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180 W. Idaho Ave, Ontario, Oregon 97914
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"M.A.S.H.-MOBILE ARMY SURGICAL HOSPITAL"
Our Chairman / Founder Ronald Verini , writes 2 articles a month which are published in a regional newspaper. You can read these articles here on our Webpage just by clicking on the heading 'Veterans Articles'. This Article will be published February 16, 2020.
M.A.S.H. MOBILE ARMY SURGICAL HOSPITAL"
Well folks, believe it or not it was this very day in 2006 that the last MASH Unit was decommissioned by the United States Army. How many of us grew up watching Alan Alda and cast bring into our homes and heart the trials and tribulations that a Hospital Medical Unit underwent in their daily operations functioning in a war zone. The stories were always filled with such ‘human and compassionate’ lessons that even today the television series is still being aired every day into our lives and homes. I even remember meeting in many Cities and Towns that I ventured to during my professional career, many who began their medical profession because of watching ‘MASH’ on television.
‘MASH”, which stands for ‘Mobile Army Surgical Hospital’ was first thought of during WWII by Major Vincent Marran, a medic for General Patton’s Third Army, but at that time there was no follow through for an official designation. However, at the end of the Second World War the Director of Surgical Consultants for the US Army Surgeon General’s Office, Dr. Michael DeBakey, a son of Lebanese Immigrants, not only helped develop the MASH Units to bring Doctors closer to the front lines to improve the survival rate of wounded soldiers, he also helped establish the Veteran’s Administration Medical Research System. Dr. DeBakey was honored with the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ in 1969, bestowed by President Lyndon Johnson, and in 1987 Dr. DeBakey was awarded the National Medal of Science, bestowed by President Ronald Regan.
The actual functions and physical layouts of the MASH Units were also used in the early days of the Vietnam War, though early on the Army activated the 44the Medical Brigade to assume control of the quickly growing need for increased capacity and support. TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK THE RED BAR BELOW.....
February 11, 2020 By Dave Phillips for the New York Times
Air Force veterans who dealt with a Cold War-era atomic accident in Spain won the right to sue collectively for health benefits — but not before many had lost battles with cancer.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On Christmas Eve, Victor Skaar mailed a stack of letters to Air Force veterans he had served with in Palomares, Spain, scrawling a simple headline at the top of each one: “Great News!”
Mr. Skaar, a retired chief master sergeant, was one of 1,600 troops scrambled by the Air Force in 1966 to clean up a classified nuclear disaster by collecting debris and shoveling up plutonium-laced soil. Many were later stricken with cancer and other ailments, and tried without success to get the federal government to take responsibility and pay for their medical care.
He wanted to spread the word about an encouraging development: A lawsuit he had filed against the Department of Veterans Affairs had been certified as a class action, meaning that there was finally a chance to set the plutonium case straight, not just for him but for everyone who was there.
But his letters soon began trickling back to him: Undeliverable. No forwarding address. One brought a reply from a widow. Each one in his mailbox made his heart sink.
For many of them, it’s too late,” he said of his comrades. “They’re gone.”
As one of the first cases ever granted class-action status by the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the Skaar lawsuit represents a major step forward for veterans with long-term health issues linked to toxic exposure in the service. ‘First they told me there were no records, which I knew was a lie because I helped make them.’
Until now, even in situations where thousands of troops were exposed to hazards like radioactive fallout, burn pits or Agent Orange and then faced similar problems afterward, each one has generally had to grapple with the vast military and veterans’ bureaucracies alone.
By Rachel Paula Abrahamson, NBC News Today
When Lori Paris first met Vietnam War veteran Carroll Botts, he was living an isolated life in a nursing home.
“His room was dark and he was just laying in bed,” Paris told TODAY Parents. “He didn’t want to leave his room.”
Less than two years later, Botts, 70, is attending concerts and visiting with children at a local elementary school.
"Mr. Botts has come completely alive,” Paris said. “It’s like night and day.”
