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Protect Veterans Benefits

Why We Need to Protect Veteran’s Benefits

by Ed Mattson

Some who have never served in the military asked about the new website (www.yourmilitaryvoter.us) we are building as a way to unite the veteran and active-duty military voters into a contingency with which to be reckoned. Many seem to think we are just another “special interest group” looking to have special status like so many other groups that base their claim on a notion that they “deserve special consideration” or that they are somehow or another, “victims” of some injustice beyond their control. In short, most folks have no idea what it takes to be a member of the armed services or about the sacrifice most of us have made.

The funny thing is, almost all of us never even considered it a “sacrifice” to serve; we went at it with our eyes wide open and did it because someone must step to the plate to defend and protect that which has made America the greatest experiment in freedom imaginable. We all knew we wouldn’t get rich in doing so, or that we would somehow, some place in time, have to defend our rights to the full benefit package that was promised to us for our service. Lord knows we are certainly entitled to that which was promised because on the monetary side, military compensation basically sucks.

Johnny ended up being stationed in Nam Phong, Thailand, affectionately known as The Rose Garden. His journey began like a lot of us, when he went off to boot camp and then on the machinist school at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Upon completion of his technical training he received A-1 priority orders to head out to Iwakuni, Japan. We all know that meant receiving some 23 shots for before leaving Aberdeen but that was no problem, after all Johnny was now a PFC Marine, and he could take it.

He stopped off in Texas to visit his family and then proceeded to California for transport overseas. When he got to the base in California it was discovered that his shot record had not been updated, which is probably the only time that ever happened in the Corps, so he had to get another 23 shots. That’s a lot of vaccines in a short period of time, so it was no wonder he was sick most the flight to Japan. In the tradition of Murphy’s law (which ironically seems to be a lot like the Corps), when he got to Japan it was discovered that the shot record had not been signed or stamped correctly so they gave him another 23 shots. That’s 69 redundant vaccinations in less than a week!

Anyway, the folks in Japan didn’t welcome Johnny with open arms. They old him they really didn’t need a machinist in Japan but as his luck would have it, they needed one in Nam Phong, Thailand…so it was off to the Rose garden for Johnny. Again, in true Marine Corps fashion, when Johnny asked what the Rose Garden was he was told, “It’s great and you are going to love it”.

After a not so pleasant trip aboard Air Marine Corps (a C-130) that took next to forever to reach Nam Phong, they landed in the middle of nowhere surrounded by jungle. They called the place a “classified” base, probably because nobody knew where it was. For those who have never been in a jungle environment you would never appreciate that first exposure to 130° temperature and humidity of 100%. That alone cannot be compensated for in a military paycheck. Housing was somewhat short of Motel Six consisting of a wooden floor, wire screen sides and a tin roof., but at least they got a couple of light duty days to “climatize”. Not surprising to anyone in any branch of the service, guess what? Upon arrival they told Johnny they didn’t need a machinist and had no idea what one was, so he was to assigned clerical duties.

This is what life in the service is all about. We just do our duty, complain to each other, but we handle the mission, which as you can see from Johnny’s big adventure, is asking a lot for what we are paid. Nobody promised us Club Med.

Now that our readers have some idea what military life is all about, most of ask the citizenry of this country to understand why we are so adamant about the “benefits” we were promised. Sgt. Abbott, while at the Rose Garden was subjected to mosquitoes, bugs big enough to scare a gorilla, and living conditions which included a “six-holer outhouse” that had to be shared with an occasional snake or two, but the cots surrounded by mosquito netting were luxurious. The only liberty available from this remote and isolated jungle spa was a six-hour bus trip to the Air Force Base at Udorn.

Normally one would think a soldier would relish a good hot meal once or twice a day, but at the Rose garden, the best food came out of little boxes and cans known as “C-Rations”, most of which were packaged in the 1950’s (that’s all the way back to pre-Korean War times!), and working conditions in that heat and humidity would surely test the soul of most normal people. The only relief from the elements was when you got lucky enough to get temporary duty in an air conditioned avionics van.

Now to the nitty-gritty… The jungle and foliage back in those days were kept clear by the use of Agent Orange. Last week Sgt. Abbott registered for testing by the VA because he was exposed to the defoliant, but was tuned down because his current income exceeds $32,000/year. This was not what he or the rest of us expected when we were told about “benefits”. It kind of means our government does not want to do the right thing unless we are veterans living in poverty! In 2009, Sgt. Abbott was also notified by the Commandant of the Marine Corps office that he was exposed to a lot of bad chemicals (TCE and PCE) while stationed at Camp LeJune, NC for 4-1/2 years, essentially risking his life in time of peace.

