Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Military Sexual Trauma – The New Face of PTSD (2007):

The Other PTSD – Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military -NBC Nightly News (May 4, 2007)

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Featured ‘The Other PTSD: Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military’ (May 4, 2007)

Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (2007):

The House debates the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, which directs the VA to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans. The bill is named for an Iraq veteran who took his own life, and recognizes the special needs of veterans suffering from PTSD and elderly veterans who are at high risk for depression and experience high rates of suicide. -Rep Leonard Boswell (October 23, 2007)

President George W. Bush Signed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act Into Law (November 5, 2007)

The Number One Problem Combat Vets Will Face is Mental Health (2007):

Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense tells Armen Keteyian that the No. 1 problem facing vets of Afghanistan and Iraq will be mental health. -CBS News (November 13, 2007)

Eye to Eye with Katie Couric on CBS News: Veterans and Suicide (November 13, 2007)

Veterans Who Get Help at VA Are Still at Risk of Suicide (2008):

CBS News first reported on the staggering number of veteran suicides in a report last year. Now, newly-released data shows that vets who get help from the VA are still at risk. -CBS (March 20, 2008)

CBS News: Veteran Suicides An Epidemic (March 20, 2008)

Seven Vets Under VA’s Care Died by Suicide in Washington (2008):

They served their country honorably but after risking their life in combat abroad, coping with coming home was too much. In the last three months seven servicemen being treated by Spokane’s VA Hospital have committed suicide. -4 News Now (April 29, 2008)

Army National Guardsman Spc. Timothy Juneman Died by Suicide; Family Shares Imminent Redeployment to Iraq ‘Major Stressor’ (March 5, 2008)

Senator Patty Murray Alleges VA Cover-up of Veteran Suicide (2008):

Despite recent efforts by the Veterans Administration to prevent veteran suicide, seven have committed suicide in the Inland Northwest in the last four months and US Senator Patty Murray is calling the situation unacceptable. -4 News Now (May 1, 2008)

Senator Patty Murray Calls for Changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Wake of Suicides (May 1, 2008)

“The Betrayal Issues Are Really Deep” (2009):

Katie Couric investigates an alarming trend in the U.S. military, as more and more female soldiers have come forward with tales of sexual abuse at the hands of male soldiers and superior officers. -CBS (March 17, 2009)

Sexual Assault Permeates U.S. Armed Forces (CBS News, March 17, 2009)

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The Army Stands Ready to Investigate Any Reports & Allegations of Sexual Assault Going Back to 2000 or Earlier

Claim: Sexual assault victims punished and lose health care benefits as a result.

HRW claims in their report that many service members lose their military career after being sexually assaulted & they have discharge papers that prevent them from getting health benefits.

DoD rejected the conclusions of the HRW report.

DoD states “they have many victims of sexual assault who receive honorable discharges from the military. There is a policy in place that offers assistance for anyone that reports a sexual assault. It is critical every survivor is treated with sensitivity that they deserve.”

Media states that victim was raped multiple times while serving her country and that they contacted the DoD and Army about her case, a case from 15 years ago.

She states that she was military intelligence, had lots of prescreening prior to enlistment. Promising path, requested by Chain of Command to apply to West Point. After first rape in military, her promising path turned to being retaliated against, and there were two more rapes for reporting the rape. It ended career with an illegal, bogus, discharge. Decade and a half later, still fighting to correct it.

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Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Night of the Machete’ on ID: Veteran Twain Thomas Flipped Out on Loud Neighbors After VA Cut Off Monthly Benefits (June 7, 2016)

ID Go: Two young couples in an Idaho apartment building walk on eggshells around a neighbor who can’t stand the one couple’s music and the other’s dog. Tensions keep rising between all parties until finally hell breaks loose and a violent rampage erupts. -Night of the Machete, Fear Thy Neighbor (S3, E10)

“Thomas Twain, an Idaho man with a machete, kicked down the door of home of Kaila Gearhart and James Cvengros and attempted to attack the couple. Upon hearing the shocking sounds of the door coming off its hinges, Cvengros ran the front room, screamed at Twain to leave, and ultimately shot the intruder.

The Idaho machete attacker survived the gunshot wound, and faces up to 15 years in prison for the home invasion. Idaho prosecutors claimed that Thomas Twain’s years of military service meant that he was a danger to the public.”

