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Ilona Meagher

MSNBC | Army program helps ease stress of deployment - 0 views

  • Getting military personnel home safely requires much more than an airplane ride and a cursory post-deployment checkup, says Pat Canerdy, administrator of the Army Reserve's Chattanooga-based 591st Transportation Detachment. It's a lesson officials and families alike have had to learn the hard way throughout the global war on terror, which has led to historic highs in suicide and divorce rates.

    Just more than 5 percent of Army suicide victims had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a recent Department of Defense news release, and 17 percent reportedly had problems with substance abuse. Meanwhile, at least 60 percent had relationship problems.

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    Army Reserve's Chattanooga-based 591st Transportation Detachment prepares to implement the new Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.\n\nAll branches of the service have some form of the program, according to Lt. Col. Robin Smith Sr., chief well-being officer for the Army Reserve. The Yellow Ribbon program was launched "to prepare soldiers and their families for mobilization, sustain the families during mobilization and to help with reintegration with their families, communities and employers upon redeployment," he said.\n\nThe program began as part of a requirement outlined in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2008 and became even more important as the steep suicide rates were recorded in recent months
Ilona Meagher

Richmond Times-Dispatch | For these airmen, it's about surviving, not flying - 0 views

  • The role of the Air Force in Afghanistan is crucial, especially as Taliban forces try to close a supply route through Pakistan's Khyber Pass and Kyrgyzstan seeks to shut a U.S. air base in that country.

    Nearly 600 airmen have been killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - and 96 percent of them have been on the ground, according to Air Force officials.

    Their mounting losses - partly due to expanded duties off base - prompted intensive training, begun three years ago, to help the ground airmen survive combat.

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    Stats on Air Force combat-zone casualties.
Ilona Meagher

The Providence Journal | Afghanistan battle haunts Rhode Islander Craig Mullaney - 0 views

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    Deploying to Afghanistan, Craig Mullaney writes, "was a slow immersion, like Dante's descent into the Inferno."\n\nOne moment, Mullaney and his Army Ranger platoon waited in an airport terminal at Fort Drum, N.Y. Televisions were tuned to Major League Baseball games. The soldiers ate what one jokingly called their "Last Supper" - rubbery T-bone steaks with Mexican rice.\n\nThey received an intelligence briefing warning them of the dangers awaiting them in Afghanistan, including ticks, cobras and camel spiders that can run more than 30 mph. Then they marched onto a cavernous cargo plane. Two flights and 7,000 miles later, Mullaney and his men stepped out into the dusty, baking heat of an airbase in Kandahar. It was 128 degrees, in the shade.\n\nIn that summer of 2003, Afghanistan had fallen off the front page. Attention had shifted to the war in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Taliban regime that had been toppled by the U.S. invasion following 9/11 was resurgent. Operating from across the border in Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was suspected to be hiding, Taliban and al-Qaida fighters harassed local villages and Western occupiers.\n\nMullaney's Army Ranger training did not cover desert warfare, which had been dropped in 1995. Studying modern military history at West Point, he took just one paragraph of notes on Afghanistan, involving the Russians' failed experience there in the 1980s.
Ilona Meagher

The Boston Globe | The military's post-traumatic stress dilemma - 0 views

  • I was in Iraq in 2004. From the day we had arrived home to the day we were scheduled to return to Iraq was exactly nine months. The pressure to prepare ourselves quickly was intense. When the first Marine came to my office and asked to see the psychiatrist about some troubling issues from our time in Iraq, I was sympathetic. I said, "No problem." When another half dozen or so Marines approached me with the same request, I was only somewhat concerned.

    But when all of them and several more returned from their appointments with recommendations for discharge, I'll admit I was alarmed. Suddenly I was not as concerned about their mental health as I was about my company's troop strength.

  • As all those Marines in my company began filtering out, some from essential positions, I started to worry about the welfare of those remaining. I worried, quite naturally, that if the exodus continued, we might not have enough to accomplish our mission or to survive on the battlefield. My sympathies for those individuals claiming post-traumatic stress began to wane. A commander cannot serve in earnest both the mission and the psychologically wounded. When the two come in conflict, as they routinely do as a result of repeated deployments, the commander will feel an internal and institutional pressure to maintain the integrity of his unit. I did. And there begins a grassroots, albeit subconscious, resistance to Mullen's plan to destigmatize the people who seek help. Because as much as I cared about my Marines, it was difficult to look upon those who sought to leave without suspicion or even mild contempt.
  • Where psychological and traumatic brain injuries can still, to some extent, be doubted and debated, and when their treatment stands in opposition to troop strength and to mission accomplishment, the needs of those wounded service members will be subordinated.

    The result by necessity, which we are already witnessing today, will be dubious treatment protocols within the military aimed at retention, diagnosed soldiers returning to the battlefield, and a slowly diminished emphasis on screening. It will happen. It has begun already. There will be no policy shift. There will be no change in the language we hear from our leaders. But we will know all too well that our soldiers are still not being properly treated by the ever-increasing number of suicides that occur.

