Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The VA has published a Returning-War-Zone Guide for Families at just the right time

I feel like someone is reading my mind. The Veterans Administration has launched a new page, just in time for inclusion in the Service and Sacrifice manuscript. I'll get the manuscript back from the publisher in the next four to five weeks. I will have had a chance to review the information at the new site (link below).

I highly recommend everyone who is following this project along to take a look at the new VA reintegration web site. I'd like your feedback as to how applicable this site is. Is this a duplication of effort from the Government One-Source pages? We won't know until we try. So take a look at it and get back to me.

VA Returning War-Zone-Guide for Families

Have a safe and Happy New Year. Please pray for our service members and their families during the holidays and throughout 2011. Lets hope all our troops come home as soon as possible.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas, family and counting our blessings

I've been blogging since February 2010 and it has been a wonderful experience. I appreciate every one's feedback and all of you who have been following. The most wonderful news is that we've had a very nice family Christmas morning. It is the blessing I've wished for all year. The kids are happy and today will be a wonderful day.
In regards to the book, I've submitted the manuscript to Xlibris, my publisher, as of December 22nd. The manuscript will be in copy-editing for the next three weeks (maybe longer due to the holidays), and soon I will have a link for you all to buy your first copy of the book! It may not deliver until the print copy is ready for release, but I would appreciate all advanced orders so we can all begin to raise funds for this charitable effort.
I've got to go play with the kids and take time to care for my family and myself today. God Bless everyone who has cared enough to contribute to this writing effort and for supporting me for the last two years while I've written it. God Bless our troops and their families for their Service and Sacrifice in support of our nation and of all that is good in the world. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I'm praying for us all and for a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Edits, edits, and more edits

I was surprised to note I haven't posted here since November 23rd. My goal starting out last February was to post at least one story or reference per week. Now I realize that just isn't possible for me. I suppose we're all just doing the best we can.
I have been deeply immersed in the process of incorporating comments from a professional manuscript editor. I've reached page 180 of over 230 as of today! It is amazing to see so many grammatical and conceptual mistakes. This was a great investment. The flow and impact of each chapter has improved. I'm enjoying this work instead of considering it criticism. That is a big change for me.
The new goal is to send the manuscript to Xlibris (the publisher) in the next two weeks. Pray for me folks, because this is taking everything I've got right now. I'm home on leave from work because my VA medicines got all out of whack. I wasn't sleeping and have just now begun to get some decent rest.
I've heard some great feedback related to this blog and other social media groups I belong to.
Finally, I wanted to share a link I found today. I have no idea how long this site has been up, but I already found a relevant article. Please take a look at it.
Happy Holidays everyone, and please pray for our troops and their families wherever they are around the world! God Bless,

< Click to jump to the Real Warrior web site>

To read the article about reconnecting with your teenage children:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

PTSD Article in the NY Times really hits home for this Vet

I think everyone suffering from a medical condition that doesn't have very visible and recognizable symptoms would look for some form of validation their condition is real. The victim or injured knows something is wrong, but until there is a diagnosis, there is practically nothing to explain the feelings. I knew I was suffering when I came home from Iraq in November 2005 but I didn't know it was PTSD or even a medical condition. Sure I've had my ups and downs in life but everyone takes their licks and tries to pull it all back together again.
I knew something was wrong while I was in Iraq when I started getting headaches and tension migraines. Once I got home I thought things would get better, but they got worse. My family relationships were strained and I knew I had to seek help. I walked into the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and was immediately assigned a primary care physician. I think I did the right thing. I know many of our 'Walking Wounded' find other mechanisms to cope with PTSD symptoms. All too often they turn to drugs, alcohol or other outlets to dull the pain, confusion, frustration, and even the feeling of self-worthlessness.
I've wanted validation throughout my healing process and I've received it for the most part with excellent care and follow through by my care providers. Even with the additional diagnosis of a mild-to-moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in 2009, I was still seeking to understand my condition. That is why I collaborate using social networks like this blog and Linked-in to keep on top of PTSD and related news. My PTSD group on Linked-in forwarded me this link to a story published today in the NY Times. I highly recommend service men, women and their families read this article. If you notice any similarities between what you have read and what is going on in your life or the life of your Veteran family member, please seek professional medical care. If you don't trust the VA, seek care through a private care provider.
Here is the link to the article. Please contact me for more information about my research and opportunities to collaborate on these topics.
November 22nd NY Times PTSD Article
Patient Voices

Behind the Facade, Post-Traumatic Stress by: Karen Barrow

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Theater of War and the annual meeting of the Maine Humanities Council

Friday I had the honor and opportunity to participate on a discussion panel after a performance of Theater of War in Washington, D.C. This discussion and event more than moved me to tears. It put me in touch with the Heart of the American Solider I still have within me. I am whole, I am complete, I am proud to be a Combat Veteran, and I highly recommend everyone: Citizen and Soldier (Sailor, Airman, or Marine) to find a way to see one of these performances. It was both healing and engaging and better than any medicine or therapy the VA has put me through. God Bless our VA clinicians that were present and those caregivers who attended this Annual meeting of the Maine Humanities Council. I won't forget it. Thank you Dr. Gala True and Colonel Robert Patrick for the invite!

Click here to Watch the Theater of War trailer

Click here to read the agenda from the annual meeting of the Main Humanities Council: 2010 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC

God Bless everyone who made this event special for me and as always, God Bless our Service Men and Women wherever they are in the world today!

Sam Console

1st Lieutenant, Combat Engineers (DAV)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Read the Service and Sacrifice manuscript Foreword by MAJOR GENERAL WESLEY E. CRAIG JR. (Retired)

MG Craig was my Division Commander during the time the Keystone Task Force Dragoon was in Iraq. He is also an associate of mine and was quite courteous to author such a well written and considerate Foreword to the manuscript "Service and Sacrifice" which should be published some time in March 2011. Thank you General Craig!

This is a gripping story of men in combat – combat against rarely seen terrorists who do not abide by the Geneva Convention, who kill military, civilians and children indiscriminately. This story is written by First Lieutenant Sam Console, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, 103rd Engineers. He and his men were mobilized in 2004 by the 28th Infantry Division and assigned as part of Task Force Dragoon; a battalion sized task force of close to 800 troops made up of Infantry, Armor and Engineers. TF Dragoon was further assigned to reinforce the 116th Brigade Combat Team of the Idaho National Guard in their deployment to northern Iraq 2004/2005. This intrepid and brave group of combat engineers performed route clearance work for a solid year in Bayji, Iraq. They discovered, defused or destroyed hundreds of IEDs, saving countless lives of the US Armed Forces, Iraqi military and civilians. They performed some of the most dangerous work in Iraq at that time. Their Battalion Commander, LTC Phil Logan, told me personally that the Charlie Company Sappers (combat engineers) were relentless, indispensable, and some of the bravest soldiers in the entire task force. He wished he had twice as many!

1LT Console weaves his own personal story into the tales of combat action. He describes the heavy burdens of responsibility felt by the front line supervisors of troops conducting daily combat operations. He graphically explains the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on those around him and himself as the men of Charlie Company deal with the death of comrades and allies alike. His stories of flashbacks, second guessing of decisions made in combat, the feelings of guilt about “why was he killed and not me?” will be very familiar to all combat veterans. The help given by the American Legion and the Veterans Administration Hospital are reassuring to those who still need assistance but have not asked for it.

Finally, this is a story of the personal triumph of the men that made up C Company, 103rd Engineers. They trained and worked together in very trying and dangerous circumstances. They formed a close brotherhood that saw them through hundreds of IED hunting missions. This story will explain the great inner strength among the men of this company that developed in the crucible of combat. They tackled all challenges head on, following the Engineers motto, Essayons…”Let us try!”

Our country is blessed with the service and dedication of the soldiers who are written about in this book.

Also, please feel free to take a look at the photos I took on Veterans Day 2010 in Washington, D.C. at the Facebook Public Site below.

God Bless America and as always, Our Troops no matter where they are in the world.
Sam Console
1LT, Combat Engineers (DAV)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Next Steps

Greetings! I've returned safely from Japan and a much needed rest-bit. While away I had plenty of time to organize, update and expand the manuscript text. I've linked in and captioned the best digital photos from the Task Force Dragoon deployment. I have a complete print in-hand and am prepared to drop it off with my editor. She will need a week or two to mark up the work and get it back to me. Once these key professional editorial comments are incorporated, the manuscript will be sent to the publisher.

Xlibris has promised a 90-day turn around from manuscript receipt to publishing. I'm not sure if I'll be able to accept advance orders, but will be happy to announce this answer in the mid-November update. Please remember this work is being published to educate Veterans, their families, and the general public regarding key deployment and reintegration issues. It is in the greatest sense I can make it, a not-for-profit endeavor. However, I am not a chartered charitable organization. Therefore, the contributors to the work and I will be selecting a few worthy Philadelphia region certified 501 (c) 3 organizations to donate the lions share of the profits to. So, keep that in mind.

