Rock the Hill June 5-6 2015 – Veterans standing for Veterans


Sit rep. Rock the Hill JUNE 5-6th 2015 – Well, soon, God willing this bloody snow will be gone and fair winds and warm weather will be upon us. Time to get serious about organizing this years event. Be advised that Pat Stogran is very busy with two books and blog and that I, at the CVA level, am as well. We are entering a crucial phase in veterans advocacy, their has been movement, incrementally and on non-primary issues of contention, yet movement never the less and of course, an election is looming,
I am condensing into a two day event, neither Pat nor I have have the time to sustain a multi day event and the cost to those attending from beyond the Ottawa area must be considered. I am also cognizant of the “competition” the timing of the event creates for those who wish to attend but have committed to the Highway of Heroes ride the next day. The Rock the Hill theme has been based on acknowledging veterans who ride and I am eager to perpetuate the Parliamentary Ride Past.

Preliminary schedule.

Meet and greet, Darcy McGee’s, Thursday evening from 7-9.


10 am- RV Beechwood for riders, short memorial service, ride along 24 Sussex Drive, past the Governor general and Prime Minister’s resident and to Parliament Hill to coincide as close as possible to the eleventh hour. This will be a primary source of message delivery, a visual affirmation of support for the wounded that will not go unnoted. Those o us that do not ride will be waiting and will form up on the sidewalk to salute the riders as they pass. It will be very visual, the media will be in full attendance and we need to start rallying support for the mission now if we are to have riders and attendant veterans , with banners and flags, standing in front of the HoCommons as you p[ass. Ideally, we shall form a line from one end to the other for the ride past and salute. The object is to leave Beechwood in increments, groups of twenty, short break, another group, for safety sake and to extend the length of the ride past ideally, we can sustain it for half an hour.

Parking suggestions, The national War Museum provides free parking underground for veterans and nice lunch if you are hungry, Just park n the secure, underground parking lot and take a bus up to the hill. You can return after the rally, tour the museum, embrace the spirit…. Or you can circle around and park at the National Arts Centre or a variety of covered facilities that are close to the hill. A map will be provided soon. .

1200 – march – Form up at corner of wellington and Elgin, by the benches outside of the national War Memorial, We can get org’d, pay our respects, get some pictures for those who have been. it is a moving experience, to stand with your mates wherein the valiant have died and reaffirm your support for their family and the wounded. We then shall make the short march to Parliament Hill wherein we will use the steps in front of the peace tower as a forum to deliver our message. Pat Stogran and other voices will be heard in ten-fifteen minute increments with music provided by Pat, Myself and anybody else who would like to volunteer to entertain. I hope to go for two hours, end by three. It will be hot and many will want to tour the museum or join us for a tasty beverage at Darcy McGee’s before heading off to the Highway of heroes or parking their bikes before enjoying Ottawa for the evening.

I am trying to organize a fundraiser at Darcy McGee’s on Friday evening, local musical talent, pat, myself and volunteers. We will be on a Toonie drive to recover RTH based costs and in support of the CVA Humanitarian Fund. To date, I have raised significant amount of money on the Trust Fund level and have the authority to dispense according to our mandate. Most recently, we have sponsored Chris and Katheryn Linford’s quest to prevent the cycle of despair and save lives through the COPE program and have contracted a video production unit to document the presentation in Trenton for maximum use at other bases and an electronic forum, They have a magnificent platform delivered specifically at couples and the family unit, I shave spoken to Chris many times, he has inspired me on many levels, -melofeloquine, mental wounds- and their message to those who are in pain is pure of purpose.

Most recently, we have stepped up and provided funding to Reservist Robyn Young and her mother, Pearl Osmond, as they travel to BC for Robyn’s treatment. Monday! This was an urgent priority, with in the course of 12 hrs, we were able to provide humanitarian support to a mother and daughter in need of urgent respite. We have put several thousand dollars aside to send a seriously wounded veterans to a special facility (for up to a year) that VAC will not cover. There is no greater feeling of satisfaction than doing something definitive that will change a veterans life. The CVA Humanitarian Fund is sponsored by the RCAF Association Trust Fund, monies are held within their account until requirement for dispersal.

Saturday. I have considered the fact that many cannot make it on Friday due to work commitments yet would like to demonstrate their support for the wounded and the equality standards we universally are fighting for .

1200 – RV at the National War Memorial, march (or walk, depending on numbers) as a group to the steps of parliament hill, repeat performances of Fridays format with speeches intersected by musical presentations. It will be lots of fun and I hope that you will bring your extended families and after the rally, tour the House of Commons, enjoy the National War Museum -free entry, parking and lunch for veterans-

1500 Dispersal party. Once we are finished, we shall RV at Darcy McGees for the traditional toast to the fallen and to embrace the spirit and friendships we have have made. Free time for the rest of the weekend,

Speakers., I am looking for speakers as of this time, if you wish to participate, please send me your contacts, the topic you wish to discuss. I will allow a ten minute presentation although shorter is okay. Primary issues that will be considered a priority are Sacred Obligation based and i am hopeful Major Campbell will join us again, or someone from Equitas, will be our very special guests. Speakers re ELB, PIA, Widows, spouse, families, services therein, are welcome. Special guest speakers will be announced as confirmations and schedules are established.

I need you help, if you belong to a riding organization that would like to be part of a national ride past parliament hill is support of our veterans, this is a perfect opportunity to join us. i do not ride (other than a mobility scooter) , I need HELP on this level, particularly in outreach and understanding of mission. The ride past is our acknowledgment of those who served and now ride together as brothers and sisters and our collective support for veterans who have sustained mental and physical wounds and are not being the equality standards they deserve.

Volunteers are required and if you can bring something to the equation, please reach out to me privately or comment here. I will require marshals, people to take care of/operate the sound system, the information kiosk. Vendors wishing to take advantage of the events re t-shirts, sticklers and what not are welcome, but must cost there own efforts and be prepared to award a percentage -to be discussed, to augment costs and reinforce the CVA Humanitarian fund.

FYI, when i say costs, I refer only to the expenses we bear on the organizational front, I will pay for my own room, food, et al… but there will be cost associated to the sound system unless someone steps up and volunteers to step up and take care of this for us. We need three microphone station and plug in for a couple of guitars. Medium sized speakers are good enough, otherwise, it echoes all over the place.

More to follow,

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Canadian Armed Forces Drug Benefit List – Special Authorization/Exception Drug Payment Criteria

Canadian Armed Forces Drug Benefit List

What is the Canadian Armed Forces Drug Benefit List

The Canadian Armed Forces Drug Benefit List describes those medications that have been determined appropriate for public funding and subsequent provision to Canadian Armed Forces personnel. The processes followed for listing decisions on the Drug Benefit List are consistent with the vision and mission of the Canadian Forces Health Services, the Canadian Armed Forces Spectrum of Care, decisions of the Canadian Forces Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee (CFPTC) and apply the principles of Evidence Based Medicine. There are two types of benefit medications on the Canadian Armed Forces Drug Benefit List: Regular Benefit, and Special Authorization.


To search, enter the series of characters on which you wish to search in any or all of the text fields above. For example, the brand name search string tylenol will return search results including any record which starts with, ends with or contains the word “tylenol”. Searches are not case sensitive and search text must not be placed in quotes. You can also use the “%” wildcard inside a string of characters to refine your search. For example a%n will find both acetaminophen and amoxicillin.

Also, please note that the “Match any of the above search criteria” search still limits the search results by the “Benefit Type” selected.

If you use the any option, all records matching any of the free-text criteria listed will be included in the search results.

If you use the all option, only records which match each one of the free-text criteria entered will be included in the search results.


Special Authorization/Exception Drug Payment Criteria

Search the Special Authorization/Exception Drug Payment Criteria


The Canadian Armed Forces has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of information at the time of publication. However, the Canadian Armed Forces makes no warranties of any kind regarding this information, including but not limited to any warranty of accuracy, completeness, timeliness, reliability or fitness for a particular purpose and such warranties are expressly disclaimed.

The information published on this site is updated quarterly. Therefore, the information published on this site does not necessarily reflect the new changes. The most recent information on the Canadian Armed Forces Drug Benefit List and/or clarifications and details concerning the information published on this site may be obtained by calling the Canadian Forces Drug Exception Centre (CFDEC) at 1-877-469-1003.

More information

If you cannot find the information you are looking for in this database or if you have additional questions, you may contact the Canadian Forces Drug Exception Centre at 1-877-469-1003.

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Blessed Paardeberg Day to the brotherhood. From my Budz Roscoe…

Blessed Paardeberg Day to the brotherhood. From my Budz Roscoe…

Fellow Royals

Tomorrow being Paardeberg Day and the 115th Anniversary of the decisive climax of the Battle of Paardeberg (18-27 February 1900) I thought to forward a well-researched and definitive account of Private Richard Rowland Thompson’s Queen Scarf (see attached word document below). The account is written by Lieutenant-Colonel Brian A. Reid (Ret’d) and entitled, “Queen Victoria’s Scarves”. Thompson was awarded the Queen’s Scarf in July 1900 during the South African War “in recognition of conspicuous gallantry during this campaign”. His Queen’s Scarf has long since become enshrined in the history, legend and mythology of The Royal Canadian Regiment. I have sent out Lieutenant-Colonel Reid’s Queen’s Scarf article on the eve of other Paardeberg Days and thought it appropriate to do so again.

As well as being a good friend of our Regiment, Brian Reid is a very distinguished Canadian military historian and author. He is also an acknowledged expert on the Canadian role in the South African War. Lieutenant-Colonel Reid’s book, “Our Little Army in the Field: The Canadians in South Africa, 1899-1902” (Vanwell Publishing Limited, St. Catharines, Ontario, 1996) is a highly readable and informative description of both the conventional and, later, the counter-insurgency campaigns waged in South Africa by the thee different Canadian contingents to serve in the filed in South Africa. Find attached a picture of the book’s cover below.
It is ironic that Richard Rowland Thompson, who is now a regimental icon, spent very little of his life in Canada, though he does lie buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Chelsea, Quebec. Thompson was born of Anglo-Irish stock in Cork, Ireland. He was a 22 year old medical student living in Buffalo, New York when the South African War broke out in October 1899. He managed to enlist at Toronto on 18 October 1899 and was soon bound for South Africa with “D” Company of the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry. Thompson was a relatively small man at 5 feet 6 and a half inches in height and 129 pounds in weight. Whatever his physical presence might have lacked, he was a most willing soldier and he proceeded to distinguish himself in two remarkable episodes that took place during the battle against the Boers at Paardeberg Drift in February 1900. The first took place on “Bloody Sunday,” 18 February, when the Canadian battalion had been futilely hurled against well concealed, entrenched Boer positions with disastrous results. The Canadians had lost 21 men killed and 60 wounded. Thompson was among those men who had gotten closest to the Boer trenches, but then had been pinned down during the long night of 18-19 February.

Private Dick Thompson of D Company made it to within a hundred yards of the Boer lines. In an extraordinary act of bravery he was to save the life of Private James Bradshaw, also of D Company. Bradshaw was shot in the neck, the bullet nicking the jugular. As he lay wounded in the open, Thompson crawled to him, lay across his body and stanched the bleeding with direct pressure on the wound. Private Thompson was close enough to the enemy trenches that he could clearly make out the features of the Boer who shot the helmet off his head. Dick Thompson braved the Boer sniping for a further seven hours (it was a clear, moonlit night) waiting for stretcher-bearers to come up. During this long wait Thompson, who had eaten nothing in over thirty hours, removed his emergency ration from his haversack. Tearing it open he quickly devoured the contents. Days later a subsequent kit inspection would reveal that Thompson was missing this sacred item. He was charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced to ten extra guard duties.

On 27 February, during the early morning hours, Thompson was involved in the climactic Canadian assault on the enemy position. When the Canadians had come under fire from the Boers at close range in the dark, there was much confusion in the ranks. With the exception of “G” and “H” Companies, all of the assaulting companies, including “D” Company, retired to their original trenches. Meanwhile the redoubtable Private Dick Thompson of D Company hadn’t heard the order to retire nor had he seen the general movement to the rear. Blazing away at the enemy with his rifle until he paused to reload, Thompson noticed for the first time there was no one left around him. He beat a quick retreat eventually rejoining his mates at the original starting point. “G” and “H” Companies held their ground, returned fire and eventually succeeded in entrenching in a position that allowed the Canadians to dominate the Boer trenches with their fire. By dawn it was clear to the enemy that they were in dire straits.

