Veterans GOOD NEWS for April 7

Veterans GOOD NEWS for April 7

Good news for veteransWestern Pa. Fort Hood victims to receive Purple Heart (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Lt. Col. Juanita Warman had been at Fort Hood for only a day when she was killed in a shooting rampage at the Texas military base in November 2009. Warman, a 55-year-old psychiatric nurse practitioner who grew up in Sheraden, was preparing to deploy to Iraq. The Army will posthumously award her a Purple Heart in a special ceremony Friday. “It doesn’t bring her back, but it honors her and what she was going to do,” said her husband, Philip Warman of Havre de Grace, Md., a Uniontown, Pa., native. He will travel to Fort Hood for the ceremony, in which military officials will present 47 medals honoring victims of the attack. Brandy Mason, an Army captain from Monessen who was wounded, also is expected to receive a Purple Heart. In February, Army officials announced they would award the Purple Heart and its civilian counterpart, the Defense of Freedom medal, to Fort Hood victims — after years of pressure from families and a rule change approved by Congress. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, has been convicted of carrying out the attack, which killed 13 and wounded more than 30. The Purple Heart usually is bestowed to those wounded in war zones, but it can be awarded in other situations, including terrorist attacks against the United States.

Typhoon of Steel veterans celebrate their 70th anniversary (Marines.mil)
Carved into the stone of the Pacific Arch at the World War II Memorial in Washington is a quote from Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was commander of the United States Army Forces in the Far East in 1941. “The War’s End. Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain death – the seas bear only commerce – men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world is quietly at peace.” Right below these powerful words on the monument, three World War II veterans, James L. Riffe, John ‘Jack’ Cassidy and Josiah Bunting III, placed a wreath in honor of the service members, who fought in the battle during the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa, April 1, 2015. After the reef was laid, Staff Sgt. Kevin Gebo, a U.S. Army Band Pershing’s Own bugler, played taps for the veterans and the crowd “It’s an honor for me to put the reef on the memorial because today is the start of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa,” said Cassidy, a Navy veteran, who served during World War II. “It’s in honor of all the Navy, Marines and all the people, who participated in the operation. “Unfortunately, a lot of them didn’t make it.” On April 1, 1945, allied forces invaded the island of Okinawa and combated the Japanese in one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific theater. “Okinawa, in important ways, was both the most significant and costliest of the American island battles and victories in the Pacific,” Cassidy said. “This operation was the prelude to going to Tokyo.” Four divisions of the U.S. Army and two Marine divisions landed on the beach with the support of U.S. and Allied naval forces. The entire campaign to secure Okinawa lasted 82 days. In the end, more than 12,500 U.S. service members were killed or missing and 38,000 wounded. The Japanese soldiers suffered approximately 70,000 casualties and 150,000 Japanese civilians died or committed suicide. These facts earned the battle its nickname of Typhoon of Steel.

Korean military leader says thanks to U.S. Korean War vets (Tampa Tribune)
Lt. Gen. Chun In-Bum, commander of South Korea’s Special Warfare Command, has only known the prosperity his nation has enjoyed after the Korean War, which raged from 1950 to 1953 and took more than 52,000 American lives. Monday afternoon, Chun took time out from visiting U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base — where’s he’s hoping his county eventually can join the international special operations coordination center that operates from the command — to thank Americans who helped make South Korea’s success possible. “I was born in 1958,” Chun told a crowd of about two dozen Korean War survivors gathered at Veterans Memorial Park and Museum. “I want you to know that … we have enjoyed the most prosperous period of our time because of not only the sacrifices you’ve done for us during the Korean War, but the support that the United States has given us after the Korean War.” Thanks to the U.S., Korea is now the world’s 10th largest economy, Chun told the audience, mostly men in their 80s who lived through battles ranging from Inchon to the Chosin Reservoir. “We try to share with you a common value of freedom and liberty,” said Chun. “We’re still not there yet; it seems democracy takes a long time to get there. We are about halfway, but because of many of you, we Koreans enjoy the freedom God has given to all man and has destined us to enjoy, and I want to thank all of you.” After speaking, Chun signed a guest book, then paid homage to the park’s Korean War memorial, commemorating Hillsborough County residents who died in the conflict, which came to a halt on July 27, 1953, with the signing of an armistice. Following a short ceremony, Chun shook hands with the veterans, many of whom shared stories of their time in the war.

