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A veteran tragically took his own life yesterday at the Cleveland VA Medical Center just outside the facility’s emergency department.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the loved ones affected by this death,” the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System said in a statement. “Suicide prevention is VA’s highest clinical priority. One life lost to suicide is one too many.”

The facility cited privacy concerns when asked to provide additional details about the suicide. The immediate response is not unlike that of other facilities where veterans committed suicide on agency property including two suicides in Atlanta and the third in Texas.

Gary Pressley, 29, shot himself in a parking lot with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Olen Hancock, 68, shot himself and died the following day. A third veteran shot himself in a VA waiting room located in Austin, TX.

“Every one of these is a gut-wrenching experience for our 24,000 mental health providers and all of us that work for VA,” Richard Stone, MD, of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) said at the time. Dr. Stone is the Executive in Charge for VHA.

Congresswoman Speaks On Ohio Suicide

“I am heartbroken following the suicide of a veteran outside the Cleveland VA this morning,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH). “The level of pain that brings someone to suicide is fortunately unimaginable to many of us. My sincere condolences and prayers are with the veteran’s family and friends during this immensely difficult time.”

“The fact that 20 veterans a day take their own life – over 7,000 a year – is a tragedy. With seven incidents of veteran suicide on VA property in 2019 alone, 25 in the last 18 months, it’s critical we do more to stop this sustained national crisis. That is why I am working closely with my colleagues in the House and Senate to take decisive action to investigate and bring to an end the epidemic of veteran suicide.”

Veteran Suicide Data

Over 6,000 veterans have committed suicide since 2016. After the recent suicides, VA reiterated that suicide prevention is VA’s top clinical priority.

“The sad thing that we confront every day is that of the 20 veteran suicides that occur across the country 14 of those veterans are outside of our department,” Wilkie said.

“What I’ve envisioned is the opening of the aperture to the states and localities to get them resources to find those veterans. One of the tragedies is that many of those veterans who take their lives come from my father’s era – Vietnam. So we have Americans whose problems in many cases began building when Lyndon Johnson was president. We have to tackle this issue in a way that we haven’t tackled it before.”

Is It A ‘Sad Thing’ To Be Outside VA?

One theme that keeps coming up is the VA’s argument that 2/3 of veteran suicides are by veterans not receiving health care from VA. Somehow, the argument goes, VA will reduce veteran suicides by pushing all veterans into the VA system.

Here’s the thing.

Most veterans do not receive health care from VA, around 2/3. So, it makes sense that around 2/3 of the veterans committing suicide are outside the VA system.

Is that fact alone a bad thing?

On its face, the numbers seem to suggest a veteran is at least as likely to commit suicide who uses VA health care services as a veteran who does not use those same services.

So, is pushing all veterans into the VA for health care the answer to veteran suicide?

It seems unlikely.

About VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System

The Cleveland VA Medical Center serves over 110,000 veterans. It is part of the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System, which is part of VISN 10 that serves 685,000 veterans throughout Michigan, Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Indiana.

If you are reading this and experiencing mental health struggles, you are invited to call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

However, please note that some veterans who call the hotline report that they receive visits from police shortly after calls.

Stay informed on VA news, scandals and benefits. Get our daily newsletter via email.

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96 Comments

  1. “The sad thing that we confront every day is that of the 20 veteran suicides that occur across the country 14 of those veterans are outside of our department,” Wilkie said.

    Wienerless Wilkie has that part right. What he fails to address is why the VA can spend bazillions of taxpayer dollars, yet come up with NO EFFECTIVE PLAN to aid or prevent veteran suicide for the remaining 6 of the 20 that ARE getting care within his department.

    What a fuckin’ bullshit artist this guy is . . .

    • 22 a day. 29 per 100,000 per year compared to 12 per 100,000 National average including the veterans suicide. ? how many veterans in the U S compared to the overall population in the U S so we could calculate the effect of veteran suicides on the National average. At almost 2.5 times the national average how much does veteran suicide increase the National average.

      ? the veteran suicide rate was calculated at the National average according to the VA in 1995, how much was this lowered by comingling the veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam who never saw combat or earned a combat ribbon assigned to logistics instead of combat.

      Combat veterans of past wars had the same rates of TBI, PTSD as veterans in the current wars if compared on the basis of actual combat hours. WWII veterans were in for duration. If they were grunts they spent it all as grunts. And when they came back with “adjustment order” diagnosis for TBI and PTSD, they broke out as hobos, homeless veterans riding the freight rails. So initially they were treated no better than Vietnam Veterans. But as a Vietnam Veteran, the WWII veterans in the VA were not the homeless vets. They were the ones with purple hearts that were mostly very serious. My uncles, WWII vets, wanted nothing to do with the VA. They wanted as far away from anything that reminded them of the war as possible.

      So the WWII vets I met in the waiting room deserved to be there. I’m not surprised that the civilians who took care of them gave them a little more than they gave us. WWII threatened their lives. Vietnam never did.

      Big difference. What threatened the lives of those civilians at home during the Vietnam War was the bus station bombs, the anti-war protests, etc.

      I doubt the better service to the WWII vets was a conscious thing. There was just an engendered feeling by the focus of the war at home. Took me a long time to put that together. I guess I’m wiser at 78 than I was at 33 when the Vietnam War ended for me after my 13.5 years of it including 2 years in country.

      I remember the mistake of wearing my uniform at home on leave between my first and second tour in Vietnam. I just didn’t get it then. I do now. There were so many drafted to go to fight a meaningless war that had parents and siblings who loved them and worried for them behind. Parents and siblings that felt no real threat and felt no gratitude for being protected.

      My family didn’t share those feelings but many veterans families did. And then how can I say that? I don’t know what they thought or felt. I just know if they did share those feelings they would never have expressed them to me.

      • You expressed you’re feelings well. I insist of having all my Rx done outside of the VA. I just do not trust 90% of the people that work there. I have medicaid and so use that for most of the work done.

      • I hear you, Doc! I was a Marine during those times – – – though obviously at the tail end of the war.

        One of the best papers I ever read on the subject was Shelley R. Stafford’s Thesis entitled The Good War v The Bad War: An Analysis of Combat Veterans’ Experience in World War II and Vietnam by Removing Social Stigma (2001). Read it back in 2004. It corroborates many things you experienced, and explained in your above post.

        “https://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1075&context=utk_interstp2”

        Ought to be required reading and testable material for every single person involved with VA Mental Health . . .

    • State of the art hospital building but doctors from old school quackery. Poke them here and give them some 1957 left over Aspirin.
      Nothing will change just the war era of the veterans. Switching from Viet Nam to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • JC – an interesting analytical comparison is “Achilles in Vietnam”. My take-away was/is context of victors and losers. Vets of Vietnam, and now of IA, are having to deal with their sense of betrayal by the nation they served. There’s the betrayal of purpose, and then the betrayal of promise compounded with the terrors of combat. Do counselors really know how close a man is to his own end? If a guy takes himself out at VA facility, was he likely to take himself out anyway? I will never be an apologist for the VA. Maybe a ton more money would help – and perhaps not.

      Ben asks a very cogent question, e.g. would the “civilian” sector be better in dealing with those in crisis? Would a veteran referral from a hotline result in the same knock on the door from law enforcement? Frankly, I think there’s too many variables the lie between maelstrom in the mind of the warrior in crisis, bureaucracies that should support them, and a give-a-shit nation that is generally clueless.

      • Windguy – – – Yes, I have read Jonathan Shay’s book. He makes some very valid points.

        “Vets of Vietnam, and now of IA, are having to deal with their sense of betrayal by the nation they served. There’s the betrayal of purpose, and then the betrayal of promise compounded with the terrors of combat.”

        Correct.

        “Do counselors really know how close a man is to his own end?”

        Most likely not. Given all the things that are listed as ‘Red Lights’ in individual therapy – – – most combat veterans I know of my generation would not be foolish enough to trust a counselor with their secrets within X number of sessions.

        Civvy counselor wants my trust? They have to earn it by observation and time. I walked out of VA counseling in 1998 when living in Honolulu. Except for my current Chronic Pain Group which ends this week – – – I haven’t been back. When they tell me they want to help BUT we cannot talk about subjects A, B, C, D, etc. without getting Cops and others involved, that sends me a clear message.

        They are not interested in helping. Why? Because they will not allow me to tell my story my way, without threats of reprisal. And I do not for one second believe that I am an isolated case. There are many veterans who know that VA mental health folks are FUBAR when it comes to being able to help them.

        Most of us who are semi-functional today had to find our own way back . . .

    • I can hardly believe Rep. Marcy Kaptur said,“The level of pain that brings someone to suicide is fortunately unimaginable to many of us”. Unfortunately, this is exactly why no help is available other than meds and more meds. No one want to imagine what a fellow person that’s broken really feels. It’s too painful. Irony of ironies.

      • There are certain kinds of pain that cannot be fixed. Especially physical pains. So give the vet pain medications and fight your drug war somewhere else.

  2. Some questions:
    Is each of the 20 Veterans/day who “commits suicide,” “suicidal”?
    If money is “speech,” then isn’t suicide?
    Is there not a single Veteran who ever ended his life because, again & again & again, when he spoke softly, VA paid him no heed, so he SHOUTED?
    What lengths would VA go to, to avoid answering the question immediately abkve?

