The Warrior’s Ball – Friday April 24, 2015 – 7pm
Knights of Columbus, 507 Shippan Avenue, Stamford Ct
Billy & The Showmen
To Benefit Stand For The Troops’ PTS Rescue Coalition, An initiative that funds effective treatment programs for at risk Soldiers and Veterans struggling the with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress & Traumatic Brain Injury.
Tickets $75 per person
$140 per couple (any two will do!)
Includes Dinner by Michael Powers Catering, Beer, Wine & Soda
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Offers Hope to Vets Bearing ‘Invisible’ Battle Wounds “I got my life back,” Major Ben Richards US Army (Ret), Director, SFTT Warriors’ Task Force[Greenwich, CT – June 18, 2014) Eilhys England Hackworth, Chair of STAND FOR THE TROOPS (SFTT), announced today that a member of the SFTT PTS/TBI Rescue Coalition has 50 slots available to treat veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that have not responded to the standard counseling and medication. These candidates have an opportunity to receive free hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) as part of an FDA and Army approved study. The treatment protocol, developed by Dr. Paul Harch in New Orleans, is one of the promising and replicable clinical research and treatment options identified and encouraged by Stand For The Troops PTS/TBI Rescue Coalition. For 15 years, SFTT, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit apolitical educational foundation based in Greenwich, CT, has dedicated its resources to safeguarding the physical, mental and emotional well-being of America’s serving and returning frontline troops.
“SFTT salutes Dr. Harch for his innovation and persistence in adapting hyperbaric oxygen technology for his innovative cutting-edge treatment of traumatic brain injury. TBI, with its frequent companion Post Traumatic Stress, is one of the tragic legacies of the Iran and Afghanistan conflicts. Sadly, standard treatment has not kept pace.” said England Hackworth, “Because there is no one silver bullet for treating TBI and PTS, our volunteer Medical Task Force of national and local medical and psychiatric experts is constantly on the lookout for those that, like Dr. Harch’s HBOT, provide positive outcomes.”
In March of this year, Major Ben Richards US Army (Ret.) was awarded the Purple Heart for dozens of blasts, suicide car bombers and exploding IED’s underneath vehicles sustained while leading his Stryker Cavalry troop on missions in Iraq. His ‘invisible’ wounds caused debilitating Traumatic Brain Injury and cut short a promising military career. SFTT intervened to get him the new HBOT treatment with Dr. Harch at no cost. Today, Ben Richards has reclaimed his life and credits that SFTT with helping him regain it.
The free, fully funded HBOT study is being conducted in New Orleans. It is open to the first 50 applicants with mild TBI persistent post-concussion symptoms incurred between 6 and 10 years ago. All participants will receive 8 weeks of HBOT treatment and a 6-month follow up visit in New Orleans. Half of the study group will have a control wait period first. Other than personal living costs while in New Orleans, the treatment is fully funded and SFTT is working to supplement living cosst on a case by case basis. SFTT may be able to provide air transportation options for participants who cannot afford travel to New Orleans.
Veterans interested in applying should contact SFTT at SFTTgrunt@optonline.net or Phone 203-629-0288 (Monday –Friday only between the 9:30AM and 4:30PM EST)
With one in five Soldiers and Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan affected by combat-related PTSD and a shocking 66 Vets attempt suicide and 23 succeed every day, SFTT’s Rescue Coalition is focused on helping our most at-risk Veterans get the timely treatment they need to survive and transition back to their families, communities and pre-PTS lives. The Coalition works to remove the stigma by raising awareness, promoting awareness of and facilitating access to effective pro bono treatments, supporting other promising treatment protocols and establishing a modular pilot program for replication across the country. To learn more about the TBI and PTS ‘epidemic’ and what SFTT is doing for troubled Vets who ‘survived’ the rigors of war only to lose their way back home, visit www.sftt.org.
Kevin and Michael Bacon and The Bacon Brothers Band will perform at a Washington DC fundraiser on March 22nd to benefit Stand For The Troops (SFTT). The Show will help support SFTT’s mission to safeguard the physical, mental and emotional well-being of our country’s frontline troops – the young heroes who daily put their lives on the line protecting us and our way of life.
The Bacon Brothers Band will be joined by other musicians of note including Buskin & Batteau, Ed Laub, Gordon Peterson, the eminent jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, – and a high profile comic to be announced. Tickets will be available shortly.
Thomas Catan’s article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “For Veterans with PTSD, A New Demon: Their Meds” is not news. The over-use of drugs as routine part of battlefield medicine has been noted since the first days of our military deployments to Iraq in the spring of 2003.
Over-reliance on the miracles of modern pharmaceuticals has became just Standard Operating Procedure in the US military.
And, likewise with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs medical system.
Even the casual observer will note substantial evidence that over-medication is endemic to all areas of our nation’s current healthcare systems — military and civilian.
But, in the military and VA, there are even more incentives to “push” pills.
As one example, it’s no coincidence that the senior Pfizer official for “government relations” from 2005 -2010 was a former Director of Veteran Affairs (twice) and long-time inside-the-Beltway power player. See here »
Pfizer was the firm involved in the Chantix debacle with Iraq war veteran James Elliott and the involuntary testing of this smoking cessation drug — with known significant psychotropic side effects — on a group of “psychologically damaged” vets at the Washington DC Vets Center.
The nature of business in the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry — and the huge sums spent by the federal government on drugs — means that all major pharmaceuticals have similarly well-connected Potomac Patriots in key lobbying roles.
It’s also safe to say that these huge firms, thanks to their “K” Street lobbyists and the lack of meaningful oversight by Congress, “own” this part of the federal budget — military and civilian.
Given the complexities and uncertainties of healing damaged minds, whether visible or invisible wounds, and the intensive, expensive work required for the most effective therapies, it’s no surprise the VA finds it much easier to dope ’em up, and send them out the door.
And, in the sad case of the former Marine highlighted in this WSJ article, I’m not sure any amount of effort and other therapies would make a difference.
(Personal admission: dealing with alcohol and drug abusers was the least enjoyable aspect my time as a front-line troop leader, so my hat is off to all those who are truly trying to make a difference in this area where success is so damn difficult to come by, and failures make tragic headlines too damned often.)
The one certainty is that the drug companies make their profits, whether this former Marine takes the meds or flushes them down his toilet.
My bottom line: this is part of the price for an ill-conceived war, a price to be paid for decades to come as too many of our Vets struggle with the twin demons of TBI and PTSD, and Washington remains focused on short-term profits, not long-term solutions.
People complain that the F.D.A. takes far too long in approving “new” drugs, but they seem to be equally obtuse in pointing out the dangers of using drugs they have already approved. According to a new article appearing in the New York Times, the F.D.A seeks tighter control on prescriptions for class of painkillers. I suppose we should be grateful that the guys and gals in the white robes in D.C. have finally come to their senses and realize that we now have a nation of addicts: addicted to prescription and generic pain killers all approved by the F.D.A. How sweet!
The “debate” is not without its polemics as this lengthy excerpt from the New York Times article suggests:
“In 2011, about 131 million prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing medications were written for some 47 million patients, according to government estimates. That volume of prescriptions amounts to about five billion pills.
Technically, the change involves the reclassification of hydrocodone-containing painkillers as “Schedule II” medications from their current classification as “Schedule III” drugs. The scheduling system, which is overseen by the D.E.A., classifies drugs based on their medical use and their potential for abuse and addiction.
Schedule II drugs are those drugs with the highest potential for abuse that can be legally prescribed. The group includes painkillers like oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, methadone and fentanyl as well as medications like Adderall and Ritalin, which are prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
In recent years, the question of whether to tighten prescribing controls over hydrocodone-containing drugs has been the subject of intense lobbying.
Last year, for example, lobbyists for druggists and chain pharmacies mobilized to derail a measure passed in the Senate that would mandate the types of restrictions that the F.D.A. is now recommending.
At the time, the lobbying arm of the American Cancer Society also said that making patients see doctors more often to get prescriptions would impose added burdens and costs on them.
Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, expressed dismay when the proposal died in the House of Representatives.
“They got their victory – but not at my expense,” said Mr. Manchin, whose state has been hard hit by prescription drug abuse. “The people who will pay the price are the young boys and girls in communities across this nation.”
As SFTT has been reporting for many months, prescription drug abuse with terrible side-effects is chronic among the many brave warriors returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sadly, treating the symptoms with OxyContin and other toxic pain-relievers has been the panacea prescribed by the VA. Despite clear and irrefutable evidence that this was causing more harm than good for warriors suffering from PTS and TBI, the lobbyists and their political pundits in government were reluctant to pull the plug on what is little more than government-sponsored drug addiction.
Finally, we may get an opening to help these brave young men and women rebuild their lives without the terrible consequences of addiction.
SFTT summarized a report yesterday from Wall Street Journal reporter Kristen Jones which reported that Body Armor King David Brooks was sentenced to jail for 17 years for a $200 million fraud scheme. In the article, it was suggested that the Justice Department decided not to pursue more serious charges of corruption in the military procurement process of body armor supplied to our brave young men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sadly, the stench of corruption and dishonest procurement process by our military far exceeds the 17 year “slap on the wrist” given to David Brooks. Found below is a more gut-wrenching account of the “real” story from former DHB President, Jim Magee.
This (sic the David Brooks story) goes deeper than “defective body armor.” I quit as Point Blank Body Armor’s president after designing the Intercepter vest, and managing the Arthur D. Little Modular Body Armor (Intercepter) program when my DHB boss, David Brooks agreed to a US Army procurement office demand that Point Blank meet the Army’s target price of $626 each, regardless of what had to be given up in wearer protection. The price was Army procurement’s ONLY concern. When I pointed out we would have to reduce the vest’s protective coverage areas to reduce the Kevlar costs, coverage required by the Army’s Natick R+D and PM-Soldier Intercepter spec’s, Army procurement’s response was “…that’s not our problem; make coverage changes to cut your costs if you have to, but we’re only paying $626 per vest.”
Brooks told me to cut out all of the Army’s Protection Area III, (244 sq inches of lower abdomen and kidney area coverage), “make the vest in size medium but mark them large, etc.” and cut way down on the side and shoulder coverage to make it cheaper to manufacturer.” I told him we’d be screwing the wearer, and that I would resign first.
