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Painkillers Blighting Veterans

By Rick Rogers Rick Rogers Media If you use the universal 10-point pain scale to measure concern about the thousands of San Diego County veterans facing addiction to prescribed painkillers, you reach about a seven. That’s the estimate from officials at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. That equates to moderate to severe pain and requires prompt attention, which is why the Veterans Administration in San Diego is taking steps to help veterans manage their pain and their painkillers. Studies show that a high percentage of veterans are in chronic pain, particularly those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They’re often prescribed opioids, which are effective painkillers, but the drugs can also lead to dependency and addiction. Last month, the American Academy of Pain Medicine released a study that for the first time found that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education, Reservists, Veterans

Must Read: Ethical Lapses in the U.S. Military Explained

By Winslow T. Wheeler Straus Military Reform Project   The defense trade press and even some major media have recently produced reports about ethical problems in the US military officer corps.  Bill Hartung writes at Huffington Post that “Military Ethics Reform Should Start at the Top,” advocating a reduction in our astoundingly–even historically–high officer bloat.  Lt. Col. Danny Davis writes in Armed Forces Journal that our officers are “Seduced by Success” by winning, but only at the minor tactical level, against literally incompetent, almost unarmed enemies. These are important articles, and I urge you to read them, but retired Army Major Don Vandergriff (who has written about officer education, how our over-officered military means an ineffective military,  and more) brought to my attention an article that puts the disconnected media reports about individual examples of officer ethics problems into a broader and far more … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education, Veterans

Southern Vermont College Announces Veterans’ Scholar Program

(San Diego, CA) – Southern Vermont College President Karen Gross announced today the creation of a Veterans’ Scholar Program as part of an expansion of the College’s award-winning Pipelines into Partnership Program. In this new effort, up to 12 recent Veterans will be selected by their Commanding Officers to enter SVC in the fall 2013 or spring 2014. The selected Veteran Scholars will visit the SVC campus with their families at no cost, prior to beginning their studies. On a return visit to campus they will participate in an intensive orientation program on college life offered by the College’s faculty and staff. President Gross said, “These activities create an opportunity for the Veteran Scholars to be introduced to needed academic skills, an understanding of campus culture, and the career launching opportunities at SVC that build on their … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education

Warrior & Family Support News

COMMUNITIES IN ACTION Operation Warfighter soldier awarded Purple Heart in Surprise Ceremony DVIDS Silk began his military career in 1994 and has been in and out of the military ever since fluctuating between Active Duty and Reserve, and most recently joining the Oklahoma National Guard in 2010. Since joining the military, he has been deployed in … USO Lends a Helping Hand to the ‘Harris Family’ During “Extreme Makeover … Melodika.net (press release) Led by team leader Ty Pennington, designers Paige Hemmis, Michael Moloney, Xzibit and Ed Sanders, along with local builder Morgan’s Wonderland and Helping a Hero, military charity the USO and community volunteers, all chipped in to lend a helping hand … Group, community give wounded veteran, family ‘unbelievable’ reason to move Amarillo.com Jose Torrez, left, and Federico Lopez install the ceiling of a house being donated by Operation Finally Home and Permian Homes to Sgt. Ross … Read entire article »

Filed under: Active Duty, Education, Reservists

Warrior & Family Support News

COMMUNITIES IN ACTION A Hopeful Future for Veterans? Campus Progress In a recent Ted Talk, Wood describes an 18 year-old Army veteran struggling to reintegrate into American society: “You give him a chainsaw and you send him to Joplin, Missouri after a tornado, he regains that [mission and sense of purpose]…You drop … Partnerships and patriotism DVIDS Jan John, Senior Human Resources Director for Kaiser Permanente Northwest, who went to a reintegration event held by the Oregon National Guard in March, she saidcommunity members and military representatives discussed the sacrifices veterans make, … Weymouth Home Transformed From Rags to Riches for Returning Veteran Patch.com Just months ago, the home at 63 Lake Street had no walls, a deteriorating roof and was the eyesore of a nice East Weymouth neighborhood. Today it is newly renovated and ready to be presented to a returning veteran by the Neighborhood Housing Services. WELLNESS Turkey, Pumpkin Pie…and PTSD TIME For those with PTSD, the holiday season … Read entire article »