By the light of approaching dawn the men of D Company, from their trench to the rear, could make out a fallen Canadian soldier, apparently writhing in pain just in front of the Boer trenches. A corporal from the Bearer Company asked for a volunteer to go forward and see if the man could be saved. Without fuss Private Thompson quickly agreed to go. For the second time Dick Thompson would now deliberately expose himself to enemy fire in order to rescue a wounded comrade. He took off his kit, lay down his rifle, climbed out of the trench and calmly strode towards the Boer trenches all the while puffing on his pipe. Through sheer ignorance of the rules of war, Boers commonly fired on stretcher-bearers and wounded men and showed little respect for the Red Cross. With every step he took young Thompson must have anticipated a Boer bullet. But for whatever reason, the Boers refrained from firing and he soon reached the side of the wounded Canadian only to find that he had died. Thompson removed the man’s personal effects, noted his service number and returned to his own trench.

For his extraordinary bravery in rescuing wounded men under fire, Private Richard Rowland Thompson was subsequently awarded the Queen’s Scarf of Honour. Queen Victoria had knitted several scarves of Berlin wool. Four of these would go to a deserving soldier in each of the Colonial contingents Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, serving in Roberts’ Field Force. It was further stipulated that the soldier must be a private and that gallantry in the field should be a principal consideration. In early July 1900 Lieutenant-Colonel Otter, in consultation with his company commanders, had decided that Thompson would be the Canadian recipient. Thompson had previously been felled by sunstroke and had subsequently contracted enteric (typhoid) fever. He had been evacuated to a rear area for treatment and convalescence. Although Private Thompson had survived this deadly disease, he was invalided back to Canada by way of England on 31 July 1900, apparently without knowing he had been awarded the Queen’s Scarf. He was eventually discharged from active service on 16 October 1900. Richard Rowland Thompson would soon accept a commission in the South African Constabulary and return to South Africa. He was later employed by the DeBeers Mining Company at Kimberley. Thompson left South Africa in 1904 and he lived at Buffalo, New York until he died on 06 April 1908. Married to a Canadian woman, he was buried in Quebec. Please find attached pictures of Richard Rowland Thompson and the Queen’s Scarf.
Pro Patria
Ross Appleton
Regimental Adjutant
The Royal Canadian Regiment
National Defence
Petawawa, ON, Canada K8H 2X3

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Vet’s attack plan an extreme reaction to widespread frustration with Veterans’ Affairs

Vet’s attack plan an extreme reaction to widespread frustration with Veterans’ Affairs


This Calgary skyscraper was the target of an attack plan designed by Glen Gieschen. (CBC) This Calgary skyscraper was the target of an attack plan designed by Glen Gieschen. (CBC)

While they don’t condone what Glen Gieschen did, veterans’ advocates say the former soldier’s plan to attack a Veterans Affairs office in Calgary with guns and explosives shows what can happen when veterans try to get help for illnesses that are hard to link to their military service.

Gieschen was sentenced to four years in prison this week after pleading guilty to several weapons charges last November. He was given 18 months credit for time spent in custody since his arrest in January 2014.

Apparently he was upset at the way Veterans Affairs was handling his claim that he had developed multiple sclerosis as a result of a flu shot while still in the armed forces.

Gieschen’s wife called police when she became concerned he was suicidal. He was arrested under Alberta’s Mental Health Act but later charged criminally after police discovered a cache of guns, chemicals to make explosives, body armour and schematics for the federal government building that housed the Veterans Affairs office in downtown Calgary.

The Crown had asked for a term of four to six years, while Gieschen’s lawyer recommended three years.

“If Mr. Gieschen had followed through with all or part of his plan, the results would have been catastrophic for those working in the Bashaw building and for first responders who would have come upon a nightmare of death and destruction,” Judge Sean Dunnigan said Tuesday in passing sentence, according to The Canadian Press.

Related stories:

Ex-soldier gets 4 years for planned attack on Calgary Veterans Affairs office

Agent Orange Canada bolstered by compensation push in Maine

Some veterans groups say new minister still marginalizing them

The connection between MS and vaccination is dubious at best, but it’s an indication of how some cases can reach dead ends within the Veterans Affairs bureaucracy that some claimants find maddening.

