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The MRS. LIEUTENANT blog reports on information of interest to active duty military personnel, veterans, and their families with a particular focus on providing information on PTSD.



Updated: 2017-08-08T16:44:32.873-07:00

 



Check Out My Other Military-Support Sites

2016-02-17T13:04:25.885-08:00

For information and projects about PTSD -- see www.SolomonsJustice.com


For information about films and TV projects that support our troops along with PTSD info -- see www.InSupportOfOurTroops.com


For information on the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT including book club discussion questions and a high school curriculum plan -- see www.MrsLieutenant.com


For information on the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS -- see www.MollieSanders.com


For personal U.S. military history accounts -- see www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com/Military-History


For information for Jewish men and women serving in the U.S. military -- see www.OperationSupportJewsInTheMilitary.com






Uncle Sam Wants You

2014-12-07T14:59:55.248-08:00

On the DoD’s Bloggers Roundtable discussion on December 4, 2014, Major General Allen Batschelet, U.S. Army Recruiting Command commanding general, spoke of the recruitment issues facing all U.S. military branches and especially the all-volunteer U.S. Army.

Only three young men and women in 10 in the targeted age group of 17- to 24-year-olds currently meet the eligibility requirements (morally, cognitively, physically). Soon, due to issues such as obesity, only two in 10 will be eligible.

In addition, U.S. Army recruitment is hampered by unfamiliarity with the career opportunities in military service or a military career. Serving in the U.S. military is becoming somewhat of only a family tradition.

Currently 79% of recruits have family members who served in the military. General Batschelet explained that this could be troubling as it is not as representative of the U.S. as it should be. This is especially true if the Army is to remain a volunteer institution rather than one with a draft.

The general also explained that an adult influencer is the key. Currently 80% of a recruit’s decision to enter the military is influenced by a trusted adult person.

When it was my turn to ask a question of the general, I brought up what I consider a key issue in overall U.S. military recruitment for an all-volunteer Army:

There is a huge American population that has never had any connection to the U.S. military. Most of these Americans do not have the required knowledge to advise potential recruits.

Yes, it was different during World War II when most able-bodied men served and the population was daily aware of what the U.S. military was undertaking.

Today U.S. military humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts worldwide are not top-of-the news. Because of this lack of awareness, many Americans no longer understand the need for a capable all-volunteer Army.

Outreach efforts to expand awareness

The military, including the Army, has a tremendous advertising budget to encourage recruitment. I believe that a small part of that budget needs to be invested in innovative projects that can expose the general population in a variety of positive ways to the U.S. military.

I have sent a proposal to General Batschelet for a project based on this urgent need to spread military awareness throughout the general U.S. population. I do believe that, especially thanks to the Internet, there are many innovative options available for a forward-thinking military recruitment effort based on educating the entire American population.

I look forward to hearing back from the general.

© 2014 Miller Mosaic LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks and her author site is at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com She may be reached at pzmiller@gmail.com



For Military Family Month – Check Out Resources at MILITARY ONE SOURCE

2014-11-05T14:28:44.202-08:00

For Military Family Month the DoD Bloggers Roundtable featured Rosemary Freitas Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy.

While Ms. Williams shared numerous programs and resources, when I asked what was the best starting point for someone who needed help with PTSD or TBI, she replied Military One Source at www.militaryonesource.mil/

The Military One Source 24/7 phone consultants at 800-342-9647 are extremely well-trained to help, and, if you agree to a follow-up call, will follow up with you within three days of your call.

Click on the CONFIDENTIAL HELP link at the top of the site for this information:

Confidential services, including non-medical counseling and specialty consultations, are available through Military One Source. Eligible individuals may receive confidential services at no cost.

Non-medical Counseling
• Face-to-Face Counseling
• Online Counseling
• Telephonic Counseling

Specialty Consultations
• Adoption
• Adult Disability Care
• Education
• Elder Care
• Health and Wellness Coaching
• Special Needs
• Wounded Warrior

Other Services and Counseling
• Document Translation
• Financial Counseling
• Language Interpretation Services
• SECO Counseling
• Tax Services

Ms. Williams stressed the confidentiality of the non-medical counseling, including not sharing the information with chain of command even if requested. (The exception for confidentiality is where there is concern for the safety of the individual or others.)

I was also impressed with her focus on care tailored for a specific family member within a family-centric care approach.

If you need help for yourself or a family member, do call 800-342-9647 now.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



Wall Street Journal Article re Coping With PTSD

2014-09-14T11:33:07.767-07:00

The September 13-14, 2014, Wall Street Journal front page carried the article “Coping With PTSD: Vets Try New, and Unproven, Ways to Heal the Wounds of War” by Michael M. Phillips and Shirley S. Wang.


The headline of the September 12th online version of the article states: “War Veterans Try Yoga, Hiking, Horseback Riding to Treat PTSD: Pressure Builds on Department of Veterans Affairs to Expand Range of Treatments Beyond Drugs and Talk Therapy”


As many of you know, I often write about PTSD, and I have a proposed reality TV series HEALING OUR HEROES designed to showcase innovative PTSD treatments being done in the greater Los Angeles area. Whenever I meet with people who might be interested in this project, I do “pitch” it.

The Wall Street Journal article includes these two paragraphs:
The therapies may sound far-fetched. But vets and alternative-medicine advocates are pressuring the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand the range of treatments for those who can't find relief in the standard regimen of drugs and talk therapy.


