Friday, October 07, 2011

The fallen, veterans issues, employment and protest

Last week, Spc Adrian G. Mills was killed in Iraq. Winston Skinner (Newnan Times-Herald) reports his "funeral service will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the chapel of McKoon Funeral Home in Newnan. John Daviston of McKoon's said Mills' family will be receiving friends at the funeral home on Sunday from 5-8 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m." Yesterday, Skinner reported that Mills' body would be arriving home on Saturday and that Adrian Mill's stepfather Jeff Blehschmidt, at the family's home, had created a memorial of photographs and candles as well as box "for people to leave a message for the family." David Ibata (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) quotes Cassie McDonald remembering her time in high school and the Air Force JROTC with Mills and stating, "It didn't matter where he had to go or what sacrifices he had to make. He definitely knew what he wanted to do."

Survivors like Iraq War veteran Jeff Hall can have issues to struggle with upon return. For Hall, it was PTSD. KY3 (link has text and video) reports:

Married 20 years, Major Hall's wife Sheri says she barely recognized her husband when he came home. She went on, “one minute he could be happy-go-lucky Jeff, and the next minute his eyes would go completely black and he would just be angry."
Rage, sadness, despair. He exposed his post-traumatic stress demons through self-portraits. "To come across as a broken vessel is death to you in the combat arms. Who wants to follow the officer who's gone crazy?" said Major Hall.

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Richard Burr is the Ranking Member. Yesterday they held an employment roundtable for veterans and her office notes:

PATHFIRE VIDEO/AUDIO: Chairman Murray and Ranking Member Burr Host Veterans and Nonprofits for Veterans Employment Roundtable

With the unemployment rate among young veterans reaching new highs, Chairman Murray and Ranking Member Burr sat down with Microsoft, nonprofit organizations and veterans to discuss how to help unemployed veterans find skilled jobs



(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray and Ranking Member Richard Burr, together with Microsoft Corp., convened a roundtable discussion about training and hiring America’s unemployed veterans for skilled jobs. In August, Microsoft announced an expansion of its Elevate America veterans initiative, in partnership with the Department of Labor, to provide additional support to veterans in their transition to the civilian workforce. Attendees heard from veterans and the National Commander of the American Legion, Fang Wong, about the difficult employment landscape our returning veterans face.

“The critical issue is making sure that our men and women who come home after serving their country are able to transition into the civilian world,” said Senator Murray at today’s roundtable. “I’ve said many times that this is the most employable group of people in the world. They know how to show up to work on time, they’ve got tremendous skills, they’ve got a great attitude and just have so much to offer to our country.”

At the hearing Julius Clemente, a veteran from Washington, told his own story of struggling to find work that would allow him to translate the skills he learned while serving his country:

“My certification, my experience in the military, faces a difficult challenge of transferring over to the civilian side,” Clemente said. “The path we now face from the military to college -- life is more complicated and challenging than what I thought.”

Attendees also heard from Brad Smith, Microsoft Corporation General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Legal and Corporate Affairs, about the work they are doing to aid veterans and their spouses acquire the skills and resources that they need to be successful in today's workplace.

In June, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously passed Chairman Murray’s Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 - the first of its kind to require broad job skills training for all service members returning home. In addition to providing new job skills training to all service members, the bill will also create new direct federal hiring authority so more service members have jobs waiting for them the day they leave the military, and will for the first time require the military to provide separating servicemembers with the tools to help them find jobs when they return home.

For more information on the bill click HERE.


Meghan Roh

Deputy Press Secretary

Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray



Get Updates from Senator Murray

Lastly, Joan Wile will be participating in an action today in NYC. She explains:


On Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, a coalition of major peace groups will mark the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan war with a large rally at the SE corner of 42nd St. and 7th Ave. from 12 noon to 2 p.m. The event will advocate for an end to the war and redeployment of the money spent for the conflict to our needs here at home.

Among the speakers will be Cong. Charles Rangel; New York City Public Advocate Bill DiBlasiol; City Council member Gale Brewer; Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, Rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church; legendary Broadway actress Vinie Burrows; peace leader Dave McReynolds, renowned civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel, and many more. Entertainment will be provided by the Raging Grannies.
"This is not only America's longest war, it's the first not to be funded, but put on a credit card costing us billions," said Jerry Moss, Vice President of Peace Action Manhattan. "We desperately need that money here at home for jobs, schools, scientific research, health care, repair of infrastructure, and so on."
Sponsors are Military Families Speak Out, the War Resisters League, the Granny Peace Brigade, Afghanistan Veterans Against the War, Code Pink, Peace Action Manhattan, Grandmothers Against the War, Westchester Concerned Families, the Gray Panthers, Veterans for Peace, West Side Campaign Against Hunger, Citizen Soldier, and others.
"There are almost 7,000 dead, hundreds of thousands who lost a limb or developed
long- term medical and mental issues. We must call for an end to a war causing
so much destruction, economic disaster and which has no clear mission or goals achieved," stated Lionelle Hamanaka, a leader of Military Families Speak Out.

DATE: Oct. 7, 2011
TIME: 12 noon to 2 p.m. -- Rep. Rangel scheduled to speak 1 p.m.
LOCATION: SE corner of 42nd St. at 7th Ave

That's today. I've got lousy WiFi reception today and just want to get this up, I'll note Joan in the next entry as well and her book.

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