Tuesday, January 29, 2013

They're as fake as he is






The Gary Sinise Foundation notes that US Army PFC Brendan Marrocco became the "first surviving quadruple amputee injured in Iraq" (April 12, 2009).  The Gary Sinise Foundation and the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation built a Smart Home for Brendan in 2011.   They note:

In the early hours on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009, Brendan Marrocco was returning to base in Iraq from a night mission in an armored vehicle with his close friend Michael Anaya when they tripped a roadside bomb.  Anaya was killed immediately; Brendan's arms and legs were blown off.  Other injuries included a severed left carotid artery; broken nose, left eye socket and facial bones; shrapnel to the left eye and face; burns to the neck and face and more. "Any one of his injuries was life-threatening," Major Jayson Aydelotte, the trauma surgeon told the New York Times.  "It is incredible."

The Daily Mail reports today that Iraq War veteran Brendan Marrocco "received a double-arm transplant. [last month . . .]  He also received bone marrow from the same dead donor who supplied his new arms.  That novel approach is aimed at helping his body accept the new limbs with minimal medication to prevent rejection."   They're noting the operation in England and also in Australia where the Daily Telegraph notes the pioneer of the surgery:

The novel treatment to help prevent rejection was pioneered by Dr W.P. Andrew Lee, plastic surgery chief at Johns Hopkins, when he previously worked at the University of Pittsburgh.

In his previous job, Dr Lee led five single-hand transplant operations on five patients, giving them new hands plus marrow from their donors. In an interview last fall, Dr Lee said that all five recipients had done well and that four were taking only one anti-rejection drug instead of combination treatments most transplant patients receive.

Catherine Griffin (Science World Report) explains, "Limb transplants, like organ transplants, are a difficult business.  Extensive treatment needs to follow the surgery in order to prevent  the patient's body from rejecting the new limbs."  Michael E. Ruane (Washington Post) quotes Brendan's father, Alex Marrocco, stating, "He's doing well.  Doing well.  It's been a little over a month now."  AP notes the procedure took place December 18th.

In other service issues, Thursday's announcement by the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta continues to make news.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: One of my priorities as Secretary of Defense has been to remove as many barriers as possible for talented and qualified people to be able to serve this country in uniform.  Our nation was built on the premise of the citizen soldier.  In our democracy, I believe it is the responsibility of every citizen to protect the nation and every citizen who can meet the qualifications of service should have that opportunity.  To that end, I've been working closely with General Dempsey and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  We've been working for well over a year to examine how can we expand the opportunities for women in the armed services?  It's clear to all of us that women are contributing in unprecedented ways to the military's mission of defending the nation.  Women represent 15 percent of the force, over 200,000.  They're serving in a growing number of critical roles -- on and off the battlefield.  The fact is that they have become an integral part of our ability to perform our mission.  Over more than a decade of war, they have demonstrated courage and skill and patriotism. 153 women in uniform died serving this nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Female service members have faced the reality of combat, proven their willingness to fight and, yes, to die to defend their fellow Americans.

Retired Lt Col Joe Repya (Star Tribune) argues today that women shouldn't be allowed to serve in combat because "a combat zone is a dangerous place" and because "there is no glamour in combat" -- yes, he really wrote that.  Michael Foust (Baptist Press) adds that "Panetta's announcement that the military will remove its ban on women in combat drew criticism from several Southern Baptist leaders, who expressed concern over privacy and military effectiveness and also warned the move is part of a larger societal effort to blur differences between men and women."  Okay, now I'm confused.  The Southern Baptist leaders are opposed to the move because they know so little of human anatomy that they will no longer be able to tell men from women?  Those poor leaders, Rupal must send them into a catatonic state.  These Southern Baptist leaders must be the people who quit watching Felecity in season two because Keri Russell cut her hair.  It was all so confusing to them -- look, a long haired beautiful woman, wait, who's that person with the short hair? (Wednesday, Keri Russell's new series debuts on FX, The Americans and, rest easy Southern Baptist leaders, she has long hair.)