“We are greatly saddened because we know how to help” said Dick Tomlinson, the former head of business development for Brain State Technologies, an Arizona firm seeking congressional help persuading the VA to try its so-called brain-wave optimization technology, which uses sounds to soothe patients. “But accessing the federal government is an enormous challenge, even when our vets' lives, and those of their families, are at stake.”
A main objective of my proposed reality series HEALING OUR HEROES is to help spread information on innovative PTSD treatments to encourage other areas of the country to consider offering these treatments.

I do hope that this Wall Street Journal article will help speed up the process of making innovative PTSD treatments available.

Click here to read for free on Wattpad my PTSD short story SOLOMON'S JUSTICE. (The story is an adaptation of a pilot TV drama script for a show of the same name.)


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



Master Sergeant: Research and Do Not Give Up on Getting Help for Invisible Wounds

2014-06-24T10:09:38.033-07:00

Master Sergeant Aaron Tippett’s wife, a soldier herself, told her husband he needed help as he ex exhibiting the classic symptoms of PTSD – agitation, sleep issues, anger, outbursts, headaches.

He tried in 2005 but didn’t get the help he needed.

In 2008, after another deployment with cumulative effects, he did get the help he needed. Now he is taking part in the Real Warriors’ campaign of encouraging service members to get help for “invisible wounds.”

In a DoD’s Bloggers Roundtable discussion, when I asked about advice the master sergeant would give others, he said:

“Research and do not give up. I gave up [the first time]. But why give up when you don’t give up in other things? It is only going to get worse.”

The master sergeant also said, “Getting help is stronger than not getting help. It is a much stronger thing to do to reach out.”

And he added that there are service members and veterans who know him and have heard that he got help who have now gotten help themselves.

Also taking part in the roundtable was Nancy St. Claire, Chief Operating Officer of Real Warriors’ campaign partner Give an Hour, an organization founded by Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D.

Thanks to Give an Hour, psych professionals donate their time to service members and their loved ones in total anonymity with no records kept. At this point there are 7,000 clinicians donating their time, and a conservative estimate is of 110,000 hours of free counseling service already provided.

At www.giveanhour.org you can search for providers near you, and if you cannot find one, email info@giveanhour.org for help.

For the stories of other service members who have gotten help for invisible wounds, go to www.realwarriors.net

And if you are exhibiting signs of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, do get help. As Master Sergeant Tippett said, he is telling his story to help break the stigma about getting help.


P.S. For more info about PTSD see my site www.SolomonsJustice.com

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



Starting October 1 in Connecticut Patients Will Be Asked Veteran Status

2014-06-20T13:39:56.836-07:00

Finally, something that makes so much sense in order to give veterans better medical care that, once heard, it is obvious that all medical facilities need to do this.

The June 19, 2014, article by Peggy McCarthy in The Courant titled "To Improve Patient Care, CT Hospitals Will Ask: Are You a Veteran?" begins:

Connecticut hospitals will be required to ask all patients if they are veterans, under a new state law that takes effect Oct. 1.

The law is part of a nationwide effort conceived by the State Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz to make private health providers aware that they are treating veterans, since most veterans don't go to federal Veterans Health Administration facilities. The goal is to improve veterans' diagnoses and health care because military experiences are linked to certain illnesses, she said.

Schwartz said veterans don't always know about health risks connected to their military service and that health providers need to become educated about them.

The article also states:

In addition to the state law, Schwartz convinced the American Academy of Nursing to undertake a national awareness campaign informing health providers of illnesses connected to military service. Called "Have You Ever Served," nurses are distributing pocket cards and posters to doctors and hospitals where they work. They provide detailed information about physical and mental illnesses linked to eras and locations of military service, suggested questions to ask patients, and resources for veterans.

Let's hope this question becomes routine at medical facilities across the U.S. and that, if the answer is yes, the medical staff takes this into consideration.

Read the entire article now.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



In Honor of the Anniversary of D-Day: Excerpt From Cold War Memoir

2014-06-06T14:00:35.252-07:00

Chapter 27 of my Cold War memoir TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY begins with a visit to the D-Day beaches of Normandy in April 1972:


Mitch and I stood at the site of the Allied D-Day invasion during World War II — the audacious landing in Normandy that began on June 6, 1944, and eventually led to the end of the war.

We were the only ones here on this windswept French landscape, the five landing beaches spread below us as Mitch explained the invasion to me.

When we reached Pointe du Hoc, a 100-foot cliff with Nazi concrete gun batteries still visible at the top, I gasped.

“To get off the landing boats and face this cliff, they had to know they would die,” I said.

Mitch nodded. “Tremendous casualties here.”

Then he added, “By the time my father landed in France, Normandy was already secured.”

The enormity of this military operation was almost too much to imagine, especially as the surrounding landscape was now so barren.

Equally disquieting was the thought that the success of the invasion did not immediately end the war. The Allied forces had to fight the Nazis for 11 more months after D-Day.

And the ultimate victory was not soon enough to save Anne Frank, whose hiding place in a secret annex Mitch and I had just visited in Amsterdam.

Betrayed by an informer, Anne and the others had been arrested two months after the D-Day invasion, on August 4, 1944. Then Anne died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, weeks before the British liberated the camp and two months before the Nazi surrender.

