Posted on August 3, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
After releasing a summary in early July, the Department of Veterans Affairs today released its full report on veteran suicides.
The Suicide Among Veterans and Other Americans 2001-2014 is a comprehensive analysis that looked at more than 55 million veterans’ records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the nation.
Some key findings from this year’s report include:
A fact sheet is available and the VA is taking several measures to increase prevention programs and access to care and the Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255.
Filed under: Depression, Health - Physical and Mental, Substance Abuse, Suicide Prevention, Veterans, Veterans Administration | Tagged: veteran suicide | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 20, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Photo courtesy of the VA website.
The official blog for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VAntage Point, has produced a “Top 10 List” of important information all veterans should know about the herbicide Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War. It was sprayed on trees, vegetation, forests and waterways along boarders in Cambodia, Laos, and in South Vietnam.
The list is below, and you can read the full details on today’s VAntage Point.
- Agent Orange was a herbicide and defoliant used in Vietnam.
- Any Veteran who served anywhere in Vietnam during the war is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange.
- VA has linked several diseases and health conditions to Agent Orange exposure.
- Veterans who want to be considered for disability compensation must file a claim.
- VA offers health care benefits for Veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides during military service.
- Participating in an Agent Orange Registry health exam helps other Veterans and the VA.
- VA recognizes and offers support for the children of Veterans affected by Agent Orange who have birth defects.
- Vietnam Veterans are not the only Veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange.
- VA continues to conduct research on the long-term health effects of Agent Orange.
- VA contracts with an independent, non-governmental organization to review the scientific information on Agent Orange.
The VA blog entry is written by Dr. Ralph Erickson, a 32-year Army Veteran of the Gulf War (1990-91) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003) who has also served as Commander of The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Command Surgeon, US Central Command; and Director, DoD Global Emerging Infections and Response System (DOD-GEIS).
Filed under: Department of Defense, Health - Physical and Mental, Veterans, Veterans Administration | Tagged: African American veterans, Agent Orange, Department of Veterans Affairs, Vietnam War | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 6, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Omaha Beach in the background where Pvt. Leo Chalcraft is buried at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, on September 27, 2013, at Colleville-sur-Mer, France. (Photo by Warrick Page – American Battle Monuments Commission)
Army Private Leo Kenneth Chalcraft was a green-eyed, brown-haired teen from St. Petersburg, FL when he was killed in action in World War II.
It happened just six days after his 19th birthday.
Today, his grave is among the 9,387 military dead buried in France at the Normandy American Cemetery that overlooks Omaha Beach. There, 72 years ago this June 6, U.S. troops stormed the beaches on D-Day, marking the beginning of the end of World War II.
“He was so young and I feel like he didn’t get to experience a lot of his life,” said Konner Ross, a 17-year-old who lives in Largo, near St. Petersburg. Continue reading
Filed under: History, Memorials, Military families, Non-Profit Organizations, U.S. Army, Veterans | Tagged: D-Day Invasion, Normandy American Cemetery, Normandy landings, WWII Memorial | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Ellsworth “Tony” Williams, founder and CEO of Veterans Counseling Veterans.
The nation will remember those killed while serving their country on Memorial Day in just over a week. But a local group called Veterans Counseling Veterans wants people to think about another kind of Memorial Day – one honoring those who served in uniform and died by suicide — and is planning such as service this Sunday in Tampa at American Legion Post 5.
The Veterans Counseling Veterans memorial service is an example of the many different efforts to eliminate the stigma of suicide and improve veteran suicide prevention from Congress to local counselors.
One of the challenges some advocates say they face is a number: 22. A 2012 VA report estimated 22 vets a day die by suicide, and it’s often quoted in media reports. But that data is questionable because it didn’t include all 50 states. And it’s mistakenly associated with only Post 9-11 veterans. Continue reading
Filed under: Memorials, Military families, Non-Profit Organizations, Radio, Veterans, Veterans Administration | Tagged: Memorial Day, TAPS, Team Red White and Blue, U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs, veteran suicide, Veterans Counseling Veterans | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 17, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Quil Lawrence – NPR reporter. Photo courtesy of NPR.
National Public Radio reporter Quil Lawrence took the lead on an investigation into the Veterans Health Administration plan to lessen wait times at VA medical clinics and hospitals by allowing veterans to see private medical providers.
It was called the “Choice Program.”
However, as the title of the first three stories shows, the hastily assembled program left veterans without more medical options: “How Congress And The VA Left Many Veterans Without ‘Choice.'”
Another part of the investigation looked at how attempts to improve the system has instead prolonged wait-times for veterans trying to get a medical appointment: “Despite $10B Fix Veterans Are Waiting Even Longer To See Doctors.”
Filed under: Health - Physical and Mental, Radio, Veterans, Veterans Administration | Tagged: NPR, VA benefits, VA Choice Program, Veterans Health Administration | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 10, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
U.S. Army Private Leo K. Chalcraft drowned off the coast of Normandy Christmas Eve 1944, just weeks after turning 19.
The toughest writing assignment 16-year-old Konner Ross will have this year is to write a eulogy for a young man she’s never met. But there’s a part of him the Largo High School junior never forget – his green eyes.
“They have his wallet from when they found it on the beach and on his identification card, it says (he has) green eyes and brown hair,” Ross said. “I didn’t know he had green eyes until then. So, that seems like something small, but it was really cool to learn for some reason.”
Ross is describing U.S. Army Private Leo K. Chalcraft, a St. Petersburg native drafted to serve in World War II. He drowned off the coast of France in 1944 on Christmas Eve, just weeks after turning 19. Continue reading
Filed under: Education, History, Memorials, U.S. Army, Veterans | Tagged: United States Army, Veteran, World War II | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 12, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Gustavo Nunez, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, and his daughter, Ava.
Stories about veterans waiting years, decades even, to resolve a disability claim are not uncommon.
“I have a claim from 2003 that’s still not found yet. Nobody knows where it’s at,” said Gustavo Nunez, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq. “I actually gave up on it a long time ago. I was so frustrated with the system.”
It wasn’t until the birth of his 2-year-old daughter that Nunez decided to try again for his disability benefits. Worried about their future, Nunez wants to make sure he’ll have the VA to care for his health problems related to his service because he won’t be able to afford the medical bills.
It’s no surprise that many think the Department of Veterans Affairs automatically takes care of disabled veterans when they leave the military. Continue reading
Filed under: Iraq, Marine Corps, Non-Profit Organizations, Veterans | Tagged: disabled veterans, Stetson Veterans Advocacy Clinic | Leave a comment »