Simple Kindness: Easy Ways to Repay Our Veterans for Their Service (July 31, 2019)

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(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Guest post by Kelli Brewer, DeployCare.org

Simple Kindness: Easy Ways to Repay Our Veterans for Their Service 

It can be very difficult for the average American, especially those with no military experience, to appreciate the mental, physical, and financial impact that years of military service can have. The situation comes into focus when you consider that there are more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 800,000 in the country’s reserve forces.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, family problems, and lack of employment opportunities can place a huge obstacle in the way of returning service members who just want things to return to normal. Unfortunately, it’s often not that easy, especially for those who return with debilitating injuries. If you’re looking for a way to help out, here are a few ideas.

Say ‘Thank You’

The Vietnam War experience taught Americans that returning service members can be seriously affected by the nature of their return. If it’s critical or indifferent, veterans may feel unsupported and unappreciated. And while today’s military personnel typically don’t face the kind of harsh criticism that confronted Vietnam-era servicemen and servicewomen, they can still be powerfully impacted by a lack of support and understanding. If you want to help a veteran, acknowledge their service by shaking their hand or offering a sincere “Thank you.”

The Health Care They Need

Veterans, particularly seniors, need to understand how their health insurance works. For those enrolled in Medicare Part A or B, there are several out-of-pocket costs, and to complicate matters further, plans often change from year to year. Fortunately, you can enroll in a Medigap plan, which may provide more of the benefits you need. For example, Plan F covers the deductible that comes with Medicare Part B, though certain changes to this particular benefit will go into effect beginning in 2020. Knowing your coverage and understanding how Medicare functions is essential for getting the most out of your coverage.

Help Veterans Reintegrate Socially

A soldier who returns home without a job or without access to social services may feel lost and alone. Consider organizing an event for returning service members, perhaps schedule an evening at the movies, an informal dinner setting, or get together every week at a nearby coffee shop. Make it a venue where everyone can talk about their experiences, hopes, and frustrations.

If you have a relationship with a veteran, offer to help out in specific ways. For example, if your friend has trouble scheduling a medical or therapy appointment, reach out by offering to babysit or offer to give them a ride if they lack transportation. There are many ways to volunteer, just by making efforts of simple goodwill.

Finding Work

Veterans often find that the skills they learned in the military don’t translate well into steady employment once they’re discharged. That can be especially true of veterans who lack a degree or some form of higher education. If you’re a business owner or have access to human resources personnel at work, why not put in a good word for a veteran who’s having trouble latching on somewhere? Your company will earn tax credits for hiring veterans. Sometimes, a foot in the door is all a veteran needs to impress a prospective employer.

Be a Willing Listener

You don’t have to be close friends with a service member who just needs a sympathetic ear. Give a veteran an opportunity to share their experiences. You really don’t need to say much, just be present in the moment and listen without judging or criticizing. It’s a simple but important gesture because many have no one to talk to, no outlet for their frustrations and anxieties.

Simple gestures are sometimes the best way to help veterans, service members, and their families. Be willing to provide the kind of support and assistance you’d offer to anyone. It’ll make you feel great and it’s a great way to thank our military heroes for their service. 

Forbidden, Dying for Love Premiered ‘Love is War’ on Investigation Discovery: Marine Archie O’Neil Jr. Shoots Mistress at Camp Pendleton After Fight (July 27, 2019)

ID Go: A decorated marine faces war at home when he falls for a married woman. Suspicion and jealousy plague their affair as they battle to keep their secret from their spouses but with the stakes so high it’s a truth they’ll stop at nothing to hide. -Love is War, Forbidden: Dying for Love (S4,E8)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Love is War | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (S4,E8)
Love is War | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (website)
Love is War | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Military Spouse Kimberly O’Neal Found Murdered at Camp Pendleton Park; Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Archie O’Neil Jr. Sentenced to Life, No Parole (February 29, 2004)
Forbidden, Dying for Love: Six Active-Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Ark-La-Tex: Barksdale Air Force Base Commander Addresses Homicides of Five Airmen or Spouses in Less Than a Year (July 17, 2019)

USAF Seal

“The commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base issued a statement Wednesday afternoon expressing deep concern for the safety of the military members and their families assigned to BAFB in light of the recent murders of five Barksdale Airmen and/or their spouses. ‘I’ve been stationed at eight installations in my 25-year Air Force career and I have never experienced as many murders involving Airmen and their families,’ said Air Force Col. Michael A. Miller.” Read more from Ark-La-Tex here.

