11

Disabled Air Force Veteran in Need of Work is Hired at Lowes, Along with His Service Dog

Air Force veteran, Clay Luthy, with service dog, Charlotte. (Photo: Facebook snapshot)

Air Force veteran, Clay Luthy, with service dog, Charlotte. (Photo: Facebook snapshot)

December 9, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

Times are tough for the average American looking for a job but when you figure in a disability that requires a service dog be present at all times that task seems an impossibility. For Air Force veteran, Clay Luthy, a job became a reality when a Lowes store in Abilene, Texas hired him and his 10-year-old service dog.

According to The Huffington Post, Clay, 35, had endured several knee surgeries that kept him from reenlisting in the Air Force. Because he needs his service dog, Charlotte, with him in case of falls, it was a struggle to find work.

Though Luthy’s line of work after the military had mainly been handy-man gigs. His wife, however, suggested he apply at the store in which he spent so much time, Lowes.

Jay fellers, a human resource manager for Lowes, stated, “We were interviewing people for his position. And he was one of the applicants. And so he showed up for the interview and he had Charlotte with him.”

Lowes has always allowed well-behaved non-service dogs in their stores but what most people may not know is they also have an undisclosed number of service dogs working at various locations.

Fellers felt that Luthy was the best person for the job. “So, we went through the interview process and Clay and his own merit won the job. And we knew he was gonna make a great employee – we just got the benefit of getting Charlotte right along with him.”

Over the last two months of employment with Lowes, the duo has been a huge hit as they both perform their jobs in matching vests.

Judy Decher Rose, a Lowes customer, went to Facebook with her excitement over the unusual hiring.

Judy Rose’s husband, Brian, a retired veteran, told The Washington Post, “So I was actually impressed, one, that they hired a disabled vet, but also [a vet] with a dog. Because the dog could be a liability if somebody tripped over him or if something happened to a customer . . . and they took the chance on him anyways, and I thought that’s pretty awesome.”

Well, Rose’s Facebook post went viral in no time being shared almost 200 thousand times thus far. Praise for Lowes continue to pour in as the likes and shares to the Facebook post go ever higher.

A spokesman for Lowes reaction to the whole media frenzy is nothing short of modest as he stated that hiring the two was “simply a matter of accommodating a qualified employee,” according to The Washington Post.

Not only has Charlotte, the retriever, won the hearts of customers but so has Lowes and their willingness to work with the brave heroes that serve our country proudly and selflessly.

 

Written by Lorra B.

22

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Gets it Wrong, No Women Left Training in U.S. Air Force SpecOps

Women’s Expanded Role in Combat (Photo: Public Domain)

Women’s Expanded Role in Combat (Photo: Public Domain)

December 8, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

Efforts have been underway to recruit females into battlefield airman positions. These roles include combat controllers, tactical air control party (TACP), special operations weathermen and pararescuemen.

Apparently misinformed, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter published a statement Saturday in Meduim.com that a female airman was in training for a TACP role.

The report stated, “Interest in the Air Force’s battlefield airmen career fields has increased, with 18 women attempting initial training. I am proud to say that the first woman has entered training to become a tactical air control party airman.”

According to the U.S. Air Force, however, the last female left the program in July due to an injury.

A spokesperson for Air Combat Command, Andrew J. Schrag, confirmed that the female in question did indeed leave the program due to medical issues and resumed her previous position in Air Force Specialty Code, reported Military.com.

Schrag stated, “At this moment, there are no women currently enrolled.”

Applicants must pass a grueling Physical Ability and Stamina Test before being considered for a role and only a few females were considering the challenge.

The Air Education and Training Command Capt., Jose Davis, stated that only nine women had begun the testing with four withdrawing from the program and five unable to pass.

Davis stated, “When we do get the first woman in the pipeline, she’ll be in the Battlefield Airman Training Group, 37th Training Wing, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. After completion of training in the Battlefield Airman Training Group, Airmen are then sent to their respective AFSCs in various commands.’