Moving into a medical foster home marked the turning point. The foster home program, run by the Department of Veterans Affairs as an alternative to nursing home care, serves more than 1,000 veterans and offers 24/7 care in private homes. At $2,500 a month, it's half the price of a traditional nursing home, but many would argue the benefits are priceless. In these foster homes, many veterans find something that's been sorely missing in their lives: a sense of family and camaraderie
Paris, a medical foster home program coordinator, placed Botts in a sprawling ranch-style home with two other male veterans in Indiana. The homeowner — and the men's caregiver — is Barney Musselman, a chiropractor and licensed nurse who, like the other men in the home, is pretty low-key and loves being surrounded by nature.
“I’ll stop by and Mr. Botts is relaxing on the deck or hanging out in the living room,” Paris revealed. “I’ve never once seen him in his bed.”
More than 1,000 miles away in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Regine Kercy is running a medical foster home where she cares for Henryette Marshall, a 95-year-old female veteran of World War II, and Henry W. Sterrett III, a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran. Like Botts, Sterrett has undergone a complete transformation.
By Laura T. Coffey, NBC News Today
In an instant, Derek Herrera knew it was all over. The bullet entered his shoulder, but it lodged in his spine. That meant several things for the 28-year-old — none of them good.
Immediate paralysis from the chest down. Immediate end of his dream job as an elite Marine Special Operations Team commander. Immediate start of a grueling rehabilitation that would last years.
These days Herrera, now 34, doesn’t spend much time dwelling on the enormity of those losses. He can’t — he’s too busy. He and his wife have twin 2-year-old boys who love to wrestle, climb and speak to each other in their own secret language. He’s also running a small business based around a big idea: that a new kind of catheter could help end the hell of urinating for paralyzed men like himself.
The war in Afghanistan is so old that if it were a human, it would be allowed to vote. Over the past 18 years, more than 53,000 U.S. service members have been wounded in post-9/11 wars. Many post-9/11 veterans say they found it challenging to transition back to civilian life.
For Herrera, the climb back to a new level of normalcy took years of work. He had to keep reminding himself to look forward, not backward.
Herrera and his wife were high school sweethearts.
“Since the beginning, Derek has always been a calming force in my life,” said his wife, Maura Herrera, 33. “He’s just a very calm, cool, collected guy.”
What is the White House VA Hotline?
The hotline’s pilot began under direction of the Veterans Experience Office on June 1, 2017, and entered phase two on October 15, 2017.
White House VA Hotline: 1-855-948-2311.
Calls are answered by a live agent 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The hotline is staffed by more than 60 agents who have had extensive training on VA programs and services. Most of these agents are a Veteran, military family member, caregiver or a survivor.
The White House VA Hotline conducts immediate warm hand offs for at-crisis risk Veterans needing the services of the Veterans Crisis Line.
Trends identified by the hotline will be used to rapidly respond to systemic inefficiencies and empower VA employees to resolve Veteran concerns quickly.
By Meghan Holohan
When baby Jace started crying, his father, Jeff Lee, struggled. True, the wail of a baby triggers anxious concern in most parents — but this was different. Little Jace’s screams reminded Jeff of the sound of a wounded Marine.
“There was a pitch that Jace would hit that sounded like a person who was hit on the battlefield,” Jeff’s wife, Jolynn Lee, 49, of Hubert, North Carolina, told TODAY Parents. “He couldn’t stand to hear him cry.”
Jeff enlisted in the U.S. Marines immediately after high school and deployed to Iraq during the first Gulf War. He later enrolled in the Marines’ Enlisted to Officer program to further his military career, and he found himself back in Iraq during the Iraq War. In 2004, during the brutal first Battle of Fallujah, Jeff got shot in the shoulder and bicep. He duct-taped himself up so he could continue fighting, and he earned a Purple Heart and Silver Star. But the man who returned home from Iraq was not the same person his family remembered.
“That is where our lives changed,” Jolynn said. “I was familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder and combat trauma. You can’t be part of the military and not at least hear of it. Experiencing it was a whole different ball game.”
December 18, 2019 by Divya Kumar, Tampa Bay Times
TAMPA — Ronald Waltens hadn’t expected to hear he’d have to spend 27 months in prison.
When he got the news, his spirits sank. He’d been charged with a felony of grand theft, but thought he’d probably get a year in the county jail.
He remained sullen as he was transported back to the Hillsborough County jail, where he was supposed to be the speaker that evening at the Veterans Resurgence Program graduation ceremony.