Many vets feel frustration with Veterans Affairs

Don Leonardo, who runs a group called Veterans Canada, said Gieschen’s unacceptable plan was as the extreme end of the frustration many veterans feel with their dealings with the department. Some turn their anger back onto themselves.

“I get a lot of people who’ve called me suggesting they want to take their own lives,” said Leonardo, who runs a toll-free hotline where veterans can talk to other veterans to find help for their problems. “I get quite a few calls like that.”

Disability benefits are based on Veterans Affairs table of disabilities, which was last revised in 2006. MS is not included on the list of military service-related illnesses, Leonardo said.

“You just can’t go and put a claim in for something that’s not in the table of disabilities,” he told Yahoo Canada News.

But Michael Blais, who heads Canadian Veterans Advocacy, said department protocols are supposed to give veterans the benefit of the doubt in an application for benefits or an appeal.

“But it seldom does,” he said.

That sometimes drives veterans to extreme measures. For example, Pascal Lacoste chained himself outside then-veterans affairs minister Steven Blaney’s office and launched a hunger strike over inaction on his claim that handling depleted-uranium armour-piercing ammunition had resulted in a number of health problems. He ended his protest after Blaney promised a committee would look into the issue.

Then there’s the case of Leona MacEachern, who crashed her car head-on into a tractor-trailer outside Calgary on Christmas Day 2013. Her death was ruled an accident but her husband believes she committed suicide out of desperation at inadequate treatment of her post-traumatic stress disorder.

A spate of suicides by veterans and serving armed forces members has forced the government to respond with for more services for those battling mental illness as a result of their service.

“What drives them to that frustration?” Blais mused in an interview with Yahoo Canada News. “Clearly it exists at some level and clearly it’s Veterans Affairs’ responsibility to mitigate that level of stress before it goes to that level.”

Environmentally-related illnesses need better response

Veterans Affairs also should be doing a better job of addressing environmentally-related illnesses, he said.

“The environment the troops work in is fairly complex,” said Blais, noting for example the military used to dispose of potentially toxic materials in open burn pits.

“Sometimes the wind shifted and sometimes the guy that was on fire-watch sucked back a whole bunch of [smoke],” he said.

“How do you attribute that to service? Do you remember that day? Did you go to the doctor? Who the hell goes to the doctor because I breathed some fumes, right?

“When veterans come forward with illnesses that can be attributed to a variety of environmental exposures, including MS and various cancers, they should be accorded the benefit of the doubt. If they were serving operationally when that exposure occurred, we should treat them with the respect they deserve.”

Gieschen’s situation was “the perfect storm,” said Blais.

“We have a veteran who has sustained, he believes, a life-threatening condition as a consequence of his service,” he said. “Then you have the frustration level that has built up to the point he’s planning this extraordinary event.”

That doesn’t justify how he responded, though.

“This could have been catastrophic, let’s face it,” said Blais. “There was no good way this was going to end once he put that in motion.”

Blais said he hopes Gieschen gets the mental health treatment he needs while he’s in federal prison. And perhaps that Veterans Affairs takes a closer look at the cases that fall into the grey zone.

“Many are suffering from wounds that they think are attributable to their service but are being ignored,” he said.

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Minister O’Toole’s video

Nice video. But I would respectfully note the example Minister O’Toole chose to use as a comparative to the sacrifice Canada’s sons and daughter’s today through sacrifice deserves more that…. we have to do better. More men and women have died through suicide than national sacrifice as a consequence to the war in Afghanistan, when we add these to the roll of those who served in former Yugoslavia and on United Nations missions, often negated in the discussion, there can only be one recourse. A dedicated effort by Veterans Affairs Canada to ensure we have the resources, skills and a mental health trained department-capable standards that will staunch the bleeding, to save live in the NOW.

Actions are required, comments such as we have to be better are redundant, what is required are definitive statements, backed up by this budgets financial commitment, that reflect the urgency of the situation. The valiant are suffering in the now, the catastrophic consequences have been defined and will be so defined again in the future. We need leadership on this file, Minister O’Toole, and I hope that you will take these words, and provided statistics to heart and champion a more robust mental health-suicide prevention mandate now that you understand that catastrophic demise of Col Sharpe, so many years ago, is being repeated over and over again.

And that it is your responsibility, as Minister of Veterans Affairs, to respond to this life threatening dilemma before more families succumb, or are subject, to the cycle of despair and ultimately, the horror of confronting the abyss of suicide. The time to step up is now.

