Hoo Ah Ken et al !
The Leaf Chronicle June 24, 2012
BLUEMONT, VA. — A group of investors, government officials, business executives and former military personnel has broken ground on a private retreat they hope will become a premier getaway for wounded warriors recovering in the Washington, D.C., area.
Boulder Crest Retreat will be 37 acres where recovering service members and their families can vacation, enjoying therapeutic and recreational activities, said founder Ken Falke, a retired Navy explosive ordnance disposal master chief.
“A large percentage of our military members come from rural America. Wounded warriors treated at Walter Reed can sometimes be assigned there for one to four years. While they are in top facilities, at the end of the day, they are still living in military apartments and medical clinics. This will give them the chance to get out of the city,” Falke said Friday.
Despite losing her right arm during a tour in Iraq, Halfaker had hoped she could stay in the military. After recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, she was invited to meet her returning unit but required to don her uniform again. The realization that she was unable to pin her medals on or to salute drove home Halfaker’s loss.
“This just isn’t going to work,” she recalled thinking.
Halfaker, who had played college basketball and trained military police in Iraq, went on to found Halfaker & Associates, an Arlington-based contractor that provides a range of consulting and information technology services primarily to military customers, including helping the Army modernize its recruiting practices and manning operations and intelligence centers. Halfaker said the company brought in $15.5 million in revenue last year. She’s among other soldiers who, motivated by their experiences on the battlefield and aided by their personal connections, have launched their own companies.
Halfaker was drawn to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point when she was recruited to play basketball. She graduated in 2001, and, after a yearlong stint in Korea, went to Fort Stewart, Ga., to get ready for deployment. In February 2004, she traveled to Baqubah, Iraq, where she lived among and trained Iraqi police.
In June 2004, Halfaker was on a routine patrol when a rocket-propelled grenade came through her vehicle’s window. She was flown out of Iraq and kept in a medically induced coma until she eventually ended up at Walter Reed. There, her parents broke the news that she had lost her arm. Read the entire story here
June 7, 2007—It is the signature wound of the Iraq war, but nobody is keeping track of how many soldiers have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI), or who they are. Many—perhaps most—soldiers with combat-related TBIs have
gone untreated. They face the possibility of serious life-long health problems, including epilepsy.
After three years of lobbying by the Pentagon’s top brain injury experts, the Department of Defense ordered that post-deployment screening of soldiers for brain damage begin in June.
But that has not happened.
The order to begin screening soldiers for brain injuries by June 1, 2007 was issued in March by then-Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs William Winkenwerder. He ordered that two single-sentence questions be added to post-deployment and redeployment healthassessment forms, asking whether soldiers have suffered blows to the head or whiplash.
“The two questions have been added,” a senior US Department of Defense health official told epiNews on Tuesday. “But we are delayed in getting final approval for the change to the electronic form. ” The official said the problem would be remedied within a “matter of weeks.”
But even the updated PDF (“paper”) versions of the health assessment forms were not available at military web sites Tuesday. The electronic version of the health assessment questionnaire is an interactive form available only on a secure military web site.
Asked about the delayed screening policy, Dr Deborah Warden, National Director of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) in Washington, DC says only that she is “not aware of the final decision regarding TBI screening.”
Warden has lobbied for post-deployment TBI screening since at least 2004, when conversations with field hospital staff and wounded soldiers led her to believe that many cases of combat-related brain damage were going undetected.
Soldiers with TBIs can develop serious side-effects, including memory problems, confusion, emotional problems, delayed reaction times, and with time, even epilepsy. To date, no systematic effort has been made to screen for brain injuries among soldiers leaving combat duty or military service.
As Many Returned to Combat as Evacuated for Treatment?
In November 2004, Warden spoke to the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board about the effects of combat TBIs.
She told the assembled experts that failing to promptly identify and treat soldiers for TBI can lead to increased brain damage.
Of the blast injury patients seen at Walter Reed Army Medical Center by August 2004, Warden told the audience, 59 percent had sustained TBI.
In Iraq, Warden told military epidemiologists, just as many soldiers treated for head injuries at military field hospitals in Iraq were being “returned forward” to active duty as were being evacuated out of theater for TBI evaluation and treatment.
Even mild TBIs are associated with “relatively large” changes in soldiers’ reaction times, Warden said at the time—a clear threat to combat units’ readiness and safety.
Further Reading at epinews