    • The VA just does not give a hoot whether a veteran commits suicide and the level of expertise at the VA leaves much in doubt as to their ability to deal with the problems, IF THEY CARED. So much horseshit and not real action.
      As I have said before, only thousands of lawsuits against the agency and its personnel will get the VA to do what is right. We need to get it through our heads that THEY JUST DON’T CARE, and we need to apply the correct pressure to MAKE THEM CARE.
      Bernie Sanders stated a YUGE LIE, the other day when he stated that most veterans are happy with the care they receive. WE ARE NOT HAPPY AND CAN YOU SEE HOW SUCH A MEDICARE SYSTEM WOULD BE SO INEPT? IF MEDICARE FOR ALL WERE INSTITUTED YOU WOULD HAVE TO SEE A “Practical Nurse/ “Licensed VOCATIONAL Nurse FIRST AND THE CLOSER YOU GOT TO DEATH you would then see a Registered Nurse, and then if you were not DEAD, you would see a “Nurse Practitioner” and then if you were still not DEAD you would see a Physician’s Assistant, and then if you were still alive you would see a doctor, (who could not get hired in private practice) and then you would get an appointment in six months to see the right specialist…………………………………………………… If you were lucky

  3. Same bullshit story, day in and day out, about veterans committing suicide. If the VA were interested in combating this issue, they’d do something about it. Instead, they “spin” it to – let’s get ALL veterans into the most corrupt government agency going! Then, we’ll ask/beg/steal MORE of the taxpayers monies and let the vets off themselves!
    The VA upper echelon don’t give a rat’s ass about our healthcare – whether it be physical or mental health. All these assholes care about is receiving taxpayers monies!

    • Not wanting to anger you in any way, but I have been treated quit well by a number of departments within the VA. The Orlando, FL VA hospital has treated me well even though I was out of their district. Not that it should matter, but I received terrible treatment at the Boston, Mass hospital as well at the Las Vegas VA hospital emergency department. I just hate to see all VA department get painted with the same brush

      • sunvale,
        Are you talking about the VHA’s at Lake Nona or Lake Baldwin?
        The Lake Baldwin VHA has very few medical areas.
        The Lake Nona VHA, although very large, uses “out of date machines” to test patients.
        They also have poor staffing problems!
        I’m glad you believe your receiving good care. Only lots of veterans will disagree with you!

      • The Cleveland VA Healthcare System used to be a decent VA. Yes and yes back in the late 90s. I was sent there. Very large VA in Cleveland. Very decent for mental health. Big domiciliary for veterans and work programs to prepare veterans for workforce. There used to be lots of resources for veterans at that VA. Cleveland VA was one of the first VAs who had care for women back then. I agree further changes need to happen to assist veterans who do not have access anywhere. Best.

      • You yourself, just painted at least 2 va medical centers as bad with that same brush.

        We all know there are Some very good employees. Problem seems to be there are more bad employees than good.

        They belittle many veterans with PTSD and traumatic tr brain injury calling them fakers and milingers.

  4. i have to agree as a 100 % Vietnam Combat Veteran i had to the Philippines so i could afford to see Doctors and i pay for most of my medicine, it was great 8 years ago, but getting sick of the Bull shit for Manila V A !! I agree with the last post !!!!!!!!! they could care less about us , !! if i come back i want to be at setting next to Recruitment office and tell , people that are thinking of joining the Military, do not do it unless they will Guarantee if they get hurt Military only will take care of them for life, no shitty Va piss service , where the doctors as they call them are piss most do not know what they are doing , i got Gasritis from one giving me the wrong medicine , its an ulcer i cant eat most thing i get sick , who can you scream at that understands why you are upset , there like talking to cops if you if they raise there voice its ok, but if you get upset you are a trouble maker !!!!!!!!!!! we can get upset over there bull shit !!! if i see a doctor here i can just walk in and it cost me around 10,00 dollars to 15,00 i can go to High Precision for my lab test with not going to a doctor to get it, i just use the doctor i have name,and get the test done !! its cheap to test my I N R for my blood thinner cost me 4 dollars ultra sound for my whole stomach cost me 15,00 dollars i just pay for it my self, i have my own condo here 800 sm i payed 60,000 on and then spent another 10,000 fixing it the way i wanted so 70,000 its cheap to live here i have been here for 20 years no T S A bull shit, there is security, ,but from what i see not like there you take off your shoes some times , and they scan your bags , no old women here to bitch , just young FILIPINO women to help you !! when i first came here i rented a 3 bedroom place for 120,00 dollars a month, i am in Cebu , i lived in Davao for 3 years nice place should of stayed there its cheaper !!!!!!!! watch out this is one of the most corrupt countries there is look it up i had 50,000 dollars stolen out of the bank , i got it back it was the bank manager can you beleive that took them 7 years to send her to jail Hong Kong Bank there laws are crazy that is why it took so long her family had money to pay to keep her out !! my girl friends family tryed to black mail me over me raping her we lived together corrupt police and lawyer her family so be careful most Filipino will love you for your money and to get back to America they will act like they really care , want to find out do not buy there family shit !!!! nothing , you will find out fast if they really care !! if they are married , they will have to get anulment cost 4 thousand dollars and take 2 years so if they say ohh i am still married , just find another its not worth it !!!!!!! if i go back to America will sue the bank !!!!!!!!!!!! i AGREE WITH THIS !!!!!!!!!!!ame bullshit story, day in and day out, about veterans committing suicide. If the VA were interested in combating this issue, they’d do something about it. Instead, they “spin” it to – let’s get ALL veterans into the most corrupt government agency going! Then, we’ll ask/beg/steal MORE of the taxpayers monies and let the vets off themselves!
    The VA upper echelon don’t give a rat’s ass about our healthcare – whether it be physical or mental health. All these assholes care about is receiving taxpayers monies!

  5. i have to agree as a 100 % Vietnam Combat Veteran i had to the Philippines so i could afford to see Doctors and i pay for most of my medicine, it was great 8 years ago, but getting sick of the Bull shit for Manila V A !! I agree with the last post !!!!!!!!! they could care less about us , !! if i come back i want to be at setting next to Recruitment office and tell , people that are thinking of joining the Military, do not do it unless they will Guarantee if they get hurt Military only will take care of them for life, no shitty Va piss service , where the doctors as they call them are piss most do not know what they are doing , i got Gasritis from one giving me the wrong medicine , its an ulcer i cant eat most thing i get sick , who can you scream at that understands why you are upset , there like talking to cops if you if they raise there voice its ok, but if you get upset you are a trouble maker !!!!!!!!!!! we can get upset over there bull shit !!! if i see a doctor here i can just walk in and it cost me around 10,00 dollars to 15,00 i can go to High Precision for my lab test with not going to a doctor to get it, i just use the doctor i have name,and get the test done !! its cheap to test my I N R for my blood thinner cost me 4 dollars ultra sound for my whole stomach cost me 15,00 dollars i just pay for it my self, i have my own condo here 800 sm i payed 60,000 on and then spent another 10,000 fixing it the way i wanted so 70,000 its cheap to live here i have been here for 20 years no T S A bull shit, there is security, ,but from what i see not like there you take off your shoes some times , and they scan your bags , no old women here to bitch , just young FILIPINO women to help you !! when i first came here i rented a 3 bedroom place for 120,00 dollars a month, i am in Cebu , i lived in Davao for 3 years nice place should of stayed there its cheaper !!!!!!!! watch out this is one of the most corrupt countries there is look it up i had 50,000 dollars stolen out of the bank , i got it back it was the bank manager can you beleive that took them 7 years to send her to jail Hong Kong Bank there laws are crazy that is why it took so long her family had money to pay to keep her out !! my girl friends family tryed to black mail me over me raping her we lived together corrupt police and lawyer her family so be careful most Filipino will love you for your money and to get back to America they will act like they really care , want to find out do not buy there family shit !!!! nothing , you will find out fast if they really care !! if they are married , they will have to get anulment cost 4 thousand dollars and take 2 years so if they say ohh i am still married , just find another its not worth it !!!!!!! if i go back to America will sue the bank !!!!!!!!!!!! i AGREE WITH THIS !!!!!!!!!!!ame bullshit story, day in and day out, about veterans committing suicide. If the VA were interested in combating this issue, they’d do something about it. Instead, they “spin” it to – let’s get ALL veterans into the most corrupt government agency going! Then, we’ll ask/beg/steal MORE of the taxpayers monies and let the vets off themselves!
    The V A does not give a SHIT

  6. i have been dealing with the V A since the Army put me out after getting shot in Vietnam 12969 -70 i remember them treating world war veterans , they where treated like kings what ever they needed they got, Vietnam Veterans where treated like we had done some thing wrong , what bull shit , i was put out with 30 % for gun shoot wounds i knew veteran that got that for there hearing , it took me 14 years even after my dear mother and brother had me declared insane from 2 drunks i never thought i would get that , i was put in jail and then the V a where they told me i was just lazy that is why i was in there i said let me go but no they would not do that !! THE V A SUCKS MY DEAR DRUNK BROTHER THAT DID NOT GO TO WAR GOT 100 % DISABILITY FOR GETTING PUT AT A DESK AT HIS JOB HE NEVER WENT OT VIETNAM ARE GOT HURT !! HE WORKED AT TINKER AS WEILDER FOR 25 YEARS THEN HAD THIS IDEAL OF FILING FOR DISABILITY TOOK HIM 4 YEARS TOOK ME 14 YEARS HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE ??????????? I HAVE TRYED TO TELL THE VA I GET THE SAME ANSWER MUST OF DESERVED IT BULL SHIT WAS COACHED BY A LAWYER POLLY MURPHY IN OKLAHOMA WHERE HE LIVES IN LEXINGTON OKLAHOMA HAS A WEILDING SHOP THERE WORKING NOW WHILE GETTING 100 % DISABILITY THAT IS HOW F — UP THE V A IS

  7. I said it before that there is no university that offers a degree in mental health. These 34000 mental health workers are just more
    Overpaid hogs at the trough and no one in the VA is ever held accountable for their failures. Just throw more money at the problems. This is government run health care.

  8. The treatment for suicide ideation is the same outside the VA as inside. Treatment places you in with substance abuse detox. A three day program intended to dry you out and end your depression. Part of that may be the CTP program which kicks you completely out of therapy if you don’t fit their criteria. Most suicides come from TBI or other organic problems. No one questions that diabetes type I, an organic organ problem, needs prolonged to the end of life management. But organic brain problems escape that thinking. Because the therapists brain is functioning fine he expects to be able to talk a TBI victim into a fully functioning brain even though it has been diagnosed a damaged?

    The pressure put on the patient to be cured pushes the patient to suicide. Goes for civilians, and veterans, VA treatment and public treatment, HMO treatment or fee based treatment, unless you are rich enough to pay the bill your insurance won’t pay or buy a Cadillac plan that will pay. Then, of course, the big money therapist will take your high end weekly pay for the visit and answer your frequent phone calls.

