Inking up the blogosphere. And no, I don't glow in the dark. But thanks for asking.

March 25, 2010

Paying Tribute

So you think you're having a bad day?  Here's something that will help put things back in perspective.  There is a great website called Veteran Tributes that honors the bravery and sacrifices of our servicemen and women.  On this site you can view their military history, awards, medals, and citations.

Two specifically that you should read are the Congressional Medal of Honor citations for LT (SEAL) Michael Murphy and QM2 (SEAL) Michael Monsoor.  I challenge you to read about their gallantry and selfless actions--if at the end of it you don't feel pride and sadness at their loss and what they have given for their teammates and country, have a harder heart than mine.

Trust me: any frustration with morning traffic or a bad day at the office will evaporate after reading a while on this site.  I am humbled, and am forever grateful for the dedication and devotion of those who serve so that we can live our lives knowing we are safer and more secure.

To all who have served, thank you.

March 18, 2010

TBI Awareness

I recieved a very nice email the other day and learned that March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.  I have agreed to repost the following article relating to TBI and our military because I think this is something we need to be aware of and concerned about.  There are lots of facilities like Care Meridian that are caring for patients with brain injuries, and the number of patients with military-related TBI is increasing.

Traumatic Brain Injuries in the Military

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is becoming a common wound of modern warfare. It has even been coined the “signature wound” of the War on Terror. While TBI is becoming more prevalent in wartime activity, many service men and women continue to go undiagnosed. Institutions, like the US Department of Veterans Affairs, are working to make quick and accurate diagnoses in order to prescribe appropriate and effective treatment.

TBI is caused by forced trauma to the head, either by being shaken or hit. The severity of a TBI varies from case to case, but symptoms range from mild concussions to a debilitating state. The majority of TBI’s acquired by military personnel are classified as mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI). Initial symptoms of MTBI consist of loss of consciousness, disorientation, loss of memory, headache, and temporary loss of hearing and vision. They are often partnered with anxiety, irritability, difficulties processing information, limited concentration amongst other problems experienced down the road. While MTBI is most common amongst the men and women of the armed forces, more severe cases of TBI are happening much more frequently and often require the victim to attended specialty rehabilitative nursing centers, like CareMeridian.

The most common cause of a TBI in the military is due to blasts. There are three degrees of blast injuries where a TBI is common; Primary (due to blast itself), Secondary (due to objects being propelled by a blast) and Tertiary (due to a collision with a third party object). According to the Veterans Health Initiative, active male members of the military from the ages 18-24 are hospitalized with a TBI at a rate of 231 per 100,000 and females 150 per 100,000. Based on military force projections this would mean that 4,141 military personnel are hospitalized on average each year with a TBI, and these numbers often rise during wartimes.

The best prevention for veterans to avert the long-term effects of a brain injury is to recognize the symptoms of a TBI. Once the symptoms are identified an individual should take basic precautionary measures in order to begin the healing and recovery process until a more specific diagnosis can be made.

Service men and women give so much to protect this country and they deserve to come home to a happy and healthy life. Creating awareness about TBI will help ensure their long term health. By helping our veterans, their friends and their families recognize the early warning signs of a TBI, treatment can be sought as early as possible.

March 11, 2010

Lone Survivor Foundation

Here is some additional information about Marcus Luttrell's wounded warrior ranch.  As I mentioned in this previous post, Mr. Luttrell is developing the Lone Survivor Foundation to fund a variety of projects to support wounded warriors and their families, and in the future it will also encompass a ranch retreat:

Lone Survivor Foundation's Mission: Honor and Remember American Patriots by providing unique educational, rehabilitation and wellness opportunities. In memory and honor of the Lost Heroes of Operation Redwing and all Fallen Warriors, Wounded Warriors, and their Families.

Vision: Provide financial support for unique recovery and rehab opportunities, wellness events, and resource other unmet needs for wounded warriors, their families, and surviving families.

