Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Day’
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 11, 2012
Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, Racketeering, Veterans | Tagged: ACE, AIG, Civilian Contractors, Civilian Veterans, CNA, Contractor Casualties, DBA, DBA Insurance, Defense Base Act, Veterans, Veterans Day, Veterans Day 2012 | 1 Comment »
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 28, 2012
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 11, 2011
To all our Vets here at Defense Base Act Compensation Blog
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 11, 2010
The poster was designed by Ron Bergan, of the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System. The Veterans Day National Committee selected his design from more than 40 submissions as part of a national poster search. Bergan’s poster was inspired by a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
“It [the Wall] was functional, beautiful, and simple and I could not comprehend all the names that were on it,” Bergan said.
The same might be said of his poster, which depicts a listing of U.S. military campaigns above a draped U.S. Flag. In addition to VA facilities, the poster is distributed to federal buildings, military installations and regional Veterans Day events. It will also grace the cover of the program booklets distributed at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11. Veterans Today
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 11, 2009
Journalist; The Bob Woodruff Foundation
Again, no mention of the contractors with TBI and PTSD, or the families and caregivers who are bearing these same burdens but almost always without even the medical and financial support that the military provides. The taxpayer pays this financial support to AIG, CNA, and their lawyers instead.
This is from the Huffington Post today
This Veterans Day, as we honor those who defend our country, our thoughts are with the injured overseas and here, at Fort Hood. While the facts are still developing, this tragedy exposes the true toll of war’s hidden injuries — not only on our nation’s service members, but on the families and caregivers who tend to them.
Today, most troops wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are surviving their injuries. They fought our country’s battles. Now they fight their own. According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, 320,000 have sustained traumatic brain injuries, and nearly 20 percent will report symptoms of PTSD or major depression.
Exposed for prolonged periods to trauma and stress, many face intense cognitive and psychological issues. The financial cost of addressing these issues is worrisome. RAND estimates the one-year cost of moderate TBI at more than $250,000 per case and the total cost to society at more than $4 billion. Our nation’s ability to treat these conditions is still inadequate. While the US Department of Veterans Affairs has taken significant steps under General Shinsecki to address stigma and remove barriers to care, there are still gaps. A recent study showed that 57 percent of those reporting a probable TBI had not been evaluated by a physician, and only half seeking treatment for PTSD or depression received minimally adequate care. The Fort Hood tragedy reveals the strains in our healthcare system, particularly the shortages and stigma associated with reporting and treating psychological wounds.
The larger costs our nation and its families will be forced to carry are also troubling. Like physical injuries, hidden ones can affect the economic livelihood, quality of life and family relationships of service members just as they are trying to regain their footing. Financial needs during recovery often exceed what the government currently can provide, forcing healthy family members to give up their jobs to serve as primary caregiver. Many are spouses who have no respite from these responsibilities, and no other means of income beyond their military benefits. Others are parents of military children, once empty nesters who are now primary caregivers not eligible for the same benefits. Economic conditions make efforts to assist military families even more urgent — with the number of unemployed current veterans nearly equal to the entire US military strength serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even in a positive economic environment, military families — especially the injured and those grappling with TBI or PTSD — will need special opportunities to find jobs and establish economic security.
With the high cost of rehabilitation expenses and pressure on family income, a growing number of military families are severely rent burdened, 500,000 paying more than 50% of their income on rent. Financially strapped and emotionally fragile, those who suffer from trauma are at risk to experience psychological or behavioral issues or succumb to substance abuse. Others will join the ranks of our nation’s homeless. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, one in three homeless have put on a uniform to defend our country. While thousands who served in Iraq already use the VA’s homeless programs, many more will need supportive housing programs designed after The Jericho Project model to addresses the root causes of homelessness and the special needs of veterans.
America’s service members, caregivers and families are hurting in other ways, too. The Fort Hood incident offers a glimpse into the special stresses of caregiving. While exceptional, this tragedy is shining a light in the dark corners — where those who provide assistance to others who are traumatized can suffer silently, avoiding help because of shame or feelings of inadequacy. Even in ordinary circumstances, for our military families, the emotional weight of rehabilitation and transition make just staying together taxing. Spouses of those with hidden injuries often face their own grief and depression as they struggle to reunite their families after long separations. Children of parents with trauma have special needs for counseling, socialization and support that are not always easy for mainstream educators to address. More organizations like the Military Child Education Coalition, greater openness, and better training are needed for our counselors, community leaders and clergy to blanket military families with security and help them cope with these very real issues.
