Resources Support Inspiration
Vol. 2 Number 4 • April 2015
San Diego K9 Unit Going to the Dogs And That’s a Good Thing Midway Celebrates Legacy of Sacrifice & Freedom Wounded Warrior Project: Supporting Each Other Through Shared Experiences
Service Dog Helps Veteran Survive
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HomeLand Publisher Michael J. Miller
Contributing Writers Linda Kreter Rick Rogers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Jessica Gercke Vesta Anderson Mark Baird Public Relations Linda Kreter CJ Machado
Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine!
Graphic Design Trevor Watson
Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. Homeland Magazine focuses on real stories from real heroes; the service member, the veteran, the wounded and the families that keep it together. Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with service members, families, veterans and civilians. Homeland is about standing your ground, resilience, adaptation, inspiration and solidarity. HOMELAND is inspirational, “feel good” reading; our focus is on family, military and civilians alike. I believe HOMELAND is where the heart is, and our publication covers a wide variety of topics, and issues about real life and real stories. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. They say San Diego is a military town, I find that San Diego is a HOMELAND town, where military and civilians work and live together. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of HOMELAND Magazine. With warmest thanks, Michael J. Miller, Publisher 4
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Homeland Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved. Homeland Magazine 13223 Black Mountain Road, #168 San Diego, CA 92129
858.877.3421 Contact Homeland Magazine at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inside This Issue
7 Midway To Celebrate Legacy Of Sacrifice & Freedom In Vietnam 8 To Hell & Back Service Dog Helps One Veteran Survive 10 Community Spotlight
12 Helen Woodward: AniMeals Aids Wounded Warriors 16 SDPD K9 Unit - Going To The Dogs 20 Do Something Revolutionary
22 The Deepest Wound: A Moral Conscience 24 Wounded Warrior Project Alumni
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The USS Midway rescued more than 3,000 refugees during Vietnam, many of them children, on what became the largest and most successful humanitarian mission in U.S. Navy history.
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Midway to Celebrate Legacy of Sacrifice & Freedom in Vietnam The USS Midway Museum in downtown San Diego is dedicating the month of April to honor “Sacrifice & Freedom in Vietnam,” on the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and of the landmark Operation Frequent Wind (OFW) humanitarian mission on April 30, 1975.
The USS Midway played a leading role in OFW, rescuing more than 3,000 refugees in less than two days. It marked the end of an era in which 58,300 Americans gave their lives in Vietnam.
Operation Remembrance, April 8-23, 2015
During regular museum hours (10 a.m. – 5 p.m., last admission at 4 p.m.), help Midway tie nearly 60,000 yellow and black ribbons in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. All ribbons will be tied on Midway’s flight deck fence. They will be distributed by museum docents and other volunteers onboard Midway. $1 from every admission will be donated to local veterans’ service organizations.
Operation Remembrance for Groups, April 8-23, 2015
Midway can make arrangements for groups to come aboard Midway to tie ribbons as a group activity. For more information/RSVP, contact Steve Suslik at Ssuslik@midway.org, or (619) 398-8289. For groups of at least 10, museum admission is waived. While supplies last.
The Wall That Heals, April 25-30, 2015
A half-sized replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. (including 58,300 names) will be on exhibit on Midway’s flight deck, from 10 a.m. on April 25 to 5 p.m. on April 30, 24 hours a day. There is no admission to see the wall. The wall is 200 feet long and is a powerful and inspirational reminder of those who serve our nation in uniform. Included in the exhibition is a mobile museum. (www.vvmf.org).
San Diego, honor the 60,000 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
“The Last Days of Vietnam” Movie Night, April 25, 2015
Help tie 60,000 yellow ribbons of remembrance on USS Midway’s flight deck fence before The Wall that Heals arrives at Midway on April 24th.
Hosted by KPBS and open to the public with no admission fee. See clips of this Oscar-nominated documentary and a panel discussion. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, visit www.kpbs.org/lastdays.
Sacrifice and Freedom: The 40th Anniversary of Operation Frequent Wind, April 26, 2015
A commemoration of Operation Frequent Wind and the Vietnamese culture, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The USS Midway rescued more than 3,000 refugees on April 30, 1975 during Operation Frequent Wind. A special ceremony will be held, 12 noon to 2 p.m., featuring Vietnamese entertainment, both national anthems, flag-raising, wreath ceremony, special refugee speakers, the 1975 USS Midway captain, Larry Chambers and the 1975 USS Midway air boss, Vern Jumper, sharing their personal stories and recognition of 1975 refugees and 1975 USS Midway crewmembers in attendance. Regular museum admission applies, with the ceremony and activities included. This is a great opportunity to meet refugees and many USS Midway sailors & officers. www.homelandmagazine.com
The Wall That Heals is a 200-foot replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C. that will be displayed on Midway’s bow April 25th-30th. Ribbons will remain in place during The Wall’s visit. $1 of every museum admission will benefit local Veterans organizations. Looking for an inspirational group opportunity for your organization? Contact Steve Suslik for group reservations at: Ssuslik@midway.org or (619) 398-8289
910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 • (619) 544-9600
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To Hell and Back – How a Service Dog Helped One Veteran Survive
By Judy Keene s an Anatolian shepherd, at 110 pounds, Jack is impressive and the guardian angel to his veteran Alex Moreno who has PTSD plus seizures. Here is their story.
Unknown to his mother at the time, Alex enlisted in the Navy Seabees whose motto is “we build, we fight” and unlike most of the Navy, are “groundpounders”, based on land, to do construction work anywhere including the front lines and fight when needed, often beside and with Marines.
Inspired by his grandfather who served for 23 years and became one of few black Navy Chiefs during the Vietnam era, Alex was eager to join the military at age 17. He could only get his mother to give permission for the Navy, not the Marines; she felt that the Marines was too dangerous.
Based in Japan, Alex worked extensively on projects that taught construction methods to Japanese counterparts and worked on major projects that improved local communities, enhancing and reinforcing the American presence in Asia. Some construction sites had hazardous
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material which may have contributed to the massive seizure that hit Alex at age 19. Medivaced back to California, Alex spent almost 9 months in hospitals to get the frequent additional seizures under control. To hell and back … the seizures caused convulsions, reduced vision in one eye, frequent “face plants” and a broken nose two times, severe heart rate problems with his heart stopping twice, and an overwhelming feeling that he did not have long to live. This was complicated by the combat deaths of many friends and mentors who created www.homelandmagazine.com
his sense of stability and his vision of a future; the grief and despair triggered posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and three suicide attempts.
Alex was convinced that he would not live to see his 21st birthday. Then his VA social worker Sonya introduced Alex to the idea of a service dog; Alex was very hesitant until he met with Next Step Service Dogs (Sally Montrucchio, Sandie Hicks, and black standard poodle Ziggy). Ziggy clinched the deal by walking up to Alex, gazing into his eyes, silently saying ‘I really love you, I am here no matter what, don’t worry .‘ Alex immediately trusted Ziggy and the Next Step training program.
Daniels’, Alex would laugh and say, No, just Jack. Months later after service dog certification, Alex comments, “I am single, no kids, so Jack is my son. My mom refers to him as her grandson, that’s how close we are. Jack is my guardian angel, creates a safety barrier around me so I am not fearful around people or public settings, I have new confidence in meeting people, exploring job possibilities, and I know that Jack will wake me up and calm me if I am having a seizure at night. “ Due to Jack, Alex has a much reduced dosage of medication and has a restful sleep of 5 to 7 hours nightly vs. the old days of 1 to 3 hours of fitful anxious sleep per night. Popular everywhere he goes, Jack also creates sheer joy and has his wise guy moments, likes to startle Alex by a quick sniff near the meat counter in the supermarket (a no-no!), and likes to show off around women by a forward, about face, and spin, with a cocky grinning attitude, such a charmer! So what does the future hold for Alex with Jack by his side 24/7? A lot of hiking, camping, and joining more Veteran events like the Tough Mudder. Attending college now, hard but worthwhile, Alex plans on getting a degree in history, a passion of his, and see where that might lead. At 23, Alex no longer feels alone and is optimistic that he will see age 25 and enjoy many more years to come. NOTE: A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in San Diego County, Next Step Service Dogs provides service dogs to veterans with PTSD at no charge, and depends on your generous volunteering and donations for support. For more information, please see www.nextstepservicedogs.org or call 760-438-9190.
Paired with rambunctious service dog-in-training Jack, Alex was asked by friends if Jack was ‘Jack
t in tar mber s s e ram Sept g o Pr and e Jun
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Navy Couple Open Pinot’s Palette Long time Navy couple open new franchise at the former Naval Training Center in Liberty Station, San Diego. Pinot’s Palette is an upscale Paint and Sip Art studio known for providing guests with a fun and entertaining evening of art and wine. Franchisee Dan Truckenbrod, a former F/A-18 pilot and his wife Julie, both first time business owners, opened the newest Pinot’s Palette in the popular retail and commercial destination at Liberty Station, Point Loma. The area holds special meaning for the Truckenbrods as Dan’s father attended basic training at Liberty Station in 1969.
Paint. Paint parties last 2 to 3 hours depending on the complexity of the painting. Our talented artists lead you through the process step by step. Classes are great for girls night out, date night and birthday celebrations. You can book an event in our private party room for special occasions. Great for birthdays, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and corporate team building.
New Program Lets Vets Own Their Own Family Burger Business
in KC-97s and Stratotankers. His veteran’s package includes extensive training, mentoring and guidance in a classroom and in an existing store, then in his own store, plus crew training as well---all on a continuing basis. He also enjoys a financial package enabling ownership under far better than normal franchise terms.
By Bill Koelzer
Brown says, “The goal is to have thirty successful locations operating nationwide within twelve months after opening the first one.” Already, six vets with seven burger locations are under analysis after only a few months since introducing the program. Although Sunrise Warriors’ marketing is focused mainly on retired service personnel, qualified civilians are welcome too.
Veteran Richard Brown, a former executive at both Taco Bell and Fat Burger chains, has created a non-franchise program called Sunrise Warriors, (www.SunriseWarriors.com) enabling primarily retiring veterans to quite easily own their own quick-service restaurant---much like Richard’s famed and wildly successful “Biggie’s Burgers and More” in South San Clemente, CA. Brown says, “Retiring military personnel, both men and women, are trained to follow specific directions every single time. If we teach a veteran owner to always place a spatula in location X, he is less likely than most to place it in location Y. In the quick-service business, following predictable routines yields excellent results.” Brown, 77, served his country for four years in the Air Force as an Air Refueling Boom Operator
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See complete details and videos at SunriseWarriors.com. Phone: 949-366-525 9.
Email: Info@ SunsetWarriors. com.
Drink. Available by the glass or by the bottle, the beautiful bar holds a variety of carefully selected wine and craft beer for your enjoyment. We also have a Captain’s List of additional fine wines that can be purchased by the bottle with two days advance notice.
Have Fun. Anyone can paint and drink but the “Have Fun” is what sets Pinot’s Palette apart from the competition. We have the perfect mix of a classy, upscale studio, fun loving artists with character and upbeat music likely to prompt a rowdy sing along.
Ask about our Military Discount! Reserve your canvas or private event today at: www.pinotspalette.com/ LibertyStation
Veteran Business Owners Think Tank Groups Applications Extended Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.), a project under San Diego non-profit Honoring Our Troops, offers a different option by encouraging and supporting veterans who are or want to be small business owners. The project is seeking applicants to take part in the free program. The free groups meet weekly over 13 weeks, share challenges, focus on goals, determine action steps and gain insights. V.E.T. musters local experts on topics such as marketing, legal issues, taxes, management, human resources, and other small business concerns to provide weekly topic discussions. This time-tested format has proven to accelerate growth and success of every kind of business. Interested veterans may apply directly for the V.E.T. program by filling out an application at www.surveymonkey.com/s/ veteran-entrepreneur. Due to the overwhelming response the window to apply has been extended to April 15, 2015.
Shake It Up
Americans eat 100 acres of pizza each day. That’s 2,400 pizzas a minute. 350 slices a second. Delicious. Learn even more at National University. Service members are eligible for reduced tuition. On base. Online. Non-profit. Don’t think you have time to learn something new? You just did.