Mitch and I turned away from the desolate landscape.

Click here to read the entire Cold War memoir for free on Wattpad now.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



Honoring Our Troops Today and Every Day: Military Films for Memorial Day

2014-05-25T09:32:33.688-07:00


Here is my recommended listing of film documentaries, feature films and TV documentaries supportive of our troops. The shows have been vetted by me before being placed on my site InSupportOfOurTroops.com


Click on the name of each film to see a video clip if available along with information about the film:

Film Documentaries

"American Widow Project" Documentary

“Brats: Our Journey Home” Documentary

“Brothers at War” Documentary

“Fighting for Life” Documentary

“Hallowed Grounds” Documentary

"Restrepo" Documentary

"Striking a Chord" Documentary

"The Invisible War" Documentary

"The Way We Get By" Documentary

“War Dogs of the Pacific” Documentary

"Wartorn 1861-2010" Documentary

Feature Films

"Everyman's War" Feature Film

"Lifted" Feature Film

"Taking Chance" Feature Film

"The Dry Land" Feature Film

“The Hurt Locker” Feature Film

"The Messenger" Feature Film

"The Landscaper's Daughter" Short Feature Film

Television Documentaries

"The Real World Presents: Return to Duty" Documentary

___


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



Veterans Groups File Suit to Help Sexual-Assault Victims

2014-05-02T08:37:32.252-07:00

In the “U.S. Watch” column of the May 1, 2014, Wall Street Journal, in a brief article headlined “Veterans Groups Sue to Aid Sex-Assault Victims,” Ben Kesling writes:

Veterans groups filed suit in a federal court Wednesday to help sexual-assault victims more easily receive benefits for trauma suffered during military service.


The lawsuit, filed in U.S. Circuit Court in Washington, alleges the Department of Veterans Affairs hasn't acted on a petition to reduce victims' burden of proof of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by military sexual trauma in claims for benefits.
As many of you know, I often write about PTSD. And on my site www.insupportofourtroops.com I have included the documentary “The Invisible War” about rape in the U.S. military.

Kesling goes on to write:
"Post-traumatic stress is post-traumatic stress, it shouldn't matter the cause," said Anu Bhagwati, executive director of the Service Women's Action Network, one of the groups bringing the suit. The Vietnam Veterans of America also is a plaintiff in the legal action.


Veterans generally must prove that a disability was the result of a particular service-related injury, such as being wounded in combat. Some diseases, however, are presumed to be service-connected and don't require such specific proof.
In my PTSD short story SOLOMON'S JUSTICE a female vet realizes she is suffering from PTSD from the time she was raped as a teen when her father was in the military and two more times when she was on active military duty herself. (You can now read SOLOMON'S JUSTICE for free on Wattpad at http://budurl.com/SJWattpad)

It will be interesting to see what happens with this lawsuit. And meanwhile, you might want to read my recent blog post “Reality and Fictional Topic of Sexual Assault in the Military.”


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



Reality and Fictional Topic of Sexual Assault in the Military

2014-04-18T09:18:00.416-07:00

On April 10, 2014, I took part as a member of the Department of Defense's Bloggers Roundtable in a discussion by General Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about sexual assault in the military. (At the end of this blog post is the link to the entire transcript of that discussion.)I asked two questions that my husband Mitch Miller, who follows military affairs very closely, has pondered for some time. Unfortunately, I did not get what I consider satisfactory answers to my two questions.In addition, Mitch and I deal with sexual assault on a female Navy officer in our thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS, which is on Amazon at www.amzn.com/B005CD5OH4Thus it was with deep interest that Mitch and I watched the April 15, 2014, episode of TV show NCIS titled “Alleged.”The episode dealt with sexual assault in the Navy — the psychological trauma to the female junior officer who had been drugged and raped, the reaction of her male junior officer friends, and her reasons for not reporting the incident.While, as we suspected, excessive drinking was involved, the episode went deeper to point out that higher-ranking officers might turn a blind eye or worse — spoiler alert — even commit these heinous acts. Thus the question of how to stop sexual assault — which the female Navy investigator in the episode said the Navy is intent on “eradicating” — is a very complex societal issue.(In a compelling scene in the NCIS episode, the director of NCIS reveals that his teenage daughter has expressed an interest in joining the Navy when she is an adult. The director says that he doesn't want these problems to exist when his daughter joins.)The young women (and young men are also the target of sexual assault in the military) who serve our nation to protect us from harm deserve to be themselves protected from harm. Not to mention how many quality and qualified women leave the service each year because of sexual assault.What do we as a society going forward need to do to prevent these sexual assaults in the military?In a mil-fi novel that Mitch read, an officer committed a different but equally heinous offense. The narrator said, “In any army but ours, he’d be given a pistol and told to do the right thing.” Maybe we need to adopt that custom.Or maybe fiction gets information across stronger than lectures about appropriate sexual behavior in the military.Could General Dempsey require that every current and incoming military member regardless of rank or branch of service watch the entire NCIS episode “Alleged”? This poignant episode might actually help change the current environment that is tacitly allowing these attacks to happen and to go under-reported and under-investigated.Click here to read the entire transcript of General Dempsey's statements to members of the DoD's Bloggers Roundtable, including my two questions.Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com[...]



