For men and women who have fought in the country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, death behind the wheel is becoming another lethal aftereffect of combat.
After they leave military service, veterans of the two wars have a 75 percent higher rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents than do civilians. Troops still in uniform have a higher risk of crashing their cars in the months immediately after returning from deployment than in the months immediately before. People who have had multiple tours in combat zones are at highest risk for traffic accidents.
The phenomenon has been revealed by various pieces of evidence — research as well as observations of service members, veterans and counselors.
The most common explanation is that troops bring back driving habits that were lifesaving in war zones but are dangerous on America’s roads. They include racing through intersections, straddling lanes, swerving on bridges and, for some, not wearing seat belts because they hinder a rapid escape.
That’s probably not the whole story, however. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suffered by thousands of veterans, increases aggressive driving. Drunken driving and thrill-seeking also are more common after combat, according to a few studies and the testimony of many veterans.
Do you want a purple band-aid, Mark?
‘It’s hard,’ Sanford said Wednesday of his decision to run, in an interview with the Charleston, S.C., station WCBD-TV. ‘I’m scared to death in human terms. I mean, as I say, I’m a wounded warrior. I’m going to step out as best I can and try and advance ideas that I’ve long believed in. But it’s not without fear and trepidation because you know you’re going to get hit, and you’re going to get hit hard.’
It’s getting ugly out there. Video from KATC Houston:Man Pulls Gun Over Obama Bumper Sticker Fight
Those of us who served in Vietnam have fond memories of the traveling cover bands, usually very good, and their female dancers and singers, also very good and sexy. I saw a quote earlier that although we are now old, at least we got to see the great music groups. I’d include these show people who brought fun into our horny lives in Vietnam.
Cinammon Stillwell is an accomplished reporter. Her mother made this documentary about the entertainers who visited us wherever we were in Vietnam. It is one of a kind, something that to my knowledge has not been documented before. The film does not have an embed, so you have to go to this site to watch it. I know that us Vietnam vets will, and I think others out there will enjoy it and learn something different than many misconceptions.
RIP, Pablo Gutierrez
SILVER CITY, N.M. — Pablo Gutierrez, a lifelong Grant County resident who survived the infamous Bataan Death March during World War II and was among the last surviving members of his New Mexico National Guard unit who made it through the war, has died.
Gutierrez was 93 and died at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City on Dec. 17 after developing respiratory complications and pneumonia, daughter Rosemary Gutierrez said Sunday.
Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., issued a statement calling Gutierrez a true American hero and real family man.
“I am grateful for his service to our country, and for the mark he left on his community.” Pearce said. “The Gutierrez family is in my prayers.”
Born Jan. 25, 1919, in Santa Rita, Gutierrez was in a New Mexico National Guard unit sent to the Philippines in 1941. A Guard history says only half the 1,800 men survived the 1942 battle against the invading Japanese, the Death March after the American surrender and 40 months of captivity. The Death March was a forced six-day march by Japanese captors of 12,000 Americans and more than 66,000 Filipino prisoners across the Bataan peninsula. Thousands died in the march. Some were killed by captors impatient with their progress while others died from a lack of food, water and medical treatment.
Among his military decorations was the Purple Heart.
Gutierrez would not talk about his war experiences, his daughter said, although he regularly attended a Memorial Day service at the Fort Bayard National Cemetery, where he’ll be buried Friday. A small group of Grant County survivors attended the events, although all but Gutierrez had died in recent years. He was hospitalized during this year’s event, but insisted on attending, so doctors arranged for an ambulance to take him.
“He didn’t really like to talk about everything that he went through,” his daughter said. “There’s other people out there that would tell all the stories, but he was a real quiet man about the torture he went through on the Death March.
Bo makes a final inspection of the 2012 White House Christmas decorations before 90,000 visitors come through the doors of the People’s House this holiday season. Find out more about the 2012 White House Holiday celebrations, including the special tributes to troops, veterans and military families at wh.gov/holidays.
MIDLAND TX 11/16/2012 - Midland Police have confirmed the identity of the four fatality victims in last night’s train accident.
37 year old Army SGM Gary Stouffer and 47 year old Army SGM Lawrence Boivin were pronounced dead at the scene. 34 year old Army SGT Joshua Michael and 43 year old Army SGM William Lubbers were transported and later pronounced dead at Midland Memorial Hospital.
As of 7:00am, five victims remain at the hospital (four in stable, one in critical), and one is currently in critical condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock
The National Transportation Safety Board has arrived at the scene of the incident and they are working in coordination with other agencies on the investigation.
At 9:00am, Mayor Wes Perry will host, along with pastors Patrick Payton and Roy Smith, a community wide prayer vigil to help show support for the victims and their families that have been affected by this recent incident. The prayer vigil will take place at the Centennial Plaza in Downtown Midland.
Mayor Perry is asking citizens to show support by lowering their flags to half-mast until Monday morning at 8:00am.
On November 15th 2012, at approximately 4:36p.m., the Midland Police Department, along with EMS were dispatched involving a train collision.