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UPDATE: Jan 26 2015: POC 10 – Marijuana for Medical Purposes + Vapourizer – PDC 10 – Marihuana a des fins medicales + Vaporisateur

UPDATE: Jan 26 2015: POC 10 – Marijuana for Medical Purposes + Vapourizer – PDC 10 – Marihuana a des fins medicales + Vaporisateur

Registration is required to view this and all future post’s. With registration, you will be notified of any updates and it prevents spamming.

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CANFORGEN 032/15 CMP 015/15 091504Z FEB 15







CANFORGEN 032/15 CMP 015/15 091504Z FEB 15






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Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service

Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service

The New York Times 7 hrs ago By MATT RICHTEL

HUNTER GARTH was in a gunfight for his life — and about to lose.

He and seven other Marines were huddled in a mud hut, their only refuge after they walked into an ambush in Trek Nawa, a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan. Down to his last 15 bullets, one buddy already terribly wounded, Mr. Garth pulled off his helmet, smoked a cheap Afghan cigarette, and “came to terms with what was happening.”

“I’m going to die here with my best friends,” he recalled thinking.

I didn’t know any of this — nor the remarkable story of his survival that day — when I met him two months ago in Colorado while reporting for an article about the marijuana industry, for which Mr. Garth and his company provide security. But I did know he was a vet and so I did what seemed natural: I thanked him for his service.

“No problem,” he said.

It wasn’t true. There was a problem. I could see it from the way he looked down. And I could see it on the faces of some of the other vets who work with Mr. Garth when I thanked them too. What gives, I asked? Who doesn’t want to be thanked for their military service?

Many people, it turns out. Mike Freedman, a Green Beret, calls it the “thank you for your service phenomenon.” To some recent vets — by no stretch all of them — the thanks comes across as shallow, disconnected, a reflexive offering from people who, while meaning well, have no clue what soldiers did over there or what motivated them to go, and who would never have gone themselves nor sent their own sons and daughters.

To these vets, thanking soldiers for their service symbolizes the ease of sending a volunteer army to wage war at great distance — physically, spiritually, economically. It raises questions of the meaning of patriotism, shared purpose and, pointedly, what you’re supposed to say to those who put their lives on the line and are uncomfortable about being thanked for it.

Mr. Garth, 26, said that when he gets thanked it can feel self-serving for the thankers, suggesting that he did it for them, and that they somehow understand the sacrifice, night terrors, feelings of loss and bewilderment. Or don’t think about it at all.

“I pulled the trigger,” he said. “You didn’t. Don’t take that away from me.”

The issue has been percolating for a few years, elucidated memorably in “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” a 2012 National Book Award finalist about a group of soldiers being feted at halftime of a Dallas Cowboys game. The soldiers express dread over people rushing to offer thanks, pregnant with obligation and blood lust and “their voices throbbing like lovers.”

The issue has also surfaced, at least tangentially, with Brian Williams’s admission that he’d exaggerated about being in a Chinook helicopter hit by enemy fire. In explaining his failed memory, the NBC News anchor said: “This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women veterans everywhere, those who have served while I did not.”

The idea of giving thanks while not participating themselves is one of the core vet quibbles, said Mr. Freedman, the Green Beret. The joke has become so prevalent, he said, that servicemen and women sometimes walk up to one another pretending to be “misty-eyed” and mockingly say “Thanks for your service.”

Mr. Freedman, 33, feels like the thanks “alleviates some of the civilian guilt,” adding: “They have no skin in the game with these wars. There’s no draft.”

No real opinions either, he said. “At least with Vietnam, people spit on you and you knew they had an opinion.”

“Thank you for your service,” he said, is almost the equivalent of “I haven’t thought about any of this.”

For most of us, I suspect, offering thanks reflects genuine appreciation — even if ill-defined. It was a dirty job and someone had to do it. If not these men and women, then us or our children.

Tim O’Brien, a Vietnam vet and the author of the acclaimed book “The Things They Carried,” told me that his war’s vets who believed in the mission like to be thanked. Others, himself included, find that “something in the stomach tumbles” from expressions of appreciation that are so disconnected from the “evil, nasty stuff you do in war.”

