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What are Veteran Treatment Courts and how do they help?

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What are Veteran Treatment Courts and how do they help?

I host a radio weekly internet radio show on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel called Life Altering Events (https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3902/life-altering-events). People often ask me what exactly is a life altering event? I tell them this – It can be something we choose or something that is thrust upon us that dramatically alters the trajectory of our life.

On September 10, 2019 we will have a discussion about the Veterans Treatment Court program. My guests will be the Honorable David Abbott, presiding justice over the Sacramento, CA Veterans Treatment Court and Cindy Baldwin, a consultant with the California State Senate on Veterans Affairs Committee.

The choice to enter the military is a major life altering events. Most men and women enter the service between the ages of 18 to 22. At this young age, they have not had many life experiences. For many it is their first time away from home.  The military gives them a sense of purpose, a mission and provides self-esteem as they serve an important role within an organization. Some will stay and make the military their career. Most will not.

Given that the United States have been involved in war(s) or police actions or peace keeping missions, (call it whatever you like), for most of the 21st century these young service men and women have been exposed to many horrendous situations. They have seen and/or done things that no one should ever see let alone 18 to 22 year olds.

When their time of service is over, they go from being part of something bigger than themselves, something that give them a purpose as a warrior back  to civilian life as an unemployed and often hard to employ individual with no real purpose. The vast majority of our service men and women come home very different than when they joined. Many are physically disabled. A large number come home with some type of addiction. Almost all have suffered a major trauma such as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Sebastian Junger writes in his book “Tribe,” Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. This is particularly true for returning veterans. Their homecoming is better than it was for Vietnam veterans. Most people are quick to say “Thank you for your service,” which makes most veterans feel good for a moment, but what they really need is a job, a purpose, and to become part of a new community.

So our heroes try to assimilate back into a society where, at least initially, the cards are stacked against them. Many need help and treatment for their physical, mental, emotional, psychological, chemical and neurological disabilities/disorders. This further delays their successful re-entry process. They are told they must change, that the civilian world does not necessarily value their skills. Mark Balzer writes in his book “The People Principles,” Most people don’t hate change; however, people do hate being changed. What people want is to feel valued for who they are and what they do. Too many of our returning veterans do not feel valued.

As their frustration, anger and often depression increases some veterans become increasingly dependent on substances such drugs or alcohol to help them cope. Some are arrested for non-violent crimes such as DUI’s, or possession of a weapon or drug. They are not criminals they just need help. Treatment not punitive action is by far the best course of action. Fortunately Judge Robert Russell from my home town of Buffalo NY launched the first of the nation’s roughly 260 Veterans Treatments Courts in 2008.

What is a Veterans Treatment Court (VTC)?        With slight modifications, it follows the essential tenets of the 1997 U.S. Department of Justice publication, “Defining Drug Courts” a VTC is as follows:

  • The VTC model requires regular court appearances, as well as mandatory attendance at treatment sessions, and frequent and random testing for drug and alcohol use.
  • Veterans respond favorably to this structured environment, given their past experiences in the Armed Forces. However, a few will struggle, and it is exactly those veterans who need a VTC program the most. Without this structure, these veterans will reoffend and remain in the criminal justice system.
  • The VTC is able to ensure they meet their obligations to themselves, the court, and their community.

In short, the VTC says to our veterans, since you served our nation with honor and during your service you suffered a disorder or disability, you now have the ability to seek the treatment that will help you address the underlying reasons for many of your challenges. The VTC is a challenging program and the vast majority of veterans that have enrolled in the VTC successfully complete the intensive program and are able to take the next step toward a productive life.

While very helpful, VTC alone is not the end of the journey. Once the veteran has a better handle on the underlying issues, they still need to develop the transformational skills to secure a job, or career and a fulfilling life.

A new organization that helps our VTC graduates and other veterans develop transformational skills is Awakening Wholeness Inc., https://awakeningwholeness.org/ a charitable organization. Awakening Wholeness, Inc. (AWI), mission is to positively impact the lives of the people we serve by providing transformational educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices. Our goal is to equip the people we serve with all the tools they need to become physically, mentally, and spiritually ready to live productive, fulfilling, and sustainable lives.

Why do we need Veterans Treatment Courts and organizations like Awakening Wholeness? Let me give you some facts:

Most veterans are strengthened by their military service, but the combat experience has unfortunately left a growing number of veterans with issue such as PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

  • One in five veterans has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment.
  • One in six veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffer from a substance use issue. Research continues to draw a link between substance use and combat-related mental illness.
  • Left untreated, mental health disorders common among veterans can directly lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.

