November 11, will be upon us soon and people who don’t normally give it much thought will take this day to remember our Veterans who served our country. There have been so many that were killed in action or wounded in action during the conflicts that we experienced. Some of the official statistics are as follows:
|Conflict||Killed in Action||Wounded in Action|
CAUTION: Video below may be disturbing to some viewers
The number of men in women that make up these numbers is disturbing to say the least but what is even more upsetting is how we’re treating the veterans when they come home.
The average infantrymen in Vietnam participated in some of the most intense conditions with about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. During the Vietnam War our veterans experienced terror and bloody battles that only those who’ve been there can understand the emotions of the carnage.
Then another was of a different kind – The Vietnam veteran came back to the U.S.A. And home — Only to be denigrated both verbally and physically by the civilian population. For the returning veterans this was worse than the war, it was psychological torture. Over 9,000 US Vietnam Vet suicides have been tabulated during the first five years after the war.
Myth: A disproportionate number of blacks were killed in Vietnam.
86% of the men killed in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, and 1.2% were other races. [CACF & McCaffrey]
Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better. The average age of those killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years. [McCaffrey]
Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam.
The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. [Douglas Pike, Professor, UC Berkley & renowned historian and expert on the Vietnam war]
It’s gratifying to see change from that era to this where the citizens of the United States welcome our Iraq & Afghanistan veteran’s home with gusto. There is an understanding today that no matter what the politicians decided the military is just doing the job as directed by the President of the United States.
This being said, some of our politicians are slow and even reticent to take care of our wounded veterans when they come home. We place our veterans in harm’s way and in the case of a KIA we do a good job with burials. However, in the case of those WIA it seems carrying for the wounded is a bit more expensive. Harry Reid can pass a bill to get Federal funds for his Cowboy Poetry Festival3 in Nevada, but getting appropriations for our wounded does not have the same priority. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a good program but if it achieves so much revenue for Nevada it would seem to me that Nevada need to take on the expense for the festival. Perhaps then we would have more funds to take care of our WIA casualties. If we’re going not going to take care of our veterans then don’t send them off to war, but then that’s just my opinion.
Today Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a big problem. A veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes.1Faced with the stigma of post-traumatic stress disorder, unemployment rates hovering at an average of 9%, and a loss of the military camaraderie, many veterans report feeling purposeless upon returning home. Those who have had traumatic injuries are at even a greater risk when they leave their care units and start their new life at home.
The Veterans Crisis Line, launched in 2007, has fielded more than 400,000 calls and has saved more than 14,000 lives. The problem is that the Veteran Hospitals do not have the resources to handle the PTSD crisis load. Veterans can wait an inordinate amount of time before a counselor is available to schedule an appointment, but of course, the National Crisis Hotline (suicide prevention line) is always available. The veterans call into the VA hospital, and they hear that if they want to talk to someone they should hang up and call the National Crisis Hotline at 800-XXX-XXXX.
Each war seems to have a signature wound because of the way the conflict is being fought. In Afghanistan leg loss and perineum injuries are the signature wounds because roads are not readily available, boots on the ground is pervasive. While a veteran is killed in action (KIA) or wounded in action (WIA) our politicians are looking to cut expenses associated with medical support. The leg and perineum wounds are still taking place today. The improvised explosive device (IED) is typically made up of Ammonium Nitrate, a common chemical available in Afghanistan. This explosive drives the blast up and out and destroys whatever is in the way. In this case it’s the lower body (legs, hips, & hands) that includes the perineum or the groin area.2
While the veteran will get some compensation for the loss of a leg, if they lose part or the entire groin area there is no compensation. Young men lose their manhood at a very young age and the chance to have children. In some cases if they have a loss they can still harvest the man’s sperm. This would require in vitro fertilization for his spouse and again no compensation. The average cost is $12,000 for the procedure and there is a 50% failure rate so additional procedure could be necessary. The VA hospital will not support this procedure for the spouse as it has not been approved by the politicians. The veterans are telling those that are going to Afghanistan to harvest and freeze their sperm just in case, and of course, that’s at the veterans expense.
At least if we go to Nevada we can enjoy the Cowboy Poetry Festival 3 compliments of Harry Reid and our Federal Funds. Oops! It’s not complimentary, there’s an entrance fee.
Thanks to all of you that support our veterans. Let’s all try to force our politicians to do the same with more than just rhetoric. We can do without the pork barrel expenses so we can take care of our wounded.
Make it a great Veteran’s Day!
The Video; Killed Wounded – We Were Soldiers could be disturbing – Not recommended for viewers under the age of 17.
Source: 1 Veterans Administration 2 Walter Reed Hospital 3 Harry Reid C-Span2
Notes: [CACF] (Combat Area Casualty File) – [McCaffrey] Lt. Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff