Thursday, June 12, 2014

I have not been keeping this up, but I do want it to stay up for readers. Thank you for caring!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ed Freeman (finally) awarded Metal of Honor

Ed Freeman Reprinted from craigslist.

"You're a 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley , 11-14-1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam.

Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is half-way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day. Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.

He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.

Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses.

And, he kept coming back.... 13 more times.....

And took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman, died last Wednesday (August 2008) at the age of 80, in Boise , ID ......May God rest his soul.....

Medal of Honor Winner Ed Freeman!"

For more information see

In my opinion, once again, we are not honoring our soldiers properly. It's not just the wounded who are poorly treated. I thought this was appropriate here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Some help for kids

News I like to hear:

Foundation helping families of fallen soldiers

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

729 days

The 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard returned recently from extended duty in Iraq, which was reportedly the longest consecutive deployment of any outfit (22 months, counting extensions). However, the Guardsmen still do not qualify for government education benefits. The law allows the benefits only for those on "active duty" at least 730 days, but the Minnesota Guard's orders (as well as some other outfits' orders), were specifically written for "729 days." [KARE-TV (Minneapolis), 10-18-07]

The Army did not respond questions Tuesday afternoon. surprise.
VA Watchdog

CNN: 'Day short' troops now 'fighting the Army they served'

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ground broken on center for wounded soldiers' families

Ground broken on center for wounded soldiers' families

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some links for Government Help?

Vets CommissionDefense Health Board
Task Force on the Future of Military Health Care
Mental Health Task Force
Department of Veterans Affairs

Better Veterans Care?

Commission Calls for Better Veterans Care, Help for Troops' Family Caregivers
By HOPE YENAssociated Press Writer
(AP) 07:32:15 PM (ET), Wednesday, July 25, 2007 (WASHINGTON)

A presidential commission on Wednesday urged broad changes to veterans' care that would boost benefits for family members helping the wounded, establish an easy-to-use Web site for medical records and overhaul the way disability pay is awarded.

The nine-member panel, led by former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and Donna Shalala, health and human services secretary during the Clinton administration, also recommended stronger partnerships between the Pentagon and the private sector to boost treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A 29-page report was presented to President Bush in the Oval Office, just after the Senate addressed some of the issues Wednesday morning by passing sweeping legislation to expand brain screenings, reduce red tape and boost military pay.

"Gone are the countless calls for appointments," said Shalala, who said the proposals would provide more customized, personalized care to injured Iraq war veterans. "Gone are the days of telling the same thing to doctors over and over again."

Bush said he has instructed Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to take all the recommendations seriously and implement the ones they have the power to enact. He called on Congress to make the recommended changes under its authority.
That way, Bush said, "we can say with certainty that any soldier who has been hurt will get the best possible care and treatment that this government can offer."

About six of the 35 proposals require legislation, while the rest call for action primarily by the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs. The expected price tag for the whole package was about $500 million each year, with added costs that could push it to $1 billion in later years.
Among the recommendations was an indirect rebuke of the VA _ a call for Congress to "enable all veterans who have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq who need post-traumatic stress disorder care to receive it from the VA."

Only recently, the VA has taken steps to add mental health counselors and 24-hour suicide prevention services at all facilities, after high-profile incidents of veterans committing suicide. In the past, the VA had failed to use all the money for mental health that was allotted to it.

"Making the significant improvements we recommend requires a sense of urgency and strong leadership," the report read. "The experiences of these young men and women have highlighted the need for fundamental changes in care management and the disability system."

The report does not seek to directly criticize or lay blame for shoddy outpatient treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that brought a public outcry for change and creation of the commission. It cited a need to move forward, saying there was no need to "reiterate" the findings of news reports that uncovered substandard care by the Defense Department and VA.

Among the proposals:
_Boost staff and money for Walter Reed until it closes in the coming years. Also urges Pentagon to work with the VA to create "integrated care teams" of doctors and nurses to see injured troops through their recovery.
_Restructure the disability pay systems to give the VA more responsibility for awarding benefits.
_Require comprehensive training programs in post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries for military leaders, VA and Pentagon personnel.
_Create a "My eBenefits" Web site, developed jointly by the VA and Pentagon, that would let service members and doctors access private medical information as the injured move from facility to facility to receive treatment.
_Provide better family support, because one-third of injured Iraq war veterans reported that a family member or close friend had to relocate to care for them. It calls for training and counseling for families of service members who require long-term care and improved family leave and insurance benefits for family members.

"We owe our wounded soldiers the very best care, and the very best benefits, and the very easiest to understand system," Bush said. "And so they took a very interesting approach. They took the perspective from the patient, as the patient had to work his way through the hospitals and bureaucracies. And they've come up with some very interesting and important suggestions."
Bush created the panel March 6 to investigate problems in the treatment of wounded veterans following the disclosures at Walter Reed.

The White House event followed the Senate's vote by unanimous consent on legislation that seeks to end inconsistencies in disability pay by providing for a special review of cases in which service members received low ratings of their level of disability. The aim is to determine if they were shortchanged.

The bill also would boost severance pay and provide $50 million for improved diagnosis of veterans with traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. The House was considering similar measures.

"It has been hurry up and wait for the results of this commission report and now the White House is telling our vets to wait even longer," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. "That's why the Senate has moved ahead with our Wounded Warriors Act. The public is waiting, our veterans are waiting."

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, agreed.
"It is important for the American public to understand that the Walter Reed fiasco is not over," he said. "Everything is not fixed. The follow-through will be the most important part."

Bush commented on the report after a dramatic lap around the South Lawn jogging track with two soldiers: Sgt. Neil Duncan, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan in 2005, and Spc. Max Ramsey, who lost his left leg in Iraq in 2006. They were aided by prosthetics. Bush met both men at Walter Reed last year. The White House said the timing of their visit _ on the same day as the report _ was a coincidence.

Dole said he planned to make sure the Bush administration implements the panel's recommendations. "We did this because it was important," he said. "We're expecting somebody to follow-up on it. I'm going to be watching closely to make sure it happens."
Associated Press writers Anne Flaherty, Ben Feller and Jennifer C. Kerr contributed to this report.

On the Net:
The report:

President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors:

email the commission:

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Updated News

Injured Iraq War Veterans Sue Federal Government Over Delays in Disability Pay, Health Care
By HOPE YENAssociated Press Writer
(AP) 11:18:05 PM (ET), Monday, July 23, 2007 (WASHINGTON)
Frustrated by delays in health care, injured Iraq war veterans accused VA Secretary Jim Nicholson in a lawsuit of breaking the law by denying them disability pay and mental health treatment.
The lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco, seeks broad changes in the agency as it struggles to meet growing demands from veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Suing on behalf of hundreds of thousands of veterans, it charges that the VA has failed warriors on numerous fronts. It contends the VA failed to provide prompt disability benefits, failed to add staff to reduce wait times for medical care and failed to boost services for post-traumatic stress disorder.
The lawsuit also accuses the VA of deliberately cheating some veterans by allegedly working with the Pentagon to misclassify PTSD claims as pre-existing personality disorders to avoid paying benefits. The VA and Pentagon have generally denied such charges.
"When one of our combat veterans walks into a VA hospital, then they must see a doctor that day," said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, which filed the lawsuit. "When a war veteran needs disability benefits because he or she can't work, then they must get a disability check in a few weeks."
"The VA has betrayed our veterans," Sullivan said.
VA spokesman Matt Smith said Monday he could not comment on a pending lawsuit.
"Through outreach efforts, the VA ensures returning Global War on Terror service members have access to the widely recognized quality health care they have earned, including services such as prosthetics or mental health care," Smith said. "VA has also given priority handling to their monetary disability benefit claims."
The lawsuit comes amid intense political and public scrutiny of the VA and Pentagon following reports of shoddy outpatient care of injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and elsewhere.
The complaint seeks to represent between 320,000 and 800,000 veterans of the Iraq war who lawyers say are at risk of having PTSD. Ultimately, a federal judge will have to decide whether the lawsuit is properly deemed a class action that adequately represents them.
As of March 31, roughly 52,375 Iraq veterans were evaluated at VA facilities for suspected PTSD, according to an internal quarterly VA report released Monday to The Associated Press.
"Unless systemic and drastic measures are instituted immediately, the costs to these veterans, their families and our nation will be incalculable, including broken families, a new generation of unemployed and homeless veterans, increases in drug abuse and alcoholism, and crushing burdens on the health care delivery system," the complaint says.
It asks that a federal court order the VA to make immediate improvements.
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court in San Francisco issued a strong rebuke of the VA in ordering 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.
Nicholson abruptly announced last week he would step down by Oct. 1 to return to the private sector. He has repeatedly defended the agency during his 2 1/2-year tenure while acknowledging there was room for improvement.
More recently, following high-profile suicide incidents in which families of veterans say the VA did not provide adequate care, Nicholson pledged to add mental health services and hire more suicide-prevention coordinators.
Some veterans say that's not enough. In the lawsuit, they note that government investigators warned as early as 2002 that the VA needed to fix its backlogged claims system and make other changes.
Yet, the lawsuit says, Nicholson and other officials still insisted on a budget in 2005 that fell $1 billion short, and they made "a mockery of the rule of law" by awarding senior officials $3.8 million in bonuses despite their role in the budget foul-up.
Today, the VA's backlog of disability payments is between 400,000 and 600,000, with delays of up to 177 days to process an initial claim and an average of 657 days to process an appeal. Several congressional committees and a presidential commission are now studying ways to improve care.
"While steps can and will be taken in the political arena, responsibility for action lies with the agency itself," Melissa W. Kasnitz, managing attorney for Disability Rights Advocates, said in a telephone interview. Her group is teaming up with a major law firm, Morrison & Foerster, to represent the veterans.
"We don't believe the problems will be fixed by the VA if we wait for them," she said.
Gordon P. Erspamer, a partner at Morrison & Foerster, stressed that the lawsuit does not seek to make a partisan statement about the Iraq war but instead finally force action after years of delay.
"This is the worst it's ever been for veterans, and it's only going to get worse," he said.
The lawsuit cites violations of the Constitution and federal law, which mandates at least two years of health care to injured veterans.
The veterans groups involved in the lawsuit are Veterans for Common Sense in Washington, D.C., which claims 11,500 members, and Veterans United for Truth, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., with 500 members.
On the Net:
Copy of the complaint:
Department of Veterans Affairs: