By unitedweroll on Oct 31, 2011 | In Military News and Support
Just released burn pits report
A new report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), “Long-Term Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan” was released on October 31. VA currently is assessing the report. The IOM report highlights findings from available evidence about possible health risks of burn pits at Joint Base Balad and other U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Open-air burn pits have operated widely at military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many returning Veterans are concerned about their exposure to smoke from burning trash and human waste.
VA is sponsoring several studies on possible health effects. The most recent Institute of Medicine report on burn pits, “Long-Term Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan”*† was released on October 31. VA currently is assessing the report.
Exposure to Smoke from Burn Pits
Possible Health Effects
Type of Waste Burned
Exposure Assessment for Veterans
Exposure to Smoke from Burn Pits
Smoke produced by the burn may spread a variety of pollutants through the air that blows into working and living areas.
These toxins can include dioxin, particulate matter, hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, hexachlorobenzene, and ash.
The make-up of the smoke depends on what is being burned, which is not consistent from one burn pit to another, or from one time period to another at the same burn pit.
Health effects depend on a number of factors, such as the kind of waste being burned, individual susceptibility, duration of exposure, air flow patterns, and closeness to the pit.
You may be at greater risk if you burned waste at the pit compared to those were only in the vicinity of the smoke.
Possible Health Effects
Exposure to toxins may affect the skin, eyes, respiration, kidneys, liver, nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, peripheral nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract.
At this time, research has not shown long-term adverse health effects from exposure to the burn pits. VA takes this issue seriously and is sponsoring several studies on possible health effects.
Most of the irritation related to solid waste burning exposure is temporary and resolves once the exposure is gone. These include:
Eye irritation and burning
Coughing and throat irritation
Skin itching and rashes
Type of Waste Burned
Waste products in burn pits include, but are not limited to:
Medical and human waste
Munitions and other unexploded ordnance
Petroleum and lubricant products
Plastics and styrofoam
Exposure Assessment for Veterans
You may find out more about your exposure by getting an exposure assessment offered by VA's War Related Illness and Injury Study Centers. The War Related Illness and Injury Study Centers (WRIISCs) provide clinical expertise for Veterans with deployment health concerns or difficult-to-diagnose illnesses. WRIISCs are in three locations: Washington, DC; East Orange, NJ; and Palo Alto, CA. For an appointment at a WRIISC, a VA primary care doctor must make a referral. Learn how to get a referral to a WRIISC.
Veterans who were exposed to toxins released by burn pits during military service may be eligible for:
Health care benefits, including a free Gulf War Registry health exam for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn Veterans
Disability compensation benefits for disabilities that VA determines are associated with exposure to burn pits during military service
Other benefits, including home loans, vocational rehabilitation, and education
More on Burn Pits
Studies on Possible Health Effects
Burning Trash and Human Waste Exposures Fact Sheet – VA War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (208 KB, PDF)
Balad Burn Pit Fact Sheet* - US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (72 KB, PDF)
To learn more about other exposures during military service, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures.
By unitedweroll on Oct 29, 2011 | In Military News and Support
This note came in tonight from Veterans For Change, an organization that reaches out and helps Wounded Warriors each week - usually wounded Vets who are STILL waiting for their claims to be processed so their disability payments will start coming. These are young men and women whose lives have changed more than we can begin to imagine - and so have the lives of their families. Their savings accounts, goals and dreams have been taken away from them. They have to rebuild, not only physically, but everything around them - and they need our help. Just as a toddler needs help to walk, these wounded Heroes need us.
Can you help????? Please.
All Hands on Deck
Updated 10/29/11 @ 7:30 pm PST
Dear VFC Friend:
I want to thank the five people who came forward and made donations to help us meet this weekends need. Through these five terrific people we've received $250.00 so we're a little more than half way there.
We only need for nine more people who would come forward and donate $25.00 each to reach our goal.