  • TSgt Joshua Kidd, U.S. Air Force: died September 25, 2018, murdered outside home, DNA links two teens to murder, Jareona Crosby and Alonzo Wilson charged with second degree murder, awaiting trial
  • TSgt Kelly Jose, U.S. Air Force Reserve and spouse Heather Jose: died November 8, 2018, murdered after giving a guy they met at the shopping mall a ride, found slain in a burned out car, Dewayne Willie Watkins, 34, was indicted in connection with the robbery, kidnapping, and murder, charged with two counts of second degree murder, state seeking the death penalty
  • Antonio Williams (spouse of civil servant Airman Ivy Shelby-Williams): died June 22, 2019, gunned down while delivering mail to Michael Gentry at his home in Shreveport’s South Highlands neighborhood, Michael Gentry, 32, arrested after the shooting & charged with second-degree murder
  • TSgt Perry Bailey, U.S. Air Force: died June 30, 2019, murdered in Shreveport residence, the female homeowner said her former boyfriend, Brandan Brown, broke into the residence through the master bedroom window and shot her current boyfriend Perry Bailey, Brown died by suicide

Related Links:
Barksdale Commander Expresses Concern About Recent Airmen Deaths
BAFB commander addresses homicides of five airmen or spouses in less than a year

James Fields Jr. Sentenced to Life in Prison Plus 419 Years & $480,000 in Fines for the Charlottesville, Virginia Car Attack Resulting in the Death of Heather Heyer (July 15, 2019)

James Fields Jr., 20, from Ohio, was charged with second-degree murder after killing Heather Heyer, 32, and critically injuring several others when he drove his vehicle into a crowd of protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. The protestors that he harmed were counter protesting a “white nationalist” protest. According to police records, Fields was previously accused of beating his mother and threatening her with a knife. James Fields Jr. served in the active duty Army for about four months from August to December 2015. He was discharged after failing out of basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia. Fields was denied bail. On June 28, 2019, a federal judge sentenced James Fields Jr. to life in prison for 29 hate crimes. On July 15, 2019, Fields Jr. was sentenced to life in prison plus 419 years and $480,000 in fines by the State of Virginia for the Charlottesville car attack.

In the News:

James Alex Fields Jr. is behind bars after he allegedly plowed his car into a crowd of people protesting against a white nationalist rally in Virginia. -ABC News (August 13, 2017)

James Fields, the white nationalist who killed Heather Heyer by ramming his car into a crowd of protesters at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia has been sentenced to life in prison. -NowThis News (June 28, 2019)

An avowed white supremacist who plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a young woman, apologized to his victims Friday before being sentenced to life in prison on hate crime charges. -Bloomberg TicToc (June 28, 2019)

The man who deliberately drove through a crowd of people in Charlottesville, Virginia, has received another life sentence. Dozens were wounded and one person was killed. -CBS News (July 15, 2019)

