Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

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May 11, 2015 at 10:00am

Rally Point 6 joins USO network

Rally Point 6, the Lakewood-based transitional assistance center for veterans, was named one of four partners in the USO Transition 360 Alliance, according to a release today.

The USO program helps military personnel and their families transition back into civilian life.  The other three organizations joining the program are  Stronger Families, Comfort Crew for Military Kids, and Hire Heroes USA. 

"RP/6 will augment the USO by connecting service members and their families with specific resources and organizations within their community to support them on their path forward," according to the release. 

“I’ve been able to witness the impact RP/6 has had on our transitioning military families in the 10th Congressional District. A partnership with the USO comes at just the right time, as more of our service members are transitioning out of military service and can benefit from these highly effective career and benefit resources provided by the dedicated RP/6 team,” said Washington State Congressman Denny Heck, 10thDistrict.

TheUSO picked those partners that could bring leverage to the cause.

“Individually, we could not serve as many troops as well as we can collectively. So the USO has brought these groups together to combine the very best of what each of us has to offer America’s transitioning military families, on a scale that no single organization could achieve alone,” said J.D. Crouch II, CEO and President of the USO.

 Veteran officials agreed.

“The RP/6 and USO partnership is a perfect match," stated WA State Director of Veterans Affairs Alfie Alvarado-Ramos. "The collective might of these two organizations will ensure that service members and their families across the country enjoy what has been a national best practice conceived in WA State."  

For more information about the USO Transition 360 Alliance, please visit www.uso.org, and

RP/6 at   www.rp6.org

Filed under: Veterans,

May 5, 2015 at 5:55am

Q13 salutes Vietnam vets on anniversary

(US Army photo)

The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War comes alive during a weeklong tribute played nightly on Q13 FOX News next week, according to a station release.

“Vietnam Vets came home to a nation that was conflicted by the war. Q13 FOX News will feature five incredible stories over five nights as told by the soldiers themselves. This very intimate dialogue with Joe Galloway focuses on each vet’s courage and commitment to their country,” said Q13 FOX SVP and General Manager Pam Pearson. “We are incredibly honored to have been a part of this project.”

Galloway, a front-line war correspondent for the United Press International and witness to the first major battle in November 1965, was decorated with the Bronze Star with Valor for heroism on the battlefield and his book “We Were Soldiers…and Young” inspired the movie,  “We Were Soldiers” released in 2002.

“These are, for me, the most honorable people I know,” Galloway said in the release. “The most loyal friends that I have in my life I earned on the battlefield. I can’t let their experiences just go, that’s just not in me.”

Narratives in the series include Joe Crecca, who spent over six years in captivity as a P.O.W.  Bruce Crandall, Congressional Medal of Honor and well-known for flying Huey helicopter missions during the battle of la Drang Valley, shares his own reflections on the war.  Other vets featured are Mel Sheldon, Greg Wood, and John King.

Filed under: Veterans,

November 10, 2013 at 8:40am

Words and Photos: Auburn's 48th annual parade honors veterans

American flags fly as soldiers and airmen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord march in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis beamed with pride.

"This is the best thing ever; I wouldn't miss this event for anything," he said as he stood in the middle of Main Street.

"It is an absolute honor for Auburn to host this event, the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi River."

For some in the crowd, the day brought tears.

"I knew these men; they died in Vietnam," Brian Kraft, an Army veteran who served there in 1966-1968, said as he stood in front of the "Traveling Wall," a replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial.

He held a small, white piece of paper in his right hand; on it there were seven or eight names written in pencil. 

Tears spotted the paper.

"It's hard," Kraft concluded, "but I'm glad I came."

>>> Since a C-17 could not do the fly-over to begin the parade, a Vietnam era Huey helicopter did the honor. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> The Auburn Veterans Day Parade and Observance - the largest event of its kind west of the Mississippi - drew a huge crowd and more than 200 different organizations. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Vietnam Veteran Brian Kraft looks on the Traveling Wall for the name of one of the men he served with in Vietnam. Photo Credit: J.M. Simpson

For others, the parade marked a way to honor those who served or are serving.