“Females are half of our population,” stated Carter. “We’re an all-volunteer force. So, we recruit from the population it makes sense for us to recruit people, from as wide a population as possible.”

There is much speculation on President-elect Donald Trump’s position on the recent female status changes in the military and Carter makes it clear that he believes opening combat positions to women “makes sense.”

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Written by Lorra B.

14

$125 Billion in Pentagon Bureaucratic Waste Gets Buried: “All the crap is going to float to the surface and stink the place up.”

Pentagon Building showing smoke rising from the building after the 9/11 attack.(Photo: Public Domain)

Pentagon Building showing smoke rising from the building after the 9/11 attack. (Photo: Public Domain)

December 7, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

A project by the Pentagon to make their operation more efficient has backfired and instead exposed much more wasteful spending than expected.

According to The Washington Post, “The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget.”

A report was issued in Jan. 2015 outlining a five-year plan for the Defense Department to save a whopping $125 billion by eliminating “the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.”

According to the report, the Pentagon’s ‘back-office bureaucracy’ employed over 1 million people with 23 percent of the defense budget ($580 billion in total) going for back-office operations.

That means that there are just about as many people working in the Pentagon offices as there are active-duty troops serving our country.

Because the Pentagon feared they would endure more cuts instead of allocating more funds for the troops, the 77-page report was hushed and removed from it’s website.

A private-equity investor, Robert L. Stein, stated, “They’re all complaining that they don’t have any money. We proposed a way to save a ton of money.”

But the Pentagon suppressed the results.

Stein went on to say, “We’re going to be in peril because we’re spending dollars like it doesn’t matter.”

This all means that unless Congress and Trump can reach a spending deal agreement by October there will be an automatic cut over four years of $113 billion.

The Pentagon’s second highest ranking official, Deputy Defense Secretary, Robert O. Work, did not dispute the findings of bureaucratic waste, “But he dismissed the $125 billion savings proposal as “unrealistic” and said the business executives had failed to grasp basic obstacles to restructuring the public sector.”

Work went on to say, “There is this meme that we’re some bloated, giant organization. Although there is a little bit of truth in that. . . I think it vastly overstates what’s really going on.”

Does it?

The Pentagon, however, is taking some of the recommendations made by the report, but on a smaller scale. The plan is to save $30 billion by 2020.

Work stated, “We will never be as efficient as a commercial organization. We’re the largest bureaucracy in the world. There’s going to be some inherent inefficiencies in that.”

The data is being collected and analyzed as never before. Just what consequences will come of it is yet to be seen.

Former executive of Medco Health Solutions, Kenneth Klepper, summed the situation up nicely when he told Work, “You are about to turn on the light in a very dark room. All the crap is going to float to the surface and stink the place up.”

 

Written by Lorra B.

13

U.S. Military’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’ – It Is Being Called Sextortion

Military Sees Increase in ‘Sextortion’ Cases (Photo: Public Domain)

Military Sees Increase in ‘Sextortion’ Cases (Photo: Public Domain)

December 6, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

Lonely and away from home you scroll online through social media to pass the time and the next thing you know you have exchanged pictures with someone. Not a problem, unless those pictures have left you exposed, literally.

Now you are being blackmailed for hundreds of dollars and if you don’t pay up your life is threatened to be turned upside down as you are told your photo (or video) will be shared with everyone you know.

Sextortion is described by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) as a “cybercrime perpetrated against unwitting victims who are approached in casual conversation via social media and then seduced into engaging in online sexual activities. After fulfilling the sexual requests, which are recorded without the victim’s knowledge or consent, the victim is threatened with public exposure and embarrassment if he does not pay a specified sum of money to the perpetrator, usually through a wire transfer.”

Military service members are being urged not to engage in explicit sexual activities online as the number of sextortion cases grow, reportsMilitary.com. Since August of 2012 more than 180 marines and sailors have fallen victim to this scam with a request for payment usually between $500 to $1,500.

