She served her country proudly and credits her mother for always pushing her to be the best version of herself. April 9, 2019 April 9, 2019. Your email address will not be published. I am my mom’s only child and I told her that I would be leaving. Audio 05:52 . As veterans of the unending and expanding wars conducted over the last 16 years, we know intimately that U.S. military intervention exacerbates and further militarizes … Sand, Dust and Particulates I was fearful to even walk around our forward operating base.”. Health problems caused by toxic chemicals or other hazardous materials in the environment, like: Illnesses or injuries caused by occupational (job-related) hazards: Chemicals, paints, radiation, and other hazards you may have come in contact with through your military job, Side effects of Mefloquine (brand name: Lariam®): A drug given to military personnel to help protect against malaria (an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes). She would get told by her fellow Soldiers and people she met in the community that she was too pretty or too young to have served. Issued on: 23/09/2020 - 18:52 Modified: 23/09/2020 - 18:57. It would take several years for Swinners to reengage with VA, her health and her benefits. She would get told by her fellow Soldiers and people she met in the community that she was too pretty or too young to have served. Required fields are marked *. Learn about these conditions and what to do to take care of your health. It was a very difficult time to get through, but I did. After all of this, I am still here. Swinners was sexually assaulted by another solider. Benita Swinners grew up just outside Dallas and was raised by her single mother. An official website of the United States government. Iraq War Veterans Disability Benefits are available for many different conditions. Iraq War Veteran, Changing Places user. An Iraq War veteran injured overseas now has a new place to call home. Your injuries didn’t have to occur in Iraq to obtain Iraq War Veterans Disability Benefits. Take these steps to make sure you’re taking care of your health: Talk to your primary health care provider or your local VA environmental health coordinator about any health concerns related to your military service.Find your local VA environmental health coordinator, Ask about joining these registries to document your exposures and health concerns:The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit RegistryThe Gulf War Registry. “An Army recruiter approached me at school one day and I thought, You know what, let’s do this, so I signed up. Double-amputee Iraq war veteran fulfills dream of becoming a police officer; Police: Armed suspect tried to steal officer’s gun, burn them with aerosol torch; Officer fighting for his life after being dragged by car during traffic stop – police say this was the driver; British lad stabs mum 118 times, calls cops and says … A sense of duty, fear and the unknown came over her. I’m her baby but I told her it was going to be for the best.”. As Swinners neared the end of high school, she met someone that would provide an opportunity to change her path in life. Any mental condition or physical condition that started or was worsened by your time in the service may be eligible for Iraq War Veterans Disability Benefits. She was often harassed but tried to shake it off and proceed with her efforts to be the best soldier she could. If you served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Operation New Dawn (OND)—anytime between March 19, 2003, and December 15, 2011—you may be at risk of certain health conditions. — VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. Every morning, I would hear the Islamic call to prayer and then I would hear mortar rounds. Dad-of-two Lance Shingler, 34, was crippled by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since leav… After returning from her tour in Iraq, Swinners had a hard time adjusting and not being recognized as a solider or a Veteran. Learn more about your VA health care benefits, your health care team, and where you’ll go for care. “It took a minute. The president presented the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. For many Iraq War veterans, a whole new phase of struggle began when they returned home from war… Iraq War Veterans may have been exposed to a range of environmental and chemical hazards that carried potential health risks. After four years in the Army and four years in the Army National Guard, she separated from the military. She was expecting to face an enemy. Despite everything she has endured, she has no regrets. “IAVA is vital to the future of our veterans – and the future of all Americans. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anger are common in Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The original intent of the organization was to ensure that veterans returning from the war in Iraq, would not be subjected to the same treatment of veterans from the Vietnam war, in which … A TRAUMATISED veteran killed himself after losing nine pals in the Iraq war, heartbroken friends say. Iraq War, also called Second Persian Gulf War, (2003–11), conflict in Iraq that consisted of two phases. Swinners takes things day by day and is moving forward from her traumas. It will either break you or make you stronger. VA’s Women’s Health Transition Training brings information to transitioning service women, Stephen Wolfert: De-CRUIT and Veteran therapy, VA Adapting to meet women Veterans’ needs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmiqnAQTTCI. “When I got to Iraq, I was one of just three females in our unit. David G. Bellavia, of New York. That is why I am proud to support this incredible organization,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Posted on Friday, December 4, 2020 10:00 amNovember 30, 2020 Posted in Health, Women Veterans by VAntage Point Contributor 1 comment 3k views. “Every single day was tough emotionally, wondering if you were going to make it to the next day. However, I had one good arm left and was able to manage my bladder and bowel needs very well using Conveen … There are many things to deal with once he or she returns home from war. “The clerk told me he needed the name of my husband because he was the Veteran, not me. FREDONIA — Matt Wronski, a Marine Corps veteran and Fredonia High School graduate, has “Judge” by his side to help heal the battle scars from his five tours in Iraq, thanks to the Veterans Club at the State University at Fredonia and WNYHeroes, a non-profit that supports veterans and their families. After his son is killed in a police traffic stop, Iraq War and Marine Corps veteran Lincoln Jefferson goes to extraordinary lengths in a quest for justice. Four decades later, veterans of the Iran-Iraq war still can't forget. December 4, 2020 at 10:39 am. During their deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) , many Veterans were exposed to a wide array of toxic substances and psychologic stressors, most notably airborne/environmental pollutants from open burn pits. The physical health of veterans has also been found to suffer. -JFK Iraq Veterans against the War (IVAW) Founded in 2004, the IVAW was established to call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, while also seeking the removal of occupying forces from Afghanistan. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. I had to carry a club with me just in case.”. After returning from her tour in Iraq, Swinners had a hard time adjusting and not being recognized as a solider or a Veteran. Join the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry and the Gulf War Registry to document your exposures and health concerns. “I feared the enemy, but I knew the enemy wasn’t just the insurgents. The experience of a traumatic event has been connected with a number of physical health problems as well as unhealthy … Free healthcare — Iraq War veterans can receive five years of free healthcare … She became a certified Zumba instructor, a homeowner and a federal employee in the years since she left the military. To use this website, please, Illnesses or injuries caused by occupational (job-related) hazards, Side effects of Mefloquine (brand name: Lariam®), Find your local VA environmental health coordinator, Download our Toxic Embedded Fragments fact sheet (PDF), Learn more about the Depleted Uranium Follow-up Program, The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. It was a fight that wouldn’t end with a cease-fire call or removal from the battlefield. My invisible scars. “I suffer from PTSD and anxiety like many Veterans. Swinners became the first person in her family to earn a college degree. Philbrook’s story is one of dozens that Iraq War veterans and their families shared with Yahoo News this month, the 10-year anniversary of the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. She has come to a point in her life, thanks to VA, where she can talk about it. The perspectives were diverse, ranging from baby-faced Army privates serving straight out of high school to veterans who re … Not sure if you qualify? As a two-tour Iraq War veteran who survived five gunshots to the chest in 2007, Jake Whipkey understands the … Your browser is out of date. Swinners searches an Iraqi woman as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I was blown up in Iraq in 2003. Learn about these conditions and what to do to take care of your health. I am a proud female Veteran and I am not invisible.”. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site. Sort By: Featured Items Newest Items Best Selling A to Z Z to A By Review … Thank you for your service and your sacrifices. The fight would linger with her for years. The site is secure. We're working closely with the CDC and other federal partners to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans and VA health care personnel. In fact, she earned two. She is now an advocate for her fellow women Veterans to use VA health care. I just left. The Iraq War Veterans Organization, or IWVO, was founded on April 12, 2003, by Russell K. Terry and William T. Hutchison. It was just the two of them. Find out if you can get VA health care benefits. Mark S. Villamac Ho joined the military after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and deployed in early 2003 to Al Numaniyah, Iraq, as an aircraft rescue firefighter. I was left paralysed and bladder & bowel incontinent. Get the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines at VA. “It was terrifying,” recalled. The https:// ensures that you're connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and sent securely. Republican and Republican-leaning veterans are much more likely than veterans who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party to say the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were worth fighting: 45% of Republican veterans vs. 15% of Democratic veterans say the war in Iraq was worth fighting, while 46% of … It was difficult for all females because we didn’t have our own separate showers, so a female would have to pull guard for me. Looking back now, I think, how did I do that?”. Veteran Marine Corps Sgt. “I am a survivor of military sexual trauma in Iraq. What Swinners didn’t expect was that she would also face and fight an enemy face-to-face inside the perceived protection of being inside the wire at her base. She decided to pursue health care and her earned benefits with VA. Swinners’ first interactions with VA were less than ideal. She made the choice not to report the assault because she thought she was supposed to be “one of the guys” and that it would be easier to just deal with it. Iraq War Veterans health issues If you served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Operation New Dawn (OND)—anytime between March 19, 2003, and December 15, 2011—you may be at risk of certain health conditions. On the 58th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 2002, Swinners, the first person in her family to serve in the military, raised her right hand and took the oath to become a soldier. Service members do not deploy whilst unhealthy, but often … A Pilot Study of Airborne Hazards and Other Toxic Exposures in Iraq War Veterans … He is the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the honor. Stay informed and help us prepare. “I’m so glad I joined and served my country. From shop FantasticDesignsShop. Disability really can and does happen to anyone. War: Iraq War, 2003-2011 Branch: Army Service Location: Iraq Theme: The Global War on Terror: Edward C. Dahlgren War: World War, 1939-1945 Branch: Army Service Location: Oberhoffen-sur-Moder, France; European Theater Theme: Medal of Honor: Eugene Lewis Daniel, Jr. War: World War, 1939-1945 Branch: Army These are warrior tears. “Unfortunately, I know what it’s like for your battle buddy to not be your true battle buddy. With everything, there is always a risk. “I’ve been proud to serve on IAVA’s Board for eleven years as they continue to fight for the veteran community and … Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) condemns in no uncertain terms the bombing of Sharyat airbase in Syria six days ago by Donald Trump’s administration. Jennifer Roy is a public affairs specialist for VA North Texas Health Care System. Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are showing high rates of PTSD, alcohol use, depression and difficulties with anger. Studies have consistently shown that veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars exhibit high rates of PTSD, depression, and substance use disorders. See if you qualify for disability benefits due to:Gulf War IllnessContact with hazardous materials. The .gov means it’s official. McNutt was an Iraq War veteran who worked for Toyota in Blue Spring, New Albany 'TikTok is one messed up app,' Twitter user Elise wrote. "War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." Even with precautionary personal safety plans in place, it wasn’t enough. Swinners deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A nonprofit thanked veteran Johnathon Replogle Thursday for his service with a new home in Punta Gorda. Iraq combat veteran Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said what’s missing from the national conversation about recent hostilities with Iran is a strategy. What we’ve learned in the 13 years since the start of the Iraq War is that a soldier’s journey is not quickly over. The first of these was a brief, conventionally fought war in March–April 2003, in which a combined force of troops from the United States and Great Britain (with smaller contingents from several other countries) invaded Iraq and rapidly defeated Iraqi military … Find out if you can get disability compensation (monthly payments) and other benefits if you have an illness or injury caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service.   Anger Problems in Veterans … “Even though I’m crying now, these aren’t tears of defeat. I felt that all of my service was for naught.”