As we roll into Memorial Day Weekend to honor those service members who died in our defense, it pays to remember that there are far too many who served and sacrificed and survived the traumas of war, only to find that because of their debilitating sacrifices, they are unable to survive the traumas of life after war.
If you are a veteran struggling with life’s relentless battles, please my brothers and sisters in arms, seek help. We honor you and we need your strength and courage and wisdom to continue to lead us and show us what it means to endure, especially during these challenging times.
More veterans die by suicide every two days than were killed in action last year. After almost two decades of post-9/11 conflicts, lawmakers and Defense Department officials are no closer to ending the suicide crisis. There’s no single cause, no “type” of veteran, no guarantee of access to mental health care, no single solution. The funding is there — the Department of Veterans Affairs is the second-largest federal agency, behind the DOD in size and budget — and there has been little pushback on the 14% boost in funding requested for 2021.
So why are veterans still killing themselves at an alarming rate?
How anyone could support trump baffles me, but his support from service members especially so considering the cowardly way he avoided military service, the disgusting way he treated war heroes, and the way he is so obviously under the influence of a Cold War KGB thug like Putin.
Thankfully, it looks like that support is finally dissipating…
I was inspired to write my first novel Inside the Skin (formerly The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor) by life experiences I earned back in the late ’90s, early ’00s while working as a navy Equal Opportunity specialist, experiences the focus of which centered around the harassment, abuse, injury, and sometimes sadly even death as a result of the hatred for and confusion of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy which had recently been implemented throughout the military.
…excerpts of two rather aged yet seemingly, and sadly so, germane posts of mine. They are quite lengthy so to read the full posts, click on the “more” links.
The first is a political poem I penned long ago:
It’s the bottom of the ninth.
We’re down and in desperate need of a two-out rally.
So what are we waiting for? Should we go
for the win and swing for the fence?
Or should we just drop our bats,
grab our crotches,
Just wait for someone else to come along and bat clean up?
Just wait for them to come along and clean up all of the shit
our silence has created?
Should we wait?
Just wait for the president and the congress and the
governors and every other sleazy politician to knock
the dirt out of their spikes and lead the rally?
Or should we, instead, wait for Wall Street and the
chambers of commerce and the boards of directors
and the unions and even the goddamn Junior Achievers
The second is a satirical attempt at humor by poking fun at the U.S. military and the American way.
IN DEFENSE OF THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE
It always struck me as completely ironic (and if I think about it too hard it verges on the sardonically so) how so many Americans join the military to defend the American “Way of Life,” and, as a reward for their patriotism and service, they are provided for by the American government and funded by the American tax payer with a “way of life” that is so completely different and diametrically opposed to the “Way of Life” they gave up to defend.
Once someone joins the military, their new “way of life” becomes part of one of the most successfully socialist ways of life that has ever existed on this irrational planet of ours…more
[NOTE: this article was written when I was thick into my GVHD issues and strung out on prednisone and dealing with steroid psychosis. While it rambles greatly, I think there still are some relevant points to be found somewhere within. Maybe?]
WARNING: This post attempts to make a bit of humor over various religions’ garb requirements
When I joined the US Navy in 1983, sailors were still allowed to wear beards. However, with the military, prompted by the dictates of its Cold War Warrior Commander-in-Chief and President Ronald Reagan, in a fast-paced process of snapping out of its ragtag and drug-laden Vietnam WarPolice Conflict low-standards hangover, the navy outlawed full beards in 1984.
After which, many o’ Old Salts requested to Go Ashore permanently, as they would rather quit or retire from service than retire their beards.
I was just a young “Boot Camp” of a wog at the time who could barely grow even a little patch of peach fuzz let alone a full beard, but I still remember how passionate my Senior Chief was about keeping his beard.
And this passion of his and other bearded Old Salts like him was stirred simply over a style choice and tradition, so I can only imagine how one must feel about the importance of keeping one’s beard as a religious requirement, which is exactly the passion three enlisted servicemembers who are of the Sikh religion must be feeling right now as they petition the military for exemptions to be allowed to wear their religion-required beards and turbans.
If I remember correctly, I believe the primary reason the Navy gave for no longer allowing full beards was that they did not allow for the proper donning of gas masks, which created a health and military readiness risk. Another, and probably a more driving reason, was that beards did not allow for the professional military appearance that the Top Brass was striving for.
My position on this has evolved over the years, as it has on many social issues.
Now I’m like, meh… the military makes many exceptions for many situations so why not these?
For example, many servicemembers are allowed to wear beards under a doctor’s order. This is common when, typically a male, is prone to get in-grown hairs from having to shave his face so often.
And as for turbans and other religious requirements…
Now, I’ll admit, all the various grooming and wardrobe requirements that all our various religions place upon us is, in my opinion…
I mean, c’mon. All the goofy hats the Pope wears (hence the sarcastic saying in response to a obvious/stoopid question: Does the Pope wear a goofy hat?) is enough to outfit a circus show, not to mention all the goofy hats all the other religious leaders and religious wannabes insist on wearing.
CLICK THE IMAGE FOR ATTRIBUTION
Obviously I’m a bit skeptical about any religion that requires one to dress a certain way in order worship its god, so obviously I sympathize with the military and its position of restraint when allowing exemptions for, what I’m sure are way too many, all of the various religions’ various garb requirements and impositions.
Besides, the military, and especially the navy, is doing just fine with all its goofy hat requirements, as is evidenced by the hat that young “Boot Camp” of a wog who can barely grow even a patch of peach fuzz for a beard is wearing in that ancient picture on found on the sidebar…
However, as our nation is, and is quickly becoming much more, diverse, I can foresee it becoming harder and harder for the military to not allow for more and more exemptions in the future.