On October 25th, the first day back to work for my wife and I after Japan, our home was burglarized. The thieves took nearly everything of value including my primary laptop computer. Thankfully, I had saved a copy of the manuscript and supporting files to a back up machine. This blessing considered, I haven't been able to focus extensively on the work in the last week plus. Wish me the best pulling the final tasks together so I can share a publishing date with you all very soon! God Bless and as always, my prayers are with all of our military service members wherever they are in the world tonight.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Afghanistan Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team is coming home

I'm proud of my good friend Sergeant First Class David Broderick who just received a SecFor award for the work he and his team did protecting the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Zabul Province. These fine troops suffered a great loss on June 11, 2010 when two of their Soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber. The team responded by charging forward in the face of adversity to complete their work. God Bless them and I wish them a safe journey home to their families. David sent the main body (majority of his troops) home, but is still in country for a little while longer. Please keep him in your prayers!

Friday, October 8, 2010

A wealth of information about PTSD, please read about Michael Orban

I have a new connection for you to consider. I have spoken with Mr. Orban and understand his philosophy and approach to helping Veterans. Fundamentally, as a combat infantryman of the Vietnam era, he has the ability to speak our language. I am not promoting his individual work as I have yet to read it or listen to a complete radio broadcast. I'm simply asking that as a Veteran or family member of a Vet, you leverage all the resources available. The links alone from Mr. Orban's home page will enable you to learn much more than you've ever known about combat-induced PTSD.

PTSD has been debilitating for me and I currently have no end in sight. What is important to note here though is that I feel less alone about my suffering. There is something to say for a shared suffering, a shared sacrifice. Recently, Mr. Orban's web radio broadcast focused on the high rate of suicide among Veterans and especially Combat Vets. It is simply worth looking at.

After speaking with him, I immediately sensed brotherhood and comradery. This is one of the elements that has been missing in my life since I came home from Iraq. Please take the time to do the research. Contact me individually if there is any way I can help. Thank you and God Bless our troops!

Home page for more information about Michael Orban

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

I have recently been accepted for membership with IAVA. I applied based on feedback from a Vietnam era Veteran I am collaborating with. I highly recommend any Combat Veteran consider researching and joining this organization.

Link to the IAVA web site

IAVA Mission and HistoryOur Mission: IAVA’s mission is to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.

The Need: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are in their seventh and eighth years respectively. Nearly two million American troops have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and thousands have been deployed multiple times.

IAVA addresses critical issues facing new veterans and their families, including mental health injuries, a stretched VA system, inadequate health care for female veterans, and GI Bill educational benefits.

IAVA also provides valuable resources and empowers veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community.

History: IAVA was founded in 2004 by current Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff and his fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. After returning home from their tours, these veterans came together after quickly becoming concerned with the way the war in Iraq was being portrayed in the media and the overall plight of newly returned veterans. There were many policy experts and talking heads on TV, but very few people who had actually served on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. There was no one talking about what our wounded friends needed and the issues they faced. The creation of IAVA allowed thousands of veterans to join the national dialogue, and to explain what was really happening on the ground overseas and back home in the US.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How much can the Human Brain take

Hello again to my Veteran friends and to all of our families & friends who support caring for our troops. I am continuing my research on Traumatic Brain Injuries and their downstream effects. An article in today's Philadelphia proposes to link multiple head trauma, however slight, that may have contributed to a University of Pennsylvania college football players suicide. "Owen Thomas' condition could be linked to head trauma, researchers said."
UPENN Football player had brain disease

Many of our Veterans experienced concussions or have experienced multiple IED or related detonation exposure while in the combat zone. It may be insightful for you to read this article and consider the relationship between the multiple head trauma some of our Veterans experienced and their ability to "deal" with life back home. I have experienced multiple headaches and times when I feel like a computer that is 'locked-up'. I think my TBI has made it harder for me to mitigate my PTSD symptoms and the frequency of my nightmares.
I want to understand the relationships between these injuries and the high rates of suicide in our Veteran population. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) have been associated with exasperating the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, often making PTSD linger on for what seems like an indefinite period of time after combat.
If any of you can find related stories demonstrating the relationship between multiple head injuries and the signature injuries of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, please forward them to me. Thank you.
God Bless our Troops wherever they serve and God Bless America!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Replay - January 25, 2010 6ABC News Video Clip and our Iraqi Freedom III Combat Video

I thought it would be great to post these two videos again. We've made so much progress in the last few months bringing the writing and editing team together. The last hurdle is to secure a publishing deal and get this 1st edition printed!

6ABC News Video from January 25, 2010
Veterans History Project the Healing Power of Writing

UPENN Center for Public Health seminar on January 25, 2010. 1LT Sam Console provided an interview to 6-ABC evening news about his recent work on a manuscript about his combat experience in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom III. Writing about combat experiences had helped mitigate the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Nightmares. The intent of the book when published is to help service men, women and their families deal with deployment stress and the various combat related health problems that are common to the two ongoing wars.

Charlie Company, 103rd Engineers in Iraq: Video compilation from September of 2005
Charlie Company 103rd Engineers in Bayji Iraq

This video was compiled from the videos and pictures I took along with those my men shared with me. It is dedicated to a great Soldier and friend of mine, Sergeant Dale Hardiman who was tragically killed while home on leave, September 10, 2005. Rest in Peace Dale! God Bless the Engineers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

After Shock - Humanities Perspectives on Trauma, November 11 - 13

What a great honor! I have been invited to speak on a panel with two trusted friends at the annual conference of the Maine Humanities Council in Washington, D.C. The is a wonderful opportunity for me to continue Dr. Gala True's discussion thread "Wounded Warriors and the Healing Power of Stories". I will also have an opportunity to take part in a commentary panel after a presentation of Theater of War. Please visit the conference web site and consider donating to this worthy cause. Again, this is a great honor for myself and my family and a tribute to Veterans of all wars. I hope to see you there!

"Join us to explore ways in which the humanities—including literature, theater and writing—can support the personal and professional development of health care professionals who work with war veterans and others who have experienced trauma. Discover literature’s ability to provide new insights into trauma's effects on your patients—and to sustain you as you care for them. Learn about a range of innovative programs, best practices, and how to implement a humanities-based program in your own facility."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another good friend is on his way to Afghanistan

I would like to post this message in honor of my former battalion commander, Colonel James P Wong as he is about to depart for a tour in Afghanistan. He hired me as a Platoon Leader with Alpha Company, the 103rd Engineers, 28th ID of PA back in 2002. Thank you Sir for the job of a lifetime! Godspeed and I will pray for your safe return.

Anyone wishing to get in touch with COL Wong, I have his contact information and email. I will forward your well wishes to him, no problem. Anyone wishing to post deployment news or other information in support of our troops in harms way, please click here to email me: Email Sam.

A clip from his email today, "ALL, This is my last day assigned to the Joint Staff and will be on leave for a few weeks before reporting to CRC at FT Benning, GA."

Sam Console
1LT, EN (Inactive, DAV)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Hidden Home Front, The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 6th

I am honored to share a link to a wonderful article and story written by Carolyn Davis of The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has spotlighted the needs of Veterans' families as well as the harsh realities of long combat tours. I'm also honored my family had the opportunity to be part of this story. My wife, children, mother and many other family members worried about me for over a year. They suffered horribly most days without any information on my location or condition. I hid my wounds from my children in a failed effort to protect them. Please read this article and share it with your friends. Thank you Carolyn for capturing our experience. To my wife Dawn, and my children Mark and Amanda, God Bless you for tolerating and surviving our Iraq experience.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Update from SFC David Broderick - Afghanistan Fatalities and Progress

Everyone, please remember our troops wherever they are around the world. I had the honor of serving with David in Iraq 2004/2005. His team has suffered a horrible loss, but they are bouncing back. Please read this message and keep them in your prayers. Thank you!

Sam Console
1LT, Combat Engineers, Disabled American Veteran

News link:

Email from SFC Broderick today:
Hello there folks,
Sorry it's been so long since my last update. June was a pretty busy (& crazy month). We started assisting with Shuras in some of our villages, trying to help the government legitimize itself, and also help the villages start to fix their own problems (and hopefully keep the Taliban out). A Shura is the Afghan tradition of the Elders sitting down and discussing issues & coming to a decision that everyone lives by. In this case, we are bringing the government official to the "table", and allowing the Elders to express their concerns, and diagram their needs. For the U.S., this would be a step towards the people taking ownership of their problems and not waiting for the Americans to fix it for them. In turn, allowing us to exit this country because we know that they have a handle on changing & securing their land.
As some of my Pittsburgh friends already know, I was back in the States for a short time from June 15-24 for less than excitable reasons. On June 11th I had 2 of my NCOs, and two damn fine leaders, killed in the Northen part of our province. SFC Robert J. Fike and SSG Bryan A. Hoover. They were murdered by a male dressed up in a Burqa (female dress) in the middle of the local Bazaar. It was a great and horrible shock for us, but we have recovered and are going to move honor our brothers' commitment & sacrifice. I came home as a representative of my PRT, to speak with the families, and be present at the funerals. Needless to say, it was a rough time all around. They will be sorely missed and their contributions not forgotten or taken for granted. I intend to make the district they worked so hard in earn my men's sacrifices.
All of that being said, I am, and my guys are, doing well. We are half way through, and we look forward to seeing our wonderful country again, even if there is 4 ft of snow. LOL I hope this message finds you well, and I wish you all a wonderful July 4th holiday.