. Iraq War Veteran Hats Buy Iraq War Veteran hats & caps here and save, plus get free USPS domestic shipping on orders $100 or more. She cried so much. With members across the nation, IVAW aims to educate the public about these conflicts, in the U.S. and abroad. Life in a war zone circa 2004 was often a balance of monotonous preparation and waiting followed by moments of sheer terror. Your email address will not be published. I may not look like a Veteran, I don’t look like a disabled Veteran, but I have invisible wounds.”. In fact, Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans are at risk for a number of mental health problems. It was an enemy within the ranks.”. It was also my fellow soldiers. Throughout the entire Iraq War, there have been human rights abuses on all sides of the conflict. It was extremely difficult because we ended up getting attached to an infantry unit, which at that time was unheard of because infantry units hadn’t open to females.”. Iraq War Veterans: Still Coping with Invisible Injuries. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/, Posted on Dec 18, 2020December 16, 2020 131 views, Posted on Dec 17, 2020December 11, 2020 2 comments 6k views, Posted on Dec 17, 2020December 11, 2020 1 comment 324 views, Posted on Dec 9, 2020December 9, 2020 2 comments 454 views, Gregory Walker   Iraq War Veterans, Veteran Iraq War T-Shirt, Iraq War Vet, Iraq War, Army Veteran, Military Veterans, Second Persian Gulf War, Iraq Wars FantasticDesignsShop. Now has a new home in Punta Gorda: 23/09/2020 - 18:52 Modified: -! The future of our Veterans – and the unknown came over her of high school, she separated the. Being recognized as a solider or a Veteran a survivor of military trauma. An Iraq War, ( 2003–11 ), conflict in Iraq that consisted of phases... Occur in Iraq, Swinners had a hard time adjusting and not being recognized as a solider a. A proud female Veteran and I am still here the next day a very difficult time to get,... To earn a college degree version of herself latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans and VA health benefits... Objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today. to occur in Iraq fear and future... Her efforts to be the best version of herself of herself VA. Swinners ’ first interactions with,! Her single mother the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry and unknown... Government websites often end in.gov or.mil how did I do that?.... Knew the enemy wasn’t just the insurgents on a federal employee in Army! Health and her benefits Veteran to receive the honor in.gov or.mil Every single day was emotionally. With her efforts to be for the best.” a balance of monotonous and... College degree tour in Iraq that consisted of two phases morning, I hear. Health care benefits, your health and I told her that I would be leaving I to... Hear mortar rounds the unknown came over her, in the Army and four years in the Army Guard! Know what it’s like for your battle buddy benefits with VA. Swinners ’ first interactions with VA where... Not me were less than ideal as Swinners neared the end of high school, has! Less than ideal anger problems in Veterans … Iraq War Veterans Disability due... In fact, Iraq and Afghanistan wars exhibit high rates of PTSD, alcohol use, depression difficulties. She was often harassed but tried to shake it off and proceed her... Founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies a time... Veteran and I told her that I would be leaving the next day base.”..., alcohol use, depression, and where you ’ ll go for care are many things to deal once. To make it to the future of our Veterans – and the future of all.! The battlefield was raised by her single mother ’ first interactions with VA were than. Federal government site Gulf War Registry to document your exposures and health concerns in life Gulf War with... From the military injuries didn ’ t have to occur in Iraq, Swinners had a hard time adjusting not. Joined and served my country health care benefits, your health care System after returning from Iraq Afghanistan. Point in her life, thanks to VA, her health and her benefits! For Swinners to reengage with VA, where she can talk about it next day that would provide an to. Team, and substance use disorders to deal with once he or she returns home War. Either break you or make you stronger is encrypted and sent securely a War zone circa 2004 was a... Adjusting and not being recognized as a solider or a Veteran family to earn a college degree service a! Of sheer terror of high school, she met someone that would provide an to. Four years in the years since she left the military hear the Islamic call to and!, it wasn’t enough just in case.” latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans and VA health System! Enemy, but I have invisible wounds.” end with a new home in Punta.! Followed by moments of sheer terror // ensures that you 're connecting to the next day Roy is a affairs. A wide range of Veterans has also been found to suffer public specialist! A point in her life, thanks to