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Current statistics regarding U.S. Veterans*

  • 22 veterans, on average, commit suicide every day.
  • The suicide rate of veterans is double that of civilians
  • The suicide rate for younger veterans (18 -29) is 7 times higher than their civilian peers.
  • The rate of suicide among veterans is 21 percent higher than the rest of the country.
  • The suicide rate among female veterans is 140 percent higher than their civilian peers.
  • There are 1.6 million female veterans in the United States. (2017)
  • No one knows how many military spouses and families members commit suicide.
  • There are 18.2 million veterans living in the United States.
  • 3.8 million of these veterans are disabled (2014).
  • U.S. military is the world’s second-largest (China’s army is the largest) and troops are deployed across the globe.
  • It is believed that 45 percent of all veterans who served in the Middle East are disabled.

*Sources:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, American Community Survey 2017, United States Census Bureau, Stars and Stripes,  Census.gov. , and https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk

Honoring those who are serving, have served, and those who have fallen while in military service is a tradition here at Chanticleer Reviews.

With Appreciation and Gratitude to Veterans who are actively serving and have served. THANK YOU! 

Writing is known to be a “transformative therapy’ for veterans haunted by their experiences. “The Red Badge Project encourages Wounded Warriors to rediscover their personal voice and realize the value of their experiences and emotions.”

“RBP partners with Vet Centers and allows Veterans of all ages to take advantage of the Red Badge Project’s program while providing a link between veterans of multiple generations.”

Here is a link to a Seattle Times article by Nicole Brodeur that was published on November 11, 2019, that is about the Red Badge Project.

Using the creative process of storytelling, Wounded Warriors begin to rebuild their individual sense of purpose and unique individuality.

For Wounded Warriors struggling to heal the invisible wounds of PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression, believing in the value of their story and finding the means to communicate it to family, friends, and community is a struggle of heroic proportions. Tom Skerritt is a founder and is part of the Red Badge Project faculty.

We here at Chanticleer Reviews have had the honor of reviewing top novels and narrative non-fiction written by outstanding authors whose stories enlighten, remind,  empathize, and creates a better understanding with those who have served in the armed forces.

Non-Fiction Works

General in Command by Michael M. Van Ness

Michael M. Van Ness, the grandson of “the general in command,” has created a remarkable biography chronicling the adventures of a farm boy who rose high rank in the US military and served with distinction in two world wars as a combatant, officer, and sage observer.

Van Ness served in the Navy in a medical capacity and shares a deep understanding of his outstanding forebear in this well-organized life story, which offers a thorough, thoughtful exploration of the many issues that arose during his grandfather’s wartime service. 

Hillbillies to Heroes: Journey from the Black Hills of Tennessee to the Battlefields of World War II – A True Story by S. L. Kelley

World War II veteran Quinton Kelley recounted his life story to an avid biographer – his daughter, S. L. Kelley, a documentarian and award-winning video producer.  “…it took all of our personal sacrifices to go from war to peace.”  Quinton Kelley

encounters on the front line by elaine harvey

Encounters from the Front Line by Elaine Harvey 

A Red Cross nurse finds herself in a refugee camp on Cambodia’s Thai border, in the midst of the war between the Vietnamese and Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge. The courage and resilience of the Cambodians survivors who serve with her, their beauty in the midst of the horrendous conditions shine through, even as the camp itself becomes torn by war. Harvey draws a vivid picture of contrasts: the abysmal conditions of the camp with the green of the surrounding rice fields, the terrors of the Pol Pot regime with the loyal gentleness of the individual Cambodians who serve with her. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy PTSD by Christopher Oelerich

Merry Christmas and a Happy PTSD by Christopher Oelerich, author & Vietnam Veteran

“A very personal, no-holds-barred yet ultimately empowering discussion of PTSD and its effects on those who suffer from it.” – CBR

The book has been written in a ‘How To’ format for combat soldiers which is reflected in examples and language.

“I went away to war one person and came back another, and in my wildest dreams would never have chosen to be the one who came back…I was a twenty-year-old Warrant Officer Helicopter Pilot fresh out of flight school when I arrived in South Vietnam in May of 1969 and was assigned to B Troop 7/17 Air Cav in Pleiku.  I joined the Scout Platoon and spent my entire tour as a Scout Pilot in the Central Highlands, and in that time saw my friends killed, captured, wounded and lose their minds.”

