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.

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.

Related Video:

Written by Lorra B.

Cowardly Grave-Robbers Defile the Final Resting Place of Veteran Heroes

Medallion of bronze shown just under the American Flag. (Photo: Public Domain)

Medallion of bronze shown just under the American Flag. (Photo: Public Domain)

August 25, 2016

By Lorra B.

In a despicable show of the ugly and cowardly side of the human condition, thieves vandalized and robbed many graves of our veteran heroes in Laporte, Indiana.

Over 300 medallions of bronze were snatched from Patton Cemetery, according to The South Bend Tribune.

The resolve of our military heroes, however, show no boundaries and veterans are banding together to raise the money needed to replace the precious medallions that honor our fallen.

James Hiles, the financial officer for the American Legion Post 83, stated, ”People don’t have any morals anymore, apparently.”

With appalling acts of vandalism such as this being done against the very heroes protecting the lives and rights of even these wicked individuals, it’s hard not to reach the same conclusion.

“’This isn’t just a piece of bronze. This means somebody’s life has been given for this country,” Hiles went on to say.

An employee at a post near the cemetery, Bridgett Smith, stated, “We switched to a cheaper metal that’s not expensive, and they’re not taking those.”

The thieves are not even after the bronze medallions but the brass rods that holds the medallions in place. The brass rods they can sell but the medallions would be recognized and draw the attention of the police. The bronze medals, therefore, are simply tossed away like so much trash.

Each piece of Bronze ‘trash’ snatched from a heroes resting place reportedly cost $35 each. Because of this, military officials will now be replacing the bronze with a much less costly material, aluminum and steel. The cost of the new medallions will be as low as $13 a piece.

The American Legion has already raised close to $2,000 to not only replace the stolen medallions but medallions for our future veteran heroes as well.

Post commander Wayne Zeman stated, “It’s bad enough robbing graves and robbing veteran’s graves of, like I said, in a lot of cases the only thing that notates it’s a veteran’s grave in the first place.”

There should be a special place in prison for the unconscionable deeds of these cowards.

Related Videos:

Grave Robbery, Military medallions

By Lorra B.

“You’re Fired!” Are The Words Heard by Teen Helping a Veteran & It Has Gone Viral

Veterans hungry and homeless. (Photo: Public Domain)

Veterans hungry and homeless. (Photo: Public Domain)

August 5, 2016

By Lorra B.

Jack-in-the-Box is in the hot seat for terminating 19-year-old, Alex Mestam, in Bakersfield California for giving an Army veteran 2 free taco’s, taco’s that were about to be thrown out anyway.

Mestam stated that a friendship had developed with the veteran. “Him and I would just share stories, and I’d ask how he was doing,” Mestam recalled. “Since he’s a vet, I don’t think I should charge him for a coffee. It’s like, not even a dollar for his coffee.”

Jack-in-the-Box’s corporate office, while viewing the surveillance camera, noticed Mestam giving the veteran two tacos that another customer ordered and happened to have left behind. Coincidentally, the veteran had also ordered 2, 99 cent tacos.

“It’s either throw them away, or make them for him,” Mestam stated.

On Monday morning, and without any warning, Mestam was fired from his 2-year-long employment.

Corporate claimed that Mestam had “mishandled funds” and that his employee violations where the reason he was fired, not for helping the Veteran.

“We too are grateful to our veterans and to the men and women currently serving in the armed forces. Regarding this incident, while it would not be appropriate to provide complete details on an internal disciplinary issue, our actions in this case were not based on just one incident and had nothing to do with the guest’s military experience,” stated Jack-in-the-Box representatives.

There has been a call to boycott Jack-in-the-Box as the Facebook post has gone viral.


“I mean, I’ve been there for two years, that was my first job,” he said, although he stands by what he did. “I know what I did wan’t right to them, but to me it felt right,” explained Mestam.

Perhaps Jack-in-the-Box would like to take this opportunity to introduce a nice discount for our veterans.

By Lorra B.


Veterans Against The Iran Deal: Are You Listening Mr. Obama?

Veteran Robert Bartlett

Veteran Robert Bartlett

August 14, 2015

By Lorra B.

A group of war veterans, including wounded Iraq war veteran Robert Bartlett, is opposing President Obama and the Iran nuclear deal by the initiation of a million dollar campaign.

