May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

To those that never made it back, I will never forget your sacrifice.

Photo by Scott A. Lee
To the family members, thank you for your continued sacrifices for our country and may you find purpose in your loved ones absence.

May 27, 2011

Combat Veteran Eligibility: Enhanced Eligibility For VA Health Care Benefits

I know, I know. I'm a little late on breaking the news (2008, hello), I just found it and posted it. If anyone has any experience in filing for these benefits let me know in the comments.

Taken from the VA website:

On January 28, 2008, “Public Law 110-181” titled the “National Defense Authorization Act of 2008” was signed into law. Section 1707 amended Title 38, United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 1710(e)(3), extending the period of eligibility for health care for Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, (commonly referred to as combat veterans or OEF/OIF Veterans or to the recently established Operation New Dawn Veterans).

Under the “Combat Veteran” authority, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides cost-free health care services and nursing home care for conditions possibly related to military service and enrollment in Priority Group 6, unless eligible for enrollment in a higher priority group to:
  • Combat Veterans who were discharged or released from active service on or after January 28, 2003, are now eligible to enroll in the VA health care system for 5 years from the date of discharge or release. NOTE: The 5-year enrollment period applicable to these veterans begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active duty military service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date. Combat Veterans, while not required to disclose their income information, may do so to determine their eligibility for a higher priority status, beneficiary travel benefits, and exemption of co-pays for care unrelated to their military service.

May 24, 2011

Turtle Women Rising: The Tradition of Honoring Veterans

Eli PaintedCrow,
holds a proud history from the Yaqui Nation and Mexican ancestry. She is the mother to two veteran sons and a grandmother of eight. Eli is an advocate for Peace and an advocate for returning soldiers. A 22yr Army veteran whose eyes were opened in her last tour of military service, while in Iraq. Eli has committed to bring forward the strategies used in this society to continue keeping communities separated and in conflict.[...]

Veteran Unemployment, War Stigma and Employers Misunderstanding of the Modern Warrior

Veteran unemployment has reached critical mass. The stigma of the "Psychologically Wounded" veteran may be impacting employers decisions in hiring them. According to Call of Duty's Endowment (C.O.D.E.) website, veteran unemployment has reached 21.9%. This is totally unacceptable and it may be linked to the stigma attached to the Modern Combat Veteran. PTSD and TBI rates have rocketed to 30% in ten years, quicker than any war previously.

Can we infer a connection? You tell me.

I want to highlight Call of Duty's Endowment (C.O.D.E.) statistics. I researched their research as you readers knew I would. I'm so paranoid (smiling like crazy). I validated C.O.D.E.'s research and have worked with some of the organizations awarded grants, additionally I am familiar with most of the NGO's and GO's listed on their website.

Their informative website provokes an awaking of the American Public towards advancing the cause of the disenfranchised veteran.

video from

May 23, 2011

Comumbia University Violates Eli PaintedCrow's Civil Rights

Eli Painted Crow, a featured speaker for Nadia MacCaffrey's, her bio,
My work is about feeding our spirit by expressing my truth in language that is from my heart, life experience and my personal truth. It is my hope that people understand that what we speak we create, and what we fear most is what we call into our lives. By fighting for peace, we will inevitably fail because fighting for something is not a peaceful act. To have peace, we must become that which we desire. In order to learn how to stop this nation’s cycle of violence, we must heal our nation’s past acts of violence against others, in order to see how our present actions affect the future.
The letter below was written by Captain Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine to Columbia University School of Social Work on behalf of Eli. As I see it, this University has disrespected this honorable warrior, violated social work ethics and most of all violated her civil rights.
Dear Dr Steele, (I'm assuming it's the Provost of Columbia University...the one and only...ta da....Mr. Claude M. Steele! Fucking Asshole.)

It is with grave concern and a deeply heavy heart that I write this letter to you. My name is Anu Bhagwati. I am the Executive Director of Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), the nation's leading advocacy organization for military women and women veterans. I am also a former Marine Corps Captain.