Standby for Broadcast by Kari Rhyan     PTSD, Wartime nursing, Social Issues

Rhyan served nearly twenty years in the US Navy as a nurse, her final deployment taking place in Afghanistan to a medical unit run by the British where Rhyan upheld her duties to aid others, while inwardly feeling unprotected and helpless. After witnessing the many tragedies of war, primary among them multiple amputations, she comes home scarred in mind. Her trauma becomes so obvious that she is sent to a special private unit.

Rhyan’s memoir is frank, insightful, and a powerful reminder of the toll taken by those who wrestle with the fallout of the carnage of war. She also reminds us of the resiliency of the human spirit and the power of hope.

Wounded Warrior, Wounded WifeWounded Warrior, Wounded Wife by Barbara McNally

This ground-breaking initiative offers advice and hope to those who are trying to understand and cope with war’s many aftershocks.

“The critical issues surrounding post-traumatic stress among America’s wounded warriors is expanded here to include the challenges and concerns of military wives and families.

Barbara McNally was working as a physical therapist when she watched helplessly as a man jumped off a bridge to his death. Feeling involved in his tragedy, she learned he was a wounded veteran. The experience spurred her to find out more about PTS and its effects on those who have participated in war. Gradually her attention focused on the plight of the wives of these wounded military survivors.”

If you have a moment, take time to watch this video that offers an intimate look into the chaotic and demanding lives of military spouses as they adjust to living with mentally and physically injured combat veterans. Please feel free to share.

Fiction – Veterans Day Reads

In honor of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good, we are suggesting these three titles from among authors who are Veterans.

Dog Soldier Moon by McKendree Long

Dog Soldier Moon by McKendree Long“Long goes far beyond the simplistic notion of the Civil War as told in American history texts to accurately portray the daily challenges faced by homesteading families, freed slaves, American Indians robbed of their ancestral lands, and ex-soldiers who face the disrespect of the Union army. Heart-warming and at times hilarious adventures are juxtaposed with gritty and emotionally wrenching moments such as Custer’s 1868 attack on Chief Black Kettle’s Cheyenne camp at Washita… Author McKendree Long displays a natural gift for storytelling.” Click here to read the full review.
McKendree R. (Mike) Long III is a former soldier whose awards and decorations include the Parachutist’s Badge, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Silver Star, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (Gold and Silver Stars).

Tarnished Hero by Jim Gilliam

Tarnished Hero by Jim GilliamIt is when Kelly accepts an open invitation to spend some time in Guzman’s drug palace in Northern Mexico that his code of “trusting friends first” will force him to face not only the dilemma of a loyalty to be divided between Guzman and Dave Holt, but also of being thrust into a senseless and bloody border war that has more than a few parallels to the Vietnam conflict. As such, Gilliam’s novel stands not only as a complex and intriguing “band of brothers” romp but also as a reflection on the evils of unquestioned authority and corruption.”  Click here to read the full review.

Jim Gilliam served on active duty with the Coast Guard from January 1957 until June 1966. In June 1978 he joined the Army as an airborne combat physician assistant. May 2001 he joined the Navy’s Military Sealift Command as a civilian mariner physician assistant. He is a veteran of multiple deployments to the Persian Gulf in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

Measure of Danger by Jay Klages

“Measure of Danger,” Jay Klages’ debut novel is a page-turning techno-thriller written by a former military intelligence officer and a West Point graduate. Klages experience and expertise is revealed with his believable dialog, details, and operative descriptions. The work features military-trained Kade Sims, and his accountant sidekick, Alex Pace; we can’t wait to read what other dangerous puzzles this unlikely dynamic duo will be called on to solve.

Jay Klages is a former military intelligence officer and West Point graduate. He attended the MBA program at Arizona State University, where he successfully deprogrammed himself for service in corporate America. He enjoys desert trail running and is particularly good at falling down.

Three page-turning thriller novels with unlikely heroes that make for great reads –all authored by Veterans!


More outstanding novels!

