Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván, an Army veteran and advocate for veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI), died Friday night. After serving in Iraq and suffering a TBI, Montalvan was paired with a service dog, Tuesday. He and Tuesday crossed the country over the past few years, advocating for the use of service dogs for injured vets. Capt. Montalván was 43. [more inside]
"In the early hours of Jan. 26, 2005, one of two large Marine helicopters transporting troops for this expanded and therefore riskier mission crashed, killing all onboard: 30 Marines and a Navy corpsman....I promised myself that night that I would visit all 31 grave sites. I needed to get a sense of where these military service members came from: the schools and churches they attended; the streets where they learned to drive; the neighborhoods where many of their families still lived."
"Where are we going, judge?" Serna asked. "We're going to turn ourselves in," Olivera said. "He said he was going to stay with me," Serna said. "I couldn't process a judge being my cellmate. "They take me to the cell, and I'm sitting on my bunk. And, then, in walks the judge.
A lot more people stand to benefit if the transplant is successful: Though Johns Hopkins is only planning to offer the operation to combat veterans for now, a lot more people stand to benefit. Foremost among them are cancer survivors and transgender individuals looking to gain a functional penis.
"...parrots, among the oldest victims of human acquisitiveness and vainglory, have become some of the most empathic readers of our troubled minds. Their deep need to connect is drawing the most severely wounded and isolated PTSD sufferers out of themselves. In an extraordinary example of symbiosis, two entirely different outcasts of human aggression — war and entrapment — are somehow helping each other to find their way again." What Does A Parrot Know About PTSD? [NYT] [more inside]
NPR: Despite a 2009 law designed to prevent this from happening, "since January 2009, the Army has 'separated' 22,000 soldiers for 'misconduct' after they came back from Iraq and Afghanistan and were diagnosed with mental health problems or traumatic brain injury. As a result, many of the dismissed soldiers have not received crucial retirement and health care benefits that soldiers receive with an honorable discharge."
"The bohemian aspect, in terms of style and decor, was clearly part of the beachcomber look—the guy in tattered clothes who built his shack from found objects and natural materials like bamboo and driftwood. It became this escapist thing for urbanites to go to these places and feel bohemian for a while. If you look at 1930s photos of restaurants like Trader Vic’s in Oakland or Don the Beachcomber in Los Angeles, these places were full of jetsam and flotsam that didn’t exist in the normal, mid-century home at the time." Tiki Hangover: Unearthing the False Idols of America's South Seas Fantasy (Hunter Oatman-Stanford, Collector's Weekly)
Photographer Shoots Powerful (and Sexy) Nude Portraits of Amputee Veterans. More Michael Stokes photography. NSFW.
New U.S. government research indicates that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women and at rates nearly equal to that of male veterans -- a finding that surprised researchers because women are generally are far less likely than men to commit suicide. The findings raise questions about the backgrounds and experiences of women who serve in the United States' armed forces. [more inside]
What happens when veterans trade in their combat boots for muck boots? Sara Creech, a surgery nurse during the Iraq War, is part of a growing movement to help vets transition back into civilian life—and find a measure of peace—by going back to the land (NYT, mentions suicide). [more inside]
The first federally approved monument honoring LGBT veterans in a national cemetery was unveiled and dedicated in a grove at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois on Memorial Day.
A Nice Afternoon With The Women Of New Orleans’ Trans Veterans Support Group (SL Buzzfeed longform)
The New York Times reports on "a five-week industry boot camp designed to bring young veterans into the television business" that is "run by one of the Iraq war’s fiercest critics, Jon Stewart, the longtime host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”" [more inside]
They haven’t forgotten. For 70 years, the Dutch have come to a verdant U.S. cemetery outside this small village to care for the graves of Americans killed in World War II. On Sunday, they came again, bearing Memorial Day bouquets for men and women they never knew, but whose 8,300 headstones the people of the Netherlands have adopted as their own.