Keep learning at think.nu.edu © 2015 National University NU15_2185
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“We are honored to serve these men and women anyway we can. Keeping them with their loving pet companions seems like the very best gift we can offer.” - Helen Woodward Animal Center President and CEO Mike Arms
By Jessica Gercke
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elen Woodward Animal Center was founded in 1972 by Helen Whittier-Woodward with a goal of rescuing and sheltering abandoned animals and promoting humane animal care through education and community outreach. With over 40 years dedicated to the mission of “people helping animals, animals helping people,” Helen’s vision has expanded into an organization like no other with 12 unique programs focused on services devoted to animal welfare and improving the relationship between people and animals. Now, in a new partnership with Wounded Warriors Battalion West at Camp Pendleton, Helen Woodward Animal Center is extending its reach to some of the city’s most deserving individuals – our military heroes. Celebrating the healing bond between animals and people, Helen Woodward
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Animal Center can boast a conservative number of more than ten million animals saved or assisted and over one million people served throughout San Diego County, Southern California, the nation and the world through programs such as: Pet Adoption, Humane Education, The Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays Campaign (encouraging animal adoption over the holidays in partnership with over 4,000 rescue facilities across the globe), Pet Encounter Therapy (bringing the unconditional love of animals to more than 25,000 clients in healthcare facilities across San Diego each year), Therapeutic Horseback Riding (assisting approximately 50 special needs adults and children every week) and AniMeals (providing food for the pets of over 500 homebound San Diego clients each week with the help of partner organizations like Meals on Wheels), among others. www.homelandmagazine.com
Helen Woodward Animal Center’s AniMeals program began on a small scale in 1984 when a Meals-On-Wheels volunteer contacted the Center to express concern that some of his elderly and homebound clients were feeding portions of their own meals to their pets. Unable to afford food for their furry family members, they opted to forgo healthy portions of their own meals rather than give up the companionship of their beloved friends. Helen Woodward Animal Center made arrangements to provide regular pet meals to those clients and over time it became evident that a great need for this service existed in other communities, as well. Now, with the dedication of over 50 volunteers, the program regularly provides meals to just over 700 pets throughout San Diego County each month. The program is free of cost to all recipients and is almost entirely volunteer-run and donation-based. The idea to extend this program to the military seemed like a natural fit. “This is a military town,” stated Helen Woodward Animal Center President and CEO Mike Arms. “We are honored to serve these men and women anyway we can. Keeping them with their loving pet companions seems like the very best gift we can offer.”
the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research, is also a leading sponsor of pet cancer awareness and of critical studies of pet cancer, health, treatment and nutrition at top veterinary medical schools across the United States. For more information about Blue Buffalo, visit the company’s website at www.BlueBuffalo.com.
Thanks to a partnership with natural pet food company Blue Buffalo, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s AniMeals program began providing high quality pet food to wounded military clients with service dogs through the Recovery Care Coordinator Office (RCC) and the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) this year. Arrangements are also underway to assist additional clients through the the Semper Fi Fund (which provides more long term help for soldieries that are no longer in “active recovery” and have entered more of a maintenance stage of living with disability). “It means so much to all of us at Blue Buffalo to provide food to these amazing dogs and their heroic owners,” said David Petrie, Vice President at Blue Buffalo. “These military veterans have dedicated their lives to us and we are extremely happy to keep their loving companions healthy and well fed.” The response from military clients currently receiving assistance through AniMeals has been heartwarming and encouraging. For many of these men and women, post-war recovery requires downtime that has led to feelings of isolation and often their service dogs become a major form of comfort. The fear of losing these beloved companions can lead to anxiety, panic attacks and deep depression. The AniMeals program is helping to put these fears to rest. Only a few weeks ago, Helen Woodward Animal Center received news that an individual who had worried about losing his service dog before receiving assistance from AniMeals was now doing well, suffering fewer panic attacks and had taken his first step since returning home. His beloved service dog was by his side to cheer him on.
About Helen Woodward Animal Center
Helen Woodward Animal Center is a private, non-profit organization where “people help animals and animals help people.” Founded in 1972 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the Center provides services for more than 57,000 people and thousands of animals annually through adoptions, educational and therapeutic programs both onsite and throughout the community. Helen Woodward Animal Center is also the creator of the international Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive, the International Remember Me Thursday™ campaign and The Business of Saving Lives Workshops, teaching the business of saving lives to animal welfare leaders from around the world. For more information go to: www.animalcenter.org.
About Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo, located in Wilton, CT, is the nation’s leading natural pet food company, and provides natural dog food, natural cat food and treats under its BLUE Life Protection Formula, BLUE Wilderness, BLUE Basics and BLUE Freedom lines. Paying tribute to its founding mission, the company, through www.homelandmagazine.com
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San Diego PD Going to the Dogs - And That’s a Good Thing By Rick Rogers Special to Homeland Magazine Sgt. Casey Gini and his partner Iron don’t track down drug dealers or bust burglars. It’s not what they do. But throw in a violent felon or someone attempting suicide by cop and now you’re talking. And due to a host of reasons – including Post Traumatic Stress among veterans -- business for Gini and Iron is brisk and growing. So much so the San Diego Police Department’s K-9 unit – with the backing of San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman -- is enjoying a renaissance not seen since the early 1990s when it fielded one of the nation’s larger dog units after a report suggested it could reduce deadly force cases. Some 25 years later, the San Diego Police Department is again turning to dog power. “People are challenging the police every day with a gun, knife or bottle in their hands,” said Lt. Duane Voss. “But when the dog shows up, they give up. Some times just hearing the dogs barking in the cars is enough to make them surrender.” “Even when people are waving weapons and screaming they want to be killed by the police, they would rather be shot than bit by a dog,” Voss said. “The dogs are saving lives of the public every day, while keeping officers safe and saving the city from liability.” Voss runs 31 dogs and handlers out of a small compound next to a police firing range off Route 94. Within the next year or so the unit will expand to 42 dogs and handlers. The unit peaked at 53 back in the 1990s. The police dogs – usually male Belgian Malinois instead of German Shepherds because they hold up better – are purchased by the San Diego Police Foundation and, because they’re raised in places like Germany and Slovakia, are commanded in their native tongue.
Even within the police dogs ranks there is sub-specialization. Turns out the animals are divided by expertise: explosives, drugs or articles. The first two categories are self-explanatory. “Articles” refers to items used to commit a crime, such as a knife or a gun.
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16 HOMELAND / March 2015
Some dogs are proficient across categories and it can take much training for a handler to recognize whether his dog has just located drugs or explosives. This learning curve isn’t holding anyone back. Appointment to the K-9 unit is a dream job with 10 officers routinely applying for every opening. The reason is simple: The dogs go where the action is. Canine units take the most dangerous calls, the kind that would otherwise put officers in harms way, such as searching canyons for fugitives, reconnoitering buildings for bombs or confronting the violently unhinged. All this makes the work varied and interesting. Officers can’t sign up fast enough. “I get the best of the best cops here,” Voss said. “People come here and they never want to leave.” It’s an exciting job. It’s also a hard job – physically and mentally demanding. Success lies in understanding your partner inside and out, who in this case weighs 60 pounds and has a brain the size of a walnut. And just because an officer excelled as a street cop doesn’t mean they’ll be any good on the end of a leash when the chance comes. Gini, a Navy veteran, patrol officer and former SWAT member, began positioning himself to join the K-9 unit eight years ago. He made it last September. “It’s been phenomenal. Everything I always thought it would be,” Gini said about working with Iron, an energetic two-year-old Belgian Malinois. And busy. In the four months ending in January, San Diego K-9 units were involved in: * 6,400 radio calls, 306 searches, 74 interventions and 16 street bites “People are more confrontational with police officers than they used to be,” Gini said. “Mental illness is greater. Our suicide calls have tripled, and I am increasingly seeing veterans with Post Traumatic Stress.” Added Voss: “Patrol officers ask for our dogs if they believe, even remotely, that they are going to need them. They recognize the asset we have here. The sooner we can get the dog to the call, the better the chance to resolve a potentially violent situation.”