I am writing because of a serious breach of ethics committed by the faculty and administration of the Columbia University School of Social Work against an Iraq war veteran, Sergeant First Class (SFC), Ret. Eli Painted Crow. Several years ago, SFC Painted Crow was interviewed by Professor Helen Benedict, who is on faculty at the Columbia University School of Journalism, for a narrative book titled "The Lonely Soldier." Professor Benedict interviewed and took advantage of SFC Painted Crow during a time of enormous mental and emotional turmoil for SFC Painted Crow. As a returning Iraq war veteran, SFC Painted Crow was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In fact, she has been officially designated as a 100% disabled veteran by the Veterans Benefits Administration for the psychological and physical wounds she sustained while serving her country.

Call of Duty Endowment Memorial Day Campaign

Memorial day will be here soon and I have just been invited by Activision’s Call of Duty Endowment to participate in an Host Media Call with UFC 130 Fighter, Brian Stann and BG James "Spider" Marks (USA-Ret) to discuss their 2011 Memorial Day Campaign.

This is way freaking cool! I love the UFC and Call of Duty!

Activision’s Call of Duty Endowment to Host Media Call with UFC 130 Fighter, Brian Stann, and BG James “Spider” Marks (USA-Ret.) to discuss 2011 Memorial Day Campaign.

WASHINGTON — As Memorial Day approaches, Brian Stann of Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA) is not only prepping for his UFC 130 fight, but also gearing up for a Memorial Day Campaign with the Call of Duty Endowment. With the unemployment figures for the nation’s youngest veterans almost twice the national average, Stann will provide insights on the current landscape for veterans career opportunities and also launch the Call of Duty Endowment’s Memorial Day Campaign, which will benefit HHUSA. BG James "Spider" Marks (USA-Ret.), who serves on the Call of Duty Endowment advisory board, will also provide discuss the importance raising the public’s awareness of the veterans’ unemployment issue.

The Call of Duty Endowment is a non-profit, public benefit corporation created by Activision Blizzard. The organization seeks to help soldiers transitioning to civilian life find work and establish careers and to assist organizations that provide job placement and training. For more information about The Call of Duty Endowment, please visit

Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA) is an organization which focuses on providing transition assistance to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans, specializing in the career placement of those injured or with any level of disability. HHUSA serves veterans from all branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, Reservists and Coast Guard. For more information about HHUSA, please visit

May 6, 2011

The Forced March

I was sitting here thinking about what it cost me to march 13 miles carrying 50 pounds of gear plus another 50 in ammo and water for my Expert Infantry Badge (EIB) march or marching 100 miles through the thick German forest over five days carrying an average of 70 pounds of gear. One foot in front of another, no quit, short-term goals of "that next tree," or the next click...if I can just get there. I only fell out of once in basic training at Fort Benning Georgia (Home of the Infantry!). I NEVER FUCKING LOST MY WEAPON! Oh, they tried. You just march on through. How about a 172 hour forced march through 3 countries with no sleep? Yeah, that forced march!

But, I did loose my mind and that I am told is our biggest weapon...

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 05, 2011

Presidential Proclamation--Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Military spouses serve as steady and supportive partners to the heroes in uniform who protect and defend our great Nation every day. Across America and around the world, military spouses serve our country in their own special way, helping families and friends through the stress of a deployment, caring for our wounded warriors, and supporting each other when a loved one has made the ultimate sacrifice.

Our service members and their families seldom ask for support or recognition. They carry out their duties to family and country with the quiet courage and strength that has always exemplified the American spirit. On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we have an opportunity to not only honor the husbands and wives of our service members, but also thank them by actively expressing our gratitude in both word and deed.

When a member of our Armed Forces is deployed, an entire family is called to serve. The readiness of our troops depends on the readiness of our military families, as millions of parents, children, and loved ones sacrifice as well. This means supporting our military spouses is also a national security imperative. Earlier this year, my Administration released the report on military families, Strengthening our Military Families: Meeting America's Commitment, which marshaled resources from across our Government to identify new opportunities to support these patriots.

