny Says:

    America Supports You: Home-Front Groups Partner to Help Troops
    By Samantha L. Quigley
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON, July 12, 2007 – No single troop-support group can meet every request servicemembers make, but through partnerships with three other groups, Silver Star Families of America is coming closer.

    Under the guidance of Silver Star Families of America President Steve Newton, the group has teamed up with “Give An Hour,” “Soldiers’ Angels,” and the “Thank You Foundation.” These partnerships broaden the scope of resources the group’s able to offer servicemembers.

    “All three of these (partnerships) were launched within the last two weeks,” said Janie Orman, vice president of Silver Star Families of America. “They’re working great already.”

    Silver Star Families of America, Soldiers’ Angels and the Thank You Foundation are all members of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

    Give An Hour’s current mission is to develop a national network of mental health professionals who will volunteer an hour a week to respond to the needs of the military community. The organization is a Washington-based nonprofit group.

    The partnership with Give An Hour is aimed at encouraging servicemembers or relatives of servicemembers with post-traumatic stress disorder to seek help.

    Servicemembers seeking help for PTSD or other mental health issues can visit Silver Star Families of America’s Web site and follow the link to the Give An Hour Web site. Once there, individuals can locate professionals in their area and schedule an appointment.

    Silver Star Families of America recently got a first-hand look at how their new partnership worked when a woman called about a friend’s son suffering from PTSD, Orman said.

    “It was very important that we got something happening for her immediately,” she said, adding that the woman was referred to Give An Hour, which got the young man help that day. “That’s what she was so excited about, that Silver Stars was able to give her help right at the moment and there wasn’t any time wasted, because there wasn’t any to waste with this young man.”

    Give An Hour also extends its services to parents, siblings and unmarried partners who don’t qualify for benefits through the military, according to its Web site.

    While the military and medical communities are working intently on identifying and treating troops suffering from PTSD, they also are working to help servicemembers recover from traumatic brain injuries.

    One of the therapies reported to help patients down that road is a favorite of teens, as well: hand-held electronic games.

    “We have read several reports of how this really helps with their motor skills and to boost their morale,” Orman said.

    In conjunction with Soldiers’ Angels, Silver Star Families of America will distribute hand-held electronic games to those suffering from traumatic brain injuries, Orman said. The first shipment has already been shipped, and Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis, Wash., has requested the games for some of its patients.

    While Silver Star Families of America’s main focus is on honoring families of those wounded in combat, its members realized that many more servicemembers are injured outside war zones, Orman said. They felt these veterans should be recognized as well, and the partnership between Silver Star Families and the Thank You Foundation was established to do just that.

    “In the last few weeks, we’ve been trying to come up with a program to acknowledge them. It’s outside of our mission, but … we want them to know that we care about them and thank them also,” Orman said. “That’s what led us to the Thank You Foundation and to work with them.”

    By filling out a form asking specific questions about an injury, servicemembers wounded outside a combat zone can receive a certificate of recognition for their sacrifices, Orman said.

    Additionally, Silver Star Families of America is operating two new programs on its own.

    The “Honoring Hungry Heroes” program provides fast food gift cards to wounded servicemembers during hospital stays, Orman said. The other program, “Letter Writing to the Wounded,” sends letters to wounded troops recovering in military hospitals in Iraq and Germany, as well as across the United States.

    “Each program, I feel, (assures) the wounded veterans that people really do care about them and that (the caring) didn’t just stop when they came home,” Orman said. “I guess we’re hoping it will encourage them.”
    Related Sites:
    Silver Star Families of America
    Give An Hour
    Soldiers’ Angels
    Thank You Foundation
    America Supports You

  19. olotliny Says:

    I found this article on “All Hands”-I read it on-line-I don’t have a subscription…. It is titled: “The Road to Recovery Goes through San Antonio” It mentions the continued recovery of the Cable sailors and another sailor who sustained burns on the Nimitz and all those who are burned overseas…
    The Road to Recovery Goes Through San Antonio
    Story and photos by MC1(AW) Brien Aho

    The term hero is an understatement for our nation’s wounded warriors, who have come home in a manner that can only be described as life-altering.

