Monday, October 10, 2011

Theater of War coming to the Philadelphia area

Please take a look and pass along information to all Veterans about the upcoming presentation of Theater of War in the Philadelphia area. I'll be on the panel and have been to three of these events already. It is a fascinating opportunity to talk about our experiences in a town-hall style discussion.
Contact me if you need additional information at my web site: Service and Sacrifice

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Philadelphia News Radio KYW1060 interview with LT Sam Console on TBI

Thank you Pat Loeb for taking the time to come to my home and capture a key piece of the story of my life. The men of Charlie Company, 103rd Engineers, PA National Guard would be proud to know their work in Iraq is being spotlighted in this fine article. Visit the KYW web site for more information about TBI; Post Traumatic Stress; Joblessness; and Homelessness.

Click here for the full story

Click here to learn more about Sam's Iraq War book

More information to follow.


Samuel J Console
1LT, Engineers
Former PA Army National Guard

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Philadelphia area Family Readiness Group to host PTSD event

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Presentation
Coordinated by Blackfoot Angels (Family Readiness Group of Bravo Co, 1-111th INF), Coatesville VA Medical Center, The Vet Center, and VFW Post 845
Sunday, June 12th at 2:00 p.m. at VFW Post 845 4601 Lincoln Highway, Downingtown, PA
Please register by sending an e-mail with name and number attending to
You will receive a confirmation e-mail once your registration is accepted.
***Topics discussed: signs of PTSD and how to recognize it, how family members can cope with a loved one with PTSD, and a PTSD Question and Answer Session***
Some Symptoms of PTSD
•    Recurring painful thoughts and memories
•    Nightmares and sleep problems
•    Painful feelings when confronted with reminders
•    Feeling alienated from and distrustful of others
•    Difficulty with intimacy and feeling love
•    Irritability or outbursts of anger
•    Painful guilt and grief feelings
•    Depression or hopelessness

Refreshments will be served. Childcare is also available. (Please indicate your childcare needs in the e-mail, i.e., names and ages of children and any special concerns.)
Please use the e-mail address above or call 610-360-6666 if you have any questions at all about this event.

I'm proud to post this information for our local military families! God Bless the work of Wendy Wright and the Bravo Company FRG Blackfootangels!


Samuel J Console
Former PA National Guard Engineer Officer
Operation Iraqi Freedom III

Monday, May 30, 2011

National Public Radio and a Philadelphia Love Story

Sergeant Jose Matos and Captain John Felts spoke from the heart today about the Lopez family and this terrible tragedy. Please read this and forward the story to your friends. If you believe in this cause, buy one of my books for a Veteran. You can also visit my Facebook cause and donate directly to the Wounded Warrior Project:

Click here to support-our-veteran-charities

May 30, 2011
This Memorial Day, we remember our fallen soldiers. Many have died in combat, but increasingly, for off-duty members of the National Guard and Army Reserves, soldiers are dying by their own hands. Nationally, the number of those who've committed suicide has nearly doubled from 80 in 2009 to 145 last year.
On the track team of Philadelphia's Thomas Edison High School, Jadira Angulo was fast. But not as fast as Ivan Lopez, her teammate.
"I was always right behind him; [I'd] never catch up," Angulo says. "One day I was weightlifting, and I just started looking at him and this attraction just came over me."
In 2007, during their senior year of high school, Jadira Angulo and Ivan Angulo skipped school, wore matching red shirts, went to the mall and had their photo taken.
Enlarge Courtesy of Jadira Angulo In 2007, during their senior year of high school, Jadira Angulo and Ivan Angulo skipped school, wore matching red shirts, went to the mall and had their photo taken.
Angulo flips through a scrapbook that records the couple's romance: prom, graduation, marriage and the birth of their first child, Maya.
In December 2007, Lopez deployed to Afghanistan. Sgt. Jose Matos says even there, his best friend kept running.
"We're running on this asphalt, and it's probably like 102 or 103 degrees. So he would finish his run, come get the other soldiers and bring 'em back in. He'd be like, 'Come on stay with me! You can do it! You can do it!' That's the type of soldier he was," he says.
Depression Sets In
After Lopez returned home in November 2008, he found a job at Amtrak. He drank more and was quick to lose his temper.
"Well, we started arguing from the beginning. After New Year's 2010, that's when it really went out of hand," Angulo says.
Matos recalls a heart-to-heart he had with Lopez at annual training last summer. "We sat down and he asked me, 'Do you think we're still the same?' And I told him 'No, we're not. We're different guys now,'" Matos says.
Days after their conversation, Lopez was admitted to the hospital for a week. His wife says he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He was sent home with medication and an emergency hotline number.
"He felt really depressed and his life wasn't worth anything. He didn't follow up with therapy but they didn't follow up with me either," Angulo says.
Lopez also didn't regularly take his medication. He said it made him too sleepy to work his night shift. Matos says not long after the birth of the couple's second child, Lopez started missing monthly drills.
"He thought that he didn't need help from nobody. He didn't want to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He said, 'I don't want that. What the hell is that? I don't want that,'" Matos says.
By winter, the couple separated. On Jan. 27, Lopez called his wife. "I remember the last thing he told me was, 'I love you. And tell the kids I love 'em,'" Angulo says.
The next day Angulo discovered her husband had hanged himself in their home. He was 23 years old.
"My stepdad had got him down, tried to give him CPR to see if he would come back," she says.
'He Will Always Be My Hero'
This February, the pastor who married Angulo and Lopez also led his funeral service.
For Capt. John Felts, Lopez's unit commander, it was the first flag he presented in his 15 years of service. "It was hard. I don't think anyone wants to ever lose a soldier," he says. "I feel it was a combat death — or a combat-related death, you know."
Felts says when a guardsman returns home, the warning signs are often missed.
"In active duty, people see this person every day, and you can grab that soldier immediately and say 'Get this help,' where in the Guard and Reserve, we only see the guys one weekend a month. We have to come up with better ways to create a support system for these guys," Felts says.
Matos, who also suffers from PTSD, says he will never forget his friend.
"He will always be my hero. When I'm at my lowest, I will think of him, and that's what's going to dig me out of my situation," Matos says.
Lopez was the 14th Pennsylvania Guardsman to have committed suicide since 2003.
Click here to visit the NPR story page

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book review by Thomas Leo, graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

An associate of mine reads and publishes reviews of military literature. Mr. Leo took quite a bit of time to write this review and I'm extremely thankful for his support. God Bless you Sir!

Review of “Service and Sacrifice”,
Memories of Operation Iraqi Freedom;
Along with a Veterans Mental Health and Resource Guide,
by Lt. Samuel J. Console. Published by Xlibris Corp.

Ever been in combat?

Ever been shot at?

Ever wonder if your next step on a road would be your last?

Ever go through a door wondering if someone was waiting on the other side to kill you?

Ever live ‘always on the edge’, with one ear listening for ‘incoming’?

Well, this is what faced the author’s and his men from the PA National Guard, what went through their minds as they performed their mission, - the most dangerous in the Iraq war - of clearing Iraqi buildings and roads for combat units in Iraq. They were a Line Company designated to support other troops engaged on the battlefield, a company whose mission in combat would be to clear the way for forward movement of infantry, armor, and logistics patrols.
Route clearance follows the army combat engineering tradition of “clearing the way”.
The authors’ unit was also tasked with helping to provide and plan for security for the elections in 2005, knowing that the enemy - erhabe - would attempt to sabotage the process; he and his troops were successful and he covers this series of events in the narrative.

The author tells a complex story in an eminently readable way from the time he was an enlisted “grunt”, to his transition to the ranks of officers, a true ‘mustang’ – and arguably a better officer because of the prior experience since he was familiar with the GI’s way of life, ‘spoke their language’ and had their respect.  The book, almost a two year autobiography, is filled with photographs and there is a map at the front showing the various places referred to in the text, as well as a glossary of military terms/abbreviations.

The most deadly threat the men faced was the IED – the Improvised Explosive Device – then there were the VBIEDs – the Vehicle Borne IEDs, and the SVIED or Suicide VBIEDs, and the EFP or Explosive Formed Projectile.    

According to the author, and others who have been there, “Life can never be as it was before combat’; a lot of troops from all wars have suffered from
PTS – Post Traumatic Stress – it used to be called ‘battle rattle’ – many had it and were improperly diagnosed, much to their detriment.
The author has been diagnosed with PTSD, refers to it toward the end of the book and includes some helpful advice on what to do – get a copy of your medical file -  starting when deployment orders are received and continuing on to list agencies where someone in need can get help.

The book is highly recommended, it is a very good read, an excellent tale of a leader involved with his troops.

The reviewer, Thomas W. Leo, CPP, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Medal of Honor ceremony compliments the bravery of modern troops

I was awestruck with the events as they unfolded last night when I received an email notification Osama Bin Laden was dead. A combined force of US elite military including Seal Team 6 surgically raided Bin Laden's hideaway and killed him in direct fire action after giving him one last chance to surrender.
Below is the story of the Presidential ceremony held today, 5/2/11 to award two posthumous Medal of Honor awards for US servicemen killed-in-action in Korea 1951/1952. Everyone should read the full story of this modern day Service and Sacrifice as well as two wonderful examples from the Korean War. God Bless our military of today and for those who served in history!... God Bless their Families!... and God Bless America!

If you support our military, please purchase a copy of my book for a Veteran or the family of a deployed Vet at:

Sam Console

Associated Press

May 3, 2011

— When President Obama expressed his pride Monday in America's men and women in uniform, he wasn't just speaking about those who hours earlier had killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but about those who six decades ago had given their lives in the Korean War.

During a somber ceremony Monday in the White House, Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor posthumously on two Army privates — Anthony T. Kaho'ohanohano of Pukalani, Hawaii, and Henry Svehla of Belleville, N.J.

"Today we remember them with the highest military decoration that our nation can bestow," Obama said, describing the pair as "hometown kids who stood tall in America's uniform."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Talk today with Christine Hardiman, wife of our dearly departed Dale

I had the honor of speaking with Christine today. She is deeply thankful Service and Sacrifice is dedicated to her late husband Dale. To inform you all, Sergeant Dale Hardiman was a Soldier with my unit, Charlie Company, 103rd Engineers. Dale was home on leave and out with his dear wife Christine when he was killed (09/10/2005) by a downed high tension wire near there home. Dale was our Radio Operator and the voice of Charlie Company in Iraq!
Christine has been doing well and she has volunteered to speak with families of wounded Veterans, especially spouses in need of advice. She is a wonderful person and I'm glad to know her. Please say a prayer for Christine and all in Dale's family.
I will never forget Dale.

Finally, God Bless our military and their families wherever they are in the world today!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book sales and charity drive: Service and Sacrifice

Hello everyone!
I have been quite sick over the last few months with very little time or energy to post here. The good news is I have a small team of helpers working to move the nearly 400 books I have remaining in stock! I'd like to thank former PA Guard Sergeant Wendell Chavis for taking 20 books to sell. Wendell is enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania, Upward Bound program. I'd like to thank my mother-in-law, Cyndy Millican for selling 17 of her 20 copies! Finally, I'd like to thank former National Guardsman, Sergeant First Class Nate Foreman for taking 30 books. Nate lives in the Upper Peninsula Michigan and volunteers at the Iron Mountain VA Medical Center.
Many of my friends and Co-workers have purchased the book or recommended it to friends. Thank you all. I am working with four charities, two get 15% and two will get 10% of the net book sales. The balance of the money raised will go into an account for Veteran Family Emergencies in the Philadelphia area (or for Vet families I deployed with).
Please visit my personal web site:
Books ordered from my site are shipped with a custom signature in thanks for your contributions! I'll do my best to keep this blog up to date.
On Saturday, April 2nd, I took place as a panelist for a Theater of War town hall meeting at the University of Penn Museum. I'd like to thank Theater of War for this wonderful opportunity to speak publicly about my Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. I have been honored twice to work with this team and especially David Strathairn, the New York based actor. David now has a copy of Service and Sacrifice and was quite honored I gave him one in thanks for his work for our Veterans. Please visit their web site for more information:
God Bless our Service Men and Women, their families and care givers wherever they are in the world!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Poem for my Dad, a Navy man who passed away on March 21

