for Disabled Vets:
Loan Help for Vets
At this web site you can apply online for Voc Rehab
for a full ride
to College and an income!
Type in key words SDV
Do a google search
SDV, DVBE, Service Disabled Veteran
Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise
(serving vets for 60 years)
Defense Department has established
a "one stop" place to go whenever
or family members need assistance with any kind of problem.
Family members include parents, siblings, spouses and their children. We
have personally called, and they will help ANY family member who needs to talk,
counseling and/or needs information. This is a great resource!! Please use it!
You can call 24/7 & 365 days a year 1-800-342-9647
Gifts You Can Give Returning Veterans
That Will Last Them A Lifetime.
by USMC Col Tim Hanifen - Atlanta, GA
The combat phase of the campaign in
Iraq is winding down and now the hardest job of all begins-winning the peace.
Soon many of our fellow citizen-Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsman-both
active and reserve will return home with their units or as individuals. All have
served and participated in an extraordinary campaign of liberation that was fought
in a manner that reflected not only the determination of the American people to
do what was necessary but also reflective of our value to spare life whenever
and wherever possible.
these veterans begin returning home and people are asking themselves what they
can do to celebrate their return, honor their service and remember those that
have fallen in the performance of their duty. After every war or major conflict,
there are always concerns about the emotional state of returning veterans, their
ability to readjust to peaceful pursuits and their reintegration into American
society. People naturally ask themselves "what can we do or what should we
do?" The purpose of this message is to offer that there are three very important
gifts that we personally and collectively as a society, can give to these returning
veterans. They are "understanding, affirmation and support".
"understanding", I am not speaking of sympathy, empathy, consoling or
emotional analysis. Rather,
I offer that we, to the best of our ability, need to comprehend some of the combat
truths learned and experienced by these returning servicemen and women. Their
perspectives and their personal experiences will shape each of them and our society
in large and small ways for years to come. Though we were not there, our comprehension
and respect for their "truisms" will be part of the gift that will truly
last them and us for a lifetime.
truth every combat veteran knows, regardless of conflict, is that war is about
combat, combat is about fighting, fighting is about killing and killing is a traumatic
personal experience for those who fight. Killing another person even in combat,
is difficult as it is fundamentally against our nature and the innate guiding
moral compass within most human beings. The frequency of direct combat and the
relative distance between combatants is also directly proportional to the level
of combat stress experienced by the surviving veteran. Whether the serviceman
or woman actually pulled the trigger, dropped a bomb or simply supported those
who have, I've yet to meet any veteran who has fought and found their contribution
to or the personal act of killing another human being particularly glorious. Necessary-Yes.
Glorious or pleasurable-No. In combat, the veteran must psychologically distance
themselves from the humanity of their opponent during the fight. The adversary
becomes a target or an objective or any number of derogatory epithets that separates
"them from us". Combat becomes merely business-a job that has to be
done, part of your duty and killing-a necessary result. It's a team job that needs
to be done quickly, efficiently, unemotionally and at the least cost in lives
to your unit, to innocents and with the most damage inflicted in the least time
to your adversaries. Then you and the team move forward again to the next danger
area and fight. The only sure way home is by fighting through your opponents as
quickly and efficiently as possible. Along the way you quietly hope or pray that
your actions will: be successful; not cause the loss of a comrade; the death of
an innocent; or that you'll become one of the unlucky casualties yourself. You
stay despite your fears because the team-your new family of brothers or sisters,
truly needs you and you'd rather die than let them down. You live in the moment,
slowly realize your own mortality and also your steadily rising desire to cling
to and fight hard for every second of it. You keep your focus, your "game
face" on and you don't allow yourself the luxury of "too much reflection"
or a moment's "day dreaming" about home, loved ones, the future or your
return. You privately fear that such a moment of inattention may be your or worse,
because of you, a comrade's last.
