Troubled Iraq War Veteran Freezes To Death

Iraq War Veteran

Benjamin KrauseCNN just covered the sad story of a troubled Iraq War veteran who sought help from a VA hospital in Iowa for PTSD just before freezing to death.

Veteran and father Richard Miles told VA health care professionals at the VA hospital in Des Moines “I need help.” Miles tried to check in at the facility because his PTSD was getting worse. Sadly, Miles was not admitted to the hospital.

WATCH IT: See CNN TV News Footage

Five days later, Miles was found dead in the woods. He took a toxic amount of sleeping pills and died from exposure to the elements.

Contrary to popular misconceptions of PTSD related deaths, Miles was considered an upstanding citizen and a leading presenter at the Science Center of Iowa. On the outside, he had the appearance of a well managed life, but on the inside, Miles was a father struggling to make it day to day because of worsening PTSD.

Miles served three tours in Iraq, and his name adds to a growing list of veterans victimized by failures of VA protocol to properly assess suicide risk and suicide prevention techniques.

Here, the veteran attempted to hang himself twice in the past. Yet, VA continued to provide a laundry list of medications without addressing the core problems that eventually led to his death.

Whistleblower Brandon Coleman says VA is still not doing enough to address problems with suicide. Coleman is a Marine veteran who created a suicide prevention program at Phoenix VA Medical Center. Coleman came forward recently with evidence showing the Phoenix VA was not doing enough to help PTSD suffers nearing the edge of suicide.

According to the CNN piece, Coleman had this to say about why he came forward:

“I came forward mainly because of the veteran suicides. They’re not being handled properly,” Coleman told CNN.

In December 2014 he told the Office of Special Counsel — an independent office assigned to protect whistle blowers — that suicidal veterans “are not properly monitored at the Phoenix VA and oftentimes they leave after being deemed suicidal because they are not properly watched by trained professionals.” When Coleman tried to discuss issues with the care of suicidal veterans to his supervisors they “always fell on deaf ears.”

On January 23, another concerned employee at the Phoenix VA secretly recorded a staff meeting, where officials discussed that suicidal veterans there had “bolted out the door.”

“It has been a high number like five in the last week,” emergency room staff is heard saying on the recording.

“We have been really lucky that nothing bad has happened in these instances where vets have split. It was sheer luck that nothing happened,” a supervisor says.

Coleman is now nearing his second month of paid administrative leave, retaliation for being a whistleblower, he says.

What do you think VA can do to better stem the horrific failure to adequately address veteran suicides? Will we ever, as a country, fix the growing epidemic of suicide?


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  1. Having suicides go away is above my pay grade, but the failures to be addressed need to be done by disabled veterans and VA officials. Instead of just VA officials. But the VA planning and project management process at Central office doesn’t include any vets. Including those 30% that work there. No input, no nothing. We just stand by and watch. Now, one thing that will help Ben, is an overwatch campaign. This is a constant FOIA, interview, press conference ordeal setup to interact with propositions inside VA central office. The lobbying that is done now is not sufficient and concentrated in the press and on Capitol hill. These watchdog organizations don’t have the money, manpower or know-how to set this up, because they don’t pay good at all. Every piece of paper that crosses the homelessness director’s (example) desk, should be FOIA’ed. It’s not. Pressure, Intel, recon, handshakes. Special tactics to consider.

    In my opinion, to beat stupidity requires very little organized effort. I know alot of VA leaders will read this and understand what I mean. VA leaders also need the safety of outside watchdog organizations to make sure VA plays fair with its lowest ranked employees that attempt to go above and beyond to help vets, as Phoenix has shown. We vets get what we need when we fight. We get what we want when we join together to accomplish missions. Missions require vigilance. Vigilance is difficult for vets with 100% disability. Therefore, we are somewhat dependent. This dependency solidifies my intent to consider VA a resource and not an enemy.