Ann McFeatters (Scripps Howard) notes today, "Once men scoffed that women could meet the same physical requirements required of men in the military. No longer. Physically fit women volunteering for combat roles will meet the same standards men must meet."  But some men -- or what passes for them -- still make that ridiculous claim.  Language and stupidity warning, Larry Johnson (No Quarter) insists the news "reminds me of the awarding participation ribbons to participants in the Special Olympics."  That's really insulting.  I think most people can realize what a Stupid Sexist Ass Larry Johnson is so we'll leave that alone to instead note his insult of Special Olympics.  I seem to remember Larry pissing his bikini shorts over rude remarks and insults about Sarah Palin's youngest child.  But now Larry thinks it's okay to mock Special Olympics?  What a filthy and disgusting piece of trash to write that.  These are real Olympics and the children and adults participating are competing.  How pathetic that Larry Johnson, someone with all of his limbs, all of his senses and presumably all of his mental functions would lash out at those who didn't get the breaks he did.  He should be ashamed of himself.  I could take him being a sexist pig.  That's nothing new, I'm used to them.  But as I noted when people thought it was funny to mock Trig Palin -- a child who never did anything to harm anyone -- when I read this kind of garbage where people with all the breaks mock those who try to live life to the fullest with less breaks, I just want to cry because I really cannot believe people would be so cruel.  You hate women, I get it.  Fine, I doubt most women like you.  Why do you have to bring Special Olympians into it and insult them?  That's just disgusting.  I would have thought Larry Johnson had more class than that.

Richard Sisk (Military.com) reports on Army Lt Col Kellie McCoy and we'll note this from her Iraq War service:

McCoy led 11 men, two Humvees, and two light trucks on a mission to visit her troops in other outposts when the convoy was hit by a well-coordinated attack of daisy chain roadside bombs and direct fire.
“The first IED went off right in front of my vehicle,” McCoy said. She ran her Humvee up and down the road to direct the fire of her troops, leaping out several times to fire her M4 carbine and M9 sidearm to repel the attackers firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.
“I believe I hit two (of the enemy), but I don’t know how many we killed,” she said.
"The situation kept getting worse and worse," she said. "That is where training kicks in. You don’t have time to consider everything that is going on. You’re just acting. I really do credit a lot of our training for that and making us prepared to just react in an appropriate way."
Three of the four vehicles were disabled by the ambush. McCoy piled all 11 of her paratroopers into her Humvee and returned to base. Several of the troops had injuries, including concussions and ruptured eardrums, but none were life-threatening.

Mark Thompson (Time magazine) speaks to the rank and file and finds support for the new policy.  We'll note this from Thompson's report:

Command Sergeant Major Darrin Bohn said he was amazed at the first woman -- an intelligence officer -- he served with in an infantry battalion during his 23 years in uniform. She was, he said, "deeply integrated" into the unit’s combat mission in Iraq. “I don’t want to sound like a male chauvinist jackass, but she was that smart and was immediately respected by the other guys for her knowledge and her know-how,” he said of her. “It really didn’t seem to matter.”
He liked her initiative. "She had control of a Predator and actually fired a Hellfire missile from Camp Fallujah to where we were running through the objective area, where she had seen some folks running around," he recalled "She was running back and forth to the Marine TOC [tactical operations center], tapping into some of the national assets, feeding them to the S2 [intelligence] guy and to the battalion commander so we could have a better and bigger picture of what was going on around us – the movements, some of the voice intercepts and so on."

The editorial board of USA Today points out, "Critics argue that standards will in fact be lowered, that the presence of women will create awkward situations and relationship problems, and that military readiness will suffer. Couched in slightly different terms, the same sort of arguments were raised when the military was racially integrated, and more recently when gays were allowed to serve openly. None of the dire predictions has materialized. "

Meanwhile the suicide crisis continues in the military and veterans community.  Nathan Max (San Diego Union-Tribune) observes that the active duty suicide rate climbed to a record high last year and Robin Lynne Andersen and Robert John Andersen share how their son, Iraq War veteran Robert Bryan Guzzo, returned home attempting to get help repeatedly for Post-Traumatic Stress but receiving no help and finally taking his own life.  Bill Briggs (NBC News) notes that suicides are increasing in military families and he speaks with Monica Velez whose brother Freddy Velez was killed while stationed in Iraq.  She attempted to take her own life.  Then her brother Andrew Velez asked her to promise him in writing that she wouldn't try to do anything like that while he was deployed to Afghanistan.  Andrew Velez ended up taking his own life while serving in Afghanistan. 


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