Wednesday, September 17, 2014

TAPS Provides Comfort to Suicide Survivors

As the DoD releases the latest statistics on Military suicides in the first quarter of 2014, comes this reminder of the important work that TAPS does:

TAPS Provides Comfort to Suicide Survivors 
 By Shannon Collins
DoD News Specials and Features, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2014 – When family members of Defense Department service members lose their loved ones to suicide or other deaths, they have more than the support of family, friends and their community. They have the support of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors staff.

TAPS is a not-for-profit organization that meets its mission by providing peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, casework assistance and connections to community-based care. It provides immediate and long-term emotional help, hope and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America.

For Rebecca Morrison, TAPS suicide survivor communications liaison, it has a personal connection as well. Morrison’s husband, Army Capt. Ian Morrison, was a U.S. Military Academy graduate and Apache helicopter pilot. In 2011, he deployed to Iraq, and after 10 months, he returned with anxiety issues, depression and insomnia.

“Ian was a very active, happy, positive guy. He worked out all of the time and ate healthy,” she said. “In 2012, in the last two weeks of his life, he didn’t sleep. He hardly ate. He stopped going to the gym. He seemed very anxious most of the time. The main issue he talked about was sleep.”

Morrison had been teaching elementary school students at Fort Hood, Texas, and was working on her master’s degree when Ian started having trouble and lost his life to suicide. As his unit memorial approached, Morrison said, her college professor gave her the TAPS phone number.

“I had just had the funeral; I was just terrified basically, and I called TAPS really late, about the night before,” Morrison said. “I told Bonnie Carroll my story a little bit. She said, ‘Hold on, I’m going to connect you with someone whose story is similar to yours, and she’s going to call you and help you.’
I was like, ‘She’s never going to call.’”... 

 To read what happened next, and to find important links, go read more here.

GITMO 5 release now top ISIS commander

Who'd a thunk this?

From National Report:

Terrorist Exchanged For Bowe Bergdahl Now Top ISIS Commander 
16 September 2014

Mullah Mohammed Fazi, one of the five Guantanamo Bay detainees released by the Obama administration in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, has been confirmed to be currently in Iraq. Fazi, the Taliban’s former Defense Minister, is serving in a leadership capacity within the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

Reports indicate that Fazi, classified by a 2008 Pentagon dossier as being considered a high risk to the United States if released, appears to be heavily engaged in the systematic murder of Iraqs non-Sunni population. Internal Pentagon assessments say the strategy of wholesale slaughter carried out in ISIS occupied territories very well could have originated with Fazi. Many of the same techniques were utilized by the Taliban in Afghanistan to consolidate and strengthen their position under Mohammed Fazi’s direction.

News of Fazi’s involvement in the ISIS caliphate comes shortly on the heels of a finding by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office that President Obama broke the law when he exchanged five Taliban leaders for Sgt Bowe Bergdahl. The White House has “strongly disagreed” with the GAO’s conclusions. White House spokesman Eric Schultz has said that,”We reject the implication that the administration acted unlawfully.”

The Obama administration is worried that news of Fazi’s emergence as a top commander in ISIS will worsen public perception of both the terrorist swap for Bergdahl and the GAO’s findings of illegal activity....

Read the rest here.

Just so much wrong with all of this, as many of us predicted at the time of Obama's rush to do this illegal, secret deal.

Mohammad Fazl is the Taliban's former Deputy Defense Minister

Wednesday Hero

A quick note about this weeks post. Below is all the information that could be found about Airman Second Class Gordon Thayer. Not everyone who has served goes into the history books. The majority simply return home and live their lives.

Airman Second Class Gordon ThayerU.S. Air Force

From Airman Second Class Thayer's Silver Star citation:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Airman Second Class Gordon C. Thayer, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force near Phouc Vinh, Republic of Vietnam on 25 August 1966. On that date, Airman Thayer was a Pararescueman aboard a Rescue Helicopter, which was shot down and forced to crash-land while attempting to evacuate wounded Army personnel. Shaking off the effects of shock of the extremely hard landing and with complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Thayer tended to the Army wounded while subjecting himself to intense hostile fire. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Airman Thayer has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

From Airman Second Class Thayer's Distinguished Flying Cross citation:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Airman Gordon C. Thayer, United States Air Force, for heroism involving aerial flight as para-rescueman on an unarmed and unarmored CH-3C helicopter over North Vietnam on 27 July 1965. On that date, Airman Thayer's aircraft penetrated the surface-to-air missile envelope surrounding Hanoi, North Vietnam, to successfully recover a pilot who had abandoned his crippled aircraft in that area. This recovery operation involved flight in excess of 300 miles over hostile territory under marginal weather conditions and without navigational aids. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty demonstrated by Airman Thayer reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so that we may get to enjoy our freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

ISIS: Obama misses the point

Yes, that headline more than sums up my views on the current ineptitude,  on a global scale, as politicians finally address the ongoing threat of Islamist murderers...These days more than a few experts,  and the not-so-expert analysts,  are commenting on Obama's handling of the ongoing - and evolving - ISIS *crisis.*

From Homeland Security NewsWire:

Obama’s new strategy still misses Islamic State’s weakest link

By Denis Dragovic
12 September 2014

President Barack Obama was right to say in his speech on Wednesday that “ISIL is certainly not a state.” While IS does not have standing as a state among the community of nations, its strategy is focused on establishing an Islamic State. That’s why any response by the United States should be focused on preventing it from doing so. Unlike terrorist groups that seek to disrupt society, IS is focused on the establishment of a new society. Doing so requires IS to build the three pillars critical to a functioning state: Creating legitimacy; providing public security; and catering to the basic needs of the population, such as water, food, health, and shelter. Seeing Islamic State as an overextended rogue state, rather than a terrorist network, and working to weaken the civil pillars of the state it is trying to establish, offers the best chance of stopping IS.

U.S. president Barack Obama has announced a more aggressive strategy against Islamic State, including air strikes against its fighters “wherever they are”, even inside Syria — which he had previously ruled out....

There is more here.