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Soldiers tell task force of their struggle to find peace after war

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  • Kirt Love
    Dear Readers I have been pretty put off by the media. To the point I don t talk much about them, or to them. So I was surprised to find out that people have
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 3 9:53 AM
      Dear Readers
       
      I have been pretty put off by the media. To the point I don't
      talk much about them, or to them. So I was surprised to find
      out that people have been using my name in articles without
      even talking to me, and I'm not sure what to make of it.
       
      Some of it is borderline, so I wont get into that. I think I know who
      was behind some of it, and one case I challenged for plagiarism
      that has corrected the story.
       
      But, now I find a article from the Killeen Dailey Herald with me in it
      from the Mental Health Task Force meeting in September, and
      they never talked to me during the whole event. The only media
      there that didn't talk to me.
       
      At first I wasn't even going to say anything about my getting more
      than 22 pages of the 193 page transcript, but now I'm being quoted
      without a interview I think I need to explain more of this.
       
      VA personnel at the Temple Teague medical center have told me
      of several cases they had where OIF troops were sent to them for
      medical care who did not have OIF in their DD214's. So this was
      one of many things I brought up to the MHTF that day - as well
      as Pre-Post deployment screenings. In fact, I went into Gulf War
      history and the 15 years of changes.
       
      So I guess this Emily Baker decides to piece meal me from the address
      I did to the panel, and mention only this.
       
      I don't want to be mentioned as only talking about paper work, and
      nothing else. So I'm mentioning the transcript to set the record
      straight that much more was discussed. To a 3 star General on
      the record, to be part of a Congressional review.
       
      This is frustrating to operate like this, but I am trying to follow things
      that have a lag response time of a month or more. None the less
      this is on the record, and far from over.
       
                                                                          Sincerely
                                                                          Kirt P. Love
                                                                          Director, DSBR
       

       
      Mental Health Task Force
      Transcript of AFEB meeting at Fort Hood
       

      Soldiers tell task force of their struggle to find peace after war
      Posted On: Thursday, September 21, 2006

      By Emily Baker
      Killeen Daily Herald


      A 4th Infantry Division soldier who lost part of his brain to an explosion in Iraq has trouble looking his children in the eyes.

      It should have been him, not his driver, who was cut in half by the blast, he said.

      He wanted help with his guilt, but he had to wait weeks to enter a group therapy program. While he waited, he suffered a mental breakdown that required hospitalization.

      Sgt. 1st Class Charles Hunt, with the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, broke into tears several times during his 20-minute address Wednesday to a Defense Department panel studying the effectiveness of mental health services.

      The delay Hunt experienced is common for military personnel and veterans who need mental health services in the United States, the panel was told.

      Ironically, soldiers receive excellent mental health services in Iraq, "better than anything available in the States," said Maj. Roger Duda, the 4th Infantry's psychiatrist. But, they come home to understaffed facilities, long waits for services and documentation problems, the panel was told.

      The town hall meeting was called Wednesday at the Plaza Hotel by the panel, co-chaired by the Army's surgeon general and a director of the Purdue University Military Family Research Institute. They sought input for a report being preparing on the military's mental health services for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

      The panel visited Fort Hood specifically for information about deploying soldiers and troops recently returned from combat, said Shelley M. MacDermid, the Purdue chairwoman.

      The panel had already heard many of the issues raised. Others found themselves thanking those who came forward for their courage.

      A specialist in the 13th Sustainment Command said she and others diagnosed with depression after a deployment to Iraq were denied promotions, refused permission to attend therapy appointments and had their medication flushed down the toilet after being labeled "crazy" by their leaders.

      Pre- and post-deployment mental health screenings are not held in private, and many soldiers who need help go undiagnosed "because you don't want your sergeant in the next line to hear you" talk about problems, the specialist said.

      The mental health stigma is worse for female soldiers, the specialist said. Requests for investigations into the actions of her leaders were "swept under the rug." She guesses that's because her leaders' actions are embarrassing.

      Soldiers are afraid to admit they need help because of these types of reactions, she said, and suggested to the panel that more education be required for leaders.

      For the soldiers who do come forward for help, documentation problems plague their attempts at therapy, said Kirt P. Love, director of the Desert Storm Battle Registry and a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

      Many soldiers or veterans cannot receive services through the Veterans Affairs system until their paperwork reflects they served in Iraq. Changing that paperwork can take months or years, Love said.

      Another documentation problem is a lack of compatible computer systems between the United States and Iraq, said Duda, who returned from a yearlong deployment to Iraq just days ago. Notes for soldiers treated in Iraq often are handwritten because of a shortage of computers and because of system incompatibilities, information can be lost or misplaced that should be transferred to the soldier's medical file at his/her home station.

      Because of the Army's modular design, which creates self-sustaining brigades that do not necessarily deploy with or support the division to which they are assigned, some soldiers are treated by another division's mental health providers. That can create extra problems for getting the notes to the right place, Duda said.

      A lack of providers, both in the military and among civilians who could be credentialed to accept the military's health insurance, creates yet another problem, the panel was told.

      The panel has identified shortages at Fort Hood's Darnall Army Medical Center in mental health services for soldier's family members – the substance abuse program for adolescents, in particular.

      The medical center's commander, Col. Loree Sutton, said the center has been researching this issue and takes it "very seriously."

      "Just like other lines of services, we are continually assessing the situation," said Sutton, who also is a psychiatrist. "We are working with community providers and our Tricare (the military's health insurance) partner" to expand services.
    • vee hamm
      Well Kirt, You did a good job by attending this meeting. My chronic fatique is currently hold me back. to many in the civilian world are not aware of these
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 4 8:41 PM
        Well Kirt,
        You did a good job by attending this meeting.
        My chronic fatique is currently hold me back.
        to many in the civilian world are not aware of these problems.
         
