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Homeland Resources Support Inspiration

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Vol. 2 Number 1 • January 2015

UNBROKEN Louis Zamperini: A Hero Like No Other

Top Stories and Images of 2014 Transitioning Warriors to the Civilian Workforce San Diego VA Evolving Treatments

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Our Wish For Military Families

HomeLand Publisher Michael J. Miller

Contributing Writers Wounded Warrior Project Linda Kreter Rick Rogers CJ Machado Public Relations Linda Kreter CJ Machado Graphic Design Trevor Watson To ring in the New Year, the staff of Homeland Magazine reflects on what military families may wish for 2015. While we all wish for health, prosperity, and good friends—military families see the greater picture: the world their service members defend. We offer this list on behalf of the military families we serve and we promise to make these wishes a lasting reality.

We hope our wounded service members can receive the care they need, and their caregivers the aid to help them heal.

We wish for sustained support of the programs and services that military families have come to rely on when faced with the uncertainties of military operations and separations.

We wish the Nation would understand veterans’ families have limited resources on which to rely, and when honoring the veteran we should also remember the family that supports them.

We wish for access to quality health care for service members and families, for both mind and body, no matter what uniform they wear or where they live. We hope our military children can have access to quality schools in a safe and caring environment wherever they are stationed. We wish for military spouses to find fulfillment through educational opportunities and rewarding careers. We hope military families, whatever their definition of family may be, can support and care for each other.

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We hope the families of the fallen will be consoled and receive some comfort from the benefits they are provided on behalf of a grateful Nation.

We wish communities would reach out, take time to appreciate the contributions of service members and families, and realize we are all neighbors who should care for each other. We wish lawmakers could come together and pass thoughtful legislation to ensure service members have the resources they require to do their jobs, and provide military families with the programs and services they need to support their service members. And we wish for peace in the world and in our families, for this year and the years to come.

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: info@homelandmagazine.com www.homelandmagazine.com


Inside This Issue

Homeland top stories and Images of

Swimmers watch fireworks during a New Year’s celebration on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 1, 2014.

4 Our Wish For Military Families 8 San Diego VA - Evolving Treatments as Traumatic Stress Rises

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12 Transitioning Warriors to the Civilian Workforce 14 Department of Defense Helps Service Members Vote

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16 Louis Zamperini: A Hero Like No Other

20 Top Stories & Images 2014

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Resources Support Inspiration 6

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San Diego VA

Evolving Treatments as Traumatic Stress Numbers Rise By Rick Rogers VA Volunteer

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The fighting might be over, but the wounded keep coming. Every month dozens of veterans are added to the treatment roles of the VA San Diego Healthcare System for help dealing with the psychological effects of their wartime service. All told nearly 30,000 of them. It’s been this way for at least five years making the San Diego VA one of the top three locations nationally in the number of Iraq and Afghanistan, Vietnam and even Korea and World War II vets being seen for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other related ills. While no one is sure when the procession will stop, what has changed is how the pioneering San Diego VA is healing these warriors and restoring their faith in the promise of their lives. “Years ago it was expected that someone diagnosed with PTSD would have it for the rest of their lives,” said Dr. Sonya Norman, a research psychologist at the VA San Diego Healthcare System and director of the VA’s national PTSD consultation program. “Now we are much more hopeful now that symptoms can be relieved and that veterans can recover and have the life and the relationships they want,” Norman said. “We have come a long way in the last decade, especially in the last few years.” That optimism is grounded in a number of innovative programs that give VA mental health providers options for PTSD treatments never dreamed up just a few years ago and veterans numerous ways to leverage technology to help them through the rough patches.

Among the most popular is a telemedicine program piloted at the San Diego VA that allows vets one-on-one appointments via computer screen at VA facilities or even their personal laptops. Recent studies show this method of doctoring as effective as in-person sessions with the added benefit of ease of use.

