Ohana of Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

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Ohana of Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

Our young people are going to these countries to fight and die for lies spewed by a government that did the same to Hawaii nei. For the resources of that country - like they compromise and use the resources of our nation.

Location: Waimanalo, Oahu
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Latest Activity: Oct 24, 2009

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What we've learned in our fight against his deployment 3 Replies

Started by Leina'ala 259. Last reply by Iwikuamoʻo Olanāiwi Jul 17, 2008.

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Comment by TK on April 3, 2009 at 4:31pm
Aloha kakou...please check out this article and the stories being told by soldiers themselves. Please pass this on to family and friends that may be considering signing up or have returned home and have health issues.

http://www.alternet .org/story/ 134913/

New Public Database Reveals First-Hand Accounts of How Toxic Burn Pits Are Making U.S. Troops SickBy Nora Eisenberg, AlterNet
Posted on April 3, 2009,
Cancer, pulmonary disease, multiple sclerosis, sleep apnea, heart disease: Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans have suffered all these and more from toxic fumes spewing from burn pits on American bases. The Disabled American Veterans now has information on 182 sick veterans in a database developed by Assistant National Legislative director, Kerry Baker. Forty-eight have developed lymphoma, leukemia or other cancers; and 16 veterans in the database have died. And on March 30th, a group of seven lawmakers asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to attend to these findings as well the findings from an independent scientific consultant, which found a serious danger that veterans may become ill from burn pit fumes.

As early as 2006, the DoD had been informed by Air Force Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight Commander Darrin Curtis that the pit was an acute health hazard. Though the Department of Defense has admitted that samples at the large burn pit at Balad contain Acetaldehyde, Acrolien, Arsenic, Benzene, Carbon Monoxide, Ethylbenzene, Formaldehyde, Hydrogen Cyanide, Hydrogen Fluoride, Phosgene, Sulfur Dioxide, Sulfuric Acid, Toluene, Trichloroethane, Xylene, and other chemicals, to date, it has insisted the pit presents no known dangers. The letter to Gates -- signed by Senators Russ Feingold, D-Wis.; Evan Bayh, D-Ind; and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; and Representatives Tim Bishop, D-N.Y.; Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; John Hall, D-N.Y.; Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y.; and Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H. -- urged vigilance, citing the protracted and painful lessons from Agent Orange.

Rep. Bishop's office has developed a website in which veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan can tell their stories. In just a few days, many stories of negligence and suffering have emerged, adding to a tragic saga.

Dave
Dave was stationed at Balad, less than half a mile downwind from a double burn pit.

"They burned plastic, chemicals, tires, metal and who knows what else in that pit. Two months in everyone was coughing up black stuff. Three months in my black stuff started to include blood. I went to the clinic and the front desk turned me away. They said that I didn't need to see a doctor because it was just the burn pit crud. They said, 'A doctor cannot help you if you are not ill from a disease.' Later in the deployment, the smoke was so bad that we all were puking from it. Found out later that it was probably arsenic in the smoke. An air force memo outlined Dioxin, the chemical that made everyone sick from agent orange, comes from burning the same materials that were in the burn pit. The DoD tries to say that the dioxin was of no threat to human life. … I might not be the smartest guy in the world but dioxin is dioxin and it's harmful to humans no matter what the source. Be it agent orange or standing in the plume of the burn pit … But whatever, I came back home and was still coughing and having breathing problems. The doc gave me Sudafed."

Dave's Physical Training run time went from 10:12 to 13:59 in 6 months. His squad leader told him it was his fault. He should run even more, to run faster.
"So I took his advice … and then boom. Emergency room. Couldn't breathe. Had to be put on a machine … And the salt in the wound: The DoD says that burning tires, plastics, chemicals, medical waste, metal, oil, etc. isn't harmful. Which makes you wonder why it's illegal to burn that stuff back at home. "
Terry
Terry, deployed with the 101st Division, was stationed in Balad.

"Two weeks after arriving in country on my most recent deployment to Balad, I started developing symptoms that were eventually diagnosed as Still's Disease (Adult Onset Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis). The experts say that the disease is triggered by something to which you're exposed."
Terry is an Army Reserve Major and civilian airline pilot, and the illness has put both his military and civilian careers in jeopardy.

Kathy
Kathy was a staff sergeant with the National Guard in Balad.
She became sick while there, and once home was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease -- hearing loss and tinnitus.

