The Long Walk Home


This is an article that was passed on to me this evening.  the statistics mentioned are for the time when it was written. I did some research to find out the current situation for US active duty and veterans and i’m happy to report that the number has dropped from 22 every hour to 18. That’s still a high number but 2012 saw  a staggering  349 deaths to suicide, we had 295 KIA.

~*~

In 2010 I started out on a very unusual 3,400-mile journey across the country. I walked barefoot from Boston, MA, to Santa Monica, CA. The trip took 10 months, and as I walked I wore a sign that said \”18 VETS A DAY COMMIT SUICIDE\” to raise awareness about military Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD.

Almost every day on this walk from June of 2010 to March of this year, I met family members of vets who had committed suicide, and I cried with them as I shared their grief. I encountered many people who said they felt better knowing somebody cared. Mothers would make a U-turn in the road, get out of their car, and cry as they told me how they lost a loved one to suicide, after they had arrived home safely. The 22 suicides a day is just the tip of the iceberg, which is the collateral damage.

The facts are overwhelming:

22 veterans a day in the U.S. commit suicide.

40 percent of the homeless are Veterans

Drug and alcohol abuse, family disintegration, and incarceration are rampant among veterans.

I spoke before the Committee for Veteran Affairs. This meeting was organized by Congressman Philip Roe. After going to D.C. I realized that I AM the government and it is time that I act so and I do that not by asking them, but telling them what I want by how I spend my time and money. I saw that just by asking I’m showing them it doesn’t mean that much to me, but when I put my time and money behind it they listen.

That is why we are now working on opening gyms to the public that will be free for veterans and all active duty military personnel, this is how I tell them what we want for our young men and women in the military. We have been doing fundraisers creating awareness and gaining support in the community, thank you for your help and hope to see you when we open the first gym.

Sincerely Ronald Zaleski

The Long Walk Home is a non profit organization raising money to provide counseling services our Veterans who are coming home from the war in the Middle East. Please see the Resources page for more information on these programs.

If you want to help other then financially, please call 305 453-6789   and we will provide you with many different ways in which you could help make a difference.

via The Long Walk Home . org.

The Royal Navy


© Crown Copyright 2013/Dave Jenkins

Click the image to see it in full definition! 

One of the HMS  Dragon’s Lynx helicopters fires infrared flares during an exercise over the destroyer. (The Royal Navy)

Read more: at Business Insider and see the Photos that Show Why Britain’s Small Military Is So Powerful


 

Its a Marathon, Not a Sprint – Combat Veterans with PTSD


This is a blog post from a veteran who suffers from combat PTSD. I highly recommend following him if you or someone you love suffers from PTSD or other war related injuries. There is a link at the end of the article that will take you to his page.

This is just another eye opener for those of us who don’t have to live with this pain; and it’s a familiar voice for those of you that do.  Peace…

 Well, I’m back.  I cannot tell you how relieved I am to not have my thoughts locked up inside anymore.  I have tried for weeks to sit down and blog about my recent challenges and every time I sat down, I couldn’t type a single word.  I just didn’t know where to begin.  My head was a jumble.  To some degree it still is, but being able to finally get this out in my blog will go a long way.  Once I’m done telling you where my head has been, I think you’ll understand why its been such a long few months.

Id been feeling particularly toxic and had not been able to figure out why.  Then, about a week ago, after months of not being able to figure it out, it hit me.  I’ve lost myself.  I don’t recognize myself in the mirror.  I don’t recognize my behavior, my attitude.  I’ve lost confidence in myself.  I never used to care what anyone thought of me but that’s all I’ve cared about in recent months.  It was a nasty confluence of events.  Heres whats been going on:

My Psoriasis:  

Out of control is an understatement.  Even taking injections for the psoriasis wasnt keeping it fully in check.  It spread all over my face and scalp.  If I grew facial hair or let my hair on my head grow out, it got worse.  If I shaved to often, it got worse AND looked really irritated and splotchy.  People started looking at me with disgust, like I had dry flaky skin because I have poor hygiene.  Ugh.  The one thing I didn’t take into consideration is how pent-up stress exacerbates the psoriasis.  As the toxins in my body build up, they look for a way out.  What I couldn’t fathom was why the toxins were building up so quickly and continually.  After talking about this with my wife, we came to the understanding that my psoriasis was really bad because Id been holding my emotions in – unintentionally.  It was my medication.

The VA Medication Quick Fix:

When I went to the VA with PTSD, they immediately put me on mood stabilizers and a whole bunch of other meds for insomnia, anxiety, jitters.  The problem is that all the meds they prescribe keep people from being able to feel and express the full spectrum of their feelings.  I have been frustrated as all hell with the continual cycle I have gone through for the last decade – the ups and downs and outs.  I’ve never been afforded the opportunity to truly examine what I am feeling because I the drugs prevent and/or mask the truth of my emotional experience.  When you can’t fully express how you feel because medication prevents it from being externalized, where else does it have to go?  It goes deeply internal and toxifies the whole body.  As this toxicity progresses, these emotional problems start manifesting themselves as physical health issues.  Lets see here:  Exacerbated Psoriasis symptoms.  Check.  Worsening Insomnia.  Check.  Compromised Immune System.  Check.  Lethargy.  Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.

You getting the idea?