  9. The problem is all the BS VA throws at vets trying to get help. I tried to get treatment for PTSD, but was told we couldn’t talk about my religious beliefs… The problem is Congress and most of America don’t really care… The problem is we’re not returning fire by writing our legislators and letters to the editors… For years now I’ve said many times I don’t want to use VAMC’s … no one has ever asked me why, very telling… they don’t care.

    • Perhaps you need my therapist. He doesn’t balk at talking about religious beliefs as long as he gets his say about his which are rather rigid.

  10. Hi vetern brothers and sisters. Listen, just pay attention to what is going on with us and the government. This sick to see us die because of PTSD and other health issues. But, mainly mental health. This what some highers behind the scene want! They want us to suicide ourselves, some say we know the truth about what these wars are when we return from the wars and we educate the public. They can’t have that.

    • The only way suicides stop being swept under the rug is if those of us who are checking out take some scumbag employees with them. Then this shit gets a spotlight put on it because the AFGE gets “concerned” afterall…dead folk don’t pay union dues…

  11. The veterans administration is a shit hole! It consists incompetent bottom of the barrel administrators and medical personnel that engaged in torturing, cheating, lying, defrauding and killing American veterans.

  12. WWll Veterans came home with honor, those that were fit were able to enter Harvard, Yale, Stanford. Housing starts and the GI Bill made life good for those who were able to adjust to civilian life.
    Vietnam Vets came home to the Shame Program constructed by President Nixon’s shill, John Kerry. Veterans know about being offered heroin by CIA operatives in Vietnam, then came the burning of our medical/service records, continuous badgering and shaming. How does one adjust to that? Just to be straight on the history lesson here, I was shelled, and shot at numerous times in Vietnam and I gave it back too ( I’d do it again x 20-oh boy!), my superiors were corrupt, the black market thrived for those who wanted wealth, they took it. Many of my peers were injured in Vietnam from gross physical insults to subtle psychological tears at consciousness. None of them were truly recognized for meritorious service. Awarding of medals was for Officers to give other Officers–not enlisted men or draftees. My Unit received the RVN Gallantry Cross for the hell we delivered and endured. I wear it proudly and I’m proud of the people I served with.

    Vietnam was the great corrupter in my lifetime and our government was its host. Leading up to my tour in Vietnam we saw the Russians invade Czechoslovakia ( 30,000 Russian Tanks) Martin Luther King and assassinated and then Bobby Kennedy assassinated, numerous riots across America and the ideological conditioning of the American people that its ok to neglect ourselves and even turn on fellow Americans. Turning on Americans was initialized at VA treatment centers.

    VA treatment today is an outgrowth of the Nixon/Kerry Shame Machine. That shame never leaves us and we are treated that way. The silent message is: Find Honor by Killing Yourself. Whatever you do , do not do anything crazy (like the freedom of speech idea mentioned above) on May Day as May Day is a Communist Celebration Day for Socialist Workers ( In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers’ Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago
    In its current state the Va is a Gangland run by criminals and the suicides that happen daily are The Va’s legacy. VA Appeals Courts are a sham designed to protect Gangland Members. It’s Club Mentality and we Veterans are not members.
    Take care everyone…

    • The WWII veteran stories were never told. That is the difference between John Kerry and his river boats. I’ve told my stories but not to a news organization. I only saw the after math and was told by a Marine officer it was Marines who did it. Babies don’t fight. Not even toddlers. What kind of sick mind goes to war against children. Sick sadistic bastards that just want to see the pain in the eyes of the onlookers held at gunpoint while they kill their children.

      CIA unit interrogating as a corpsman I served with said. My ass. A war crime is a war crime no matter which side you are on. The difference between WWII crimes by Americans and Vietnam is the coverage because of the anti war protests.

    • Of course no one on this board remembers the Sgt. Bales incident in Afghanistan. In his case, I think he went berserk. A TBI induced psychomotor epilepsy incident by my reading, aggravated by alcohol.

      War is hell and all of the sickies come out to do their thing.

      • Lem, Can you tell me where you read that about Bales. I was a route clearance PL in Kandahar Province when that happened and was combat medic previous 12 years prior to that and blaming his actions on TBI induced psychomotor epileptic event is a far stretch but his lawyer probably thinks it’s sounds great. Without knowing the details I would lean more toward alcohol consumption and would just about bet a disassociative hypnotic such as the VA favorite ambian was involved. I’ve seen my share of medical horrors in Iraq, Afghanistan and ER but never an epileptic event where the patient was able to walk to 2 locations and execute civilians all while using his/her rifle, changing magazines etc. seizures usually don’t work that way. Was tense times. I came home with my own TBI, was labeled like many as milinger by many providers and basically made to feel worthless. Fortunately there was a TBI clinical study at my duty station which showed my mTBI aka concussion was actually much more severe that it was labeled. Imagine that explosions cause brain damage but if you dont pass out your labeled as mild and good to go. Took me 4 plus years to get the results of that study and the TBI that the Army said was 10% and didn’t impact my job was all of a sudden 70% makes me unemployable and the list of additional disabilities where finally service connected to the TBI. It’s not just the mental issues, family issues, Blast TBI wrecked my endocrine system, at 31 years old an immediately following injury I developed sleep apnea (central kind which is when brain doesn’t tell you to breath) not the obstructive variety they like to say is due to obesity ( just to point out prior to injury I was ultra marathon runner). VA provider went so far as to tell my spouse I should have recovered after 4months or so. You can imagine what this woman who was now married to a stranger after over ten years thought about that when she was catching the brunt of my BS.

        The VA calls TBI one of the signature injuries of the war, well then why the FU** are they treating vets like they are trying to get over claiming disability strictly for monetary gain. I would wager a large portion of Veterans Suicide is due to undiagnosed TBI. I personally know Engineers who where hit by IEDs over 10 times, blasts that would have resulted in death to personnel in previous wars or units in regular vehicles in OIF/OEF who shake it off and drive on because hey it’s just a headache and you aren’t bleeding so suck it up right. So what happens when all these Heroes come home and don’t know why they are struggling with everything on every level of their career and personal life. THEY GET EXHAUSTED, because living with TBI is EXHAUSTING!!!!!!!!! and rest sounds so good, they don’t necessarily want to die just REST! I know because I live with it everyday.

        Would like to say thank you to all those who came before me, especially you Vietnam Vets, you definitely got the raw deal And still are you guys are amazing and it was reading your stories as a young man that inspired me to enter service at 17 but I would like to voice a concern. Recently I have seen a lot of negative comments about OIF/OEF vets, most of it is good natured shit talking but not all so please don’t discount the service of the young men and women that volunteered during war time knowing full well they would go to combat at some point. Take them underneath your wing and teach them how you managed to get through your challenges. Provide them with a new Tribe that was lost when they left the service and help them reintegrate mentally. The VA honestly can’t do shit to stop Veteran Suicide but we can police each other as a Tribe, as a family just like we did while serving. It could be as simple as a 15 minute call or conversation to let them vent because we all know as long as a warrior is bitching they are ok, it’s when they get quite you need to be worried. Take a minute to call an old friend just to check in, it could make all the difference because I know for me I’m tired of losing Soldiers in the War at Home when we all came back togeather, maybe a little banged up but vertical. I shouldn’t be calling mothers 8 years after the last tour because we lost another hero who already survived through hell most multiple times over multiple tours. If you served you are a servant leader and you don the stop leading just because the uniform comes off.

        Sorry for the Rant had to get that out.

      • Dustin, My analysis of Sgt. Bales incident is from my own experience. I believe Sgt. Bales refused that defense in order to be jailed to keep it from happening again.

        In my case, I didn’t have a gun in hand and hadn’t been drinking which I believe prolonged the event. In my case, being unable to get a gun off the gun rack in a gun store brought me out of the complex partial seizure. In Sgt. Bales case it was probably being unable to start the fire on the pile of bodies.

        What I have to do is, every day, wake up to promising myself to kill myself instead of others. It is necessary to program the conscious side of the brain, the automatic response side, for an alternative action. Combat training programed us to do combat without thought to restrictions. Our subconscious side of the brain has the “reality check function.” When damage to the front (anterior temporal lobes) of the brain interferes with that, our reality check fails to kick in.

        You may be right. Perhaps Sgt. Bales was just a sadist looking for an opportunity, got drunk, and misread the situation. But because of my personal experience I suspect he doesn’t remember most of it but realized what he had done when he came out of a complex partial seizure before finishing. I think that is what happens with most going postal and the killing themselves.

        I’ve gone almost 36 years without another incident but had many untreated complex partial seizures in 31 of those 36 years and many in the 14 years before the nearly going berserk incident. The Navy failed to diagnose and treat. When I got out of the hospital for my TBI there had been a change of command. New officers with only 2 Petty Officers that knew me before at the Dispensary. The highest ranking PO took advantage of the situation. I was “drifty” and my quarterly marks for the next two periods showed it. I improved for about 2 years before starting the downhill stretch from about 1971 through 1990 when I finally gave up trying to be employed. Reducing stress reduced the temporal lobe seizures but I still had enough that I’m now claiming a 80% SC 8045-8911/8914 rating. Hard to tell which, the petite mall or the psychomotor seizures are the predominant. But they have been treated properly since August of 2015 by the VA. An MRI provides the nexus to indicate the complex partial seizures are real along with previous EEG reports showing abnormalities in the same area of the brain and a confirmation based upon the EEG reports and an MVA prior to the diagnosis being changed to uncompensable pseudo seizures.

      • My event lasted more than 1 hour. I apparently drove in rush hour traffic from Downtown LA (Postal Annex) to Northridge before coming out of the seizure. Complex partial seizures are rare partially because they are rarely diagnosed because of the alternative of being etoh or drug induced. I had neither. Only an event that triggered a PTSD reaction.