The animation on “What is PTSD” has tallied more than 82,000 views since June. The VA also capitalizing on smart phones popularity by introducing the mobile app “PTSD Coach,” which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times worldwide. The app can help veterans understand, manage,

“We learned an awful lot about PTSD in the last decade, especially the last few years,” Norman said, “and our veterans are and will benefit from that.” In addition, the National Center for PTSD has rolled out other a number of other initiatives as well. Among them, “About Face,” (http://www.ptsd. va.gov/apps/AboutFace/) a website dedicated to improving the lives of veterans with posttraumatic stress by educating them on its symptoms, their treatment options while allowing them to hear the stories of veterans who once stood in their shoes and how they found peace. The website contains sections for veterans, clinicians and family members. “The idea here is that vets can feel pretty alone when they are going through this and this helps them find someone like themselves who have experienced what they are,” Norman said. “Many vets don’t know what they are going to be in store for when they come in and this helps calm their concerns and answers their questions.”

screen and track symptoms while providing links to support 24/7. Norman said that on average 50 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans enter its program each month, which is trend she does not see ending any time soon. On the plus side of the equation is the VA has never had better treatment for them. “We learned an awful lot about PTSD in the last decade, especially the last few years,” Norman said, “and our veterans are and will benefit from that.” More on the programs that the VA is now using to promote vet wellness can be found at: http:// www.ptsd.va.gov/public/materials/videos/index. asp

To contact the San Diego VA Healthcare System’s PTSD clinic, call (858) 642-3391.

Another innovation takes a graphic approach to illustrate the most common mental anguish arising from combat – as well as its treatments – is a series of “whiteboard” videos (http://www. ptsd.va.gov/public/materials/videos/ whiteboards.asp).

Continued on page 10 www.homelandmagazine.com

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Transitioning Warriors to the Civilian Workforce By Wounded Warrior Project

A

t Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), our goal is to foster the most successful, welladjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history. This is WWP’s vision for the future of all service members returning from our nation’s conflicts overseas. To achieve this goal, we focus on providing unique, directed programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members and assure they find their place in civilian life.

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With January being National Financial Wellness Month, a special light should be shone upon one of the pillars on which WWP has been built: economic empowerment. Considering the fact that 13.9% of the over 21,000 alumni respondents in WWP’s 2014 Annual Alumni Survey identified themselves as unemployed, WWP’s economic empowerment programs are of paramount importance in the mission of honoring and empowering wounded warriors. These programs serve as key pieces in WWP’s effort to ensure that warriors are not unemployed or underemployed and have opportunities to pursue meaningful careers. Understanding that each warrior has his or her own set of needs when returning to civilian employment, the Warriors to Work™ program matches the www.homelandmagazine.com


skills and experience of WWP alumni to the needs of companies that are actively seeking employees. These services are also open to the registered family members and caregivers of WWP Alumni. Specialists work with warriors and caregivers in need of employment by helping them set attainable goals, build an effective resume, prepare for the interview process, and network with prospective employers. Additionally, Warriors to Work teammates work directly with employers to connect them with qualified candidates, educate them about employing warriors with combat-related injuries (such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury), develop long-lasting relationships throughout the employment cycle, and help facilitate the hiring process. Warriors to Work www.homelandmagazine.com

specialists also guide the warriors through the process of adjusting to civilian employment after the military and managing their finances. Since the beginning of the Warriors to Work program, over 3,600 WWP Alumni have been placed in employment with 74% of those warriors retaining their employment for over a year past their placement. By 2017, we at WWP believe that over 10,000 warriors and caregivers will be employed through the Warriors to Work program. In addition to Warriors to Work, WWP offers two other programs designed to help set warriors on the path to economic empowerment. TRACK™ is a

Continued on page 15

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Department of Defense Helps Service Members Vote from Anywhere in the World 2. Fold and seal your FPCA. If using the online FPCA, the PDF package includes a template for a postage-paid envelope. 3. Address and mail the FPCA to your local election official. Contact information can be found at FVAP.gov. Be sure to include your return address, and affix postage if using a foreign postal service. Return Your Voted Ballot. Ballots are sent out by the states 45 days prior to the election. Once you receive your official ballot, follow the enclosed instructions provided by your local election official.