New Career Planning Tool to Help Military Spouses

2014-04-18T09:38:44.249-07:00

On a Department of Defense's Bloggers Roundtable on January 28, 2014, a new feature of the SECO (Spouse Education and Career Opportunities) site was demonstrated by program manager Meg O'Grady.

MyICP (My Individual Career Plan) is a new self-service career planing tool available for military spouses and also available for 180 days after the military spouse's active duty member has separated from the military.

(The logon for this site is a military spouse's DS logon or a DS logon can be created on the site itself.)

With this new career planning tool, a military spouse can create as many individual career plans as he or she wants. In this way the military spouse is able to consider the recommended steps of different career paths.

Here is the purpose of the MySECO site:

The MySECO website ensures military spouses have 24-7 access to online education and career information, resources, tools and assessments. Using the tools and assessments, spouses can begin to explore their interests, skills, passions and personality type to determine the best fit for education and career choices.

If you are a military spouse, click here to visit the site now at myseco.militaryonesource.mil and try out the new career planning tool.


And if you know military spouses, please share with them the link to this site.

__

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



TV Drama BLUE BLOODS Deals With Combat-Induced PTSD

2014-01-19T11:01:32.194-08:00

Fans of the CBS drama “Blue Bloods” know that New York police detective Danny Reagan (actor Donnie Wahlberg) has previously served two tours as a Marine in Iraq. Now these fans know that Danny has not escaped being mentally scarred by his two tours.The episode “Unfinished Business” — written by Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green — that first aired January 17, 2014, deals with an Army corporal who has served three tours in Afghanistan. The corporal has beaten up his wife and kidnapped his eight-year-old son because of PTSD problems four months after returning from the corporal's most recent tour.(There is a very brief mention that the corporal is seeing a private therapist. The implication for those who know about the military is that the corporal is afraid to see a military therapist because this would go on his service record.)While the episode has many compelling scenes, one such scene is when Danny talks to the major about how soldiers sign off that they are fine after a tour. Danny says he signed off on such a form also, but he implies that this does not mean it is the truth. While I will not give away the ending of the episode, I will share here the public service message narrated by actor Tom Selleck that followed the episode:The characters and incidents in tonight's episode are fictional and do not represent the vast majority of [v]eterans.However, PTSD and other challenges faced by some of our returning [v]eterans are all too real.If you're a [v]eteran experiencing PTSD, please visit the National Center for PTSD.ptsd.va.govAnd if you'd like to support our veterans, please visit the Wounded Warrior Project or the Bob Woodruff Foundation.woundedwarriorproject.orgbobwoodrufffoundation.orgCBS CaresThis is not the first time “Blue Bloods” has dealt with PTSD symptoms although it is the most extensive episode.One episode dealt with younger brother and police officer Jamie Reagan seeing a therapist to hopefully head off PTSD symptoms after Jamie shot and killed someone. Click here to read my blog post about this episode.And another “Blue Bloods” episode dealt with non-combat-induced PTSD. Click here to read my blog post about that episode.P.S. Although there are innovative strategies being developed and used to treat PTSD, there is a long way to go. For more information, see www.SolomonsJustice.com--Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com[...]



Compelling TV Show WEST WING Tribute to Homeless Veterans: Must Watch Video

2014-01-09T18:40:46.266-08:00

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qqLIH2UiPXg" width="420">

Thanks to award-winning book author Bonnie Bartel Latino for sharing this compelling video on Facebook. 
___

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



Support Documentary GOLD STAR CHILDREN: TWO GENERATIONS SHARING LOSS AND HEALING

2013-11-22T08:59:03.659-08:00

Here is a guest post by Mitty Griffis Mirrer: The death of a parent impacts the life of a child forever. A new hour-long documentary film -- GOLD STAR CHILDREN: TWO GENERATIONS SHARING LOSS AND HEALING -- takes an intimate look at American children who have lost a parent to war across two generations. The film follows the parallel journeys of two generations of grieving children – recent war orphans who have lost parents serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and here at home with the now adult children who lost parents serving in Vietnam.This touching and hopeful film brings together the voices of today with historical context, giving meaning and shape to how America understands those who pay the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country through the voices of the children and families they leave behind.The term “gold star” children is based on the pin presented by the military at military funerals to the families of fallen troops. Documentary viewers will watch as children cry, laugh and share their experiences across two generations and find hope and healing.The isolation carried by now adult children who lost a parent in Vietnam, and their struggle to understand the deaths of their fathers in a war that most Americans did not want to fight, is explored.At the same time, children who have lost parents in today’s conflicts face a public that support the troops but feel like others can’t relate to their experiences as bereaved children.I was inspired to produce and direct the hour-long documentary film after mentoring a child whose father was killed in Iraq.  My own father, US Marine CAPT William A. Griffis, III, died in the Vietnam War hours after my birth.This is an untold story of our nation's children of war.  Ultimately, this is a story of hope.You may view the trailer and then purchase the documentary GOLD STAR CHILDREN by downloading the film at goldstarchildren.orgThe downloads are a way of demonstrating to the documentary's distributors that there is a community that cares and wants this film.  Thank you for "casting your vote," if you will, by downloading GOLD STAR CHILDREN!All profits go to the not-for-profit Gold Star Children organization, which continues the work giving our nation's military bereaved children a voice.My hope is to be able to offer this film as a military resource for all newly bereaved military children and for our casualty assistance officers who must knock on the door.Thank you for supporting the mission of creating community and awareness for our bereaved military children by purchasing the film at goldstarchildren.org ___ Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com[...]



