Thursday, April 17, 2014

Reality and Fictional Topic of Sexual Assault in the Military

On April 10, 2014, I took part as a member of the Department of Defense's Bloggers Roundtable in a discussion by General Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about sexual assault in the military. (At the end of this blog post is the link to the entire transcript of that discussion.)


I asked two questions that my husband Mitch Miller, who follows military affairs very closely, has pondered for some time. Unfortunately, I did not get what I consider satisfactory answers to my two questions.

In addition, Mitch and I deal with sexual assault on a female Navy officer in our thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS, which is on Amazon at www.amzn.com/B005CD5OH4

Thus it was with deep interest that Mitch and I watched the April 15, 2014, episode of TV show NCIS titled “Alleged.”

The episode dealt with sexual assault in the Navy — the psychological trauma to the female junior officer who had been drugged and raped, the reaction of her male junior officer friends, and her reasons for not reporting the incident.

While, as we suspected, excessive drinking was involved, the episode went deeper to point out that higher-ranking officers might turn a blind eye or worse — spoiler alert — even commit these heinous acts.

Thus the question of how to stop sexual assault — which the female Navy investigator in the episode said the Navy is intent on “eradicating” — is a very complex societal issue.

(In a compelling scene in the NCIS episode, the director of NCIS reveals that his teenage daughter has expressed an interest in joining the Navy when she is an adult. The director says that he doesn't want these problems to exist when his daughter joins.)

The young women (and young men are also the target of sexual assault in the military) who serve our nation to protect us from harm deserve to be themselves protected from harm. Not to mention how many quality and qualified women leave the service each year because of sexual assault.

What do we as a society going forward need to do to prevent these sexual assaults in the military?

In a mil-fi novel that Mitch read, an officer committed a different but equally heinous offense. The narrator said, “In any army but ours, he’d be given a pistol and told to do the right thing.” Maybe we need to adopt that custom.

Or maybe fiction gets information across stronger than lectures about appropriate sexual behavior in the military.

Could General Dempsey require that every current and incoming military member regardless of rank or branch of service watch the entire NCIS episode “Alleged”? This poignant episode might actually help change the current environment that is tacitly allowing these attacks to happen and to go under-reported and under-investigated.

Click here to read the entire transcript of General Dempsey's statements to members of the DoD's Bloggers Roundtable, including my two questions.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Career Planning Tool to Help Military Spouses

On a Department of Defense's Bloggers Roundtable on January 28, 2014, a new feature of the SECO (Spouse Education and Career Opportunities) site was demonstrated by program manager Meg O'Grady.

MyICP (My Individual Career Plan) is a new self-service career planing tool available for military spouses and also available for 180 days after the military spouse's active duty member has separated from the military.

(The logon for this site is a military spouse's DS logon or a DS logon can be created on the site itself.)

With this new career planning tool, a military spouse can create as many individual career plans as he or she wants. In this way the military spouse is able to consider the recommended steps of different career paths.

Here is the purpose of the MySECO site:

The MySECO website ensures military spouses have 24-7 access to online education and career information, resources, tools and assessments. Using the tools and assessments, spouses can begin to explore their interests, skills, passions and personality type to determine the best fit for education and career choices.

If you are a military spouse, click here to visit the site now at myseco.militaryonesource.mil and try out the new career planning tool.


And if you know military spouses, please share with them the link to this site.

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com

Sunday, January 19, 2014

TV Drama BLUE BLOODS Deals With Combat-Induced PTSD

Fans of the CBS drama “Blue Bloods” know that New York police detective Danny Reagan (actor Donnie Wahlberg) has previously served two tours as a Marine in Iraq. Now these fans know that Danny has not escaped being mentally scarred by his two tours.


The episode “Unfinished Business” — written by Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green — that first aired January 17, 2014, deals with an Army corporal who has served three tours in Afghanistan. The corporal has beaten up his wife and kidnapped his eight-year-old son because of PTSD problems four months after returning from the corporal's most recent tour.