All of my best


Accept what it is that you cannot change, and change what it is that you cannot accept

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SFC Broderick update from Afghanistan - fatalities

I hope to post more details soon, but please pray for my former colleague and platoon sergeant SFC David Broderick and his team in Afghanistan. They had two of their men murdered by a suicide bomber while on patrol. News link below.
PITTSBURGH -- Two Pittsburgh-area Army National Guard members were killed (June 13th) in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan, officials said. The attack happened last Sunday.
Sgt. First Class Robert Fike, of Conneautville in Crawford County, and Staff Sgt. Bryan Hoover, of West Elizabeth in Allegheny County, were on a foot patrol in the Bullard Bazaar in Zabul province of southeastern Afghanistan when they were killed in the 10:25 a.m. Friday blast, guard spokesman Cory Angell said Sunday.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Philadelphia WMGK Radio Veterans Radiothon

Please listen to John Debella on Friday, June 11th from 6 AM to 6 PM and please support his 4th Annual Veterans Radiothon. Proceeds from the Radiothon are designated to benefit The Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center (PVMSEC).

I've been listening to John since the mid-1980's and I know his work comes from the heart. Please donate or consider posting his event poster in your office to collect some money for the cause. God Bless our Troops and God Bless John Debella and WMGK!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

It is time again to honor the Service and Sacrifice of our Veterans, their families, and all who support our military efforts around the world. I wanted to honor two men who became family for me while I was in Iraq. They were both assasinated about a month after my tour was over. Safaa and Jack were a father and son interpreter team that supported me in the Bayji Civil Military Office. Every day they assumed the danger of entering our post to work and support coalition efforts to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi citizens. Both went on patrol with me and so I claim they took great risk to make sure my missions were successful. I have no way of contacting their family now that they are gone. I miss them.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Sergeant First Class David Broderick, a former Task Force Dragoon Platoon Sergeant who is now serving in Afghanistan for his continued efforts to make sure his troops are trained and remain safe during their combat tour. God Bless you David and please stay safe and bring all your troops home.
A final note, I would like to honor Master Sergeant Scott Ball who was 38 years old/ Born in Mount Holly Springs, Pa.; assigned to the 55th Brigade, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Scranton, Pa.; died Aug. 27 at Forward Operating Base Naray, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit during combat operations in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Also killed were Maj. Henry S. Ofeciar and Sgt. Jan M. Argonish. God Bless Scott's family and the families of the fallen.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

4th Annual G.I. Film Festival

I had the honor of visiting Washington, D.C. with my new Army Brother Captain Dan Bulkley of Tip of the Arrow (... and the PA Army Guard). We saw two shows. The first, Honor in the Valley of Tears featured 1st Seargent David H. McNerney who is a Medal of Honor recipient and his trooops. This compelling story of Service and Sacrifice in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds was mind blowing. Also, many of the Company A troops were present including 1SG McNerney and it was my honor to shake his hand after the show.
The same evening, we saw two documentaries by Gary Sinise of the famed USO Lieutenant Dan Band (based on his Forrest Gump character). I highly recommend this event. It has motivated me once again to serve our country and our Veteran population in any way I can. Visit their web site and prepare to attend the 5th annual event during Armed Forces Week in 2011. I know I'll be there!

Please visit the site and consider donating to the cause.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Ultimate Warrior Career Workshops and Job Fair

I was provided this information from my associate CPT Dan Bulkley of Tip of the Arrow. Please pass it along.

Out there looking for a job? Looking to change career fields?
Come to The Ultimate Warrior Career Workshops and Job Fair at
The Timmerman Center on June 9 and 10 for workshops, services
and opportunities to meet with companies who are hiring.
On June 9, from 8 a.m. -5 p.m. there will be technical workshops
and services. Workshops include interviewing tips and techniques
and meeting with career and job coaches.
On June 10, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., a job fair with recruiters from
defense contractors and private sector employers will be present.
For more information on the event or to register to attend,
contact Sgt. Maj. James Clark at 301-674-9427, james.clarksr1@ or Sgt. 1st Class Loranda Taylor, 609-864-2559, loranda.
Uniform for the event will be ACUs. No child care is available
on site. Everyone must have a copy of their resume on a CD or
hardcopy; thumb drives are not authorized.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Draft book cover

Everyone, I'm seeking comments on the draft book cover. Also, I'm not sure if I took this picture, but I'm positive it was taken by one of our Charlie Company Engineers. I'd appreciate your feedback or name if it was yours! I suppose this lets the tentative title of the book out of the bag! Take care and God Bless America and our Troops wherever they may be serving!

The Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network

When I find out about new services and organizations, I check them out. I think for those of us who have deployed and live in the Philadelphia area, there would be a great advantage to network. GPVN is not yet registered as a charity in the State of PA, but they are worth looking into. Visit their website and event blog and please make your own determinations. I think this one is going to be a winner!