This isn’t about politics, or about the war. It’s about the warrior. The massacre at Fort Hood is a tragic reminder of the psychological wounds of war. It can also be a catalyst for change to help those who endure them. This Veterans Day, after we raise the flag, we must raise awareness about wars hidden injuries, and what’s required for injured service members, families and caregivers to have safe and successful futures. The health and livelihood of our families, and our country, is at stake.
News anchor Bob Woodruff, the group’s founder, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb while reporting in Iraq. He has returned to the air and covers a variety of issues from around the globe for ABC. A military family member, Rene Bardorf is Executive Director of The Bob Woodruff Foundation, which provides resources and support to injured service members, veterans and their families.
Posted in PTSD and TBI | Tagged: Afghanistan, AIG, Bob Woodruff, Civilian Contractor, CNA, Iraq, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ptsd, TBI, The Bob Woodruff Foundation, Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans, Veterans Day | Leave a Comment »
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 11, 2009
We are joining Paul Sullivan at Veterans for Common Sense who is using this day to raise awareness of the mental needs of our service members, veterans, families and for us our overseas civilian contractors.
According to the Congressional Budget Reports there is one contractor for every soldier and one dying for every three soldiers killed.
Following you will read several ratios as applied to the numbers of soldiers coming home with PTSD and TBI.
We have no numbers or ratios to report on how many contractors come home with PTSD and TBI.
The DoL, CNA and AIG have been more successful at denying diagnoses, treatment and benefits than the DoD and VA.
November 10, 2009 (AntiWar.com) – Veterans Day arrives tomorrow, and with it, the anticipated harvest of heartbreaking anecdotes driving the press coverage and our ever wandering attention back to less desirable realities: the disfigured but persevering hero, the homeless warrior, the unemployable sergeant, the father or son or daughter who came home a stranger and cannot be reached.
Usually, there is nothing more powerful than a personal story to pound home the cost of eight years of war overseas, but I think today there is something even more disturbing to bear.
It’s the number 89,457.
As of Oct. 15, that’s how many American casualties there were in Iraq and Afghanistan since Oct. 7, 2001, when the Afghan war officially began. That includes a tire-screeching 75,134 dead, wounded-in-action, and medically evacuated due to illness, disease, or injury in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and 14,323 and counting in Afghanistan, or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
That it may sound incredible – even unreal – is understandable. Early attempts to effectively count casualties (outside of battlefield fatalities) had been in earnest, then erratic, but finally dead-ended, frustrated by the Department of Defense, which has always been loath to break down and publicize the data on a regular basis.
One stalwart has always been Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to advancing the health and readjustment of returning soldiers and veterans. They’ve been diligently aggregating the statistics over time, and thanks to their diligent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, they can provide casualty reports at a level of detail not currently seen on the DOD’s publicly accessible Web site, DefenseLink.mil.
If we could access the data more easily, more people would know that 196 servicemembers took their own lives while serving in Iraq between March 2003 and Oct. 3, 2009, and there were 34 such suicides in Afghanistan. (These figures, of course, do not include the skyrocketing cases of suicides among all active-duty soldiers and veterans and cases of self-inflicted injury outside both war zones.)
More people would also know that 48,215 servicemembers had to be medically evacuated from the battlefield due to hostile and non-hostile injury, disease, and other medical issues since the beginning of the Iraq War. As of early October, 8.983 were evacuated for the same reasons from the war zone in Afghanistan.
What the DOD does say, is that as of Nov. 4, there were 13,880 servicemembers wounded in action in Iraq who had not returned to duty, while 2,619 had left Afghanistan under the same conditions. That number is climbing faster. According to the Washington Post on Oct. 31, more than 1,000 were wounded in Afghanistan in the last three months, accounting for one-third of the total American casualties in OEF overall.
Thus, the troops are coming home, but in drastically varied degrees of wholeness. In Vietnam, there was one soldier killed for every 2.6 wounded. The vast majority of soldiers are surviving their injuries today (approximately one killed in action for every 11.5 wounded in action, according to current stats for Afghanistan and Iraq), thanks to advanced body armor, better medevac transport, and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. But in tens of thousands of cases, their journey has just begun.