Let me give you some frightening statistics:

Suicide – Between 20 and 22 veterans commit suicide daily.

Homeless

  • Over 630,000 homeless people in America. 67,495 are veterans.
  • Over 1 in 10 homeless people in America are veterans. Source Military Wallet April 10, 2019
  • Over 968,000 veterans lived in poverty in the last year.
  • 20,000 veterans with government sponsored mortgages lost their homes in 2010.
  • 76% of homeless veterans experience alcohol, drug, or mental health issues.
  • 2% of veterans ages 18-24 are unemployed.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions, but we shouldn’t. Here is some surprising information about homeless veterans:

  • 89% received an honorable discharge.
  • 67% served 3 years or more.
  • 47% are Vietnam veterans
  • 15% served before Vietnam
  • 5% are Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Incarcerations:

  • An estimated 181,500 veterans are incarcerated, including 131,500 in prison and 50,000 in jails
  • 8% percent of all federal and state inmates are veterans
  • 55 percent, of imprisoned veterans told department researchers they’d been told they had a mental health disorder

As Judge Russell stated when he formed the first Veterans Treatment Court, “Treatment not punitive action is by far the best course of action.” The VTC’s are good first step. Organizations like Awakening Wholeness provide that next critical step for successful re-entry.

Don’t miss this enlightening discussion on September 10 at 8:00 AM PST – https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3902/life-altering-events

 

The story of a Pearl Harbor Survivor

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The story of a Pearl Harbor Survivor

stevekilleen

Mr.Edward Killeen told of being in the USS Tennessee’s crow’s nest early that morning, December 7, 1941, when “PING PING PING, metal hitting metal, you know. I wondered, What is going on? When we realized we were being attacked by the Japanese, I was commanded to sound the bugle and wake-up two thousand men sleeping below.” “It was a miracle I survived,” Mr. Killeen had said. Miracle, indeed. This gentleman is still standing after surviving not only the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but also the Battle of the Coral Sea, as a bazooka man on Saipan Island and as one of the proud US Marines on Iwo Jima.

THE HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN 1ST EXTRA, on its Sunday December 7, 1941 front page read: WAR! OAHU BOMBED BY JAPANESE PLANES. Seventy years later, the platinum anniversary was about to begin. Five thousand veterans, relatives, dignitaries and citizens made their way to the harbor where it all began. Some survivors had not attended an anniversary service before. Both time and ability spurred these 80- to 90-year-old survivors to attend. From all across the United States the survivors made their way to the place it all started. Just as the sun began to light Pearl Harbor, Military Order of the Purple Heart National Commander Bill Hutton, Ladies National President Barb Cherone, National Safety Officer Harry Smart and National Historian James Klug arrived. Nearly 125 of the Greatest Generations survivors were there. Wearing white pants and aloha shirts, the survivors told their stories, had pictures taken and listened to expressions of appreciation. All remembered the wave after wave of 350 Japanese planes that streamed through the clouds. Eight battleships, six cruisers and 29 destroyers were targeted by the Japanese airplanes. The destruction to the Pacific fleet and military installations on Oahu was crippling.

Seventy years later, MOPH officers greeted every survivor they could, expressing gratitude and respect for their service and sacrifice on that fateful day. The mixture of sorrow and relief for having survived was on the face of each survivor. Yes, there were smiles, because they had survived this nation’s fiercest attack. Most of these survivors went on to fight for four years in the Pacific to bring defeat to the Japanese and victory to the United States of America. History’s account of the 7:55 a.m. attack on Pearl Harbor is still being written. Those that perished that morning probably never knew what hit them. But, this nation banded together like never before, so that their loss would not be in vain.

AHN

It has been said that we are only a generation away from forgetting our history. Disabled American Veterans struggle every day to overcome life-changing sacrifices. Their stories provides a vital part of history that has contributed to our American tradition.

American Heroes Network provides a way for individuals, corporations and small businesses to support our Heroes by helping our veterans and their families rebuild their lives. They help aim our veterans, looking for jobs, in the right direction, help provide homes for our troops, assisting individuals and their families who have been severely injured while serving in the U.S. military and providing scholarships for families of our Fallen Heroes.

This will be a weekly hour long show joined by our military heroes and people and organizations that make a difference. American Heroes Network airs live Tuesdays at 8 AM Pacific, powered by Voice America Variety.