USS Bush commemorates 70th anniversary (CBS8-San Diego)
World War II veterans gathered Monday morning to commemorate 70-years since the sinking of the USS Bush. The destroyer was sunk off the coast of Okinawa by kamikaze pilots in 1945. The group of veterans and their families came from all over the country to reunite for the last time, honoring the memory of their fallen shipmates. On April 6, 1945, the USS Bush was sunk off the coast of Okinawa by three Japanese kamikaze planes. During the attack, 87 crew members were lost and 42 were injured. In total, 94 sailors lost their lives. The four surviving shipmates and family members of others gathered for a memorial service at the Naval Training Center Base Chapel. This will be the last time the World War 2 veterans, who are all in their 90s, will be able to meet. Their duty aboard the USS Bush was courageous and they will never be forgotten.

Nonprofit helps combat vets fight mental anguish amid serene backdrop (Stars & Stripes)
Fred Gusman has been around post-traumatic stress disorder so long that he began treating the condition before it officially existed. In 1978, as a social worker with a Veterans Affairs hospital near San Francisco, he created the nation’s first residential therapy program for troops who fought in Vietnam. He listened as the men described the torment of living with a disorder that the American Psychiatric Association failed to recognize as a formal diagnosis until 1980. More than three decades later, Gusman remains devoted to the cause, seeking to save a new generation of veterans from the mental anguish of combat. He runs The Pathway Home, a residential treatment program for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans that he founded in 2008, soon after leaving his position as a senior director with the VA National Center for PTSD. His nonprofit program occupies a building on the verdant grounds of the Veterans Home of California in Napa Valley, the heart of the state’s wine region. The serene backdrop contrasts with the inner chaos of those who arrive to confront the feral memories of war. Gusman and his staff work with three classes of 15 veterans each year. Most show up with their lives in ruin. Nearly three-fourths have attempted suicide and close to two-thirds have been homeless at least once in the previous year. Almost half are divorced. The veterans live for free in Pathway’s relaxed, dorm-like setting during the four-month program. They gain familiarity with each other in the first few weeks as they take part in art, writing, meditation and yoga classes intended to steady the mind. Gusman then begins a daily trauma therapy session that forces each member of the group to unearth their worst moments from a battlefield they have yet to leave behind.

‘The Bunker’ is helping vet entrepreneurs launch next big tech company (WeAreTheMighty.com)
Many efforts exist to try and tap into the potential of separating military veterans as employees and leaders, but “The Bunker” fosters veteran entrepreneurs by helping them start and grow great technology companies. “The Bunker is a veteran-operated, veteran-focused effort with an emphasis on finding and offering entry points into the technology community,” explains Todd Connor, CEO of The Bunker, in a YouTube video about the program. The Chicago-based program helps military veterans tap into existing government programs while also providing networking opportunities for breaking into the technology sector. These efforts, currently encompassing seven cities, all work by providing military veterans with shared office space, networking events, and speaker series focused on growing technology companies. They also provide mentorship and help new businesses find partners interested in working with veteran-owned businesses. While the Bunker is based out of Chicago, interested parties can apply to be part of the program in a six other cities including Los Angeles, Austin, Texas, and Washington D.C. Some programs, like those in Chicago and Kansas City, are fully up and operational while others, like the one in Tacoma, Wash., are planning to launch this year. To see companies that have successfully partnered with The Bunker or to apply to be part of the program, check out their website.The Bunker, in addition to looking for more entrepreneurs, provides the option for people to apply as mentors, interns, and business partners.

Seattle man drawn to Germany 70 years after WWII surrender (The Seattle Times)
Riding in an open Jeep with his Thompson submachine gun at the ready, a young Army private from Olympia watched the blur of passing windows as his small convoy made its way through the streets of Weimar, Germany, population 70,000. Had there had been an enemy sniper behind any of those windows, there’s a chance the life and story of Bob Harmon might have ended right there. But on April 12, 1945 — which happened to be Harmon’s 20th birthday — his small group of about 20 Americans was met not with bullets, but applause. “We got to the town square, and there were about 2,000 people, and they were cheering us,” Harmon said. “They were more than happy to surrender.” The peaceful surrender of the city known as “the Athens of Germany” for its centuries-old connections to art, music and learning was a welcome feel-good story from the battle zone, and made the front page of The New York Times. The moment is still remembered in that east-central part of Germany, and will be observed again on April 12, its 70th anniversary. And Harmon will be there, this time turning 90. “This may be my last time. But I say that every time I go,” said Harmon, a retired Seattle University history professor who has been back to the area several times and who has been named an honorary citizen of a town near Weimar. Harmon knows of no other surviving member of the unit that was sent to accompany Col. Normando Costello that April morning to accept the surrender of Weimar. The Weimar milestone will be acknowledged in conjunction with the somber observance of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp, a few miles away.

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