  13. A.s well, the VA is constructed so that there is no access to anyone of consequence or authority and if you have a legitimate grievance there is NO ONE TO TURN TO EVEN YOUR CONGRESSPERSON
    Unless we organize millions of ,lawyers each of whom can file a lawsuit on behalf of the vet and has a guidance system for doing so from previous CASE LAW, then NOTHING WILL CHANGE. UNLESS THESE BOOBECRATS GET HIT IN THEIR POCKETBOOKS OR ARE ORDERED BY THE COURT TO REMOVE THEMSELVES FROM THE VA. (YOU ARE FIRED, TARRED AND FEATHERED BOOB) NOTHING WILL HAPPEN……………EXCEPT MORE VETERANS COMMITTING SUICIDE…………………………………………………………………….

  14. The Portland VA, and Outpatient Clinics seem to be pretty good, when you’re in front of the doctors. They are responsive, and typically on time. They are good with medical referrals for specialty care and test to evaluate potential or developing medical problems, with the exception of Mental Health. They are, however, in my opinion, scared to help the Vets once a problem is identified with the Comp & Pen people.

    The Primary Care people will tell you things off the record, or how things are likely connected to injuries sustained in service but will only pass forward medical records and not opinions to Comp & Pen. Once in front of Comp & Pen you can have body parts falling off, even presumptive conditions, and they will smile and see the problems, all this to your face, and then months later deny your claim. The same claim the VA and supporting agencies has encouraged you to file. Another way of putting it, you get all the supporting information, buddy letters, as much supporting information from other treating physicians from before you were in the VA System as your primary, and you and the others supporting you are essentially liars in the eyes of the Comp & Pen people. This is especially true for Vietnam Veterans who will have in service medical records, hopefully complete, but often missing things, and stretches of records that may have been destroyed if you were with several doctors over a period since in service. Comp & Pen is not your friend and not to be trusted. They work like workman’s comp, give nothing or the least possible and close the claim. They, Comp & Pen, are simply trying to outlive older Vets.

    The other problem area is with Admin getting information and processing it when Veterans Choice kicks in. Not sure how they train those people, but they have plenty of excuses for all the SNAFUs.

    One might suspect that many of the Vets committing suicide just get frustrated with all the Bravo Sierra, disappointment, and broken promises, and realize it would have been easier if the simply died in theater.

    • You yourself, just painted at least 2 va medical centers as bad with that same brush.

      We all know there are Some very good employees. Problem seems to be there are more bad employees than good.

      They belittle many veterans with PTSD and traumatic tr brain injury calling them fakers and milingers.

  15. “https://youtu.be/TRVEvdMqNM8”
    Please listen.
    Democrats want a single payer for all. They want to take away Tri-Care and put it in their new improved disaster call ACA. Who will it benefit? More than likely the Trespassers coming over our borders.

    • It really gets interesting at about the “5 minute mark.”
      This is what the demoncraps have in store for everyone! A “single payer communist/socialist healthcare system”! The “bill” is being introduced by the demoncraps!

  16. VA is hit and miss. You could have 5 good experiences than one nasty one. There no resolution as they shift these assholes around. Accountability is a 0 unless your a whistle blower than your gone. We have a benefits crisis were people are waiting 10 years! Thats nutts! Cleveland suicide wasn’t known to congressional leaders and senate in Cleveland. I informed them because I keep up with the veteran news. The whole system sucks they leave you to die make you wait years! No body seems to give a shit and the hearing I saw seemed worthless nothing will get accomplished as thousands more die. One congressional leader seemed clueless at the hearing

  17. Ben Still waiting on spar. I was told if I wanted it from vba I would have to request it from them as well. Is Spar not connected

    BEN SPAR

  18. Pisses me off! They don’t care, even if some do they are not involved or pay attention to every vet. This is happening because the shitty people in mental health and PCP. I have argued till blue in the face that someone with mental health problems is the responsibility of the PCP and mental health. If something seems not right they need to talk or use their stupid messaging system. I am a mess and wish younger so could spend more time riding their sorry asses. It starts with receptionist and the cold personality is unwelcoming. Congress needs to get rid of the Union and stop spending time on worthless topics. Cameras are on and they always say it’s our priority and then shit on the floor at the entrance.

  19. Since it’s implied in the article that calling the Veteran’s Crisis Line might not be as helpful as they lead us to believe, could you add a number people who are having suicidal thoughts can call? So they don’t read this and think there is no hope.

    • If call your psychiatrist, the message is ridiculously long giving information that would want to make everyone jump. Who would be looking for help and listen to long phone numbers and prompts, if serious to help would have quick number to call. Very simple to have like a 911 number as 2323 and goes to help and shows called if hang up so can call back, if no answer, call for a health and welfare check. Don’t even know what requirements they have to answer calls. All this nonsense is taking a toll free on me, the VA causes so much stress and constantly acting like assholes problems get worse and stories as this make no one accountable. What have done to me is a horror story and opens up eyes to see who is involved covering asses. It’s sickening, I excelled at whatever job had and can’t imagine the time it takes, people involved with a goal to make miserable to the point of taking your life. The VA needs to explain why happened and who’s responsibility caused this and because most times nothing happens people don’t care. I could never be able to plot someone’s demise, it’s unbelievable what they do and if explained looking for help outside the VA you look like a lunatic and brushed aside. Since my health has quickly changed who I was, with little help, my life is ruined and caused laughter at the water cooler. Who can do this and live with themselves for doing such things and nothing is done except making changes to their records to show given the correct treatment.

    • Have you called JW? I have. Unless you have a gun in your hand or have just taken a load of pills or as in my case, before the call center, a plastic bag and a quart of whiskey with the bag over your head and ready to draw the drawstring closed, the call center can do nothing but talk. They can’t get any real help. Just call 911 to have your house invaded on the suspicion that you may be about to harm yourself or others. It is not something to call unless you are at that point. They have responsibility but no authority. They can’t get you in a neurobehavioral unit if you feel in danger of a psychomotor epilepsy event that may make you a danger to others and thus you are considering that finale exit as a intervention.

      I’m planning to do a fast to the death on the steps of the CAVC because the courts aren’t helping with this problem. I’m getting older and more likely to have one of those psychomotor events I’ve experienced in the past. I won’t waste my time as I have in the past calling that number.

      • Sorry having a hard time and know exactly what saying. I am not proud of it, but have 3 failed attempts over the years and they have been erased and never happened in the eyes of the VA, it’s disgusting. The only place that knows the extent of my problems both physical and mental and get angry with me for no other reason than sick, it’s ridiculous. There is no place to complain, everyone in the system from the veteran assistant in your senator’s office to veteran organizations and patient advocate. Everyone is on a first name basis getting laughs and wasting time getting paid for when they should be complaining to the Union because someone said that they only work 1 hour and 45 minutes and they won’t stand for this harassment when they know for a fact they work 2 hours in an 8 hour day and sometimes no matter how much it hurts, the toll it takes bringing home the anger to go above and beyond days when they work 2 hours and 19 minutes some days! There are some good people that work at the VA, some chased out because have morals and can’t watch the crap going on. If lucky to get a good PCP, cares, knows the ropes and checks with specialist in person rather than reading notes, count your blessings. I had incredible doctor not only do all those things, he would call to check on me. Then hell came 7yrs ago when retired. Does not matter how call centers there are or how great the staff is when the VA causes life to become meaningless. Hope things get better. God Bless

    • In 1976 I was picked up in my apartment and taken to Long Beach VAMC where 4 patients had committed suicide in the year 1974-1975. It wasn’t that far into 1976. And I know why those 4 committed suicide after I had to check out without pain meds and go to a private hospital to get pain relief. And my record shows I’m not a druggy. No JW, the suicide hotline is a waste of time. Would never try to use it again.

  20. The reason 2/3 of the veterans op out of the VA is because are denied, are charged for the services, or live to far from the facility. When the system quits denying our veterans the disability ratings they rightly deserve and give them free health care for service connected health issues you will see these kinds of things die down. Most vets won’t appeal VA decisions and the VA denies them. I’m sure out of those 2/3 rds not using the system 90 percent were denied service related health care. Very poor article.

  21. Cortez is changing her stance on the VA – AGAIN. Now, this past weekend, she said she’ll “…listen more to vets than to…” than the VA’s public relations office.
    Cortez admits it IS broken.
    Of course, she still hasn’t changed her mind over “…everyone must use the VHA!”
    Could this be what the demoncraps want?

    • How did she get elected? This Country is so screwed, officials elected by voters that don’t understand basic civics and get all their info from Facebook meme.

      Becoming Expat looking better and better

  22. Vet suicide top VA priority? How? With an overpriced and ineffective suicide hotline? Try again. The fact are stubborn. With all the nonsense BS coming out of VA, the numbers aren’t going down.

  23. Welcome to the Dog and pony show! I seen a FEW people who gave up their soap opera watching time to address this TOTALLY FUCKED UP ELEPHANT STANDING ON THE FLOOR. Man are we in trouble. “https://armedservices.house.gov/hearings?ID=83A49F7B-7640-4C60-AD68-5EA7A9E56B63”

  24. The hearing was crap last night nothing will ever get done news articles starting to flow people are upset with the hearing. Wish I was part of it I say what everyone else scared to say. Complete horse shit.