    For our Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen who have been badly burned, the road to recovery usually leads to one facility in San Antonio.

    Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, has one of the nation’s leading burn units and is home to our wounded heroes who are fighting daily to get their lives back to normal.

    BAMC is a modern state-of-the-art, 450-bed health care facility that provides level-one trauma and graduate medical education. Included in the normal bed capacity, 48 are dedicated for ICU beds and 40 are dedicated to the Institute of Surgical Research Burn Unit.

    The Trauma Division is the core of BAMC’s ACS (American College of Surgeons) verified Level 1 Trauma Center. Only 97 trauma programs in the United States have received the ACS Level I rating, which is the highest rating a program can achieve. The Burn Center and Trauma and Critical Care Service make up the only Trauma Division in DOD. The Burn Center has eight Intensive Care and 12 Step-down beds, with the capability to expand to 40 beds.

    It is the military’s only burn center and is recognized worldwide for its contributions to improved burn survival. The center admits more than 300 patients a year with significant burns.

    Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Tim Alonzo and HMC Omar Carillo, BAMC naval liaisons, believe the physical therapy and state-of-the-art equipment coupled with the staff at BAMC are extremely effective ways to get the wounded warriors back on their feet.

    “It is amazing to see the treatment of our wounded warriors. For people who have just arrived, we meet with them on a 24/7 basis trying to make it as comfortable and smooth as possible. Regardless of what time it is, we are here to make their medical treatment easier for them and their families,” said Alonzo.

    Because of the 24/7 rehabilitation, Alonzo had seen a transformation in the wounded warriors under their charge.

    “The morale here is through the roof,” said Alonzo. “I don’t know how they do it. The only thing I can figure out is the reason they are here today, is because they were leading the fight to begin with, and they are the true leaders who are up front. That puts them in harm’s way when you are out there doing your best. So these are the best of the best here and that’s tremendous.”

    Another reason for the high morale is the recent establishment of weekly meetings with all the Navy personnel, allowing the Sailors to get to know one another and share their recovery.

    “For me, the most rewarding part of being here is seeing the camaraderie between the Sailors at the morning meeting and when they stop by my office during the week,” said Alonzo. “Watching their progress is tremendously rewarding for me.”

    Even though the morale is high at BAMC, Sailors know what the odds are and they are betting that the care they receive here at BAMC will make the road smooth along
    their journey.

    “Due to the amputations, I’ll never return to 100 percent,” said Senior Chief Builder (SCW/SW) Robert Westover Jr. “But, I strive to get all I can out of what I have left. BAMC has been very supportive and I know with the care I have received here and by pushing myself I will be able to recover faster.”

    Many roads lead to BAMC, but for the few who have been fortunate enough to make it home alive, their fight has just begun.

    It only takes a second for your life to change and for Sailors like Westover those few seconds between normal and life-changing takes only a blink of an eye.

    On the Road, Ramadi, Iraq

    One minute you are riding in a Humvee doing your job, staying alert, and the next minute you are in complete darkness with searing pain shooting through your body, the likes of which you have never imagined.

    Your convoy has been hit by an improvised explosive device (IED). You are trying to get out of the vehicle but your legs are broken from the impact. The cabin is filled with smoke and you can’t see anything. All you know is you’re on fire and you need to get out.

    Your eardrums have ruptured, but you still hear the hot rounds going off next to you because of the fire burning in the Humvee which is igniting the .50 caliber rounds used by the
    turret gunner.

    You’re burning. You have to find a way out. Your corneas have been knocked out of place but you see a blurry, small hint of blue light coming from the passenger side door. You go for it despite your injuries and the skin dripping off your arms.