Animal Assisted Therapy Documentary HORSES AND HEROES Needs Your Help

2013-11-20T16:03:25.139-08:00

  Here is a guest post by Theresa Chaze on an important project:  Animal Assisted Therapy has been extremely effective for those who are physically and emotionally challenged, and it has become more widely used in cases of PTSD, especially for veterans.Although almost any animal can be a healer, dogs and horses are the ones that are most commonly partnered with veterans. Dogs have the advantageof being accepted in both cities and rural areas. However, horses are known to better reflect the mood of the person handling them. This ability is helpful for PSTD patients to learn how to recognize their own feelings. In this way, they learn how to retrain their mind and body reacts to stressors. The planned documentary HORSES AND HEROES will be hosted by veteran Barbara (Bobby) Kilgore. Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1980, she served six years and was honorably discharged.  In 1995 she enlisted in the United States Army, from which she retired in October 2011.Founded in 2001, Charity Hill Ranch specializes in Traumatic Brain Injury and rehabilitation utilizing all the assets a farm and horse have to offer. Christine O'Connell is a PATH International Certified Instructor of 10 years and specializes in Traumatic Brain Injury as well as being a Certified Brain Injury Specialist. Sarah Wilson is a Mental Health Specialist with a degree in psychology and education. She offers tutoring and program planning at the ranch.Mid-Michigan Equestrian Center, Inc, which is located at Charity Hill Ranch, is a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation that believes that riding and caring for horses profoundly affects the lives of people with disabilities and enables them to live a more fulfilling and complete life. The mission is to provide programs and services where “Love in Action” enables individual growth and achievement for people who have special needs, through an extraordinary partnership with horses and staff. Carefully trained and certified instructors work with clients to take advantage of every healing minute at the ranch. At-risk children develop healthy trust and relationships. Those with disabilities learn responsibility, develop communication skills and use this therapy as a way to create life-long passions. Charity Hill Ranch is a proud member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. It is also a member of Horses for Heroes Inc. Based in Las Vegas and founded in 2006, the mission of Horses for Heroes is to make horseback riding affordable for, and accessible to, active duty servicemen and women, veterans, first responders, and their families.A semi-scripted documentary, HORSES AND HEROES will create a greater awareness of Animal Assisted Therapy for civilians, military personnel, veterans, and their families. The goal is to create an understanding of how and why the therapy works, thereby giving those suffering from PTSD another therapeutic option. Cosmos Productions has created a crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo to help with the development costs for HORSES AND HEROES. All the funds raised for will be used to pay for the development of the documentary.If you are veteran or a family member of a vet, please contribute to this healing documentary so others may learn that there is a path to come all the way home.The site address is at www.indiegogo.com/projects/horses-and-heroes/x/94403. There are also product placement sponsorships available and opportunities for those who wish to help more by investing in HORSES AND HEROES.To learn more visit Cosmos Production's website at http://cproduction5.wix.com/cosmos-productions ___Phyllis Zimbler Miller is t[...]



MilitaryOneSource Can Help Family Members of Military Personnel With PTSD

2013-11-13T12:04:11.955-08:00

In recognition of Military Family Month -- Barbara Thompson, Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth  Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense  (Military Community and Family Policy), joined a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable on November 13th to discuss programs the Defense Department is using in order to help our nation's 2.9 million military families. Because of my ongoing interest in helping to spread the word about people getting help for PTSD symptoms, I asked what happens if a family member calls MilitaryOneSource for help with getting military personnel to seek treatment for possible PTSD.Ms. Thompson replied that licensed clinicians answer the phone and are able to advise family members on encouraging someone to seek help.  She said, “It is really okay to ask for help.”If you are part of a military family and suspect someone needs help with PTSD, here are the phone numbers that you can use: Contact a MilitaryOneSource consultant now at 800.342.9647  Military Crisis Line 800.273.TALK (8255)  DoD Safe Helpline Sexual Assault Support 877.995.5247 Click here to visit  the MilitaryOneSource site now.   P.S.  And if you want to read a fictional story that could help encourage people to seek help with possible PTSD, check out SOLOMON'S JUSTICE: A PTSD SHORT STORY available on Kindle at http://amzn.to/17YVSGq or read about PTSD at www.SolomonsJustice.comAnd if you don't have a Kindle, you can get a free Kindle app for PC, Mac, etc. at http://budurl.com/freeKindleapp___ Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com[...]