A donation to Veterans-For-Change to be used exclusively for military family and Veteran assistance. Veterans-For-Change has helped over 220 Veterans, purchased two wheel chair ramps, repaired a handicapped equipped van for a Veteran, has helped military families visit wounded troops in remote military hospitals, and many more activities to support our troops and their families and Veterans nationwide.
I promise you that your donation will be appreciated not only by Veterans-For-Change but the families and Veterans your donation helps most!
We have scaled back the program beginning this weekend. The demand is getting to be more and more and with troops returning home, over the next year will only get worse from predictions from most organizations nationwide so we will work a bit harder to divert those in need to other organizations.
Please take a look one more time at our Veterans in need below, and consider a small donation to VFC today.
Founder & CEO
The Veterans who need your help this week are:
• Army SPC Andrew Pratt, 30 of Utah served three tours of duty in Afghanistan in service to his country. Andrew was badly injured in Wardak province, Afghanistan, when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.
Andrew has come to VFC asking for assistance with rent and utilities, but we were able to arrange for a local church to help with most of the money needed. He was over a month behind on rent and utilities and the church chipped in and got his one month paid for and all his utilities paid. We are looking to raise $300.00 to bring him current.
• Army SPC Ian Simmons, 25 of Alabama served two tours of duty in Afghanistan in service to his country. Ian was badly injured when enemy forces attacked their unit with a makeshift bomb Paktia province, Afghanistan and ended up losing his leg.
Ian was released from the VA hospital four months ago and has been waiting like everyone for his claims to be approve now going on 21 months. He has exhausted all savings and borrowed as much as he could from friends and has now come to VFC for assistance.
We're looking to help cover the short-call on his rent and the balance on his telephone, we're hoping to raise $175.00.
We have contacted the Veteran Liaisons in their Congressman's offices to help expedite their claims and help pull them out of trouble, and hopefully those problems will be resolved within 3-4 weeks. In addition we've connected both with Social Services to get state financial aid for rent, utilities and food.
We do make every effort possible to connect with local organizations, charities, social service programs and when a claim is stalled for what ever reason we do our best to either provide a better VSO or contact their Senators and Congressmen to put pressure in the right places to expedite claims.
Our goal deadline is Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:00am PST.
Updated: 10/29/11 @ 7:30 pm PST
Donation Goal: $ 475.00
Current Donations Received: $ -250.00
NEW GOAL: $ 225.00
If you're able to make a tax deductible donation of $10, $25, $50, $100 or more, please click on the link below to be taken to PayPal or copy and paste the link below:
Your continued support of Veterans and Active Duty families is critical.
Thank you in advance for your generous support of our Emergency Financial Aid program for Active Duty families and Veterans.
If Veterans don't help Veterans, who will?
Non-Profit Tax ID #27-3820181
CA Incorporation ID #3340400
Special Note: As our special thanks to our donors, for donations received from$10-$40 we'll send you a PDF of fifteen healthy eating recipes, for donations of $45-99 we'll send you a PDF of fifty health eating recipes and for donations of $100 or more we'll send you a small hand painted bird house done by
a local Southern California artist.
By unitedweroll on Oct 28, 2011 | In Military News and Support
If you have ever been fortunate enough to spend some time up close and personal with a dolphin, then you have experienced the very magic that seems to be a part of them. The incredibly smooth feel of their "skin", the way their eyes look right through yours and into your very thoughts, and their expressions that go from peaceful to excited yet always with a sense of wisdom that they seem to carry deep inside.
I have been blessed to interact with dolphins at a local sea park on a few occasions and have been totally awed by how much those visits have impacted me in so many ways, not just for the remainder of the day but for days yet to come. In a similar way, watching the wild dolphins in the Gulf from a boat or jet ski also allows their magical ways to play right into your heart. Whether they are racing alongside you or bobbing up and down in the water so they can look you right in the eye, you realize there is something so very special about these creatures that just being near them is something you will likely never forget. It is not at all hard to imagine that these incredibly sensitive animals, combined with the comfort of the water (a whole other subject), can help humans to heal.