Megan Bolduc, NCIS Division Chief, stated, “We’ve had service members individually pay as much as $11,000. It only stops because credit cards were maxed out.”

The concern isn’t just about a military member’s indiscretions it is also about National Security. According to Katherine McDonald with NCIS, “The concern really is twofold: the concern of harm to themselves and, on a national security level, a lot of these service members do have [security] clearances.”

The concern is that criminals will try to obtain ‘sensitive’ information from service members.

According to a spokesperson for NCIS, Ed Buice, “Screen captures or printouts of the conversations or anything like that is always very helpful. We have cyber agents who try to follow the electronic trail to get any information that’s available.”

Regardless of efforts to warn, educate and discourage military service members from falling victim to these predators, the sextortion reports continue to climb.

Bolduc stated, “Part of that, too, is that we have gotten the word out in so many different ways and encouraged reporting. I think people are more willing to come forward, but incidents are also increasing.”

The Philippines receive most of the wire transfers from the victims because complaints of wrongdoing must be filed in person.

McDonald stated that a ring of 50 were busted in the Philippines earlier this year. According to MilitaryTimes, “The organization was somewhat sophisticated. It had a payroll and offered bonuses to employees who swindled the most money. But on the whole, sextortion is difficult to prosecute. In the Philippines, for instance, the government requires that a victim come in person to file a report.”

Even though a victim pays does not insure that the photo or video in question will not be exposed. Often the media finds its way to Facebook or Youtube anyway, according to Bolduc. You can, however, inform the sites and request they be taken down.

“If you call and report the issue, they will take the videos down.”

All of the efforts to prosecute the scammers has so far proven impossible and not one has been prosecuted.

If you have fallen victim, law enforcement officials encourage you to NOT send money, stop all communication and save all correspondence.

 

Written by Lorra B.

20

Maggots Crawling in Wound: Four Quit as Veteran Dies at Talihina VA Hospital

The Oklahoma veterans center in Talihina. (Photo: Public Domain)

The Oklahoma veterans center in Talihina. (Photo: Public Domain)

December 5, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

Four employees of the Oklahoma VA Hospital have quit their jobs after live maggots were discovered in the wound of a veteran being treated there.

The veteran, 73-year-old Owen Reese Peterson, came into the hospital with an infection and the cause of death, according to Executive Director Myles Deering, was not due to the parasite infestation.

“He did not succumb as a result of the parasites,” said Deering. Tulsa World Reported that sepsis, a complication from infection that is life-threatening, is the cause of Peterson’s death.

It is reported that Peterson’s son, Raymie Parker, pled with the hospital to do something for his father.

“During the 21 days I was there … I pled with the medical staff, the senior medical staff, to increase his meds so his bandages could be changed. I was met with a stonewall for much of that time.”

Those resigning their posts include the director of nursing, a physician’s assistant and three nurses. They chose to resign before any of them could be fired for their incompetence.

Spokesman Shane Faulkner stated that the Oklahoma State Department of Health was notified along with the district attorney for Latimer and LaFlore counties. It is yet to be known if charges will be filed.

The Deering VA is almost 100 years old with just as many problems facing it including millions of dollars in repairs and the inability to find and keep staff members, according to Rep. Sen. Frank Simpson.

Simpson stated, “The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs is required to maintain certain staffing levels and currently is unable to meet them. At Talihina, they had to reduce the population of veterans there due to the inability to staff the facility.”

A report on the incident was denied because it is said to contain “identifying information that is prohibited by law from being released,” according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Spokesperson Jamie Dukes said the report indicates “it was determined that the facility fully investigated the incident and took any appropriate actions.”

Peterson, who joined the army in 1969 and served in Vietnam, grew up in Texas and was described by his son as a ‘patriot’ and a ‘country poet.’

May beetle larvae on the ground swarmed by ants. (Photo: Public Domain)

May beetle larvae on the ground swarmed by ants. (Photo: Public Domain)

 

Written by Lorra B.