    Finally, VA should be sharing it’s close held data with watchdogs that are authorized to conduct veteran approved and sanctioned oversight. The media isn’t going to do it. These watchdogs should have a code of ethics, be sanctioned by the Executive, and be certified. They should have an attorney, an ex VA leader and another combat veteran as leadership. They should be certified by the government and an independent symposium of certifying professionals that routinely handle quality, safety, planning and project management, capital investments, etc. They’re paid by direct authorization from Congress to: research work processes and decisionaking inside VA central office. They have a direct line to the Executive and VA leadership. They also talk to OIG, EEOC, Military, Media, Capitol Hill, and ancillary partners of the federal government. They also travel abroad to see other veteran systems in place. With direct consent of the Executive.

    As you see, I’m of the opinion that are govt. is lazy, cheap, slow and frightfully ignorant.

    My working days are over, but that’s a start for the new vets to work on when they get out.
    My ships sailed.
    Good day,

    Derek Frazier
    3ID, OIF3

  2. Thank you, I have just been searching for info approximately this subject for ages and yours is the best I’ve came upon till now. However, what concerning the bottom line? Are you positive about the source?

  3. Those of us who have a little age to us can remember how badly Vietnam Veterans were treated badly and lambasted by society.

    Has history taught us nothing? It’s 40 years later…only 40 short years, and it’s happening all over again.

    War is war and call it what you want – PTSD, shell shock, war neurosis, or combat fatigue. The folks coming back from a war are going to need help.

    The Vietnam Veterans were politically and socially active and that war was heavily televised because of the draft. Today the war our young people are going to is all volunteer and the focus of media is to depict how screwed up they are when returning home. The veterans in the current war are being depicted as “Hooligans,” “drug seekers, ” “threats to society, ” and have even advanced to being called names by the police.

    What we’re seeing is pure ignorance and a total lack of respect for the people who have fought for continued political agendas.

    Turning these veterans away, sending out email to depict suicidal ideation, calling in Disney, declining their disability claims through a maze of paperwork, and then dumping them onto an ignorant society who criminalize and isolate them is an utter disgrace.

    With all this to ponder of the present status and treatment of returning war veterans, have we learned nothing from Vietnam? Apparently not.

    1. Oh how I so ever much agree! I was young, but very observant ( FACT & TRUTH) of seeing put in danger, never wanting to go, ( Drespect me when I say this because you have no damn way of who, what, when, why & how come them?) I agree, HISTORY HAS NOT AMY OF THE MASSIVE GROUP WHERE PEOPLE WILL MEET, OR SHOULD I STATE WHERE STUPI PEOPLE MEET?)
      My concern, (yes very damn smart and know my “shit is in one sock”) that we will have generations, and I mean GENERATIONS IN THE PLURAL SENSE OF WHAT CARE WILL THEY GET? WELL WHO CARES? THEY ARE NOTHING MORE THAN COLLERTALL DAMAGE AND DISPOSIBLE SOULS!

  4. No doubt anytime a vet ASKS to be admitted, especially if related to combat issues, he or she should be put in a psych waard and addressed immediately. We who have such issues are not going to ask to be admitted unless we are at a near breaking point. That being said, I fear that anytime one vet slips through the line and suffers then we see a huge number of vets saying how shitty the VA treats them or how their claim has been wrongly denied. Ben asked for answers from us to acouple of questions and here we go again with bashing the entire system. I guess I am just getting too old for this shit. Whine away……………………..

    1. You really have a shitty view of your fellow vets. So complaining about 3rd world medical care or being denied that care is whining? Did you ever stop to think that the “whining” might lessen if veterans were listened to and problems were fixed? There is a reason whistle blowers are coming forward. They see a problem that is not being addressed, and rather than selfishly ignore those problems, they try bring attention to them because, unlike you, they want to help their fellow vets get better care.

      Whining? Tell that to the families of the 40 dead in Phoenix. Tell that to this man’s family.

      1. 91, I agree with you about this. This blog used to be about Ben bringing to light things that fellow vets may not know about and it gives them the opportunity to voice their opinion and sometimes by telling something that has happened to them another vet gets help on a concern or problem they are trying to figure out. I know I have learned many things from this blog and many of my fellow vets are the ones I thank for that. We are supposed to HELP one another not bash each other. If a vet disagrees with something I have posted, then by all means disagree with me. All I expect from that vet is to act as an adult as we are all adults on here. We are brothers and sisters and we are a unique bunch of people. Lately it appears if there are more and more vets on here who want to tear us apart.
        If I am wrong on this, then I apologize as I am only stating my point of view and others may have a difference with this opinion.

