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Can Condo Association Force Vet to Give Up Support Dog?

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Robert  Brady

By Debbie Gregory.

The federal government will look into whether 70-year-old  Vietnam veteran Robert L. Brady will have to give up Bane, the mixed-breed sidekick that his psychologist deemed as an emotional support dog.

Brady filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) after a judicial arbitrator determined the dog exceeded the homeowners association weight limit by six pounds.

Evicting animals based on their weight is “senseless” because size doesn’t predict whether a dog will attack someone. It is also difficult to predict what a puppy will weigh by the time they reach adulthood, which is already too late.

HUD will consider whether the case violates fair-housing laws by forcing the widower to surrender the animal despite Orlando Veteran Administration psychologist Matthew Waesche’s recommendation that Brady keep the dog.

“The reason I don’t want to lose him is that he keeps my mind off the war and everything. He’s just a wonderful companion,” said the widower, who retired last year from working as a theme-park bus driver. “My life would be lost without a good companion and that’s why I’m doing all I can to keep from having to get rid of him.”

Waesche wrote in an October 2015 letter that Brady was under his care and that the dog appears to help keep his owner’s mental health issues in remission.

Unlike service dogs trained to assist disabled people with daily tasks, emotional support animals don’t require training. They can be any species and require no certification to assist owners who have psychological disabilities.

“The real crux of our concerns are the HUD fair-housing issues and we’re hopeful it takes its course the way we want it to,” said Orlando attorney Jonathan Paul, who represents Brady.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Mattis: General Purpose Forces Easing Special Forces Workload

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special forces

By Debbie Gregory.

In an effort to ease the strain on the overworked U.S. Special Operations Command (SoCom), Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has devised a plan to shift some mission responsibilities to the conventional forces.

Last year, SoCom forces, including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, deployed to 149 countries around the world. This record-setting number of deployments comes as American commandos are battling a plethora of terror groups in wars and conflicts that stretch from Africa to the Middle East to Asia.

The breakneck pace at which the United States deploys its special operations forces to conflict zones has been unsustainable, prompting Mattis to take advantage of the “common capabilities” the conventional forces have developed.

“I mean, there was a time when the only people who ran drones were the Special Forces,” Mattis said, but the use of drones is now widespread in the conventional force.

Mattis said that what he called “general purpose” troops are already taking on roles normally performed by the Special Forces in some geographic areas.

The Army’s new Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFAB) have trained at Fort Benning, Georgia’s Military Training Adviser Academy and will likely deploy to Afghanistan in the spring.

The Academy offers unique instruction to the NCOs and officers, who learn about the social aspects and cultures of their partner nations, how to work with interpreters, and “the art of negotiation.”

To fill the SFABs, the Army is looking for high-performance Soldiers with a “propensity to learn.” Soldiers must score at least 240 on the Army Physical Fitness Test, with 80 in each category.

Eventually, the Army will have five active SFABs and one in the National Guard. Initially, two will focus on the Middle East, with the additional SFABs concentrating on the Pacific, Africa and possibly Europe.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army General Loses Promotion after Calling Congressional Staffer “Sweetheart”

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gonsalves

By Debbie Gregory.

In today’s sexual misconduct climate, those in a position of power should choose their words carefully.

This is a lesson that Maj. Gen. Ryan Gonsalves has learned the hard way, even though the offense he has been charged with occurred during an October 2016 meeting at Fort Carson, Colorado.

Gonsalves’ nomination for a third star is in limbo after it was determined that he disrespected one of Congressman Jim Langevin’s female staff members by calling her “sweetheart.” Gonsalves’ is also accused of making sarcastic and unprofessional remarks. At least ten people besides the female staffer were present.

Gonsalves apparently took issue with the female congressional staffer’s young age and her political affiliation. A male staffer who was present described Gonsalves’remarks as “sexist, inappropriate and unprofessional.”