    Finally, clear air. As you succumb to the searing pain, you realize you are being transported somewhere. You hope it’s to the nearest hospital to start on the road to recovery.

    For Westover, this scenario was all too real. Unfortunately, he lived it. But, he’s here today because of the combat-trained medics on the scene who were able to assist him right away.

    The incident occurred outside a forward-operating base in Ramadi, just eight days before Westover was due to come home.

    “I was attached to the 2/11th Marines and they needed a roadway specialist which is what I do on the outside in Pennsylvania,” said Westover. “I’m qualified to do road and bridge assessments and we were returning back to base when we came upon a suspicious box.”

    Later, intelligence discovered that Westover’s convoy, which was driving in a staggered formation, was hit by two 155mm rounds detonated by a cell phone just two feet from the Humvee in which Westover was riding.

    Westover credits his life to the medical professionals who rescued him and provided immediate first aid. His total time from treatment on the battle ground in Baghdad, to Landstuhl, Germany, and eventual transport to BAMC was within three days.

    During his rehabilitation at BAMC, Westover has had to endure 22 surgeries which ranged from bone manipulation like the titanium rod that runs from his knee to his hip to re-breaking all the bones in his elbow to allow for full range of motion.

    “The rehab here can be a grind at times, but I’m progressing well so now I try to encourage those who are new here to continue their treatment with a positive attitude. Those guys who may have just arrived may think that their life is over. However, I have traveled down that same road they are on and I have been in that same spot. You are only limited by your imagination and your motivation so if you have chosen survival now all you have to do is choose to live and that makes a huge difference,” said Westover.

    Westover believes the advancements in technology are truly amazing.

    “The doctors have told me that if the technologies hadn’t advanced as much as they have, I wouldn’t have survived if I had been injured the same way in Desert Storm in 1991,” said Westover.

    While Westover is focused on his personal struggle to overcome any obstacle before him, other Sailors are also on that same path of recovery. Two Sailors on board USS Frank Cable (AS 40), Machinist Mate 1st Class (SW) Robert Bruce II and MM2(SW) Michael Lammey, both agree with Westover that your life can change in a split second. But, how you react to that change can make all the difference between life and death.

    On board USS Frank Cable

    Ship maintenance happens every day around the fleet and you never think twice that something could go terribly wrong. But for Sailors aboard Frank Cable it will be a PMS check they and future Sailors will never forget.

    You’re working in a boiler room preparing to do a spot check on a piece of equipment that you have checked a hundred times when in a instant you hear a popping sound. You realize something is not right. As you take steps to shut down a potential melting pot, you feel something on the back of your neck. As you pull away from it you lean into the door with your shoulder and run through it.

    You call to evacuate the space and proceed toward the exit, which are three decks above or 36 steps to safety. If you take a breath while in the space you will instantly burn everything from your mouth to your lungs.

    You run up the stairs as fast as you can, ignoring the fact that your skin feels like it’s melting off because your body is so pumped up with adrenaline. Just before you reach for the door to safety, your cheeks, tongue and throat swell up with pain from the boiling water you inhaled. You run through the door, pushing it open with your hand and leave skin stuck to the door.

    Finally, you make it to fresh air on the flight deck only to be met with stares of shock and horror.

    For Bruce and Lammey, the road to recovery started with that 36-step climb out of the boiler room.

    “After hearing Bruce call to evacuate the space, I knew I had to get out immediately,” said Lammey. “I couldn’t feel the hand rails because I guess my hands were already burned, but I knew I only had the one breath and three flights of stairs to navigate to get to safety.

    “I rounded the first ladder well; I felt this wall of heat. Then, as I was climbing I took a small breath. The burning sensation going through my teeth and down my throat was intense, but I looked up and realized I had only 12 steps left to safety. As I reached the top I put my hand against the door and saw the skin stick to the door. I pulled away from it, leaned into the door with my shoulder and ran through it.”