The preliminary investigation shows that the Hunt For Heroes parade was traveling westbound on Wall Street when it tuned south on Garfield Street crossing the train tracks. The last two floats in the parade were carrying the heroes and their spouses. The first flatbed crossed the train tracks completely; the second did not make it across before being struck by the train. The Union Pacific Train was traveling eastbound when it struck the float. Some of those who were riding on the second trailer attempted to evacuate before the train collision. There were 26 people on the flatbed when it was struck by the train. They included 12 heroes, 12 spouses, and two escorts.
For information on Show Of Support, Hunt For Heroes, visit showofsupport.com.
Exasperated veterans who work part-time for the Veterans Administration while attending college say their paychecks are sometimes weeks late, leaving them in trouble with bill collectors or having to borrow money to avoid eviction.
The two-week paycheck is typically about $360, and can be vital to veterans raising families and juggling expenses.
“It’s absolutely crucial,” said Neal Boyd, an Army veteran who has two children, attends Danville Area Community College in Illinois and works for the VA in the school’s career services office to help other veterans.
The VA work-study program lets them work an average of up to 25 hours a week on the VA payroll if they are full-time or three-quarter-time college students.
The program is separate from other GI Bill benefits such as tuition and textbook assistance and a housing allowance that varies by location. But veterans said those benefits don’t cover all their expenses, and they need a job to make ends meet.
The number of veterans in the program depends on the needs of their schools, and veterans qualify based on their financial need and other factors, the VA said. Veterans who want to join the program submit a contract to the VA for approval.
More than 10,000 veterans are in the VA work-study program nationwide, but it’s difficult to pin down how widespread the paycheck delays are.
The VA said on average, the checks are issued less than a week after time cards are received by the VA, but acknowledged they have been delayed at a processing center in St. Louis, one of four nationwide, because of a heavy workload and the loss of three workers.
In a statement, the department said it hired more workers in St. Louis last month and now has six assigned to process work-study paper work. The St. Louis office cut the processing time for paychecks to five days, down from an average as high as 12 days in some months, the statement said.
The St. Louis office handles work-study time cards and contracts from 19 states, mostly in the Midwest.
The VA said it is investigating some individual cases and looking for other changes to speed up the checks. It said it wants to ensure that all veterans get their benefits on time.
American businesses are carving out more room for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan − finally driving the overall unemployment rate for that group into single digits in September. But joblessness for the U.S. women home from war continued to climb, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The portion of post-9/11 veterans seeking work fell to 9.7 percent last month, compared to 10.1 percent in August and 11.7 percent in September 2011, according to BLS figures.
However, nearly one out of five women who served in the military at home or abroad during the two wars is now without a job, the new BLS statistics show. As the U.S. troop drawdown continues in Afghanistan, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 female vets surged to 19.9 percent in September, compared to 14.7 percent a year earlier and 12.1 percent in August.
“More women were deployed than ever before but an awful lot of them are single moms who face the challenge of coming home,” said John E. Pickens III, executive director of VeteransPlus, a nonprofit that has offered financial counseling to more than 150,000 current and former service members.
And while many companies trumpet their patriotic side by plucking male combat veterans and plunking them into corporate roles, women who served with some of those same guys often are not viewed by employers with the same level of admiration, Pickens has been told my some of his female clients. In short: Women who logged time in the war zones don’t earn the same level of prestige - or employability - are do U.S. males who recently were in the line of fire.
Congressional members charged with overseeing the interests of former American service members have asked the Department of Veterans Affairs for a briefing to explain why its “work study” program is often months late paying many of its employees: college students who served in the military.
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Ashley Metcalf, now a student at the University of Colorado Denver, says he and other students employed by the VA to help fellow vets transition into college frequently wait months for VA wages to arrive.
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs issued that request of VA officials on Wednesday, one day after NBC News reported student veterans hired by the VA to help fellow ex-service members transition into college have routinely waited one to two months — and, in one case, four months — for unpaid wages. Delayed compensation from the VA has caused eviction worries and mounting debt among some of those student veterans.
A call by NBC News to VA media relations officials Wednesday seeking comment on the Congressional briefing was not returned by Thursday morning.
Beyond finding delayed VA payments to student veterans at more than a dozen campuses covered by his survey, (Ashley) Metcalf said student veterans in two additional states — Michigan and Washington — contacted him after NBC News reported the glitches and added their late-payment complaints to the growing list.
“If we were an anomaly, it would only be happening to us,” Metcalf said. “Before we even sent out the survey, we called different schools and different organizations. We went online to find out if other schools are having the same issue. That’s the reason we started the survey — we were talking to student veterans who were all having the same problems in different states.”
He also responded to the VA’s claim of “typically” processing time cards in less than a week with one word: “preposterous.”
It’s good to see that action is being taken to get to the bottom of this problem. One can only hope that this is resolved, and resolved soon. These stories of the VA failing us veterans are growing daily and it’s beyond time to fix them.