Posted here from (hello Alex!)
If you haven't heard GPVN has partnered with the biggest Social Media Conference taking place later in May. You qualify for a free ticket ($350 value). Please share with others you know and I do encourage you to apply:

SocialMediaPlus Conference, Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network Announce 5 FREE tickets for Military Veterans/Reservists (Operation Social Veterans)

The one-day SocialMediaPlus summit features four education tracks - Executive, Sales & Marketing, Human Resources, and IT - and 28 seminars where business owners, executives, vice presidents, directors and managers will learn proven strategies and tactics for utilizing social media and the technology that drives it. Planned session topics include:

Social media 101
Exploring the current landscape of social media
Web 2.0 sales tools and techniques
How small business is using social media
Social recruiting
Social media in healthcare
Cloud and mobile computing
Legal pitfalls of social media
Social media is more than Facebook & Twitter
Earn more with social media

The May 25th event in Philadelphia, PA is FREE for veterans/reservists of Operation Iraqi Freedom / Operation Enduring Freedom. Veterans/Reservists interested in applying can apply online: .

For more info about Operation Social Veteran:

God Bless America and our Troops, wherever they may serve.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Update from Afghanistan - SFC David Broderick

Everyone, I served with David during Operation Iraqi Freedom III. He is a great team leader and I ask your prayers for him and for the safe return of his team later this year. This is also his address if you want to send a care package.
Thank you and God Bless our Troops.

>>from SFC David Broderick, PRT Zabul, FOB Lagman, APO AE 09383

Hello Everyone,
This message is coming to you late Saturday night (your time), so I hope all of you are enjoying yourselves, AND staying out of trouble. Remember, that's my job! LOL
Not too much to tell over the last month. Just dealing with how our role in the area is evolving, and getting used to NOT being a kinetic type Soldier. Basically the role of the PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team), of which my guys are the Security element, is to help support the training of GIRoA (Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) in Agriculture, Governance, Education, and Security. Through our activities, we try to help legitimize GIRoA in the people's eyes, and in turn, help them secure their own country. This is a challenging task to say the least. Countering that are our "friends" in the Taliban, who can hide in plain, wield a LOT of power (especially here in Zabul), and who want Afghanistan to revert back to a Sharia law state. Sharia law is a very strict form of Islam much like you see in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban also likes to hit U.S, coalition, and Afghan forces with IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). They are getting better & better at this task, so that is a little worrisome. In the middle we have our Special Operations brethren, who go out and look for the Taliban, but also stir up the people because the people feel disrespected by being stopped & searched, or searched in their homes. If something gets damaged, broken or destroyed, the PRT comes in to apologize and ask how they can help - so I get to deal with lots of angry and/or frantic people.
On the good side, where we live is actually one of the better FOBs (Forward Operating Base) in Afghanistan, so we feel very lucky for that. The air is relatively clean, the bathrooms are ALWAYS clean, and we don't have to wait for food/laundry/internet when we have the time. Another note of good news, is that we've been replacing old armored vehicles with new MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) type vehicles over the last month. Look up MATV, and see how cool those little buggers are. As a representative of the U.S. Military to you, the American Taxpayer, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! My platoon also got the opportunity (which we've been begging for) to go out and go "Army stuff" to assist in searching for insurgents & IED makers, and overwatching key terrain. That was a cool few days and the guys were very excited.
Well, I will quit rambling and close for now. I hope that all of you are well, enjoying the Spring, and that life is going good for you. I look forward to seeing you again in the not-to-distant-future. I'll be home on leave, En Sh'allah Sept 8-22. Take care, be cool, and stay safe.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poem by my daughter Amanda

Crusade for Peace

by: Amanda M.

April 28, 2010

Where is the love in this world full of hate?
Let’s strive for peace before it’s too late.

No need for bombs if people are friends,
No need for guns if we tie up loose ends.

No fathers must leave their families behind,
No fathers must leave to kill off mankind.

Can contrast bring comfort, instead of unease?
Can past actions be forgotten; can we stop the wars please?

Love is our weapon; not missiles and hate.
Let’s strive for peace, before it’s too late.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tip of the Arrow

I had a great meeting today with a professional career counselor and member of Tip of the Arrow. Founded in 2009, this new organization is making great headway in helping our returning Veterans find gratifying employment. This is an entirely volunteer organization. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What is Honor and why is it important to Veterans

I've noted many times that I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to combat books; near-death combat experiences; or to write the best War Story ever written. I simply want to get a message out that there are many more Veterans and Combat Veterans out there that were injured mentally or physically during their service to our country than we know of. The walking wounded are mostly silent and I want to reach out to them and help them find the way into the light of a healthy life. I want to provide them and especially their families some form of relief and a measure of understanding that they are not alone.