"This event is a great way to pay tribute to all veterans," Bill Lyons, another Vietnam veteran pointed out. 

"We've asked a lot of all of our veterans, and now is an opportunity to show our appreciation."

>>> World War II Navy veteran Don Hanson walked the parade route, shaking hands with and touching many in crowd. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Vietnam and Army veteran John Morris was one of the many motorcycle riders to join the parade. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Waving flags, shouts of "thank you!" and smart salutes as the American flag passed by characterized the thousands of individuals who lined Main Street.

"I'm just happy to be here and be alive," Don Hanson, a World War II Navy veteran said as he walked the length of the parade route shaking hands with all he came into contact with.

Two Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers saluted him.

"No," he said, "I salute you."

As does America.

See Also

Veterans Day Command Center

>>> Members of the Washington Civil War Association unfurl the colors of the 4th Regiment, U.S. Infantry. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Erena Heino combs her horse, Lucy, in preparation for the Auburn Veterans Day Parade. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Local service members lost in Iraq and Afghanistan were remembered. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

October 28, 2013 at 11:41am

Military receive free tickets to PLU vs. UPS football game Saturday

Are you ready for some football? Photo courtesy of Facebook

As a way of saying thanks for their service, Pacific Lutheran University is inviting the troops - active and retired - to attend PLU's final home game of the season free Saturday, Nov. 2.

It's an early Veteran Day's appreciation moment.

"With our close proximity to JBLM, we wanted to do something to recognize our veterans," said Tyler Scott, PLU's sports information director. "We wanted to do something to recognize our veterans in our last home game of the year."

PLU's last home game of the season will be Saturday against rival University of Puget Sound. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. They anticipate handing out 1,000 tickets.

"Just come to the game and get the tickets," Scott said. "Show your military ID and you get in."

Read more...

October 3, 2013 at 1:51pm

Vote Operation Ward 57 into a new mobility van

Operation Ward 57, which is based primarily in the Tacoma/Seattle area and serves wounded, ill and injured warriors across the country, is one of 250 nationwide finalists in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program. Through the car company's generosity, 100 vehicles will be presented to 100 nonprofit organizations based on votes received from the public.

Voting commenced Oct. 1 and five organizations will be highlighted for voting each day through November on Toyota's Facebook page. Friday, Oct. 4 supporters can vote for Operation Ward 57 at www.facebook.com/toyota; individuals are permitted to vote twice per day, but only once per organization.

If Operation Ward 57 wins, they will be awarded a brand new Toyota Sienna mobility van, which is wheelchair accessible. The vehicle would be used to transport the wounded warriors and their families off of Joint Base Lewis-McChord to morale boosting events, appointments and even assist them in moving into temporary housing.

July 11, 2013 at 10:48am

Today in Did This Really Need To Be Stated?

The Human Rights Campaign - America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality - released a statement coinciding with a press conference today at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., stating American hospitals and clinics are increasingly committed to equality for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients. Their report states 718 healthcare facilities nationwide, including 121 veterans' medical centers, have explicitly pledged themselves to equal treatment for LGBT patients. Here are a few graphs from the report:

The report details the results of the most recent Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The 718 facilities included in the HEI 2013 represent a 153 percent increase in participation over last year's survey. An unprecedented 74 percent of HEI 2013 respondents won recognition as "Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality" after meeting four foundational criteria for equitable LGBT care, a 199 percent increase in facilities achieving this status.

In a major breakthrough, 121 of the nation's 151 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers participated in the HEI 2013, compared to just one VHA participant in the HEI 2012. Nearly 80 percent of the participating VHA facilities were awarded Equality Leader status in the HEI 2013, as they sought to welcome LGBT veterans who have served their country.