He laughed, and I quit. Brooks was a horrible human being; consistently abusive of all around him; a belligerent, hateful person. In one particularly doped up incident (he was either over medicated or under medicated-read doped up), he yelled at me on the production floor to “fire all the niggers.” My thirty or so Haitian and Jamaican-born sewers went nuts until I physically pushed Brooks out of the plant’s loading dock, and then told them I’d give them a couple of paid hours of unearned overtime to defuse the atmosphere.
Making lots of money was Brooks only concern. He routinely told anyone who worked for him, “people were to be used.” He had no idea why short changing the war-fighter, and delivering a substandard vest – short of PM Soldier’s specs – bothered me to the point where I would walk away from a potential million dollars in income and stock. Integrity and honesty were unknown character traits in Brooks. He viewed them as “weaknesses.”
I still haven’t decided whether he was a sociopath or a psychopath. Either way, he had and has no redeeming qualities. Prison is too good for him. A violent death would have been more suitable.
While one can argue whether Brooks is a sociopath or psychopath, the fact remains that our military leadership knowingly sanctioned the use of defective body armor. The Inspector General has reported many body armor testing violations that have been conveniently covered up by our military leadership. In fact, the DoD continues to block favorable court rulings requested by SFTT to release the autopsy reports of military personnel killed in action wearing defective body armor.
More to the point, the public has been aware for quite sometime that “something is wrong in Denmark” when NBC’s Lisa Meyer reported on quibbling within the Army over the best body armor.
The corruption goes far deeper than the simple incarceration of David Brooks. The dreadful and dishonest sycophants who approved and promoted this defective body armor are – in my opinion – accessories to manslaughter or even worse. Why aren’t they in jail? I suspect that most have been promoted or are now in lucrative contracts as “outside consultants” perpetuating the merry-go-round of corrupt behavior or “business as usual” in our military procurement process.
How many more brave heroes have to die to feed the insatiable greed of people like Brooks?
Thanks for coming forward Jim. I know it has been painful. If more concerned individuals would do so, we could weed these monsters out of positions of trust. Our men and women in uniform deserve better.
David H. Brooks, the founder of DHB Industries Inc., a company that supplied body armor to the U.S. military was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in a $200 million fraud scheme.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal by Kristin Jones:
“DHB Industries made body armor that protected the men and women of the U.S. military, who risk their lives to keep us safe,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch. “To David Brooks, it was merely a vehicle for plunder and a means to feed his own greed.”
Mr. Brooks was convicted of stealing more than $6 million from the company to finance a horse-racing business, and to buy a luxury car, plastic surgery for his wife, a burial plot for his mother, $40,000 in leather-bound invitations to his son’s bar mitzvah, and a $101,000 belt buckle adorned with diamonds, sapphires and rubies.
He was also found guilty of accounting fraud intended to increase DHB’s profits and inflate the value of its inventory, the Justice Department said. After the company filed reports based on his manipulations, Mr. Brooks sold shares before the stock price plummeted and the company was delisted from the American Stock Exchange, the Justice Department said.
Well, I guess one can argue that Al Capone when to jail for tax fraud rather than murder, but David Brooks has more than corporate and securities fraud to answer for by supplying our military with defective body armor. While Mr. Brooks may now be behind bars, the Defense Department still insist on hiding the truth of the defective Body Armor supplied to our brave young men and women serving in harm’s way.
A sad comment on our leadership by not getting the bottom of this sad story of our military procurement system.
The Obama administration is once again immersed in a political tragedy in Egypt largely of its own making. How it will play out is largely anyone’s guess, but President Obama seems destined to make the same silly mistakes in international diplomacy that have plagued previous administrations. Mind you, his motives may be well-intended, but trying to be on the “right side of history” often leads to the blood of others to be shed.
Other than politicians who have no sense of irony, I find it ironic that the Obama administration and the accompanying media who seemed so enamored of the Twitter-fueled revolution that brought down President Mubarak should now be seeking shelter in the embrace of yet another Egyptian military dictatorship. Of course, we don’t want to call it a dictatorship and curtail aid, but it seems that this military dictatorship is preferable to the Obama administration than the Bush administration’s dictator. Um….
While I don’t have a clue what is going on in Egypt – certainly anymore so than Tweety-bird Wolf Blitzer of CNN – I am quite familiar with dictatorships. They aren’t fun. Deciding on which dictator is better than another is a fool’s errand and best left to historians after the dust settles. Didn’t we choose the better dictator in Vietnam?
Clearly, the events in Egypt are a tragedy, but self-serving comments by the Obama administration that has stood-by while 100,000 people have died in Syria is sophomoric in its cynicism and hypocrisy.
Sure, let’s keep our troops at home. But please!: Let’s curb our penchant for meddling is situations we don’t understand and, most certainly, can’t influence.
Save the “tough talk” for the 200,000 or so veterans suffering from PTS who have fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These brave and often troubled young men and women certainly deserve our compassion. More importantly, they happen to be living in the United States.
Richard W. May