PTSD Claims Simplified

This is one enlightened piece of legislation. In my capacity as a Veteran Service Officer for the Marine Corps League in Marana, I can testify to the anguish a veteran goes through to corroborate their war experiences and to produce a narrative that details their war experiences. It not only exacerbates the very symptoms we are trying to heal. but often leads to self-destructive behavior and a resurgence of rage that impacts family and friends.

Thanks General, you are truly looking out for the veterans of war
VA to publish rule to assist Veterans in filing PTSD claims

VA Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Public Affairs
Media Relations
Washington, DC 20420
(202) 461-7600
News Release

Secretary Shinseki Moves to Simplify PTSD Compensation Rules

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking steps to assist Veterans seeking compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “The hidden wounds of war are being addressed vigorously and comprehensively by this administration as we move VA forward in its transformation to the 21st century,” said Secretary Shinseki.

The VA is publishing a proposed regulation today in the Federal Register to make it easier for a Veteran to claim service connection for PTSD by reducing the evidence needed if the stressor claimed by a Veteran is related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted over the next 60 days. A final regulation will be published after consideration of all comments received.

Under the new rule, VA would not require corroboration of a stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity if a VA psychiatrist or psychologist confirms that the stressful experience recalled by a Veteran adequately supports a diagnosis of PTSD and the Veteran’s symptoms are related to the claimed stressor.

Previously, claims adjudicators were required to corroborate that a non-combat Veteran actually experienced a stressor related to hostile military activity. This rule would simplify the development that is required for these cases.
PTSD is a recognized anxiety disorder that can follow seeing or experiencing an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury to which a person responds with intense fear, helplessness or horror, and is not uncommon in war.

Feelings of fear, confusion or anger often subside, but if the feelings don’t go away or get worse, a Veteran may have PTSD.

VA is bolstering its mental health capacity to serve combat Veterans, adding thousands of new professionals to its rolls in the last four years. The Department also has established a suicide prevention helpline (1-800-273-TALK) and Web site available for online chat in the evenings at

Get By With a Little Help From My Friends; At Toastmasters.

As a member of Toastmaster Eyeopeners club, it stuck me that the value of training that Toastmasters International provides when coupled with men and women who are taking advantage of the new GI Bill, could afford us one incredibly empowered crop of Graduates.

As one of our senior members; Jim Davis stated at one of our breakfast meetings, “can you imagine four years of Toastmasters along with four years of College?” Well, I can. And knowing how difficult it was for me to communicate when I returned from the Vietnam War, the notion of refining communication skills in a safe and fun environment like Toastmasters is quite appealing. So appealing that I think we should find a way to sponsor a returning veteran in one of the many area clubs. Now that would be called, “Support the Troops” par excellance!

The purpose of Toastmasters is to provide a mutually supportive and positive environment in which every member has an opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self- esteem and personal growth. Kinda like the Armed Forces itself! The whole aspect of self-actualization in a safe, caring, help your buddy setting seems to be the perfect assist for a college student.
And,the core values of Toastmasters, integrity, dedication to excellence, service to the member, and respect for the individual are just the right recipe for a veteran transitioning to civilian life. My hope is to make this a codified national outreach program for Toastmasters International. Tell me what you think. Or leave a message on a hot-line for Vets. 540-7000

A Clearer View of the Vietnam Veteran Warriors

Confusion reigns when it comes to numbers and the Vietnam War. Following are some numbers that may lend some clarity to the media reports over the years. Many of the statistics cited here are from the VFW archives.

Vietnam Veterans comprise 9.7% of their generation

9,087,000 Military Personnel served on Active Duty during the Vietnam Era. August 5.1964 to April 30 1973. The Draft ended June 30, 1973

2,594,000 served within the borders of Vietnam. Approximately 30% of that number were in direct combat positions. By comparison it now takes about 11 logistical troops to support one in combat.

7484 women served in Vietnam,and 83% were nurses. Less than 15% of those nurses ever married after married after the war.