But when he walked back into the room, he felt better.
“I walk in the room, and I see my troopies there, my men, and it’s like, ‘Be grateful,’ you know,” he said. “My girl was there, too.”
Waltens, 54, was part of the first graduating class of the new program formed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and designed to reduce recidivism within the veteran population.
Waltens enlisted in the Army in 1987. He spent four years on active duty, went into the Reserves and was an artillery observer in Operation Just Cause, the U.S. mission to remove Manuel Noriega as the leader of Panama.
Shortly after being released from the Army, he said, he began using drugs. His brushes with the law began in 1991 — first misdemeanors, then felonies. Click the 'red-bar' below for full story......
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released in January an updated Department of Defense (DOD) list of locations outside of Vietnam where tactical herbicides were used, tested or stored by the United States military.
“This update was necessary to improve accuracy and communication of information,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA depends on DOD to provide information regarding in-service environmental exposure for disability claims based on exposure to herbicides outside of Vietnam."
DOD conducted a thorough review of research, reports and government publications in response to a November 2018 Government Accountability Office report.
“DOD will continue to be responsive to the needs of our interagency partners in all matters related to taking care of both current and former service members,” said Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. “The updated list includes Agents Orange, Pink, Green, Purple, Blue and White and other chemicals and will be updated as verifiable information becomes available.”
Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during service may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including an Agent Orange Registry health exam, health care and disability compensation for diseases associated with exposure. Their dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits.
November 25, 2019 By Dorothy Mills-Gregg, Military.com
For veterans who think they were exposed to toxic substances during their service, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a mobile application that will help them answer questions about what this potential exposure means for their long-term health.
Originally designed for VA providers, Exposure Ed now lets anyone view a list of service-related exposures -- broken down by type, conflict and date or location of service. It also has a map veterans can use to find the closest VA facilities and exposure-related programs.
For example, veterans thinking they came into contact with the Vietnam-era herbicide Agent Orange can use the "Exposures" button on the home page for immediate access to a list of illnesses related to exposure. Or, veterans can input in the time and location they served to view everything they might have been exposed to.
The last option sorts exposure risks by conflict, ranging from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn.
November 7, 2019 by Patricia Time, Military.com
Veterans with iPhones can now view their Department of Veterans Affairs medical records through their phone’s Health app.
VA and Apple began rolling out the capability during the summer but issued formal announcements this week, just ahead of Veterans Day.
“We have delivered veterans an innovative new way to easily and securely access their health information,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said Nov. 6 in a release. “Veterans deserve access to their health data at any time and in one place, and with health records on the Health app, VA has pushed the veterans experience forward.”
Veterans will see an aggregated view of their VA health care information such as lab results, medical history, procedures and medications.
Information from private medical providers also is available if that provider participates in the Apple Health program. More than 400 companies are on board, including Johns Hopkins, University of California San Diego, Quest Diagnostics and Allscripts.
November 8, 2019 by Gina Harkins, Military.com
A retired Army officer in the Senate introduced a bill this week that would protect a policy allowing family members of service members and veterans to remain in the U.S. temporarily without threat of deportation.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, wants to safeguard these family members with the Military Family Parole in Place Act. The program allows some parents, children and spouses of active-duty troops, reservists and veterans to temporarily remain in the U.S., but Trump administration officials are considering scaling it back.
The program gives troops' and veterans' family members who came to the U.S. illegally the chance to adjust their immigration status without leaving the country. Officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began reviewing the program this summer, when some family members began hearing the program was being terminated.
Duckworth called the possibility of ending the deportation protections "cruel and inhumane."
Food is more than just fuel for our bodies; it can also be fuel for the soul.
Growing it can do a lot of good too. That’s what Fields 4 Valor is all about.
The group's founder, Peter Scott, left the Army after 12 years as a counterintelligence agent. As he searched for what he wanted to do next, he struggled to find his purpose.
“I had some issues with the things I’d done and seen. I really needed to feel as if I was bringing something good and positive into the world,” he told WUSA9, Washington, D.C.’s CBS affiliate.
