Sitting in the Flames? A guest post to benefit our Vets.
At a recent multi-author book signing in AZ, I met Dr. John Edwin DeVore, a Vietnam Vet whose thoughtful book Sitting in the Flames was written to help our warriors and their families recover from the horrors of combat.
He told me of the previous week of his being at a local emergency room with his wife when a paralyzed Vet literally crawled in through the door, dragging his body along the concrete by sheer force of will. He’d been refused service at our local (notorious) VA the day before, but had to get inside before they could help him. The confluence of ObamaCare compounding VA abandonment is tragic.
I never served in the military, but as a young civilian engineer with high-level clearances and a desire to help I was very close to the Vietnam War. It was an experience that has shaped the rest of my life, and one that you may see reflected in my novels. I feel a debt to our heroes.
My best friend, Captain Langford C. Metzger, was on the USAF side of the systems I was helping develop. He was a hero who did four combat tours: Five if you count the baby flights out of Saigon when the country was collapsing, after the peace treaty was signed, all our troops were out, and a post-Watergate Congress led by people like Joe Biden cut off the military support we’d promised.
Here is a song that reminds me of Lang. One time I picked him up at Fort Worth, TX when he came in on a C-130. I still get choked up when I hear it.
AWESOME “ANGEL FLIGHT”
This video is about a song called “Angel Flight”. The song is being performed with “effects.” Listen to the words of the pilot and the tower, and make sure you sit quietly and listen at the very end.. You will understand why one of the singers said he would be glad to help with the song…..if he could stop crying. This is beautiful. God bless our Vets!
Here is my blog post about Vietnam. Link.
Suffice it to say that we have not treated our Vets or our serving military well. One person I met along my journey was Colonel Jack Broughton, a decorated fighter pilot turned harsh critic.
Broughton and some of his pilots were court-martialed over an incident where two of his Majors allegedly committed the “crime” of shooting back, and thus violating Rules of Engagement. They were accused of covering up the strafing of a Soviet freighter on their egress of a bombing raid on N. Vietnam. All were acquitted of the most serious charges, and the court-martial was later expunged, but it ended his career. Broughton retired.
Later he wrote: “We were poorly utilized, we were hopelessly misdirected and restricted, and we were woefully misused by a chain of stagnant high-level civilian and military leadership that didn’t have the (courage) to fight the war they ineptly mismanaged.”
All should read General McMaster’s book, Dereliction of Duty, to get an understanding of how Secretary McNamara and Lydon Johnson mismanaged the Vietnam war. Link.
“The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C.”
—H. R. McMaster (from the Conclusion)
Colonel Broughton’s books Thud Ridge and Going Downtown are recommended, as is the Award Winning movie, Thud Pilots. Link. Link. Link.
It was bad in Vietnam and has gotten worse since. The ROEs under Obama were suicidal. Heroes like Colonel Allen West faced charges for being unkind to a terrorist in order to find the bomb maker who was putting his command at risk. People at the highest levels were behind the Benghazi debacle. As yet, no one has ever been punished.
There is a young Lieutenant serving a twenty year prison sentence for murder because he ordered his troops in Afghanistan to engage (kill) some unarmed terrorists on motorcycles who were serving as spotters to target his troops. The officer he was replacing had been injured in just such an attack.
My personal view: Our brave troops have won all the battles, but America has not won a war since 1945. If we don’t have the will and courage to declare war and kill our enemies, we should not send our brave young men and women in Harm’s Way.
Wars often continue until they are won or lost. The Muslims have been fighting each other, and the world, for over 1,000 years. It’s a generational war our leaders pretend doesn’t exist. We dare not speak the word jihad or name the enemy. One side is at war, beheading people and seeking nuclear weapons. The other is in denial, disarming, pretending all is well.
We put our troops into combat, but punish them for harming our enemies. Obama infamously traded Five Top level terrorists for a deserter who abandoned his unit on the battlefield. This was a slap in the face to all who have ever served honorably in our military. We lost six of our finest searching on the battlefield to rescue Bowe Bergdahl.
This traitor was not executed nor did he serve any prison time, thus shaking confidence in the military justice system. The judge who allowed this commented that the Bergdahl case was tainted because President Trump had mentioned his traitorous desertion. The judge made no mention of President Obama’s hosting Bergdahl’s Muslim parents at the White House in a well publicized event, or the fact that Obama’s trading five prisoners without first notifying Congress was illegal.