    The investigation revealed that there were tubes that failed and a section of the boiler system split open, emptying steam into the fire room.

    Fourteen Sailors acted quickly to secure the boiler, which saved the ship from any m ore damage, but in the process severely burned six Sailors who had to be evacuated to BAMC.

    “I was watching the boiler gauges reach between 730 and 740 degrees when I heard what sounded like a shotgun going off,” said Lammey.” “I started to secure the boiler when I felt hot rain on the back of my neck. I looked over to the back of the boiler and the space was filling with steam. That’s when Bruce called for the evacuation.”

    Hours are all it took for the Sailors to be evacuated and brought to BAMC.

    “They stabilized us in Guam, but within 52 hours from the time of the accident, we were in the ICU at BAMC,” said Bruce.

    Two Sailors assigned to Frank Cable died from injuries they sustained when a steam pipe ruptured in the engineering spaces
    Dec. 1, 2006.

    With the size of BAMC and the number of patients traveling the halls, having a shipmate to depend on through the recovery coupled with the care received at BAMC has made all the difference to Bruce and Lammey.

    “The nurses have helped greatly with the rehab process and they don’t look at it as a job,” said Bruce. “They look at it as if we are heroes. I didn’t expect that from a military hospital. The nurses are so helpful and personable and have really made a big difference with us taking that next step in our recovery process.”

    As Alonzo noted, a good attitude is essential to recovery. The meetings once a week, building relationships between one another and having family here, seems to lessen the pain a little.

    “Lammey and I try to have a good attitude,” said Bruce. “It’s contagious, but it’s hard because this is a life-changing event. We’re going to be changed for the rest of our lives and in some ways it’s been a good thing.”

    All the Sailors being treated at BAMC are fortunate to have quality care and support.

    “The medical facilities here are second to none,” said Alonzo. “The staff and doctors really take time to get to know the patients and I think you wouldn’t find that on the outside hospitals.”

    “Recently the ‘Intrepid National Armed Forces Rehabilitation Center’ was opened. Funding of $60 million was raised for the state-of-the-art physical rehabilitation center for our wounded warriors,” said Alonzo. “The high-tech equipment allows the Sailors to better prepare for a life living with prosthetics.

    “Currently we have 27 outpatients who meet with our staff on a daily basis. We handle anything – pay issues, PCS orders here for extended time frames, community things like finding families member’s schools and housing,” said Alonzo.

    “Regardless what time it is, we’re here because a lot of these guys are coming out of theater and are here in two or three days.

    “Within a few days after they are stabilized, they are sent around the world. We’re here to make that transition smooth. Further down the line, we even look after their needs for their advancement exams,” added Alonzo.

    For Alonzo, seeing the rehabilitation is hard, but he knows it’s a bridge the Sailors need to cross.

    “The most difficult part of the job is seeing the patients struggle with the rehab. It’s very rewarding to watch them have their success because they make progress every day, but to see them have to go through it is very hard,” said Alonzo.

    “The families are very emotional, as they should be, and dealing with that is a big part of the job,” said Alonzo. “But in a very short period of time, family members realize how great a place this is and it starts to alleviate their anxiety.”

    Families play a major role in the recovery process, even adapting to the military standards as far as adhering to the regimental process of helping to remove bandages on a daily basis.

    “I feel sorry for the guys who don’t have family support here,” said Maureen Watkin, mother of Chief Engineman (SCW/SW) Peter Johns who received electrical burns in an accident aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

    “They really get us involved from the start because we will eventually have to take care of them,” said Watkins. “They had me put aquifer lotion on him a couple times a day. I would be there from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. I did things that I would have never thought I would do. Just being here is important and even though he’s a grown man and he wants to be independent he can’t be right now. And besides, he’s still my little boy.”

    Despite the overwhelming obstacles these warriors have to overcome on the road to recovery, their paths will be less uncomfortable during their stay at BAMC.