"My health began to slowly decline. Widespread muscle aches and pains w/stiffness gradually settled in, as did neuralgia and sleep apnea."
She now sleeps with a breathing machine. Kathy has done extensive research and has found dozens of studies that have linked high concentration of particulate matter to cardiovascular problems, as well as to premature death.

Michael
Michael was stationed in Balad Iraq from Oct 2005 until June 2006.
"During this time I would always complain about the smoke. We were told it was safe. Well I started choking in my sleep waking up not breathing. At the time I was also being treated for PTSD so that's what I was told it was from. I got medavaced from Balad in June. I seen another doctor; he told me that it did not sound like PTSD. I did a sleep study and I found out that I had sleep apnea really bad. since then I have had three surgeries on my face and now I have chronic pain in my face because the first surgery did not go well. I have breathing problems during the day, a problem with the lower part of my lungs so now I'm on inhalers. I never had any of these problems until I got to Balad. It has pretty much ruined my army career. It's time someone is held responsible for negligence to me and my fellow soldiers going through the same thing."

Robert
Robert was deployed to Balad, Iraq from February to June 2006.
"Virtually every night my tent was hazy and full of smoke and at times you could even see bits of ash floating in the air. The smell was so acrid that even holding your head on the sheet/blankets would not help you get that "clean" breathe of fresh air. I never got a good nights sleep there."

Things he saw in the burn pit included 55-gallon drums of unknown fluids, tent parts, cabinets … anything from paper to the kitchen sink. He now has problems doing "normal tasks like moving boxes, putting on my boots, playing with my children … It feels like someone is grabbing me in the center of my chest and squeezing to prevent me getting a good breath … I find myself gasping for air and hyperventilating to catch my breath. For Robert, a 42-year-old father of six, "The most troubling of this isn't my health as it is is the health and welfare of the thousands of other service men and women who have come and gone through Balad. My oldest two children also joined the Air Force … and ironically enough my oldest daughter is heading to Balad this summer on her third deployment to the same base. My son is also heading to Balad this summer on his first deployment. What is in their future … one can only hope …"

Derrol
Derrol was stationed at Bagram, Afghanistan and later Balad, Iraq as an Air Force reservist on active orders for over six years.
From the steady burning pits, he suffered both coughing and diarrhea. "An x-ray for a back problem showed that one half of my right lung was missing … they found 2 large nodules/masses in my lower right lung. A CT scan "showed a total of 7 nodules/masses in my right lung and scarring in my left. A Line of Duty was initiated and pushed through rather quickly to confirm the injury as active duty, deploy related. I contacted the VA and started a claim in November of 2007. I again deployed to Qatar for 4.5 months last summer and the claim was held until I was released from active duty in Sept 2008. It is now March 24, 2009 and I still have not heard from VA as to my medical board rating for compensation and disability. I also have problems with my stomach now and shortness of breath, I am still waiting on VA."
John and Wallace both worked for KBR at Balad. They both now have colon cancer.
***
More first-hand reports from veterans can be found on the online Military Times.

Veterans who are suffering health problems they believe are connected to burn pit fumes should report their condition to Kerry Baker at 202-314-5229, to add to the database.


Nora Eisenberg is the director of the City University of New York's Faculty Fellowship Publication Program. Her short stories, essays and reviews have appeared in such places as the Partisan Review, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, Tikkun, and the Guardian UK. Her third novel, When You Come Home, which explores the 1991 Gulf War and Gulf War illness, was recently published by Curbstone Press.
Comment by Leina'ala 259 on February 11, 2009 at 11:36am
And here - at home - they have dumped their kukae in our ocean. And - why they never said anything? Mis-communication - in other words - they missed communicating it to us. I think they should be made to swim in their shit.
Comment by Maka'u'ole Holokai on January 5, 2009 at 3:45am
The most decorated Military unit in americas history was the 422ND REGIMENTAL COMBAT-TEAM for the US Army. Made up of mostly Japanese-Americans and yes KANAKAS! But my heart goes out to our brahdahs and sistahs out there in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will be by your side soon.
Comment by Keliiaumoana on December 24, 2008 at 2:16pm
I hate seeing Hawaiians join the same military that overthrew our Nation. But the closest thing we have to a Hawaiian Kingdom military would be the Hawaii national guard. I found this quote in this book.