  25. Vets are scared to call suicide number when they are being met by swat, shot and thrown into the courtroom. People need to realize if police show up at your door your not obligated to talk to them or even open the door. We have had so many people shot. Not saying all cops are bad we just lost some vets over nonsense

  26. April 30, 2019

    Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur
    2186 Rayburn Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Dear Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur:

    Following the recent suicide outside the Cleveland VA you noted that this “was a tragedy”. I do not take issue with that however; it was also a “NATIONAL DISGRACE”. The VA has the use of ketamine (IV) available to avert suicide ideation in a period of 15 minutes as well as the ability to prescribe ketamine nasal spray and the newest FDA approved drug for depression, Spravato (which IS NOT CURRENTLY BEING UTILIZED though it is available on the market and FDA approved). The Veterans Administration has failed to prescribe any of these drugs on a regular basis and prefers (obviously) to allow 20 veterans a day to kill themselves (many under VA treatment).
    It is REPREHENSIBLE that the Veterans Administration refuses to use every means at its disposal to curtail the suicides that occur under the watchful eyes of the mental health, psychiatric and psychological staff at the VA.
    Now that you have received this letter, you know about the solution to this terrible problem and I leave it in your good hands and that of the Secretary of Health of the Veterans Administration to do something about this immediately. The treatment noted above has already been tested for years at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the VA has refused to use it. Any further deaths (veterans due to suicide) currently being served at Veterans Administration Hospitals leaves blood on the hands of the Veterans Affairs Department including, but not limited to Dr. Richard A. Stone, the Secretary of Health for the Veterans Administration.
    I expect that you will write back to me in a FORM LETTER advising me that “you are looking into the issue” or some other non-committal wording. I trust, as does the public, that you will not ignore my letter because I am not a part of your constituency at this moment in time. The issue of 20 veterans committing suicide, many of whom are VA patients, is taking place on your watch. you and other Congressional representatives as well as the Director of the Veterans Administration, Robert Wilkie and Dr. Richard A. Stone (executive in charge of the Veterans health Administration) have a responsibility to actively reduce the amount of suicides among all veterans. Not to take action is malfeasance as you are markedly aware.
    We all look forward to hearing from you concerning your efforts to take affirmative action extending the use of these lifesaving drugs, which have been tested for years at Federal agencies and resulted in a substantial reduction of suicidal ideation in a period of 15 minutes.

    I remain,
    Respectfully yours,

    Cc: Elizabeth Sullivan,Editor, Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Dave Philipps, Editor, The New York Times

    Martin Baron Editor, The Washington Post

    Dr. Robert Stone, Veterans Administration, Veterans health
    Administration

  27. i am sorry about that that is very sad can anybody tell me about the new law on the gold star family and suriving widow and widower and remarriage and marriage the bill is h.r.1911 thank you

    • Mrs. Ruple,

      Here is a link to the full text of the bill, so that you can read it yourself.

      “https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr1911/text”

  28. A surviving spouse of a deceased member of the armed forces, regardless of the marital status of the surviving spouse, who has guardianship of dependent children of the deceased member, is entitled to use commissary stores and MWR retail facilities to the same extent and on the same basis as the unremarried surviving spouse of a member of the uniformed services.
    THIS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SUICIDE TODAY AT THE CLEVELAND VA

  29. Duty to Assist? Sure I understand what that means now after all the B.S. that facility and there satellite agencies did to me, Instead of helping they did the opposite, They said to me, you will never get S.S.D.I., that I was to young and didn’t look my age, Thats pure Discrimation, there Federally Funded, They lied about everything about me, rewrote University Hospital findings, rewrote C and P examination, Anything they found related to Desert Storm they left off of my problem list, No wonder Veterans fill trapped and off themselves, they only help themselves, there Co workers, and family and friends, Seen it, heard it and read it first hand, They, V.A. employees called me a rapist, then Rapist Berger, really? Be cause of my hat and shirt? Also it states in there notes , that they may have put a permanent tattoo in side of my colon so the can find this part later? I Swear they were experiment in on me when I read there notes and found other stuff the did to me,If they really want to give this Veteran a Choice, offer the Veteran a one time buyout. Hire some greeters, like Walmart does, a simple hello, how are you? Could really help some Veterans.

  30. What if veterans combine efforts toward rewriting the military employment contract? A list of struggles with historic and potential abuses from drugs, chemical exposures, vaccine, psychological, radiation, and other testing, all because of ignorance due to non-disclosure, could be made and appropriately laid out in a new proposed military employment contract.

    1) Corporate panhandlers should be required to provide a publicly available military employment contract.

    2) New recruits should be mandated to read every word of a military employment contract – before signing – out loud in front of a non-military witness; perhaps a parent or friend?

    3) New recruits should be required to wait at least 1 month before signing up to enlist to allow time to process what they’ve read, ask questions, and be sure this is what they want to do.

    4) Recruiting from high schools should end. If someone wants to serve corporations, they should be willing and able to find a recruiter to hire their services. Yes?

    The most common recruitment story I’ve listened to inevitably includes, “I didn’t sign up to be a cheap mercenary working for corporate America, which is why I lost (insert loss/es) due to insufficient gear (… protection, munitions, other support).”

    What would happen to our country’s military defense, war-based economic survival, non-military patriotism, and national security? Do we really have national security as things are? What is being secured? Not us. How often do we really serve national defense? Aren’t we mostly (completely?) protecting corporate panhandling with our lives and families’ futures? These and other questions should be discussed by those who have served in all manner of capacities. Those of us who did not serve in combat learned a few things and there surely are reasons why so many non-combat veterans commit suicide. I have even noticed military dependents – including children – have a clue and a solution to unncessary loss of lives: protect essential rights that all humans are born with, mind our own back yard, stop allowing a handful of hyper agressive psycho / sociopathic dictatators to control us.

    There is much we can do, if we imagine the possibility and set about making that possibility a reality.

    Back to the inital proposition: How about creating dialogue for the possibility of settings things as right as possible at the beginning of a military career, to prevent further growth of the wicked wart called the VA?

    Just discussing the rewriting of the military employment contract could make lawmaking hearts skip a few beats. How fast that discussion would be shut down – and by whom – would be an excellent indicator of being on the right track toward preventing future veteran suicides as much as possible.

    If all of this seems like crazy talk, what do you suggest? It is heartbreakingly apparent that drastic change is needed. If we remain silent about our ideas for changing the status quo, do we become duplicitous in our demise and that of others?

    Each of you has a fighting spirit. I know you do because you’re here. What is it that we can do together, to prevent future veteran suicides? What more can we do to expose and oust VA drug pushing abuses? How can we better support ourselves during this crisis. How might we help others as much as they will allow? Isn’t it a fact that we might better serve our country’s ignorant population by first helping ourselves, because we have seen that what comes to us comes to them? Which brings me back to seeking discussion about rewriting the military employment contract.

    Thoughts?

    • Catherine,

      Your posting may seem like Crazy Talk but there was a time when a document that began with the words “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation . . . ” also seemed the same.

      If one listens to history hard enough, one can hear George William Frederick’s shouts of “Bloody Colonial Terrorists” echoing through the ages . . .

      Best idea I have read on this board in the last two years.

    • Catherine, add your propositions to the list of others out here, but it’s all sadly easier said than done. Years of experience and Phd’s from the universities of hard knocks instilled in me there is no networking of vets or the concerned, no unity, not much dialog or ability to do so, too much fear and retaliation. No real media on our side, no transparency top to bottom, all the censoring, too many and kinds of activists, corrupt nepotism, broken judiciary, broken gov, sick uncaring academics, corrupt predatory “professionals” are just a few issues that can be hit with the big brush.

      Communities like mine have gone out of their way to ensure we do not network or form any kind of group for change, air grievances (“whine”), or to exchange info or meet up for coffee safely even. What happens when all lines of communication, news, or certain discussions about issues are cut? Zero support from any VSOs, outreach groups or some other lip service we hear on TV. Or the lying propaganda we get locally about “Human Rights” from academia but not for us, not really for White people nor veterans cause we are labeled war mongers or worse. And we are not allowed to dare question anyone or anything, expected to bow and assimilate into the group-think of college life that is now town politics. Oh and union rule and don’t dare blemish the VA’s staff or affiliates.

      I’ve tried and done it all. “There is much we can do?” Nice pep talk and proposals and good luck with finding support while taking on the corporations, activist, DC, secret clubs, “professional groups,” globalist, perpetual war machines, all the anti-Americans out there and union nation. I went public and put my FB page out here too. For one to show others what happens to those trying to expose deep-seated corruption full circle and and the networks of evil that rule things. Two, to do what others fear doing for whatever reasons. Three, to piss off the fascist, two party tyrants serving the same masters, psychopaths, the narcissists, sociopaths, etc., that can not stand anyone questioning them or trying to expose them in any way. And that bullying, death threats, trying to burn my home down, the retaliation, intimidation, unions, or academic thuggery, does not and will not silence me.

      Oh and not to forget the threat from the VA pain clinic orientation freak saying if we didn’t sign the special contract with the new VA and pain management demands to get meds and be “ordered” forced on head dope plus other insane demands… “we’d never find health care in Indiana again”…. (much more said) wasn’t mere threats but reality. Who cares? No-one, zip, nada, not one iota of support or concern but plenty of haters and attack dogs coming out the woodwork like cockroaches.

      The VA nor civilian care, nor unions, et al, give a damn about us or a percentage of us and that includes the activist and corrupt in all health care fields. And the numbers of suicide given is BS in my opinion. Gotta run.

  31. I pray, cry and asked why deserve. I was a good person, respected in the community and now I can’t walk out my front door. If you complain to someone searched for to listen and ruffle feathers? Your life can become shit quickly and they know exactly what to do making life miserable. This extremely hard to do when you think life couldn’t be worse. I have too many physical problems and nothing comes close than severe depression and anxiety. I don’t care how strong you believe you are it’s not enough. I was a big boy, fit 230lbs and nothing I feared. When they start messing with the chemicals in your brain not sure exactly how work and just keep trying other medications along with shock therapy, it will make you shit your pants calling for mommy. Instead of wasting so much money, like trolling veterans on every social media site to gather information and coming unwanted into your life acting as someone else, nothing will get better. They chewed me up and spit me out making wanting to kill myself. God must of gave the strength to stay alive, but doubt if was the right decision. My advice to anyone with enough problems to take your life, the hotline will do nothing and can make worse. There are so many great military groups on Facebook, with many with the same problems that if join a group that enjoy and be vocal could be the best help can get. People can see by posts if behavior changes or talking out of character mentioning self harm that many will go to great lengths to help. Some are big enough where there’s someone is close and will stop by to talk, they also know who to call to help. I don’t believe anything better and if no problems they are a good place to bullshit helping know life is worth hanging around. Just don’t message me, I am a wreck and poop my pants. God Bless

  32. People are now on the campaign trail for President. If we attend their meetings and events and put them on the “hot seat” about specific things they intend to do for veterans the whole audience gets to hear the answer. A strong group of veterans participating in these events can make a difference. But they must stick together and demand answers BEFORE people are elected to office. They must demand the VA do actual things like provide ketamine IV’s and Spravato to depressed and suicidal veterans and do so immediately if elected, only hire qualified psychologists and psychiatrists to man Suicide hotlines. Only hire people who understand depression, suicide, grief, survivors guilt, anger, etc. They must demand that every veteran be permitted t see outside doctors at VA expense without any requirements (such as approval from VA doctors). Veterans, as a group must demand promises while they are running – before they are elected.

  33. Reading this makes me want to commit suicide also .help is just a word now adays not a mere definition in america.as a veteran no one gives a fuck where we go or seek help to. This is enough to create armed veterans to group up start commencing war.i hope the shit hits the fan so hard in 2020.if veterans dont get the care they need.i want to see absolute seperation of this corrupted democracy..younger vets just need to group up start taking war out on the beaurcracy .enough is enough .government trying to push us out ,fuck why not bring up a violent fight.its happened before and we won!

  34. Dave, I think military members and thus veterans after their active duty serve) are taught to “go along with the program”) hence when they get out of active duty and get into the VA system, they follow the rules like “sheep to the slaughter”. How many veterans give testimony to Congress before legislation is passed on their behalf? Every, and I mean every, veteran on this site needs to write to their Congress representatives and Senators and tell them what they think about legislation that is before the Congress or Senate. Write specifically to those on the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees. Complaining on a web site alone is not, I repeat NOT EVER, going to bring about any change.

    • Judith, if you don’t go along with the program, you may wake up one day, going through your file for a CAVC appeal and realize you’ve been the brunt of whistle blower retaliation. Missing documents, whole medical file lost at one point, mistreated with a med you were never supposed to have been given because of the probability it would make you more of a zombie than you already were per the Physicians Desk Reference, Not treated with a recommended drug for your temporal lobe seizures for 47 years, etc.

  35. Maybe someone can draft a letter we all send to each and every Congressman and woman and every Senator so that the issues all get out!

    • Yeah. And as soon as word gets out among the staffers who see it (at various offices) about the letter, a few of them will get together to compare them. Won’t take long for them to realize that it is naught but a form letter.

      The answer is for each and every veteran to take time to do it themselves. And make sure to keep a copy for later use, if need be.

      There is nothing that substitutes for an individually composed, printed letter on paper.

      Here are the members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs:

      Democrats:
      Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), Chairman
      Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26)
      Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-04)
      Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-14)
      Congressman Mike Levin (CA-49)
      Congressman Max Rose (NY-11)
      Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22)
      Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39)
      Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03)
      Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
      Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC-01)
      Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02)
      Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01)
      Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32)
      Congressman Collin Peterson (MN-07)
      Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands)

      Republicans:
      Rep. Dr. Phil Roe (R-TN), Ranking Member
      Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL)
      Rep. Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa)
      Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)
      Rep. Dr. Neal Dunn (R-FL)
      Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI)
      Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN
      Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
      Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA)
      Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS)
      Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX)
      Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL)

      • James Clement, great up-dated listing. Thanks for the time and effort doing it.

        Form letters at best. Expensive when you try contacting these clowns and others by certified snail-mail with return notice of receipt. Bout seven bucks a pop if I remember correctly.

        I tried the bombarding tactic and it didn’t work either. I was informed when calling over no return calls or attempts of communication that contacting more than one office, agency, politician, etc., was redundant, wast of their time, creates confusion if more than one is used or contacted, blah blah. Was informed about this by my states VA agencies, Congressman, Senator and no use contacting others or the locals. Or told they received no communications. Nice.

        When seeing one dude from Florida about vet affairs on C-span I think it was and told watchers to contact him over veteran issues and corruption to contact him. I sent a letter and called. Can’t remember his name, a young dude, vet, and claimed to visit his local VA hospital frequently. Staff reply was he could do nothing about issues in other states and any of them can only help their own local constituents. That was not what he said on the news. Got this reply over and over many times over. Including one in the past that was supposed to be a hero for vets in Illinois .. Duckworth. But I think she had her own agendas.

        They were all good at passing the buck and having me chase my tail and spend days and hours on the phone playing games, phone tag, waiting. Or being told to go back to the agencies and reps who they claimed was their position to aid. Not so. Some were forewarned I’d be contacting them with my issues and grievances too and told they didn’t know why I was told to contact them even if they were over VA affairs. Why contact others to do just what before-hand? It wasn’t to help. So the games continue. If I was an illegal I’d get some attention and anything I need. But then again Indiana is a “hands-off state” and totally protected by the corrupt regimes and have been for generations.

    • @T – – – Contacting them by certified snail mail sure is expensive. I know all about it. Been doing it (when necessary due importance of content) for better than last 4 years. Have spent a lot of money (especially when I was a homeless vet in Hawaii) that I could have used to make myself a bit more comfortable, or on food – – – for postal fees. It was that important to me.

      Form letters are OK to the point where I can write one letter, then send copies to 30 or 40 people. They all get the same information. I write my letter about the VA and send it to every one of the members of the committee. You write your letter doing the same. You and I will be writing different letters, although a lot of common overlap will exist. If EVERY veteran who reads this blog were to do the same (with a targeted send date, some common points for reform, and some national media contacts to CC) then those individual letters would have a much greater impact, than just a singular letter that everyone cut/copied/pasted/printed/signed/mailed.

      If I receive 300 letters and 275 of them have a 85% or higher word-count sequencing match rate, guess what that tells me? How many of them do you think I will bother reading?

      If I receive 300 letters and 1% of them have a 85% or higher word-count sequencing match rate, what would that tell me?

      As a few folks on the board know – – – one of my relatives is an office manager for a senator. That’s all I will say about that.

      Yes, it takes a LOT of discipline, work, sacrifice to get something of the magnitude of beginning honest substantive reform at the Veterans Administration. I am not out of the fight yet.

      I know you are aware of that. You have been quite the activist in your area. THAT I know for an ironclad fact.

      I must commend and encourage Catherine’s idea though. We see too few ideas on this board.

      Hope this finds you well.

      • Correction to my last: Relative is Office Manager for Representative vice Senator. Got senators on the brain this morning, as am in middle of final redraft of outgoing letter.

      • James, I’m hanging in there and doing okay, so far.

        You used a word… “targeting.” I can commend and encourage Catherine’s ideas and motivation too, and another need or want. However, “Thoughts” on the subject? “Contracts,” side issues instead of the targeted immediate needs while so many out here are dying and suffering is yet still another distraction to me that is thrown in the pot to be stirred around. Suicides vs Contracts etc. Apples or oranges.

        Example, kind of. I go to local vet groups, outreach, or councils and wish to discuss serious issues over the VA, censoring, suicides, the issues *why* people are not supporting vet parades, state or community dis-allowing us to group-up or communicate among our injured and grieving selves, or why so many are not joining their “legions.” Old timers walking away from their activities or life long VSO functions, in part my enemies, due to zero support and such while they wonder why. Then all the other issues and distractions come in to play. Or is more high priority to them all. Flags on graves, lack of funding for them or not enough tax dollars given by the county for such a thing. To wanting members for their many bike clubs, or how well everything is for them, etc. The selling of bricks to path a college tribute to vets, pretending to care. Then to parties, Bingo, battles between the services, plenty of time spent on back-patting too, and everything else under the sun while the side issues to me are dividing attention, focus, on more immediate needs, not wants. This is after all life and death and time is not on our side while some may keep repeating the mantra… “give em time.” Give the VA or those at the top.. time. Heard that from the seventies till now, not much change. There in lies the issues of ‘herding cats’ and veterans, or the public.

        Not knocking her, just some of my thoughts on the subject. Like my daily thoughts of how many vets died today, committed suicide and how, the suffering. The censoring that purely pisses me off and publically supported. My mind can’t escape things at the top of my own priority list.

        Have a good and safe day out there.

      • @T I could not agree more. What got me thinking about how we are snookered at sign up, is that Ben Krause already covers what you’re talking about. Because there are a few good souls like Ben working to straighten things out publicly – which I am absolutely no good at – for a long time I’ve been trying figure out how future suicides might be prevented, and how to keep issues from accumulating so fast.

        Enlistment is where people are first hoodwinked with unclear legalese. After that, it’s bogus legislation and changes made to our benefits and care that we’re not informed about in a timely manner.

        I’ve tried to address lawmakers and legislators and lobbyists. They just don’t care.

        Enlistment though… if civilians were more explicitly informed without the whitewashing of VA’s and other propaganda, then the conditioning that keeps us feeding bankers and a handful of socio / psychopaths everything we’ve got, might start to crack and fall apart.

        I do hear what you’re saying. Lots of busy-ness that amounts to not much and money goes everywhere except where it should. I already wrote Ben Krause to say I want to be a bee in the VA’s bonnet. One way or another, I will. I’ve had it, too.

        Thank you for your comments. I feel better that it isn’t just me.

      • @T – – – Yes, I did use the phrase “Targeted Send Date”. I am sure you know why, as in we would want all these letters to be on their way by a specific date. With the new Mail Security Screening Procedures for Legislative and Executive Officials now in effect, it is possible to calculate (within a 48 hour window) when the bulk of those letters would be received. Add XX time for staff processing – – – then something is casually is leaked to the press, who then goes knocking on doors asking questions.

        The same methods that would place 48 BGM-109 (Tomahawk) Cruise Missiles fired from 6 different ships hundreds of miles apart on top of a single airfield within 15 seconds of time, will also work with a letter writing campaign. Because other things would also be happening at the same time.

        Now, to your response to my posting:

        Yes, suffering, living veterans immediate needs must be attended to first by the VA. I have not seen Catherine post here before the last few days, but I am quite sure that you remember my Ten Point Plan that I have been espousing for well over two years now. I think that a lot of that is valid, and I am revising it to incorporate the VBA as well. What should really happen is that the entire claim process should never take more than 180 from start to finish. There are ways to make that happen.

        I see her wanting to revise the Enlistment Contract as something that does need to be done for future generations. But it is Priority 3 tasking. Priority 1 tasking is to stop the hemorrhaging of the VA/AFGE, and to reverse their priorities of care. Right now it is Union Members and other Personnel first, Veterans last. That MUST be reversed.