I was honored to speak today at my father's memorial service. He motivated me to join the military and deserves every honor I can give him. Please read this and pass it along to your friends and family if it inspires you the way John Henry Wiggins inspired me. Thank you and God Bless our military service members and their families.

Who am I? To John, From his son, Sam 03/31/11

Who am I? Surely you must recognize me…
We have spent countless hours together on good days and bad.

I am your Brother; your Father; your In-law; your neighbor; and friend.
Every time we see each other, something is right again in this world.

The other day you saw me by the curb… I had found a washer; a screw;
A nut or a bolt… I picked it up and put it in my pocket and smiled.
I collect life’s lost or broken objects and return them to a purpose; a project;
Or something you needed to be repaired.

There is no hour of the day you cannot call on me…
Yes neighbor; Yes Son; Yes Brother and friend, do call…
I’ll be ready with my tools; my expert advice;
My opinion; or my shovel and pail… I will be here for you.

I have never judged you; by all means you know I have never said I am perfect…
Yet I seek perfection in all things. My standards are very high for myself and for you.
I may have rolled my eyes; I might sneer or frown; but we’ll step off together,
And I’ll see your problem through as though it were my own. We’re family, right?

You have called me many times without hesitation;
Maybe when there was no where else for you to turn…
You have lived in my house until you found a new home;
I might have given you $5 or $500, no matter… there is no debt to be repaid.

We laughed, Oh how we laughed at all hours of the day;
Sometimes laughter was all we had.
I might not have cried with you, as I am the strong silent type,
But my eyes have been wet with your pain.

I am so stubborn you almost can’t stand it. Really, I’m so painstakingly stubborn,
Sometimes I can’t even stand myself; yet you shrug it off,
And you still love me as I have always loved you.

I am part of you and you will always be part of me;
Our secrets will be safe forever; unshaken by the test of time;
I’m sure we will see each other again.

Has the Son become the Father?
Can you see the Father in the Son?
Yes, you recognized me today. I am John Henry Wiggins.
Or at least Mr. Wiggins will always be free to live on in me.
I am certainly better as a person, just to say I have known him. Rest in peace Dad.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It is time to sell books and raise money for Phila area Vet charities

Follow along as we begin the journey of caring for our area Veterans together.

I've purchased 625 paperbacks valued at $19.99. You can purchase up to five, author signed copies, directly from me using the "Buy Now" PayPal button on the book web site. Each book has the potential to raise up to $11.20 for Philadelphia area Veteran charities. Please pass this information along to any Vet or Veteran family member you may know!

Please visit


Monday, March 7, 2011

VA issues key report to Congress on Homeless Vets

These statistics are staggering, but who will take action? Guard and Reserve suicides are double the 2009 rate, but who will take action?  We must rally behind our Veterans and their families NOW. If you can participate in just one Vet charity, one family support event, or donate to a worthy charity like the Liberty USO, the impact will be real. Please consider doing what you can. God Bless our Service Members, their families, and our displaced or under-served Vet population.