Make sure you know the absentee voting process and the resources that help make it easy. Voting is one of our most fundamental rights as U.S. citizens, and as a military Service member, you and your family members are eligible to vote absentee. This means you can cast your ballots from wherever you are stationed. It’s easy, and the Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website has everything you need. Even if you just voted in the 2014 midterm elections, it’s important you register to vote and request your absentee ballot again this year. In fact, FVAP recommends you do it every January to make sure your information is updated and your absentee ballot application remains active. Go to FVAP.gov to fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which serves as both a voter registration and absentee ballot request form.

Have a Backup Plan. If you have not received the ballot you requested from your state at least 30 days before the election, you may use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The FWAB is a write-in backup ballot that can be completed for any federal election or for State and local elections depending on your state of residence. The FWAB can be easily completed by using the online tools at FVAP.gov. You can also complete the PDF version of the form or pick up a hardcopy version from your unit Voting Assistance Officer. Stay Informed. Sign up for your state’s voting alerts at FVAP.gov to keep updated on election dates, important deadlines and changes to state laws that affect how you vote absentee. If you experience any issues or have questions, FVAP’s call center is available at 1-800-438-VOTE (8683), DSN 425-1584, or at vote@fvap. gov. Toll-free phone numbers from 67 countries are listed at FVAP. gov. Find us on Facebook at /DoDFVAP and follow @FVAP on Twitter

Rules may differ from state-to-state, but are broken down into just a few basic steps: • Complete an FPCA from FVAP.gov to register and request your absentee ballot. • Sign and send the request to your election office. • Receive your absentee ballot. • Vote and return the ballot to your election office. Get Started! Send in Your Registration and Ballot Request. Using the Federal Post Card Application available at FVAP.gov will maximize your eligibility to vote in each upcoming federal election. In many instances, you may receive ballots for all upcoming elections. To ensure you meet your state’s requirements, just do the following: 1. Complete and sign the FPCA using your state’s instructions. Find your state’s instructions at FVAP.gov by selecting your home state from the drop-down menu. If using the online FPCA, print and sign the form.

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Transitioning Warriors to the Civilian Workforce Continued from page 13

12-month intensive program that gives warriors a jump-start in achieving their educational goals, and the Transition Training Academy™ (TTA) provides warriors with a basic education in information technology (IT), equipping them with the tools necessary to attract job opportunities in the IT field. Through these programs and other innovative services, we continue in our commitment to ensure that this generation of wounded warriors is the most well-adjusted in our nation’s history. It is our hope that through these programs, warriors will be empowered to pursue meaningful careers that will provide long-term financial stability for themselves and their families.

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Louis Zamperini: A Hero Like No Other By Rick Rogers For Homeland Magazine

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“All I want to tell young people is that you’re not going to be anything in life unless you learn to commit to a goal. You have to reach deep within yourself to see if you are willing to make the sacrifices.” Zamperini endured in 97 years before his death last July.

They don’t make heroes like they used to. Instead of resilient men of remarkable deed, spirit and courage, we get the “selfie set,” principally remarkable for their inexhaustible ability to self-aggrandize.

Much of Zamperini’s story is depicted in the new film “Unbroken” -- based on Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling 2010 bio of the same name -- that opened nationwide Christmas day.

But every so often along comes a story so extraordinary, redemptive and uplifting that even the most cynical can only be humbled and inspired to consider the stock from which we sprang.

If early returns are any measure, “Unbroken” has struck a cord with the public if not all critics. The film did a brisk box office in its four-day opening, pulling in $47 million at 3,100 theatres nationwide, including many here in military-friendly San Diego County.