Peak troop strength was 543.482 on April of 1969


Hostile Deaths were 47,252 Non-hostile- 10, 475 Total 58,479

8 nurses died. One was KIA

16 Military Chaplains. 2 were Medal of Honor winners

Married men 17,539. 61% of those killed were under 21. Average KIA was 22.8 including twelve 17 year olds. Highest Death State; West Virginia

Wounded 303.704. 100% Disabled 5283 in 1993. Today, that is close to 50.000. I am one of them.

Amputations or crippling wounds were 300% higher than WWll. Multiple amputations were at a rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% for WWll. And to think that the WWll vets use to call us whiners.


25% or 648,ooo of the total Armed Forces were drafted. 66% were drafted in WWll.
Draftees accounted for 30.4 % of the deaths in the Nam. 17.725. 5977 Reservists were killed.

The United States Marine Corps drafted 42,633 in a rare one time USMC Draft in 1968. It was because Marines were dying at such a high rate.


Here is where some myths are dispelled about the War being fought by minorities.
88.4% were Caucasian. 10.6% were Black with 1% being Other. There is a curious thing however about the “Other.” In the 60’s there was no category for Hispanic. So we cannot get an accurate read here unless you just logged surnames, but that is not a sure thing either.

86.3% of the men who died were Caucasian. 12.5% were black. 1.2% were Other. It is estimated that 170,000 Hispanics served in combat, and 3070 died or 5.2%

70% of enlisted men killed were of Northwest European descent. 34% of Blacks volunteered for combat duty.

Religious preference of the dead. 64.4% Protestant. 28.9% Catholic. 6.7% other or none.


76% of the men sent to Vietnam were from Lower Middle/Working Class backgrounds. Three fourths had income above the poverty level. 23% had fathers who were professional. managerial or technical. My father was Managerial and a Corpsman in WWll.

79% had a High School degree. Compared to 63% of Korean vets and 45 % of WWll veterans.

Deaths by region; South- 31% West -29.9% Midwest 28.4% Northeast 23.5%

The average age in Vietnam was 19. The average for WWll was 26.

Of those married 38% were divorced upon returning to the States. I was not married but my girlfriend broke up with me 9 weeks after returning home.

The divorce rate for all Veterans is in the 90th percentile.

The Psychiatric casualty rate in Vietnam was 3%. In WWll it was 26%! That rate for Vietnam veterans skyrocketed within 5 years after the war to 35%. Lots of reason for this that maybe commenters will address.

While approximately 58.000 died about 112.000 committed suicide after the war, many of those coming in the mid to late 70’s

Today, approximately 47% of Vietnam veterans have expressed via the VA system to have persistent emotional problems. Drug and alcohol abuse is right at about 50%

66% of Vietnam Veterans say they would serve again. 69% state knowing that War was never declared. 74% doubt that the Gulf of Tonkin incident ever occurred.

The myth that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as the WWll is false. The average infantryman in the South Pacific saw an average of 44 days of combat in 4 years. The average soldier/Marine in Vietnam saw about 241 days of combat in one year, as a result of the mobility of the helicopter.

The average lapse time between being wounded to hospitalization was less than an hour. As a result less than 1% of those wounded who survived the first 24 hours, died.. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility, as it does now. Without the helicopter it would have taken 3 times the number of troops to secure an 800 mile border with Cambodia and Laos. Mistakenly the politicos thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords of 1962 would secure the border. 84% of Vietnam veterans report never having heard of the Geneva Convention guidelines; (outlining torture), while on active duty. 71% of combatants report witnessing torture accomplished by proxies, like Korean Marines.

Another myth that the Domino Theory was proved false is incorrect. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations; Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand remained free of Communism as a result of our commitment to the area. The Vietnam War was the turning point for the end of Communism. Today we are partnered with Vietnam for the exploration of oil. One of the little known facts is that some of richest oil reserves in the world are off the shores of the South China Sea. Ergo the lifting of the the Trade Embargo that was co-sponsored by Senators McCain and Kerry.
The tourism industry in Vietnam is 200% that of WWll veterans returning to war sites.