Fahim Speaks on The American Heroes Network

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Fahim Speaks on The American Heroes Network

A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back. Tune in on The American Heroes Network for their newest episode “Fahim Speaks

MichaelMoffett

Michael Moffet

A native Granite Stater, Michael Moffett has taught history and management courses on the high school, community college, and university levels. Moffett also served on active duty with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment from 1983-85. He returned to active duty in 1990 as commanding officer for the Marine Reserve Detachment out of Topsham, Maine, later designated as A-Company of the 1st Battalion, 25th Marines. Captain Moffett led these Marines to the Persian Gulf where they were attached to the 1st Marine Division for Operation Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait. LtCol Moffett again returned to active duty after the 9/11 attacks, serving on General Tommy Franks’ Operations Staff at Central Command. LtCol Moffett later served as Director of the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program’s (MECEP) Prep School from 2003-2008. He joined Marine Corps University’s History Division in 2008, where he co-authored a monograph on the history of the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center with Major General Orlo Steele (USMC, retired). In January 2010, LtCol Moffett received one-year orders to serve as a field historian in Afghanistan. After retiring from the Marine Corps Reserve in 2011, Professor Moffett returned to Concord, N.H., where he teaches at the New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI-Concord).

FahimFazili

Fahim Fazli

Born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, Fahim Fazli came to the United States as a refugee in his teens. He enjoyed a privileged childhood until the Russians invaded Afghanistan. As a young adult he supported the resistance and when he and his remaining family saw the opportunity they fled to Pakistan and then eventually to the United States. Forced to support his family Fahim was not able to pursue his passion, acting until many years later. Having the good fortune to meet someone from a local production company who mentioned his resemblance to Andy Garcia and also asked if he was interested in going to a casting call, he got his big break. It had been years since he had given any serious thought to acting, but he got the job. Fahim currently lives in Orange CountyCalifornia and has continued working in television and movies. Fahim’s memoir, Fahim Speaks, was released in 2012. More recently, Fahim had a small speaking role in Ben Affleck’s movie “Argo,” which received five Golden Globe Award nominations, including one for “Best Picture.”

AHN

It has been said that we are only a generation away from forgetting our history. Disabled American Veterans struggle every day to overcome life-changing sacrifices. Their stories provides a vital part of history that has contributed to our American tradition.

American Heroes Network provides a way for individuals, corporations and small businesses to support our Heroes by helping our veterans and their families rebuild their lives. They help aim our veterans, looking for jobs, in the right direction, help provide homes for our troops, assisting individuals and their families who have been severely injured while serving in the U.S. military and providing scholarships for families of our Fallen Heroes.

This will be a weekly hour long show joined by our military heroes and people and organizations that make a difference. American Heroes Network airs live Tuesdays at 8 AM Pacific, powered by Voice America Variety.

American Heroes Network

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Variety
American Heroes Network

ArmyPlatoon

Tune in for The American Heroes Network new episode featuring two amazing guests Tom Voss and Peter Forbes on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel airs live every Tuesday at 8 AM Pacific Time.

Peter Forbes served with the Australian Army in the Republic of South Vietnam with the 3rd Battalion,  Royal Australian Regiment (Old Faithful) on their second tour during 1971 he was  a combat medic with Charlie Company, 7Platoon.

  • During the mid 80’s he was searching for a Veterans Organization that had as its main direction the welfare of Veterans and their families and to embrace the brotherhood of all Veterans. “People Who Care”
  • In 1989 he decided to become involved with the Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc., a dedicated Veterans brotherhood organization. Their Motto: “People Who Care”

Today his credentials speak for themselves. He is the National  Commander  and Australian Commander for the Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc. and The Veterans Coalition. President – Veterans Fund of the United States. 501C3 A Life Member of Clan Forbes Society

Tom Voss

  • President and Co-Founder of Veterans Trek, Inc. Tom served on active duty in the United States Army for three years, from 2003 to 2006. After initial infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia, Tom was ordered to Fort Lewis Washington to serve with the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, an element of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, one of the Army’s first Stryker Infantry Brigades.
  •  In May of 2013, Tom teamed up with Anthony Anderson to create Veterans Trek, Inc. Tom and Anthony developed, organized and executed a 2,700-mile trek from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Los Angeles, California. While trekking across the country Tom and Anthony fostered community awareness on veterans’ issues through formal media outlets, conducted peer-to-peer support for veterans’ and their families in all seven states, and raised over $100,000 for Dryhootch of America, Inc. Tom is devoted to helping veterans and their families overcome the struggles of returning from war. He currently volunteers his time by acting as a veteran consultant on the “Save the Solders Home” project by serving on the Community Advisory Council and local work group. He is also involved with educating medical students on the veteran experience at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and currently sits on the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center Consumer Council on mental health.