"We were pleased to have this opportunity to foster a more inclusive environment for our LGBT Veterans and their families," said Robert L. Jesse, MD, PhD, VHA Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health. "Our participation in the HEI 2013 exemplifies our untiring efforts in the pursuit of health equity for all of our veterans."

You mean you weren't committed to equality before? You didn't give those who served our country proper consideration and care?

Filed under: Veterans, Health,

June 24, 2013 at 1:54pm

VA's "Take the Step" campaign raises PTSD awareness

Follow the Take The Step campaign at facebook.com/VAPTSD.

War is hell. Soldiers in the battle zone see, hear and smell things they can barely discuss with their own squad let alone anyone at home. The stress and anxiety causes some returning warriors to hurt those they love. It creates drug and alcohol dependency. It builds barriers that even 72-year-old veterans still can't hurdle.

During World Wars I and II it was called shell shock. In Korea and Vietnam it was known as battle fatigue. Since then, soldiers and their therapists have called the condition that literally emotionally and physically debilitates a returning warrior Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

In observance of post-traumatic stress disorder awareness month, the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD invites the public to participate in its "Take the Step" campaign.

"Every day of the year, we should focus on assisting those who have served our Nation," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki in a statement.  "In June, during PTSD awareness month, we take special care to help Veterans with PTSD.  VA is a leader in providing state-of-the-art, high-quality mental health care that improves and saves Veterans' lives.  PTSD treatment can help and there is hope for recovery for Veterans who need mental health services."

Below are more details on the "Take the Step" campaign via at VA press release.

Read more...

Filed under: Health, Veterans, PTSD,

June 7, 2013 at 5:13pm

Local veterans invited to St. Andrews golf course

Will the American Lake Veterans Golf Course be ablaze with kilts, bagpipes, dancers and Scottish meat pies tomorrow? Doubtful. Will the golf course host three of the biggest smiles on the planet? Most definitely.

The Northwest Military World headquarter received some late, but wonderful news that three local veterans - Sgt. Steve Reynolds, Sgt. Al Domme and Maj. Tony Wingfield - have been invited to play golf the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland ... for basically free. The Scot responsible for such an awesome honor will greet the three tomorrow afternoon at the local golf course. The details are in the ALVGC release below

Read more...

June 3, 2013 at 2:18pm

VA is improving access for veterans to mental health services

Cheryl Pellerin of the American Forces Press Service has followed Pres. Obama's statements today concerning improving access for veterans to mental health services.

"We're ... doing more to support our troops and our veterans who are suffering from things like traumatic brain injury or PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder," the president told the audience. "Today, we lose 22 veterans a day to suicide - 22. We've got to do a better job ... of preventing these all-too-often silent tragedies. That's why we've poured an enormous amount of resources into high-quality care and better treatment for our troops."

In response to a presidential executive order, VA has hired 1,600 mental health providers and more than 300 peer-to-peer veteran specialists, according to a White House statement.

Read Pellerin's full report here.

Filed under: Veterans, Benefit, Health,

June 3, 2013 at 7:52am

Morning Report: Military ready to trim top brass, Pacific rebalance and more ..

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meets with Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, June 2, 2013. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

AFGHANISTAN: Bomb kills 10 Afghan children, two NATO troops.

SPEAKING OF AFGHANISTAN: There's a pattern to DoD's reports.

HAGEL: U.S. following through on Pacific rebalance.

R.I.P. FRANK LAUTENBERG: The World War II veteran who twice held a senate seat but planned to retire next year, has died.

FINALLY: Army Pfc. Bradley Manning goes on trial today more than three years after he was arrested in Iraq and charged in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history.

DEMPSEY: Military ready to trim top brass, perks

WEEK AHEAD: House panel to mark up Defense authorization bill

TITANIUM TEETH?: Dick Van Dyke says don't do it.

R.I.P.: Edith Bunker

GOOGLE: Wanna know what other people are Googling?

RESTORED FAITH IN HUMANITY OF THE DAY: A kindergartner read 875 books in one school year.

Will you Prancercise today?

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