Thursday, June 23, 2011

Please Join New Site by Theodore Knell to Help Soldiers and Their Families

Below is reprinted by permission of author Theodore Knell his information on his new site to help military personnel and their families.

As you may recall from previous posts on this blog, Theodore Knell is an ex-British Special Forces soldier who saw combat all over the world during his 22 years of service in the military.

His book FROM THE CORNERS OF A WOUNDED MIND is an incredibly moving account (complete with poetry) of what it means to serve in the harshest of circumstances.

After reading this post, I hope you will join the Hushed Voices community site. (I already have.)

From Theodore Knell:

I have created a new online community called “Hushed Voices.”

This new community is open to service families across the world, regardless of which flag their warrior fights under, whether its American, English Australian etc, we are all fighting the same enemy, and we all suffer in the same way, and it’s our families who are left to pick up the pieces and cope with the inevitable fall out.

It was only when I started writing my book that I realized just how difficult I had made life for my wife and little boy. How confused they must have been by my mood swings, long silences and just wanting to be alone, not to mention the nightmares and flashbacks.

A very minimal amount of attention and support is focused on the warriors who suffer from combat related PTSD, but even less consideration is given to their families. It was because of this that “Hushed Voices” was born, in an effort to help and support those who are now in the firing line.

The primary purpose behind “Hushed Voices” is to provide the families and loved ones of our warriors with a medium through which they can share their concerns and experiences with others in a similar situation, hopefully discovering what works and what doesn’t and what professional help is available, helping them to cope with this very destructive condition.

Membership of “Hushed Voices” is totally free, but in order to participate fully, that is, to have their voice heard, users will need to register as a member.

I am very aware of how delicate this subject is and that they may not wish to be recognized online by their spouse, friends or others in their community, and I have made allowances for this in the sign up procedure.

However, they will need:

A name: This can be their real name or a pseudonym, but NO idiotic names.

An e-mail address: If they don’t wish to use their primary e-mail address for fear of their participation being discovered, then they can get a free e-mail account from Yahoo, Gmail or other free e-mail service provider. Their e-mail address is not visible to other members and it is never shared or divulged to any third party.

Photo/picture: They don’t have to provide a photo; they can just use the standard “Hushed Voices” silhouette which they can change at any time. But as we all know a picture, whatever it may be, does make it easier for other members to recognize each others posts, comments and connect.

The site is up already and can be found at

Obviously the site is in its infancy and desperate for members.

Please join now to help yourself or someone you may know.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Mobile App: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Pocket Guide

The Department of Defense has released a new mobile application for health care professionals as a quick reference for mild traumatic brain injury.

According to the app's website page:
A reference for providers treating service members and Veterans with a mild TBI.

In collaboration with the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Standards of Care Directorate of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE)the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) developed a smartphone Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Pocket Guide to provide care providers with a comprehensive, quick reference that includes clinical practice guidelines for assessing and treating service members and Veterans who have sustained a mild TBI.

Key features of the app include:

Interactive Decision Trees: Helps identify the best interventions and timing of services for patients in order to optimize quality of care and clinical outcomes.

Symptom Management: Identifies clinical practice guidelines for the management of common symptoms following mTBI.

Provider Assessments: Provides frequently used assessments and scoring of tools used with mTBI patients.

Relevant DoD ICD-9 Coding: Consolidates all appropriate codes enabling efficient documentation.

Interactive Links: Allows user to have direct access to additional resources with a touch of a finger.
Download the free mobile application now for Android smartphones.

And you can get hard copies of the pocket guide from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center at or 1-800-870-9244.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

British Special Operations Forces Start in WWII

Here is a guest post from Phil Ward, who spent a great deal of time behind the scenes of Texas politics as son-in-law to the late Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Bob Bullock. Ward lives in Austin with his wife and currently serves as the president of USA Training Company, a national driving safety organization. He is the author of the novel THOSE WHO DARE and the upcoming (November 2011) DEAD EAGLES.

Our modern day Special Operations Force has its origins in WWII. The story of how SpecOps began is a fascinating tale you could not make up. No one would believe it.

At the start of WWII there were no special operations units in Great Britain or in the United States.

In England independent companies were soon formed. These independent companies operated in Norway and carried out several successful sabotage missions.

Lt. Col. Dudley Clarke came up with a plan to raise raiding units along the lines of the South African Boer commandos to carry out "tip and run" raids on the German Occupied French coast line.

Prime Minister Churchill immediately approved the plan and called for the raising of 5,000 men of the "hunter class" to fall on the enemy like "leopards."

MO-9 was created to recruit, plan and conduct raiding operations with Capt. David Niven, the international movie star, as Lt. Col. Clarke’s assistant.

One of the independent companies, Number 11 commanded by Maj. Ronnie Todd, was selected (designated 11 Commando for the operation) as the troops for the first raid.

What happened next could only be described as a military farce with live ammo.