The effort is geared toward contradicting the president’s assessment that to be against the Iran deal is to be in favor of war. The veteran’s message is that Obama’s argument couldn’t be further form the truth.

“Obama has said recently that there are only two camps: those who support the deal verses those who would prefer a bloody and costly war like the conflict in Iraq,” reports BloombergView. “The new ad campaign complicates that, asserting that the deal itself will lead to more war. And the voices putting forth that case do not prefer war; they are soldiers who have had enough of it.”

The states running these ads are states whose lawmakers are on the fence about the Iran Deal. “The deal calls for Iran tamping down its nuclear program,” states Fox11 News. “If the terrorist nation does, the U.S. agrees to ease sanctions which will free up to $100 billion of frozen Iranian assets.”

Veterans Against The Deal (VATD) is funding the ad.

The executive director of VATD, Michael Pregent, stated “As military veterans, we want Congressmen and Senators to know that we know this enemy. We know what it has done, and we know what it is doing, and we know what it will do with more funding.”

Retired staff sergeant Bartlett, who was badly injured while serving in the Iraq war in 2005, is the first featured veteran in the group’s videos. “Every politician who is involved in this will be held accountable; they will have blood on their hands. A vote for this deal means more money for Iranian terrorism. What do you think they are going to d when they get more money?

Bartlett, to many Americans, posses a good question, a question that is sure to hurt the Obama Administrations push for the Iran Deal.

The only incentive these veteran’s have, according to Preget, is to be heard and that the only motivating factor for the videos is to share their views and personal experiences.

“We don’t want to make this a partisan issue. We’ll have Democratic vets who voted for Obama participating in this as well.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen Michael Flynn

Retired Army Lt. Gen Michael Flynn

Mike Flynn, Retired Gen. and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (2012-2014) said the troops were called on to serve their country during the war in Iraq, and they did just that. Their call to service did not mean they were advocates of the Iraq war but rather simply doing their duty. 

“They have a responsibility to speak up,” stated Flynn, and they did. Flynn is an adviser to the VATD.

Are you listening America…are you listening Mr. President?

By Lorra B.

[Partial Nudity] Inspirational Photographs Of Wounded War Heros – Seeing Veterans In A Whole New Light

dJuly 31, 2015

By Lorra B.

The following video is an array of photographs that give us a whole new idea of what a wounded warrior could be. For Many of our veterans the chance to show that they are no different than you or I was a strong calling and they jumped at the opportunity. For others, they were a little reluctant yet did the photo-shoot anyway.

For some, the following photos may be a bit racy and they do show partial nudity. I am choosing to show them anyway because I couldn’t be more proud of these Soldiers for choosing to live life, and to the fullest.

I salute you, our brave Soldiers! God Bless you all!

Thank you for all you have sacrificed!

By Lorra B.

Budget Cuts Are Necessary, But Not At The Expense Of Our Veterans

dJuly 7, 2015

By Lorra B.

It is no secret that the U.S. Military faces many obstacles when it comes to overhauling its healthcare system. Soon, policymakers in Washington will be contemplating one of the military’s biggest Tricare changes yet.

The changes being considered could save the Pentagon billions, according to Military Times. The new plan would also be “greatly enhancing health services for nearly 9.2 million active-duty family members, retirees and their dependents.”

What Helps Fund the TPP? Medicare Cuts.

But, what do these changes really mean for military veterans of retirement age?

According to the Department of Defense’s Statistical Report on the military retirement system, the number of U.S. Military Retirees in 2014 was 1,970,816 persons. That is a large number of retirees and the decisions being made by our government will have a huge impact on every one of them.

Retired Navy CPO, Ray Richard, wrote to us at Silent Soldier with very valid concerns and has given us permission to share them:

Hi, my name is Ray.  I’m a retired Navy CPO.  I am pretty well set as things go in this life.  I have my Navy pension which is just above the poverty line for a single guy.  However, I’m married and have been for 45 years.  My wife served as a Navy wife by my side.  My financial butt was saved because I worked and studied hard while I was in the Navy and when I got out I got a job teaching “to be” electrical engineers in the local state university.  When I retired from that I got a state pension.  A whopping $450 a month!  But it helped.  Then I got social security.  More help.  Then I got Medicare/Tricare medical coverage.  I have to say, compared to many I am blessed.