So, a good friend sent me a message I wanted to share with you all. I've read it four times and each time it hits home a little deeper. This is just good stuff and it is so closely in-line with the message I want to get out in my work 'Service and Sacrifice' that I had to put it on the blog right away. Here you go:


As a combat veteran wounded in one of America’s wars, I offer to
speak for those who cannot.

Were the mouths of my fallen front-line friends not stopped with dust,
they would testify that life revolves around honor.

In war, it is understood that you give your word of honor to do your
duty -- that is -- stand and fight instead of running away and deserting
your friends.

When you keep your word despite desperately desiring to flee the
screaming hell all around, you earn honor.

Earning honor under fire changes who you are.

The blast furnace of battle burns away impurities encrusting your

The white-hot forge of combat hammers you into a hardened, purified
warrior willing to die rather than break your word to friends -- your

Combat is scary but exciting.

You never feel so alive as when being shot at without result.

You never feel so triumphant as when shooting back -- with result.

You never feel love so pure as that burned into your heart by friends
willing to die to keep their word to you. And they do.

The biggest sadness of your life is to see friends falling.

The biggest surprise of your life is to survive the war.

Although still alive on the outside, you are dead inside -- shot thru
the heart with nonsensical guilt for living while friends died.

The biggest lie of your life torments you that you could have done
something more, different, to save them.

Their faces are the tombstones in your weeping eyes, their souls shine
the true camaraderie you search for the rest of your life but never

You live a different world now. You always will.

Your world is about waking up night after night silently screaming,
back in battle.

Your world is about your best friend bleeding to death in your arms,
howling in pain for you to kill him.

Your world is about shooting so many enemies the gun turns red and
jams, letting the enemy grab you.

Your world is about struggling hand-to-hand for one more breath of

You never speak of your world.

Those who have seen combat do not talk about it.

Those who talk about it have not seen combat.

You come home but a grim ghost of he who so lightheartedly went off to

But home no longer exists.

That world shattered like a mirror the first time you were shot at.

The hurricane winds of war have hurled you far away to a different
world -- the Warrior’s World -- where your whole life is about keeping
your word or die trying.

But people in the civilian world have no idea that life is about
keeping your word -- they think life is about babies and business.

The distance between the two worlds is as far as Mars from Earth.

This is why, when you come home, you feel like an outsider -- a visitor
from another planet.

You are.

People you knew before the war try to make contact.

It is useless.

Words fall like bricks between you.

Serving with warriors who died proving their word has made prewar
friends seem too untested to be trusted - thus they are now mere

And they often stay that way because, like most battle-hardened
Warriors, you prefer not to risk fully trusting anyone whose life is not
devoted to keeping their word, their honor.

The hard truth is that doing your duty under fire makes you alone, a
stranger in your own home town.

The only time you are not alone is when with another combat veteran.

Only he understands that keeping your word, your honor,
whilst standing face to face with death gives meaning and purpose to

Only he understands that spending a mere 24 hours in the
broad, sunlit uplands of battle-proven honor is more deeply satisfying
to a man than spending a whole lifetime in safe, comfortably numb
civilian life with DNA compelling him to anguish endlessly over whether
he is a brave man or a coward.

Only he understands that your terrifying - but thrilling -
dance with death has made your old world of babies, backyards and
ballgames seem deadly dull.

Only he understands that your way of being due to combat
damaged emotions is not the un-usual, but the usual, and you are OK.

Although you walk thru life alone, you are not lonely.

You have a constant companion from combat -- Death.

It stands close behind, a little to the left.

Death whispers in your ear: “Nothing matters outside my touch, and I
have not touched you...YET!”

Death never leaves you -- it is your best friend, your most trusted
advisor, your wisest teacher.

Death teaches you that every day above ground is a fine

Death teaches you to feel fortunate on good days, and bad
days...well, they do not exist.

Death teaches you that merely seeing one more sunrise is
enough to fill your cup of life to the brim -- pressed down and running

Death teaches you that you can postpone its touch by
earning serenity.

Serenity is earned by a lot of prayer and acceptance.

Acceptance is taking one step out of denial and accepting/allowing your
repressed, painful combat memories to be re-lived/suffered thru/shared
with other combat vets -- and thus de-fused.

Each time you accomplish this act of courage/desperation:

the pain gets less;
more tormenting combat demons hiding in the darkness of
your gut are thrown out into the sunlight of awareness, where they
disappear in a puff of smoke;

the less bedeviling combat demons, the more serenity

serenity is, regretfully, rather an indistinct quality, but
it manifests as a sense of honor, a sense of calm, and gratitude to your
creator - which lengthens life span.

Down thru the dusty centuries it has always been thus.

It always will be, for what is seared into a man’s soul who stands
face to face with death never changes.