Right now, there are 65,000 Vets sleeping in our streets and 22 per day committing suicide. We give free health care and benefits to illegals, but we treat our Vets, to whom we owe so much, poorly.
America used to honor our Vets, calling them “The Greatest Generation.” Until Vietnam, when some spit on them when they came home. This because the first war where the losers, not the winners, wrote the history. False history, which has adversely effected every war since. These people are now in power. They are killing our Vets by neglecting our sacred promise to protect them as they protected us.
When Vets die from neglect, this is exposed, prompting outrage and scandal. Congress complains, fingers are pointed, money is voted, change is promised, but the quality and availability of care does not improve.
This is shameful. In what other society would it be tolerated?
Here are links to Colonel Broughton’s books. He led an F-105 outfit that was taking 90% loss rates while raiding N. Vietnam daily in the face of intense, state-of-the-art, Soviet defenses. I read his original edition (1969) Thud Ridge until my copy was tattered. It is no longer in print. I think it is better than the 1985 edited reprint. Link.
And here is a link to the personal history of my friend, Lang Metzger. Lang came home from Vietnam, but he never really left. This page was originally posted by his daughter Lauren. I helped her with it. Link.
And here below is Dr. DeVore’s post. Please contact him directly if you want to know more about his book. www.johnedwindevore.com.
May God Bless America, and especially our troops and our Vets.
The Obama FBI and VA team up to harass Vets: “Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) brought renewed attention to the plight of a growing number of veterans who have been unjustly stripped of their Second Amendment rights. In an April 14 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Grassley takes the Department of Veterans Affairs to task for overreaching policies that have resulted in the names of well over 100,000 veterans and dependents being placed in the FBI’s National Instance Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as prohibited from possessing firearms.”
Our most patriotic citizens are giving up: Colonel Ollie North, with a lifetime of exemplary service to our nation, recently stated in an interview that he was advising his family members to NOT join the military until after 2016 when Obama is gone. Our allies can’t trust America, and our enemies don’t fear us.
Why write Sitting in the Flames?
After retirement in 1993, bowling felt like a really neat activity for a new senior citizen. Three leagues per week, coupled with 40-50 games of practice per week, moved the average to 208. When the average peaked, burn-out and boredom arrived; and bowling was no longer fun. This triggered the search to discover a key to re-spark an interest in bowling and produce a higher bowling average. Competitive bowling was soon to fade from the journey; and sports literature became the menu.
Some of the literature included: Body Mind Mastery: Creating Success in Sport and Life by Dan Millman; Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior by Phil Jackson; The Warrior Within: The philosophies of Bruce Lee to better understand the world around you and achieve a rewarding life by John Little; and The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
What did the reading uncover? My athletic experiences were absent a link between the body and the mind. It appeared that the literature was offering that connected breathing might be the bridge between the physical and mental-emotional bodies, with an added benefit of improved performance in sport and perhaps even life. In one of the many books associated with connected breathing, Naropa Institute was mentioned as an academic institution where the student could learn to meditate. Little did I realize that Naropa Institute, now Naropa University, was located in Boulder, Colorado, a 30 minute commute from home in Arvada, Colorado. Starting in 2001, I was to spend three years in the contemplative environment at Naropa University studying meditation and the five wisdom traditions. This three years re-directed and may have saved my life; and added meditation practice to my daily ritual.
Sitting in the Flames was sparked during a Spiritual Models of Social Action class at Naropa University. Under the leadership of Dr. Judith Simmer-Brown, we were studying Martin Luther King, Jr., Sulak Sivaraska, a Thai social activist, Gandhi and Tich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. One day Dr. Simmer-Brown brought a book to class, placed it on her desk, pointed to the book, looked at me and said, “John, you need to read this book.” The title of the book was War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges, at the time a journalist for the “New York Times” and a professor at Princeton University. This book, complimented by the study and inspiration of Thich Nhat Hanh and his spiritual partner Chan Kong, gave rise to re-visiting, through study, reflection papers and sitting meditation, my two years of combat during the Vietnam War. These reflection papers became quite therapeutic and became the genesis of Sitting in the Flames when it occurred one day that perhaps sharing my experiences with finding freedom from the residual pangs of emotional chaos associated with combat, may help others who suffer from similar trauma associated with the reality of war.