BUT, I want you to keep this in your memory as time goes by and you write about the state of affairs of military people. Obama took $700 Billion out of the Medicare fund we all paid into.  He also helped institute huge funding cuts to the military.  He continues to try to cut military funding.

When he stole from Medicare, the costs shifted to Tricare for military retired over 65 to pick up the increased gap between what the doctors got and what Medicare paid them.  Somewhere along the line here your going to hear that the medical costs for retired military is going up at tremendous percentages.  When you hear that send up the red flag and remind people that the increase is due to Medicare cuts.  It is not entirely due to higher medical costs.

Thank you for covering the military.  They deserve and need all the support they can get.


ATC Ray Richard Retired

We happen to agree with Mr. Richard. The U.S. Military men and women need all the support they can get. So we looked into what some of the changes may look like that are being suggested to Tricare but, first, lets glaze the surface at what the Obama Administration’s proposed 2016 cuts for Medicare are.

Waste and abuse are what the administration is looking to cut from Medicare Advantage Plans “for the elderly, seeking more than $36 billion in cuts (which is itemized in a Department of Health and Human Resources $1 trillion budget cut) over the next decade to curb costly government over-payments to the industry,” according to The Center For Public Integrity.

Medicare Advantage’s interim executive director, Krista Drobac, stated, “Piling on billions more cuts will only do more harm to the 16 millions of seniors who count on Medicare Advantage for higher quality, more affordable health coverage. These annual cuts have resulted in higher out-of-pocket costs and lost benefits for seniors across America.”

The government, however, believes they have a good reason for the cuts. In a practice know as ‘upcoding,’ it seems the White House believes that some doctors and health plans tend to exaggerate just how sick some patients are and, therefore, charge the government in excess.

There are six known whistleblowers lawsuits pending regarding the Medicare health plans over-billing the government. Perhaps waiting for the outcome of these lawsuits would be in order before simply cutting funding to the program?

By 2025, $913 billion could be cut to Medicaid and the health-care system for the poor, according to Boomerang Politics. “House Republicans are proposing to cut $5.5 trillion in U.S. government spending and balance the budget in nine years by cutting Medicaid and food stamps and partially privatizing Medicare.”

Please note, there are several ‘plans’ of attack on the Health System so do your own research to see what you come up with. The bottom line, however, is that cuts WILL be made and in a huge way.

Finally, how will these cuts affect Tricare? Well, one Tricare pitch would see Tricare (Prime, Standard and Extra) consolidated into one structure geared at making it much more difficult for families to use the emergency room for every-day healthcare needs and to encourage veterans to seek out military facilities or network providers. Or, there is the option of simply paying more for the services rendered. This would be a $47.8 billion budget request, according to Military Times.

In this plan, there would be no increase in co-shares or co-payments if for active-duty veterans or their families and if seen in network or at military clinics and hospitals. But how will this affect Retirees?

“The one that would have the biggest impact on currently serving troops and retirees under the age of 65 would be Recommendation 6: “Increases access, choice and value of health care for active-duty family members, reserve component members and retirees by allowing beneficiaries to choose from a selection of commercial insurance plans offered through a Department of Defense health benefit program.’”

“Retirees below age 65 and their family members would pay annual ‘participation fees,’ (currently called enrollment fees). Starting in 2017, annual fees would rise to $289 for an individual, up from 277.92, and to $578 for a family, up from $555.84.

“Retirees also would begin making co-payments for services at military treatment facilities, ranging from $10 for a primary care visit to between $20 and $50 for specialty care, urgent care, emergency room services and ambulatory surgery.

“Visits to a network provider for retirees and family members would range from a $20 co-pay for primary care to $100 for a network ambulatory surgery visit.”

These increases may not seem astronomical upon first glance. However, many veterans financially are barely getting by (if at all), let alone with the promise of increases in the near future.

For Retirees, here are the cost Break-downs:

(Screenshot credit,

(Screenshot credit,

(Screenshot credit,

(Screenshot credit,

Obama’s budget is calling for a national security program increase of $38 billion and another $37 billion for domestic programs. While he is increasing national security budgets, applaudably, he is also inadvertently taking away from it by dipping into the wallets of our Veterans by increasing the costs of their healthcare.

