Episode 107 – Talk with Heath Phillips

Episode 107 – Talk with Heath Phillips

Episode 107 – Interview with Heath Phillips

I saw a story about a Navy Veteran who was exonerated after going AWOL (Absent Without Leave). Heath Phillips went AWOL because after 49 times of going to his command he still did not get the help he needed. Heath was being sexually assaulted and only by going AWOL was he able to escape this hell. I talked about this story after reading about this in Episode 96 – 49 X. Almost 30 years later, Heath’s discharge status was upgraded to honorable.

It was a complete surprise when Heath and others reached out to me on Twitter about the podcast. We began to talk about his story and what he is doing now. I asked him to come on OMR and he agreed. We did not focus much on what happened, but about how big the problem is and what can be done about it.

One of the things I got out of talking with Heath is that holding in sexual trauma is never a good idea. Also things have changed in the military where what happened to Heath should not happen to anyone else. I say should because there is always a chance that servicemember’s command will not do the right thing. However, there are resources to help:

We also talked about how parents and friends can help someone who has experienced military sexual trauma. Just being there for that person and letting them know that you love and care about them is probably the single biggest thing a person can do to help.

There is progress being made, but it is going to require continued vigilance and being proactive to make sure that someone never experiences what Heath had to do through.


[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4J8Z09zHXA[/embedyt]

 


 

Episode 105 – Richard Fitts Jr’s Family at The Wall that Heals

Episode 105 – Richard Fitts Jr’s Family at The Wall that Heals

Episode 105 – Richard Fitts Jr’s Family at The Wall that Heals

Richard Fitts Jr. and the Abington Color Guard

I had first met Richard Fitts Jr. when we were talking about his documentary 21 Years a Folded Flag. ( Episode 92 – 21 Years a Folded Flag ) This is a labor of love for a father he could not remember because SSgt Richard Fitts was killed in Laos during the Vietnam War. He reached out recently because he wanted me to meet the crew from the Abington VFW when the Fitts Family joined them to do the Colors Ceremony for The Wall that Heals.

One of the take aways from the film is how Abington, Massachusetts wrapped their arms around the Fitts family. I got a chance to see this in action for the ceremony. Richard, his mother Valerie and his son Austin joined the guys from the VFW for this special ceremony. I got to spend time with Richard talking about everything from Joe Satriani to bass guitar styles to aspects of parenthood. I enjoyed how Mrs. Fitts was the “den mother” for all the Abington VFW crew. It was more like a family event than anything else.

After the ceremony, Richard and his son Austin talked with me about the film. He is almost done with it. He was able to interview a General who in Richard’s view adds a lot to the project. There is a lot of movement going on with another entry into a film contest, and he is finalizing the sound.

Seeing a Gold Star family like the Fitts participate in the color guard brought a different kind feeling out in me. It shows that family in the military can mean those who haven’t served as well as those from different branches of service.

 


Abington VFW & Mrs Fitts – Richard Fitts Jr is on the far left

Episode 104 – The Wall that Heals

Episode 104 – The Wall that Heals

Episode 104 – The Wall that Heals

Dennis Donahue Riding

“Travis, get with Dennis Donahue, he escorted the Vietnam Wall that Heals to Weymouth.” Sometimes it goes just like that with my producer Keith Hayes aka Sinista1;) I knew the mobile Vietnam Veterans Wall was coming the Union Point, or what is locally known as South Weymouth Naval Air Station. I had already set Episode 103, so if I followed the schedule this podcast would have come out long after The Wall that Heals left Weymouth, MA. This was a problem because it could 10 or more years before this Wall came back. So Episode 103 and 104 dropped on the same day. The Wall that Heals is a mobile scaled down version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. and Dennis was part of a motorcycle escort from Canton, MA to Union Point in South Weymouth, MA.

Dennis served over two decades in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Iraq and when he got out of the Army he had to adjust to civilian life. He missed the brotherhood and camaraderie of being in the Army and felt alone.

Around that time, Dennis got with the VA and 22Kill Boston to help him deal with his PTSD.  He got help and started feeling better, and he was around people who cared about him. One of the ways Dennis gives back now is riding with the Patriot Guard Riders. The Patriot Guard Riders is an organization that does escorts, honor guard and funeral ceremonies for Veterans. We talked about how families and people in the community appreciate seeing the Patriot Guard Riders.

We both want everyone to go to The Wall That Heals while it is here. It is open 24 hours a day right now until Sunday, July 29th. I can’t wait to ride with Dennis and it is amazing how something like a motorcycle can help someone help someone else. Thank you for your service.


The Wall That Heals

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Replica & Mobile Education Center

Visits Union Point (South Weymouth Naval Air Stations) – Weymouth, MA

Wednesday, July 25th – Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

 

 

Episode 103 – Burnouts 4 Veterans 2018

Episode 103 – Burnouts 4 Veterans 2018

Episode 103 – Burnouts 4 Veterans 2018

I did a podcast on this last year. Episode 54 was about the 4th Annual Burnouts 4 Veterans at the Brockton VFW Post 1046 – Oscar Mike Radio Episode 54 – Burnouts for Veternans . Well long story short, Albie, Tiny and Victor are back at it again this year for the 5th Annual Burnouts 4 Veterans, and it is going to better than ever.