    “The injuries you see here are horrific and it will take years to recover from them,” said Westover. “I see miracles here every day. To see the care the nurses and doctors give and to watch them rebuild faces, bodies and limbs is truly amazing.”

    Aho is a photojournalist assigned to Naval Media Center, Washington, D.C.

  20. Bo Sides Says:

    “Carl A. Sides, radio operator H&S Btry 2nd Bn 11th Marines 1943 to 1946”

  21. olotliny Says:

    http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/americasupportsyou/Content.aspx?ID=44956067WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2007 –

    This holiday season, the American Red Cross will make sure holiday greetings generically addressed to wounded servicemembers at military medical facilities around the country will find a home.

    With help from Pitney Bowes Government Solutions, and the support of the Defense Department and Walter Reed Army Medical Center here, the American Red Cross will collect, review and distribute holiday greeting cards to wounded military personnel.

    “So many Americans want to show their support and gratitude by reaching out to wounded servicemembers at Walter Reed and other military medical centers during the holiday season,” said Neal Denton, American Red Cross Senior vice president for service to the armed forces. “With the support of the Department of Defense, Walter Reed leadership and Pitney Bowes, we can bring a little cheer to these brave men and women.”

    For security reasons, the Red Cross will be able to accept only holiday cards – not packages. Senders also are reminded to refrain from using glitter or any other materials that would not be appropriate in a hospital environment.

    Red Cross volunteers will receive and bundle the cards, which will be shipped by Pitney Bowes Government Solutions. Then, Red Cross volunteers at the medical facilities will distribute the cards throughout the holiday season.

    “It is an honor to provide this small measure of comfort at holiday time to those who have sacrificed so much,” said Murray Martin, Pitney Bowes president and chief executive officer. “We want to make it as easy as possible for all Americans to show their appreciation to the men and women who serve this nation so proudly and selflessly.”

    Holiday cards and letters should be addressed to:

    We Support You During Your Recovery!

    c/o American Red Cross

    P.O. Box 419

    Savage, MD 20763-0419

    Be sure to affix adequate postage. Multiple cards without envelopes may be placed in one mailing envelope or a box that includes a return address. Please mail your holiday cards so that they are postmarked no later than Dec.24. Cards must be received no later than Dec. 27. Cards received after this date will be returned to the sender. Again, senders are reminded that “care packages” are not part of the program –– send only cards and notes.

    Because a Defense Department policy in effect since 2001 specifically forbids the delivery of generically addressed mail to servicemembers, cards sent directly to military medical facilities are returned or discarded unless they’re addressed to a specific servicemember by name.

    To find out about more individuals, groups and organizations that are helping support the troops, visit http://www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil. America Supports You directly connects military members to the support of the America people and offers a tool to the general public in their quest to find meaningful ways to support the military community.

  22. olotliny Says:

    Suicide Hotline for Combat Veterans
    Posted: 9/24/2007

    Suicide is the 11th most frequent cause of death in the United States, accounting for approximately 30,000 deaths annually. It’s estimated that someone dies from suicide every 16 minutes. To ensure that veterans who may be contemplating suicide, and concerned family and friends, have immediate access to a trained person who can help, the Department of Veterans (VA) has established a 24-hour national suicide prevention hotline number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

    The hotline is based at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center in upstate New York. It’s staffed by mental health professionals who know how to assess and respond to crisis situations for veterans at risk of suicide, and incorporates the best practices and research findings in suicide prevention and intervention with the goal of reducing suicides among veterans nationwide.

    “This is another significant step to ensure that veterans, particularly the newest generation of combat vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, receive accessible and compassionate care for their mental health concerns,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson said recently.

    VA’s hotline is part of the National Suicide Prevention Initiative—a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The phone number is the same as SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a network of local crisis centers located in communities across the Nation that are committed to suicide prevention.