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Comment by Leina'ala 259 on September 7, 2008 at 12:53pm
From Democracy Now:

Army Suicide Rate on Record-Setting Pace

In military news, the Pentagon has admitted the Army suicide rate is on pace to break last year’s all-time record. Ninety-three active-duty soldiers had killed themselves by the end of last month. With nearly four months left this year, the number is well on pace to break last year’s record of 115 soldier suicides. It’s also on pace to surpass the suicide rate for the general population for the first time since the Vietnam War.
Comment by Leina'ala 259 on August 8, 2008 at 3:40pm
Oh - and how about this: They (US) are calling this leak of radiation a "weeping" of it...and on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima...AND THEY WANT JAPAN TO ALLOW ANOTHER SUB INTO THEIR WATERS...that's some balls (a F*$ck you everybody):

From Democracy Now:

US Admits Nuclear Submarine Leak
The US has admitted a nuclear-powered submarine has leaked small amounts of radiation at three Japanese ports, as well as Guam and Pearl Harbor. The leak on the USS Houston was discovered last month after two years. One of the Japanese ports was just thirty miles southwest of Tokyo. The Pentagon says the leak was too small to cause any harm. The disclosure comes amidst controversy over US plans to deploy another nuclear-powered warship in Japan, the USS George Washington. And it comes just as Japan marked the sixty-third anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Japan is the only country to have ever suffered a nuclear attack.
Comment by Leina'ala 259 on August 8, 2008 at 3:35pm
It appears that when someone in the military does something WRONG, they are promoted to a higher rank (with more pay). How is this RIGHT?

From Democracy Now:


Rep. Green Calls on Pentagon to Explain Promotion of Threat-Wielding Recruiter
Here in the United States, a Houston lawmaker is calling on the Pentagon to explain why a military recruiter was given a promotion despite being found to have illegally threatened a teenage boy with jail time if he decided to go to college instead of joining the military. The recruiter, Sgt. Thomas Kelt, was eventually promoted to head a different recruiting station. Democratic Congress member Gene Green sent the letter questioning Kelt’s new job after his Wednesday appearance on Democracy Now! During that broadcast, military recruiting command spokesperson Douglas Smith defended Kelt’s promotion.

Douglas Smith: “All I can tell you is that an administrative action was taken against Sergeant Kelt, and that administration—that administrative action was a negative action. However, the finding was that he had an otherwise stellar career as a soldier and as a recruiter, and he was given additional responsibilities as a recruiting station commander, which he continues to do so today. Just because someone has done something wrong doesn’t mean that they get the death penalty.”

Amy Goodman: “Well, there’s a difference between the death penalty and a promotion. He was actually promoted after this and came to be the commander of another recruiting station.”

Douglas Smith: “Yes.”

Amy Goodman: “What was the negative penalty, if he was promoted?”

Douglas Smith: “I’m not allowed to tell you. I’m sorry. That’s covered under Army regulations and Department of Defense regulations, so I cannot discuss administrative actions taken against a recruiter.”

Green has sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates demanding answers and is calling for a congressional probe.
Comment by Leina'ala 259 on July 29, 2008 at 9:59am
This an article that appeared on the front page of the Honolulu Star Bulletin. I have phone numbers - the only ones I could get from their website: 580/458-2800 or 2801. I am getting this news out to everyone I can think of - I feel we should call and call and call until this young man's condition is evaluated by a non-military M.D. and the results given to his MOTHER. There is cause for worry. The army is notorious for lying to cover up their crimes.

No answers yet for mom
A Guard drill sergeant allegedly hits a Waianae recruit in the head
STORY SUMMARY »
A Fort Sill basic-training drill sergeant in Oklahoma has been suspended from his duties while the Army investigates allegations that he injured a 19-year-old Hawaii Army National Guard soldier by striking him with a bed.

Pvt. Ja Van Yiu Lin last week called his mother Lisa Moniz in Waianae, saying he had trouble hearing out of his left ear and seeing out of his left eye. After several days of failing to get answers on her son's condition from Fort Sill and Hawaii Army National Guard recruiters, Moniz turned to U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Yiu Lin graduated from Waianae High School in May and left for basic and advance artillery training at Fort Sill, about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, on July 10.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FULL STORY »


By Gregg K. Kakesako
gkakesako@starbulletin.com
The Army is investigating a complaint that a drill sergeant in Oklahoma threw a bed at a 19-year-old Hawaii Army National Guard soldier, hitting him in the head and impairing his vision and hearing.
Lisa Moniz told the Star-Bulletin that her son -- Hawaii Army National Guard Pvt. Ja Van Yiu Lin -- was injured July 19 by his drill sergeant.

Yesterday, Moniz said she hasn't heard from him for nearly a week and no one from the Army has given her any details as to the extent of his injuries.