Filed under: Active Duty, Education, Employment, Keeping Tabs, Veterans

USAA Content

  8 Tax Changes That Could Affect You in 2013 Key tax-code provisions that could change and the steps you may take to possibly lessen their impact on your finances.   Married, Single, Retired? Savvy Strategies for the Tax Season As Americans approach the end of 2012, an enormous 2013 tax increase looms on the horizon. To better understand some of the available tax strategies, take a look at how four hypothetical USAA families could buffer themselves from a far more burdensome 2013 tax code.   How to Plan for Your Future When You’re Already Behind If you’re within 20 or even 10 years of retirement and haven’t saved, it is not too late. Here are three ways to kick-start retirement savings.   Stocks Move Up as Budget Talks Move On (Market Commentary 11/23) Last week posted positive gains in overseas … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education

National Veterans Legal Services Programs — Disability Claims & Combat Compensation

NVLSP has two projects to help veterans. One project helps veterans apply for combat related special compensation – a relatively new benefit that can help veterans of all war eras (not just OEF/OIF) get additional tax-free compensation for their combat-related injuries. The other project is to help the 77,000 veterans who got low disability ratings and were medically separated from the military who qualify for a review by the Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) to see if they can be upgraded to military retirement benefits. Congress set up the PDBR to address the problems with lowball disability ratings and 40% of those who apply are upgraded. It’s especially important veterans send their best possible application to the PDBR, because they can only apply once to the PDBR – there is no … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education, Veterans

New Veteran Legal Clinic Takes Root in San Diego … and Aim at For-Profits

By Rick Rogers Front & Center: Military Talk Radio It’s no secret that for-profit schools have long caught the attention of Congress and the White House for all the wrong reasons. High loan default rates, non-transferable credits, low job placement and high tuition are just a few of the reasons why. This all of course greatly matters in San Diego because for-profits are routinely accused of taking advantage of young military veterans for their Post 9/11 GI Bill and this after all is home to largest Iraq and Afghanistan vet population in the country. Not that all for-profits are shady, but the lengths that some have gone to to make a buck are clearly over the line. A 2009 Bloomberg story exposed a particularly egregious case of a Bridgepoint Education, Inc. recruiter signing up a brain … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education

Economic Impacts on Each Congressional District If Sequestration Happens

* Take this information with a few grains of salt. But this is a fascinating snapshot of how incredibly expansive military spending is. From a reporters perspective, this is an extremely revealing document, even if its purpose is not pure information. — Rick Rogers Washington DC August 21, 2012:  The Center for Security Policy has posted new Congressional District Reports on the local economic impacts of the ten-year $500 billion in cuts to the nation’s defense budget under Sequestration.  The reports are free and available online to the public at http://forthecommondefense.org/districts. The Congressional District Reports are a tool to help local officials and businesses prepare for the possible impact of job losses and harm to local communities from the sequestration budget cuts.  The Congressional District Reports provide a 2011 baseline to see how congressional districts may be affected … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education

Meditation Helps Reservist Heal

Luke Jensen was in bad shape when Jerry Yellin reached out to him last year. Jensen, a 32-year-old U.S. Army Reserve veteran of the Afghanistan war, was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He yelled at his wife and two daughters. He stormed about his Colo home. He rarely slept. He drank until he passed out. He overdosed on his anti-anxiety medication. One dark night, in front of his youngest daughter and wife, he held a loaded gun up to his head. “I thought about suicide on a daily basis,” Jensen said. “It was that bad.” Also an Army veteran, Yellin contacted Jensen after reading a profile in The Des Moines Register last year detailing Jensen’s struggles. Yellin, a New Jersey native who lives in Fairfield, told Jensen he felt the same way after his World … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education