Dolphins - horses - dogs. What amazing relationships these animals hold in store for us as we delve deeper into the world of therapy and companion services with them. This story about the Miami VA using the Island Dolphin Care to help Vets and the very story behind the organization is wonderful!
Dolphins help bring peace to Veterans
Dolphin therapy helps Veterans find peace while transitioning from combat into civilian life.
By Larry Gilstad, Miami VA Healthcare System- http://www.miami.va.gov/MIAMI/features/dolphin.asp
“There’s no magic pill with PTSD.”
But there are dolphins.
“It’s very peaceful when you get in the water. It’s stress-free and it brings out playfulness, happiness,” said Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran William Mulvey.
Mulvey, a 32 year old U.S. Navy Veteran from Homestead, Florida, is receiving care for PTSD and TBI from his combat experiences at the Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center in Miami, Florida.
Two years ago the recreation therapy service at the Miami VA was offered the opportunity for combat Veterans and their families or caregivers to swim with dolphins by Island Dolphin Care, Inc., a not for profit organization in Key Largo, Florida.
“For the past few years we’ve been working with Veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and that’s an honor and a privilege for us,” said Pete Hoagland, IDC Manager and co-founder. “We’ve even seen some vets from the Vietnam conflict and last week we had some vets from Korea and World War II which was just amazing.”
“To put a smile on all those people’s faces and give them an idea that hope lives, that joy is something that you need in your lives is just a wonderful thing,” he added.
Kim Severance oversees the marine science education and Veterans programs. She says the Veterans have provided consistently positive feedback. “The number one response has been ‘I can’t believe how good I’ve felt after… or for two weeks afterwards.”
Some research has been published regarding the effects of swimming with dolphins according to Tabitha Aragon, Recreation Therapist for the Post Deployment Clinic at the Miami VA Healthcare System. Aragon says the basic data they’ve collected so far shows overall improvement in anxiety and depression levels after just the one-day program.
“It’s the excitement and motivation of being in this environment with these incredible animals that is such a powerful tool. We use it to create opportunities for children and young adults with special needs and challenges, disabilities, life-threatening conditions, kids from “Make-A-Wish” and similar organizations, and our Veterans,” Hoagland explained.
“But it’s expensive… just maintenance and electrical bills, water bills, all that stuff… it’s about a million dollar a year budget,” Hoagland said. He added that IDC receives strong local community as well as national philanthropic support but is always in need of additional funding.
Much of that support goes toward paying for individual and group scholarships that allow those who otherwise could not afford the sessions the opportunity to experience the dolphins.
“Island Dolphin Care fund raises and gets grants for the entire (VA) program. No money comes from the Veteran or the VA,” said Aragon.
Island Dolphin Care was created twenty years ago out of a parent’s need to improve her son’s life. Deena and Pete Hoagland’s son Joe was born with a heart defect that required multiple surgeries to correct. After his third open-heart procedure, Joe suffered a stroke that paralyzed his left side.
Deena, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist, thought Joe would respond better to water therapy. She asked Dolphins Plus, one of the oldest commercial ‘swim with dolphin’ programs in the U.S., if she could try with her son. Joe met a 600 lb. Atlantic bottle nose dolphin called Fonzie and the effects were almost immediate. Deena recognized what worked for Joe could help others as well. Gradually Island Dolphin Care evolved into the nationally recognized dolphin therapy program now benefiting Veterans. “We’re all about taking broken lives and helping them move in a positive direction. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to work with these men and women that have given so much for us. I can’t think of a better job than to work here and help make those programs successful,” Hoagland said.
To learn more about the dolphin swim therapy program, call Miami VA Recreation Therapy at (305) 575-3295 or e-mail Richard.Vroman@va.gov.