Possibly this is why we call these “Wars of Assimilation” not Declared Wars.

Student Loans and GI Bill

While the following information does not directly relate to Veterans, it does in that the new GI Bill, which is not the rigging that the Montgomery GI was, will not leave a veteran with a heap of debt after completing their studies. The previous GI Bill, which needed to be trashed years ago, supplied just enough assistance to send you straight to the bank to subsidize paying the tuition. It was as much a banking gimmick as it was an educational catalyst.

And, one may recall that many of the Universities were engaged in kickbacks for guiding the nubile young students to the local bank. The new GI Bill along with repayment relief should clean up the underground world of educational profiteering.

Some Relief On Student Loans

Repaying a student loan could soon be a little less painful.

Starting this week, anyone with a federal student loan can apply for a new Education Department program, which caps monthly payments based on income and which forgives remaining balances after 25 years. Those agreeing to public service work could have loans forgiven after 10 years.

Eligibility for income-based repayment is determined by a person’s income and loan size. A calculator at can help borrowers determine their eligibility for the plan, which becomes available Wednesday.

The program stems from the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, signed in 2007, which authorized the creation of an income-based repayment plan for some types of loans.

Payments would amount to less than 10 percent of income for most of the estimated 1 million people expected to enroll, experts say. Payments would never exceed 15 percent of any income above about $16,000 a year (or 150 percent of the poverty level). Those who earn less than $16,000 would not have to make any monthly payments.

Survey of Health Care Experiences of Patients/SHEP

Tucson VA Hospital
Tucson VA Hospital
This survey is also used for our own Veterans Administration Hospital here in Tucson. I thought the results of the survey were worthy of adulation, and a bit of bragging. While all the cities being compared would be of little interest to our readers, our comparison to the National results are noteworthy.

Inpatient Satisfaction: National 62.1% Tucson VA 71.1%

Outpatient Satisfaction: National 55.6% Tucson VA 59.7%

Provider Wait less than 20 minutes: National 78.9% Tucson VA 85.9%

Getting Care quickly when needed: National 78.7% Tucson VA 80.6%

These are SHEP scores from October 2008 to March 2009 provided via Health Care Trends the newsletter for the Southern Arizona Health Care System.

It is no wonder so many winter veteran visitors wait until they come to Tucson for their health care. It appears that not all Government health care is so maligned.

POW/MIA Issues Are Current Events Too

VVA applauds recovery of Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher



VVA Applauds Recovery of Capt. Speicher’s Remains; Urges Redoubling of Efforts in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia

(WASHINGTON, DC) — “All veterans, indeed all Americans, can be relieved that one family’s uncertainty about the fate of their loved one has been finally resolved,” said John Rowan, newly re-elected National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), referring to the recovery of the remains of Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher. Captain Speicher was shot down flying a combat mission in an F/A-18 Hornet on January 17, 1991, during the first Gulf War. His fate until now had been uncertain.

Acting on information provided by civilians in Anbar Province, Iraq, Marines went to a desert location believed to be the crash site of Speicher’s jet. Remains were recovered over several days and were flown to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for scientific identification by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology’s Armed Forces Medical Examiner, which positively identified the remains as Speicher’s on August 1.

“Today, according to the Department of Defense, we still have 1,737 Americans missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War,” Rowan said, “and there are thousands of troops from World War II and the Korean War whose remains have never been recovered.

“We should not and cannot shirk our responsibility as a nation to see that all of our troops are returned to freedom back home or to their families for proper burial with military honors. We hold the issue of last-known alive personnel as our highest priority. Our goal is now and always has been to achieve the fullest possible accounting of servicemen missing still in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and the Chinese territorial waters.

— 30 —

Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation’s only congressionally chartered veterans’ service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA’s founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another

If you no longer wish to receive e-mail from us, please click here.