"Moral injury is not unique to veterans. But as psychologists and advocates come to understand it better, they are discovering that the problem is widespread in that community, and can be deeply damaging to veterans who suffer from it." (SL Vox with YouTube)
Many American, Canadian, and British military veterans opposed to the actions of ISIS in Iraq have been, individually, going over to fight with the Kurdish Peshmerga for some time now, bringing thousands of dollars of military gear and irreplaceable training. There have been so many of them fighting that the Peshmerga are now actively recruiting military veterans online. Not to be internet-outdone, military veterans have begun investigating forming units of their own to fight ISIS -including notable and controversial science-fiction author John Ringo, who suggested trying to crowdfund for 'a brigade of soldiers'. [more inside]
Behind the Mask - Revealing the Trauma of War "Brain injuries caused by blast events change soldiers in ways many can’t articulate. Some use art therapy, creating painted masks to express how they feel."
The Veteran Art Project is a visual experiment by 27-year-old photographer Devin Mitchell "who is exploring a part of the veteran’s experience that is sometimes difficult to articulate." [more inside]
You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy [more inside]
War Ink launches on 11.11.14. They have released a video previewing what it is about. The Clark County Historical Museum had a similar exhibit with its own video.
World War II veteran Joe Bell — who gained internet fame when a video of runners shaking his hand went viral — was honored as grand marshal in the San Jose 4th of July Parade yesterday; he led the parade in a motorcycle sidecar driven by his son, Matt. [more inside]
In the Indianapolis suburbs, officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war. A look at the redistribution of surplus tools of combat to state and local law enforcement. (SL NYT)
Still Paying for the Civil War Each month, Irene Triplett collects $73.13 from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a pension payment for her father's military service—in the Civil War. Additionally, the article is rich in detail about what life was like for a young enlisted man during the Civil War and the years after.
Joe Bell is 95 years old, and a World War II veteran. He wears his uniform to the senior center on Veterans Day or to meet with other vets. This past weekend, he put on his uniform to cheer on runners in a race that benefits the foundation for fallen Army Ranger Pat Tillman. His neighbor, Julia Prodis Sulek, a reporter for the Mercury News, captured what happened next. [more inside]
Veterans Administration hospitals performed lobotomies on more than 2,000 mentally ill soldiers during and after World War II. Today, the Wall Street Journal published the first part of a story extensively documenting the lives of the men who underwent this procedure, and those who performed it.
"Why the suicide rate among veterans may be more than 22 a day. Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That's a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher." Additional data by state can be found here.
John Banvard, 95, Gerard Nadeau, 67, were married Thursday at a Chula Vista, CA Veterans' senior living facility. Mr. Banvard, a World War II vet, and Mr. Nadeau, a Vietnam vet, have been together for 20 years, and were married at the facility despite the opposition of some residents. In response to the opposition, Mr. Nadeau said, "Oh, that's their problem not mine, but you know what this will do, open the door for other people." [more inside]
How A War Hero Became A Serial Bank Robber. "Army medic Nicholas Walker returned home from Iraq after 250 combat missions, traumatized and broken. His friends and family couldn’t help him. Therapy couldn’t help him. Heroin couldn’t help him. Pulling bank heists helped him." [Via]
"A Gazette investigation shows an increasing number of soldiers, including wounded combat veterans, are being kicked out of the service for misconduct, often with no benefits, as the Army downsizes after a decade of war."
"Disposable: Surge in discharges includes wounded soldiers"
"Left Behind: No break for the wounded"
"Locked Away: Army struggles with wounded soldiers"
"Disposable: Surge in discharges includes wounded soldiers"
"Left Behind: No break for the wounded"
"Locked Away: Army struggles with wounded soldiers"
In the Crosshairs: Chris Kyle, a decorated sniper, tried to help a troubled veteran. The result was tragic. [Previously, Via]
Journalist Brody Levesque and military widow Karen Morgan on what Memorial Day means for LGBT Americans. [more inside]
A New Theory of PTSD and Veterans: Moral Injury
But as clergy and good clinicians have listened to more stories like these, they have heard a new narrative, one that signals changes to the brain along with what in less spiritually challenged times might be called a shadow on the soul. It is the tale of disintegrating vets, but also of seemingly squared-away former soldiers and spit-shined generals shuttling between two worlds: ours, where thou shalt not kill is chiseled into everyday life, and another, where thou better kill, be killed, or suffer the shame of not trying. There is no more hellish commute.[more inside]
The Things They Leave Behind. "When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss — all 400,000 of them." (Via.) [more inside]
The first thing we learned about war re-enactment is that it's fucking terrifying having guns fired at you, even ones loaded with blanks. The second thing we learned is a common re-enactor's dilemma called "The G.I. Effect", which is basically that people playing Americans don't like to die. So sometimes they just don't.It's Like Vietnam All Over Again, pt 1. Part 2
The permanent collection of the (US) National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago contains more than 2,500 pieces of art by 250 artists, all of which can be seen at NVAM Collection Online. The site includes biographical material on the artists who created the work. Featured Artwork. A small selection. (Via. Images at links in this post may be nsfw, and/or disturbing to some viewers.)