The Army Command Policy requires treating others with “dignity and respect,” and the Army Inspector General has recommended that appropriate action be taken, which includes formally withdrawing Gonsalves’ nomination.

Gonsalves, who was considered to be in contention to serve as the next head of U.S. Army Europe, is now serving as a “special assistant to the commanding general, III Corps.” The Army declined to detail what the future holds for the major general.

Although Gonsalves testified that he did not refer to (the female staffer) as ‘sweetheart’ during the meeting, the evidence did not support his recollection,” according to the Inspector General’s report.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Special Forces Save Lives with Freeze-dried Blood Plasma

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freeze dried

By Debbie Gregory.

U.S. military’s special operations troops are now carrying a new tool into combat to potentially save lives.

All of their first-aid kits now contain freeze-dried blood plasma that can prevent wounded troops from bleeding to death on the battlefield.

Plasma is the clear, straw-colored liquid portion of blood that remains after red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and other cellular components are removed. It is the single largest component of human blood, comprising about 55 percent, and contains water, salts, enzymes, antibodies and other proteins.

Plasma helps clot blood and can prevent badly wounded troops from bleeding to death on the battlefield.

The blood product is initially frozen and then dehydrated to remove liquid, turning it into a powder. It requires no refrigeration and can be used on wounds within minutes, after adding water.

The French-made product is lighter and smaller in volume than other blood products, and because it does not need to be frozen or kept fresh, it can be carried on long missions, or even deep into enemy territory. The plasma is made from volunteer donors and has a shelf life of about two years.

The U.S. is using the French product while Teleflex Inc. is waiting to win approval from the FDA. Teleflex plans to buy its donated plasma from blood banks and produce enough for the armed services and civilian emergency rooms.

This year will mark the first time the U.S military since will use the substance across the board since World War II.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

DNA Wanted from Veterans Who Served in Korea

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1016-007

By Debbie Gregory.

The international adoption of Korean children began in 1953. Comprised mostly of mixed race children, some 200,000 Korean children were surrendered to orphanages, with more than 50% of those adoptees being sent to the United States.  Most of the mixed race children were born to Korean women and American or UN soldiers.

Now the non-profit 325 Kamra is on a mission to build a DNA database to help South Korean adoptees find their birth parents, including U.S. military veterans, by offering free DNA kits to all veterans and their descendants.

Many of these children were the product of a thriving sex industry both during the 1950-53 Korean War and after it ended while fulfilling peace-keeping duties.

The mixed-race children were shunned by society and denied Korean citizenship, which could only be passed on by the fathers.

Sarah Savidakis, the president of 325 Kamra, tested her DNA through a commercial genealogy service and identified a first cousin, once removed. The relative helped her identify and connect with a half-brother and half-sister. She learned that her father — who was of Scottish and Irish descent — had passed away in 2014.

Savidakis and the other mixed-race co-founders of 325 Kamra seek to collect DNA, medical histories and genealogical information from potential birth families; to provide kits to adoptees; and to help them reunite.

DNA testing kits are free to all Korean adoptees and every military veteran who served on the divided peninsula or their descendants.

Kits have been donated by Thomas Park Clement, a mixed-race adoptee and founder and president of medical device company Mectra Labs. Clement has pledged to provide $1 million worth of DNA kits to the Korean adoptee community. As part of his efforts, he has provided kits to Korean adoptees in the United States as well as to U.S. veterans of the Korean War.

The popularity of over-the-counter DNA testing kits sold by by Ancestry.com and 23andMe have been instrumental in the success of the program.

Veterans who wish to receive a DNA kit may contact 325Kamra via their website at www.325kamra.org or email the following information to kvets23andme@gmail.com:

Name and mailing address (no PO boxes)

Name of servicemember

Branch of service of servicemember

Dates servicemember was in Korea

Rank of servicemember

Unit servicemember was attached to in Korea

Photo of servicemember in uniform if possible

If the servicemember is unavailable to test, siblings and children may test on their behalf

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

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