Perceived Failures:

I’ve been married for over seven years.  My wife recently explained to me that the man she fell in love with has been MIA for quite a while.  The fell in love with a man who was supremely confident in himself and his abilities.  On top of that, he couldn’t care less what others thought of him.  My wife found this confidence and self-assurance extremely attractive.  Then things started to go sideways.  The economy tanked in 2007 and I couldn’t find a job after graduating from college.  The jobs I could find were crap service jobs making shit money with no room for true advancement.  Things got really rough financially for my wife and I.  And so on and so on.  It was like one gut blow after another.  I started to doubt myself.  I started to wonder if I had deluded myself all of those years.  It just kept on getting worse and worse.  Every new venture or idea I have had in recent years has been met with delay and disappointment.  Even starting the non-profit has been a non-starter.  The application process and wait time for tax exempt status is so long, I wont be able to raise funds until 2015 – IF – IF I’m lucky.  Anything else?

Needless to say, realizing all of this over the past few months has been more than just a little distressing for me.  that’s some pretty profound stuff to digest. So, that’s where I’ll leave it for today.  I’ll explain what I plan on doing to rediscover myself in the coming blog posts.

Again, I am so sorry for the hiatus.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

FOLLOW MAX   HARRIS AT THE LINK BELOW

via Its a Marathon, Not a Sprint – Combat Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Planning & Executing the Mission to Get Bin Laden


 

This article was written 3 months after the helicopter carrying members of Team 6 was shot down in Afghanistan. It is a lengthy one, but very informative. I’ve split the article up into pages. Enjoy!

Shortly after eleven o’clock on the night of May 1st, two MH-60  Black Hawk helicopters lifted off from Jalalabad Air Field, in eastern Afghanistan, and embarked on a covert mission into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. Inside the aircraft were twenty-three Navy SEALs from Team Six, which is officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. A Pakistani-American translator, whom I will call Ahmed, and a dog named Cairo—a Belgian Malinois—were also aboard. It was a moonless evening, and the helicopters’ pilots, wearing night-vision goggles, flew without lights over mountains that straddle the border with Pakistan. Radio communications were kept to a minimum, and an eerie calm settled inside the aircraft.

Fifteen minutes later, the helicopters ducked into an alpine valley and slipped, undetected, into Pakistani airspace. For more than sixty years, Pakistan’s military has maintained a state of high alert against its eastern neighbor, India. Because of this obsession, Pakistan’s “principal air defenses are all pointing east,” Shuja Nawaz, an expert on the Pakistani Army and the author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within,” told me. Senior defense and Administration officials concur with this assessment, but a Pakistani senior military official, whom I reached at his office, in Rawalpindi, disagreed. “No one leaves their borders unattended,” he said. Though he declined to elaborate on the location or orientation of Pakistan’s radars—“It’s not where the radars are or aren’t”—he said that the American infiltration was the result of “technological gaps we have vis-à-vis the U.S.” The Black Hawks, each of which had two pilots and a crewman from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, or the Night Stalkers, had been modified to mask heat, noise, and movement; the copters’ exteriors had sharp, flat angles and were covered with radar-dampening “skin.”

The SEALs’ destination was a house in the small city of Abbottabad, which is about a hundred and twenty miles across the Pakistan border. Situated north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, Abbottabad is in the foothills of the Pir Panjal Range, and is popular in the summertime with families seeking relief from the blistering heat farther south. Founded in 1853 by a British major named James Abbott, the city became the home of a prestigious military academy after the creation of Pakistan, in 1947. According to information gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency, bin Laden was holed up on the third floor of a house in a one-acre compound just off Kakul Road in Bilal Town, a middle-class neighborhood less than a mile from the entrance to the academy. If all went according to plan, the SEALs would drop from the helicopters into the compound, overpower bin Laden’s guards, shoot and kill him at close range, and then take the corpse back to Afghanistan. Read more

Take Nothing More


Anguish in his eyes

“Let the months and years come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing more. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear. The life that has borne me through these years is still in my hands and my eyes. Whether I have subdued it, I know not. But so long as it is there it will seek its own way out, heedless of the will that is within me.” 
-All Quiet On The Western Front, Chapter 12” 
― Erich Maria Remarque

Today In History: 1789 First US President Election


gw-inaug

On this day in 1789, America’s first presidential election is held. Voters cast ballots to choose state electors; only white men who owned property were allowed to vote. As expected, George Washington won the election and was sworn into office on April 30, 1789.

As it did in 1789, the United States still uses the Electoral College system, established by the U.S. Constitution, which today gives all American citizens over the age of 18 the right to vote for electors, who in turn vote for the president. The president and vice president are the only elected federal officials chosen by the Electoral College instead of by direct popular vote.

Today political parties usually nominate their slate of electors at their state conventions or by a vote of the party’s central state committee, with party loyalists often being picked for the job. Members of the U.S. Congress, though, can’t be electors. Each Read more

BRING BOWE HOME


What is it going to take to bring our Soldier home?

   ➸ The US Army–”Leave no man behind.” ➸

Congress? Mr. President? I think you should be held to this standard.

If anyone has information or ideas concerning Bowe, or would like to offer support and find resources inquire  here.  PLEASE, tell your friends and family about Bowe, he’s been away from his family and in the captive hands of a terrorist group. He needs to come home. 

Please contact your congressmen and senators and remind them of Bowe, we cannot forget him. Their contact information can be found here. Thank you. 

bows for bowe

Please take a picture of a yellow ribbon/bow near something that represents where you are on the planet, or something symbolically meaningful to you and email it to bowsforbowe@comcast.net.

Support Bowe and his family here.

We will post it to this site. Please feel free to leave a short comment as to where the picture is from or why the location you chose is meaningful to you.

Please click on the ribbon and go to the Bows for Bowe homepage and get it active with supporters. Please feel free to share his story with friends and family; it is appreciated. Thank you

Waiting for you

Our nations bird.

Bowe