The more so, he said, “when your war turns out to have feet of clay” — whether fighting peasants in Vietnam or in the name of eradicating weapons of mass destruction that never materialized.

But doesn’t their sacrifice merit thanks? “Patriotic gloss,” responded Mr. O’Brien, an unofficial poet laureate of war who essentially elevates the issue to the philosophical; to him, we’re thanking without having the courage to ask whether the mission is even right.

It’s hard to assess how widespread such ideas are among the men and women of today’s generation. So, rather than try to sum up what invariably are many views on the subject, I’ll relate more of Mr. Garth’s story.

He grew up in Florida, son of a Vietnam vet, grandson of a decorated World War II vet, himself a bit of a class clown who drank his way out of college and wound up working the docks. The Marines offered a chance to make something of himself and, despite his parents’ pleadings otherwise, to fight.

It wasn’t what he romanticized. First training and waiting. Then the reality that he might die, along with his friends — 17 of them did, in action, by accident or by suicide. And, he now asks, for what?

His ideas about the need to prove himself slipped away, along with any patriotic fervor. He hates it when people dismiss the Taliban as imbeciles when he saw them as cunning warriors. To Mr. Garth, the war became solely about survival among brothers in arms.

Like that day in September 2011 when Mr. Garth was surrounded in the hut. A last-ditch call for help over the radio prompted a small group of fellow Marines to run three miles to save the day, one of them carrying 170 pounds of gear, including a 22-pound machine gun and 50 pounds of ammo.

THE thanks Mr. Garth gets today remind him of both the bad times and the good, all of which carry more meaning than he has now in civilian life. Hardest is the gratitude from parents of fallen comrades. “That’s the most painful thank you,” he said. “It’s not for me, and I’m not your son.”

He struggled to explain his irritation. “It’s not your fault,” he said of those thanking him. “But it’s not my fault either.”

So what to say to a vet? Maybe promise to vote next time, Mr. Freedman said, or offer a scholarship or job (as, he said, some places have stepped up and done). Stand up for what’s right, suggested Mr. O’Brien. Give $100 to a vet, Ben Fountain, author of the “Billy Lynn” book, half-joked, saying it would at least show some sacrifice on the thanker’s part.

Mr. Garth appreciates thanks from someone who makes an effort to invest in the relationship and experience. Or a fellow vet who gets it. Several weeks ago, he visited one of his soul mates from the mud hut firefight, which they refer to as the Battle of the Unmarked Compound. They drank Jameson whiskey in gulps.

“We cried in each other’s arms until we both could tell each other we loved each other,” Mr. Garth said. “We each said, thank you for what you’ve done for me.”

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Soldiers more likely to have experienced childhood abuse: study

Soldiers more likely to have experienced childhood abuse: study

Read more:

A Canadian flag sits on a member of the Canadian Armed Forces that leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. (Lars Hagberg / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, February 15, 2015 2:38PM EST

OTTAWA — Canadian soldiers appear to be more likely than their civilian counterparts to have experienced abuse, including corporal punishment, or to have witnessed domestic violence as children, new research aimed at exploring the incidence of depression and suicide in the military suggests.

The as-yet-unpublished findings by health researchers at the Department of National Defence are contained in an internal abstract — an abridged sample of the results — that was recently delivered as a presentation to mental health professionals.

The research was carried out by the department of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Forces Directorate of Mental Health.

Although the data is still being studied, preliminary results suggest 39 per cent of military members had been slapped or spanked more than three times as children; comparable research on the general population indicates some 22 per cent of civilians had the same experience as kids.

Seventeen per cent of military members reported having been thrown, pushed or grabbed more than three times as children, compared with 11 per cent of civilians.

Among military respondents, 15 per cent reported being kicked, bitten, punched, choked, burned or attacked as youngsters, compared with 10 per cent of civilians, while 10 per cent of soldiers also reported witnessing “intimate partner violence” while growing up. In that category, the civilian figure was eight per cent.

The study relies on data in the mental health portion of the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey, which questioned more than 25,000 people, and the 2013 Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey, which is based on responses from more than 8,100 members of the military.

The Canadian Press was denied a request for additional information beyond the abstract because the research has yet to be officially published. But Dr. Mark Zamorski, one of the study’s co-authors, did say the conclusions mirror similar research in the U.S.