        I continue to plead for support for the (CLOSED) mild brain injured troops
        OIF, OEF and  90 GW, who sympthoms appear like PTSD and
        dont get full neurological tests to demostrate the difference.
        Mental Health taskforce so far has failed to address thiw issue.
        Jagmedic

        Kirt Love <kirt@...> wrote:
        Dear Readers
         
        I have been pretty put off by the media. To the point I don't
        talk much about them, or to them. So I was surprised to find
        out that people have been using my name in articles without
        even talking to me, and I'm not sure what to make of it.
         
        Some of it is borderline, so I wont get into that. I think I know who
        was behind some of it, and one case I challenged for plagiarism
        that has corrected the story.
         
        But, now I find a article from the Killeen Dailey Herald with me in it
        from the Mental Health Task Force meeting in September, and
        they never talked to me during the whole event. The only media
        there that didn't talk to me.
         
        At first I wasn't even going to say anything about my getting more
        than 22 pages of the 193 page transcript, but now I'm being quoted
        without a interview I think I need to explain more of this.
         
        VA personnel at the Temple Teague medical center have told me
        of several cases they had where OIF troops were sent to them for
        medical care who did not have OIF in their DD214's. So this was
        one of many things I brought up to the MHTF that day - as well
        as Pre-Post deployment screenings. In fact, I went into Gulf War
        history and the 15 years of changes.
         
        So I guess this Emily Baker decides to piece meal me from the address
        I did to the panel, and mention only this.
         
        I don't want to be mentioned as only talking about paper work, and
        nothing else. So I'm mentioning the transcript to set the record
        straight that much more was discussed. To a 3 star General on
        the record, to be part of a Congressional review.
         
        This is frustrating to operate like this, but I am trying to follow things
        that have a lag response time of a month or more. None the less
        this is on the record, and far from over.
         
                                                                            Sincerely
                                                                            Kirt P. Love
                                                                            Director, DSBR
         

         
        Mental Health Task Force
        Transcript of AFEB meeting at Fort Hood
         

        Soldiers tell task force of their struggle to find peace after war
        Posted On: Thursday, September 21, 2006

        By Emily Baker
        Killeen Daily Herald


        A 4th Infantry Division soldier who lost part of his brain to an explosion in Iraq has trouble looking his children in the eyes.

        It should have been him, not his driver, who was cut in half by the blast, he said.

        He wanted help with his guilt, but he had to wait weeks to enter a group therapy program. While he waited, he suffered a mental breakdown that required hospitalization.

        Sgt. 1st Class Charles Hunt, with the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, broke into tears several times during his 20-minute address Wednesday to a Defense Department panel studying the effectiveness of mental health services.

        The delay Hunt experienced is common for military personnel and veterans who need mental health services in the United States, the panel was told.

        Ironically, soldiers receive excellent mental health services in Iraq, "better than anything available in the States," said Maj. Roger Duda, the 4th Infantry's psychiatrist. But, they come home to understaffed facilities, long waits for services and documentation problems, the panel was told.

        The town hall meeting was called Wednesday at the Plaza Hotel by the panel, co-chaired by the Army's surgeon general and a director of the Purdue University Military Family Research Institute. They sought input for a report being preparing on the military's mental health services for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

        The panel visited Fort Hood specifically for information about deploying soldiers and troops recently returned from combat, said Shelley M. MacDermid, the Purdue chairwoman.

        The panel had already heard many of the issues raised. Others found themselves thanking those who came forward for their courage.

        A specialist in the 13th Sustainment Command said she and others diagnosed with depression after a deployment to Iraq were denied promotions, refused permission to attend therapy appointments and had their medication flushed down the toilet after being labeled "crazy" by their leaders.

        Pre- and post-deployment mental health screenings are not held in private, and many soldiers who need help go undiagnosed "because you don't want your sergeant in the next line to hear you" talk about problems, the specialist said.

        The mental health stigma is worse for female soldiers, the specialist said. Requests for investigations into the actions of her leaders were "swept under the rug." She guesses that's because her leaders' actions are embarrassing.

        Soldiers are afraid to admit they need help because of these types of reactions, she said, and suggested to the panel that more education be required for leaders.

        For the soldiers who do come forward for help, documentation problems plague their attempts at therapy, said Kirt P. Love, director of the Desert Storm Battle Registry and a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

        Many soldiers or veterans cannot receive services through the Veterans Affairs system until their paperwork reflects they served in Iraq. Changing that paperwork can take months or years, Love said.

        Another documentation problem is a lack of compatible computer systems between the United States and Iraq, said Duda, who returned from a yearlong deployment to Iraq just days ago. Notes for soldiers treated in Iraq often are handwritten because of a shortage of computers and because of system incompatibilities, information can be lost or misplaced that should be transferred to the soldier's medical file at his/her home station.

        Because of the Army's modular design, which creates self-sustaining brigades that do not necessarily deploy with or support the division to which they are assigned, some soldiers are treated by another division's mental health providers. That can create extra problems for getting the notes to the right place, Duda said.

        A lack of providers, both in the military and among civilians who could be credentialed to accept the military's health insurance, creates yet another problem, the panel was told.

        The panel has identified shortages at Fort Hood's Darnall Army Medical Center in mental health services for soldier's family members – the substance abuse program for adolescents, in particular.

        The medical center's commander, Col. Loree Sutton, said the center has been researching this issue and takes it "very seriously."

        "Just like other lines of services, we are continually assessing the situation," said Sutton, who also is a psychiatrist. "We are working with community providers and our Tricare (the military's health insurance) partner" to expand services.


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