Besides, doesn’t this Royal Air Force officer look striking and professional in his militarily accommodating military garb?
This is a propaganda video direct from the US Navy’s official website.
More specifically, it is a two-minute or so inspiring profile piece of a female Hull Technician, a rating traditionally reserved for and assigned to male sailors, found on a page from the Navy’s official website dedicated solely to the recruitment of women.
Now, the word “propaganda” typically comes with negative connotations… at least to me it does.
However, in this case, I regard it as very positive development, for it was not that long ago that you would have been hard-pressed to find a female “HT” in the US Navy.
And, happily (seeing how I am a recruiter for my film and not for the navy (though I strongly encourage every American to consider serving their country militarily)), it just so happens that the protagonist and his small division of men of the Nineties-era short film I am seeking your support for are also Hull Technicians.
Pretty coincidentally cool, huh…
And it is they, these male HT characters of mine, who, through their dialogue and actions — as harassing and as hazing as they may be — show us how I suspect know many real-life male sailors would have felt and reacted at the time about the recent arrival of the first-ever female sailors to their warship.
I only hope that the first-ever female sailors and other female service members who are right now getting ready to report to combat-related duty assignments, assignments on the front lines and maybe even hidden behind the lines, assignments that until very recently were solidly and stolidly forbidden to females, receive a less harassing and more welcoming environment than the females in the film.
Please consider supporting me in the making of my short film LEAVE; for I truly believe, with your support the film can provide much needed awareness to present-day realities in an artistic, entertaining, and meaningful way.
For a list of Donation Reward Packages, please click here.
I had always believed that eventually the US Congress would open up all combat-related assignments to females.
But I didn’t really think it would happen this soon…
And it was never within the realm of my imagination that it and the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell could have happened in the matter of one presidency.
Damn… I sure am going to miss President Obama.
G.I. JANE was released in 1997.
Our short film LEAVE is set in 1995, when Congress first opened up some combat-related assignments to females, including assignments to warships, and it is about one warship’s all-male crew’s reaction to the arrival of its first female sailors.
I’m sure you can just imagine exactly what their reaction will be…
Hopefully the brave service women now accepting the first combat and special warfare assignments will receive a much better reaction and reception…
On Sunday, the fam and I visited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
It’s a beautiful place.
Usually when we go there it’s almost always on a whim, a spur of the moment thing.
As if its spirit overcomes us and compels us to visit.
But on Sunday, we wanted to go knowing that Veteran’s Day was forthcoming.
And we wanted to put ourselves in the presence of the most honorable of veterans.
True heroes fighting for the truest of causes.
But we also went knowing that it wasn’t just a reflection for today, the day my country honors all who serve and have served in defense of Freedom & Liberty.
We went knowing that Sunday was Remembrance Day. A day which our good friends in the United Kingdom reserve for reflecting on the sacrifices of their heroes.
During my years of service, I was fortunate enough, honored, to be able to serve closely with many fine soldiers and sailors, veterans in defense of Freedom & Liberty, from the United Kingdom. I made many good friends.
I also served closely with those from Canada, Australia, Japan, and other countries. I made many more good friends.
I am a lucky old sailor who is honored to have served with such honorable men and women from all over this fine yet feisty planet of ours…
It’s not much, but to honor all veterans around the globe who serve in defense of Freedom & Liberty, I offer my novel THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR and LEAVE: A SHORT STORY to all for free. The novel will be available for free until Midnight tonight (PST) and the short story will be available until Midnight tomorrow night (PST).
Those in the United States can get their copies here
There are many reasons I am excited about this project.
For one, it is an opportunity to for me to explore political, societal, technological, war, mental, and many other issues important to me in a serious and, hopefully, an interesting way.
I am also pleased to be releasing it as a serialized saga, which means that the saga will be realized as a series of books, and each book will be released as a series of parts. Writing a serialized saga enables me to think long term and in strategic ways, while also being able to stay tactical and keep the writing fresh and, again, hopefully, moving quickly along.
I am fortunate to have a rather decent long-term disability policy with Mutual of Omaha, which I, thankfully, purchased through my former employer prior to the diagnosis of my cancer.
One of my frustrations (of several) with the policy is, though, that Mutual of Omaha required/forced me to apply for federal Social Security disability compensation at the onset of my claim. Once approved, Mutual of Omaha then began deducting the amount the federal government pays me from what they pay me.
That seems like such a scam to me; however, from what I have been able to find out, it appears to be a legitimate scam.
Legitimate does not always equate to being right.
Regardless, since the American federal tax payer is providing nearly 33% of my disability compensation, I suppose it is incumbent upon me to say thank you to them for their support.
Thank you, American federal tax payer.
I would like to add an update to that gripe:
Back in May of this year I found out that, because I had been collecting Social Security disability payments for two years (which I was forced to apply for—see above), I would now be forced to apply for Medicare health insurance. Well, technically, I wasn’t forced to apply for the government-sponsored program, however, if I had chosen not to, I would have been dis-enrolled from my primary insurance program, Tricare, which is administered by the US Family Health Plan.
So, of course I applied for Medicare.
The fun part is, not only do I have to pay an additional $100.00 a month (well, technically I am not paying out the funds; they are automatically deducted from my monthly Social Security Disability payments—six in one, glass half empty in the other) for the government program on top of the premiums I still have to pay for Tricare, I am not allowed to use the government benefits which I am forced to purchase.
Ah yes. I must always remember…pain is just a loving reminder that I’m still alive.
Okay, I’ll admit—maybe Medicare will come in handy some day as a backup for Tricare.
But still…it’s all a little too hokie and borderline scam for my taste…