    Callers to the hotline will be asked to press 1 if they are a veteran or are concerned about the well-being of a veteran, and will be immediately referred to trained staff at Canandaigua. If all counselors at the facility are busy, callers will be transferred elsewhere—so that they never receive a busy signal or are placed on hold.

    Here are some warning signs that can indicate a person is contemplating suicide:
    • Talking about wanting to hurt or kill himself or herself.
    • Trying to get pills, guns or other items that can harm or kill someone.
    • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide.
    • A general feeling of hopelessness.
    • Exhibiting behaviors that indicate rage, uncontrolled anger, or a need to seek revenge on someone or something.
    • Acting in a reckless or risky way.
    • Feeling trapped, as if there is no way out.
    • Saying or feeling there’s no reason for living.

    Veterans who have such feelings, or family members who have observed any or all of these behaviors, are welcomed to call 1-800-273-TALK—the only national suicide prevention and intervention telephone resource funded by the federal government. In addition to the national hotline, the Department has established a website, at http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov to provide information on suicide prevention awareness.

    “While people who are thinking about suicide may think they have problems that can’t be fixed, they are wrong,” said Dr. Michael J. Kussman, VA’s Under Secretary for Health. “We can help, and we want to help. Please don’t wait—call now!”
    VA provides mental health services at each of its 153 medical centers, more than 900 outpatient clinics and 207 vet centers. Among the areas the Department specializes in are addiction and substance abuse; depression; homelessness; schizophrenia; post-traumatic stress disorder; readjustment counseling, and vocational rehabilitation.

  23. olotliny Says:


    Veterans for America
    Press Release: VFA Report on Wounded Warriors
    by Adrienne Willis on Nov 6, 2007

    Trends in Treatment of America’s Wounded Warriors

    Psychological Traumas and Traumatic Brain Injuries: The Signature Wounds of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom

    Veterans for America’s “Trends in Treatment of America’s Wounded Warriors” identifies a number of interrelated trends adversely affecting servicemembers and veterans suffering from the “signature wounds” of Iraq and Afghanistan – traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological trauma.

    This report is the result of VFA’s aggressive investigative program which identifies deficiencies in the treatment of service-connected neurological and/or mental health problems.

    VFA investigators have visited every demobilization site in the United States and overseas, where they have monitored the quality of treatment, family support, rehabilitation, and other services that should enable a wounded servicemember to readjust to civilian life.

    VFA has found that medical care for mental health and TBI is often inadequate or poorly delivered, and when a servicemember is discharged, decisions are often made by the military that negatively affect veterans for the rest of their lives.

    VFA has also found that little consideration is given to TBI or PTSD in the military justice system despite the fact that these wounds are known to cause improper behavior.

    Lack of capabilities to treat these injuries, inadequate adherence to the Congressional inquiry process, and the inability or unwillingness to treat PTSD and TBI as wounds of equal legitimacy as physical injuries are some problems that require improved military leadership.

    This report incorporates VFA investigative findings with open-source DoD and other reports and articles to provide a comprehensive picture of the state of care for America’s wounded warriors.

    According to retired Brigadier General Dr. Stephen N. Xenakis, former Commanding General of the Southeast Regional Army Medical Command: “VFA’s report contains all the right information. It demonstrates the enormous needs of and responsibilities to our wounded servicemembers and their families. That need far exceeds our current capability. VFA provides much-needed, first-hand information on the scope of the problems and steps needed to address them.”

    Our wounded servicemembers deserve a stronger voice, and VFA provides that.

    Click on above link to connect to: Trends in Treatment of America’s Wounded Warriors

  24. olotliny Says:

    I attached the Newsday article that reported on 25 year old US Army Cpl. Christopher Levi return to his Holbrook, NY home after sustaining severe, permanent, life changing injuries in Iraq. The Holbrook Fire Department, family/friends have an address for people to send cards, assistance/or offer services to help adapt US Army Cpl. Christopher Levi’s parent’s home to facilitate his comfort, range of movement, increasing independence….