They’re important in understanding why members of the Canadian military have a higher than average rate of depression, which is linked to suicide, Zamorski said.

“For reasons no one understands … the people that end up being attracted to or choose military service — for whatever reason — have higher rates of exposure to childhood adversity than civilians, or people who don’t elect to be in the military,” Zamorski said in an interview.

“And given that childhood adversity is such a powerful risk factor for depression, and for suicidal thinking, suicidal behaviour and many other adverse health outcomes — that, I think, is an important piece of the picture.”

Researchers “haven’t dug deep enough yet” to fully understand the links, however, Zamorski cautioned.

“We’ll know a lot more in a little bit of time,” he said. “They were very preliminary numbers. If it didn’t fit in with the larger narrative we saw elsewhere, we wouldn’t have presented it.”

In the U.S., a major 2013 study by the mental health research branch of the Veterans Administration, Duke University and the University of Alabama concluded that abuse, neglect and other childhood ordeals were major contributors to problems for soldiers later in life.

“These findings suggest that evaluation of childhood trauma is important in the clinical assessment and treatment of depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation among military personnel and veterans,” said the report by Dr. Nagy Youssef.

In 2014, there were 19 suicides in the Canadian military, according to recently released figures. That’s one of the highest levels in the past decade, surpassed only by 22 suicides in 2009 and 25 in 2011 — the final year of Canada’s combat mission in Kandahar.

Much of the public attention in the aftermath of the Afghan war has been focused on post-traumatic stress, which counts depression among its constellation of symptoms.

Yet post-traumatic stress is thought to have played a role in only three of 10 suicides in the Canadian military last winter, according to a separate series of documents obtained by CP.

The military and the Harper government routinely underline the tens of millions of dollars in resources that have been poured into PTSD treatment and research. They’re also quick to say the rate of military suicide is below the national average.

But underlying that is the extraordinarily high rate of depression within the ranks, estimated at approximately eight per cent in the last mental health survey.

The military’s surgeon general, Brig.-Gen. Jean-Robert Bernier, told a Commons committee last year that the mental health of soldiers is an issue they’re struggling to understand.

A lot more research is necessary, Bernier said.

“We haven’t been able to pin it down to specific exposures in military life … although there are all kinds of increased risk factors for depression because of military service.”

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Mercer’s rant – Sacred Obligation Paul Franklin’s comments

In regards to Rick Mercer rant from the other day i was contacted by Minister O’Toole for a request for a telephone conversation about my file.
In response:

Minister Erin O’Toole,

I have had many issues in my 9 years as a wounded soldier and as a vet.
After returning in 2006 the DoD did amazing things and worked tiredly on the issue and where vAC failed to deliver they stepped up. Upon my retirement “my file” of course went to VAC and to quote a great writer “and this is where my trouble began”.

The legion wrote a piece about my struggles in the beginning called the “The Quiet Fight” and can be found online. I personally prefer that method but alas even that method is being taken from me. It would seem that if i fight for myself things may change for me but not sadly for the 700 000 others.
I have had my wheelchair taken away from me twice. First while in hospital due to lack of payment when DOD and VAC were in argument about who pays.

The second was just last year when upon getting a new chair it was felt by VAC that i didnt get the appropriate paperwork. Which was a doctors note saying “due to transformal amputations paul franklin needs a new wheelchair”.

During the recent manulife lawsuit i was approved of a pension but was not to receive the pension until a doctor confirmed my limb loss. This is something that has to be done every year presumably until age 65.
My ex and i have separated and i obviously pay child support and help her out. Every year VAC challenges that fact with an incredibly disturbing letter that implies that i am a dead beat, that asks if my child still lives and what i do for them. Too which my ex has to write a horrible letter stating what i do. She suffers horribly from post secondary PTSD a condition not widely recognized in 2006 and very mis understood even today.

This is but a glimpse into what is laughingly called “my file” too which in reality is actually “my life”.

As to my friend Rick and his rant the other day i let him tell my story not for my benefit but for all vets and their families that fight through this horror every day of their lives.

I fear that a conversation with me about “my file” may solve “my concerns” but not the concerns of the 700 000 others. Until we are treated by all parties with the respect, dignity, honour and compassion we deserve then i cant in good conscious take a phone call regarding my issues.

Paul Franklin
Mcpl (ret)

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