      2. You are not wrong on this f8f. I used to work with veterans in an unpaid non-profit. I burned out after about 15 years of doing so, with much of it because of constant sniping from a few other vets. They always had better ideas, better ways of doing things and PO’d when you didn’t do things the way they thought things should be done. Of course, all of this was after the fact, and they never offered to help. I stayed with it so long because of the many vets that were helped, but after awhile I saw my kids growing up without me, so I stopped doing so much. I didn’t see any vet as complaining who wanted help or wanted to help. Only from those who never wanted to help other vets.

        I hope Ben doesn’t burn out. There is lots of good information posted here.


    2. Stanman47, the VSO stooge, at it again.

      People like Stan never feel the least bit guilty deriding or screwing-over military veterans.

      You are a sick unit, Stanman, who should not be permitted to discuss these issues around people who may already be victims of VA malfeasance and/or enduring considerable pain.


    Please read this page and share it with your networks. Mark my words I will not let my fellow warriors down, and if you want to be a part of this revolutionary project you are welcomed. I had to close this center after two years and helping over 400 soldiers, veterans, and their families, without funding (denied) from the DoD an VA. As you know we take care of ourselves, and veterans would donate $300.00- $500.00 (monthly) to keep the heat and lights on in our 2000 sq.ft center open because we SAVED LIVES. I am determined to bring back this much needed service to the many warriors who are suffering as a result of military service. To be honest, I am broke, but I have an amazing wife who has been blessed with a gift to stretch every dollar I earn to pay every bill that I accumulated while doing this work, and people still call me crazy for doing this again, but I have shared with these warriors, and no dollar amount is worth the life of a veteran; we give so much, and we ask for so little in return.

    1. That link has absolutely no story and the newspaper is requiring a person to log in/set-up account and the way this world has become with identity theft and such, am not really willing to register with a newspaper across the USA only to more than likely resell my information.
      I would suggest you write Benjamin Krause directly and go from there…we now have ISIS terrorists to worry about out private information being made into virtual hit lists. I for one am incredibly careful with whom and what I register for online…and have never used Facebook nor ever plan to…can see how THAT is turning out for Veterans now?

  6. This story as well as each and every Veteran that either takes their own lives or die because of highly substandard medical/mental care, is an exclamation that VA Sec. Robert McDonald is NOT actually addressing ANYTHING.
    McDonald will more than likely be working for Disney Corporation in near future and more or less already is with this FAUX FIX that’s a JOKE.

    I get so enraged that all this stuff is like a HUGE tangled mess that just gets more tangled each and every day, yet WE REMAIN AT WAR, yet those same folk whom send us to these wars do not wish to pay for their collateral damages.

    NOW, our very military records are reportedly “PUBLIC RECORDS” according to the DOD and VA, making this excuse, now that ISIS has found a way to MAKE US ON HIT LISTS FOR ALL THESE TERRORISTS WE PAY FOR THAT LIVE HERE UNDER SO-CALLED “POLITICAL ASYLUM”…anyone remember “BLACKHAWK DOWN”? All those Somali’s are JUST WAITING TO BE ACTIVATED….everyone knows this is a RELIGIOUS WAR, yet our Gov’t. refuses to “go there”…

    A new President of the United States could not come any faster and that also will probably mean a new VA Secretary, if Bob does not quit to go work for Disney sooner than that day comes.

    Time to carpet bomb all these terrorists and kick all the Muslims out of the USA…we made all students and people of Iranian heritage LEAVE USA back in late 70’s and early 80’s, but yet this gov’t. somehow has entirely turned a blind eye to history…and to our Veterans.

    Some heads need to roll all from the top management at the VA…the VA OIG and OSC is a joke…and in my mind, so is Secretary McDonald and his allusions of a “Disney VA”….what a bad joke and disservice to all Veterans.

    If it were not for my ability to use MEDICARE instead of the VA, I am afraid I would have already been a statistic like the Veteran in this story years ago at the hands of the incompetent VAMC’s.

    We need much more than “prayer”…we need serious action and this brewing storm of the next Presidential Election NEEDS to have VETERAN PLIGHTS IN THE FOREFRONT….Ben, we need a plan of action to make it so before we are simply just “used” by both political parties then forgotten again for another 4 or 8 years!!!!