Such is the astounding story of Louis Zamperini, the late World War II veteran and Southern California man who grew up just north of San Diego in Torrance.

As a side note, 700 World War II veterans are dying each day and now is a good time to consider their service and to ponder the stories that will be written and movies made about our modern combat veterans.

His is a story that could have easily fueled multiple movies, so Forrest Gump-esque were the diverse chapters of his long life. Juvenile delinquent; world-class runner -- who Adolph Hitler sought out at the 1936 Berlin Olympics; Army Air Corps bombardier, POW, alcoholic, bornagain Christian, inspirational speaker, author, book subject and, finally, movie.

Regardless of what might follow, it is hard to imagine anyone ever trumping Zamperini’s amazing and motivating tale. The son of Italian immigrants, he moved with his family to Orange County from New York shortly after

It’s hard to imagine so much life packed into one lifetime or the number of incredible highs and lows

Continued on page 18

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In August 1945 he was released at war’s conclusion. Afterwards, he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress, drank heavily and dreamt of killing his captors. Zamperini credits evangelist Billy Graham with changing his life during a tent revival meeting in 1949. In 1950, Zamperini traveled to Tokyo, sought up out his former captors and forgave them all. In his later years, Zamperini would carry the Olympic Torch during the 1998 Nagano winter games and visit the Berlin Olympic Stadium, where he competed nearly 70 years before.

World War I. At the time, Zamperini didn’t speak English and was bullied incessantly for it. He responded by getting fast with his fists. But it wasn’t until he funneled that passion into running that he left his shady – if not willful – days behind. After setting high school and college track records, he made the 1936 Berlin Olympics at 19. Though he didn’t medal in the 5,000 meters, Zamperini final lap kick made such an impression on Hitler that he asked to meet the young American. According to Zamperini, Hitler shook his hand, and said, “Ah, you’re the boy with the fast finish.” Afterwards, Zamperini climbed a pole and stole Hitler’s personal flag. Two years later, he set a college record in the mile with a time of 4:08 minutes, despite being severely spiked by competitors. His collegiate record would stand for 15 years and earn him the nickname “Torrance Tornado.” The will succeed against the odds – coupled with an audacious disregard for authority – would both be credited with saving his life in the years that followed.

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By late May 1943, Zamperini was a 26-year-old bombardier on a B-24 Liberator flying missions in the Pacific. One day his balky plane failed and the crew crash-landed in the ocean. Just three of the 11-man crew survived the ditching. Seven agonizing weeks later – weeks spent living on fish, unwary seabirds and predatory sharks that became prey -- only Zamperini and another crewmember were still alive when the Japanese Navy captured them 2,000 miles from the crash site in the Marshall Islands. Two hellish years of abuse at the hands of his Japanese captors followed in a series of POW camps, each worse than the last, where Zamperini was singled out for torture because of his track exploits. It’s worth noting just how brutal Japanese guards were. In the European Theatre, one of every 100 U.S. POWs died while in German hands. In the Pacific under Japanese control, one out of every three American prisoners died. While Zamperini’s status as a former Olympian made him too valuable to kill, he was singled out for constant beatings, humiliation, starvation and medical experiments. Through it all, Zamperini survived using gallows humor, irrepressible spirit and a rebellious nature in the face of horrible conditions.


While “Unbroken” was in production, Zamperini died last July 2, in Los Angeles of pneumonia.

Among his legacies: the Louis Zamperini Plaza on the campus of University of Southern California and Zamperini Stadium at Torrance High School.

Zamperini wrote two memoirs about his amazing life, both entitled: “Devil at My Heels.” Though the books share the same name, they are substantially different.

Among Zamperini’s most widely used quotes:

Hillenbrand’s 2010 “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” reached bestseller status and Time magazine named it the top nonfiction book of the year. On Christmas Day, “Unbroken” hit the theaters. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the movie tells Zamperini’s unparalleled story up to end of World War II.