No one should be surprised, then, to hear that some 454,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have already sought medical care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) when they came home. That’s 40 percent of the total OIF/OEF veteran population, which is a number that is of course in flux, considering that the war has no end and veterans have five years to apply for care after the end of their service.
As of this summer, of those veterans who sought healthcare at the VA, 45 percent were diagnosed with a mental health condition, according to VA statistics. Twenty-seven percent of these had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Based on available resources from the DOD and research by the RAND Corporation, VCS estimates that an estimated 370,000 (or 19.5 percent of) veterans have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) thanks to the high rate of accidents, roadside bombs, and other battlefield explosions and events – plus repeated deployments – in the war. VCS also estimates that some 18.5 percent of veterans come home with PTSD.
“This is very, very serious. The numbers are . . . bad, OK?” said Paul Sullivan, the bulldog director of VCS. “The good news is veterans are asking for care, and it’s good care. The bad news is there is 454,000 of them.”
That’s tens of thousands of men and women and affected families and communities that are all but missing from the mainstream news any other time of the year. Sullivan said this is partly the military’s fault for obfuscating the statistics and working to keep the agony of sacrifice in the shadows.
“It’s still the policy of the United States to minimize concerns about postwar health,” said Sullivan. Take the issue of soldiers coming home with chronic health problems allegedly caused by the toxic open-air burn pits in theater. One look at the online discussion boards and it’s clear something over there went awry. Vets are headed to VA facilities in droves with symptoms ranging from respiratory distress to sleep apnea and irregular heart conditions, but the Pentagon still refuses to admit a connection to their wartime exposures.
“They treat it as a public relations issue, not a health issue,” Sullivan said. “In our view, we are tired of the government lying, and we’re done with the PR.”
Larry Scott, who runs VAWatchdog.org, an invaluable daily monitor of ongoing issues affecting the 23.4 million living U.S veterans, said the 89,457 figure relating to OIF/OEF casualties is valid – and ultimately overwhelming. “People just forget, they don’t realize there is an ongoing cost of war. Whether you agree with the war or not is not the issue. We have to be ready to pay the price.”
Looking at it in monetary terms – more numbers – may seem cold, but again, it puts the taxpayers’ burden into shocking perspective. Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz have identified two scenarios in their book, The Three Trillion Dollar War (2008). One scenario estimates a long-term cost of $422 billion to the federal government for veterans’ health care and disability compensation (given 1.8 million men and women deployed and troop levels falling below 55,000 by 2012). In the other scenario, the U.S. stays in Iraq and Afghanistan another eight years and 2.1 million men and women are deployed, with a price tag of $717 billion
Sullivan estimates that there are about 450,000 disability claims already filed with the VA on behalf of Iraq and Afghanistan vets, based on the official 405,000 figure announced back in February. He said there are approximately 80,000 new claims a month from veterans of all wars. As of Sept. 26, there were more than 951,217 pending claims by all veterans, including 200,679 claims pending appeal (the Veterans Benefits Administration recently reduced that number to 176,000, raising eyebrows at Sullivan’s group).
Rarely do we hear these figures over the din calling for even greater numbers of troops on the ground in Afghanistan. The generals want 40,000 or more, which would exceed the “surge” of 20,000 men and women into Iraq almost three years ago. Soldiers are finally withdrawing from that front only to be shifted to the other one for seemingly more hazardous duty.
“Where is the discussion about making sure that before we send any more troops overseas that we can take care of the veterans we already have and whether we can take care of another flood of them?” asked Sullivan.
Such discussions are indeed hard to come by. As Veterans Day nears, veterans are strangely absent, and for many of us, out of mind. Perhaps Sullivan’s question is best answered by Macy’s full-page Veterans Day sale advertisement in the Washington Post this week, featuring two well-dressed, shiny, happy, pretty people with a bugle and a drum. There are lots of numbers – 30% to 60% off storewide! – but not a veteran in sight.
Posted in AIG and CNA, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: Afghanistan, AIG, Civilian Contractor, Department of Labor, DoL, injured contractor, Iraq, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ptsd, TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans, Veterans Day | 4 Comments »