It has been said that we are only a generation away from forgetting our history. Disabled American Veterans struggle every day to overcome life-changing sacrifices. Their stories provides a vital part of history that has contributed to our American tradition. American Heroes Network provides a way for individuals, corporations and small businesses to support our Heroes by helping our veterans and their families rebuild their lives. They help aim our veterans, looking for jobs, in the right direction, help provide homes for our troops, assisting individuals and their families who have been severely injured while serving in the U.S. military and providing scholarships for families of our Fallen Heroes. This will be a weekly hour long show joined by our military heroes and people and organizations that make a difference.

An Ordinary Man Who Has Lived Through Extraordinary Circumstances

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An Ordinary Man Who Has Lived Through Extraordinary Circumstances

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Recipient of 3-Purple Hearts for combat wounds in Vietnam. There are only a few 3-time Purple Heart recipients living today in the entire USA.

Guest Bio: Patriot Frederick A. Taylor, Jr.

Military: Team leader of an infantry group in Vietnam and lead his team on several combat missions. Recipient of 3-Purple Hearts for combat wounds in Vietnam. There are only a few 3-time Purple Heart recipients living today in the entire USA. He served with the First Cavalry Division [Airmobile] and received the Air Medal for combat flight missions. Awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge for combat engagements. Retired from the U.S. Army due to extensive combat wounds. National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart organization 2000-01.

*Over 20 years as a public speaking and health care management consultant.
*Licensed health care administrator and hospital administrator.
*Convention speeches, company retreats, and training lectures specialist.
*Consulting and speaking on leadership and management performance topics since 1980.
*Interim executive for companies that need a short-term administrator, executive director, RVP, or executive.
*Specializing in reviving and redirecting organizations that have slipped away from generally accepted management principles.

Specialties: Retreat organizer and facilitator for companies and organizations; Speaker at banquets and/or company dinners; Facilitator at business training sessions. Managing companies or businesses on an interim basis as the organization seeks a full-time executive. Author of published leadership articles.

Tune in for the newest episode “An Ordinary Man Who Has Lived Through Extraordinary Circumstances Guest Patriot Frederick A. Taylor, Jr.” on The American Heroes Network which airs live Tuesdays at 8 AM Pacific, powered by Voice America Variety.

About The American Heroes Network

It has been said that we are only a generation away from forgetting our history. Disabled American Veterans struggle every day to overcome life-changing sacrifices. Their stories provides a vital part of history that has contributed to our American tradition. American Heroes Network provides a way for individuals, corporations and small businesses to support our Heroes by helping our veterans and their families rebuild their lives. They help aim our veterans, looking for jobs, in the right direction, help provide homes for our troops, assisting individuals and their families who have been severely injured while serving in the U.S. military and providing scholarships for families of our Fallen Heroes. This will be a weekly hour long show joined by our military heroes and people and organizations that make a difference.

Wild About Cars on The American Heroes Network

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Wild About Cars on The American Heroes Network

AHN

Bob is a former US Army Special Forces officer and Vietnam Veteran who is the recipient of 2 Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star

Guest Bio:

Bob began his 40-year business career with the State of New York where he was instrumental in developing the State’s computerized drivers licensing system.

Bob was the Commissioner of the Department of Information and Records for the City of New York. As Commissioner.

After leaving New York City, Mr. Gerometta served as president of Information Design, Inc., a computer systems and management consulting firm. He later moved on to act as Managing Director of Computer Systems.

He moved to Chicago in 1986, where he became head of Client Computer Systems Analysis and Design for the Midwest region of the Martin Segal Company, a premier Taft-Hartley benefits consulting firm.  From 1993 to 1998, he was a managing partner in OBA Midwest, Ltd. a premier health claim and pension transaction processing company. From 1998 to 2005, he was Chief Executive Officer of MonetaPro, LLC, and Internet-based asset management software developer.

Bob is a former US Army Special Forces officer and Vietnam Veteran who is the recipient of 2 Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star

Bob is an avid “gear head” and racing fan, having built, wrenched, and driven a variety of sports, drag racing and circle track cars. He has authored articles in Hot Rod Magazine and Car Craft, and currently he a contributor to Muscle Car Review. He also co-authored Oldsmobile In Action,. He currently owns a 2003 Mustang Cobra convertible, an Audi S4 and a pristine 1968 Ram Air 442.