    Here is the address: Donate: Christopher Levi, c/o Holbrook Fire Department, 390 Terry Blvd., Holbrook, NY 11741

    Here is the link/article: Pennysaver had an article too and the Gathering of Eagles have rallied around–BZ!:) Remember Christopher in your prayers today and tomorrow and for all the years ahead…

    (BZ to my mom-who always leads with her heart 🙂

    Fundraiser will aid Holbrook soldier injured in Iraq



    July 18, 2008

    U.S. Army Cpl. Christopher Levi leaned forward from his wheelchair, gripped the handles of a geriatric walker and, with all his upper body strength, hoisted himself to his feet.

    In a rehab center at the Military Advanced Treatment Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Levi, 25, balanced himself unsteadily on two titanium legs. Then, slowly, he took a few tentative steps toward regaining his ability to walk.

    His slow pace — it took him 10 minutes to walk a halting 220 feet — is part of a much larger journey Levi will take over the coming months that he hopes will help him reclaim his life.

    The journey to Walter Reed began just before 1 p.m. on March 17, in the Sadr City section of Baghdad.

    Levi’s unit, a U.S. Army intelligence group, had picked up an Iraqi suspect for questioning several days earlier. That afternoon, Levi was with a group of soldiers who were to return the man to his home. Levi, whose family back in Holbrook worried endlessly about his safety, was in the middle vehicle — an armored Humvee — in a five-vehicle convoy.

    At the wheel was his friend and squad leader, Sgt. Norman Forbes IV, of Grapevine, Texas.

    They set off shortly after noon, riding through city streets that were frequent sites for attack.

    “We had to pass through a choke point,” Forbes recalled. “The first two trucks went though, and I hit the gas. Anytime you approach a choke point, you kind of say ‘don’t blow up, don’t blow up.’ But this time, it blew up.”

    Since arriving at Walter Reed last March, Levi has set his mind to one task: getting back on his feet. He is among an estimated 802 soldiers who, as of early July, have lost limbs in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While he undergoes months of rehab, his family in Holbrook will soon begin remodeling their home so that Levi can live comfortably in it. Tomorrow, the family will hold a fundraiser in Franklin Square, their first step in raising enough money to begin the work.

    Even as his family meets with contractors, Levi has worked hard to get used to his two new legs. On the recent afternoon when he walked 220 feet down a hallway, he moved with slow, deliberate, heel-to-toe strides — occasionally reminding himself to watch his posture so that his hips and abdominals would do the work, not his arms.

    Though Levi has the strong physique of an Army Ranger, he was soon so exhausted he needed a towel to wipe off the sweat.

    “It’s hard to get used to it at first, but once you get the rhythm down and focus on the muscle groups you need, it becomes easier,” he said, as more than a dozen other amputees grunted, panted, stretched or strode during rehab exercises of their own.

    That afternoon in Sadr City, a bomb known as a shaped charge device hidden in the street sent a jet of molten metal hurtling through the armor of the soldiers’ Humvee. The force shattered Forbes’ left arm and his left hand, and broke his left femur, destroying the muscle of his thigh. Forbes is today a patient at a medical center in Texas.

    Levi was riding to the right of Forbes. The blast cut through both of his legs at mid-thigh, hurling his limbs to the other side of the Humvee. The blast tore away part of his right palm, taking most of the fifth metacarpal bone with it.

    “Forbes,” Levi shouted, “I don’t have any legs!”

    At that moment, luck and modern military field medicine adapted to the insurgent war in Iraq came to Levi’s aid. The machine gunner, Aaron Copeland, whose 50-caliber weapon had been bent in two by the blast, pressed his knee into Levi’s crotch, squeezing shut two major arteries that feed blood to Levi’s legs and preventing him from quickly bleeding to death. Copeland almost certainly saved Levi’s life.

