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Iraq War Vet Can Keep His Ducks For Help With PTSD, Local City Council Says
There’s good news for an Army veteran in West Lafayette, Ohio, who’d been told his unique approach to treating his post-traumatic stress disorder — a result of his 2005 military service in Iraq — by raising and caring for ducks just wouldn’t fly.
On July 18, Darin Welker appealed to the West Lafayette city council to keep his six therapy ducks, having afoul of a city ordinance barring farm animals back in 2014, which resulted in a misdemeanor conviction, according to the Coshocton Tribune. The city council granted the Army veteran a variance, which allows him to keep the animals.
Welker, who was medically discharged from the Ohio National Guard, argued that his ducks have been therapeutic, and he produced a letter from his doctor backing him up.
In a letter to the council, Welker’s physician Dr. Thomas Hanf (certainly no quack) said that “Welker had made great strides over the past five years on his physical pains, but the post-traumatic stress disorder from serving in Iraq in 2005 had been harder to deal with, and that the progress Welker had made with the ducks encouraged him,” writes the Tribune. Welker also provided seven signed letters from his neighbors stating they had no issue with the animals.
Welker says that in addition to helping him cope with post-traumatic stress, raising the ducks is a form of therapy for a back injury. He said in 2014 that although the Department of Veteran Affairs covered his back surgery in 2012, he didn’t receive mental or physical therapy, so he turned to his feathered friends for help.
“Taking care of them is both mental and physical therapy,” Welker told the Associated Press. “[Watching them] keeps you entertained for hours at a time.”
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.