Related Links:
James Alex Fields, Jr. : 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Who Is James Alex Fields Jr: 7 Facts to Know About Man Charged in Charlottesville Car Killing
What We Know About James Alex Fields, the Driver Charged in the Charlottesville Attack
James Alex Fields Jr: Full Story & Must-See Details Of Racist Charlottesville Murderer
Who is James Alex Fields Jr., arrested for deadly car attack at white nationalists rally?
Rally murder suspect is an Army dropout ‘infatuated with Nazis’
Teacher: Charlottesville car crash suspect discussed radical views
Teacher says suspected Charlottesville driver James Alex Fields Jr. showed extremist ideologies in high school
Alleged driver of car that plowed into Charlottesville crowd was a Nazi sympathizer, former teacher says
James Alex Fields Jr.: Charlottesville suspect was in the Army, spokesperson says
Charlottesville Driver Who Rammed Crowd Washed Out of Army
What We Know About James Alex Fields, Driver Charged in Charlottesville Killing
Charlottesville Murder Suspect James Alex Fields May Be A Veteran, But He Was Never A Soldier
Army: Charlottesville Driver Kicked Out Of Active Duty After Failing Basic Training
James Fields flunked out of basic Army training, denied bail in Charlottesville case
Charlottesville Suspect James Alex Fields Jr. Denied Bond at First Court Appearance
Mom previously accused Virginia driver of beating her; Bail denied
Man charged in Charlottesville attack failed training at Fort Benning
James A. Fields Jr., avowed neo-Nazi in Charlottesville car attack, sentenced to life in prison
Charlottesville White Nationalist James Fields Gets Life in Prison; Prosecutors, FBI React | NowThis
Mother of Heather Heyer Speaks Out After Charlottesville White Supremacist Sentenced to Life
Man gets life plus 419 years in Charlottesville attack
White supremacist James Fields sentenced to life for Virginia car attack
Neo-Nazi James Fields Gets 2nd Life Sentence For Charlottesville Attack
Man Who Killed Heather Heyer at Charlottesville Sentenced to Life In Prison, Plus 419 Years
Man gets life plus 419 years in deadly Charlottesville car attack
Avowed neo-Nazi James Fields sentenced to life in prison for Charlottesville hate crimes
Charlottesville car rammer James Alex Fields gets life plus 419 years for state charges
White-Nationalist Charlottesville Killer Given Extra Life Sentence Plus 419 Years in Prison
Neo-Nazi who drove car into Charlottesville crowd given second life sentence
James Fields Jr. Sentenced to Second Life Term in Charlottesville Rally Car Attack
White supremacist James Fields Jr. handed second life sentence for 2017 Charlottesville murder
James Fields Jr. Drove Into a Group of Protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia Killing Heather Heyer and Injuring Several Others; Sentenced to Life in Prison (August 12, 2017)

Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

Brian Lewis MJIA.jpg

You can listen to U.S. Navy veteran Brian Lewis’ March 13, 2013 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel here.

“Nearly 30 years ago, when George H. W. Bush was president and Dick Cheney was the secretary of defense, the Pentagon made a promise to our service members. Dozens of Navy and Marine Corps aviation officers had just been investigated for the infamous Tailhook sexual assault scandal, and America’s military leadership affirmed a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual assault within their ranks. The military had a sexual assault problem, and pledged to solve it.

It’s painfully clear that the military has now failed at this mission by almost any metric. For years, survivor after survivor has told us the change in the system we needed to make to end this scourge — the same change that a number of our allies around the world have already made: take the adjudication of these crimes outside of the chain of command and allow trained military prosecutors to prosecute them.” Read more opinion at Military Times here.

“The Military Justice Improvement Act would take the prosecution of sexual assault and other serious crimes, such as murder, out of the chain of command. It would keep those crimes in the military justice system, but put the decision to prosecute them into the hands of actual military prosecutors who are trained to deal with complex legal issues.” –Senator Kirsten Gillbrand (Military Times, July 1, 2019)

Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System  -Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)

Related Links:
Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act @SenGillibrand
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 [Full Text]
Comprehensive Resource Center for the Military Justice Improvement Act
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Udall, Heinrich Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act To Address Crisis Of Military Sexual Assault
Leahy Joins Gillibrand And Others To Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Hirono Wants To Change How The Military Prosecutes Sexual Assault
Senator Martha McSally’s Responsibility to Survivors of Military Sexual Assault
McSally defends keeping military commanders involved in sexual assault cases
Gillibrand: “Status Quo” Not Working With Military Sexual Assaults
Veterans for Peace: Sexual Assault on Military Members Press Conference, Seattle, Washington (August 11, 2006)
Jamie Leigh Jones Testified at the House Judiciary Committee Halliburton/KBR Iraq Rape Case Hearing (December 19, 2007)
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
Former Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) Introduced the Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Sexual Misconduct Allegations at Lackland AFB | C-SPAN (January 23, 2013)
Panetta Is Lifting Ban On Women In Combat Roles (NPR, January 23, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 1 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 2 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System [Full Video] | Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)
Gillibrand Builds Bipartisan Support for Change of Military Justice Code (May 16, 2013)
S. 967: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 – U.S. Senate Voting Record (March 6, 2014)
The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained (June 8, 2016)
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN (March 6, 2019)
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Reintroduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (June 13, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