What he found was a mission to grow food for veterans like himself and their families. He founded Fields 4 Valor, a sustainable farm that uses community-supported agriculture techniques, in 2016.
“I had a strong desire to be able to actually make something,” Scott told Military.com. “I didn’t grow up on a farm or gardening, I kind of came to it as an interest after service and taking a deep dive into food. I found that I really enjoyed it and found it over all a very peaceful activity that was good for my mind and soul. And I could also share it with others.”
It came about after Scott gave a box of home-grown vegetables to chaplain services, asking if they would be able to give them to someone who needed it. He realized that he loved being able to help others through fresh food, planting the seed for the idea that grew into Farms 4 Valor.
Leonardo Di Caprio Plays a WWII Vet Struggling With PTSD in 'Shutter Island'. 14 Feb 2020Military.com | By James Barber
Director Martin Scorsese ended the last decade with "The Irishman," a movie about a World War II veteran whose PTSD inspires the bad choices that dominate his life. And he began it with "Shutter Island," another movie about a WWII veteran whose life is turned inside out by post-traumatic stress.
"Shutter Island" has just been reissued in a new 4K UHD steelbook package.
2/14/20 - By Shoshana Dubnow, ABC News. Former Senior Airman Kelly Earehart used to joke with his friends about what they were being exposed to while deployed in Uzbekistan.
"Watch out for that puddle -- it could be chemical weapons," he remembers saying.
The reality now is less light-hearted.
"Two of my good friends are dead," he told ABC News. "And I believe it has something to do with K2."
Kim Brooks, of Norwood, Massachusetts, had a similar suspicion following the death of her husband, former Lt. Col. Timothy Brooks, who also served at Karshi-Khanabad, commonly referred to as K2. Because of its convenient location a few hundred miles from al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in northern Afghanistan, the U.S. leased the former Soviet base from the Uzbek government following the 9/11 attacks.
Brooks had no answers to her questions until December 2019 when a McClatchy investigation revealed the Department of Defense was aware of harmful exposure at K2 but still kept troops there.A report from November 2001 by the Army Public Health Center found areas of the base "contaminated with asbestos and low-level radioactive depleted uranium," both caused by the destruction of Soviet missiles.
After the McClatchy investigation came out, Brooks discovered a Facebook group for K2 veterans and family members.
Last week,Lt. Col. Brooks Wife flew to Washington and met up with two other K2 veterans from the group to advocate for the government to acknowledge the health risks troops were exposed to on base. The group is also demanding the Department of Veterans Affairs provide medical care for all K2 veterans experiencing an array of health problems and financial benefits to families who have lost a K2 veteran in the years since.During an event at the National Press Club on Feb. 5, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie was questioned about the issue. He said the VA is "working with the DOD to get to the bottom of it," encouraging K2 veterans to come forward in the meantime.
"The message I have for all veterans who have been exposed to something at K2 is come see us," he said. "File the claims. Come speak to us."
In a statement to ABC News, a DOD spokesperson reiterated their partnership with the VA, saying there is a group that "meets monthly to coordinate interagency efforts related to various environmental exposures. "I feel betrayed on behalf of my husband," Brooks said. "He is duty, honor, country all the way. Tim took an oath to protect our country and our Constitution. He would be horrified to know that our government literally left our troops there."
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) begins deciding Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 claims, Jan. 1, 2020, extending the presumption of herbicide exposure that include toxins such as Agent Orange, to Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Prior to the measure, only Vietnam War Veterans who served on the ground in Vietnam or within Vietnam’s inland waterways were eligible to receive disability compensation and other benefits based on a presumption of herbicide exposure.
Qualifying recipients, in addition to affected Veterans still living, are certain survivors of deceased BWN and Korean DMZ Veterans.
Survivors can file claims for benefits based on the Veteran’s service if the Veteran died from at least one of the 14 presumptive conditions associated with Agent Orange. The law also provides benefits for children born with spina bifida if their parent is or was a Veteran with certain verified service in Thailand during a specific period.
The Congressional Veterans Caucus provides an in-depth look at every member of Congress who has served in the military. These men and women are key influencers when it comes to legislation that impacts service members, their families, DoD civilians and defense companies. Navigate the Congressional Veterans Caucus to learn more about these leaders, and highlight veteran politicians by state, political party, war era and more.