Bob’s duties as the CEO for Wild About Cars and website operations manager for the Automotive History Preservation Society – a Michigan-based not for profit.

It has been said that we are only a generation away from forgetting our history. Disabled American Veterans struggle every day to overcome life-changing sacrifices. Their stories provides a vital part of history that has contributed to our American tradition. American Heroes Network provides a way for individuals, corporations and small businesses to support our Heroes by helping our veterans and their families rebuild their lives. They help aim our veterans, looking for jobs, in the right direction, help provide homes for our troops, assisting individuals and their families who have been severely injured while serving in the U.S. military and providing scholarships for families of our Fallen Heroes. This will be a weekly hour long show joined by our military heroes and people and organizations that make a difference. American Heroes Network airs live Tuesdays at 8 AM Pacific, powered by Voice America Variety. Tune in for a new episode “Wild About Cars.”

 

Wounded Warriors Project: Call to Congress to Extend VA’s TBI Assisted Living Pilot Program on The American Heroes Network

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Wounded Warriors Project: Call to Congress to Extend VA’s TBI Assisted Living Pilot Program on The American Heroes Network

Veterans

Congressional Inaction Threatens Program for Brain-Damaged Vets. Tune in for the Live Broadcast Show on The American Heroes Network for their new episode “Wounded Warriors Project : Call to Congress to Extend VA’s TBI Assisted Living Pilot Program” Tuesday July 22nd 8am Pacific Time.

WASHINGTON-The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun ousting dozens of brain-damaged veterans from special therapeutic group homes, setting off a scramble for housing and care.

In recent weeks, VA case workers have warned 53 veterans they’ll have to leave the privately run homes by Sept. 15, according to the agency. Ten have already been discharged from the care facilities and sent to nursing homes, state veterans homes or to live with family members. Dozens of other veterans are now in a state of limbo about whether they’ll be able to remain in the rehab facilities for more than a few months.

The VA says it has no choice but to discharge the residents. Despite pressure from veterans, their families and service organizations, Congress hasn’t extended the legal authority for the rehabilitation program, which expires Oct. 6.
“The failure to extend this successful pilot [program] would close a door to recently injured individuals who need these services and risk having to transfer wounded veterans to more costly and inappropriate environments of care,” the Wounded Warrior Project, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and 11 other veterans groups wrote to lawmakers in a joint letter this month.

Lawmakers from both parties say they support renewing the program. The five-year pilot was designed to test whether veterans with traumatic brain injuries-the kinds of wound that became a signature of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts-improve faster with intensive therapy in a community-based home than at a hospital or rest home.

“It’s shortsighted to let it expire, leaving veterans out in the cold with no similar options,” Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) said in a written statement. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R., La.), who has sponsored a bill renewing the program, said “I’m optimistic we’ll pass it on the House side.”

Such measures have been introduced in both chambers, but with Congress deadlocked on a variety of issues, none haven’t made it into law. VA officials say they can’t wait until the last minute to begin discharging patients.

The group-home program featured in a Feb. 20 front-page article in The Wall Street Journal focused on the life of former Marine Cpl. Justin Bunce, who suffered brain damage in a blast in Iraq in 2004 and later lost further brain function in a car accident. Cpl. Bunce lives in a VA-funded group home in Germantown, Md., run by NeuroRestorative, a unit of the Mentor Network, a Boston-based health-care and human-services company.

NeuroRestorative expects that 30 of the 54 veterans in its facilities in 14 states will have to move out within the next two months.
For the moment, the VA isn’t discharging the 50 Iraq and Afghanistan vets now living in the group homes, including Mr. Bunce. The agency is using authority under a separate law to continue funding for the treatment for brain-injured veterans of the post-Sept. 11 wars. Senior VA officials are debating how long that reprieve can last. “We’re awaiting the decision as to a way forward for these particular vets,” said Sharon Benedict, the program’s manager at the VA.

The brain-injury rehabilitation facilities resemble a home or apartment complex only with the addition of full-time attendants and a rigorous schedule of speech, physical, cognitive and occupational therapies. Residents have trainers to help them relearn lost life skills, such as shopping, eating in public and social interaction. They receive medical treatment at local VA medical centers.
“I’m doing great, and they’re going to yank it from me,” said Don Rohm, who has been told he must leave one such VA-funded residence in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. “God only knows what’s going to happen.”

Mr. Rohm weeps when he talks about facing life outside of the assisted-living facility. “It’s only a matter of time before I end up in jail or dead,” he said. Mr. Rohm, 53 years old, suffered brain damage when he was pushed down a marble staircase while stationed with the Army in Germany in 1981. In 1992, while working as a National Guard firefighter, he was hit in the chin by a heavy fire-hose nozzle. A fall from a ladder in 1995 and a car accident four years later-caused by seizures related to his brain injuries, according to his caregivers-worsened his condition.  His injuries cost him his ability to perform basic arithmetic. At the VA-funded facility, he is working on his nine-times multiplication tables.

Congress created the trial program seeking more effective ways to rehabilitate veterans who suffered intractable brain injuries. Among the veterans living in the Germantown home are a pilot left paralyzed and barely able to speak by a helicopter crash in Afghanistan; a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who survived a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head; and a National Guardsman who suffered several close calls in mortar attacks in Iraq.

The VA has yet to complete a full assessment of the program’s effectiveness, but says anecdotal evidence has been promising. “All indications are that the satisfaction is high among the veterans with the services they’re receiving, and they seem to be making gains,” said Ms. Benedict.

 

VeteranTrek with The American Heroes Network

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VeteranTrek with The American Heroes Network

Amerian Heroes Network

 

Veterans that are bringing awareness to PTSD, TBI, veteran homelessness and veteran suicides. Tune in on The American Heroes Network for their new episode “VeteranTrek Tuesday June 24th at 8 AM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.

Guest Bio, Anthony Anderson 

Served in the WI National Guard 2002-2008. Volunteered for 2 deployments to Iraq
Served as an Infantryman.  Left the military in 2008. Studied and received his degree from UWM with a BS in Secondary Education-English.  Co-Founder Veterans Trek

Guest Bio Tom Voss  

Served 3 years active duty with 25ID out of Ft. Lewis, WA.  Served as an infantryman assigned to a scout sniper platoon doing recon. Deployed to Iraq.  Left the military in 2006. Studied Social Work at University of WI Milwaukee.  Co-Founder of Veterans Trek

It has been said that we are only a generation away from forgetting our history. Disabled American Veterans struggle every day to overcome life-changing sacrifices. Their stories provides a vital part of history that has contributed to our American tradition. American Heroes Network provides a way for individuals, corporations and small businesses to support our Heroes by helping our veterans and their families rebuild their lives. They help aim our veterans, looking for jobs, in the right direction, help provide homes for our troops, assisting individuals and their families who have been severely injured while serving in the U.S. military and providing scholarships for families of our Fallen Heroes. This will be a weekly hour long show joined by our military heroes and people and organizations that make a difference. American Heroes Network airs live Tuesdays at 8 AM Pacific, powered by Voice America Variety Channel.

National Service Programs for All Veterans on The American Heroes Network

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National Service Programs for All Veterans on The American Heroes Network

troops

Tune in now on The American Heroes Network for their new episode “National Service Programs for All Veterans” on the Voiceamerica Variety Channel.

The National Service Programs operates a nation-wide network of 77 service offices from Guam to Puerto Rico. Over 73,000 veterans and dependents receive expert assistance in obtaining well deserved benefits and you don’t have to be an MOPH member to receive the help you need.

Patriot James G. Richards (Jim) is a native of Western Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) with a Bachelor of Science degree in education and a Master of Science degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California…. Lieutenant Colonel Richards entered the Army in 1969 thru the ROTC program at IUP and culminated at Fort Meade Maryland in 1989 as the Chief Aviation Resource Management Director that evaluated aviation programs for reserve and National Guard units from Virginia to Maine. His assignments included: Air Cavalry pilot in Vietnam, helicopter instructor pilot at Fort Rucker Alabama, Armor Company commander Germany, Air Cavalry Troop commander at Fort Campbell Kentucky, Army Aviation Staff Officer at the Pentagon and Aviation Officer at Fort Meade Maryland…. His military decorations include: Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal w/3 OLC, the Air Medal (22nd award) two with V devise for heroism and the Army Commendation Medal. He also has the Master Army Aviator Badge and the Army General Staff Badge.