11

Thanksgiving Feast: 34,760 Pounds of Turkey Deployed to Our Troops in Afghanistan

DLA Brings Thanksgiving to the Troops. (Photo: Youtube)

DLA Brings Thanksgiving to the Troops. (Photo: Youtube)

November 23, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

The Defense Logistics Agency is committed to providing American troops around the world with a traditional Thanksgiving meal and this year is no exception.

In Afghanistan, there are 10,277 active duty troops serving, according to Defense Department statistics. In Afghanistan, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq there are nearly 12,000 troops deployed. These numbers don’t include other countries or the service members at sea.

Understandably, getting ready to deliver that many Thanksgiving feasts takes time and skill.

There are, according to DLA, 34,760 pounds of turkey, 21,450 pounds of ham and 32,550 pounds of beef to be prepared! Not to mention the 28,980 pounds of shrimp, 9,114 pounds of stuffing mix and 879 gallons of eggnog.

That is a lot of food to prepare and it takes expertise to get it organized.

Organizing the food support for troops in Afghanistan is Army Warrant Officer Raul Lewis. Lewis stated, “It is an honor to serve my country. But it is an even greater honor to serve my fellow service members an outstanding meal. There is nothing more comforting when you are far away from home and missing your loved ones than to sit in front of a hot meal and share a few laughs and moments of joy.”

Another member of the  DLA family is Anthony Amendolia who stated, that in order for our troops to get a little taste of home it takes a lot of planning in order to insure everything is delivered in time. “Thanksgiving is so important to us, and such a priority, that we have to start in the April, May timeframe. It is a long process but we think service members really enjoy having a great Thanksgiving meal with their troops.”

If you are a soldier with a meal card, there is no charge for this feast. Soldiers with an E-5 and below, and their families, pay $6.80 per person. Enlisted E-5 and below, and their families, along with officers, pay $9.05 per person.

There will be all the fixings for our troops from collard greens, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes to cheesecake for desert.

Thanks to the Defense Logistics Agency, our troops around the world will be enjoying a warm Thanksgiving meal and while it will not in the least compare with being home for the holidays it will at least give them a warmth in their hearts and a small  taste of home.

We thank each and every one of our brave heroes who put their lives on the line every day, though ‘Thank you’ will never be enough!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Written by Lorra B.

10

Due to Domestic Terror Threat, Military and Recruiters Can Carry Privately Owned Guns on Bases

Marines reportedly sacrificed themselves to protect fellow troops in  Chattanooga shooting.(Photo: Public Domain)

Marines reportedly sacrificed themselves to protect fellow troops in
Chattanooga shooting.(Photo: Public Domain)

November 22, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

A Defense Department directive was approved on Nov. 18 allowing U.S. military members to carry concealed handguns for protection at government facilities.

The directive was approved by Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and is a blue print for the policy that allows “DoD personnel to carry firearms and employ deadly force while performing official duties,” reports Military.com.

The policy, however, allows “soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard personnel to carry privately owned firearms on DoD property, according to the document.”

As part of their job requirements, service members already are permitted to carry weapons but the new policy allows them to carry their personally owned guns.

According to the directive this move is “for personal protection not associated with the performance of official duties.”

Maj. Jamie Davis, a DoD spokesperson, stated, ““Commanders have always had that authority to arm recruiters. Some of the wording wasn’t very clear, so they’ve gone through and cleaned it up so it is very clear now that the commanders have that authority to use at their discretion.”

In order to qualify to carry a concealed weapon on DoD property the applicant must have a valid license to carry and be 21 years of age.

The document states, “Written permission will be valid for 90 days or as long as the DoD Component deems appropriate and will include information necessary to facilitate the carrying of the firearm on DoD property consistent with safety and security, such as the individual’s name, duration of the permission to carry, type of firearm, etc..”