Is it any wonder why we need to unite behind our VOTE to protect the benefits we were promised?


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PTSD Awareness Day

National PTSD Awareness Day June 27

courtesy of http://ptstreatment.com

The Veteran Affairs (VA), American Medical Association (AMA), American Psychiatric Association (APA), and Pharmaceutical Research & Manufactures of America (PHARMA) have had three decades to find a workable solution for military Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They have used drugs, clinical therapy, surgery, and the APA’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) III & IV as a mental health care solution.

In this 30 year span over 200,000 military veterans and active duty personnel have either committed suicide, are homeless, in prison, suffer silently, are chemically dependent or alcoholics, or have chosen to live in isolation from civilization. This has caused a firestorm within families and in our communities in bringing about:

•     Child Neglect & Abandonment
•     Divorce & Separation
•     Family Violence
•     High Failure Rate in our Schools
•     Home Foreclosure
•     Personal Bankruptcy
•     Sexual Assault
•     Single Parent Families
•     Spousal Abuse

VA’s solutions for PTSD don’t work, just any military spouse. It’s time to find something that does work! Alternative/Complementary Medicine has been using effective solutions for well over 1,000 years. PTS Treatment employs these solutions to identify the cause of PTS and treat the veteran and family as one-unit.

When your life matters, we listen!
Fuzzy


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Military Benefits at Risk

Friday, June 10th, 2011 | Posted by Ed Mattson Veterans Today

Letter in Support of Military Pay and Benefit Program

by Ed Mattson

As we are seeing in business and government in America, the US military is also burdened with the soaring cost of health care. “It’s just not sustainable,” said Admiral. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He went on to say that military pay and benefits “were on the table”. “

Let me get this straight…We have millions of people on the government dole (a.k.a. welfare recipients), and the bureaucrats wouldn’t dream of making cuts to the welfare rolls and social safety net, despite the fraud and abuse that is rampant throughout the system.

When was the last time you heard of a welfare recipient having to pass a drug test in order to receive his/her welfare check?

Those with their hands out almost always vote Democrat. Once they get their place at the trough they keep asking for more, and who better to oblige than the Democrats in Congress.  The majority of those receiving benefits don’t even bother looking for work or worse yet, work for cash under the table.  Cutting out the waste and fraud in welfare is a great place to start cutting the budget, but President Obama and the Democrats keep the benefits flowing. The federal government currently runs over 70 major interrelated, welfare programs, through six different federal agencies.  State governments also contribute to many federal programs.

Total federal and state spending on welfare programs was $434 billion in 2000. Of that total, $313 billion (72 percent) came from federal funding and $121 billion (28 percent) came from state or local funds. It’s a lot more today. That boils down to about $5600 in taxes per family!

In the next few articles we will discuss ways for the government to make sensible budget cuts (including the military), butthose in the military can barely get buy under the current pay scale. So we had better batten down the hatches and start writing our representatives if we want to save the benefits for which we served.


Admiral Mike Mullen awarding the Silver Star to Capt. Gregory Ambrosia

Here’s what all veterans can do:

FIRST: Send each of your Senators (2 in every state) a letter like I sent yesterday to my representatives (see-below and please feel free to cut and paste it to develop your letter) – To get your Senator’s contact info CLICK HERE

SECOND: Get your full 9-digit zip code by clicking HERE. You’ll need that to determine your Congressional District.

THIRD: Locate the Congressperson for your district by going to the HOUSE WEBSITE. Simply enter your city, state, and 9-digit zip code and then click SUBMIT. When I first tried it, the website delivered and error message, so I had to go to my Congressman’s website and click the Contact Link

Dear Senator ***,

I am writing in support of military benefits, including the medical benefits for veterans and their families. I realize the country is under severe financial strain, but please don’t blame the military or our families. We did our duty…we went when others wouldn’t and did what others couldn’t, while the Executive and Legislative Branches of our government squandered our national treasures by providing benefits to those who won’t work, and pipe-dream programs to insure their re-electability.