Military Discounts: A Guide to Saving When You Serve

2013-10-29T21:46:47.260-07:00

Here is a guest post by Anna Kavich.  Republished with permission from Offers.com: From fast food chains and flower delivery to travel and college tuition, you’d be surprised at how many companies offer discounts for those on active military duty and veterans. Considering their sacrifice to protect our country, it seems like the least we can do to say thanks.According to ConsumerCredit.com, 93% of military personnel have a mortgage and 91% have at least one credit card. These looming monthly payments can be difficult to make – especially with members deployed all over the world with sparse communication.In fact, the Center for Responsible Lending determined in 2005 that 20% of active military members had taken out a payday loan. With soldiers, veterans and military families struggling to make ends meet, it’s no surprise that discounts and offers are widely used. Check out our collection of top military discounts, including:Travel Military DiscountsDining & Entertainment Military DiscountsRetail & Services Military DiscountsA word of advice, though, from Austin army spouse and Offers.com graphic artist Kristen Burroughs: “Just be sure to check with any company before expecting to receive a good deal.”Many stores and websites will offer a “military discount” that is actually much higher than the regularly advertised price. Though hard to fathom, military discount scams are actually a frequent occurrence. The Better Business Bureau Military Line warns against some of the most common cases. Military Discount Scams:       Higher priced loans – lenders promise false guarantees,  instant approval or no credit check.Veteran buyout plans – cash payments are made in exchange for veteran benefits or pension payments that are actually lower than what the veteran is entitled to.Fake rental properties – replicated photos advertise a non-existent property, and active members make security payments via wire transfer but never receive anything.Misleading car sales – posted ads offer false discounts and soldiers make payments via wire transfer.Expensive life insurance policies – solicitors make false statements about policy benefits and costs.How does one avoid these sticky situations? “Discounts change by store and location all the time,” Burroughs said. “You learn how to ask.”Burroughs has been saving here and there with military discounts for four years while her husband, Dave, has been a sergeant in the army. He is currently assigned to the air defense unit and has been deployed twice – once to Korea and then to Kuwait. They currently live in Killeen, a town about an hour outside of Austin where Fort Hood is located.“I have a 68.9 mile commute every day to work in Austin,” said Burroughs. “I definitely take advantage of oil change discounts at Jiffy Lube and Firestone.” Burroughs and her husband also use an exclusive military discount on their Verizon phone bill as well as the occasional retail shopping experience. “Old Navy usually has a 10% off military discount in store on Mondays.”What are the best military discounts?Although shopping and utilities savings are great, Burroughs confirmed that the best deals she's found have been for travel. As you can imagine, military families spend a majority of their time circumventing the globe. Whether it’s to move to the next post or to visit far-away family, many like Burroughs are often on the go.She said saving on airfare is huge and companies like Southwest, Delta, and American Airlines always offer military d[...]



AAFMAA (American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association) Has Distinguished History

2013-10-09T08:58:34.966-07:00

Here is a guest post from Winnifred Tse of AAFMAA: The AAFMAA (American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association) has a long and distinguished history.   Established on January 13, 1879, by a committee of army officers chaired by Lieutenant General (later Brigadier General) Roger Jones, Assistant Inspector General of the Army, the creation stems from the losses suffered at the Battle of Little Big Horn three years earlier.   Traditionally, on the frontier, when a soldier died, the others left would "pass the hat" and take up a collection used to send to the deceased soldier’s family back East.  After the Battle of Little Big Horn, there were no surviving soldiers to pass the hat.  The army did not want this to happen again.At the creation of AAFMAA (then Army Mutual Aid Association), the expressed purpose was “to aid the families of deceased members in a prompt, simple and substantial manner.”  Now, 134 years later, that is still at the core of all the AAFMAA does.All ranks of Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are eligible for membership – active duty, Guard/Reserve, retired and cadets/midshipmen at the service academies.  In addition, honorably discharged veterans in AZ, CT, FL, HI, MD, NC, OK, RI, SC and VA are eligible for membership and services.  AAFMAA’s signature Survivor Assistance Services are included with each member’s first life insurance policy.  Also, the member benefits department provides valuable veterans affairs claims coordination services as well as maintains physical and digital vault storage for members’ most important and critical documents.AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust LLC provides financial planning, money management, and trust services. The membership is over 90,000 strong, with over 100,000 lives insured through the life insurance programs.  Insurance in force exceeds $25 billion and assets are in excess of $1 billion.More information about AAFMAA and the services can be found at aafmaa.com    [...]



Please Support K9s for Warriors

2013-09-29T09:08:13.604-07:00

Here is a very important guest post from veterinarian Patrick Mahaney: Have you or your family, friends, or coworkers benefited from the companionship of a service dog? Those who have psychiatric conditions are seemingly the most in need, with military veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) being at high risk for self-harm, including suicide.The United States Department of Veterans Affairs reports that every 65 minutes a veteran commits suicide, and the department identifies a strong correlation between PTSD and veterans who end their own lives. An alarming 755,200 veterans suffer from PTSD and 184 new cases are diagnosed every day.K9s for Warriors is a organization that rescues dogs and trains them to be service animals for veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. The dogs chosen to be part of K9s for Warriors are saved from shelter-based euthanasia and trained to meet Canine Good Citizen standards before being paired with their warriors.Animal Fair’s Wendy Diamond has championed the K9s for Warriors cause and is hosting the Bark Business Benefit Tour, a series of awareness and fundraising events in multiple cities across the U.S. Diamond’s efforts have attracted support from Halo Purely For Pets (Ellen DeGeneres's pet food company), American Express Open, Loews hotels, and Omni hotels.Diamond (and I) hope you will inspire your troops (friends, family, etc.) to join our fundraiser, attend the L.A. Bark Breakfast Benefit (Saturday, October 5, at 10 a.m. at the Omni — Downtown Los Angeles), and help a Los Angeles-based veteran with PTSD participate in the K9s for Warriors program.K9s for Warriors donates 94 percent of every dollar received directly to the veterans and their service dogs. The remaining 6 percent is used on fundraising and overhead.I’ve started my own Crowdrise fundraising page, Help Fund a Military Veteran's Service Dog Through K9s for Warriors, in anticipation of the upcoming Los Angeles event. Please join me at the event by donating $116 for your ticket. If you can’t attend, please contribute any amount within your budget ($20, $40, $100, etc.).If you can’t afford to donate, please help spread the word and direct those who can help our cause by posting on your social media channels (e.g., Facebook, Twitter etc.) via this link: Help Fund a Military Veteran's Service Dog Through K9s for Warriors [...]