Read more here: Idaho Machete Attack: Veteran’s Military Service Used By Prosecutor In Attempt To Garner Longer Prison Term (The Inquisitr)

In the News:

Man with machete breaks into apartment; victims tell all. -KAKE News (January 15, 2015)

February 2014, Twain N Thomas was shot three times after he kicked in a neighbors door and came at the occupants with a machete. -Idaho State Journal (January 16, 2015)

Twain Thomas sentenced. -KIFI Local News 8 (January 16, 2015)

Interview with Bannock County Prosecutor and footage of Thomas being shot after knocking down neighbor’s door. -Idaho State Journal (January 16, 2015)

An attempted murder is caught on camera, along with a confession. CNN’s Brianna Keilar reports on the Idaho machete attack. -CNN (January 28, 2015)

Watch as a man with a machete hacks into a neighbor’s apartment – not realizing he brought a knife to a gun fight! -True Crime Daily (September 26, 2018)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the 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. Download the ID Go app and binge away. 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 $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Machete man smashes door in ‘Shining’ attack
Homeowner shoots machete wielding home invader
Man sentenced for attempted murder
Twain Thomas machete attack: man kicks down apartment door before being shot by homeowner
Dramatic Moment When Machete-Wielding Attacker Breaks Down Door
Man with a machete shot 3 times… and the entire thing was caught on video (VIDEO)
Video shows man use machete to hack through door, get shot by tenant
Terrifying moment machete attack man smashes through door like in horror film before being shot
Machete-wielding man chops through neighbor’s door before being shot: VIDEO
WATCH: Machete-wielding Idaho man tears through neighbor’s door before being shot
Machete-wielding Idaho man chops through apartment door before tenant shoots him to end ‘Shining’-style rampage (VIDEO)
Man Relives Bone-Chilling Moment When a Neighbor Kicked Through His Door and Came at Him With a Machete: ‘It Was Like ‘The Shining”
Machete-Wielding Suspect Shot As He Breaks Through Door In GRAPHIC VIDEO
Terrifying footage shows man kicking down apartment door wielding a MACHETE just moments before he is shot by the homeowner
Pocatello man who was shot while breaking into neighbors’ apartments to threaten them with machete is sentenced
Idaho man sentenced for attempted murder with machete
Man sentenced to 15 years for machete attack
State v. Twain N. Thomas (Idaho Ct. App. 2016)
Idaho Machete Attack: Veteran’s Military Service Used By Prosecutor In Attempt To Garner Longer Prison Term
Fear Thy Neighbor: 23 Veteran Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Video Links:
Man with machete breaks into apartment; victims tell all
Machete wielding intruder shot on camera
Machete-wielding Idaho man breaks through door before tenant shoots him
‘The Shining’-esque machete attack caught on camera
Prosecutor discusses video of intruder shot on camera
Twain Thomas sentenced
He brought a machete to a gun fight
Night of the Machete | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S3, E10)
Night of the Machete | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (website)
Night of the Machete | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)

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Veterans AffairsAdjustment disorder may now net disability pay

The Pentagon has changed its physical disability policy to include chronic adjustment disorder as a condition potentially eligible for disability compensation.

The Defense Department amended DoD Instruction 1332.38 in April to name chronic adjustment disorder as incompatible with military service, but possibly service-related and therefore eligible for disability compensation.

The change is notable because thousands of service members have been discharged for adjustment disorder, which had been previously characterized as a condition present before troops joined the military, and therefore ineligible for compensation or mental health treatment.

A Defense Department spokeswoman said the change was made to bring the policy in line with the Veterans Affairs Department’s schedule of rating of disabilities.

Critics have charged that the military services used the diagnosis of adjustment disorder in lieu of post-traumatic stress disorder to avoid paying benefits to troops who could no longer serve.

Read more: http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20131011/NEWS/310110027/Adjustment-disorder-may-now-net-disability-pay

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Veterans AffairsVeteran says Fort Harrison VA is not qualified; Gatlin: Office near Helena ‘incompetent’

WASHINGTON –  The Veterans Board of Appeals heard oral arguments Wednesday by a disabled vet who charged that the Fort Harrison Veterans Affairs office near Helena is “organizationally incompetent.”

Charles Gatlin, a 38-year-old graduate student at the University of Montana, is a Ranger-certified Army captain retired on a disability. After being awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Gatlin was retired from active duty with a 70 percent disability rating for traumatic brain injury (TBI) suffered in Iraq by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).

But the VA at Fort Harrison ignored three batteries of neuropsychological testing by the Department of Defense and dropped Gatlin’s 70 percent TBI disability to 10 percent and then added another 30 percent for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Read more: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20131017/NEWS01/310170012?odyssey=mod%7Cmostcom&nclick_check=1

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Veterans AffairsVeterans, impatient over shutdown, demand protection for VA benefits

WASHINGTON — Veterans groups, angry that they are being used as political pawns, are lashing out at lawmakers, telling them to find an end to the government shutdown and ensure that veterans benefits and services aren’t disrupted.

Read more: http://www.stripes.com/news/veterans-impatient-over-shutdown-demand-protection-for-va-benefits-1.245115

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Veterans AffairsSex-Assault Victims May Be Eligible for VA Disability Pay

Military personnel who were the victims of sexual assault can seek disability pay for the psychiatric trauma even if they didn’t officially report the incident, a U.S. appeals court ruled today.

Read more: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-09-30/sex-assault-victims-rejected-by-va-for-disability-to-get-review