Continues on page 18>
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Continued from page 17 The relationship between a dog and its handler is unique in all of law enforcement and in some ways eclipses the vaunted bond between human partners. For one thing, handlers like Gini take their partners home and are responsible for their care and maintenance every day whether in uniform or not. It’s a huge commitment to a valuable asset – the dogs cost $11,000 to $13,000 each – that stretches well beyond a 40-hour-a-week job. “I spend more time with Iron than I do my wife,” Gini quips. Handlers must know their dog’s personalities and how they’ll react in tense situations. Then they must train them to obey commands instantly, even if they run counter to their natures, like stopping midrun to take down a suspect. “It’s a very hard thing to teach,” Gini said, who teaches Iron this by sending him first after one object only to call him off and send him for another. A testament to this training, said Voss, is that of the thousands of “street bites” recorded by the San Diego police since 1984, “very few” have resulted in civil suits. As Gini works with Iron, Voss watches. Pistol shots from range next door sting the air. “I like to say that a police dog is the only force option that can be called back,” Voss said. “You can’t bring a bullet back once it’s fired. But we can send a dog to disarm a suspect and if that suspect drops the weapon, we can call off the dog before it bites. It’s amazing.”
Special Thanks to San Diego Narcotic Task Force Airport Group Detective Mike Aiken and K9 “Reilly” SDPD K9 Officer Reilly served the citizens of San Diego from 2005 until his retirement in January 2015. During his 9 year career, Reilly assisted law enforcement officers with hundreds of drug investigations resulting in the seizure of over 1,300 pounds of narcotics (meth, cocaine, heroin and marijuana) as well as several million dollars in cash drug proceeds. Reilly also regularly performed K9 presentations and personally interacted with over 30,000 area school children during annual National Red Ribbon events and other community events. Reilly passed away on 01/29/15 18
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SHANE PARSONS, WOUNDED WARRIOR
SOMETIMES THE HARDEST FIGHT COMES AFTER THE BATTLE. Wounded Warrior Project速 long-term support programs provide these brave men and women whatever they need to continue their fight for independence. At no cost. For life. Help us help more of these warriors in their new life-long battle. Find out what you can do at findWWP.org.
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DO SOMETHING REVOLUTIONARY By, CJ Machado
A country in turmoil, refusal of defeat and the rise of the American Nation is told on AMC’s exciting spy series Turn.
raig Silverstein’s Revolutionary War drama is based on Alexander Rose’s historical novel Washington’s Spies. Turn tells the untold story of America’s first spy ring. Most people know General George Washington (Ian Kahn) as our first President and the father of our country, however, little has been told about his masterminding the first American spy ring that was instrumental in winning the Revolutionary War. Season 1 focused on the formation of the Culper Spy Ring that was created by Setauket childhood friends Ben Talmadge (Seth Numrich) and Abraham Woodhull (Jamie Bell). In 1777, the colonists were losing the war with the British holding New York City. Long Island farmer, Woodhull was in the best strategic place to hold a spy ring and help Washington regain control. Abe was torn between joining the Revolution and the influences of his wife (Meegan Warner) and father (Kevin McNally), both British Loyalists. His lifelong friendship with Ben and his childhood love (Heather Lind) persuaded his rebellious decision.
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Season 2 will be in “full throttle”, keeping the viewers enthralled with intense action, a risky love triangle and clever spy craft, including the first military submersible. Designed and built by American Patriot David Bushnell, the “American Turtle” replica will be featured for the first time on Prime Time Television.
Abe progressively became a vital part of the Culper Spy Ring delivering Hessian troop movements to Trenton and the British plans for the invasion of Philadelphia to General Washington. Later, he was forced to murder a quartering British soldier to protect his secrets, leaving no question of his commitment to the cause. Turn’s compelling finale in Season 1 has made season 2 much anticipated. Season 2 will be in “full throttle”, keeping the viewers enthralled with intense action, a risky love triangle and clever spy craft, including the first military submersible. Designed and built by American Patriot David Bushnell, the “American Turtle” replica will be featured for the first time on Prime Time Television. Turn will introduce new fascinating characters, including legendary field Commander and the most infamous traitor Benedict Arnold, socialite Peggy Shippen, and the unlikely Culper Ring recruit Robert Townsend. Turn’s second season, two-hour premiere will air Monday, April 13th, 9/8 central. Expect a large draw from patriots, military and historians alike. Season 1 is now available on Netflix, just in time to get caught up for season’s 2 excitement. Special thanks to AMC and Executive Producer and Creator Craig Silverstein.