        I agree with you on a lot of things. The dinosaur VSO’s got quite a bit of it wrong. Placing flags on graves using taxpayer money to “honor” the dead is just plain wrong. The dead do not care, and a flag ain’t going to bring them back. You really want to honor the veterans who have made ‘the ultimate sacrifice’? You do it by taking proper care of the veterans who are still living and suffering every single day.

        I do not belong to any of the VSO’s. I did my duty honorably, paid a very high price for it, and that should be enough. All I want is justice in my case. I will not quit fighting until I receive it, or die. But if I am to die by my own hand, I will damn sure make a statement that will send a message. My last act of service to my brothers and sisters who have suffered so much.

        Today, I once again had to call upon all my self-restraint when some insincere clueless motherfucker heard me conversing with someone in public, then made a point to interrupt me to ‘Thank me for my service’. I wanted to get up and choke them into unconsciousness. Rotten Bastards. I just don’t need the assault charge at this point in my life.

        I hear you about Priority Lists, Buddy. I appreciate your wise counsel.

        And my time is running out. As you know, I keep my problems off this board. But I do have them. Still, if I can – – – I would like to help her. But what she is embarking upon is a project that will take years, if not decades to realize fruition.

        Glad to hear you are doing alright. 72 without sleep. Maybe I’ll get some today.

        You take good care.

      • Catherine. Living in a town with four major colleges I’ve had opportunities to discuss the recruitment/enlistment issues too. Or how my recruiter lied to me and others to suck us in. But I keep hearing ‘oh my how things have changed today… you ancient dude.’ I couldn’t get family to understand some things and not join any military/corporate service but they want the benefits, education possibles and simply, basically,… a job.

        Then that can lead us to side-line discussions of massive influx of illegals, refugees, whatever, and they come first for the American way and free stuff, health care or attention. Colleges want “international students” not so much of Americans. Then on to the realities of low employment opportunities, kids with diplomas having to join up just to get a job, to pay off insane student loan debts, credit cards, etc. Or live with mommy and daddy making some money playing activist for Soros in their basement on a keyboard to disrupt others in need. Or find a way to get on some kind of welfare for life while being healthy. Or get paid to attack people like us in every way imaginable… and with glee they will.

        Then to propaganda about claimed good economic situations, employment numbers up while also claiming alarming increasing rates of “unemployment opportunities,” epidemic “food insecurity” and poverty rates exploding. We will never hear truth. Yep most have to sign up to get some kind of job/employment. Yet the sheep are silent swallowing the confusing Kool Aid. While the government is wanting to bring in more visa workers, train ‘refugees’ to get VA and government positions, free academia/tuition/stuff to getting illegals their green cards to do the same and on it goes. I am asked… ‘what are we supposed to do old man?” You lousy baby boomers that ruined it for the rest of us “millennials” and youth? “Your generation ruined it for the rest of us.” “You and your fathers got it all and for the cheap.” I’ve heard it all. Those with mighty degrees digging ditches to those not wanting any jobs that will dirty their hands or beneath them. Oh, and the insights from those ‘professional students’ who somehow keep in college gathering up degrees and not doing anything with those degrees, but play activist against anything they don’t like or against their own college agendas. It’s really a mess beyond repair.

        Oh and careful about being a bee in the VA’s bonnet. Depending on location their retaliation and all those connected or associated with them, the identity politics, activist, is no joke. There are reasons why we are getting hit hard by censors, social media, activist, the MSM and many others out to destroy us and this country. Cover thine butt and hope you have some around you with some spine and intestinal fortitude, guts.

  36. “However, please note that some veterans who call the hotline report that they receive visits from police shortly after calls.”

    Yep. My brother called just to vent some. Five officers, yes FIVE, showed up at his door 30 minutes later.

  37. @Catherine,
    What you are proposing is fine in the civilian corporate operation of business practice, but it will never translate where DoD/VA combine as separate, or even cohesive limbs on the Executive Branch.

    Not too many years ago, I seem to recall some major scandal issues with recruiting practices at schools and in general.

    How many of us can put our hands on an exact copy of the paper induction contract we signed? Even if we signed the triple carbon copy version from the ‘olden days’, what is to prove that each page has exactly the same wording on each of them?

    Today everything is electronically signed and we have absolutely no idea what the actual true wording is, of whatever we read off of the little screen or are told we are signing! Even if we are handed a paper version to read, how are we to know that that is the actual verbatim verbiage of the computerized version we ultimately have electronically signed. All of this electronic computerized “sign here” stuff can be manipulated at will and even years later, and if any of the wording has been changed thusly, how are we to prove it?

    Can we really trust that if we are told the travel pay signature “didn’t go through” and we have to re-sign, that we really aren’t signing some newfangled crap we know nothing about?

    I have learned along the way, don’t trust UNTIL verified, and even then, hold onto some skepticism.

    We will always get burned when trusting “I’m with the government, and I’m here to help.”

    • “Today everything is electronically signed and we have absolutely no idea what the actual true wording is, of whatever we read off of the little screen or are told we are signing! Even if we are handed a paper version to read, how are we to know that that is the actual verbatim verbiage of the computerized version we ultimately have electronically signed. All of this electronic computerized “sign here” stuff can be manipulated at will and even years later, and if any of the wording has been changed thusly, how are we to prove it? ”

      THAT is the biggest danger of all legally and administratively speaking. YOU are held responsible for what you sign – – – but in our “high tech, move a mile a minute” society, most people do not even bother to read documents BEFORE affixing their John or Jane Doe on them.

      I made that mistake only once in my life. You can damn well bet I learned a good lesson from it.

      “We will always get burned when trusting “I’m with the government, and I’m here to help.”

      Truer words never spoken.

  38. Many of us understand that the end of life choices made by some of our brethren is directly related to the lack of the medical care promised to them. As we know, many ‘care’ provisions have been drastically revised in recent years. Group 1 patients are exponentially the largest group to which VHA has to provide that care. If you read the Group 1 class of the segregated care in the hierarchy, you’ll notice it includes everyone with sc of 50% or more and all of our brethren coming home. I am not in any manner dissing any medical care earned and to be provided for every veteran. But, where I am going with this, is to wonder how much of a correlation is to be had with the combined lack of a finely tuned cohesive mission, among all VISN’s, to provide that much touted ‘stellar’ medical care to/for all veterans that are now in their system.

    There is talk of expanding VHA to include EVERY veteran into the VHA system, whether we want that much Uncle tracking, or not! These nimrods can’t even handle what they already have under the VHA umbrella, so let’s add millions more!

    I have not done the research to find the source of the most recent Group 1 changes. I am comfortable assuming its roots are in Congress and might stem from efforts to assist a large veteran constituency.

    In recent years Uncle has granted five years of primary VHA care to new veterans. Has anyone thought about that from the perspective of the PTB at VBA? Everyone fighting for their sc proof of nexus has likely been told on several occasions and by various sources, that the decisions from VHA providers (and via C&P) are the only prime factors considered by the committee. So, if VHA provided care is your only initial proof toward nexus, and you have x# of years after discharge to prove your compensable damages, and if you require a specialized diagnosis from outside of the VHA facility but within VHA controlled Choice care, (and never will a diagnosis ever be given by any staff or contracted provider for VHA insured patients) to enable a positive result for sc compensation… and run on and on it goes.

    I have to wonder just how much of a contribution this ‘new’ farcical system for proof of nexus, ‘gifted?’ from an infinitely questionable VHA system, that has been woefully understaffed with seasoned top tier professionals, and those also being allowed to provide honest diagnoses without repercussion from non-Hospitalists in VISN/Facility Director positions lording over them…
    Just how much of this scenario is creating the sad state, for this amount of end of life choices by our brethren?

    One fact can not be disproved, it sure saves Uncle from having to compensate due veterans and their families.

  39. Sorry for going off topic Ben, you need to look at and report on this issue. thanks

    VA’s Fraudulent Billing Practices Affect Everyone.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is not supposed to bill insurance companies (including Medicare) for treatment of veterans injuries that were sustained in the line of duty (aka service connected-conditions).

    The VA can and does bill veterans healthcare insurances for healthcare costs that are not related to service-connected conditions.

    I am too young to be eligible for Medicare but am lucky enough to be able to afford Blue Cross insurance and the VA bills my private insurance for both service-connected and non-service-connected conditions.

    Two days ago I received several packets of explanation of benefits that the Roseburg VA had recently billed to my Blue Cross Blue Shield (BC/BS) insurance during 2018 for treatment for service connected conditions.

    The cost for treating my service connected conditions should not have been passed on to my insurance and when it was, the VA billed my insurance significantly more than they paid the providers for this treatment.

    Here are some examples. For treatment on March 27, 2018 the VA billed my Blue Cross on March 30, 2019 $705.56. The Roseburg VA was billed for these services in the amount of $243.38. The VA only paid $107.56 to the provider and the provider wrote off $135.82. Blue Cross reimbursed the Roseburg VA for $319.48.

    December 19, 2018 the VA billed BC/BS $1,001.68. The VA was billed $492.00 by the provider and paid the provider $168.12. The provider wrote off $322.18. BC/BS reimbursed the VA $621.45 for this claim.

    These are just two claims in a stack of 32 explanation of benefits I received from BC/BS where the VA over-billed them and wrongfully billed for service-connected conditions. This is just one provider and this is not all inclusive. Orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons I’ve seen for service-connected conditions were also billed.

    This VA fraud as I am choosing to call it, drives up the cost of medical care and insurance premiums that affect everyone. BC/BS is looking into this.

    What if this dishonest practice goes beyond the Roseburg VA and includes all veterans nationwide? I can’t imagine what those number$ would look like.

    Mike Berns
    Brookings Oregon

  40. Just saw article vet that set on fire was from Georgia to completely forgot .They got problems in georgia

  41. I was wounded in Iraq and suffer from a TBI AND PANIC ATTACKS. The VA Provides don’t listen to you they ignore you. I will probably die during a panic attack due to the lack of caring.
    I spent 3 days in the ICU plus one at the local hospital because the look and care about what my body was going through. A hypertension crisis a diabetic crisis with dka and a severe panic attack.
    This good of been prevented if the VA would of worked on each problem instead of ignoring them.