We thank all the Supporters, Businesses and Friends for giving their time and resources in helping and caring for our Veterans, Military and First Responders and their Families.
We really appreciate your interest too, in 'Who we are and What we do'. If you have any questions or suggestions or would like to 'volunteer' or 'donate', well please contact us with an email, a phone call, or just drop on into the office.
You are always welcome to come and join us Monday thru Friday from 9am to 4pm. We are a "No Dues' nonprofit organization with the coffee pot always on and lots of conversation always available. Bring your questions regarding any veteran services you are concerned about, and we will do our best to steer you in the right direction.
Our phone is 541-889-1978, and we are located in Ontario, Oregon at 180 W. Idaho Ave.
A LOCAL VETERAN/MILITARY MUSEUM HONORING OUR REGIONAL 'HEROE'S', THEIR STORIES AND THEIR FAMILIES.
Just 'click-on' the "Find out More" red bar below, to see a photo gallery of some of the Military memorabilia and artifacts that we have collected and that have been 'donated' by the many area Families that have a Military History.
CONVIENLENTLY LOCATED IN THE FRONT BUILDING AT OUR MAIN OFFICES
180 W. IDAHO AVE, ONTARIO, OR 97914
CALL 541-889-1978 FOR HOURS AND SPECIAL SHOWINGS - M/F 10am to 4pm
********BECAUSE OF A RECENT SNOW STORM EARLY DECEMBER, THE ROOF OF OUR MUSEUM HAS BEEN DAMAGED AND WE HAVE HAD TO CLOSE THE MUSEUM TO CLEAN-UP & REPAIR THE ROOF******** SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE, WE WILL POST A NOTICE WHEN WE WILL BE ABLE TO RE-OPEN************
Re-dedicated this last June 2019, to the memory and Honor of one of our local Heroes. The Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida extend to you an open invitation to visit the Museum and Library and learn more about Sgt. Brennen and all of our local and regional Heroes who have served our great Country, and the many who did "GIVE ALL".
You may arrange special viewing appointments by calling our offices at 541-889-1978, Monday thru Friday from 9am to 4pm.
October 11, 2019, By Mathew Cox, Military.com
The graphic novel on former Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta tells the story of the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, according to the release.
Then Spec. Giunta, of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, was on patrol in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan in October 2007 when his platoon was ambushed by Taliban fighters.
"Braving rocket-propelled grenades and intense smalls arms fire, Giunta advanced on the enemy, prevented the capture of a fellow paratrooper and turned the tide of the battle," the release states.
In July 2017, Giunta presented his Medal of Honor to his fellow paratroopers of the 173rd AirborneWE AT THE VETERAN ADVOCATES OF ORE-IDA, DEDICATED EARLIER THIS YEAR OUR 'MILITARY/VETERAN MUSEUM' TO THE MEMORY OF SGT. JOSHUA C. BRENNAN, ONE OF THE WOUNDED COMRADES THAT SPEC. SAL GIUNTA PULLED FROM THE TALIBAN FIGHTERS. SGT. BRENNAN LATER DIED OF HIS WOUNDS. SGT. BRENNAN WAS A LOCAL RESIDENT AND A GRADUATE OF OUR ONTARIO, OREGON HIGH SCHOOL.
"We are excited to share these stories with readers," Joseph Craig, director of AUSA's Book Program, said in the release. "It has been personally rewarding to learn more about these remarkable soldiers, and we have been fortunate to work with such a talented creative team to bring this history to life."
Every Day, not just Memorial Day, we should be thankful for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who gave their lives, that we as a Nation may continue to live with the Freedoms and Values that make this Country so Great!
Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida Doing The Right Things for The Right Reasons - Supporting Military Members- Veterans- and Their Families
We support 'Our Mission' through Donations and an All Volunteer Staff. Pictured here to the right is a young High School Senior whose Senior Project was to raise money for our Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida programs, which he did by completing an engine swap in a Ford Taurus and thus raised $2,666.75. He is pictured with our Chairman and a few of our Veteran Volunteers.
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will fund our mission.
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180 W. Idaho Ave Ontario, OR 97914, US
10:00 am – 03:00 pm