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By Mark Baird
erhaps the worst wound of war is the injury to veterans’ moral consciences. They participated in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands, enemy or not. Killing is something that nearly no one desires to do. It is abhorrent to almost everyone. Veterans that participate in war carry a particularly heavy weight. They have to do things that can injure their souls.
Certainly snipers must deal with this. Too often in these recent wars children with weapons have been their targets. I know of one sniper that was unable to stop the firing from three windows of a building that had already killed 3 Marines. The sniper and his squad were instructed to blow the building with ribbon grenades. When they went inside they discovered it was a daycare filled with small children. Three older students, probably around 12 years old, had been firing from the windows. The Captain who ordered this attack lost his mind. After seeing the carnage, a devout Christian soldier shot himself in the head. The rest of the squad live with this every day. Eventually, the sensitivity to images and sounds of combat will fade away. Their nervous systems will repair. But it is the memories of being involved in an act that repulses their moral consciences that will be the hardest and most difficult to heal. A wound to one’s soul is the major issue of combat PTSD. It does not need to be this personal and up close of an encounter to inflict a wound in a combat soldier’s mind. Artillery soldiers that get coordinates and fire huge rounds of explosives that do massive damage and kill many also suffer from a tortured moral conscience. Even though they may not see the results of their salvos, they still know what happened. They see the reports. – Pilots, sailors on ships, and even those fighting a remote control war from a safe chair on a secure base, perhaps from within the U.S. also are plagued by the weight of moral responsibility their duties and orders have left them to deal with. This is the cause of most of our veteran suicides. Seeking punishment, even hoping for an eternity in Hell, is not an uncommon thought. It is an honest and sincere desire of many such veterans. Talking to them about forgiveness is a very difficult and often impossible task. Being told that “You were just
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following orders” means little or nothing to them. They still see themselves as guilty. Every American inherits a deep responsibility when we allow our government to declare a war and to send our young men and women to do the dirty work. The Iraq War is over, for now. Our soldiers have returned home. It is our national moral obligation to do everything we can to heal our brave men and women who volunteered to risk their lives in fighting these wars. Always show respect to a US veteran, particularly those that had a part to play in combat. We share in the moral accountability of US veterans. No civilian should turn their back and say, “That’s their problem.” We are a government of the people and by the people. We all played a part. Every US citizens should let our veterans know that you care about them. Be ready, willing and eager to be there for them. Give them a big hug when you can. Love our US veterans. They need it more now than ever! (Mark Baird is the founder of HirePatriots.com. He has created a non-profit with multiple innovative programs for US veterans. He is a US veteran advocate and a Christian chaplain, as well as a writer, speaker, marketer, recruiter, business builder, mentor, and employer. He provides a popular job board: HirePatriots.com. He also works with US veteran entrepreneurs and has created an entire marketing plan for them that is detailed in his book The Patriotic Business Plan: Strategies for Sensational Success HirePatriots also has a veteran entrepreneur program. He offers businesses his expertise in recruiting and marketing to US veterans in exchange for sponsoring his programs.)
Every US citizens should let our veterans know that you care about them. Be ready, willing and eager to be there for them. Give them a big hug when you can. Love our US veterans. They need it more now than ever!
