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I never got recognition in my life

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]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 5, 2014 - 16 comments

 

Forgotten soldiers

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.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Dec 11, 2013 - 23 comments

Veteran Suicides

"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.
posted by HuronBob on Sep 21, 2013 - 37 comments

"Well, now they know."

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]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 14, 2013 - 32 comments

How A War Hero Became A Serial Bank Robber

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]
posted by homunculus on Jun 10, 2013 - 32 comments

Other than Honorable

"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"
posted by andoatnp on Jun 2, 2013 - 26 comments

Chris Kyle's Tragic Quest to Help Troubled Veterans

In the Crosshairs: Chris Kyle, a decorated sniper, tried to help a troubled veteran. The result was tragic. [Previously, Via]
posted by homunculus on May 27, 2013 - 68 comments

He’s my, well was my best bud.

Journalist Brody Levesque and military widow Karen Morgan on what Memorial Day means for LGBT Americans. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 27, 2013 - 4 comments

Moral Injury

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]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 17, 2013 - 19 comments

"As the hymn says, you can lay your burden down."

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]
posted by zarq on Mar 15, 2013 - 26 comments

"We Just Witnessed a War Crime"

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
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jan 4, 2013 - 61 comments

Go to War. Do Art. (II)

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.)
posted by zarq on Nov 12, 2012 - 1 comment

“I used to take them at their word. I can’t do that anymore.”

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.
posted by zarq on Aug 30, 2012 - 33 comments

Now I’m home and I’m blind and I’m broke/What is next?

"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]
posted by spitbull on Aug 14, 2012 - 25 comments

"He is no longer his own person."

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.
posted by zarq on Jul 24, 2012 - 6 comments

President Obama cracks down on for-profit recruiting of veterans.

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]
posted by Scientist on Apr 27, 2012 - 52 comments

The funeral of Hiram Cronk, the last veteran from the war of 1812

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]
posted by quin on Mar 6, 2012 - 25 comments

Not Your Typical Vietnam War Documentary

"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]
posted by gman on Feb 16, 2012 - 9 comments

Farewell, Florence.

Florence Green, the last know WWI veteran, passed away today. She was two weeks away from her 111th birthday. [more inside]
posted by piratebowling on Feb 7, 2012 - 45 comments

And Miles To Go Before I Sleep

"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]
posted by Poet_Lariat on Oct 11, 2011 - 14 comments

Veterans and PTSD

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]
posted by homunculus on Aug 21, 2011 - 38 comments

Fading to yellow in a brown leather frame.

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.
posted by dazed_one on Jun 6, 2011 - 62 comments

Green Army Men with PTSD

Green Army Men with PTSD
posted by Tom-B on May 5, 2011 - 56 comments

“Aux enfants, je leur dis et je leur répète: ne faites pas la guerre."

The Last Two Veterans of WWI [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 3, 2011 - 38 comments

Pilgrim’s Progress

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.
posted by shii on Jan 23, 2011 - 13 comments

The pacifists who went to war; violence and pacifism in a world of war

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]
posted by infinite intimation on Dec 7, 2010 - 19 comments

Paws for Purple Hearts

... it's terribly important for veterans to feel they are continuing a mission that held them together through the violence and stress of war. "PTSD carries a stigma, that you're broken and wounded," said Yount, "And many guys have guilt for not still being in the fight. The idea of Paws for Purple Hearts is you can be part of the war effort while you're getting treatment."
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 13, 2010 - 17 comments

Garfield hates the troops

A comic strip has caused a political uproar by making a bold, controversial statement on Veteran's Day, considered by some to be an insult to our nation's fighting men and women. The strip that has spit on the work of our country's bravest veterans is, as you would expect, that anti-American bastion of subversive vitriolic societal commentary, Garfield.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Nov 11, 2010 - 146 comments

How Can We Use Your Carefully Honed Skills?

