Fireworks are a popular way to celebrate Independence Day, which falls on Saturday. But the not-for-profit group Military with PTSD wants to remind everyone that fireworks, especially if set off unexpectedly, can trigger tremendous stress and even panic attacks for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, a chronic anxiety condition that affects those who have survived life-threatening situations such as military combat.
Military with PTSD, of Evansville, Ind., has already shipped 2,500 signs that remind neighbors to chill out with the fireworks, or at least give their local veterans a heads-up. The signs bear the message, “A combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks.”
Fireworks can trigger PTSD symptoms if veterans are not expecting them. Shawn Gourley, the group’s founder, said veterans don’t want people to not celebrate the holiday. Instead, the yard sign allows people to give their veteran neighbors a heads-up so they can mentally prepare for the fireworks.
“They’re OK with fireworks whenever they know they’re coming,” Gourley said. “I’ve seen many vets go and help set them off. It’s the unexpected that can send them into such a tailspin.”
Military women who develop postpartum depression are more likely to be diagnosed later with another mental illness and are at higher risk for considering suicide than those who dodge the condition, according to a new report by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, according to Military Times.
To understand the prevalence of postpartum depression in active-duty women, military researchers reviewed the medical records of all troops who gave birth between 1998 and 2013.
Postpartum depression was diagnosed in 5,203 of 126,006 deliveries, or about 4 percent, of the births.
For the service women in the 4 percent, the results showed they were “much more likely to be subsequently diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder,” months or even years after the births at rates higher than those who did not develop depression after childbirth, according to the article.
At a purchase price of nearly $350 million apiece, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning is the most expensive fighter jet ever built. It is a state-of-the-art weapons system that brings together the bleeding edge of aviation and electronics. But now supporters of the controversial fighter program are trying to figure out how to respond to reports that in a mock dogfight against a much older F-16C jet fighter, the F-35 performed so dismally that its test pilot remarked that the it had pretty much no place fighting other aircraft within visual range, according to the military blog FoxtrotAlpha.com.
“The test pilot’s report is the latest evidence of fundamental problems with the design of the F-35 — which, at a total program cost of more than a trillion dollars, is history’s most expensive weapon,” wrote Dave Axe, a blogger for the military website War Is Boring.
Axe based his assessment on a scathing report writtend by the unnamed test pilot that details the results of visual range air-to-air engagement tests in January between an F-35A and an F-16C. The F-35, which the US Air Force, Navy, and Marines are expected to rely upon for decades to come, in addition to the air forces of America’s allies, was supposed to be better than its F-16 predecessor in all respects.
The F-35’s ability to compete against other fighter aircraft in a close-in dogfight, even against the decades old designs it looks to replace, has always been a contentious issue. Long ago, the F-35’s maneuverability was planned to far exceed that of fourth generation fighters. Over time, those claims eroded to the point where the troubled stealth jet is described as being “about as maneuverable as an F-16.”
The United States and Russia are experiencing rising tensions over the latter’s invasion of the Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. But those problems haven’t stopped Russia from being the only provider of a cheap yet powerful rocket engine used to launch U.S. military satellites. And although the Pentagon is hustling to come up with a domestically built rocket engine to replace the Russian model, that could still be years away, the Air Force recently acknowledged, according to the website DefenseTech.
The Air Force contracts with a company called United Launch Alliance LLC, a Colorado-based joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., to launch military and spy satellites. ULA flies two families of rockets, Delta and Atlas. The latter is powered during its first stage by the Russian-made RD-180 kerosene-liquid oxygen engine.
The origin of the RD-180 has sparked concern with members of Congress.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama and chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, made it clear he is unhappy with the status quo. “I want a new engine,” he said. “I don’t want a new rocket.”
Congress in December authorized $220 million to begin developing a replacement to the RD-180 as part of a massive spending bill called the Omnibus Appropriations Act. Additional funding for the development effort is expected.
Roger That is a regular feature by BND military beat reporter Mike Fitzgerald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2533.