Monday, April 26, 2010

Deaths, denials of citizenship and other veterans issues

Yesterday the Defense Dept issued the following: "The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Staff Sgt. Christopher D. Worrell, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va., died April 22 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained during a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 702nd Combat Support Battalion, 4th Stryker Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. For more information the media may contact the public affairs office at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, at 253-278-5491." The Seattle Times notes, "Worrell deployed to Iraq with the brigade from April 4, 2007 through June 10, 2008; in September, the brigade was again deployed to Iraq." Mike Holtzclaw (Daily Press) adds, "According to records provided by Joint Base Lewis McChord, Worrell enlisted in February 1997 and became an automated logistical specialist. He did a 16-month tour in Korea in 2002 and was on his second deployment to Iraq. He won numerous awards, including two Army Commendation Medals and four Army Achievement Medals."
Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer (Virginian-Pilot) speaks to his brother Patrick Worrell who states, "He planned on it being what he did with his life. He was just very happy to serve. [. . .] He just decided that's what he wanted to do. He talked about wanting to do it, talked to a recruiter, and joined up." Other survivors include his mother (Deborah Worrell) and a sister.

Meanwhile Anna Gorman (Los Angeles Times) reports on Iraq War veteran Ekaterine Bautista who served 13 months in Iraq and six year in the US Army but "five days before" the ceremony to be sworn in as a citizen, the government decided not to award her citizenship. To enlist in the military, she had used her aunt's identy, Rosalia Guerra Morelos. Gorman reports:

Sitting in her father's home in East Los Angeles, Bautista proudly looks through a thick binder of commendations and certificates, including the Combat Action Badge. She says she was promoted to sergeant within three years. She pulls out photos: one showing her hugging her friends in her unit in Germany, another showing her in uniform at the base she guarded in Iraq. The name on her uniform reads Guerra.
Like many other soldiers, Bautista decided to enlist just days after Sept. 11.
"It was a calling," said Bautista, who was a teenager when her mother brought her to the U.S. "I felt the need to join because it was the right thing to do, and also because of my daughter. I had to protect my daughter."
She called an Army recruiting office, but they told her that a Mexican passport wasn't enough and that she had to be a U.S. citizen or a green-card holder to enlist. So she asked her family for permission to use the identity of her aunt, a U.S. citizen who lived in Mexico. With their blessing, Bautista walked into a Montebello recruiting office and introduced herself as Rosalia Guerra Morelos. She presented a driver's license, birth certificate and Social Security number.

Mallory George (Des Moines Register) reports
on yesterday's send-off ceremony for the approximately 300 members of Iowa's Army Reserves who are deploying to Iraq. KCCI adds, "Members of the 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command are set to arrive in Iraq in July and are expected to stay for about a year." Reid Forgrave (Des Moines Register) reports that Staff Sgt Shayla Scott is among those deploying as will be Spc Matthew Scott, her husband:

"We don't know what it'll be like until we get there," Shayla Scott said. "There's rumors that married people get to live together. That would be great. But if not, you can't sit there and let it ruin your deployment. We'll just consider ourselves lucky enough to be able to see each other every day."
"We've talked with other people, and they're already saying their goodbyes," Matt Scott said. "I'm thrilled to be able to see my wife every day."
Both work full time at Fort Des Moines in the supply unit. She outranks him: She's been in the military seven years; he hasn't yet made the two-year mark. But she's pulled rank only once, when she jokingly ordered him to drop down and do push-ups in front of some friends.

While they prepare to deploy, Jake Lowary (Leaf Chronicle) reports on what Dr. Robert Miller is discovering in a number of returning Iraq War veterans: constrictive bronchiolitis. Lowary report highlights a number of veterans including J.D. Williams:

J.D. Williams was the 101st Airborne Division aviation maintenance officer in 2005 and 2006, and when deployed to Iraq he lived an eighth of a mile from a 24-acre burn pit, also a common finding in Miller's patients.
"They put everything in there," Williams said, including trash, feces, wreckage and more. "It burned 24/7 the entire year I was there. Your clothes would have soot on it ... We were up in the middle of the night choking."
Williams disregarded what was happening. "You didn't think about it -- you were doing your job," he said.
He retired in September 2007 and has since been back to Iraq, where sandstorms rage and burn pits still blaze.
He began to experience symptoms not long after but didn't think much of it. "Maybe I'm just out of shape," he remembers telling himself.
He also didn't go to the doctor until his wife forced him to after having episodes while working in the yard that forced him to lay down for 15 minutes just to catch his breath.

Meanwhile, on the heels of James Dao and Dan Frosch's "In Army's Trauma Care Units, Feelings Warehoused" (Sunday's New York Times print edition, posted to the web on Saturday), Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reported late yesterday that Noel Koch, DoD "official in charge of the wounded warrior program" explained in an e-mail he had resigned from his position because Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel, Clifford Stanley, that he had "no confidence" in Koch.

Bonnie and Susan remind that Kat's "Kat's Korner: My Best Friend Is Kate Nash" went up yesterday as did Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts' "Iraq's Got Tyrants."

Veteran's Today's senior editor Gordon Duff's "'CHATTER' FLOWING IN FROM EVERYWHERE 'SUITCASE' NUKE SAID TO BE IN PLACE" (MyCatBirdSeat):

Rumors of an upcoming terror attack to be blamed on Iran are moving around the world, "backchannel chatter." The primary suspect is Israel who is said to have a number of small "suitcase"

Karen notes a Chris Hedges video at Information Clearing House.

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