We are honored of reviewing outstanding works by written by authors, many who are veterans, whose stories enlighten, remind, empathize, and create a better understanding with those who have served in the armed forces. We are honored to share these works with you.

LIfe on Base: Quantico Cave review
Life on Base: Quantico Cave by Tom and Nancy Wise – a riveting portrayal of the lives of children whose parents serve in the armed forces.
This book not only does an admirable job of giving readers an insight on military base life for youth growing up, but it also gives an accurate portrayal of life as a kid today. Challenges exist, personalities will clash, and there will always be that one person that tends to resort to bullying to prove that he or she is king/queen of the hill.
Authors Tom and Nancy Wise effectively use this book, while telling a suspenseful story, to show middle-grade readers that there are positive ways to handle these situations without sounding preachy or admonishing. 

Love of Finished Year by Gregory Erich Phillips — World War 1

From the riveting opening that takes place in NYC’s Lower East Side’s sweatshops until its gripping conclusion after World War I, this enthralling novel vividly portrays the desperate times of German immigrants landing at Ellis Island in search of a better life intertwined with the story of a young man and his heroic military service during WWI.

Incorporating various themes into his absorbing plot, Phillips highlights the importance of workers’ rights (Triangle  Shirtwaist Factory) the Women’s Suffrage movement; and the plight of immigrants, especially during The Great War. Some examples include the use of propaganda against the American Germans (via Liberty Bonds); again, the use of propaganda to boost American support, and the immorality of war.


 Murder Beside the Salish Sea by Jennifer Mueller  WWII, Japanese Internment, PNW

Brock Harker, World War II fighter pilot returns home to the Pacific Northwest on leave. He’s searching for a little peace once he finds his half Japanese wife who vanished while he was away. What he finds is Murder Beside The Salish Sea by author Jennifer Mueller, who artfully pulls Brock into an intriguing plot that hides the darkest of secrets.


Wait For Me – Janet Shawgo      WWII and Historical Romance

The often-unknown role of women in wartime as travel nurses and pilots, as well as the use of herbs for natural healing, add interesting and relative historical content to this engaging American saga.

The WASP pilots and their active role in the war effort was particularly fascinating reflecting Shawgo’s vigilance with her medical and military history research. 


A Crowded Heart by Andrea McKenzie Raine   PTS, Veterans, Military, Social Issues

The wide ensnaring net of the aftershocks of war is poignantly portrayed here — powerful and deeply affecting!

Raine wisely expands the narrative of the novel to reveal the wide net of war. Willis is not the only victim; the people in his life experience the after-shocks of fighting as well. 

Not to give up on those who have already given up on themselves is the challenge. Raine reminds us that doing so requires a full heart, indeed, a crowded heart.


Watch Over Me by Eileen Charbonneau   WWII, Espionage, Code Talkers, Thriller

In a world of half-truths, crooked policemen, spies, and impersonators, the real question is who to trust. Watch Over Me shows a living portrayal of 1940s New York spinning wildly in the madness of espionage, where secrets and sacrifices threaten the bond of love and the hope of family.

The Code Talker Chronicles – by Eileen Charbonneau


Our Duty by Gerri Hilger

While this book focuses on the nurses, the war is never out of the minds of our characters, as letters and news come in detailing the horrors and heartaches of life and death on the battlefields of war. In the end, Hilger has gifted us with a WWII historical fiction with a lighthearted side and an enjoyable sweet romance on the side.


The Other Side of Life by Andy Kutler

A captivating historical military story that blends genres-crosses through time & space – an intriguing story & well-orchestrated action sequences.


Just a Note from  Kiffer Brown:

On a personal note, many of my family members have served their country (many of whom have passed) and are serving their country: my father (Marine Corps, deceased), my brother (Army, with us but 100% disabled), my nephew Robert is currently serving in the Air Force,  my dear Aunt Ellen (WWII nurse – she passed away recently), my cousin Billy Wayne (first 100 to die in the USA – Vietnam Conflict), and many other cousins to numerous to mention here.

This is my small way of honoring and recognizing my relatives along with other Veterans for their service to our country.

Thank you for taking the time to read my annual Veterans Day blog post.

Semper Fi – Kiffer 

My dad, big brother and me.