So if I may caution, please don't walk
up to a combat veteran and ask him or her if they "killed" anyone or
attempt well meaning "pop" psychoanalysis. These often-made communication
attempts are awkward and show a lack of understanding and comprehension of the
veteran. They also reveal much about the person who attempts either one. Instead,
please accept there is a deep contextual gap between you both because you were
not there. This chasm is very difficult to bridge when veterans attempt to relate
their personal war experiences. Actual combat veterans are the one's least likely
to answer the question or discuss the details of their experiences with relative
strangers. Most likely they will ignore you and feel as though they were truly
"pilgrims" in a strange land instead of honored and appreciated members
of our Republic. So accept and don't press. One note of personal caution for your
awareness- If a combat veteran does answer or appear to openly revel in the number
of adversaries they've personally slain then they either haven't or they are likely
part of society's 2% sociopaths. In either case, I would recommend you beware
and quietly distance yourself. Their enthusiasm and behavior are not normal for
a true combat veteran. But here is what you can do. Don't ignore them or the subject.
Please feel free to express your "gladness at their safe return" and
ask them "how it went or what was it like?" These questions are open-ended
and show both your interest and concern. They also allow the veteran to share
what they can or want. In most cases, the open door will enable them to share
stories of close friends, teammates or some humorous moments of which they recall.
Again, just ask, accept but don't dig or press.
gift is "affirmation". Whether
you were personally in favor of the war or against it no longer matters at this
point. As a Republic and a people we debated, we decided and then we mustered
the political and societal willpower to send these brave young men and women into
combat in hopes of eventually creating a better peace for ourselves, for the Iraqi
people and for an entire region of the world. More than anything else, the greatest
gift you can personally give a returning veteran is a sincere handshake and words
from you that "they did the right thing, they did what we asked them to do
and that you are proud of them". We need to say these words often and the
returning combat veteran truly needs these reassurances. Also please fly your
flag and consider attending one or more public events with your families as a
visible sign of your support and thanks. Nothing speaks louder to a returning
veteran than the physical presence of entire families. Those Americans attending
these events give one of their most precious gifts-their personal time. Numbers
matter. Personal and family presence silently speaks volumes of affirmation to
those you wish to honor.
The third gift is "support".
return there will be weeks of ceremonies and public praise applauding the achievements
of the returning units and their veterans. But the pace of life in America is
fast and it will necessarily move rapidly onward towards the next event. Here
is where your support is most needed to sustain the returning veteran and you
can make the most difference in their lives for years to come. Continue to fly
your flag. If you are an employer, then simply do your best to hire a veteran
who is leaving service or if he or she was a Guardsman or Reservist, welcome them
back to a new job within the company. All reserve personnel know that the economic
life of the company has continued in their absence. It has to do so in order for
the company to survive and prosper. They also know it is likely their jobs have
since been filled. Returning veterans are always unsure whether or not they will
find or have employment upon return. As an employer, if you can't give them an
equivalent job because of downsizing then extend them with your company for three
to four months so they can properly job hunt. Please take a personal interest
in them and their families and use your extensive list of personal and professional
contacts to help them land a better job-even if it is with one of your competitors.
The gratitude they will feel for you, your personal actions and your company is
For everyone else, the greatest gift you can give to continue
support will take 10 seconds of your time. In the years to come, if ever your
paths cross with one of the hundreds of thousands of veterans of this or any other
conflict, then simply shake their hand and tell them "thanks" and that
"they did a great job!" Your words show you understand, you affirm their
service and you continue to support them. Teach your children to do the same by
your strong example. Though veterans may not express it, every one of them will
be grateful. If this message rings true with you, then let us each give these
returning veterans these three gifts that will truly last them a lifetime.
Cards for Troops
in conjunction with Segovia Communications have
excellent programs for the
troops to call home from Iraq. Segovia Communications has now reduced their rates
4.7 to 4.0 cents per minute. People can still individually donate phone
time to service members via the Segovia website. http://www.segoviaip.com
They will receive a PIN that can be emailed to soldiers/airmen or their units
someone wishes to donate a substantial amount
of money for phone time,
they should contact Nancy
Debald at MWRTel firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her at
(410) 312-5779. Nancy
will be happy provide a discount
and a specified block of PIN numbers.
soldiers don't receive any mail or packages.
pitch in to help these soldiers so they know they are not forgotten.To Help a
forgotten soldier please visit www.anysoldier.com
about sending care packages to troops
website has information about sending care packages to troops: http://www.equipped.com/deployed_military_suggestions.htm
Coping When a Family Member
Called to War
National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet
by Julia Whealin, Ph.D. & Ilona Pivar,
a family member goes to war, the impact upon those left at home can be daunting.
There is often tremendous uncertainty about the dangers that exist where the loved
one is being deployed and about when he or she will return. Concerns may be intensified
as TV news programs emphasize threats, such as chemical or biological warfare,
scud missile attack, and environmental destruction. In addition to having to adjust
to the loved one's absence, the families of those who have been deployed may live
in constant fear of harm to their loved one.
Emotional Cycle of Deployment
a loved one is deployed, fluctuating emotions such as pride, anger, fear, and
bitterness can add to the distress of uncertainty. Various emotions continue during
the person's deployment, based upon changes the family encounters as they adjust
to the departure and absence of their family member. The following is a typical
cycle of emotions:
The cycle begins with a short period of intense emotions, such as fear and anger,
when news of deployment is released to the family.
" As departure grows
closer, a period of detachment and withdrawal may occur. In preparation for the
physical separation, family members may experience intense emotions.
A period of sadness, loneliness, and tension begins at the time of departure;
this can last several weeks or longer.
" Following the first weeks of
deployment, families begin to adjust to a new routine without the deployed service
" As the end of the deployment period draws near, tension continues
as the family anticipates changes related to the return of the service member.
When Families Have Difficulties
Deployment will be a challenging time for
family members who are left behind:
" In addition to patriotism and
pride, feelings of fear and anger are also common. The mixture of these feelings
may be confusing, particularly for children.
" If a family already has
difficulty communicating with one another, such problems may worsen during times
of stress, and add strain to the family.
" Those deployed may downplay
the potential for danger in order to protect the family from excessive worry,
which can make family members feel their feelings of fear are being invalidated.
When there is an impending crisis such as a war deployment, some families may
need to be become more aware of their style of relating to and supporting each
" Emotions can run high during the deployment, and people can
turn fear, anger, and other emotions against those they care for the most.
" When certain family members, particularly children, do express their fear
or anger, families should not view these feelings as too sensitive or as an annoyance.
Instead, realize that those feelings may be emotions that everyone shares, but
perhaps not everyone has acknowledged those feelings yet.
it is possible that members will feel as though their emotions are numb during
the time before a departure. This is because these individuals may be preparing
emotionally for the separation from the family; it does not mean these family
members don't care. Sometimes the stronger the numbing, the stronger the emotions
underlying the feelings.
Fear of the Unknown
Communication with the
deployed family member during war may be minimal. When the family knows little
about where the service member is being deployed, they may try to obtain any information
they can about that area of the world. Often, family members will turn to the
media for this information. When families do this, they may be faced with media
speculation that emphasizes frightening commentary and images. Online discussion
groups can also be a source of unreliable information that creates needless distress.
Learn what you can about the issues from trustworthy resources, such as public
libraries and published books. Put the risk in proportion so that you are in a
better position to think realistically. For example, remind yourself that even
though you hear regularly about deaths in the military, the vast majority of deployed
troops are not harmed.
Changes in Family Structure
A spouse left at home
during deployment will be faced with work tasks that s/he may be unfamiliar with.
Juggling finances, lawn care, car and home repair, cooking, and raising children
can lead to stress overload and exhaustion. Families that are flexible regarding
roles and responsibilities are better able to adapt to deployment stresses. It's
important for family members to support each other in these new responsibilities
and to get outside help as much as possible. Your military contingency officer
and your employee assistance program can provide you with childcare referrals,
including before- and after-school programs and in-home care.
When the Primary Caretaker Is Deployed Many more women are now participating in
war-related deployments. During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, more than 40,000
women were deployed, thousands of them mothers with dependent children. Research
on work-family conflict among active duty women indicates:
The struggle between work and family duties is a source of parenting distress.
" Women who were supported by their husbands in their marital and parenting
roles had fewer work-family conflicts, less distress, or less depression.
" Families that are flexible regarding roles and responsibilities are better
able to adapt to deployment stresses.