The NSP operates a nation-wide network of 77 service offices from Guam to Puerto Rico. Over 73,000 veterans and dependents receive expert assistance in obtaining well deserved benefits from the VA from MOPH’s service staff comprised of 140 trained and accredited National Service Officers (NSO’s), managers, and assistants. In addition to its paid staff, the Order has a dedicated corps of volunteer Department and Chapter Service Officers who also provide assistance to veterans
 In the 12 months of FY 2012, MOPH NSO’s obtained nearly $298 million in VA benefits for their clients, submitted over 21,000 claims to the VA, processed 272 appeals, appeared at 170 hearings, and made over 2,700 outreach visits to Vet Centers, Hospitals, and MOPH chapters. These numbers do not reflect the contacts and visits made by MOPH volunteer Department and Chapter Service Officers.
 The MOPH Service Program also provides expert legal opinions and representation for veterans before the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). And only MOPH represents any veteran regardless of membership or affiliation. The MOPH does not accept government funds for any case brought to appeal.
 When not assisting veterans directly, MOPH National Service Officers are required to attend local VA training, successfully complete an on-the-job Training Program, and one week of annual training in order to maintain their accreditation.
 The MOPH is proud of its NSO designated veterans case management system (VCMS). Its web-based client database, automated VA forms, and reports provide for rapid client response and excellent case oversight.
Amerian Heroes Network
It has been said that we are only a generation away from forgetting our history. Disabled American Veterans struggle every day to overcome life-changing sacrifices. Their stories provides a vital part of history that has contributed to our American tradition. American Heroes Network provides a way for individuals, corporations and small businesses to support our Heroes by helping our veterans and their families rebuild their lives. They help aim our veterans, looking for jobs, in the right direction, help provide homes for our troops, assisting individuals and their families who have been severely injured while serving in the U.S. military and providing scholarships for families of our Fallen Heroes. This will be a weekly hour long show joined by our military heroes and people and organizations that make a difference. American Heroes Network airs live Tuesdays at 8 AM Pacific, powered by Voice America Variety.

Combat Helicopter Pilot to Mercy Flights on The American Heroes Network

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Combat Helicopter Pilot to Mercy Flights on The American Heroes Network

vietnam

Tune in for a New Episode on The American Heroes Network “Combat Helicopter Pilot to Mercy Flights” Tuesday June 10th 8am Pacific Time on the Voiceamerica Variety Channel.

Guest Bio By Paul Fattig

Mail Tribune

If Medford resident Steve Deaton didn’t have the papers and photographs to document his tales, they would raise more than a few eyebrows.

“My military experience was all out of the norm — not the standard track,” he acknowledged. “But everything, except going to Vietnam, was voluntary.”

Consider this: He was born on Veterans Day — Nov. 11, 1950 — in the U.S. Naval Hospital on the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton, Calif. And his official military discharge as a chief warrant officer 4 from the Oregon Army National Guard inactive reserve is effective today — Nov. 11, 2010 — at age 60.

He flew 650 combat helicopter missions in Vietnam, where he was shot down and received the Air Medal for Heroism for saving his crew.

He also earned the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart in Vietnam. That was before he flew fixed-wing surveillance between South and North Korea, and piloted a newfangled airplane — he learned to fly it en route — from Northern Ireland to the Middle East just in time for Desert Storm in 1991.

Small wonder his wife, Susan, fondly refers to him as “Forrest Gump” when it comes to his military experience. However, unlike the character in the 1994 movie starring Tom Hanks, he is neither slow-witted nor does he stumble accidentally into historic events.  “From my birth to the time I went into the Army, my dad was always in the Navy,” Deaton said. His father retired as a master chief after 28 years.

“As a result, I felt like I spent my whole childhood in the military, having grown up on every Navy base from Alameda down to San Diego.

“So, when I got out of the Navy, I went into the Army,” he joked.

He was actually drafted into the Army just before his 19th birthday. But after training as a military police officer, he volunteered for flight school to fly helicopters.

Newly minted Warrant Officer 1 Deaton arrived in what was then South Vietnam early in November 1971. It would be his home for the next year.

“After first landing in Saigon in ’71 and the door opened, I remember distinctly standing at the top of the stairs with the overwhelming foreboding feeling of impending doom,” he said. “I thought I would walk down those steps and never get back on a plane again.”

His orders took him to the 187th Assault Helicopter Company at Long Binh. Its mission was to ferry troops in and out of combat aboard UH-1 Hueys.

Shortly after he arrived, he climbed into a Huey to fly in the middle of an 18-helicopter formation into combat.

“We were heading to a hot LZ (landing zone) with a load of combat troops,” he recalled. “Number two and number three helicopters in the formation collided. Killed everybody.”

Because the terrible accident was so devastating to their morale, all the pilots were reassigned. He was sent north to the 4th Air Cavalry at Hue, where he remained for the rest of his tour.

“I went from a lift company that had been totally demoralized to a hunter-killer team,” he said, noting the heavily armed helicopters were sent out on “night hawk” missions.

“We went out at night to hunt for bad guys to help out the remote fire bases, keep them secure,” he said.