Granted, what was put together here barely scratches the surface of the complicated healthcare reform initiative and it can not be argued, budget cuts need to be made, but not at the expense of our Veterans.

By Lorra B.

A special thanks to Mr. Richard for allowing us to share his story. Sadly, his story is one among hundreds.

God Bless each and every one of you, our beloved Veterans! 

Outlaw Motorcycle Groups’ Efforts To Recruit Military Troops Is Worrisome, Officials Say

A screen grab from the Sin City Desciples Facebook page. According to a federal report, outlaw motorcycle clubs, which include the Sin City Desciples, are pushing efforts to add active-duty troops to their ranks. Screenshot Credit, Stars and Stripes

A screen grab from the Sin City Deciples Facebook page. According to a federal report, outlaw motorcycle clubs, which include the Sin City Deciples, are pushing efforts to add active-duty troops to their ranks.
Screenshot Credit, Stars and Stripes

July 7, 2015

Stars and Stripes:

The Infidels Motorcycle Club, a group made up of troops, veterans and military contractors in Colorado Springs, drew attention recently with its pig roast to protest the holiest of Muslim holidays.

While some people decried the club’s gathering as tantamount to a KKK cross-burning, the group is not classified as an outlaw motorcycle group by authorities.

But other, less-law-abiding motorcycle gangs are actively recruiting troops in the Pikes Peak region and worrying federal agents, a federal report obtained by the Gazette says.

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Denver spokesman Chris Amon said his agency’s concern over the interaction of troops and outlaw motorcycle gangs is obvious.

“It always concerns us when people with specialized training in weapons and explosives is involved in a criminal enterprise,” he said.

Other experts say outlaw motorcycle life appeals to some troops.

“I think it makes a natural draw for them,” said Steve Cook, who heads the Midwest Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association. “You have to look at people in the military and fresh back from deployment — they are into a warfare mentality.”

Even as the number of crimes involving troops and veterans continues to decline in the Pikes Peak region, the rising number of troops in the ranks of outlaw motorcycle gangs is setting off alarm bells.

Watch one of the hardest Outlaw Motorcycle Club Documentaries:

A May report from the ATF says outlaw motorcycle clubs — clubs known for criminal behavior — including the Sin City Deciples and others with chapters in Colorado Springs are pushing efforts to add troops to their ranks.

“Since 2007, ATF and its law enforcement partners, domestic and abroad, have discovered that documented OMG (outlaw motorcycle group) members have been employed as federal employees and contractors, active-duty military, reservists and National Guardsmen,” the report says.

Colorado Springs Police Lt. Mark Comte said local authorities are well aware of ties between the military and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“There are some that cater to the military that are of and for military,” Comte said.

The Infidels

The Infidels are a growing club that has drawn the wary gaze of ATF.

The agency says the club founded in 2006, with chapters near military bases nationwide, has been seen riding at events alongside notorious outlaw groups including the Hells Angels and Pagans in other states.

Police say the gang isn’t considered outlaw, and isn’t suspected of criminal ties.

The Infidels, who didn’t respond to numerous calls for comment, portray themselves as something far removed from outlaw gangs.

“Infidels Motorcycle Club is a veteran-formed and -based MC for patriotic Americans and our supporting allies,” the group says on its website.

Sources familiar with the club say its leaders include several prominent Air Force Space Command contractors and a soldier from Fort Carson’s 4th Combat Aviation Brigade — people in positions of trust who carry security clearances.

The group advertised the June barbecue as “in defiance of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan” on a flier that included comparisons of Muslim men to pedophiles.

The anti-Islam rhetoric coming from people who appear to be on the Pentagon’s payroll upsets Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim rights group.

“It would be great concern if these were members of the military or contractors, not because of the barbecue, but because of the extremist views it represents,” Hooper said.

The pig roast, while offensive, doesn’t bother Hopper as much as the people behind it. It was a private, extremist party, he explained.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office kept a close eye on the event at the Infidels clubhouse near Peterson Air Force Base. A few dozen people gathered behind a guarded chain-link fence. The fence had a scrawled cardboard sign attached: “Private Party No Media Beyond This Point.”