    With minutes, Levi was evacuated to a military base that, fortunately, was close by. Within hours of the blast, and now stabilized, Levi was placed aboard a plane bound for emergency surgery at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. From there, Levi was shipped to Walter Reed.

    There are more than 31,000 wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funerals and memorials nationwide have focused attention on the 4,651 Americans who, as of yesterday, have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In contrast, the wounded have largely returned home in relative obscurity, often to face months of hospitalization, years of rehab and lifelong disability because of severed limbs, brain injuries, severe burns, blindness or other battle-related wounds.

    For the next year or more, Levi is expected to remain at Walter Reed. He will learn how to balance on artificial limbs and learn to cope with the aftermath of an attack that so changed his life. Many wounded soldiers fight phantom pain in lost limbs as well as depression over their altered bodies. Often they battle sadness that they will not be allowed to return to active duty with their military buddies.

    Levi is a confident and upbeat young man who moves about the Walter Reed campus in a motorized wheelchair. With gusto he throws himself into his daily physical therapy. After walking one and a half times around a 220-foot loop, Levi removed his artificial legs, climbed to the edge of a bed-like therapy platform and began doing legless sit-ups. The exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles, which must do much of the work his thigh muscles once did.

    He recently developed an aggressive infection in his injured hand, which threatened the health of a bone graft there. Because of the injury, he is not expected to travel to Long Island for tomorrow’s fundraiser.

    In addition, a blister developed where his right leg meets the plastic prosthetic socket. That threatened to throw off his balance, which could lead to falls.

    “He works very hard,” said his physical therapist at Walter Reed, Bunnie Brower Wyckoff, a 1968 graduate of Hicksville High School. “He’s had a lot of setbacks, but he rallies every time.”

    Levy’s parents, Eric and Debbie, are planning to expand and renovate the bottom floor of their Holbrook split level to accommodate their son. Hallways will be widened, light switches will be lowered and power outlets raised to make them accessible to a wheelchair user. A bathroom will be fitted with a shower bench, and the sink will need to be low enough to be used from a sitting position. The house will have a separate entrance that will allow Levi to access his new apartment without having to walk from the driveway in icy weather.

    The family hopes the fundraiser will help defray the expected $100,000 cost of the renovation, which is set to begin in a few weeks. The fundraiser will be held Saturday at 5 p.m., at the Plattduetsche Park Restaurant on Hempstead Avenue in Franklin Square.

    Members of the Holbrook Fire Department and the Suffolk County Court Officers Association have offered to donate labor and materials. A Bay Shore architect drew the plans on his own time. A roofer has promised to donate labor and materials.

    “There are a lot of people behind me,” Levi said, as he confidently went back to his exercise routine.

    Both parents said their son is excited about the fundraiser. “We feel thankful to God and our country that he is with us,” said Eric Levi. “We see the light at the end of the tunnel. He is going to do good things in his lifetime.”

    Donate: Christopher Levi, c/o Holbrook Fire Department, 390 Terry Blvd., Holbrook, NY 11741

    Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc. http://www.newsday.com/news/local/suffolk/ny-ensold0718,0,5717812.story?page=1

  25. olotliny Says:

    I read an article today from the Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124727385749826169.html on a program from “Puppies behind Bars” that trains service dogs for different jobs-one of which is for daily assistance for Veterans who have post traumatic stress. Very impressive and needed. Champion dogs for heroes. The dog is trained and has to pass testing and certification. The dog mentioned in the story – Tuesday learned 82+ commands to assist with daily living and responds to the anxiety cues/clues of their person–helping them to normalize their breathing, creating a barrier between their person and the agitating sensory stimuli… Check out the article and site. What a great program. The WSJ has a video embedded in the story–just watch the interaction-it’s real.


    “To apply for a service dog, please contact Puppies Behind Bars at 212.680.9562 and we will refer you to the appropriate service dog school with whom we have a partnership.”

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