But the steady flights into harm’s way wore on him and the machine.

“My helicopter had so many bullet holes that it flew like a pig,” he said. “Nobody else would fly it.”

Hence the painting of a pink pig on its nose in his old photographs.

After six months, the stress of the nighttime flights began to get to him.

“I wasn’t eating right — wasn’t sleeping right,” he said, adding that he was finally rotated back to daylight flying.

His luck — and that of the aircraft — held until April 28, 1972. On that mission they were hit hard while supporting ground troops in a ferocious firefight near Hue.

“We got hit by machine gun fire but were able to successfully auto rotate so I could put down in a rice field,” he said. “The North Vietnamese Army was coming to claim their prize — us. So we fought a running gun battle on the ground for about 50 minutes until some other Army helicopters came in to get us out of there.”

He would receive the heroism medal for saving his crew during that mission.

Perhaps his closet call came on Sept. 8, 1972, while he was again supporting ground troops engaged in combat. A projectile ripped up through the floor, just in front of his feet.

“It went up through the dashboard and out the top of the helicopter,” he said. “I don’t know what it was. It was big.”

Shrapnel slammed into his face and upper chest.

“But I kept doing what I had to do to get us out of there,” he said.

He stopped talking for a moment to study an old photograph of him and three other pilots in Vietnam. They are all wearing cavalry hats and shorts and holding M-16 rifles.

“After being shot at and shot down, the four of us said we are never going home unless we made it happen,” he said. “So we became very ferocious in what we did to survive. We made sure we were not going to be killed. The only way to do that was to neutralize as many people as we could before going in.

“But that was our job — hunter killer teams,” he added. “Our business to go look for bad guys and shoot ’em.”

Deaton, who periodically visits the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., to pay respects to his old buddies who didn’t make it, said he mostly feels sad about the Vietnam War.

“I did what I was called to do,” he said. “For that, I have no regrets. May not have believed in it but it wasn’t my place to question it.

“My experience didn’t prohibit me from doing something more with my life,” he added. “I always wanted to look over the next horizon.”

After completing his Vietnam tour, he got out of the Army and went to college, earning a degree in political science from California State University, Chico. But he missed flying and got a job piloting helicopters for a logging firm in Oregon. When logging work became scarce, he became a police officer in Ashland, then joined the department in Portland.

It was while working in Portland that he joined the Oregon Army Air National Guard. He flew helicopters for a while, then learned how to fly fixed-wing aircraft.

He began flying an OV-1 Mohawk surveillance plane, and joined the Guard full time. He was assigned to the regular Army and sent to South Korea to conduct nighttime patrols along the 38th Parallel in the late 1980s.

When he returned from Korea, he remained full time in the Oregon National Guard. His mission included flying surveillance along the border with Mexico to track illegal immigrants.

He stepped forward once again when Desert Storm began early in 1991. Once more he was temporarily assigned to the Army.

His mission was to pick up a new C-23 Sherpa in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and fly it to Kuwait where it would be used to ferry cargo and troops.

“I learned how to fly it en route,” he said. “After we took off from Belfast and got over the English Channel, I started doing slow flight and stalls to try to figure out how to fly it.”

Photographs of the Sherpa reveals an ungainly looking craft with a square fuselage.

“It looks like the box the plane came in,” Deaton quipped. “It flew like a box. You had to manhandle it.”

He flew it for six months in the Middle East, then flew it back to Oregon where it became a workhorse for the Guard.

Until earlier this year, Deaton flew a Global Express jet for a Japanese business out of Guam, traveling the world. He continues to work as a contract jet pilot.

Meanwhile, his retirement papers after 20 years in the Guard arrived Oct. 27 in the mail. It is effective today.

“As of Thursday (today), I am officially retired from the military,” he said, adding somewhat wistfully, “It has been quite a ride.”
Amerian Heroes Network

 

It has been said that we are only a generation away from forgetting our history. Disabled American Veterans struggle every day to overcome life-changing sacrifices. Their stories provides a vital part of history that has contributed to our American tradition. American Heroes Network provides a way for individuals, corporations and small businesses to support our Heroes by helping our veterans and their families rebuild their lives. They help aim our veterans, looking for jobs, in the right direction, help provide homes for our troops, assisting individuals and their families who have been severely injured while serving in the U.S. military and providing scholarships for families of our Fallen Heroes. This will be a weekly hour long show joined by our military heroes and people and organizations that make a difference. American Heroes Network airs live Tuesdays at 8 AM Pacific, powered by Voice America Variety.

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