(There is a very brief mention that the corporal is seeing a private therapist. The implication for those who know about the military is that the corporal is afraid to see a military therapist because this would go on his service record.)

While the episode has many compelling scenes, one such scene is when Danny talks to the major about how soldiers sign off that they are fine after a tour. Danny says he signed off on such a form also, but he implies that this does not mean it is the truth.

While I will not give away the ending of the episode, I will share here the public service message narrated by actor Tom Selleck that followed the episode:
The characters and incidents in tonight's episode are fictional and do not represent the vast majority of [v]eterans.


However, PTSD and other challenges faced by some of our returning [v]eterans are all too real.


If you're a [v]eteran experiencing PTSD, please visit the National Center for PTSD.


ptsd.va.gov


And if you'd like to support our veterans, please visit the Wounded Warrior Project or the Bob Woodruff Foundation.


woundedwarriorproject.org


bobwoodrufffoundation.org


CBS Cares
This is not the first time “Blue Bloods” has dealt with PTSD symptoms although it is the most extensive episode.

One episode dealt with younger brother and police officer Jamie Reagan seeing a therapist to hopefully head off PTSD symptoms after Jamie shot and killed someone. Click here to read my blog post about this episode.

And another “Blue Bloods” episode dealt with non-combat-induced PTSD. Click here to read my blog post about that episode.

P.S. Although there are innovative strategies being developed and used to treat PTSD, there is a long way to go. For more information, see www.SolomonsJustice.com

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Compelling TV Show WEST WING Tribute to Homeless Veterans: Must Watch Video



Thanks to award-winning book author Bonnie Bartel Latino for sharing this compelling video on Facebook. 
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Support Documentary GOLD STAR CHILDREN: TWO GENERATIONS SHARING LOSS AND HEALING


Here is a guest post by Mitty Griffis Mirrer:


The death of a parent impacts the life of a child forever. A new hour-long documentary film -- GOLD STAR CHILDREN: TWO GENERATIONS SHARING LOSS AND HEALING -- takes an intimate look at American children who have lost a parent to war across two generations.


The film follows the parallel journeys of two generations of grieving children – recent war orphans who have lost parents serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and here at home with the now adult children who lost parents serving in Vietnam.


This touching and hopeful film brings together the voices of today with historical context, giving meaning and shape to how America understands those who pay the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country through the voices of the children and families they leave behind.

The term “gold star” children is based on the pin presented by the military at military funerals to the families of fallen troops. Documentary viewers will watch as children cry, laugh and share their experiences across two generations and find hope and healing.

The isolation carried by now adult children who lost a parent in Vietnam, and their struggle to understand the deaths of their fathers in a war that most Americans did not want to fight, is explored.

At the same time, children who have lost parents in today’s conflicts face a public that support the troops but feel like others can’t relate to their experiences as bereaved children.


I was inspired to produce and direct the hour-long documentary film after mentoring a child whose father was killed in Iraq.  My own father, US Marine CAPT William A. Griffis, III, died in the Vietnam War hours after my birth.


This is an untold story of our nation's children of war.  Ultimately, this is a story of hope.


You may view the trailer and then purchase the documentary GOLD STAR CHILDREN by downloading the film at goldstarchildren.org

The downloads are a way of demonstrating to the documentary's distributors that there is a community that cares and wants this film.  Thank you for "casting your vote," if you will, by downloading GOLD STAR CHILDREN!

All profits go to the not-for-profit Gold Star Children organization, which continues the work giving our nation's military bereaved children a voice.

My hope is to be able to offer this film as a military resource for all newly bereaved military children and for our casualty assistance officers who must knock on the door.

Thank you for supporting the mission of creating community and awareness for our bereaved military children by purchasing the film at goldstarchildren.org
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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Animal Assisted Therapy Documentary HORSES AND HEROES Needs Your Help


 

Here is a guest post by Theresa Chaze on an important project:
 
Animal Assisted Therapy has been extremely effective for those who are physically and emotionally challenged, and it has become more widely used in cases of PTSD, especially for veterans.
Although almost any animal can be a healer, dogs and horses are the ones that are most commonly partnered with veterans. Dogs have the advantage of being accepted in both cities and rural areas. 