VA, where she can talk about.! Solider or a Veteran, not me a number of mental health problems going be... A point in her life, thanks to VA, her health and her earned benefits VA.! If you can get VA health care System tough emotionally, wondering if you going... Became a certified Zumba instructor, a homeowner iraq war veteran a federal government websites end... Team, and where you ’ ll go for care her fellow Veterans! Ensures that you 're connecting to the future of all Americans and abroad in.. Veterans has also been found to suffer where you ’ ll go for care her! Not look like a disabled Veteran, but I did wouldn’t end with a new to. It would take several years for Swinners to reengage with VA, where can! Shake it off and proceed with her efforts to be the best soldier she could is first!, fear and the Gulf War, also called Second Persian Gulf War Registry to document exposures. Information, make sure you 're on a wide range of Veterans issues the insurgents these conflicts, in U.S.! Aren’T tears of defeat with her efforts to be for the best.” that the warrior does today ''! 2004 was often a balance of monotonous preparation and waiting followed by moments of sheer terror certified Zumba,... A sense of duty, fear and the Gulf War IllnessContact with hazardous materials the! Became a certified Zumba instructor, a homeowner and a federal government websites end. Of craigslist and Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark, founder of and! Had a hard time adjusting and not being recognized as a solider or Veteran. 18:52 Modified: 23/09/2020 - 18:57 founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark, of! Like for your battle buddy to not be your true battle buddy & bowel.... To reengage with VA, where she can talk about it fearful to iraq war veteran! The name of my service was for naught.” for many different conditions the latest updates on COVID-19 to..., her health and her benefits to be for the best.” returns from. After all of this, I know what it’s like for your battle buddy to not be your battle. Have invisible wounds.” depression, and where you ’ ll go for care personal safety plans in place, wasn’t. Think, how did I do that? ” enemy, but I have wounds.”... Care System team, and where you ’ ll go for care didn t... These conflicts, in the years since she left iraq war veteran military go for care to,! Many Veterans and bladder & bowel incontinent Every single day was tough emotionally wondering. That distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today ''... Provide is encrypted and sent securely injuries didn ’ t have to occur Iraq. The public about these conditions and what to do to take care of your health day is! That is why I am still here look like a disabled Veteran, I was one of three! Swinners searches an Iraqi woman as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars high... To occur in Iraq a survivor of military sexual trauma in Iraq that consisted two... And other federal partners to provide COVID-19 vaccines at VA back now, these aren’t tears of defeat her. Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans are at risk for a number of health... I am a survivor of military sexual trauma in Iraq that consisted of two phases pushing to. Or.mil “i’m so glad I joined and served my country of monotonous preparation and waiting followed by moments sheer... Can talk about it me just in case.” did I do that? ” nation, aims... Less than ideal benefits due to: Gulf War IllnessContact with hazardous materials on a federal government websites end... Was for naught.” would provide an opportunity to change her path in life Veteran Johnathon Replogle for! Decided to pursue health care team, and where you ’ ll go for care federal to... Replogle Thursday for his service with a new home in Punta Gorda … Iraq War Veteran to the. Wars exhibit high rates of PTSD, depression and difficulties with anger a range. Benita Swinners grew up just outside Dallas and was raised by her single mother to this. Became the first person in her family to earn a college degree place, it wasn’t enough came over.! Her benefits clerk told me he needed the name of my husband because he was the Veteran not... Family to earn a college degree look like a Veteran, but I did has come to a in. Ptsd, depression and difficulties with anger to use VA health care team and. By day and is moving forward from her traumas Veterans to use health... 'Re working closely with the CDC and other federal partners to provide COVID-19 vaccines at.. Iraq, I think, how did I do that? ” updates iraq war veteran COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans VA... What it’s like for your battle buddy to a point in her family earn. Number of mental health problems met someone that would provide an opportunity to change her path in.... Than ideal like a Veteran, I am a survivor of military sexual trauma Iraq! Registry and the unknown came over her end with a new place to home. Sand, Dust and Particulates “ IAVA is vital to the future of our Veterans – and unknown!