PAT LAMOUREUX - One episode in a person's life, does not define the person.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

PTSD wrenches service member's heart, home

By Kelly Kennedy, Military Times
Updated 9/18/2009 4:11 PM

Sgt. Loyd Sawyer joined the Army to bring honor to death.

For years, he had worked as a funeral home director. His children learned that death was part of the normal cycle of life — that it's good to mourn for a loved one and there was no reason to fear the bodies their daddy embalmed in a workroom of their home.

But then he spent six months working at the morgue at Dover Air Force Base, Del. And then six more months in mortuary affairs at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

After that, Loyd no longer saw death as part of a natural cycle.

The faces of dead troops began to haunt his every minute. Awake. Asleep. Some charred or shattered, some with faces he recognized from life, some in parts.

Once, after an aircraft crash, Loyd spent 82 hours lining up bodies side by side, the burnt remains still so hot they melted through the plastic body bags.

He took the images home with him, each of the dead competing for space in his mind. He spent hours crying on his family room floor, weeping as his dog Sophie licked away his tears, the only living comfort he could bear.

(click here for complete story)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Leave No Veteran Behind

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Holds Roundtable on Veterans’ Treatment Courts Discussion Focuses on Successful Courts Aiming to Leave No Veteran Behind

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 17, 2009
Washington, D.C. –

On Wednesday, September 16, 2009, Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) led a roundtable discussion on judicial courts that only hear cases involving veterans and provide judges greater latitude in sentencing for non-violent crimes. Modeled after drug and mental health treatment courts, judges are able to order counseling, substance abuse treatment, mentoring, job training, housing assistance, and job placement services as alternatives to incarceration. With both Democratic and Republican Members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee in attendance, participants discussed their efforts to help veterans avoid jail by connecting them to necessary treatment and support.

(click here for complete story)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The media "sanitizes" war

I had a brief discussion with someone concerning how the media informs Americans about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is apparent (to me) that the wars have been 'sanitized' by the media. Americans see a "cleaned up" version of what is going on in these wars.

Unfortunately, still, a large portion of the American population doesn't see even those versions because they are too busy carrying on with their normal routines of daily living. They are basically, clueless.

They have lost sight of the fact that OUR COUNTRY has been at war for YEARS.

Ask a large majority of Americans about the casualities that our military has suffered due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they couldn't come close to telling you the numbers.

Ask a large majority of Americans about the number of suicides committed by our military in the last few years, and they would give you a "deer in the headlights" look.

Ask a large majority of Americans about the number of our Veterans returning from the wars that are becoming involved in the criminal justice system, and you would get another "deer in the headlights" look.

YES - the media sanitizes war. They report statistics, they give us the "pretty pictures" they don't show the truly bloody, horrific facts and pictures of war.

Why? Because the American people cannot handle it.

"Photo of Fatally Wounded Marine Causes Controversy: Sensationalism or Journalism?"

"Associated Press photographer Julie Jacobson accompanied a patrolling Marine unit when they came under attack in the Helman province, located in southern Afghanistan. In the midst of the ambush, Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard, 21, of New Portland, Maine, was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade and suffered fatal injuries.

The photos that chronicled the events were then distributed. Because she was embedded, she had photos of Bernard prior to the attacks, during and then showing his fellow Marines carrying him to a helo for evacuation. She also captured the memorial service his fellow Marines held for him after his death."

So to every American reading this I say:

Until we can accept the horror and human carnage that our troops endure at war, how are we supposed to help them when they come home if we are without knowledge of what they have endured?

(click here for the complete story and the comments that follow)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Mullen criticizes DOD, VA failures in mental health treatment "

By Leo Shane III, Stars and StripesOnline edition,
Thursday, September 17, 2009

WASHINGTON – Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Wednesday he’s frustrated and disappointed with the slow pace of treatments for post-traumatic stress and other “unseen” combat injuries, saying after eight years of war military officials should have better answers.

“Shame on us if we don’t figure this out in time,” he told a crowd of military and veterans officials. “We need to find a way to avoid another generation of homeless veterans.”

Mullen’s comments set the tone for a day of debate among mental health experts and military leaders at the Military Officers Association of America’s annual defense forum. The chairman said that while millions of dollars have been invested into research on PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and mental health issues, military leaders have not produced enough treatment options and outreach programs to stay ahead of the problems.

“We owe them a response,” he said. “This is a debt the country owes [these troops] for their service, as far as I’m concerned. It needs to be the first check we write.”

(click here for complete story)

AS AMERICANS - What are our priorities?

The United States Army uses a complex set of variables to determine their enlisted pay scale. A soldier's rank and how long they have been in the Army influences what they are paid. They are given allowances for housing, food and cost of living. They also get pay increases for serving in combat, in aircraft and hazardous duty. (1,2 ref)

Median Salary: $1,326,720
Total Payroll: $ 146,401,600
(3 ref)

United States Army enlisted personnel serving in combat zones earn "imminent danger pay." This is several hundred dollars a month and is paid regardless of how long they spend in the combat zone that month. (1,2 ref)

Median Salary: $ 978,280
Total Payroll: $ 109,557,398
(3 ref)

Soldiers performing dangerous jobs get hazardous duty pay. This includes duties like handling bombs, flying and parachute jumping. Hazardous duty pay ranges from $150 to $225 per month. (1,2 ref)

Median Salary: $ 1,117,900
Total Payroll: $ 112,114,711
(3 ref)

Hardship duty pay is paid to soldiers serving outside the continental United States in areas where the quality of life is below American standards. It ranges from $50 to $150 per month. (1,2 ref)

Median Salary: $ 912,000
Total Payroll: $ 115,816,180
(3 ref)

If you are prepared to apply yourself to the most rigorous training the Army has to offer, then they are prepared to offer you a starting salary of $14,400, which can reach up to $28,000 as an E5 after only 4 years. (1,2 ref)

Median Salary: $ 931,200
Total Payroll: $ 92,734,120
(3 ref)

You will also receive free housing, full medical and dental benefits, free and discounted travel and entertainment, paid vacations, military shopping privileges, and continuing education and promotion opportunities. (1,2 ref)

Median Salary: $ 1,001,920
Total Payroll: $ 128,815,061
(3 ref)

I love football, but I think there is something wrong with this picture. What do YOU think? Seriously, think about the big picture; what are our priorities?


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Think Vietnam Vets Were Screwed? Wait Until You See How Many Veterans of Bush's Wars End up in Jail

"Far too many soldiers end up behind bars while the rest of us are free to ignore the human evidence of what our military ventures really cost."

By Penny Coleman, AlterNet
Posted on September 9, 2009,

As all the other justifications for the U.S. invasion of Iraq have fallen by the wayside, it is ironic that the one that remains is "freedom," because in the name of someone else's freedom, we train our own soldiers to behave in ways that may very well cost them their own.

Gordy Lane is a retired Syracuse police detective who served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. As a cop, it was his job to put lawbreakers behind bars, but as a veteran, he understands that when you go to war, "you come back a little different than when you went over there."

"Listen," he says, "you pop up out of a foxhole, and you blow a guy's head open like a watermelon. The other two guys in the foxhole start patting you on the back and saying, 'Good job!' because you just did the worst thing that you can do to another person. How do you translate that into civilian life?"

For far too many soldiers, the simple answer is, you don't.

(click below for link to entire story)

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"
"Kain-man" the jokester....

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003
"Pat is an extraordinary, thoughtful, kind and generous man...not to mention a wonderful friend, in which one could always count upon to be there when in need." (words of a long time friend)

Pat's Family

Pat's Family
Mica & Heather, grandson Kain