Serving veterans and families

Thank you to Drs. Peter and L.B. Wish for their efforts to help families of fallen service members. As a veteran it is heartening to see someone taking bold action that provides assistance now. But the problems of veterans and their families are not limited to grief.

So, why not each one take one? Imagine the impact if every practicing psychologist was willing to devote one hour a week to those former military and/or their family members who are not eligible for or have poor access to psychological services through the TRICARE or VA system. The numbers are astounding and a national disgrace. The consequences suffered by these individual and their families is a moral outrage. If you think things are much better since the Walter Reed debacle, you are mistaken. As a retired military officer who saw what it took to apply for and receive (or mostly be denied) benefits I wrote the then Deputy VA Health Secretary Cooper three years ago and was told that he and President Bush were aware and taking action. Throwing a cup of water on a burning building is not action. Many others have complained for years to no end.

If history proves correct we should expect little change from the government in spite of all the money being thrown at the problem. The VA compensation system is completely broken and will take years to fix. So, in the meantime, maybe we can each one take one.

Carol Salacka, PsyD

Lt. Col. U.S. Army (Retired)

Dublin, Calif.

The extensive and well-written section in the September Monitor on "Serving those who serve" could not have been more timely. It presents the contributions of young military psychologists who are serving the men and women in our Armed Forces at this difficult time in our history.

Having performed this great service for our profession and military service members, it seems to me an unfathomable contradiction that the Monitor, and by definition APA, will not permit the military medical departments to advertise their internship and postdoctoral training programs in the Monitor! A colleague informed me that APA has opened the door a bit by allowing advertising if the ad acknowledges that the military discriminates against homosexuals. Of course, military recruiting commands generally will not accept this restriction so in effect, the ban continues.

As a retired Army psychologist who formerly directed the clinical psychology internship program at Eisenhower Army Medical Center and with a son currently serving in Iraq, I know the desperate need that exists to fill the military's psychology training programs. I urge our association to refuse to allow a subset of our profession to pursue their individual agenda, no matter its merit, so that it interferes with this critical psychology recruiting effort.

Robert W. Thomas, PhD

Colonel (Retired), U.S. Army

Evans, Ga.

It was refreshing to read the Monitor series "Serving those who serve

John L. Sexton, PhD

La Jolla, Calif.