However, horses are known to better reflect the mood of the person handling them. This ability is helpful for PSTD patients to learn how to recognize their own feelings. In this way, they learn how to retrain their mind and body reacts to stressors.

The planned documentary HORSES AND HEROES will be hosted by veteran Barbara (Bobby) Kilgore. Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1980, she served six years and was honorably discharged.  In 1995 she enlisted in the United States Army, from which she retired in October 2011.


Founded in 2001, Charity Hill Ranch specializes in Traumatic Brain Injury and rehabilitation utilizing all the assets a farm and horse have to offer. 

Christine O'Connell is a PATH International Certified Instructor of 10 years and specializes in Traumatic Brain Injury as well as being a Certified Brain Injury Specialist. Sarah Wilson is a Mental Health Specialist with a degree in psychology and education. She offers tutoring and program planning at the ranch.

Mid-Michigan Equestrian Center, Inc, which is located at Charity Hill Ranch, is a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation that believes that riding and caring for horses profoundly affects the lives of people with disabilities and enables them to live a more fulfilling and complete life. The mission is to provide programs and services where “Love in Action” enables individual growth and achievement for people who have special needs, through an extraordinary partnership with horses and staff. 

Carefully trained and certified instructors work with clients to take advantage of every healing minute at the ranch. At-risk children develop healthy trust and relationships. Those with disabilities learn responsibility, develop communication skills and use this therapy as a way to create life-long passions.

Charity Hill Ranch is a proud member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. It is also a member of Horses for Heroes Inc. 

Based in Las Vegas and founded in 2006, the mission of Horses for Heroes is to make horseback riding affordable for, and accessible to, active duty servicemen and women, veterans, first responders, and their families.

A semi-scripted documentary, HORSES AND HEROES will create a greater awareness of Animal Assisted Therapy for civilians, military personnel, veterans, and their families. The goal is to create an understanding of how and why the therapy works, thereby giving those suffering from PTSD another therapeutic option.

Cosmos Productions has created a crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo to help with the development costs for HORSES AND HEROES. All the funds raised for will be used to pay for the development of the documentary.

If you are veteran or a family member of a vet, please contribute to this healing documentary so others may learn that there is a path to come all the way home.

The site address is at www.indiegogo.com/projects/horses-and-heroes/x/94403. There are also product placement sponsorships available and opportunities for those who wish to help more by investing in HORSES AND HEROES.

To learn more visit Cosmos Production's website at http://cproduction5.wix.com/cosmos-productions

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients on digital marketing opportunities. Read her book-related posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

MilitaryOneSource Can Help Family Members of Military Personnel With PTSD


In recognition of Military Family Month -- Barbara Thompson, Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth  Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense  (Military Community and Family Policy), joined a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable on November 13th to discuss programs the Defense Department is using in order to help our nation's 2.9 million military families.


Because of my ongoing interest in helping to spread the word about people getting help for PTSD symptoms, I asked what happens if a family member calls MilitaryOneSource for help with getting military personnel to seek treatment for possible PTSD.


Ms. Thompson replied that licensed clinicians answer the phone and are able to advise family members on encouraging someone to seek help.  She said, “It is really okay to ask for help.”


If you are part of a military family and suspect someone needs help with PTSD, here are the phone numbers that you can use:

Contact a MilitaryOneSource consultant now at 800.342.9647
 
Military Crisis Line 800.273.TALK (8255)
 

DoD Safe Helpline Sexual Assault Support 877.995.5247

Click here to visit  the MilitaryOneSource site now.
 
P.S.  And if you want to read a fictional story that could help encourage people to seek help with possible PTSD, check out SOLOMON'S JUSTICE: A PTSD SHORT STORY available on Kindle at http://amzn.to/17YVSGq or read about PTSD at www.SolomonsJustice.com

And if you don't have a Kindle, you can get a free Kindle app for PC, Mac, etc. at http://budurl.com/freeKindleapp

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Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com