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    WITH ARMY and Marine Corps suicide rates climbing dramatically, surpassing even those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan last month, the nation is increasingly disturbed and demanding treatment for veterans. But these suicide reports highlight an important distinction: A significant portion of those returning from war are not yet veterans; they are still active or reserve service members, which means, above all, that they probably will be going back to one of our theaters of operations. And that means that any treatment for post-traumatic stress will be positioned in direct conflict with the mission itself. As a former Marine captain and rifle company commander, I witnessed this conflict firsthand.
Ilona Meagher

Chicago Tribune | Restoring spirits of men haunted by war - 0 views

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    The men crewed .50-calibers through Iraq neighborhoods, survived roadside bomb blasts, attended memorial services for buddies. Now they were being asked to cut cattle, on foot, in front of one another and a handful of real cowboys. It's safe to say there wasn't exactly a rush to start. But within a few minutes, the 15 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan-almost all of them self-described city boys whose experience with livestock extends only to the dinner plate-had learned a thing or two about patience and teamwork, and for a few minutes of laughter and sweat, they could forget about the war that still haunts them. "It's like we're back in the field now," said Jeremy Williams, a 26-year-old who lives in a small town near Huntsville and served three tours in Iraq with the Marines. The veterans came from throughout the United States to spend four days at the stylish Wildcatter Ranch, invited by the Wounded Warrior Project and the owners of the ranch to help restore their spirits. Some of the men have physical injuries, but each of them is struggling to deal with combat stress and their return to civilian society. The men went canoeing and rode horses. They got massages and shot skeet. They stayed in luxurious rooms and they visited an elementary school, where the children gave them Graham Steers ball caps. "I have never seen anything like this before," said Harvey Stubbs Jr., 32, a Chicago-area native who was medically retired from the Army because of his injuries. "The outpouring of love ... has been amazing. A lot of people give lip service to supporting the troops, but these people have opened their hearts to us in ways I can't believe."
Ilona Meagher

Standard-Examiner | Another HAFB suicide / Longtime employee: Morale low, feeling of po... - 0 views

Ilona Meagher

Veteran missing in Yellowstone has PTSD - 0 views

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    Peter Louis Kastner
Ilona Meagher

Smithsonian Magazine | Embedded Technologies: Power From the People - 0 views

Ilona Meagher

USAToday | Ex-soldier takes hostages at Ga. hospital, then surrenders - 0 views

  • A former Army soldier seeking help for mental problems at a Georgia military hospital took three workers hostage at gunpoint Monday before authorities persuaded him to surrender.
  • No one was hurt and no shots were fired in the short standoff at Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart,
  • The suspect walked into the hospital's emergency room at about 4 a.m. local time carrying two handguns, a semiautomatic rifle and a semiautomatic version of a submachine gun, Phillips said. He took a medic hostage and headed to the building's behavioral treatment wing on the third floor.
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  • Fort Stewart, the largest Army post east of the Mississippi River, is home to the 3rd Infantry Division. Most of the division's 19,000 soldiers are deployed to Iraq. It's the 3rd Infantry's fourth tour in Iraq since the war began in 2003.
Ilona Meagher

Issaquah Reporter | Lest We Forget - 0 views

  • On a day-to-day basis, most of us conduct ourselves as though we were not at war with two countries. Ilona Meager points out in her book, “Moving A Nation to Care,” “those on the home front have not been asked to do anything out of ordinary, or give up anything extraordinary for our soldiers in battle.”
Ilona Meagher

Pausing to Remember This Veterans Day - 0 views

Ilona Meagher

KPBS | New Study: Two-Thirds of Veterans With PTSD Not Being Treated - 0 views

Ilona Meagher

TIME | Study: PTSD Survivors' Children May Have Genetic Scars - 1 views

  • Over the years, a large body of work has been devoted to studying PTSD symptoms in second-generation survivors, and it has found signs of the condition in their behavior and even their blood — with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, for example. The assumption — a perfectly reasonable one — was always that these symptoms were essentially learned. Grow up with parents afflicted with the mood swings, irritability, jumpiness and hypervigilance typical of PTSD and you're likely to wind up stressed and high-strung yourself.
  • Now a new paper adds another dimension to the science, suggesting that it's not just a second generation's emotional profile that can be affected by a parent's trauma; it may be their genes too. The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, was conducted by a team led by neurobiologist Isabelle Mansuy of the University of Zurich. What she and her colleagues set out to explore went deeper than genetics in general, focusing instead on epigenetics — how genes change as a result of environmental factors in ways that can be passed onto the next generation.
  • "We saw the genetic differences both in the brains of the offspring mice and in the germline — or sperm — of the fathers," says Mansuy.
Ilona Meagher

Harvard Journal on Legislation | Volume 45, Number 2 - 0 views

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    Cited in "Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act of 2007"
Ilona Meagher

KIAH-TV | Officials say armed veteran shot, killed by officers outside Maine VA hospital - 0 views

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    James Popkowski
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