By Jesse Church
Aloha all my fellow veterans and residents of Molokai, old Jesse here with all the veterans news and upcoming events. The Marine Corps mascot is an English bulldog. Why? According to legend and probably not true, the “devil dog” nickname was given to Marines by Germans during the Battle of Belleau Woods during WWI. Even so, Marines seized on the nickname. When a cartoonist drew a helmeted German dachshund being chased by a bulldog wearing a Marine helmet, the Marines adopted the image for recruiting posters. Then in 1922, Brig. Gen. Smedley D. Butler enlisted an English bulldog under the name Pvt. Jiggs and the Corps had its mascot, according to the Heritage Press International. Jiggs advanced to sergeant major in less than two years. The Wall Street Journal reported that the current mascot is Cpt. Chesty XIII, and was promoted to sergeant just weeks later.
A recent survey showed that 40 percent of wounded face problems getting VA care, said retired Army Sgt. Josh Renschler, who now works as a peer mentor for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). He often helps severely injured veterans navigate the VA department health care system. The WWP said that in their annual survey of membership released on Sept. 10, 35 percent could not access mental health services. These numbers are totally unacceptable. The survey results are not representative of the veterans population as a whole, but of the WWP’s 21,120 members. Of all post 9/11 veterans who were injured or have become sick since their military service, almost 80 percent have three or more service related problems, both physical and mental. Renschler, who was wounded in a 2004 mortar blast, said the survey responses show an inclination to avoid VA services for many members, even when such care can help recovery and despite help from WWP personnel.
VA Secretary Bob McDonald, who took over the department last month, promised to revamp every department clinic to make it more centered on veterans’ needs and schedules. Renschler said he and group leaders have seen recent improvements in VA procedures, but emphasized more changes must happen to solve the problems. Other survey results showed lingering health and emotional problems for returning injured veterans, similar to results of past surveys. The entire survey results are available on the group’s website at woundedwarriorproject.org.
I hope that everyone did well with the last question, which was, humpback whales, a popular sight in Hawaiian waters, weigh about how much when born? The answer is about 3100 pounds. The new question is, surfing is often called the sport of kings. Why?
To all our active duty service members, our veterans and all the people of Molokai who support them, I send you all a big mahalo. If anyone has any questions, suggestions or news, please give old Jesse a call at 553-3323. I continue to depend on the information you give me. Have a wonderful week, and remember that old Jesse loves you all. So until next week, aloha.