One Honorary Marine/ Scotty Scotton/Cars4Vets

Last night at the meeting of the new Marine Corps League Detachment in Marana we heard a presentation from a most inspiring Iraq War veteran named Scotty Scotton.
Scotty served with the Army Corps of Engineers and lost much of his arm from a blast while placing himself in harms way.
The Nighthawk 72 Detachment, after hearing of his cause voted unanimously to accept Scotty as an Associate member, and one of the Marines rose to pay his dues for the entire year.
I write now to support his cause.


This Saturday August 22, 2009 from 2-7pm his organization Cars4Verterans will have a promotion/ fund raiser car wash at Long John Silvers and Jack n The Box location on 4640 W. Ina Rd. Proceeds will go to help homeless veterans and Outreach programs like Vet4Vets.
Your participation will go to help promote the acquisition and repair of old cars, Scotty is a mechanic, that he in turns simply gives away.

Showgirls will wash your car for a donation to Cars4Vets.

It may be hard to fashion that we are actually witnessing yet another round of homeless veterans. The statistics support this sad fact. Scotty was one. And if you ever want to hear a, “pull yourself up by your boot straps story,” this is a genuine one, evidenced by a KVOA Channel 4 story by Martha Vasquez.
For more information on Cars4Vets call Scotty at 520-272-7031 or visit “

Scotty and myself will be at the event to answer any questions about Veterans Affairs. He will also be at the very popular Nam Jam on November 7th at Kennedy Park.

Education is Called Stimulus Too

Yellow Ribbon ProgramMany thanks go to the American Legion for their diligence in keeping the Veteran population informed about any and all issues effecting the lives of our vets. I cannot imagine what it would be like without these men and women who continue to serve our country with heart and soul. The American Legion is literally woven into the fabric of my development. My grandfather Frank Gorham was one the first Commanders in 1919 in Dixon, Illinios, home of Ronald Reagan. My mom, my aunts, and my grandmother all served as local and state presidents of the Auxillary. There was never a July 4th or Veterans Day parade where my brother Greg and I were not riding with the Legionaries. I learned to play baseball with the Legion and how to shoot pool with the old men….Now I are one!
And my grampa Frank Gorham, who served on the USS Vermont in WWl was also a Veteran Advocate in those days, and continues to be my inspiration to this day as a volunteer service officer with the new Marine Corps League in Marana.

Out-of-State, Private & Graduate Educations Made More Affordable

WASHINGTON – Over 1,100 colleges, universities and schools across the country have entered into “Yellow Ribbon” program agreements with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve financial aid for Veterans participating in the Post-9/11 GIBill. Over 3,400 agreements were received from the 1,100 schools participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program. “This is a strong response to a new benefit,” Keith Wilson, Director of VA’s Education Service, said. “We are pleased so many institutions are supporting our Veterans.”

“The Post-9/11 GI Bill is an important part of fulfilling our promise to the men and women who have served our country so honorably,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. “Implementing this landmark legislation and providing even more veterans with a quality education is a top priority for VA. We are grateful so many schools are joining us as partners in this unprecedented effort.” The Yellow Ribbon program, a provision of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill, funds tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. Institutions can contribute up to 50 percent of those expenses, and VA will match this additional funding for eligible students.

The Yellow Ribbon program is reserved for Veterans eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the 100 percent benefit level. This includes those who served at least 36 months on active duty or served at least 30 continuous days and were discharged due to a service-related injury.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, passed by Congress last year, is the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. The maximum benefit allows every eligible Veteran, servicemember, reservist and National Guard member an opportunity to receive an in-state, undergraduate education at a public institution at no cost. Provisions of the program include payments for tuition and fees, housing, and a books and supplies stipend. Benefits are payable for training pursued on or after August 1, 2009. The tuition and fee benefit is paid directly to the school.

For information on specific schools participating in the Yellow Ribbon program, go to Yellow Ribbon Program.

Additional information about the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon program, as well as VA’s other educational benefits, can be obtained by visiting VA’s Web site at by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1.

Non-Partisan Glimpse of Tucson Voters

capitol-domeThese statistics pretty much tell the story of how the village feels about partisan politics. Nearly 28% of the voters are Independent registrants. I am told that number is rapidly rising.

Are these folks marginalizing themselves for a reason? Is the duopoly just not their cup of tea? What is the true profile of the Independent? When is the last time you ever heard the word, “Platform?” What is the party platform? It appears to me that the dyed in the wool ideologues should have a party of their own. Any operator of a business lives with the dictum, “the market speaks.” It is clear as can be that the market place of the voters is speaking, and they do not like the menu that is offered.

Have the readers heard of the WHIG party that has metamorphosed? I am told they are comprised of a large number of young veterans.

Voter registration (City of Tucson)
Ward 1 – Dem / 20,644, Rep / 5,786, Lbt / 262, Grn / 102, Ind / 10,354
Ward 2 – Dem / 18,249, Rep / 17,505, Lbt / 305, Grn / 79, Ind / 12,680
Ward 3 – Dem / 14,777, Rep / 6,225, Lbt / 317, Grn / 209, Ind / 9,184
Ward 4 – Dem / 15,933, Rep / 15,836, Lbt / 306, Grn / 53, Ind / 12,865
Ward 5 – Dem / 15,086, Rep / 3,775, Lbt / 265, Grn / 75, Ind / 8,516
Ward 6 – Dem / 19,624, Rep / 8,735, Lbt / 405, Grn / 273, Ind / 10,924
Totals – Dem / 104,313, Rep / 57,862, Lbt / 1,860, Grn / 791, Ind / 64,523 – 229,349

The Mutinous Local Republican Party

“A battered wife gets used to living with bruises. She won’t run away from her husband because she fears that if he catches her, the bruises will turn into broken bones.

“We are used to living with this city government – we’re used to those bruises / we know what we’re in for with this group. We could openly support you, but if you lose, the bruises we’re used to could turn into broken bones.

“You tell me how to get a battered wife to leave her husband, and I’ll openly support your campaign.”

My answer – act on principle. Do what you know is best for the long term interest of the community, not what may be in your own short term interest. Unless and until the community does that, nothing changes.

I apologize for not being permitted to give attribution for this quote at this time. Maybe soon. But, I assure you this is a verbatim answer from a local spokesperson for a local developer when queried about why the Pima County GOP and its operatives will not put themselves on the line and lend their full support for the very fine man and candidate for Ward 6, Steve Kozachik.

I met with Steve K, for 4 hours yesterday. The purpose was to get to know him first, and to thank him for helping out with our Veterans Fundraiser last week at Hotel Congress. Steve has offered to do more for local veterans than any candidate I have ever known.

As is the case with most all political dialogue, one thing leads to another…a lot! So, I ask him why the local GOP never seems to have any fire in their belly for their candidates? With the vociferous opposition they have to the current council, why is it that when it comes down to the wire, they will not open their check book and support their candidate?

This writer’s suggestion, not candidate Steve’s, is that the incumbents are securely slotted by the powers that be, that have been the powers that be for nye on 40 years, and they do not want any retribution in the event of a loss. Ergo, the battered wife analogy.

The political situation in Tucson has an uncanny similarity to the fictitious Mr. James Taylor and his political machine in the classic movie, “Mr Smith Goes to Washington.” I will leave the James Taylor comparison up to the reader’s imagination. However, the genuineness, integrity, and purity of intention of Steve Kozachik is quite like Jeff Smith, the character played by Jimmy Stewart. After endless years of a stranglehold control of Tucson by the real estate moguls, it may well be that it is time for the Boy Rangers to take back the City.

If the local GOP had the inspiration, the principles, and the moxie of Steve K, the local GOP could win an election and have a voice of reason in the KOS!