Sheriff’s Lt. Rick McMorran said deputies were concerned that the party would draw protests from Islamic groups, or worse, from terror organizations.

The barbecue’s theme wasn’t a law-enforcement concern, though.

“From the standpoint of the Sheriff’s Office, we don’t get into the politics,” McMorran said.

Outlaw groups

Other motorcycle groups in the Pikes Peak region have drawn closer scrutiny from police and deputies. Chief among them are the Sin City Deciples.

One of the most serious recent tangles between the Deciples and law enforcement happened last year. According to a police report, the Deciples and another motorcycle group called Hells Lovers got into a brawl at a Dayton Street clubhouse in Aurora and a member of the latter group was shot and injured.

Fort Carson Sgt. 1st Class Larry Morrison was arrested and charged in the shooting, but the case was dropped after witnesses refused to testify, authorities said.

Morrison is now battling an Army discharge and claims he was never affiliated with the Deciples. In discharge paperwork the Army accused Morrison of a pattern of misconduct including affiliation with a banned group.

Peter Page, an Aurora police detective, wrote in court papers that Morrison identified himself to officers as “President of the Colorado Springs Chapter Sin City Deciples.”

A 2012 killing outside the Deciples’ Colorado Springs clubhouse is described in ATF’s 40-page report on troops in outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Virgil Means was shot and killed outside the building just west of downtown after he’d been thrown out and went back to retrieve his wallet.

“Christopher ‘Stone Cold’ Mountjoy, an Army soldier and Sin City Disciples sergeant-at-arms, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment,” the report said.

Three of the four men charged in Means’ death were active-duty Fort Carson soldiers, including John Burrell and Eric Bartholomew. Several Deciples called as witnesses in the case were soldiers, too.

Recruiting troops

The ATF says more biker gangs nationwide are recruiting troops.

The gangs, the report said “court active-duty military personnel and government workers, both civilians and contractors, for their knowledge, reliable income, tactical skills and dedication to a cause.”

More at Stars and Stripes

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Silent Soldier.

$16.3 Billion And The VA Wait-Times For Veterans Have INCREASED

dJune 25, 2015

By Lorra B.

The Veterans Affairs scandal fueled not only an outcry from veterans and the public but it spurred billions in new funding as well. VA wait times, however, have increased.

It has been a little over a year since Americans were stricken with horror upon learning of sick veterans getting sicker or even dying due to not getting the care they desperately needed and in a timely manor, many waiting long months to see a doctor.

According to the latest VA statistics, long wait times have not at all improved in all parts of the country. In fact, they have increased and they have done so even after Congress granted the VA an additional 16.3 billion last year specifically to cut veteran wait times.

The 16.3 billion was to be used to open new clinics, hire new doctors, and to orchestrate a program that would direct potential long-wait patients to private sector care.

So what happened? Why, a year later, are our veterans still not being taken care of in a reasonable amount of time?  According to Huff Politics, “Since the summer, the number of vets waiting more than 30 or 60 days for non-emergency care has largely stayed flat. The number of medical appointments that take longer than 90 days to complete has nearly doubled.”

There are more than 1000 nationwide VA facilities. 47 of these clinics and hospitals are responsible for “more than one in five of the appointments that took longer than 60 days to complete.”

On April 2, the VA stated, “Some Veterans are still waiting longer than they desire for their appointments, and we are working hard to try to get then the care they have earned where and when they need it.”

Tell that to 47 year-old Noel. She waited an agonizing 10 months to get a follow-up appointment after she received the news that she had an abnormal cervical cancer screening. The emotional distress placed upon Noel was inexcusable at best.

So infuriated was Noel by her wait time that she “warned the caller [VA receptionist] she had post-traumatic stress disorder – and they better have security meet her in the lobby,” stated AP.

Clearly Noel is only one story among hundreds. But delays such as Noel’s are not typical in all areas of the country. In the Midwest, Northeast and states along the Pacific Coast, VA facilities had little delay troubles with “fewer than 2 appointments per month that involved a wait more than 60 days.”

On the other hand, Jacksonville, Florida got a FAIL in veteran wait times. Within a 7 month period, 1,117 veterans had to wait more than two months for appointments. So, while some parts of the country are excelling, others are failing. That leaves us wondering what the VA plans on doing to even out the playing fields for our veterans in every state.