'The unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars reached 14.7 percent in March, according to the latest government statistics.' It is particularly bad for the youngest veterans - with a jobless rate at 21.1% for ages 18 to 24, 'well above the national jobless rate of 16.6 percent for nonveterans in the same age group, 18 to 24.' 'Young veterans tell of futile job hunt' - and the situation keeps getting worse. It was 11.2% a year ago, but regardless of the accuracy of the statistics, 'veterans groups say the figures are unacceptable. "It's unforgivable that new veterans are bearing the brunt of the economic downturn," said Tom Tarantino, legislative associate for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "This is no way to welcome a new generation of heroes home."' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Apr 6, 2010 - 119 comments

Enlightenment by trauma - soldiers speak up

Our real enemies are not those living in a distant land whose names or policies we don't understand; The real enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it's profitable, the Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it's profitable, the Banks who take away our homes when it's profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us. — Mike Prysner (YT) [more inside]
posted by knz on Jan 9, 2010 - 52 comments

Military people in cute situations.

Soldiers return home after months abroad and are greeted by their very excited dogs. (A compilation of puppy-focused welcome-home videos for Veterans' Day.)
posted by nobody on Nov 11, 2009 - 62 comments

WWII Veteran Speaks on Equality

The woman at my polling place asked me, do I believe in equality for gay and lesbian people? I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, "What do you think I fought for on Omaha Beach?"
posted by pashdown on Oct 21, 2009 - 90 comments

War Makes Monsters of Us All

The Warrior Writers Project brings together recent veterans and current service members to be in creative community and utilize art-making processes to express themselves. There is a deep necessity for veterans to create when so much has been shattered and stolen. A profound sense of hope comes from the ability to rebuild and transform.
posted by netbros on Aug 29, 2009 - 3 comments

From Hobby To Passion

The magic of beadcraft and jewelry-making, brought to you in four parts by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The results can be purchased from her website, with all the proceeds going to Operation Family Fund, a charity which has raised over $1,700,000 for families of soldiers wounded or killed in the Global War On Terrorism. The series is notable for its complete lack of moralizing or comments on a relevant family controversy-- seriously, this is really just about beads, people!
posted by hermitosis on Feb 23, 2009 - 44 comments

Finally, an end to the last battle of the Gulf War?

A report presented today to the US Secretary of Veteran's Affairs concludes that Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) is "a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans." While depleted uranium had long been suspected as a cause of the physical and neurological symptoms associated with GWS, the report fingers pesticides and the pyridostigmine bromide pills given to troops to counter the effects of nerve agents. [more inside]
posted by googly on Nov 17, 2008 - 10 comments

RIP Travis N. Twiggs, USMC PTSD Sufferer

PTSD: The War Within. A Marine writes about his PTSD experience. This article from the January issue of the Marine Corps Gazette was written by USMC Staff Sergeant Travis N. Twiggs. Twiggs killed himself and his brother after a long police chase in Arizona earlier this week.
posted by homunculus on May 17, 2008 - 66 comments

"I find myself looking for catharsis."

The Boneyard. I’ve come to bear witness to American folly, to rest my eyes on the flying machines that flattened the forests of Southeast Asia, poisoned its people, and changed my life. A personal essay about the long-reaching effects of Agent Orange. [more inside]
posted by amyms on Apr 5, 2008 - 14 comments

Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 1, 2008 - 26 comments

Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan. "Like Vietnam vets did decades ago, a group of soldiers are poised to speak out about atrocities they say the U.S. committed in Iraq and Afghanistan."
posted by homunculus on Mar 13, 2008 - 45 comments

Move, Shoot, and Communicate

Warrior Writers express themselves using Combat Paper made from their old military uniforms. FAQ. Videos. An associated RI art show has its opening reception tonight. Sunday night there’s a program as well at The Beat Museum in San Francisco.
posted by LeLiLo on Mar 6, 2008 - 5 comments

Last Call

With the death of Louis de Cazenave, Lazare Ponticelli is the last surviving French veteran of World War One, and the country has been wondering how to mark the inevitable. By contrast, Germany's response to the recent death of Erich Kaestner has been a more muted affair, indeed, all but unnoted. [more inside]
posted by IndigoJones on Jan 26, 2008 - 10 comments

rolling on

Coming Home - in honor of Veteran's Day, it might be fitting to check in on the recovery of J.R. Salzman, known here on mefi as Logboy.
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 11, 2007 - 41 comments

"What dreams / Will be left / undreamed tonight?"