Moniz said her son told her in a phone call July 19 that he was standing at attention when his drill sergeant, who was "yelling at the recruits," picked up a bunk bed and threw it, hitting Yiu Lin in the head.

"My son doesn't remember anything after until he was in the hospital," Moniz said.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, whom Moniz called for help last week, and the Hawaii Army National Guard confirmed that Yiu Lin has returned to his basic-training unit at Fort Sill and that the incident is being investigated.

Jon Long, a Fort Sill spokesman, said yesterday that a report of the incident is being reviewed by the brigade commander.

In an e-mail, Long said that while the investigation is being conducted, the "drill sergeant has been temporarily prohibited from taking part" in training soldiers.

He said Yiu Lin was returned to duty last Tuesday after two follow-up visits to Bleak Troop Medical Clinic "to perform training with the exception of running or marching" for one day. He said Yiu Lin had been treated July 19 and 20 at the emergency room at Reynolds Community Hospital and released.


FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Lisa Moniz yesterday showed a picture of her son, Ja Van Yiu Lin, a 2008 graduate of Waianae High School, who says he was abused during Hawaii Army National Guard basic training at Fort Sill, Okla.


Long did not release any other details.
Yiu Lin graduated from Waianae High School in May and left July 10 for basic and advance artillery training at Fort Sill, located near Lawton about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. He was assigned to Battery B, 1st Battalion, 355th Regiment.

During the July 19 phone call, Moniz said, her son complained that the vision in his left eye was impaired and hearing in his left ear was limited.

"The pain in his head was unbearable, but the doctor told him that his CT scan was normal and to go back to training," Moniz said.

Because Army and Hawaii Army National Guard officials did not notify her about her son's accident, Moniz said she tried unsuccessfully on July 20 to call them. Finally, a Red Cross representative said Army officials at Fort Sill would call her.

Moniz said her son called her again while at the hospital on July 20 using a cell phone belonging to another recruit.

Moniz said her son had to return to the hospital on July 20 because of "intense pain" and bleeding from his nose. This time, he was told that he might have a concussion and was given a painkiller and released.

In that call, Moniz said, her son pleaded for help "because the pain was unbearable." He said he was told by the drill sergeant that he was at fault and then the connection was lost, she said.

On July 21, Moniz said, Sgt. Brooks Akana of the Hawaii Army National Guard told her that "there was an investigation going on and that on completion of the investigation, he would let me know."

On that same day, Moniz said, because she still didn't know the extent of her son's injuries, she also tried to contact him at Fort Sill. "I was assured by a sergeant who said, 'Your son is fine. He's out on duty.'"

Moniz wasn't satisfied with that answer and called Akaka's Honolulu office on July 21 and asked the senator to look into the matter.

Later that day, Yiu Lin called his mother saying he was in sick bay and that he couldn't see out of his left eye, his hearing was muffled in his left ear and there was still intense pain. A Fort Sill spokesman said that from July 21 to 22, Yiu Lin was placed "on quarters (bed rest in his barracks)."

On the afternoon of last Tuesday, Moniz said an Army lieutenant colonel called her from Fort Sill and said, "I assure you ... that your soldier is fine."

Yiu Lin was in the room, Moniz said, and was allowed to talk to her. However, because there were other people in the room, Yiu Lin felt that he couldn't talk, she said.

"OK, just say yes or no," Moniz told her son. "Are you OK?" she asked her son. His reply was no.

"Healthwise, are you feeling better?" His reply again was no.

"Do you want me to continue to ask for help?"

Yiu Lin's response was: "Please, Mom."

At that point, the soldier was told to say his goodbyes.

On Wednesday, Yiu Lin's wife, Angela, was told by Hawaii Army National Guard recruiters that an investigation was under way and that they wanted Moniz to stop calling Fort Sill
Comment by Leina'ala 259 on July 29, 2008 at 9:56am
JUST WHAT I KNEW...BUNCH OF BULLIES:

Army Recruiter Used Scare TacticsCBS News
WASHINGTON (July 28) - From NASCAR to bull riding, Army recruiters are pulling out all the stops and have had remarkable success meeting their quotas despite two wars. But one recruiter was caught in a tape-recorded phone call doing it with threats, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.
As CBS affiliate KHOU in Houston first reported, Irving Gonzalez signed a non-binding contract that left him free to change his mind about joining the Army up to the moment he reported for basic training - which is exactly what he did.
"I'd rather just stay here," he said. "Go to college."
But listen to what his recruiter, Sgt. Glenn Marquette, told him would happen.
"As soon as you get pulled over for a speeding ticket, they're gonna see you're a deserter. They're gonna apprehend you, take you to jail. So guess what, all that lovey-dovey 'I wanna go to college' and all that? Guess what? You just threw it out the window 'cause you just screwed your life," Marquette said on tape."Then guess what, you're AWOL. Absent without leave," Marquette said.
Not only is none of that true, but it also violates regulations that prohibit the threatening of potential recruits.
Seventeen-year- old Eric Martinez says he was told the same thing when he changed his mind.
"You can go to jail, put out a warrant for you and spend your time in jail instead of in the Army," he said they told him.
Marquette has been suspended from recruiting pending an investigation and both young men have been told they are free to get on with their lives. But this is not the first time this particular recruiting station has been caught using unethical tactics.
Three years ago, KHOU overheard Sgt. Thomas Kelt leaving a threatening voice mail for a young man who wanted to cancel an appointment he'd made to meet with him.
It said: "you fail to appear and we'll have a warrant."
Kelt did receive a reprimand, but he has since been promoted and put in charge of another Army recruiting station.
Comment by Leina'ala 259 on July 28, 2008 at 9:13am
22,000 Veterans Called Suicide Hot Line By KATHARINE EUPHRAT, APposted: 8 HOURS 28 MINUTES AGOcomments: 20PrintSharefiled under: Health News, National NewsText SizeAAAWASHINGTON (July 28) -- More than 22,000 veterans have sought help from a special suicide hot line in its first year, and 1,221 suicides have been averted, the government says.
According to a recent RAND Corp. study, roughly one in five soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan displays symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, putting them at a higher risk for suicide. Researchers at Portland State University found that male veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide than men who are not veterans.
This month, a former Army medic, Joseph Dwyer, who was shown in a Military Times photograph running through a battle zone carrying an Iraqi boy, died of an accidental overdose after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder for almost five years.
Janet Kemp, national suicide prevention coordinator for the Veterans Affairs Department, said the hot line is in place to help prevent deaths such as Dwyer's. "We just want them to know there's other options and people do care about them, and we can help them make a difference in their lives," she said in an interview.
The VA teamed up with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to launch the hot line last July after years of criticism that the VA wasn't doing enough to help wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In April, two veterans groups sued the VA, citing long delays for processing applications and other problems in treatment for veterans at risk for suicide. The department has spent $2.9 million on the hot line thus far.
The hot line receives up to 250 calls per day -- double the average number calling when it began. Kemp said callers are divided evenly between veterans from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars. Richard McKeon, public health adviser for SAMHSA, said 10 to 20 of the 1,575 calls received each week have to be rerouted to high-volume backup call centers throughout the country.
The VA estimates that every year 6,500 veterans take their own lives. The mental health director for the VA, Ira Katz, said in an e-mail last December that of the 18 veterans who commit suicide each day, four to five of them are under VA care, and 12,000 veterans under VA care are attempting suicide each year.
This month, the hot line began an advertising campaign in Washington area subway stations and buses featuring the slogan, "It takes the courage and strength of a warrior to ask for help."
The veterans hot line, which is linked to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, received 55,000 callers in its first year, including both veterans and people who are concerned about them, according to figures being released Monday. One-third of the 40 specially trained counselors are veterans themselves.
"We try to get them (callers) to talk about their situation and what they remember and see if they can identify exactly what their issues are. I think there's a comfort in knowing that they can get some help from people who do understand what combat stress is like," Kemp said.
From the call center, counselors instantly can check a veteran's medical records and then connect the caller to local VA suicide prevention coordinators for follow-up, monitoring and care at local VA medical centers. Kemp said that since the hot line started, 106 veterans have been steered to free medical care from the VA.
Kemp said the hot line was put in place specifically for those veterans who don't get enough help until it's too late. "They have indicated to us that they are in extreme danger, either they have guns in their hand or they're standing on a bridge, or they've already swallowed pills," she said. Kemp said 1,221 veterans who were in such situations were rescued during the hot line's first year.
The VA is preparing for the eventual return of a large number of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. This could put added stress on the mental health screening program for returning veterans, which could lead to a rise in undiagnosed mental health issues. The VA recently got enough money to double its suicide prevention staff and is planning to hire 212 more people soon.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day by calling 800-273-TALK (8255); veterans should press "1" after being connected.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.
 

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