“VA Officials cite numerous efforts to ramp up capacity by building new health centers and hiring more staff,” according to Huff Politics. “Between April and December, the system added 8,000 employees. In Fayetteville, the VA is finishing a new 250,000-square-foot health center to help alleviate the delays that frustrated Rosie Noel.” The VA also said they have stepped up performance in appointment handling by 4.5 percent.

There are other issues plaguing the VA, however, other than wait times. Due to a budget shortfall of about $3 Billion they are considering hiring freezes, according to Rare (and other alternatives to help bridge the gap). But, didn’t you just say you were building new Health Care Centers and hiring more staff? So which is it? The Veterans must be confused. I know I am.

The VA patient load increased by over 7 million visits, a number that VA officials say caught them off guard by being double what they had expected. Even if they were caught off guard funding has seemingly never been an issue.


Clearly the chart shows funding as not being the problem. Then, in 2014, an additional $16.3 billion is added to the mix, which includes and emergency fund of $10 billion.

Yet the VA is considering hiring freezes and ‘other alternatives to bridge the gap,’ some of which will do more harm than good. When the patient load increases dramatically is it really a good idea to freeze hiring?

Obviously there are intense issues and very complex problems going on within the VA that the average Joe Public doesn’t know about. Throwing money at the problems sure doesn’t seem to be fixing them. Perhaps a new tactic is in order because the one now in place is failing miserably as veteran wait times have increased and funding is running like sand through VA fingers.

By Lorra B.

The Military Derivation Of “I GOT YOUR SIX”

dJune 23, 2015

We The PeopleWhat does the term “got your six” mean? Where did it originate?In the military, “got your six” means “I’ve got your back.” The saying originated with World War I fighter pilots referencing the rear of an airplane as the six o’clock position. If you picture yourself at the center of a clock face, the area directly in front of you is twelve o’clock. Six o’clock is what lies behind you. On a battlefield, your “six” is the most vulnerable. So, when someone tells you that they’ve “got your six,” it means they’re watching your back. By extension, that person expects you to have their back as well. “Got your six” is now a ubiquitous term in the military that also highlights the way military members look out for each other.Why is the campaign called Got Your 6?

The sense of loyalty and cooperation embedded in the term “got your six” inspired the creation of this campaign and should inspire all Americans to better understand and empower our returning veterans and military families. Got Your 6 creates opportunities for veterans and civilians to join together to bridge the civilian-military divide and reinvigorate our communities.
Why do we need Got Your 6?

We are at a unique moment in history, as our nation’s longest war draws to an end. More than one million military veterans will re-enter civilian life in the next three to five years. Too many people and groups see veteran integration as a burden on society or as a problem that needs to be fixed. Got Your 6 wants all Americans to know that returning veterans provide our country with great opportunities. It’s up to all of us to aid in their transition, foster their leadership skills, and stand beside them to reinvigorate our communities. Veterans are leaders and civic assets. If we want them to take leadership roles in our communities, we must have high expectations of them and ask, “What’s next?” Got Your 6 encourages veterans and military families to succeed at home and provides opportunities for them to do so.
Why should I support Got Your 6?
Veterans and their families have sacrificed and served our country, yet many civilians don’t fully understand military culture. By increasing our understanding, we can all benefit from our veterans’ unique skills and experiences. Supportive communities recognize veterans as assets and encourage them to be civic leaders. Supporting Got Your 6 means supporting civilian-military collaboration, and supporting those who have always supported you.
There are many military nonprofits and Veterans Service Organizations. What makes Got Your 6 different?
Got Your 6 uses an innovative model of cross-sector collaboration to bring the public, private, and nonprofit sectors together to bridge the civilian-military divide. The coalition of nonprofits assembled by Got Your 6 has the unique ability to leverage their networks and enhance the work they are accomplishing on the ground. Additionally, Got Your 6 draws attention to the nonprofits’ work and fosters understanding through an unprecedented awareness campaign that includes a national publicity effort led by the campaign’s entertainment industry supporters. The power of collective impact is a crucial part of the success of Got Your 6.
Is Got Your 6 a nonprofit organization?
Got Your 6 is a campaign of Be The Change, Inc., which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity. Be The Change creates national issue-based campaigns that bring about positive changes in our society.