Help Support a Short Film About Undiagnosed PTSD

2013-08-22T17:37:18.086-07:00

Here is a guest post from Anak Rabanal, an LA-based filmmaker in the process of putting together a narrative short film, "Dwell Time," that explores the ramifications of undiagnosed PTSD and moral injury coupled with the practice of repeated deployments on service personnel and their family relationships. By making "Dwell Time," we aim to increase awareness amongst the narrative film watching audience that there is a national need to formulate solutions and effective therapies for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with the "invisible wounds" of PTSD, major depression, moral injury and TBI.Our team has spoken with multiple returning veterans who have expressed a strong desire to see their "reintegration" stories in media such as film since to share and externalize what so many suffer silently and unseen. To bring this project to life, we have a talented and seasoned cast and crew including Riley Smith (90210, 24, Freaks and Geeks) as Johnny and Heather Mazur (Pretty Little Liars, Crash) as his deceased wife, Betsy. Our DP, Nadia Baptista, is an award-winning cinematographer whose work has been recognized at festivals such as Le Festival International du Court Metrage de Clermont-Ferrand."Dwell Time" follows U.S. Army Captain John "Johnny" Mayweather, who is suffering from undiagnosed PTSD and coping with the unexpected death of his wife, as he takes the final steps towards redeployment.  Johnny battles to maintain a veneer of self-possession and to control his increasingly dissociative perception of reality.  Life now lacks the emotional and spiritual pole star that was his wife, Betsy.Rudderless and fractured, he obliterates his grief with self destructive behaviors to escape the memories of war that haunt him.  Ultimately, he seeks to return to the only place that offers any semblance of order -- the front.  Here is the link to the page for the Indiegogo campaign, which runs through September 6th, at which you can contribute funds to produce this film: http://igg.me/at/dwelltime2013And here is a link to the teaser shot in order to give potential backers a taste of the feel and look of the short film: http://vimeo.com/71990220Regarding the title of the film:Dwell time is a well-known expression.  It's the term used by the military and military personnel to describe the time period between deployments during which military personnel are supposed to rest, recharge and reconnect with friends and family.Until around 2011, the issue of the length of dwell times was one of contention.  Personnel were receiving only up to a year of dwell time for up to 15 months of boots on the ground.In 2011, military command recognized the absolute need to increase dwell time and adopted a policy that is slowly being put into place -- two years of dwell time for every year deployed.  This is, at least, for the army.  The other branches of the military have other time structures for dwell time allotments.  __Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to utilize online marketing to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com[...]



Announcing TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY: A COLD WAR MEMOIR Now on Wattpad

2013-08-19T16:38:42.203-07:00

I have been very pleased with my experiment of writing chapters of my dystopian thriller THE MOTHER SIEGE on the free site Wattpad. This experience has encouraged me to simultaneously try the experiment for a nonfiction telling of the historical past — TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY: A COLD WAR MEMOIR.

I have all the original documents from when my husband Mitch and I were stationed with the U.S. Army in Munich, Germany, from September 1970 to May 1972. In the future I will be sharing some of these documents on my author website at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com

And while many of the true tales I will be telling in my Cold War memoir are humorous, underlying everything is the very real concern that, without American troops stationed in Germany, the Soviets could have marched over the border between East and West Germany to expand their sphere of Communism.

Click here to read the beginning of TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY.

P.S. Thanks to Yael K. Miller for creating the terrific cover for TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY.

___

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



Army National Guard Launches Health Website

2013-07-18T12:08:56.881-07:00

Recognizing that citizen-soldiers (as National Guard members are sometimes called) have special healthcare needs, the Army National Guard has launched www.guardyourhealth.com after creating the Facebook Page www.facebook.com/ARNGHealth

On a Department of Defense's Bloggers Roundtable I was privileged to hear these initiatives discussed by Colonel Anne L. Naclerio, Chief Surgeon, Army National Guard Directorate, and Chair, Women’s Health Task Force, Office of the Surgeon General.

Some of the interesting points of the discussion included that the website is designed to be easily accessible on mobile devices and that research resulted in a .com rather than a .mil website.

The roundtable also briefly discussed military women's health initiatives, including specific hygiene needs of women in combat areas, sexual assault issues, and the forthcoming body armor configured for women's bodies.

In addition, the discussion touched on the importance of civilian healthcare providers -- who are frequently the healthcare providers for National Guard members -- to become aware of the special health needs of citizen-soldiers.

