The Bonds That Tie

Over at PBS.org I have written a post about the meaningful bonds that are forged during military service… among soldiers… among wives… among parents…

Throughout the course of our lifetimes, we make and break bonds with people. Some bonds are formed in friendship: schoolmates, neighbors, fellow workers. I have close friends from each of those groups. I maintain, however, that the bonds forged in military service are perhaps the strongest of all bonds. Stronger than steel. Stronger than adversity. Stronger than time.

We all know the story of veterans sittin’ around and one says, “No shit!! There I was…” followed by a story of improbability or hilarity, typically punctuated with profanity, irreverent phrases and sordid images. It will end with much backslapping and hearty handshakes. The circle might contain members of a single unit or a single war, or it might contain an assortment of veterans from many of this nation’s conflicts. But they are bonded and tied to each other by the commonality of their service. Some are bonded by the mettle and the blood of battle. You need look no further than the Illiad or the St. Crispen’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V for evidence of the emotional connection these men share.

[snip]

Some of my closest friends today are people I didn’t know before my son deployed. We met via military blogs (including my own) and private online Internet forums established by parents of soldiers — one by a Third Infantry Division parent, another established by military moms for military moms. These were places to share information, to share worry, to celebrate good news and to commiserate when the news was bad. These were places that let us share this bond, hammered and shaped by our worry for our sons and daughters.

These relationships are equal parts ethereal and practical; as much emotional as they are physical. It involves both the spiritual and the material worlds — prayers and novena candles as well as care packages and cookie recipes. It is an inclusive sisterhood for which we did not volunteer, but in which we are now forever members.


You can read it all at PBS/POV: Conversations on Coming Home

PBS/Point of View: Regarding War

A few weeks back, PBS re-launched its Regarding War site and invited a number of bloggers to blog on experiences of reintegration of soldiers to the civilian world. I am fortunate to be one of the bloggers. In my third post (and in the fourth next week) I am addressing some misconceptions on PTSD (next week on some resources).

PTSD looks to be the diagnosis of the decade. Seems everyone has it, or wants to claim it. In the 80s the diagnosis was ADHD… In the 90s, was it narcissism? And now, PTSD: apparently you can get it soon after watching a movie, or years after some bad act. It’s all the rage in the news, and a convenient excuse for bad behavior. Even if someone has never personally experienced the trauma, it seems like they only have to hear about someone else’s trauma, and POOF — they have PTSD! Worse still are those who point to combat stress as proof that service members are the victims of some nefarious plot. If you believe the media and some politicians, every bad act by someone who happens to be a veteran is the result of some neglect or refusal to identify and treat this condition.
Read the rest of my PTSD: A Different Perspective (Part I) at PBS/Point of View/Conversations

Welcome Back Veterans Video Thanks

November 9, 2009 · Filed Under Some Soldier's Mom, This & That, Veterans · Comment 
I know you’ll be celebrating Veteran’s Day this Thursday. But if you are looking for an extra way to honor our Veterans, this might be up your alley.


Major League Baseball and Welcome Back Veterans are asking people to share their message of thanks to American veterans:

http://www.welcomebackveterans.org/thanks

They will be displaying many of the messages on the Welcome Back Veterans website, and making sure all of them are sent to Veterans themselves — to show them how much we all stand behind them.

Hope you can take a second to take a look and join the movement.

Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay

Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay

What is it?

Soldiers, veterans and survivors of those whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2008 can apply to receive $500 for every month, or portion of a month, they served under Stop Loss. The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established and largely funded the payment for all military services, but dictated that each service process and pay their own applicants. The Army estimates that 136,000 of the approximately 174,000 eligible servicemembers served in the Army.

What has the Army done?

The Army has created an application process for active-and-reserve component Soldiers, veterans, and survivors of Soldiers to process claims for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay. By law, the Army can only accept claims between October 21, 2009 and October 21, 2010. Eligible candidates must submit their request within this time frame, or the Army will not be able to process their request. The Army has set up an email address to field questions people have regarding the benefit.

How can people apply?

Candidates for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay must submit a claim at Retroactive Stop Loss Web site . This Web site is the preferred method for submitting applications; however, other means for doing so, such as by mail or fax, will be available to those without access to computers. Additional communications will provide instructions for alternative forms of submission. During the application process, candidates will be asked to show documentation that indicates the time they served under Stop Loss. The necessary documentation, depending on their type of service, includes the following:

  • Enlisted Soldiers need to present their DD Form 214 and DD Form 4 Enlistment/Reenlistment/Extension contract(s).
  • Enlisted Soldiers who were in an indefinite status need a memorandum showing retirement/separation request was denied or an approved retirement/ separation was amended.
  • Officers need a DD Form 214 and memorandum showing Retirement/ Separation request was denied or an approved retirement/separation was amended.
  • National Guard Soldiers need to show DA Form 4187 for Stop Loss adjustment of ETS, separation documentation NGB Form 22, and/or NGB Form 1966.
  • What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

    The Army will review, process and pay qualified candidates as they submit their applications at Retroactive Stop Loss Web site. Candidates who meet the criteria and show the required documentation will receive their retroactive payment in a one lump sum. The Army will not accept applications submitted after October 21, 2010.

    Resources: Retroactive Stop Loss Web site

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