The Royal Navy was approached to supply small craft. In what was possibly the finest example of inner-service cooperation of the entire war, upon hearing of the plan to strike back at the Nazis, the Admiralty responded "for that you can have anything that you want."

Only the navy did not have any small boats suitable for amphibious assaults. Seven air-sea rescue boats had to be borrowed from the Royal Air Force, each capable of carrying 30 fully armed men. One of the crash boats, for reasons that have not been explained to this day, was crewed by civilian yachtsmen.

The Royal Navy assigned a real fire-eater, Lt. Cdr. J.W.F. Milner-Gibson, to command the flotilla. Commander Milner-Gibson went ashore an incredible 10 times to personally reconnoiter the beaches. Whether he was super brave or merely had a death wish was a matter of some speculation.

The Royal Air Force wanted in on the operation. Someone came up with the idea of Avro Ansons buzzing the beach to cover the sound of the engines of the boats as they made their run in. What the planner was thinking is hard to imagine. Any German who heard Royal Air Force planes repeatedly buzzing was sure to stand-to.

The navy plan called for the boats to sail from three different ports to confuse any enemy agents who might be lurking about and to rendezvous in mid-channel,then sail to the target.

On the big night Lt. Cdr. Milner-Gibson, acting in his capacity of master navigator, got it wrong and, with RAF Avro Ansons overhead, he sailed right up to the harbor entrance of Boulogne. The commander realized his mistake when the Germans manning the lighthouse, having heard the sound of airplane engines, turned on the light. Uh-oh.

The raiders made an immediate U-turn. The boats then became separated and landed in several different places.

Eleven commandos were armed with exactly half of the .45 Thompson submachine guns the British Army possessed (which was a grand total of 40 weapons kept in a central armory).

Major Todd led his men inland while Lt. Col. Clarke paced back and forth on the beach. He had come along on the raid and against orders had landed. Some firing broke out in the distance. Maj. Todd came back to consult and, at that moment, a German bicycle patrol happened along out of the dark.

Maj. Todd raised his Thompson submachine gun to fire, but not having any idea how the controls on the weapon worked for lack of a single a minute of training on how to operate a Tommy gun, he accidentally punched the magazine release button instead of the safety. The sound of his magazine falling to the ground alerted the Nazis.

Being trained men they immediately commenced fire with their 9mm machine pistol 38s and they did not drop their magazines until they ran empty.

A round from the initial burst nearly took Lt. Col. Clarke’s ear off, giving him the distinction of being the man who dreamed up, named, organized and became the first commando wounded in action.

On the second commando raid, Number 11 got lost and invaded the wrong island. Becoming an elite fighting force is not without its trials and tribulations.

But they never gave up and, within a year, British commandos were the rock stars of small scale raiding. Later in 1942 commandos trained the 1st Ranger Battalion.

The US Marines formed "Raider Battalions" along the lines of the commandos. After the war the US Army organized a ranger school. Selected army, navy and marine personnel went through the school.

These men went back to their services and became the seeds of the highly professional modern day multi-service Special Operations Force that is fighting terrorism worldwide today.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vietnam Draft Lottery Influenced Political Views

The June 11-12 Wall Street Journal in the “Week in Ideas” by Christopher Shea reported in “Voting and the Vietnam Draft” on a paper that appeared in the May issue of the American Political Science Review.

The paper was titled “Caught in the Draft: The Effects of Vietnam Draft Lottery Status on Political Attitudes” and its authors were Robert S. Erikson and Laura Stoker.

Shea reported:
Among college-educated men who were subject to the Vietnam War draft lottery in 1969, the number they drew shaped their politics for decades to come, a study finds. The effect was independent of actual military service.

In 1969, the men received lottery numbers ranging from 1 (with the greatest chance of being drafted) to 366, based on their birthdays. The men were interviewed in 1973 about their attitudes toward the war…

In the 1973 election, the likelihood that someone holding the No. 1 lottery spot would vote for President Nixon was 37%, compared with 75% for those who held the number 366. In fact, draft numbers predicted their votes better than late-childhood party preference.
This brief description of the paper resonated with me because, on December 1, 1969, when draft lottery numbers were first drawn, my husband of three months had the lottery number 16.

In fact, in his case the low number was not relevant because he had been R.O.T.C. at Michigan State University and was already sworn in as a second lieutenant scheduled to go on active duty.

What my husband and I found most interesting is the study’s results of opinions in the 1973 presidential race. We had figured, and were proven right, that President Nixon needed to end the war to be re-elected. (That political need sent us home from Munich, Germany, in May 1972 instead of sending my husband to Vietnam.)

Therefore, we would have expected that men with low lottery numbers would also have figured this out for the 1973 presidential election.

A Google search for the article found the abstract of the original article.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Westin Copley Place in Boston and FOX25 to Throw All-Expense Paid Wedding on Veterans Day

If you are an active member of the U.S. military with a Massachusetts or New Hampshire residency, you qualify to submit a 500-word essay why you deserve "A Wedding to Remember."