    On a single night in January 2009, 75,609 veterans were homeless; 57 percent were staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program; and the remaining 43 percent were living on the street, in an abandoned building, or another place not meant for human habitation (i.e., unsheltered).
    Veterans are overrepresented among the homeless population. At a point in time in 2009, approximately 12 percent of all people (and 16 percent of adults) experiencing homelessness identified as a veteran, as did 10 percent of those homeless over the course of a year. Less than 8 percent of the total U.S. population has veteran status.
    An estimated 136,334 veterans spent at least one night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009. This accounts for 1 of every 168 veterans in the U.S. or 1 out of every 10 veterans living in poverty.
    Just over 96 percent of sheltered veterans were individuals, and just less than 4 percent were veterans who were a part of a family.
    While homeless veterans make up less than 1 percent of all veterans, within the poverty population veterans are at greater risk of homelessness than non-veterans. Ten percent of veterans in poverty became homeless at some point during the year, compared to just over 5 percent of adults in poverty.

Monday, February 28, 2011

PhillyDotCom - Officials seek ways to stem increasing military suicides

Another relevant article about suicide in the military. We must continue to focus and collaborate on this subject. The result of not being diligent on the subject will be death for our comrades. Remember, PA Army National Guard Specialist Ivan Jose Lopez completed his suicide on January 28, 2011 nearlly two years after he returned from Afghanistan. Please read this and send me back your findings, thoughts, concerns and analysis.

"By Edward Colimore - Inquirer Staff Writer - When Army Sgt. Coleman Bean left Iraq to resume his civilian life in New Jersey, he was a changed man. No longer as outgoing, he appeared subdued and unfocused after two combat deployments. He also began drinking too much.
"I thought he just needed to unwind," said his mother, Linda Bean of East Brunswick. "I was just so grateful to have him home in one piece."
A few months after his 2008 homecoming, Bean couldn't deal with his feelings anymore. He wrecked his Jeep one night, was charged with DUI, and took a cab to his apartment in South River, Middlesex County, where he fatally shot himself." (end of clipped article text)


Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Service and Sacrifice" book released February 17, 2011 is the dedicated book web site.

From author Army National Guard Lieutenant Samuel J. Console comes a gripping story of men in combat. Made available through Xlibris, Service and Sacrifice will help Veteran’s families understand what their loved ones have faced overseas and how it affects them now.
The author – a platoon leader in Charlie Company, 103rd Engineers – and his men were mobilized in 2004 by the 28th Infantry Division and assigned as part of Task Force Dragoon, a battalion-size task force of close to eight hundred troops made up of infantry, armor, and engineer soldiers. In this bold and daring account, Console weaves his personal experiences, how his intrepid and brave group of combat engineers discovered, defused, and destroyed IEDs, saving countless lives of the US Armed Forces, Iraqi military, and civilians.
Filled with flashbacks and a lot of combat action, Service and Sacrifice also explains the inner strength among the men of the Charlie Company and their stories of personal triumph. Furthermore, it graphically explains the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that most soldiers have encountered.
“Service and Sacrifice defines the willingness of a people to volunteer during a time of need. Thousands have made the ultimate sacrifice. Many more were injured or changed forever. Writing about Iraq has been healing for me. I’m positive it will be healing for others,” the author remarks.
For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to
Service and Sacrifice * by Sam Console, 1st Lieutenant
Memories of Operation Iraqi Freedom with a Veterans Mental Health and Resource Guide
Publication Date: February 17, 2011
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 312 pages; 978-1-4568-6812-3
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 312 pages; 978-1-4568-6813-0
eBook; $9.99; 978-1-4568-6814-7

Saturday, February 12, 2011

For the Soldiers, the grief process continues, today's Memorial Service

Charlie Company, 55th BSTB memorialized Army National Guard Specialist Ivan Jose Lopez today, 02/13/2011. God Bless all of these fine Engineers. Lets help them heal by always supporting them. Lets come together to help prevent military suicide and fatalities if at all possible. Lets pray for the end of all wars... It is the right thing to do...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Memorial for PA National Guard Specialist Ivan Jose Lopez

Please visit my Facebook page for more information. It is very late and the death of this Soldier has drained me. God Bless the troops of C-Company, 55th Brigade Special Troops Battalion (Engineers).