For 11/11, soldiers' poems of MACV (and interstitial matter):
I can feel traces of my heart / leaving wet rivers / down my manly cheeks.

Stunned now / angry / helpless / bits of torn paper beside / empty red mailbag.

So / You averted looking directly / at their eyes / (That last graveyard / for their fears)

It's getting hard to talk to you, / You don't seem to communicate; / You get upset too easily, / I only asked what it was really like.
(Previously, previously) [more inside]
posted by orthogonality on Nov 11, 2007 - 8 comments

"There's three times they tried flying me out, and all three times I died on a helicopter."

"Everyone I've talked to knows the exact date when they've been hit."
"Yeah. It's burned into your memory."
James Gandolfini interviews 10 wounded Iraq war veterans in Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq [review]. The documentary is viewable online. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Sep 13, 2007 - 27 comments

Iraq Vets Bear Witness

The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness. "Investigating the impact of the war on Iraqi civilians, Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian reveal disturbing patterns of behavior by US troops in Iraq--brutal acts that often go unreported and almost always go unpunished." [Via No Quarter.]
posted by homunculus on Jul 10, 2007 - 37 comments

Iraq Veterans Memorial

The Iraq Veterans Memorial is "an online war memorial that honors the members of the U.S. armed forces who have lost their lives serving in the Iraq War. The Memorial is a collection of video memories from family, friends, military colleagues, and co-workers of those that have fallen." A project of the Brave New Foundation. [Via Bushflash.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 17, 2007 - 12 comments

Veterans' Health Care

Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility. The Iraq war has transformed Walter Reed into "a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients." Meanwhile, despite predictions that the cost of medical care for veterans will skyrocket, the Bush administration apparently plans to cut funding for veterans' health care. Tired of waiting for the government, more people are taking the initiative in developing alternative facilities to help veterans.
posted by homunculus on Feb 18, 2007 - 88 comments

A film on homeless veterans

When I Came Home: Iraq War veteran Herold Noel suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and lives out of his car in Brooklyn. Using Noel's story as a fulcrum, this doc examines the wider issue of homeless U.S. military veterans-from Vietnam to Iraq-who have to fight tooth-and-nail to receive the benefits promised to them by their government.
posted by riley370 on May 21, 2006 - 45 comments

ptsd

Only 2,029 out of 9,145 veterans with post traumatic stress disorder resulting from combat have been referred to mental health for evaluation/treatment. I say give them the same treatment the IDF gets.
posted by augustweed on May 11, 2006 - 42 comments

When you go to the wall, / You can feel all the heat of that cool decade

"Next, have those who lost legs crawl forward and neatly/ stack them. Then bowl the skull of your best killed buddy/ down the aisle / Finally, have the blind push the quadruplegics forward / (they will have knives in their teeth to give to the legislators / to use on themselves). We leave."

Or: "Today you reached retirement/ with a disturbed and primal conscience / .... / Drunk and stoned, down in your worst / moment, you subpoenaed yourself / into believing the mission / was more important than the man."

Or: "Terrified, by the death grins. / Afraid, I'll be one of the dead. / Wondering, why did I ever think, / it wouldn't be as bad as they said?"

Soldiers' stories told in the veterans' poetry, from the archives of the Viet Nam Generation Journal.
posted by orthogonality on Mar 20, 2006 - 18 comments

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