    1. Bob does not have control of every single fucking thing that a 320,000 person failed organization under a failed government is constantly doing every second of every day. Snap to.

      1. “Bob” is not only the Secretary of the VA, but is ALSO the Chief Executive Officer, answering only to the President of the USA…so I think you are quite *wrong* or sadly misinformed of what his JOB TITLE is actually.

        That statement with the “Snap to” comment sounds unfortunately very passive AND aggressive…do you work for the “fucking VA”?

        A chain of command is a chain of command…if the links are THAT severely rusted and broken, time to send them ALL to PRISON and start over with actual Veterans filling those positions…and NOT OFFICERS…former enlisted, as WE KNOW what work is and always the ones doing actual work without the obvious mandatory lobotomy to be in VA Management.

        Do not tread on any of us Veterans!

      2. No, I do not work for the VA. I think they are garbage. I think the fed gov is garbage too. I know that Bob reports to presbo. I know he’s in over his head in muck. You or nobdy else is going to send anyone to prison like you insist. Why don’t you become a politician and save us? Don’t tread on me.

    2. @Namnibor

      I believe what has transpired is the US Government, essentially, reneged on its promises to military veterans. If they did not need a volunteer military so badly (a draft military becomes too mutinous when abused), the majority of benefits would be eliminated already.

      Too, the Government is in the hands of neo-Marxists, sometines called neocons, who could care less about anyone but themselves, and will do nearly anything to ensure the continuance of their Trotskyist ideal of perpetual war.

      Those of you who believe the mistreatment of military veterans will ever be resolved peacefully are highly deluded. The enemy has been permitted to embed itself too deeply.

  7. Where I live in northern Illinois there are several streets like that where bike lanes are being installed.

  8. Proposed new Veterans Affairs motto: “To serve those who have borne the battle … serve them literally, in the form of dog food, after the VA harvests their organs, and done the same thing to their loved ones.” Kind of nifty and on point, don’t you think? What motto can you come up with, we need a contest, the winner gets a free “F the VA t-shirt”.

  9. Thanks for the reminder to not trust the VA with anything serious, or anything at all for that matter. Like an idiot I was actually considering going to the next PTSD appointment the VA has scheduled for me. But, why would I or any PTSD vet keep going, when every time the therapist deliberately provokes me till I start yelling then walk out in the middle of the session. They purposely piss me off while pulling my wife onto their side as much as possible. The ultimate farce is that the two VA outpatient clinics nearest my home are like ghost towns every time we go there, and so tell me, how is that? The one nearest my home was actually completely empty of all vets, and the one person on duty who called us in to see me, told us that all the doctors were out, and no one could write me a prescription that we all understood I desperately needed, so I ended up going to a private walk-in emergent care clinic and paying a lot of money just to get blood pressure meds and other meds that the VA knew I had been out of for a week that allow me to urinate due to internal injuries from a near fatal injury in the line of duty in the Marines along with the normal urinary problems that older men typically have. They knew my kidneys had shut down and I was in extreme pain from that and actually near death, and I just end up walking out as my wife stays behind trying to reason with them to call a doctor in from somewhere: where were all the vets, all the patients? where were all the medical staff? it is similar in the other clinic we go to that is about a two hour drive away. it is clear there is a major scam in this region where vets get no care, and somehow they are covering that up, while they all collect their paychecks, screwing around, downtown shopping during work hours or simply not coming into work at all. the VA is a giant scam, and they even shut down the one clinic in this region that was rumored to actually take care of vets like they should, and that one was about an hour and a half away, but now it is shut down! i just love the VA and their organized crime and corruption. it is a giant fake agency doing nothing but harming vets in most cases, or doing nothing at all, and that is the pure truth!!!!

  10. I have been sick for 40 years came real close to death before the Va would help me from Hep C . Now my liver is still screwed up (stage 4 cirrhosis) and they are saying they need to check me every 6 months . Im fed up to here with their BS I have a lawyer now and she will take care of it. When they found out I was taking them to court they sent a letter and told me I had to pay them every cent back because I worked some to try and keep my head above water . bunch of crooks

    1. So you were receiving non-service connected disability pension, which is paid to vets who cannot work. You worked and when the VA found out they asked you to pay them back the overpayment. How does that make them crooks when you are the one who broke the law? Your situation sucks and I am sympathetic, but your SO rep should help you with disputing the debt and or requesting a waiver of overpayment. Don’t just cry about how the system is screwing you, especially since it appears it isn’t!