May 5, 2011

The VA's New Mobile App: PTSD Coach

Taken from the VA's website, modified from original;
The PTSD Coach app, a free iTunes download, can help you learn about and manage symptoms that commonly occur after trauma. Features include:

  • Reliable information on PTSD and treatments that work
  • Tools for screening and tracking your symptoms
  • Convenient, easy-to-use skills to help you handle stress symptoms
  • Direct links to support and help
  • Always with you when you need it
Together with professional medical treatment, PTSD Coach provides you dependable resources you can trust. If you have, or think you might have PTSD, this app is for you. Family and friends can also learn from this app. PTSD Coach was created by the VA's National Center for PTSD and the DoD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

NOTE: PTSD is a serious mental health condition that often requires professional evaluation and treatment. PTSD Coach is not intended to replace needed professional care. The questionnaire used in PTSD Coach, the PTSD Checklist (PCL), is a reliable and valid self-report measure used across VA, DoD, and in the community, but it is not intended to replace professional evaluation.

Providing you with facts and self-help skills based on research.

May 4, 2011

New VA Caregiver Program for Post-9/11 Veterans

PRESS RELEASE May 3, 2011:
VA to Take Applications for New Family Caregiver Program

VA Implementing Enhancements to Existing Services

for Veterans and Their Caregivers

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published the interim final rule for implementing the Family Caregiver Program of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act 2010. This new rule will provide additional support to eligible post-9/11 Veterans who elect to receive their care in a home setting from a primary Family Caregiver.

“We at VA know that every day is a challenge for our most seriously injured Veterans and their Family Caregivers,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “I know many Veterans and their Family Caregivers have been waiting anxiously for this day and I urge them to get their applications in as soon as possible so they can receive the additional support they have earned.”

May 3, 2011

30 Confirmed Kills: Surrender Hill Part 3

Healing is not fluid. Sometimes it happens in jagged forms; one step forward and three giant leaps back. I have part 3 of one of my war time trauma accounts to share with you, Buddha said, "Do not believe what I say just out of respect for me, but test it out yourself, as if you were buying gold." This resonated within me for reasons I have recently surmised; for a combat veteran with chronic PTSD we feel as if we must test everything in our world. It is in how we test ourselves that we may find the best use for our most intimate encounters in life.

Note: This trauma account is not heavy combat yet.

My notes pick back up from April 15, 2011:
Our 3rd vehicle opened fire strafing the hill. This was our first contact with the enemy, I was horrified that we had just taken lives, but also relived that we had not taken casualties ourselves - my god - I felt pride in doing my job, that I saw or was the first to see the enemy [this has got to be part of the core of this issue, the pride I felt at being first and saving our guys - which was what I did - saving my guys from the fate of the marines from the day before]
More to come on what all this means and the connections I make today...

May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden's Death

Photo by Scott Lee
I feel torn, I understand people's elation with Osama's death. But, I do not feel that way. My only thoughts have to do with the 30% of veterans coming home with PTSD, maybe now we can call these wars a success and get the hell out of them.

Remember, before you get pissed at me for not reacting the way you would. My sister was on the 33rd floor of tower number two, she ran down 33 flights of stairs in under 18 minutes to turn around and see the second plane hit 44 floors above where she was. And, I contributed to 30 confirmed kills. So, I got some wiggle room on how I want to feel here, can ya tell I'm angry? Yep, that's it. I am just angry.

May 1, 2011

New for March: Place in my Heart Where I Hold Sacred Memories

Place in my Heart Where I Hold Sacred Memories
Ok, update. Since last week I have been in communication with my sons and that "insecure" part of me has been abated, it is good to talk to my sons. It sure does give me much energy and hope for the future. This entry is not going to be long, I am working on an article I will title "Anatomy of a Flashback." Where I will blend personal experience and some scientific stuff too. I plan on taking some more new photos to be used in future posts, kind of running short on new material.

Oh, and also I hope you like the redesign (I happily obsessed for hours, lol). This photo was taken inside a quaint cemetery at my Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, KY. It, as of right now, has become a physical representation to the place in my heart where I hold sacred memories. Maybe, a possible future site of cleaning rituals...hmm, something to consider.