And thanks to a partnership between The Westin Copley Place and FOX25, one military couple will win a wedding at The Westin Copley Place on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11, 2011:
The Westin Copley Place and FOX25 understand the sacrifices that our military makes every day to protect our country at home and abroad. As a token of their gratitude, they would like to honor those sacrifices by giving one deserving couple “A Wedding To Remember!”
Three finalists will be profiled on FOX25 and, on September 26th, the winner will be revealed on-air.

Read the contest rules now (entry deadline is July 31).

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

Flare Up Over Control of the South China Seas

In terms of future U.S. military conflicts, the South China Seas dispute among Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and China has great potential to create a major international hotspot. And the newest flare up adds more fuel to the fire, as the saying goes.

According to James Hookway’s June 10 Wall Street Journal article “Tensions Flare Over Disputed Asian Sea: China Warns Its Neighbors to Stop Looking for Oil, While Vietnam Reports Sabotage in a Regional Security Flashpoint:”
Tensions in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea flared as Vietnam accused China of sabotaging a seismic survey boat while China warned its neighbors to stop looking for oil in the disputed territory without its permission.
And the article goes on to say:
The territorial disputes were a focus of a regional security conference in Singapore on Saturday, where Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. was committed to defending its Southeast Asian allies. Mr. Gates predicted more clashes could occur unless rival claimants find a way to peacefully settle their disputes.
My husband/co-writer and I have been watching this potential hotspot for a long time because it is central to our screenplay “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders,” which I am now adapting into a novel to be published through Amazon’s Kindle platform.

This new flare up is one of a string of incidents going back to the late 1980s. The question is whether going forward the U.S. will be pulled into a military role in the South China Seas.

Read the entire article now.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

I Am Ashamed of the West LA Veterans Administration

I have lived in West Los Angeles for over 30 years and, many times as I’ve driven by the grounds of the West LA Veterans Administration, I have admired the large open areas of well-tended grass.

After reading the June 9th Wall Street Journal opinion piece “Why Wounded Warriors Sleep in Dumpsters,” I am ashamed of having admired the well-tended grass that, it turns out, was intended since 1888 to be land for housing our wounded warriors.

Those of you who read this blog know that I frequently write about PTSD and efforts to help those military personnel suffering from the effects of PTSD.

Here are the facts presented by the opinion piece’s writers Laurence Tribe and Bobby Shriver:

• Los Angeles has “some 8,200 homeless veterans” of the “roughly 107,000 homeless veterans in America” suffering from conditions such as PTSD

• In 1888 “a 387-acre parcel of land, the West Los Angeles VA Campus,” was donated to the federal government “for the specific purpose of permanently maintaining a soldiers’ home.”

• The land was used for this purpose until the Vietnam War when “the government put buildings and land formerly dedicated to veterans’ therapeutic housing to other, more lucrative uses.”

At the end of this blog post I’ll give you the link to read the entire article yourself. But here is an important point to me although not stated explicitly in the opinion piece:

There may be services to help veterans suffering from PTSD – but if they are so damaged that they are homeless, they are unlikely to be able to arrive at the VA facilities for scheduled PTSD treatment.

The following from the opinion piece is what really made me ashamed:
Today, where the disabled homeless vets of Los Angeles should find a home, they'll instead find a car-rental business, a private swimming pool, a dog run, an oil well, an 18-hole golf course, and a unit that launders linen for nearby luxury hotels.
The opinion piece writers announce that on June 8th a group of homeless veterans filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court – Valentini v. Shineseki – against the federal officials responsible for their situation.

The opinion piece goes on to say:
Valentini v. Shineseki, which we helped these disabled veterans file, asks only that the government keep the solemn promise it made when it accepted the land as a charitable gift: provide the housing.
As my husband, a veteran from the Vietnam War-era, said, “With the construction industry suffering, there should easily be the ability in Los Angeles to start constructing housing for vets right now on that land. Why doesn’t the head of the VA Administration come here right now and make it happen?”

If any of you reading this post can use your political clout to make the VA Administration immediately start to remedy this situation in Los Angeles, please do so. The current situation is a shame on all of us.

Read the entire opinion piece now.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog.

Friday, June 3, 2011

U.S. Army: Are Smartphones Destined for Combat?

The June 3rd Wall Street Journal article "Killer App: Army Tests Smartphones for Combat" by Nathan Hodge begins:
The Army plans to hold desert trials in the U.S. next week to test off-the-shelf iPhones, Androids and tablet computers for use in war.

Starting Monday, the Army will also stress-test a variety of applications that could allow troops to tap digital information from the front lines—for instance, streaming video from a surveillance camera, or downloading up-to-the minute information from a remote database.

The Army doesn't have a plan to give every soldier a smartphone. But Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, recently said that if the devices proved themselves in testing, the service would "buy what we need for who needs it now."
Read the rest of the article now.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and her social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing works with clients to use social media to attract more business. Read her social media marketing blog. And get the Kindle version of MRS. LIEUTENANT for 99 cents on Amazon.