Finally, I wanted to post another link and banner to the VA Families AT EASE program based here in Philadelphia. So, to my new friends Dr Steven Sayers and Dr Tanya Hess, thank you for your hard work to help our Vets!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Educate our Veterans about their benefits

There was a very interesting article sent to me by Military.Com. It is widely known that the majority of Vets do not know the full extent of benefits they've earned. This article is also a primary driver for the Service and Sacrifice manuscript. My associate at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center Dr Gala True has agreed this information justifies her hard work in the area of Veterans Outreach. Please take some time to read this article and share it with your families and friends, espcially if you know they have Veterans in their lives.,15240,211267,00.html

Many Vets Still Unaware of Benefits
Tom Philpott | February 25, 2010
Too Many Vets Still Leave Service Unaware of Benefits
Despite billions of additional dollars pumped into veterans' benefits in recent years, many military personnel still leave service unaware of their VA benefits or of programs set up to help them transition to civilian life, a senior Defense official and veteran advocates testified Wednesday.
Noel C. Koch, deputy under secretary of defense for wounded warrior care and transition policy, said he has visited many military hospitals and interviewed "hundreds" of service members, many recovering from wounds.
"It's a constant source of partly amazement and partly disappointment at how little aware they are" of benefits and programs to help them either return to full duty or smooth their path into veteran status
Communication "seems to be the entire issue," Koch explained. Despite a lot of work being done to address this gap, the government fails to communicate effectively with departing members, particularly younger ones.
"This is partly a generational issue," Koch told the House veterans affairs subcommittee on disability assistance. Young veterans "don't communicate the way people my age communicate. They don't refer to these thick manuals we put out that are just chock full of information, which nobody reads. Even websites are becoming somewhat antiquated in the eyes of some of our younger service members."... click on the web link above for the complete article. God Bless America!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book reviews

The purpose of this blog is to get the word out about the progress towards getting 'Service and Sacrifice' published. I've read several military books to learn more about memoirs and other combat experiences. I've been doing this work as a member of the Dorrance Publishing 'Book Review Team'.

I have just completed reading ‘Toy Soldier – SGT Perronne’s Story’ by Paul E. Perronne. This is a very interesting account of one airman’s experience of the early days of Desert Storm and how serving during that war changed his life. This account may inform veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom about the struggles many service members have experienced proving they have Service Connected medical conditions. I’m especially interested in SGT Perronne’s account of how he documented his injuries, or at least the symptoms and record of medical treatments. He made reference to keeping both a deployment journal and a medical treatment journal. This is vitally important to service members along with maintaining current official copies of their medical files.

I’m not going to attempt to take a formal position on SGT Perronne’s account and cannot validate his story. You can read it for yourself. I just believe it has quite a bit of merit from the perspective of what many of our Vets are experiencing today. Please check it out. If you need to borrow my copy, please let me know.

I have read several books and I post my comments as a member of the Dorrance Publishing ‘Book Review’ team on my Amazon account page. The link to the page is below. A copy of my book reviews are also placed on my Barnes & Nobel book review history. Stop by these sites and please feel free to leave me comments about my reviews or if you have read any of the same titles.

Let me know if these links don’t work for you! God Bless and take care!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wounded Warrior National Resource Directory

Hello Everyone!
I see how time is a factor keeping a blog up-to-date. Well, I don't want to post every day just for the sake of it. I really want this information to be valuable. Here is a new reference that will be a key link from Part IV of the manuscript:

The NRD has been released as a single point of reference for the majority of known Wounded Warrior benefits and services. You'll notice it is a ".gov" site. If you check out their 'About Us' section, you'll see this program is a partnership with Department of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs. There are links to State and Local services and quick filters.

Remember, the 'Service and Sacrifice during Operation Iraqi Freedom' manuscript includes key references to programs like this. In contrast, the manuscript intent is to focus on injuries related to PTSD and TBI as opposed to employment services and non-medical issues. I appreciate your feedback and God Bless America!


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Service and Sacrifice web blog has begun

I've dropped into the bloggosphere with good intentions. I've never done this before, but then again, there are a lot of things I haven't done before. Many of you know me and you know what I'm up to.

This blog will be for those who want to stay 'In-the-know' about the project. More importantly, the site will be a way to welcome those who don't know about the Service and Sacrifice, Guide to Veterans Services project. This isn't about buying cheap airline tickets folks. This blog will be about helping our Walking-Wounded and how WE can find them and bring them home. We are going to specialize in educating our Veterans and their families about how to deal with the signature mental-health related injuries of our current wars. We're going to start off with an effort to address Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Mild to Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

Look for a couple of new posts per week. I'm not a medical professional, so I promise I'll double-check every link and reference I post here. Someone told me once, anything worth doing is worth doing right. Lets do this right, together.

Sam Console
1LT, Combat Engineers, Disabled American Veteran
PA Army National Guard

God Bless our Troops and their Families!