Survivors Visit Fort Carson Support Center

Survivors visit Fort Carson support center

FORT CARSON, Colo. — More than 100 survivors of servicemembers who died by suicide visited Fort Carson Oct. 23 for an evening gathering at the Fallen Heroes Family Center.

Hundreds of people traveled to Colorado Springs last week for the 3rd Annual National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp, offered by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. They shared hardships, searched for answers and connected with others for three days at Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Continue reading

Apache Battalion Prepares for Battle

Apache battalion prepares for battlefield

FORT CARSON, Colo. — “We have troops in contact. We’re taking fire from a black truck 500 meters northwest, moving eastbound … can’t reposition due to an injured soldier and we’re pinned down.”

That’s one scenario, out of 13, that soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, had to master during AH-64D Apache helicopter gunnery exercises, Sept. 27-Oct. 15.

Apache Battalion Prepares for Battle

Apache Battalion Prepares for Battle

The qualification tables marked their final live-fire events before deploying to Afghanistan battlefields. More than 400 soldiers from 1st Bn., 2nd Avn. Reg., are scheduled to depart in January with 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, from Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Continue reading

52nd Activates 497th Engineer Company

497th Engineer Company activates at Fort Carson

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Soldiers from 52nd Engineer Battalion welcomed the arrival of the unit’s fifth company Oct. 14, since the battalion’s reactivation last year.

Capt. Seth Chappell reported to the battalion motor pool with more than 100 soldiers assigned to 497th Engineer Company. The formation stood between a road grader, a scraper and two heavy loaders — tools of the trade for Army horizontal engineers.

The unit started accumulating personnel and equipment in January, according to Capt. Ryan Gray, 497th Eng. executive officer. The company gradually funneled about 185 Soldiers into five platoons: three contain equipment operators, one offers equipment mechanics and another carries out administrative duties. Continue reading

Apache Battalion Proves Combat Readiness

Apache battalion proves combat readiness

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, hosted an exhibition for their families Oct. 10, to showcase AH-64D Apache maneuvers and munitions.

Several hundred people gathered from 2 p.m. to sunset at Range 109, where soldiers displayed service weapons, tactical vehicles and Apaches, the Army’s premier attack helicopter.

More than 400 soldiers from 1st Bn., 2nd Avn. Reg., are scheduled to deploy in January with the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Inf. Div., from Fort Shafter, Hawaii, during an upcoming rotation of forces in Afghanistan. Department of Defense officials announced the brigade’s deployment in September. Continue reading

9/11 Anniversary: Family Shares Story

9/11 anniversary: Family shares its story

FORT CARSON, Colo. — “That’s a hamburger at Disney World,” said Melissa Givens, while auctioning her children’s toys and clothes online, a week prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

For seven years, she has sold the past year’s novelties to fund family vacations to Disney World, a trip Jesse Givens promised before heading to combat in 2003.

Ten years ago, Melissa Givens was watching her husband weep in front of their television. Continue reading

Children of Fallen Honored at Carson

Event honors children of fallen

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Dozens of children, representing the loss of a parent in military service, gathered in a garden near the Rocky Mountain Front Range Aug. 22, where Army officers shook their hands and presented medals.

The summer morning marked the first medal of remembrance ceremony at Fort Carson, according to Army officials. The presentation culminated a recognition ceremony outside the Fallen Heroes Family Center, which opened last fall. Army leaders explained expanding support by the facility’s Survivor Outreach Services.

The Fort Carson medals were inspired by the Gold Medal of Remembrance for the Sons and Daughters of Our Fallen Act of 2011. Introduced in May, the legislation grants a national “Gold Medal of Remembrance” to the children of each service member who dies as a result of wounds, injuries or illnesses — retroactive to 9/11. Continue reading

DOD Reviewing Veteran Disability Ratings

DOD reviewing veteran disability ratings

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Michael LoGrande, Physical Disability Board of Review director, visited Fort Carson Aug. 9 — the first stop in his nationwide attempt to offer the board to more than 70,000 injured veterans.

The PDBR was established “to review the disability determinations of covered individuals by Physical Evaluation Boards,” according to the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act of 2008. The board began accepting applications in January 2009 from post-9/11 veterans with a disability rating of 20 percent or less.

About 25 percent of post-9/11 veterans reported a service-connected disability in July 2010, according to U.S. Labor Department statistics in March. Nearly a third had a disability rating less than 30 percent. The PDBR re-evaluates records for anyone who served in the armed forces between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2009. Continue reading

Family Shares Hardships of DUI Death

Family shares hardships from DUI death

FORT CARSON, Colo. — “My son loved the Army — he loved being a soldier — and Fort Carson was his home,” said Nancy Clay, while standing at a podium in McMahon Auditorium July 15, facing her son’s former artillery unit.

“Seventeen months ago, my son was killed in the car you see laying out front,” she said. A flatbed tow truck dragged the mangled mess of twisted automobile parts, military attire and various papers onto the sidewalk outside. Her son died in the car last year, after the vehicle’s drunken driver swerved into an opposing lane.

Nancy Clay provided a two-hour presentation with two of her daughters, Jessica Clay, 22, and Megan Clay, 16. The family shared the life of Spc. Kale Clay, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, which ended on Highway 115, near Fort Carson. Continue reading

Leno Brings Comedy to Carson

Leno brings comedy act to Carson

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Late-night talk show host Jay Leno let loose a series of stand-up comedy bits July 9, seizing his military audience with laughter.

“My abs are hurting right now; this is better than any [physical training] test,” said Pfc. Thomas Greiner, 4th Engineer Battalion, who sat near the front row during Leno’s monologue, which revealed humor in news headlines and everyday ironies for more than an hour.

“These people give their careers and everything for their country,” said Leno, prior to heading on stage. “So, coming and telling jokes, believe me, is an honor.” About 1,500 guests funneled into the Special Events Center, where they squeezed into bleachers and grabbed foldout chairs. Continue reading

Top War Fighters Unite at Warrior Games

Top war fighters unite at Warrior Games

FORT CARSON, Colo. — “The worst thing you can do to a warrior is take him out of his warrior tribe,” said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Livesay of Dallas, Texas, a leg amputee and former Special Forces medical sergeant.

Competitions keep wounded warriors recovering by fueling their fighting spirit, said Livesay, who united with 17 other expert war fighters to form the first special operations team to compete in the Warrior Games, a joint effort by the Department of Defense and U.S. Olympic Committee.

About 200 veterans of war participated in the second annual Warrior Games May 16-21 in Colorado Springs. Soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors and Coast guardsmen joined service-affiliated athletic teams to overcome limb amputation or dysfunction, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Continue reading