Check out this new site now for good healthcare information for everyone at www.guardyourhealth.com
___

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



SOLOMON'S JUSTICE: A PTSD SHORT STORY Now Available on Kindle

2013-06-21T18:32:51.050-07:00

SOLOMON'S JUSTICE: A PTSD SHORT STORY is now available on Kindle — click here to see this — and I am hoping that an entertaining fiction story can do what nonfiction often cannot do: encourage people suffering from PTSD to recognize their possible symptoms and seek help.While this story is definitely fiction, it is composed of research (including at the LA County Veterans Court) and true anecdotes shared with me. In addition, although this short story focuses on PTSD induced by combat experiences, PTSD can be brought on by non-combat trauma of all kinds. (I write about non-combat trauma PTSD in the cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE — click here to check out this novel on Kindle. I also write about PTSD before it was labeled as such in the YA short story PINKY SWEAR — click here for this short story on Kindle.)Here is part of the Amazon review for SOLOMON'S JUSTICE written by Middle Grade children's author Jerrye Sumrall:After reading this story about the triumphs and tragedies of helping veterans suffering from PTSD, I have gained a new understanding of a tragic disorder that forever changes the lives of men and women who have risked their lives to protect our freedom!The author has presented the issue in such a simple story form that you don't have to be in the military or even know anyone in the military to understand the far-reaching effects of PTSD.I hope that you will read the PTSD short story SOLOMON'S JUSTICE and share it with your friends. You never know when a fictional story — that I hope is also entertaining — may help others.(This ebook short story also contains an excerpt from my women's friendship novel MRS. LIEUTENANT.)P.S. For those of you who have wanted to read my romantic suspense spy story but don't have a Kindle, click here to see the novel now available as a paperback on Amazon. And, as this post talks about military subjects, I want to add that CIA FALL GUY was inspired by my experiences living in Munich, Germany, when my husband was a U.S. Army intelligence officer stationed there.Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com[...]



Musician Recovers From Heavy Metal and Launches “Healing America”

2013-06-03T09:51:40.525-07:00

(image) Jeffrey Gilliam, a musician based in San Rafael, CA launched "Healing America": A Patriotic DVD Dedicated To Veterans. The idea, if funding is completed through rockethub.com, will come to fruition after a long recovery from mercury toxicity.

I was fighting for my life. That's what it felt like when I was extremely ill with mercury toxicity. Of all the many symptoms, perhaps the worst was muscle weakness because it was getting harder to walk.

Through my long recovery process using a natural detox diet, I became very deeply inspired to create a DVD of patriotic-themed music and images for the benefit of veterans going through their own healing process. "Healing America" was born.

A very good old friend of mine has been diligently working on the video aspect while I've been carefully arranging the healing patriotic music. We've done an awful lot on our own but we need your feedback and support to complete the project.

Here is the link: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/26269-healing-america-dvd




In Honor of Memorial Day: PINKY SWEAR, SOLOMON'S JUSTICE and PTSD

2013-05-26T12:37:23.866-07:00

While honoring this Memorial Day the men and women who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, we should also remember the veterans who carry both visible and invisible scars from their military service.One of the most debilitating invisible scars is that of PTSD.Some of you may know that I am working on a fiction project to attract more attention to the need for people suffering from PTSD to get help — www.SolomonsJustice.com (The image above is for the cover of the Kindle short story SOLOMON'S JUSTICE, which I hope to publish very soon.)And in honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to share a scene from my new YA short story PINKY SWEAR. The story takes place in 1964 — before the term PTSD was used — but the aftereffects of combat still took their toll as the excerpt below demonstrates:Ft. Knox, Fall 1964That afternoon, after their high school classes were over for the day, Donna and Laurel were in Laurel’s room listening to “Under the Boardwalk.” From the next-door quarters sharing a wall with Laurel’s family’s unit came the sound of a man screaming.“What’s that?” Donna asked.“Sgt. Stewart.”“Why is he yelling like that?”Laurel shook her head. “He served in Korea and his wife told my mother that he has been like this since then.” “Why is he still in the Army?”Laurel started the record again. “He manages okay most of the time. Just sometimes things get to him.”“Can we do anything?”“He has young kids. Let’s go next door and see if we can take them to the park.”Next door Mrs. Stewart, a black woman in her mid-30s, opened the door and beckoned Laurel, followed by Donna, inside. Two small children hide behind their mother.Laurel coaxed one child into her arms, and Donna bent down and picked up the other child.“I’m sorry for the ruckus,” Mrs. Stewart said. “The post hospital gave him some new medication today and it doesn’t seem to agree with him.”“This is my friend Donna,” Laurel said. “We came over to see if we could take the kids to the park for you.”Donna saw the relief flash across Mrs. Stewart’s face. Mrs. Stewart said, “If you would walk them over there and watch them, I would really appreciate it.”Still holding one child, Donna followed Laurel out and watched as Laurel gestured to the little red wagon leaning against the outside wall. The girls plopped the kids into the wagon and Laurel grabbed the handle.Donna tagged along beside Laurel, thinking about Sgt. Stewart. He had come back from Korea, but what had happened to him there? She asked Laurel about this.“He was in one of the first integrated Army units. President Truman integrated troops during the Korean War. No one says what he’s suffering from.”Donna hesitated before speaking. “If our fathers get sent to Vietnam, do you think they might become like Sgt. Stewart?”Laurel looked back at the kids in the wagon. “No way of knowing.”“How long is he like this?” Donna asked.“He should be better soon,” Laurel said. “We’ll just keep the kids in the park for an hour.”_____If you want to read the entire YA short story PINKY SWEAR for FREE now, you can download the Kindle format at www.booksicals.com/books — SCROLL DOWN the page until you come t[...]