  42. Third try ^.^ The form at this link may not be the most current form, but if this is in the wild, then the current enlistment contract surely is somewhere. I’ll keep looking. (If this becomes a triple post, I apologize. The first and second try are still waiting for moderation.) Also, today I found my original enlistment agreement from 1978. It could be interesting to compare agreements from different years.

    It is this peon’s opinion that appealing to puppets in what appears to be a rigged system, further burdened by incompetence and ignorance, will only produce frustration. I’ve tried contacting politicians, but they suck up to their paycheck and and they’re closer to being sheep than any of us will ever be. The only thing I did that ever drew attention was handing out a couple of pages of links to information about the reality of concerns that existed where I lived at the time, in Chicago, at a Veterans Against War rally. I had made copies of “War Is A Racket” to give out as well and watched people reading through the first paragraph with big eyes. Walking away slowly, still reading, because what Darlington Smedley Butler said has been said. We’re saying it now and some civilians are seeing it with slightly different eyes as best they can. It can serve us to remember how many family members are civilians who never served, yet have been significantly impacted by a loved one’s service.

    A few people asked, “what can I do?”. I would tell them all I could think of is don’t enlist until major changes are made that make sense, and don’t encourage your sons and daughters to serve if you wouldn’t. Check who invests in the military and chemical companies on the stock exchange and don’t work for them and don’t invest in them. If your faith in religion helps you, stick with it. However, in the spirit of “trust but verify”, history regarding organized religious and military associations pried my eyes open with a crowbar, yet I still have faith in humanity. If “first do no harm” was a first resort, war-based economy could not prevail. Though violence may be part of human behavior, the insanely rich insane do not need to be the driving force speaking and acting for the majority of us; merely using and abusing us.

    In any case, that intense on-the-spot cross examination by that stranger at the VAW rally years ago was an interesting and slightly scary hour. Mostly he focused on wanting to know why I was handing out that particular literature and why I was giving it mostly to young people :.) I imagine it was disturbing because those pages held links to pages with writings about international law and law of the sea vs law of the land, Darlington Smedley Butler’s speech, experience and opinions stated by David Hackworth, Stan Goff, Chris White, and a bit of history anyone can find online. None of it related to any party. Only facts and insights from veterans. I also showed anyone who was still interested in my diatribe, that military draft choices specific to individuals – who is drafted and who is not – are made by civilians who never served in the military. I had requested an application to see what it said, and it clearly stated no one who has served can decide who goes or stays behind during a draft. That alone speaks volumes.

    For that moment in time, I knew I touched a nerve. I’ve been wanting to do it again, but it needs to be done with more focus in a bigger way. Not all at once in one place, like I did before. But in many places, in small ways at small gatherings that don’t draw much attention, by more people. Staying decentralized means puppet masters have no strings to pull. What is happening in France with yellow jackets right now is showing us how effective this approach can be, though I don’t feel the violence is a necessary component.

    Shouldn’t a military employment agreement / enlistment contract be stated in simple terms so any third grader (average reading level in the U.S.?) can parse the information easily? I suggest this because so many poorly educated are targeted for recruiting. That’s what happened to me. We were almost completely closed off from what was happening outside our area, about 70 miles from the nearest “big city”. Real boonies.

    Ideally, my thinking so far includes old timers and vets from each generation, mulling over what should be in the “sign up” papers. Draw up a draft. Print it and share it with anyone who will take one. This also distributes the cost of printing on paper and ink, and keeps the effort offline so it cannot be scrubbed from the internets. Some copies will be thrown away, but these days I think most will be read if a short cover page explains what comes to veterans comes to everyone and what is taken from anyone can be taken from everyone.

    Will it do anything permanent? Maybe. Maybe not. Beats doing nothing and we would prevent at least some potential veteran suicides. That should somewhat stem the flow from building on what is. And maybe it will help more than we could imagine. The effort would clearly send a message to corporate dictators that vets are not powerless. That we do have a clue where to stick them. And we can get serious on this side of the line they’ve drawn between us and them. We don’t need to be violent or kill ourselves to be heard. We can play the paper war they waged against us and we can play their game better if we decide to.

    Thoughts?

    • I know what I think, but I will let it sit for a while to observe responses, or lack thereof. Welcome Aboard, Catherine. Glad you are here.

      Now you have got me started. Posting this from the wayback machine. Penned by the greatest observational mind ever to wear a uniform. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Tun’s Tavern University. Masters completed at Eighth and I. PhD Post Doctoral Degree Program completed at Tientsin, Culebra, Trujillo, Subic Bay, Granada, Veracruz, Motagne Noire, and Philadelphia.

      His words ring as true (updated for modern times) today, as they did when he penned and uttered them. How sad America chooses not to hear.

      “WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

      A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

      In the World War a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
      How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

      Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few — the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

      And what is this bill?

      This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

      For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

      Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep’s eyes at each other, forgetting for the nonce, their dispute over the Polish Corridor.

      The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia complicated matters. Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies, were almost at each other’s throats. Italy was ready to jump in. But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of them are looking ahead to war. Not the people — not those who fight and pay and die — only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.

      There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making.

      Hell’s bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?

      Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are being trained for. He, at least, is frank enough to speak out. Only the other day, Il Duce in “International Conciliation,” the publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said:

      “And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. . . . War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet it.”

      Undoubtedly Mussolini means exactly what he says. His well-trained army, his great fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for war — anxious for it, apparently. His recent stand at the side of Hungary in the latter’s dispute with Jugoslavia showed that. And the hurried mobilization of his troops on the Austrian border after the assassination of Dollfuss showed it too. There are others in Europe too whose sabre rattling presages war, sooner or later.

      Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands for more and more arms, is an equal if not greater menace to peace. France only recently increased the term of military service for its youth from a year to eighteen months.

      Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of Europe are on the loose. In the Orient the maneuvering is more adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and Japan fought, we kicked out our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then our very generous international bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend is to poison us against the Japanese. What does the “open door” policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China is about $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private investments there of less than $200,000,000.

      Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect these private investments of less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and go to war — a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

      Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit — fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

      Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn’t they? It pays high dividends.
      But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?
      What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?
      Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

      Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn’t own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became “internationally minded.”

      We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington’s warning about “entangling alliances.” We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well have been ours without the wars.

      It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people — who do not profit . . . ”

      Excerpt from “War Is A Racket” By Major General Smedley D. Butler

      Full text at “https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.pdf”

  43. Ok. Must be a wordpress thing. I am unable to post a link found in a google search using keywords: download military employment contract

    The site name is esd dot whs dot mil / portals / 54 / documents / dd / forms / dd / dd0004 dot pdf

  44. On this board you have to put links in “link”. Otherwise it goes to moderation and never comes out.

  45. “https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd0004.pdf”

    @Catherine – – – Fixed it for you. How that contract has changed since the original I signed in 1973 . . .

  46. Thank you, Lem. I didn’t see the link feature.
    And thank you, James Clement, for fixing the link.

    • Most welcome. Glad to assist. I’ve been around since the days of DDN/NSF net – – – and I still find myself learning new stuff everyday in order to better be able to “keep up with the kiddies”.

  47. @Jim Clement You gave me an idea. Yes indeed, technology has changed. These days it is possible to copy / paste text into a doc or odt file then export as a pdf or save as a zip file. Instead of only printing paper copies, pdf and zip files can be shared almost anywhere. Ha. Could even upload it to torrent servers.

    While working toward the day enlistment contracts and employment agreements can be overhauled, I’m going to create a set of resources and documents to share. I may even transcribe the entire “Winter Soldier” Vietnam interview into print, add Mike Prysner’s efforts and Andrew Chamber’s story, VA issues, and the experiences from a few less well known but personal accquaintances. A condensed, modern military history in the making. I have some work to do, so I’ll be mostly listening here for feedback.

    One more thing… if anyone wants to kick some ideas around, in a week or so I’ll have a website up with a forum to discuss re-writing military enlistment agreements and employment contracts. I’ll post a link when the forum is functional. It’s a Drupal engine with a lot of configuration. I need to catch up on changes. If someone wants to lead discussion, that would be awesome. I start summer classes in a few weeks so it can’t be me. James Clements, if other commitments won’t be disrupted, would you be willing to help admin or recommend someone?

    • Drupal??? Is Drop.Org still alive? 2003 DEAN SPACE??? Hmmm . . . (Insert the rolling, eye-winking, tongue out, laughing face thingy here) 🙂 🙂 🙂 I swear I will never understand those damn emoticon thingamajigs!! Just too old I guess.

      Can’t give you an answer right now. Need 72 hours. I will get back to you.

  48. @T,
    I clearly see your point in today’s postings re: VSO groups and related formations. Just how much of that money collected for expensive projects, will actually go toward helping any veteran needs? We see the similar “please give to…” crap, ad nauseam from every group for every conceivable purpose anyone can dream up. A person can’t watch a program, do banking, get food, or simply drive anywhere, without an attempt to guilt everyone into donating for some group cause or another.
    Then there is the down on his luck chap that gets passed by without a glance, a thought or a speck of conscience, every single time.

    @Catherine,
    I do like your idea on the enlistment contract updates, and I want you to succeed to a point that no other servicemember has to do battle for their veteran’s benefits promised, as too many have before them. Keep us updated as you find comparative differences in contracts over the years, so that maybe we’ll have ideas to contribute. Only as a caution, pay heed to T’s advice about bees ‘n bonnets. He has many postings with nuggets.

    @Jim,
    Thanks for the link to Major General Butler’s writing. Powerful reading indeed. (And thanks Catherine for mentioning it to us.) Our Founding Fathers would be ashamed to see how their vision for our Republic has been abused, with the full co-operation of the many having held power.
    I know you know the general public are brainwashed by the DC/VSO propaganda circuit and many of our neighbors (outside of TH!) really do mean well toward us. They often also, are oblivious as to just why it is hard on many of us to hear it.
    Insomnia sucks. Let your Lovely know my thoughts are with her as well.

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