Today, after spending us into oblivion, there is talk about cutting the benefits and lowering the pay for those who insure our nation’s freedom. As Calvin Coolidge so eloquently put it:

“The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”

Over the decades we have seen trillions of dollars poured into social programs that don’t work; bureaucratic malfeasance with the housing debacle which lead to this current recession; and unjustifiable expenditures like the Department of Energy, which was created in 1977 to solve our nation’s dependence on imported energy. We imported 25% of our energy back then, but today with 16,000 employees and a budget of $26 billion, we are importing nearly 60% of our nation’s needs…and they want an additional $3 billion for 2012’s budget.

There are more than 22 million employees on the federal payroll, and the military is the lowest paid of the lot. Only about 20%  of government employees hold critical jobs, so how about freezing employment and let attrition take its toll until you get federal employment down to a reasonable number (about half). Your budget would then be on the road to recovery.

Sincerely,

Your Name

This is the only thing politicians understand as each letter they receive amounts to about 320 votes at the next election. If you want to defend what we earned, this is the first place to start.

OUTRAGEOUS!!

Iowa Veteran Finds Himself Lost in VA's Benefits Logjam

Published June 19, 2011

Iraq War veteran Joel Klobnak is waiting. It’s how he spends his time these days after the Department of Veterans Affairs slashed his disability pay two years ago, the Des Moines Register reports.

Klobnak, 24, a former Marine who lost his leg in Iraq in 2006, says the cut in disability pay is a misunderstanding, but he still feels forgotten.

He’s trying to support a family of four on $1,557 per month while he waits to hear whether the government will reinstate full disability pay for his injury and the mental anguish that accompanied it, according to the paper.

His appeal is trapped in a paperwork backlog that is delaying payments to injured veterans across the country.

"There's thousands of guys. It's not just me. It's a joke," he told the Des Moines Register. "I just don't understand why it takes so long."

Actually, there are more than thousands of veterans in his straits. The backlog of veterans' disability cases has been growing for years, and it now stands around 1 million, despite repeated attempts by Congress to fix the problem.

The VA said earlier this month that it would comment on Klobnak's case, but then said it couldn't come up with a timely response.

Klobnak was a lance corporal who served as a gunner on an armored vehicle in a Marine reconnaissance squad in Iraq in 2005-06, one of the most volatile periods of the war there. He said he was wounded near the end of his tour, when a 25 mm explosive round went off while he was cleaning and reassembling a belt of ammunition for an automatic grenade launcher. The explosion shattered his left leg, which doctors amputated above the knee. He was 19.

Klobnak spent six months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., then returned to Iowa with $50,000 the military gave him as compensation for his leg. He admits he wasted much of that money in bars and at restaurants.

Government doctors determined that he couldn't work, because of the pain in his leg and the post-traumatic stress disorder that troubled his mind. The determination entitled him to full disability payments, which amounted to $3,103 per month. But in April 2009, he received a letter telling him his payments were being halved because he missed an appointment with a VA doctor, the paper reports.

Klobnak said he didn't know about the appointment, which was to review his disability status, because the notice had been sent to an old address.

Klobnak appealed the pay cut, and he was granted a hearing last June. He said a veterans' appeals judge in Washington, D.C., presided via a video link to the Federal Building in Des Moines. When Klobnak was done explaining his side, the judge told him she would consider the matter and get back to him. He said he was told to expect a decision in three to six months. It's been a year.

Click to read more on Joel Klobnak’s story from the Des Moines Register


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/06/19/iowa-veteran-finds-himself-lost-in-vas-benefits-logjam/#ixzz1PmMkyvk6


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Hiring Heroes Act of 2011

DoD Issues with “Hiring Heroes Act of 2011?

DoD objects to provisions of veterans job bill

by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Defense Department is raising objections to key parts of a bipartisan veterans employment bill, but it may end up being costs — not those complaints — that force lawmakers to scale back on the ambitious legislation.

Friday’s Labor Department report that showed the unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans was at 12.1 percent in May fuels efforts to pass a comprehensive overhaul of transition assistance and training programs for veterans, called the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairwoman and chief sponsor of the bill, said the high unemployment rate “is simply unacceptable” and is a sign that current programs are not working.

“For too long, we have patted them on the back and pushed them into the civilian job market with no support,” she said Wednesday during a committee hearing that covered the jobs bill, S 951, and 34 other measures pending before the panel.

If you know someone any Veterans that are currently unemployed, then please have them visit Hire VeteransHire Veterans currently has over 11,000 active jobs online which need to be filled immediately.  These jobs are all posted from equal opportunity employers, and many are from Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business’s.

If you are a potential employer looking to Hire Veterans,  please contact our recruiting consultant John Vogel directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 


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