" Getting information about difficult
issues, such as separation anxiety, discipline, raising adolescents, and sibling
rivalry, may help make care easier.
Special Concerns for Reservists
have added concerns pertaining to the families and jobs left behind. In some cases,
military deployment can create financial hardships due to a loss of income. Sometimes
the household financial manager is the one who is deployed and the remaining head
of the household is left to manage the finances, perhaps without much practice.
The government has developed many services and programs to assist you and your
family with these challenges during the predeployment, deployment, and reunification
stages. There are groups that can help with the development of family emergency
plans, family care plans, and personal financial management.
Families of Those Going to War
The following are suggestions to help you manage
the stress of having a family member deployed for war-related duties:
Take time to listen to each other. Know that deployment will be a painful and
frightening time, particularly for children. Spend time listening to family members
without judging or criticizing what they say. People may need to just express
themselves during this time. The more family members can communicate with one
another, the less long-term strain there will be on the family.
Limit exposure to news media programs. Families should minimize exposure to anxiety-arousing
media related to the war. News programs often emphasize fearful content and frightening
images to create a "story." Watching a lot of TV news programs, for
example, can create needless distress. When children worry about war, let them
know that the war is far away. Acknowledge children's fears, and let them know
that parents, teachers, and police are here to protect them.
the deployed member is still a part of the family. Find ways to keep a symbolic
representation of the deployed member visible to the family. Keep photographs
of your loved one in prominent locations. Get children's help in keeping a family
journal of each day's events for the deployed member to look at when he or she
4. Understand feelings. Emotions such as fear, anger, and
feeling "numb" are normal and common reactions to stress. Family members
need to make sure these emotions aren't turned against one another in frustration.
It will help family members manage tension if you share feelings, recognize that
they are normal, and realize that most family members feel the same way.
Spend time with people. Coping with stressful events is easier when in the company
of caring friends. Ask for support from your family, friends, church, or other
6. Join or develop support groups. Forming support
groups for the spouses of deployed military personnel helps spouses cope with
separation from their loved ones. Peer-support groups, led by spouses of deployed
service members, can be a tremendous aid to family functioning. Spouses can share
ideas with each other, trade childcare or other responsibilities, and encourage
each other if they are feeling taxed.
7. Keep up routines. Try to stick
to everyday routines. Familiar habits can be very comforting.
time out for fun. Don't forget to do things that feel good to you. Take a walk,
spend time with your pets, or play a game you enjoy.
9. Help others.
It is beneficial for everyone to find ways you and your family can productively
channel energy. Helping other families and organizing neighborhood support groups
or outings can help everyone involved.
10. Self-care. The more emotionally
nurturing and stable the remaining caretaker is, the less stress the children
will feel. However, trying to "do it all" can lead to exhaustion. Signs
of caregiver stress include feeling as though you are unable to cope, feeling
constantly exhausted, or feeling as though you no longer care about anything.
It is especially important for caretakers to devote time to themselves, exercise,
and get plenty of rest.
11. Get professional help if needed. When stress
becomes overwhelming, don't be afraid to seek professional help. Ongoing difficulties
such as exhaustion, apathy, worry, sleeplessness, bad dreams, irritability, or
anger-outbursts warrant the attention of a professional counselor. The military
employment assistance program provides free counseling for family members impacted
by the stress of deployment. Contingency planning personnel are available on bases
around the country to help families handle stress related to deployment.
Use military outreach programs. Military outreach programs are in place to help
families prevent social isolation. Interventions for military families are especially
important for younger families and those without a prior history of deployments.
Group leaders are trained to (1) assist in the grief process that a family goes
through when a spouse is deployed, (2) teach coping skills to deal with indefinite
separations, and (3) help spouses plan a family reunion.
War brings about difficult
stressors for families of deployed service members. Mixed feelings about the deployment
are common, and emotions tend to fluctuate over the course of the deployment.
It is most important to take added steps during this time to take care of yourself
and your family. Also, seek help from others around you who will understand, including
friends, family members, or other families who have a member deployed.
OUR BRAVE TROOPS!
"til they all come home..."