Scorned, Love Kills: 6 Active Duty Military Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Preview: An Army Major lay lifeless in his bed, shot twice at close range while sleeping next to his wife. Investigators would soon uncover an intricately planned murder plot involving sex parties, adultery and coercion. -Behind the Picket Fence, Scorned: Love Kills (S1, E1)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Behind the Picket Fence’ on Investigation Discovery: Army Spouse Joan Shannon Finds the Perfect Hitman (January 21, 2012)

The young and wild Monique Wallace is married to 40-year-old Paul Berkley, a navy reservist and father of two in suburban North Carolina. But with Paul leaving on a mission overseas, temptation and lust will lead them all down a dark path to murder. -Rules of Engagement, Scorned: Love Kills (S2, E7)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Rules of Engagement’ on Investigation Discovery: Navy Reservist Paul Berkley Murdered While Home on Leave (March 9, 2013)

Fred and Jennifer have a picture perfect marriage. But when Fred meets Danielle, a young doctor in the Navy, Jennifer fights to keep Fred for herself. The love triangle explodes, leaving police struggling to understand a grisly crime scene. -Naval Affairs, Scorned: Love Kills (S3, E1)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Naval Affairs’ on Investigation Discovery: Jealous Wife Kills Fred Trayers After Learning About Affair (January 4, 2014)

Sexy psychologist and doting Air Force wife Michelle begins a swinging affair with Army Sgt. Diamond while her husband, Captain Marty Theer, is away. But all’s fair in love and war, and Marty’s return will remind them that love is a battlefield. -Sergeant Swinger, Scorned: Love Kills (S4, E1)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Sergeant Swinger’ on ID: Air Force Captain’s Murder Reveals Wife’s Evil Intent, Adultery & Greed (October 4, 2014)

American soldier Megan Touma has left her husband for her lover Edgar. Turns out Edgar has a spouse of his own. When Megan gets pregnant Edgar must make a decision between two women. Someone will be left brokenhearted and someone will be left dead. -Love is a Battlefield, Scorned: Love Kills (S5, E2)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Love is a Battlefield’ on ID: Married Army Soldier Edgar Patino Murders Girlfriend & Unborn Child (March 14, 2015)

Preview: While Kathy Lipscomb spends late nights at the hospital with the handsome Dr. Pearle, her husband’s career in the Air Force is taking off, but so is his relationship with a hot young officer. When the affairs are exposed the consequences are fatal. -Sex, Secrets & Sergeants, Scorned: Love Kills (S5, E5)

Scorned, Love Kills Premiered ‘Sex, Secrets & Sergeants’ on Investigation Discovery: Kathy Lipscomb Found Dead on Side of Texas Highway (April 10, 2015)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
About the Show | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery
Sex Helps Wife Plan Murder | Scorned – Love Kills (Preview)
Behind the Picket Fence | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S1, E1)
Behind the Picket Fence | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Behind the Picket Fence | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Rules of Engagement | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S2,E7)
Rules of Engagement | Scorned: Love Kills |Investigation Discovery  (website)
Rules of Engagement | Scorned: Love Kills |Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Naval Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S3,E1)
Naval Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Naval Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S4,E1)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Love is a Battlefield | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S5,E2)
Love is a Battlefield | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Love is a Battlefield | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Two Couples, Two Dangerous Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills (Preview)
Sex, Secrets & Sergeants | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S5,E5)
Sex, Secrets & Sergeants | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (website)
Sex, Secrets & Sergeants | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
True Lies | Forensic Files [Full Episode]

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (July 2018)

July 2018

Missing:
‘I’m alive and I love you’: Parents of missing Navy sailor get a text from his phone two days after he disappeared
Disappeared: Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter, and Sherrill Levitt are ‘The Springfield Three’ who Vanished from Levitt’s Missouri Home on June 7, 1992
Rogest Cain | Unsolved Mysteries
Disappeared: Disabled Army Veteran Joseph Weber IV Missing from San Francisco, California Since November 24, 2014

Cold Cases:
10 Unsolved Military Cases
Cold Case: Army Veteran Kanika Powell Shot Several Times at Doorway of Maryland Home, No Known Suspects At This Time (2008)

Fugitives:
Reward Offered for Armed & Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2017)

Reward Offered:
FBI, Army offering $20K for info in murder of soldier’s wife on Georgia base

Petitions:
Petition for (400) Amerasians Still Left Behind in Vietnam

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