Tag Archives | army

Twenty Percent of US Soldiers Had Mental Illness Before Enlisting

120117-A-0000X-771 (7016614597)Some people might say you’d have to have a mental problem to enlist in the military, but that’s not exactly the point of a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry as reported in The Guardian:

The first three studies in a large research initiative to better understand US military suicides indicates that some patterns in military suicide are reflective of mental health problems in the civilian population.

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army Starrs) uses data from existing army systems and what researchers can collect from soldiers to better understand why soldiers might be at an increased risk for suicidal behavior compared to the civilian population.

Two of the three papers, published Monday in Jama Psychiatry, show the results of surveys and interviews with 5,428 soldiers which looked at theprevalence of mental disorders among non-deployed soldiers and suicidal behavior among currently deployed soldiers. The third study tested common theories about military suicide using historical data.

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‘The Activity’ Comic Reveals Secrets of US Army’s Intelligence Support Activity Unit

Have you ever heard of the US Army’s Intelligence Support Activity unit? Not many people have, and there’s not much written about it. Surprisingly one of the best sources is in a comic, as reported by ABC News:

In a dark corner of American special operations there exists, alongside the Army’s Delta Force and the Navy’s Osama bin Laden-killing SEAL Team Six, a small unit of Army spies known as the Intelligence Support Activity.

Created more than 30 years ago, the ISA has had its hand in almost every high-profile American special operation around the world in recent history, and countless others, according to published reports and special operations veterans with firsthand knowledge of the group.

And though relatively little is known about the secret unit — the military still refuses to acknowledge its existence — a new, colorful picture of the group has emerged through, of all things, a comic book.

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Victims Of The Army’s Secret St. Louis Chemical Experiments Speak Out

Missouri’s KSDK has more on the previously discussed revelation that the U.S. army secretly sprayed chemicals on families in St. Louis housing projects during the 1950s and 60s. Former residents reveal bizarre recollections which were previously ignored:

Missouri’s two U.S. Senators, Democrat Claire McCaskill, and Republican Roy Blunt, are demanding more information about the secret human testing. But so far, the Army remains silent. Survivors remember and for the first time are sharing their stories in hopes someone will listen and perhaps be held accountable.

Dorothy Johnson and her doctors never knew what caused blisters to boil up and cover her body when she was 18-years-old. The life-long emotional scars never healed and she wonders if there is a connection to the secret testing. Through tears, Johnson said, “They isolated me and I stayed there about a month to recuperate. I lost my fingernails, my toe nails, the lesions on my body.

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Army Shopping for New Video Game to Train Troops

Via Kotaku:
The United States Army is shopping for a new video game training aid for its Games for Training program, and it has some very specific requirements:

Also notable is how explicitly oriented the new Army shooter is toward fighting “small wars”. The Army wants a game that includes more than 50 types and models of civilian vehicles, from Taliban-endorsed Toyota Hilux pickup trucks to bicycles, more than 100 civilian structures from factories and mosques to trash piles, and traffic control gear such as spike strips and speed bumps. After a decade of fighting two wars, the Pentagon isn’t salivating at the prospect of doing more counterinsurgency, but the new shooter game suggests that the Army is girding for it anyway.

It appears that the Army is still acting as if the United States won’t be leaving the Middle East any time soon – not that there was ever any doubt.… Read the rest

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Army Recruits Prisoners To Make Body Armor

Spc. Guy Mellor, US Army National Guard, tries on his helmet for the perfect fit.

Spc. Guy Mellor tries on his helmet for the perfect fit.

Another deal for Unicor. Via Wired News:

Building parts for Patriot missile systems was just a warm-up, apparently, for a government-owned company that relies on federal inmates making as little as 23 cents an hour. On Wednesday, the U.S. Army announced that it handed Federal Prison Industries a no-bid, nearly $20 million contract to build body armor.

It’s the latest in a decades-long string of military deals for FPI, also known as Unicor.

Over the years, the company has supplied parts for F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, the Cobra attack helicopter, and the iconic Patriot interceptor system. (More about that in a second.)

But this deal is particularly odd, because FPI’s track record with protective equipment is, to put it generously, uneven. In May of last year, the Army recalled 44,000 FPI-made protective helmets after they failed ballistic testing.

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Last U.S. WWI Veteran Dies

Frank Buckles at age 16

Frank Buckles at age 16

Via BBC:

America’s last surviving veteran of World War I, Frank Buckles, has died aged 110.

Mr Buckles, who joined the US army in 1917, at the age of 16, lying about his age to get enlisted, died of natural causes at his home near Charles Town, West Virginia, on Sunday.

He was one of more than 4.7m Americans who signed up to fight in the Great War between 1917-18.

He served in England and France, as a driver and a warehouse clerk.

Mr Buckles was turned down by the marines and the navy for being too young to serve, but managed to convince an army recruiter he was 21.

“A knowledgeable old sergeant said if you want to get to France right away, go into the ambulance corps,” he said in a 2001 interview with the Library of Congress.

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Army Deploys Psy-Ops On U.S. Senators

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell

Proving that some magazines are still able to practice important investigative journalism, Rolling Stone‘s Michael Hastings shows how the U.S. Army deliberately misled Senators on a fact-finding visit to Afghanistan. You might think this kind of plotting by the military against its own government only happens in places like Egypt and Libya … but you’d be wrong:

The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in “psychological operations” to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war, Rolling Stone has learned – and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.

The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as “information operations” at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell.

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God, The Army, And PTSD

An Army Chaplain's MemoirFrom a 2009 article in the Boston Review by Tara McKelvey:

When Roger Benimoff arrived at the psychiatric building of the Coatesville, Pennsylvania veterans’ hospital, he was greeted by a message carved into a nearby tree stump: “Welcome Home.” It was a reminder that things had not turned out as he had expected.

In Faith Under Fire, a memoir about Benimoff’s life as an Army chaplain in Iraq, Benimoff and co-author Eve Conant describe his return from Iraq to his family in Colorado and subsequent assignment to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He retreated deep into himself, spending hours on the computer and racking up ten thousand dollars in debt on eBay. Above all, he was angry and jittery, scared even of his young sons, and barely able to make it through the day. He was eventually admitted to Coatesville’s “Psych Ward.” For a while the lock-down facility was his home.

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