What is Burnouts 4 Veterans? This is where people in all kinds of vehicles have fun burning rubber to raise money for Veterans’ causes. Last year a couple thousand people show up to watch tires literally burst into fire. All money raised goes to support local Veterans in the Brockton Area.

This year the crew setup shuttle buses for people to help out with parking. It is still $20.00 per car load. If you have van and can fill it full of people it is $20.00. Got a motorcycle, still $20.00, but better than any movie showing right now. There is bocce ball in the back of the VFW, and the DJ kept the crowd’s energy up last year. This was hopping so much that the VFW ran out of beer!!! I am told that problem has been solved, so while I am supposed to tell you to stay hydrated, all I can say is everything in moderation.

Watching cars burning rubber is fun. There wasn’t one problem in the crowd and this is definitely a family event. Just looking at the cars and talking to the drivers, is worth the price of admission. Albie, Tiny and Victor have created something that is fun but helps others. Check it out


#That_Pushup_Guy Tough

I wanted to give a real shout out to Jim Tough’s YouTube Channel. Jim does 22 Pushups five days a week to raise awareness about Veterans Suicide and PTSD. I really like the daily message before he does pushups. If you want to see what a real person is doing, then look no further and get Pushup Guy Tough.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWddeATX9sE[/embedyt]

 

 


Episode 102 – Jody Part 5 – Military One Source

Episode 102 – Jody Part 5 – Military One Source

Episode 102 – Jody Part 5 – Military One Source

I started by talking about a Veteran who committed suicide recently because of a spouse messing around with Jody. I want to be clear. No human being on this planet worth suicide. There is a better way. This promo video that kind of summed up how I felt this week about it. (Episode 102 Promo and Rant)  .

No one wins in divorce. You can double that for a military divorce. There are situations you will face in a military that the majority of civilians will never encounter. Preparation and understanding of what your need to do is key to working toward the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Notice, I said best possible outcome. Again, there are no winners in divorce, so what you are working for is to complete the process and move on with your life without making the problem worse.

During this series on Jody and Jodie, I have worked to avoid hearsay, anecdotal evidence, or sea stories as a basis for discussion. Every episode has either a real story or solution offered so you can be informed and make that five paragraph order before going into battle. I found this great website called Military One Source.

Military One Source (https://www.militaryonesource.mil is hosted and managed by the U.S. Department of Defense. Look for the section Categories and there you will find Financial and Legal. Drill down in this section to find Legal and Family Legal Issues. Then you can review the section I used for this podcast, “Managing the Divorce Process”. Content was laid out in an easy to read, and follow format. The process had sections with tools and resources needed to be effective during this time of emotional trauma in one’s life. There even a number to call to get help finding an attorney for your case.

There will days that you stare into the abyss as my friend Jim Tough says during his daily pushup videos. Please do not step off the cliff.  OMR Sends


Jody and Jodie Podcast Links

I will add the episode links so you can get caught up. This is a year long series, so buckle up

Links to Jody/Jodie Past Podcasts

  1. Episode 81 – Jody Part 1
  2. Episode 85 – Jodie Part 2
  3. Episode 89 – Jody Part 3
  4. Episode 94 – Jody Part 4
Episode 101 – In Memory of Petty Officer Saman Gunan

Episode 101 – In Memory of Petty Officer Saman Gunan

In Memory of Petty Officer Saman Gunan

Today is my birthday so it is kind of cool that Episode 101 dropped when it did. This episode is about Thai Navy Seal Petty Officer Saman Gunan. I watched the story unfold about the rescue mission for the Wild Boars Soccer club.

Petty Officer Gunan, had been out of the Thai Navy Seals for six years. He was working in airport security when the call went out for the cave rescue and he loaded up and went to Chiang Rai to join his fellow Thai Navy Seals.

I don’t know what exactly happened that led to Petty Officer Gunan that caused his death. He was there working in dangerous conditions to save the lives of these children. Also, we wasn’t even active duty.

I was struck by how these Thai Navy Seals worked through the pain of losing a fellow brother to rescue all the kids and coach of the Wild Boars Soccer Team. One the challenges of doing this episode was that there was not a lot of information about Petty Officer Gunan or the Thai Navy Seals. Even Wikipedia was limited in the information about Thailand’s Navy.

All I know is that cave diving is dangerous at best, and it requires someone of superior skill and training to do safely. These rescuers were fighting against time and weather to get all these kids out. When a problem happens in cave diving there is no way to do an emergency surface. There simply is no margin for error or an equipment malfunction.

I hope Petty Officer Gunan’s memory lives on and inspires other across the world. Rest in Peace Brother, and Semper Fidelis.