What this Foundation will specifically do:

Lone Survivor Ranch - Marcus has a vision of an all encompassing, phased in facility that will not only support hunting, fishing and many outdoor activities, but other rehab/wellness as well. The primary intent is to create a safe haven for warriors and their families to heal. He plans to identify a BEAUTIFUL piece of property in TX and build a multi-phased ranch/rehab complex. The ranch will have an on-site gym complete with coaches, trainers, etc. He intends to build it with significant expansion capability, and ultimately support warriors, their families and kids. He'd like to have a counseling aspect interwoven into all activities which could include team building, obstacle courses, horseback riding, bowling, rock climbing, art therapy, journaling, fishing, yoga, spa services, etc.

Long term he sees the need for a physician, nurse, and social worker/therapist on staff. He'd like the physician to be trained in pain mgmt, because that is an issue that affects almost all of our wounded warriors. He also plans to have benefits counselor come there during everyone's stay to conduct a government benefits brief and help get whatever is lacking.

Unique Rehab Opportunities for Wounded Warriors: Fund people to go to Athlete’s Performance or other appropriate rehab facilities that don’t have a government source of funding due to the unique nature of how they do business.

Other things falling into this category is funding invitro-fertilization for those who have lost their ability to naturally reproduce due to combat wounds, hyperbaric oxygen therapy for wounded warriors with TBI, providing adaptive athletic equipment such as recumbent bikes, etc.

Until the ranch is fully operational, Lone Survivor Foundation will fund wounded warrior and family attendance at other sporting and hunting events.

The Foundation is set to officially launch on 28 June 2005 - the 5 year anniversary of Operation Red Wing. There will be a kick off event in Houston on June 26th - more information will follow once it's available.

Please visit for more information.

The website is in its very EARLY stages of development, and the Foundation is currently solely reliant on volunteers, so please be patient while we develop the content.

Lone Survivor Foundation is pending 501(c)(3) approval, and expects to obtain it within the next few months.

For those of you on Facebook, there is an official authorized fan page for Marcus Luttrell where you can keep up to date.  

March 8, 2010

There Are Places Where Voting Isn't A Chore

I believe that all people should have certain inalieanble rights, rights that belong to the human species as a whole; of which one of the most important is the right to self-determination.  The ability of a society to choose its future begets all the other freedoms that we Americans take for granted--to be free from fear, to have clean drinking water, education, infrastructure, safe housing, medical care.  The simple act of being able to cast a ballot and impact your own future can be the most crucial and liberating thing a person can do.

When was the last time you thought about civics that way?  When was the last time you were excited about your ability to vote, proud that you live in a country that asks for a majority opinion--rather than looking at election times as something that must be endured?

Sunday's elections in Iraq should humble those who have grown bored or cynical about the democratic process.  When something is earned at a great and terrible cost it is truly valued.  234 years ago, we knew this.  Now, some 12 million Iraqi citizens know the same thing, and I am proud for them.  Only people who have lived with tyranny can know how exhilarating it feels to have a voice.

If you have any doubt whatsoever of why our mission in Iraq was so important, I urge to to read this article that David Bellavia wrote.  It's one of the most poignant and impressive things I've read lately. 

Updates: 08MAR2010

As of 0800 this morning, here is the latest information I have for the following topics of interest--

Sergeant Shelton's Black Book:  The book has been cancelled. 

Wounded Warrior Ranch (Sergeant Shelton's Wounded Warrior Ranch Retreat-->Marcus Luttrell Warrior Legacy Ranch-->the-yet-to-be-renamed-wounded-warrior-ranch):  Following the dissolution of partnership with the Warrior Legacy Foundation, plans for the ranch project and its fundraising lie solely with Marcus Luttrell.  Strictly a guess on my part, but I believe the ranch will probably move forward under the administration of:
  • The Lone Survivor Foundation: -- non-profit founded by Marcus Luttrell to ensure money donated is money given back.  Its mission is to "...honor and remember American warriors by providing unique educational, rehabilitation, recovery, and wellness opportunities to U.S. Armed Forces service members & families".  Please visit the Lone Survivor Foundation website for more information.  The Foundation will officially launch on the 5th anniversary of Operation Redwing, June 28, 2010.