      1. Stan, this is from the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance which is a govt. agency in which it states:
        Credentials/Documentation (083):
        Military discharge certificate showing the separation from service was under other than dishonorable conditions. The veteran must have a permanent and total disability preventing a substantially gainful occupation. His or her income and net worth must be limited as prescribed by statute. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.
        This states that veterans who cannot get gainful employment. A veteran can work and receive this type of disability as long as they do not go above the income threshold.

  11. We veterans can do nothing, It has to be up to our Government Officials to go after those that harm our fellow veterans and they need to do so A.S.A.P., No more waiting. Is BOB in hiding. His office did not even contact me, swept it under the carpet. Sad

    1. The DEPT. of Veterans Affairs is a joke they

      will deny as many claims as they can ,liars and don’t care we were nothing but and are nothing but pawns that are expendable while others make billions we die. YES WE ARE THE WALKING DEAD stop people from joining but then they start the draft which makes you join there is no winning except for the wealthy that really run this country REVOLT

    2. To James who asked where BOB is, as in Robert McDonald the VA Secretary, I presume: BOB is literally at DisneyLand and at Disney World, plus the Disney theme park in Europe, staying in $2,000 a night special presidential suites they have for top level VIPs like him, so he can fine tune his new model that has been actually well-publicized in the mainstream media, to make the VA the “shittiest place on earth”. He is criminally insane, delusional, and a major danger to others in that he has led the VA from terribly dangerous to vets, to ridiculously dangerous! Someone with the ability to do so, and that is any cop with a badge and access to dumping these VA leaders into jails and forgetting where they put them, many someones, will soon be arresting these evil bastards. Just be patient. It’s that, or there is a tiny, very remote chance, that BOB and the rest, from the top on down, will finally get their shit together, and right away. But, don’t hold your breath. The VA will most likely be taken over by the US military after it soon collapse under its own weight of coke snorting, heroin shooting, pot/LSD smoking corruption!

  12. 03/23/2015

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    What do you think VA can do to better stem the horrific failure to adequately address veteran suicides? Will we ever, as a country, fix the growing epidemic of suicide?

    Let us look to our Neighbors–Canada:

    Canada’s former veterans affairs ombudsman is now being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder — a direct result, he says, of the shock he felt over Ottawa’s treatment of disabled soldiers.
    “The most traumatic experience that I had was the aftermath of my experience as veterans ombudsman,” retired colonel Pat Stogran told CBC News.
    “I find it very, very difficult to take the situation sitting down.”
    Stogran was shocked but not surprised to hear the stories that veterans have told CBC Radio as part of its special series, Battle Scars.
    Some of those stories have been about veterans being denied treatment for PTSD and, in some cases, being denied disability pensions once they were released.
    “Yeah, different time, different place, but same old story,” Stogran said from his Ottawa home. “The system is an empty shell of treatment and services.”
    Back in 2007, the federal government hand-picked Stogran to act as a special adviser to the minister of veterans affairs.
    Stogran, who had served in the military for more than 30 years, took that chance to advocate for better treatment of disabled soldiers, regardless of whether those injuries were physical or psychological.

    So if the Shell is Empty we have to fill it with intent.

    If there is no intent—-you had worked for free!

    Like Enron employees working for Paper [Kenneth Lay/Bush’s right hand man]!

    Or the Salesmen in America [receiving no payment for his hard work]!

    We can go to the Moon we can fix this problem, but there has to be sincere intent. And that comes from Top Management, immediately.
    Not 35 years, or 20, or 10 years later; this corrective action must be immediate an action with no Bullshit. If you do not see it —there is no intent.

    What was the intent to ignore the Class action lawsuit?