824,273 disabled veterans are currently awaiting a response on claims from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. On average, it takes the government 257 days to respond, and there has been a 7.2% growth in claims over the last 1.3 years -- so the delays are growing. While they wait, veterans often cannot access health care from the agency or receive disability compensation. Plus, the backlog on claim appeals is at least 3.5 years. So how can veterans avoid the backlog? A special investigation by the Bay Area Citizen shows that processing speed is a matter of geographic location: veterans in sparsely populated areas have their claims filled faster than those living in urban centers. Interactive Map: Where is Worst Backlog? Related video and transcript.
"Hell Broke Luce" -- a surreal anti-war video from Tom Waits for his powerful song based on the harrowing story of Lance Corporal Jeff Lucey, a 23-year old Iraq war Marine veteran who committed suicide in 2004. From Waits' 22d album Bad As Me (2011, AntiRecords) [more inside]
The Checkpoint. An essay which looks inside the conflicted mind of an Israeli soldier, stationed at a West Bank checkpoint. By Oded Na'aman, currently a student in the Philosophy PhD program at Harvard University, who served in the Israeli Defense Forces from November 2000 to October 2003. Mr. Na'aman is also a member of Breaking the Silence, a website that gathers and publishes anonymous testimonials from IDF soldiers -- combat veterans -- about their experiences and the realities of life in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
Today, President Obama signed an executive order which places stricter disclosure requirements on recruiters for for-profit schools looking to recruit veterans and soldiers. The move comes amid growing concern among state and federal legislators that for-profit educational institutions are doing more harm than good and are employing predatory recruiting practices especially on veterans who are exiting the military and looking to improve their education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. [more inside]
Hiram Cronk was born in 1800, at 14 he enlisted to fight the British, and in 1905, he passed away as the last veteran of the war of 1812. This amazing video shows the funeral procession, featuring veterans from the Civil War and the Spanish-American war as they marched through Brooklyn. [more inside]
"First Kill is a war documentary that explores the dark side of man and the psychology of soldiers at war. Vietnam veterans are interviewed about their experiences and what war does to the human mind and soul." [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8]
Florence Green, the last know WWI veteran, passed away today. She was two weeks away from her 111th birthday. [more inside]
"My name is Stephen T Millhouse and I am walking 1,460 miles " Former Marine, Stephen T Millhouse, is walking from Montana to Los Angeles to raise awareness about homelessness and money to help them. You can see his route here and follow along on his blog if you like. In the 90's he was living in Los Angeles and was trying his hand at becoming an actor but by 2001 he was homeless and living in his car. [more inside]
Army vet with PTSD sought the treatment he needed by taking hostages – but got jail instead. "Fifteen months of carnage in Iraq had left the 29-year-old debilitated by post-traumatic stress disorder. But despite his doctor’s urgent recommendation, the Army failed to send him to a Warrior Transition Unit for help. The best the Department of Veterans Affairs could offer was 10-minute therapy sessions — via videoconference. So, early on Labor Day morning last year, after topping off a night of drinking with a handful of sleeping pills, Quinones barged into Fort Stewart’s hospital, forced his way to the third-floor psychiatric ward and held three soldiers hostage, demanding better mental health treatment." [Via] [more inside]
67 years ago today, 150, 000 allied troops landed on 5 beaches on the coast of France that were defended by Rommel and about 60,000 troops of the Nazi Wermacht. Today is the D-Day landings anniversary. Lest we forget.
I didn’t really appreciate the concept of becoming ‘unstuck’ in time until I returned from war. Matt Gallagher gives words to the discomfort of life after 15 months in Iraq.
This documentary is the story of two Mennonite brothers from Manitoba who were forced to make a decision in 1939, as Canada joined World War II. In the face of 400 years of pacifist tradition, should they now go to war? Ted became a conscientious objector while his brother went into military service. Fifty years later, the town of Winkler dedicates its first war memorial and John begins to share his war experiences with Ted. [more inside]