“The one who forgives never brings up the past to that person’s face. When you forgive, it’s like it never happened. True forgiveness is complete and total.” “All I want to tell young people is that you’re not going to be anything in life unless you learn to commit to a goal. You have to reach deep within yourself to see if you are willing to make the sacrifices.” Rick Rogers is a longtime reporter based in San Diego. He can be reached at Rick.W.Rogers@gmail.com.

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top stories and Images of

A BUCKET OF ICE WATER

In August, a social media campaign for ALS goes viral, prompting many to dump buckets of ice-cold water on their heads and post the results. The campaign far exceeds expectations, raising more than $100 million.

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EBOLA

After a major Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa, the dreaded and often fatal disease arrives in the U.S. Though it’s just a handful of cases, misunderstanding ignites fear in some quarters.

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BOKO HARAM

The militant Islamist group wreaks terror in northeastern Nigeria, killing more than 2,000 people this year and forcing thousands more to flee. In April, it kidnaps more than 200 girls. Their fate is still unknown.

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Breathless

Protesters rallying against a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner carry mock coffins, which bear the names of victims of fatal police encounters, as they cross the Brooklyn Bridge.

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THE MYSTERY OF MH370

The March disappearance of a Malaysian airliner becomes an intriguing mystery when not a trace of the plane can be found -- and there are few clues as to why it vanished.

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ISIS THREATENS

A new terrorist threat -- the militant Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS -- gains power and land in the Middle East and provokes indignation with its videos of violence and hostage beheadings.

GAZA AND ISRAEL

Continuing what seems to be a never-ending cycle of strife, violence erupts in Gaza in July. The weeks-long conflict takes thousands of lives and heightens tensions between Israel and Palestinians. 28

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INSIDE THE HERMIT KINGDOM

The North Korean leader makes headlines for his saber-rattling, his country’s human rights abuses -- and now, SONY Cyber-attacks?

UKRAINE AND THE PLANE

A passenger airliner is shot down in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine. The West points fingers at pro-Russian separatists while Russian leader Vladimir Putin points right back.

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THE PISTORIUS TRIAL

The trial of South African Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius over the death of his girlfriend consumes seven months and ends in a verdict of culpable homicide. 30

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FERGUSON

The shooting death of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson ignites protests. After a grand jury rules not to indict Wilson, the city is hit by further unrest.

THE BORDER CRISIS

Another aspect of the illegal immigration issue gets attention: More than 60,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the border from Central America this year, many escaping crime and poverty. What to do?

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WORLD CUP CELEBRATION

Despite concerns about readiness, the 2014 FIFA World Cup goes off in cities across Brazil without a hitch. Perhaps the only downside for the host country was its failure to win the tournament.

THE NFL’S OFF-FIELD PROBLEMS

Despite record profits and sky-high ratings, the National Football League is troubled by abuse charges against players, concerns about long-term health issues and criticism of Commissioner Roger Goodell. 32

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SHOCKING CELEBRITY DEATHS

Philip Seymour Hoffman dies of a drug overdose. Robin Williams commits suicide. Joan Rivers dies after an operation. Their deaths shake the entertainment world, which remembers their powerful contributions.

Helping a friend

A veterinary staff member of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme center conducts medical examinations on a 14-year-old male orangutan found with air gun metal pellets embedded in his body.

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Linda Kreter, the Founder of VeteranCaregiver.com is a strong advocate and subject matter expert for families and caregivers of our wounded warriors and veterans. For more information on peer support for caregivers and resources/guidance to better navigate the VA medical system, go to www.VeteranCaregiver.com Our goal is to enhance quality of life and ensure no veteran nor their caregiver ever stands alone.

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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. 36

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Homeland January 2015  

Real stories from real heroes; service members, civilians, veterans, the wounded and the families that keep it together.

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