Veteran crisis: Newest war vets become homeless at alarming rate

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  • DearMandie Springville, Utah
    Jan. 28, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    I find it disturbing that so much effort and expense go into recruiting young people to join the military but once they have been "spent" of all they can give, they are discarded. They are rigorously trained and broken down in order to be shaped into soldiers. Once they return it is very difficult, if not impossible for them to acclimate themselves back into society. The US government should put just as much effort into rehabilitating our soldiers as they do into recruiting them. My father, a Vietnam veteran, still suffers immensely from the effects of PTSD. He is fortunate to be one of the very few that has managed to lead a productive life despite his daily challenges. How sad for those that risk their lives for the rest of us only to be invisible once they return.

  • Beck Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 26, 2011 7:22 p.m.

    VA Chapter 31 can lay out a program for disabled veterans, either physically or mentally, to accomplish what they would like to in their future goals. This includes college education, flight programs, etc. and may be helpful as the VA will assign a counselor to work with each veteran on an individual basis. I work at a private university and we see these types of veterans succeed. I cannot imagine that we would be alone in our program offering, so I would encourage the veterans to speak to their local VA about Chapter 31 benefits.

  • robertsgt40 san antonio, texas
    Jan. 26, 2011 3:25 p.m.

    Sadly, this will continue. The driving force in these wars comes from the politicians, contractors and bankers that profit from our misery. As a Viet Nam veteran, I wondered for 20yrs why we did what we did. Now I know. Profit and empire all at the sacrifice of our youth. It breaks my heart. Nothing will change until we all say "enough".

  • dugan Pittsburgh, PA
    Jan. 26, 2011 1:33 p.m.

    For me the big issue is trust. With so much in the news about PTSD recently about how the military is trying to help, I reached out to the the VA through a help line but wouldn't go in and file the paper work. Trusting the government with my information is a hurdle hard to overcome. Besides, having lived with this for so many decades, I've adjusted to acceptance that this is how I am. My solution is solitude. Finding this site was a good thing. At least here I can say something. Thank you for making known what's going on.

  • dugan Pittsburgh, PA
    Jan. 26, 2011 1:16 p.m.

    There is a Frontline (PBS) video titled "The Wounded Platoon." I noticed we can't publish urls or else I'd do so. This situation is heart breaking. No one ever fully overcomes PTSD. The best those with it can do is practice tools learned through counseling to check themselves, and the learning process is ongoing. In war, there is no such thing as collateral damage. In war, everyone is a victim. In war, the perpetrators on high always fail to care for those they use as fodder to serve their purposes and whose families they destroy. The best those who suffer can do is learn to accomodate what they cannot change and to change for the best without doing harm whatever they can. "Normal" becomes unique to each individual. Inside, one is always alone. Outside, one must learn how to fake it.

  • John Robert Mallernee Gulfport, MS
    Jan. 25, 2011 1:52 p.m.


    As a Viet Nam veteran, I spent quite a few years living on and off the streets of Salt Lake City, in and out of the Veterans Administration Medical Center, plus a couple of overnight stays in the Salt Lake County Jail.

    I couldn't keep a job or complete college, and I permanently alienated my wife.

    Sometimes, I had help from fellow Latter-day Saints, but often, the Church didn't know I was out there, which lead to periods of inactivity.

    Since the DESERET NEWS does not permit Internet URLs to be published in the COMMENTS section, then please do an Internet search for "ARMED FORCES RETIREMENT HOME".

    There are two of them, the Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C., and the Naval Home in Gulfport, Mississippi, which are now combined under one administration, making both homes open to all disabled veterans or retirees, regardless of which military branch they served in.

    Officially, there is a waiting list, but unofficially - - - ?

    Try it anyway.

    I've lived in both homes, and the one in Gulfport is, by far, the safest environment.

    Thank you.

    John Robert Mallernee
    Armed Forces Retirement Home
    Gulfport, Mississippi 39507

  • cindyacre Shelley, ID
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:40 p.m.

    Habitat for Humanity would be a great way to get involved. These guys risked their lives for us!

  • Peace Holladay, utah
    Jan. 25, 2011 12:10 p.m.

    Wouldn't it be terrific if instead of the re-hashing ideological debates 24/7, "socialism is bad, liberalism is worse, spending is ... etc., "
    the most aggressive political movement would get aggressive on this issue instead?

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 10:31 a.m.

    'The solution is that these soldiers need to come home and be able to find a good job.' - itsaconspiracy | 9:21 a.m. Jan. 25, 2011

    While I agree with the sentiment, having a job will not help with PTSD or 'shell shock' most vets have as addressed with this article.

    'Calls To Veterans' Suicide Hotline Double' - CBS News - 07/28/08
    'New VA Phone Line, Created Last July, Now Taking 250 Calls Per Day'

    Getting a job and a routine is great.

    But going from being shot in the neck to sitting on your couch with your mom in 48hours is incredibly jarring.

    In vietnam we started to see the damage of Psychological & physical damage. After Desert Storm we saw the affects of PTSD.

    Today, we are barely scrapping the surface of what needs to be done. My Psych evalulation when I left the service was a joke. A smart 6yr old could pass it and lie about their well-being. There is incredible pressure to AVOID asking for help.

    We need to do more. Agreed to get our vets employed, but to make their lives here BEARABLE after witnessing the horrors of war.

  • donquixote84721 Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 9:42 a.m.

    WAKE UP AMERICA these are our HERROES. They have stood between us and harms way. There should NEVER be a homeless Vet.

  • itsaconspiracy Provo, Utah
    Jan. 25, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    The solution is that these soldiers need to come home and be able to find a good job. The problems is all the good jobs in manufacturing have been shipped over seas!

    We need manufacturing rebuilt in this country!

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2011 9:16 a.m.

    'In Utah, Sanford is one of 350 homeless veterans. Nationally, 110,000 former servicement and women don't have permanent housing.' - Article

    We need to do more.

    We can do more.

    We will do more.