    Don Karg

    1. You need to understand that the vet suicides are totally controlled and coerced by the VA, completely deliberate, and there are far more than the VA admits to, and that does not count the dozens of extra ones each day done by spouses, children, and others close to the vet, and ironically, also the suicides by VA workers that would not otherwise die, but do, because they are the new wave of what it means to Go Postal, and the VA’s version of that. Finally, don’t forget the murder-suicides that can and will be tied to the VA, by anyone who has the ability to connect the dots that are practically touching each other.

      Oh wait, also, don’t forget the needless, deliberate deaths orchestrated by the VA, about 50 per day, due to gross malpractice and failure to provide earned medical care. The grand total of daily untimely, but VA “assisted” deaths, is more than 150 per day, for a total of about 50,000 per year, and climbing. At least they profit in secret, the top level criminals running the show, from their secret little organ harvesting racket.

      1. The only thing that has kept me from being a suicide statistic has been a serious devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Son Jesus. No thanks to the VA at all!

    1. Rumor has it OSC is cowering to the new VA Secretary. They recanted an investigation into VA OIG due to its failure at Hines VA last year. VA pressured them to remove any mention of VA OIG from the language of the initial investigation letter. Sad state of affairs when the Executive Branch cannot be held accountable for injuring and killing others.

      1. does anyone notice any towns and cities across america, besides the two nearest me, that have closed down streets and made others just one lane and added huge bicycle lanes? surely the government could not have been taken over by China with plans to confiscate not just guns but also all cars, so we will be like China was 30 years ago, a sea of bicycles, sure, like India and Pakistan and north Korea. this sure would never happen in the USA, would it?

      2. Okay, Ben, here is another rumor to add to the highly probable one you posted above: All the top VA executive leadership, including and especially McDonald, are under constant drug enhanced hypnosis, along with many if not most of the VA hospital administrators, Regional Offices, right on down to thousands of regular VA workers at all levels and departments. Who is behind it?

        Well, you could go to DisneyLand looking for ideas, as McDonald has done and continues to hang out there, and they will gladly give them. Not Disney itself, but staff psychologists and psychiatrists, industrial psychologists like Disney uses, to get inside the minds of the public and their visitors. Notice how Mickey Mouse has one of his alter egos as “The Sorcerer”. The Sorcerer acts in an evil way, or sometimes a nice way, hypnotizing his victims into a spell, then forcing them to act against their will. Also, Walt Disney himself was actually a practicing Satanist.

        So, go to Disneyland in southern California, look at the bigger than life statue of Walt Disney, and line up the direct line of sight to where he is pointing. He is pointing at the pentagram, as in a goat head’s style star that has one point aimed straight down toward the center of the earth; that pentagram is on the back of the old sailing ship harbored in the lagoon. We won’t even talk about what is in the some of the sub-levels under DisneyLand, in the cavernous underground city they have their.

        Secret doors that only open to staff with smart keys or automatic biometric data access, are along “Main Street” and other locations, where they disappear all of the sudden to underground facilities. Also, D-land has its own police system, and their own courts system, where the accused (like shoplifters and drug pushers, just to name of few criminal types) are held, tried and forced to pay fines or they suffer dearly. It actually works well, so regular law enforcement and the judicial system/branch say nothing about it. And, yes, all of this could be above ground, but if it is underground it is easier to hide, and more mysterious, and more cult-like, and sort of has a Satanic “center of the earth” Hell or Hades flare to it.

        Now, back to the ship: That ship was used to do human sacrifices right there at DisneyLand, including the ones back in the early 1990’s or so that were attributed to an “accident” while the ship was being tied up coming back into dock. Oh, and after all these years, like they told me when I was being slotted for a Special Operations Command project that was Marines/Army/Navy/Air Force, along with the Office of Army Intelligence Security Command, “you will never understand how the whole program works”, but you did get your wish, to work in [redacted by me].

        Well, they were sure right about that. But, now I say to them, “You will never understand how the whole thing works,” when “they” ask me, at my alleged PTSD sessions that are better defined as mental torture high pressure debriefing sessions. How about this one: one of the two subjects my squad were lawfully ordered to open fire on and kill during a Marine Corps Reactionary (SWAT) call, way back in 1975 or so, was a Satanist, and the NCOIC of the [redacted by me] where I served. I never figured out who either one of those two subjects were till last night, in one of those wonderful little nightmares sponsored by the good ol’ boys.

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