By unitedweroll on Oct 28, 2011 | In Military News and Support
Face of Defense: Convoys Truck Equipment Out of Iraq
By Army Spc. Anthony T Zane
362nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq, Oct. 28, 2011 – The number of convoys leaving Iraq is growing
each day as Operation New Dawn nears the end of its mission.
October has been a busy month here, said Army Staff Sgt. Erick Torres, convoy commander, 233rd Transportation Company, as many military units on the base are packing up and sending their equipment back home.
“The most challenging part of this job is loading the vehicles,” said Torres, who hails from Phenix City, Ala.
Convoys of vehicles and equipment, he said, are being packed up and shipped out in preparation to exit Iraq.
Flatbed trucks carrying Humvees, tanks and mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles are backed up to a ramp where the vehicles are carefully loaded. Once the cargo is loaded onto the trucks and the paperwork is complete, Torres said, the convoy is assembled at a staging area to await departure.
Meanwhile, tons of equipment needs to be shipped out before the year's end, Torres said, so soldiers and civilian contractors work long hours to ensure all equipment is packed properly and ready for transit.
Part of a convoy commander’s job, Torres said, is identifying vehicles and equipment by serial number and matching them against unit rosters before they are shipped. It makes for long days, but it is a necessary part of the process, he added.
By unitedweroll on Oct 27, 2011 | In Military News and Support
Oct. 27, 2011
RELEASE : 11-365
NASA Seeking Student Experiments For Balloon Flight
WASHINGTON -- NASA is accepting applications from graduate and undergraduate university students to fly experiments to the edge of space on a scientific balloon. This balloon flight competition is a joint project between NASA and the Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE) in Baton Rouge.
NASA is targeting fall 2012 for the next flight opportunity for the LaSPACE maintained High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) facility. HASP is a balloon-borne instrument stack that provides an annual near-space flight opportunity for 12 undergraduate and graduate student-built instruments.
A panel of experts from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va., and LaSPACE will review the applications and select the finalists for the next flight opportunity. Launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility's remote site in Fort Sumner, N.M., flights typically achieve 15 to 20 hours duration at an altitude of approximately 23 miles.
HASP houses and provides power, mechanical support, interfacing and communications for the instruments. It can be used to flight-test compact satellites, prototypes and other small payloads designed and built by students.
HASP can support approximately 200 pounds of payloads and test articles. Since 2006, the HASP program selected more than 50 payloads for flights involving more than 200 students from across the United States.
The deadline for applications for the 2012 flight is Dec. 16. A question-and-answer teleconference for interested parties is scheduled on Nov. 11.
For application materials, teleconference schedule and additional HASP details, visit:
For information about NASA's scientific balloon program, visit:
For information about NASA's education programs, visit:
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By unitedweroll on Oct 25, 2011 | In Military News and Support
Oct 25 Blog Show Schedule and Archive Notices
United We Roll Schedule Change
Due to one of those nasty things called a Migraine, our live United We Roll did not air today (Tuesday 10/25). So, we will broadcast the show live in its regular repeat spot on Wednesday 10/26 at 6:30pm Central. Then the show will repeat again on Tuesday, November 1st 2-4pm Central.
We have three visits w 4 deployed members. Go to stardustradio.com & click Listen Live button. Guests: SPC Kevin & SPC Stephon Smithers / 2-1 AAB - SSG Jonathan Ferandez/376th AEW/TSC - CPT Phillip Denker/HHC, 2-1 AAB. See show info at United We Roll Blog - click blog button on United We Roll page at www.stardustradio.com
United We Roll - Stardust Radio Archive Site Open
HOORAY!!! Our Archive site with MP3 tapes of our United We Roll shows and our fantastic interviews is back up and running! Go to www.stardustradio.info and click on the United We Roll button, then scroll down to the date of the show with the guests that you want to hear or download - downloads are free! Thanks for your patience