Contact Dr. John Edwin DeVore:
A fine memorial to the Vets of Vietnam. I forwarded it to a friend of mine who was a V/V. He now spends his time participating in patriotic motorcycle rides, tea party meetings, and trying to get his message about Vietnam, wars in general and American exceptionalism to high school students. Most school principles and superintendents don’t want the students exposed to the truth. I don’t understand why, because they are hungry for the truth and grateful when they do get it.
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And so we have, and so we are.
Wow. Just Wow. What a comment:
Great point my daughter made…….
We were speaking to a young Veteran last night. He said he was so touched when his friend, a 90 year old Veteran, thanked him for his service, because the young man said the old man had fought in the BIG war, (WWII), and that he had only fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well the old Veteran just passed away, and the young man said he felt so sad.
My daughter, Lisa, told him something that made him feel better. She told him that “The old Veteran fought so you could be born free, and you fought so he could die free.”
VA Reform: Another Obama “Success Story”
By Michelle Malkin
April 8, 2015, 8:18 am
Eight months ago, President Obama put on a grand show for the troops. Surrounded by new Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald, assorted politicians, military leaders and a bevy of TV cameras, the commander in chief signed the “Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act.” He’s good at inking things.
Obama condemned the “inexcusable conduct” at VA hospitals across the country (and under his own watch).
He vowed to “do right by all who served under our proud flag.” He promised America’s veterans new “reform,” “resources,” “timely care” and an end to the disgraceful disability backlog.
The bill he signed, in case you’d forgotten, included $10 billion in emergency funding to pay for veterans to go outside the chronically dysfunctional VA system if they are facing long wait times or live 40 miles or more from a VA facility, plus another $6.3 billion to set up 27 new clinics and hire doctors, nurses and other medical staff.
So, how’s it all working out? About as well as every other “success story” Obama has signed his name to: abysmally, ineffectually and incompetently.
Take Obama’s hyped plan to expand health care access to those who live far from a VA facility. Obtuse federal bureaucrats interpreted “40 miles” in the narrowest way possible, applied an “as the crow flies” distance rule inconsistently, and excluded untold numbers of vets. It took more than a year — and concerted pressure from veterans groups and GOP lawmakers — for the administration to “clarify” its confused eligibility standards just two weeks ago.
What about “accountability”? Obama bragged last August that “we’ve already taken the first steps to change the way the VA does business. We’ve held people accountable for misconduct. … We should have zero tolerance for that.” Looks like the VA bosses in Shreveport, La., didn’t get the memo. As Tori Richards of Watchdog.org reported last month, a mental health services worker who exposed use of a secret appointment waiting list there was ignored for a year. Instead of accountability for the wrongdoers, the VA employee who blew the whistle, Army vet Shea Wilkes, became the subject of a criminal investigation.
And how’s that new facility construction campaign going? The VA’s atrocious complex has been a problem for decades under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Nothing’s changed under the era of hope and change.
Here in Colorado, the new Aurora VA hospital has become another in a long line of government spending cesspools. The $600-million 184-bed facility is now estimated to cost at least $1.7 billion after a reckless parade of design changes, cost overruns and mismanagement — and may not be ready until 2017. “Accountability”? Pfffft. The head of the VA’s Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction responsible for the waste was allowed to resign with a full federal pension and retention of nearly $60,000 in bonuses earned during the fiasco.
In Colorado Springs, a sparkling new “cutting edge” VA outpatient clinic opened last year on the promise of reducing wait times. But according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, “11.5 percent of veteran appointments for care in Colorado Springs are delayed by 30 days or more,” which is “up from 7 percent” before the $10-million facility opened.
What’s next? You know the drill: more congressional hearings, more grandstanding, another “reform” campaign, more posturing in front of cameras, and more screwed-over vets.
Throwing more money and platitudes at the VA to cover up its deadly scandals is a bipartisan Beltway recipe for failure. Recently retired Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., one of the few to object to last year’s kabuki “VA reform,” was right. “The culture is one of looking good, protecting those in the VA and not protecting our veterans,” he said at the time. “You have to have a bill that fixes that. I don’t believe this is going to do it.”
Mission not accomplished.
Obama Administration STILL Denying Benefits to Fort Hood Victims!
Almost five years ago, a radical Islamist terrorist attacked our Fort Hood military base. For years, the Obama administration referred to the attack as “work place violence” instead of terrorism. Even though Nidal Hassan – the perpetrator – was in communication with Anwar al-Awlaki leading up to the attack, the White House continued to push the false narrative that he was nothing but a disgruntled employee.