HOMELAND / April 2015 23
SUPPORTING EACH OTHER THROUGH SHARED EXPERIENCES
Wounded Warrior Project Alumni Participate in Pheasant Hunt By Vesta Anderson
eer support plays an important role in the healing process as it allows individuals to build relationships based off of shared experiences. The experiences themselves, past and present, play just as critical a role in bringing forth the change in mindset injured veterans must adopt to better transition to civilian life. At a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Alumni program event in Ellensburg, Wash., everyone experienced first-hand what is possible when injured veterans are exposed to programs and services that both honor and empower. Injured servicemen and women enrolled with WWP are referred to as “alumni” – a special word that indicates a mutually shared experience and denotes that the wounded veteran’s place in WWP was earned – not purchased. Through
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its 20 programs and services, WWP honors and empowers its alumni with a goal to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of injured veterans in the nation’s history. Alice and Doug Brunett, co-founders of Cooke Canyon Hunt Club, a non-profit membership club that focuses on hunting and dog training, have been hosting WWP alumni at special hunting experiences for four years. The two-day experience, which involves both skeet shooting lessons and a pheasant hunt, is an example of the variety of WWP events offered across the nation and abroad. These events help to build a peer-support structure that is instrumental in an injured veteran’s recovery process. “Alumni events are important because they give wounded veterans a chance to network with each other,” said Ross Magill, WWP outreach specialist
at Seattle, Wash., and wounded service member. “It helps warriors realize they are not alone.” Injured veterans, in fact, are not alone. As of April 2015, WWP serves more than 65,000 warriors and more than 10,000 caregivers and family members. The growing need for programs and services is evident. In order to meet the increasing need over the last five years, WWP has grown its programs and services at an annual rate of 50 percent, providing an additional $400 million in support to warriors, their caregivers, and families. During this year’s pheasant hunt, the Brunetts experienced an increase in alumni participation by more than 41 percent from the same event last year. For more one-on-one time, the 17 attendees were divided into five groups. Each group included one WWP Peer Mentor. www.homelandmagazine.com
being carried have the opportunity to become the warrior who carries others. Essentially, Peer Mentors are able to connect a mentee’s past experiences to his or her current experiences, ensuring the warrior is benefiting from the full intent of the event. As warriors absorb the lessons learned through these activities, liaisons are indispensable to warriors who are actively repositioning their thought processes. Magill recalls fellow warriors with their rifles “in the ready position” during the pheasant hunt. “They each had their rifle strapped neatly to the front of the chest,” he explained. “They would hold it just low enough to see over the sights.” “The veterans that come to hunt are trained combat professionals,” said Alice. “They naturally hold their rifles in combat position. We then teach them to hold their rifles in a bird hunting stance.” The visible, mental transition is evident: not every weapon is for combat. That thought creates a crack in their shell – a crack just wide enough to start the dialog needed for change. “When they are told to point their rifles in the air or to the ground, in the bird-hunting stance, you
can see something start to turn in their heads,” said Magill. “They start to realize they’re not on guard. They’re not here to protect anyone— they’re here for fun.” It is all part of the healing process. The shift in mindset triggers a deep realization in wounded veterans. “This is our new normal,” Magill explains of both his and his fellow veterans’ new lives. “We were different people before we signed up for military service—even more different after combat. We come out [of service] still wired for sound.” WWP Alumni events and activities provide longterm support and camaraderie for wounded service members. These events unite the shared experiences among injured veterans and allow them to bond and grow in this unique support structure. Participants connect deeply to their peers through shared stories, many making friends for life, many more considering each other family. “It’s just a special time for them,” said Alice. “They go out in the field to hunt a little hesitant. The walls are up. But when they come back for lunch, they are wearing smiles and sharing stories. This [event] helps relieve the pressure.
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“Peer Mentors are important at these events,” said Magill. “They’re also WWP alumni but are further along in the recovery process, so they help create important dialog.” Peer Mentors know what it is to endure the road to recovery—this unique equality in the relationship allows them to serve as a role model, motivator, supporter, and friend, while also maintaining close vigilance of each warrior’s needs and potential triggers. The Peer Mentor role during the recovery process is so crucial that WWP has a program specifically focused in this area called the WWP Peer Support program. The goal of the Peer Support program is for every warrior being mentored to eventually mentor another warrior, thus embodying the WWP logo of one warrior carrying another. By becoming a Peer Mentor, warriors who once were the warrior www.homelandmagazine.com
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Continued from page 25
Let’s them forget for a short time the things they went through—that they still go through.” The change brought forth impacts more than just the wounded veterans participating.
“Yes, we donate the birds – we donate the event,” said Alice. “It’s our honor,” she states. “But we have been paid many times over. We are paid through their smiles and hugs. We are paid through their stories. We were already paid through their service.”
If you or someone you know is interested in receiving peer mentoring or peer mentor training, please contact the WWP Resource Center at email@example.com or 888.WWP.ALUM (997.2586).
About Wounded Warrior Project The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
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