Ivan made the decision to go home. God rest his soul. For those experiencing grief, you are not alone. I have decided to tribute Ivan in my book chapter "Before It's Too Late". We must cast a wide net and watch for the signs of suicide. We must unite to prevent further events.

God Bless America and our Troops, wherever they are and especially if they are alone tonight.
Sam on Facebook

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Service and Sacrifice" book release pending and Rear-Jacket Text

To all my Comrades, friends and supporters,
I wanted to follow up my post from the Union League event Thursday night with some news from my publisher, Xlibris. The manuscript is due back to me from copy-editing by January 24th. I expect a quick turn around and I'll be sending it back for type setting. I'm hoping to have a release date in the first week of February. This is a very exciting time!

In order to keep up the energy, I wanted to put the hook out there for you all to read in advance. Below is the approved Rear-Jacket Text. Every book that sells will generate money for charity! We are going to help Veterans suffering from PTS and MTBI and their families! Please forward this blog site to your friends and choose "Follow" so you'll receive updates. I'd love to hear your feedback on this text and if you have any charitable donation ideas.


            This is a gripping story of men in combat… Army National Guard Lieutenant Sam Console, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, 103rd Engineers and his men were mobilized in 2004 by the 28th Infantry Division. This intrepid and brave group of combat engineers discovered, defused (and) destroyed IEDs, saving countless lives of the US Armed Forces, Iraqi military and civilians… 1st Lt. Console graphically explains the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (TBI and PTSD)… This story will explain the great inner strength among the men of this company that developed in the crucible of combat. MAJOR GENERAL WESLEY E. CRAIG JR. (Retired)
            My research leverages narrative approaches to foster healing and reconnection for Veterans. I met Sam through a presentation of my work titled “Wounded Warriors and the Healing Power of Stories.” “Service and Sacrifice” continues the tradition of healing through writing. This book will help Veteran’s families understand what they faced overseas and how it affects them now. I believe it is important for all civilians to read works such as Sam’s to better understand the experiences of combat. Veterans are our co-workers, family, friends, and neighbors. Sam’s resource guide will help our Veterans, their families, and caregivers begin the process of their own healing journey. Simply put, there is something in this fine book for everyone.  Gala True, PhD, Core Investigator, Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), Philadelphia VA Medical Center
            Service and sacrifice defines the willingness of a people to volunteer during a time of need. Thousands have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Many more were injured or changed forever. Writing about Iraq has been healing for me. I’m positive it will be healing for others. Samuel J. Console, 1st Lt., Combat Engineers, Pennsylvania Army National Guard

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two important updates related to Post-Traumatic Stress

Two important updates for this week.

First, I have the honor of being invited to attend a Post-Traumatic Stress seminar this Thursday night at the Philadelphia Union League sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers and the Armed Forces Council of the Union League.
"The Hidden Scars of Iraq and Afghanistan" with Presenters: Medal of Honor Recipient Paul Bucha & General Pete Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff of the US ARMY. These types of events are wonderful opportunities for the public to learn more about the depth of our veterans service and sacrifice. I will post follow-up information after attending this event as soon as possible. Here is a link to a local television news spot by Tracy Davidson about the evening:
January 13th NBC 10 News spot with General Chiarelli

Second, I have received information related to the signature wounds experienced by our nearly 2-million combat veterans. I highly recommend Veterans and their families take a look at this article:
"US Soldiers With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder More Likely to Feel Long-Term Psychological Effect"
Quoted "ScienceDaily (Jan. 4, 2011) — Combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms appear to be associated with longer-term physical (headache, tinnitus), emotional (irritability) and cognitive (diminished concentration or memory) symptoms, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Conversely, concussion/mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI) do not appear to have long-term negative effects on troops.

Please to have lo forward this information to your peer and contact me if necessary. God Bless our troops and their families wherever they are in the world.