Well, after 5 years, we are finally making progress! The dozens of American servicemen and women who were killed or injured during the attack received Purple Hearts today. The Pentagon is finally recognizing the Fort Hood attack as an act of terrorism. They have to because Congress wrote that language into the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.
But there’s one catch: the Government is still refusing to provide military benefits to the victims!
Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning was shot six times during the attack and two of the bullets are still lodged inside of him.
With your help, we got Congress to declare the Fort Hood attack as an act of terror. But when Shawn Manning appealed to have his medical bills paid for by the government and to receive disability benefits, his claim was denied. The government claims his injuries are not combat related!
This is madness! Demand that Congress intervene and extend medical benefits to all the Fort Hood victims!
Isn’t this just despicable? Here we have a veteran still reeling from injuries sustained in a terror attack. And even though he is being awarded a Purple Heart – an award reserved for soldiers injured by enemy forces – the Federal government is claiming Manning’s injuries aren’t “combat related.”
Whatever it takes to perpetuate the Obama administration’s false narrative…
They are so intent on perpetuating this lie that they would actually deny a wounded veteran his combat benefits.
When a terrorist walks onto a military base and starts shooting soldiers that is an act of terrorism. It is an act of war.
It is just so shameful… Watching this administration belittle our military at every turn and do everything in its power to undermine those defending the Red, White and Blue is becoming exhausting.
And now terrorist victims are being denied combat benefits?
I hope you’re sitting down, because the Federal government’s reasoning behind this denial is despicable. This is the response that Shawn Manning got for his appeal:
“Section 571 of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act addresses both the awarding of the Purple Heart to service members killed or wounded in attacks inspired or motivated by foreign terrorist organizations… during the Fort Hood attack on 5 November 2009. Nowhere in the Act, however, does it offer combat benefits for service members permanently disabled in attacks inspired or motivated by foreign terrorist organization.”
Do you see what the Obama administration is saying? They’re saying that Congress might have forced them to give Purple Hearts to the victims, but the law doesn’t force them to offer combat benefits. And since the law doesn’t require it, they’re not going to do it.
Just so shameful…
When Rep. John Carter (R-TX) wrote the law to make Fort Hood victims eligible for the Purple Heart, it was assumed that this language would also make the victims eligible for combat benefits. But the Obama administration found a loophole in the law to allow them to deny these benefits applications!
It’s time for us to act. It is time to raise hell and DEMAND that these wounded and disabled soldiers receive the benefits they deserve!
Don’t let the administration deny benefits to wounded Fort Hood soldiers! Tell Congress to intervene now and give these victims the benefits they deserve!
Obama Administration Denying Benefits to Fort Hood Victims! http://amf.so/12UF4
NOTE — After outrage, the Vets finally got their benefits. It took 5 years. Excellent News: After Purple Hearts, Fort Hood Victims to Get Benefits. Our soldiers deserve this. http://trib.it/1b7GFHv
NOTE: This blog post is focused on how the Obama Administration mistreats our Vets. Illegals get free health care while our Vets are abandoned, and often literally killed from neglect.
But I must point out that America’s SERVING MILITARY has also been mistreated. This issue goes well beyond Benghazi. Here are two links.
Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father.
Mass Murder covered up by the Obama Pentagon:
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I’ve got to stop listening to the news.
Today, I suppose to “honor” D-Day, it was announced that the VA has issued an order that it ill start funding and providing sex change operations and treatment immediately. This just a week after the VA secretary answered a query about the long lines at the VA with a remark that people stand in long lines at Disneyland all the time; it’s no big deal. A remark that should have seen him practicing his standup routine in front of a firing squad.
Don’t get me wrong: I know some people have great VA experiences, but that is not the case across the system. There are still far too many vets suffering serious service related injuries and diseases that are all but ignored. Not a single person in this administration has shown any interest in changing things at the VA, until now that is, when, here comes hope and change for that minute percentage of “confused” people who WANT but don’t need to alter what they were born with. What better way to further stall legitimate VA claims and monumentally waste scarce taxpayer dollars in the process!
The long suffering guys who are still waiting for their actual disabilities (you know, irksome little things like cancer, leukemia, PTSD, hearing loss, lack of bodily function due to old injuries) to be considered by the VA must be thrilled that Stew can now become Sue. And to think that just Friday I was wondering what would the next surprise be from Obama, et al.
Wonder what tomorrow’s surprise from this administration will be. I also wonder when at least a couple of Republican law makers will find their balls. Or, are they all lining up to have them clipped?