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A disabled WWII veteran was at risk of falling through the cracks. Then other Texas vets stepped in
EULESS, Texas — Six months ago, Larry Fromme rarely left his apartment, and he worried that he might get evicted as he struggled to pay his rent and buy groceries.
Fromme, 80, is a disabled veteran who served in the U.S. Army as a private first class in Germany at the height of the Cold War. He was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, and said he often had nightmares about serving in a stressful environment.
Fromme recalled what it was like to be isolated and the difficulties of finding people who understood his struggles.
"I was down in the dumps," he said. "I was looking for people to talk to."
Fromme described how it was difficult for him to leave his apartment as no one thanked him for his service, although he wore his cap displaying the words, "disabled veteran" when he went shopping.
But now life is getting better for Fromme as he regularly meets with veterans who understand the stress of serving in the military and what it is like to be ignored.
The help began when Michelle Potts, the manager at Fromme's apartment complex, saw his struggles.
"I have a soft spot for Larry," she said.
Potts said she searched Google for organizations that could help Fromme get his finances in order and to find other veterans who could spend time with him.
Several organizations joined forces to help Fromme, including the United Way of Tarrant County Veteran Options Navigator Program and TXServes-North Texas, a network of organizations serving veterans and military families. The veteran options program enrolled Fromme in programs to help him with his finances. The TXServes-North Texas network put him in touch with The GallantFew, an organization that works with veterans who are isolated.
On a recent Friday afternoon, Fromme laughed and joked with his new friends, Zach Cabellos and P.K. Kelley, who are with Gallant Few and served in Afghanistan after 9/11.
Ceballos lives close to Fromme and said he often stops by to see his friend, taking him out to eat and to a monthly veterans breakfast in Trophy Club. He even helped Fromme buy a new pair of cowboy boots.
"We are here to prevent isolation. In the military, we take care of each other," Ceballos said.
Fromme got out his scrapbook filled with photos and articles from the military newspaper Stars & Stripes recounting his experiences in Europe.
Fromme, who served from June 1962 to November 1964, said he was always on "high alert" because of the Cold War.
"We drilled nonstop, even in knee-deep snow," he recalled. "We are trained to follow orders, in rain and snow, you go at a moment's notice."
Fromme said he was injured when he was loading crates of 30-pound shells in to an ammunition truck. One of the crates landed on his foot, breaking his ankle. He injured his ankle for a second time last year.
When Fromme was discharged, he lived in several states and held a variety of jobs, such as driving a truck, picking fruit and working on a cattle ranch in east Texas.
He moved to Euless in 1994 when the cattle markets weren't doing well.
Fromme said he was married three times, but has no children and no family in the area.
He said that he is grateful people reached out to help him. Although Fromme didn't serve in Vietnam, he said he faced similar reactions when people saw him in uniform.
"They spat on me and told me to throw my uniform in the trash," he said.
Ceballos and Kelley said they saw the experiences of veterans who served in Vietnam and that the needs never change once soldiers come home. People are not educated about veterans and their needs, Ceballos said.
"We can do more," Ceballos said.
©2019 Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.
Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.
There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.
The Air Force is investigating whether an airman smoked weed at a missile alert facility for nuclear Minuteman ICBMs
The Air Force is investigating reports that an airman consumed marijuana while assigned to one of the highly-sensitive missile alert facility (MAF) responsible for overseeing Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.