Not everyone is happy about this new concealed carry policy. Arguing against the new policy, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley stating that during shootings such at the Nov. 5, 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, police were on the scene and had it secured in a very short time. Milley is not convinced that soldiers being armed would have stopped Nidal Hasan from killing 13 people and injuring 42.

Lawmakers, however, disagree and have questioned whether military members might have been able to stop Hasan, and other previous military shootings, had they been armed.

After an argument in April, 2014, Spc. Ivan Lopez-Lopez went on a killing spree at Fort Hood killing three soldiers and wounding 12 others.

July 16, 2015, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, killed four Marines and a sailor at two military bases in Chattanooga before being shot to death by police.

Any service member who is authorized to carry a privately-owned gun will “acknowledge they may be personally liable for the injuries, death, and property damage proximately caused by negligence in connection with the possession or use of privately owned firearms that are not within the scope of their federal employment,” the document states.

Perhaps loss of life will be kept to a minimum the next time a terrorist decides to open fire on DoD property.

Related Video:

Written by Lorra B.

29

Slain Soldier’s Family Booed on American Airlines Flight

Sgt. John W. Perry who died recently in Afghanistan. (DoD photo via AP)

Sgt. John W. Perry who died recently in Afghanistan. (DoD photo via AP)

November 21, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

Stewart Perry, a former Marine, along with his wife and daughter, were on an American Airlines flight last Monday to pick up the remains of their son, a soldier who was recently killed in Afghanistan. Their solemn flight took an even more grievous turn, however, when passengers allegedly booed the family while on the flight.

According to Associated Press, the family “were on an American Airlines flight Monday from Sacramento to Philadelphia with a transfer in Phoenix to receive the remains of his son, Sgt. John Perry, of Stockton, when the flight was delayed…The flight to Phoenix was 45 minutes late and the crew, fearing the Gold Star family could miss their connecting flight, made an announcement for passengers to remain seated to let a “special military family” deplane first.”

First class passengers reportedly complained and booed saying that letting the Gold Star family deplane first was ‘baloney’ considering what they had paid for their first-class seats.

Perry stated that he was unaware if those sitting in coach had complained or booed or if any of them knew there was a Gold Star family on the plane.

The 30-year-old Army soldier died on November 12 at Bagram Airfield from injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device, an attack by a suicide bomber. Perry was one of two killed that day. He was honored in Lodi and will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Perry said of his son, “He made a decision that saved a lot of people. I was told that he was found protecting a female soldier… He didn’t get to live a full life, but he lived.”

“It was just disgusting behavior from people in first class; it was terrible to see.”

Perry leaves behind a wife and two young children.

He died a hero, his father said.

Sgt. John W. Perry, left, who died recently in Afghanistan, and his father, Stewart Perry,  on the right. (DoD photo via AP)

Sgt. John W. Perry, left, who died recently in Afghanistan, and his father, Stewart Perry,
on the right. (DoD photo via AP)

Written by Lorra B.

8

Pets for Patriots – Connecting Our Four-Legged Friends with Veterans Can Help with PTSD

Soldier embraces his canine companion. (Photo: Public Domain)

Soldier embraces his canine companion. (Photo: Public Domain)

November 18, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is dedicated to helping different charities that help our four-legged friends. Donations to the CFC help organizations such as Pets for Patriots and this goes a long way in caring for our veterans.

Pets are known for helping symptoms such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and actually boosting the immune system, according to Elements Behavioral Health.

“Pets have measurable positive impacts on the humans who care for them.”

Having a pet to care for helps take the focus off the experiences the veteran has gone through by focusing on the pet’s needs.

Pets for Patriots mission is to help “veterans from WWII to active duty find a new pet friend while giving the most overlooked, undervalued shelter animals hope and a home.”

CFC founder and executive director, Beth Zimmerman, stated that the foundation is a lifeline of support for both the pets and the veterans who adopt them.

The foundation began in 2010 and have helped to give “the most overlooked and undervalued dogs and cats a home,” Stated Zimmerman.

MilitaryTimes reports, “It’s the fourth-year Pets for Patriots has been part of the CFC, she said, and the group has seen donations grow exponentially. Pledges in 2015 topped $162,000, more than double the nearly $70,000 raised in 2014. This year, Zimmerman said, the goal is to reach $200,000 in pledges via the CFC, which is the official workplace giving campaign of the federal government. It runs from Sept. 1 through Dec. 15, but each area campaign designates the time frame within those months to conduct its local campaign.”

Though the veteran is responsible for the adoption fee, discounts and waivers are offered. When a veteran adopts one of these ‘last-chance’ pets, a gift card of about $150 is sent to them. Also, available to the veteran and their new pet is “ongoing veterinary care from veterinarians in the network who agree to give a discount of at least 10 percent” as well as other retailer discounts.

Since 2010 many lower-income veterans and elderly veterans have been involved in the adoption of over 1,209 pets. If they cannot afford to pay for their pets needs because of a temporary hardship, there are programs to assist them.

Through their various programs last year, 447 who needed assistance with adoption where helped. The price tag for that assistance was $72,640.

So far, this year Pets for Patriots has spent $11,300 for veterinary care alone.

The foundation is growing leaps and bounds. According to Zimmerman, joining the CFC has helped to reach people who are inspired by our work, and who may not otherwise know about us.”

Zimmerman goes on to say, “As we grow more robust, we’re getting more requests. There are also a lot more therapies available for pets. The good news is it helps more pets; the down side is, it’s more expensive.”

Pets can be a huge part of a veteran’s healing process. There are no prejudices from a pet and they will accept the owner without noticing or caring if their human is disabled or impaired in any way. Their devotion is 100 percent and an incredible source of comfort and attention.

If you are interested in either giving to or adopting a pet from Pets for Patriots click here.

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Written by Lorra B.

5

‘Enough’s Enough’ – Renewal of the Iran Sanctions Bill Passes in the House by a 419-1 Vote

Civilians flee war-torn Syria. (Photo: Public Domain)

Civilians flee war-torn Syria. (Photo: Public Domain)

November 17, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

A bill to renew an Iran sanctions law and go after supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government has been approved by the House on Tuesday.

The bill calls for punishing those who financially back the Syrian government and “maintaining economic pressure on Tehran,” according to Associated Press.

The violence in Syria is in it’s sixth year and has seen almost 500,000 people killed. This has contributed to “Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II and given the Islamic State group room to grow into a global terror threat.” The Assad government now stands accused of war crimes.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, stated, “What we have now is a grim lesson in human suffering. We can see the ethnic cleansing going on. Even the United Nations calls this ‘crimes of historic proportions.’ Enough’s enough.”

The bill would sanction countries like Russia and Iran that provide funding or do business with the Syrian government.

“Anyone that provides aircraft to Syria’s commercial airlines, does business with the transportation and telecom sectors controlled by the Syrian government, or supports the country’s energy industry also would be subject to sanctions, according to the legislation.”

Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry wanted an investigation into Russia and Syria for war crimes, “a move that escalated already heated rhetoric against Moscow for its part in a deadly military offensive in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and its longstanding support of Assad,” reports AP.

In 2014 a Syria defector testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee that he bore witness to a ‘genocidal massacre’ of over 10,000. He is said to have images of the slaughter.

Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J, stated, “Sanctions work. Now is not the time to ease up on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

President Barack Obama, according to Kerry, will sign the renewal bill. If approved the bill, which first passed Congress in 1996, will extend the law to 2026. If it is not signed it will expire come years’ end.

Should the bill be extended, the U.S. will be allowed to punish Iran if they fail to live up to the terms of last year’s Iran Nuclear Deal.

Should Tehran agree to rolling back its nuclear program, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to suspend wide-ranging oil, trade and financial sanctions that had choked the Iranian economy.”

The House cleared the Iran Sanctions Extensions Act by a vote of 419-1.

The only Congressional ‘No’ vote on the bill came from Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.

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Written by Lorra B.