Slot machines first appeared on bases in the 1930s. (In 1951, following passage of the federal Transportation of Gambling Devices Act, the military removed machines from stateside bases. Two decades later the army and air force banned all machines in response to allegations of corruption and mismanagement; they were reinstituted in 1980.)

The Department of Defense has been studying gambling among active-duty service members at least as far back as 1992, when it added the activity to its "Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Military Personnel" (SHRBAMP), a questionnaire distributed and tabulated every four to six years.

The 1992, 1998 and 2002 surveys suggested elevated rates of probable pathological gambling among active-duty servicemen.

The DoD took action: Henceforth, gambling questions were omitted from the survey.

In 2001, prompted by Congress, the Pentagon produced a 13-page document titled "Report on the Effect of the Ready Availability of Slot Machines on Members of the Armed Forces, Their Dependents, and Others," which averred that slot machines had no negative effect on the morale or the financial stability of military personnel or their families. "Comparisons of the [SHRBAMP] survey data to the general public cannot readily be made," the authors added. (The Pentagon initially contracted with PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct the study but terminated the contract after a few months, opting to use its own researchers.) The DoD has not released a slot-machine report since then.

In 2005 The New York Times published a front-page article about the military's gambling operation that described the downfall of Aaron Walsh, a decorated Apache helicopter pilot who became addicted to gambling while stationed in South Korea, where he lost more than $20,000 playing slots. After leaving the military, Walsh wound up homeless in Las Vegas. In 2006 he committed suicide.

Not long afterward, U.S. Representative Lincoln Davis of Tennessee proposed the "Warrant Officer Aaron Walsh Stop DoD-Sponsored Gambling Act," calling for a ban on military slot machines. "We've got research to show that 30,000 of our troops may be pathological gamblers, and we ought to be ashamed that we're adding to that," Davis told Stars and Stripes in 2008. His bill died in committee.

Dreux Michael Perkins and Emily Gehrig buried their stillborn son, Dayne Michael Perkins, on Valentine's Day. Judge Reagan stayed Perkins' sentencing one week so he could be at Gehrig's bedside. On February 22, Perkins drove with his father to Talladega, Alabama, to begin serving his felony sentence. He says that when he gets out of prison, he hopes to become a PTSD counselor, in order to prevent more cases like his.

Who/What: John Brownfield Jr.|Dreux Perkins|gambling addiction|post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)|veterans treatment court|Senior U.S. District Judge John L. Kane|U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan|Joseph J. Westermeyer|University of Minnesota Medical School|101st Airborne Division|Heather A. Chapman|Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center|Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders|Keith S. Whyte| National Council on Problem Gambling|Kamini R. Shah|VA St. Louis Healthcare System|Daniel F. Goggin|Associate Judge Robert Russell|Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner|U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr.|Circuit Judge Charles Romani Jr.|Judge Mark Farrell|U.S. Army Recreation Machine Program|U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis

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3 comments
Marilyn Lancelot
Marilyn Lancelot

Sure, everyone loves to gamble . . . if they win. But, the person sitting next to you in church, the man in line at the grocery store, or one of your co-workers; any one of these could be involved with a gambling problem. Imagine your grandmother committing a crime to support her gambling addiction. I am a recovering alcoholic, gambler, and have recovered from other addictive behaviors. I published a book, Gripped by Gambling, where the readers can follow the destructive path of the compulsive gambler, a prison sentence, and then on to the recovery road.

I recently published a second book, Switching Addictions, describing additional issues that confront the recovering addict. If a person who has an addictive personality, doesn’t admit to at least two addictions, he’s not being honest. Until the underlying issues have been resolved, the person will continue to switch addictions. These are two books you might consider adding to your library. I also publish a free online newsletter, Women Helping Women, which has been on-line for more than twelve years and is read by hundreds of women (and men) from around the world. (www.femalegamblers.info). I have been interviewed many times, and appeared on the 60 Minutes show in January 2011, which was moderated by Leslie Stahl.

Sincerely,

Marilyn Lancelot

Terry
Terry

I find this article scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something to write about. As a Vietnam Vet there is a very big difference between to days vet that all volunteered and in some cases elected to join the military instead of going to jail and or to prevent from becoming homeless. So what do you expect , I ask? and the attention they all get for a JOB. Vietnam Vets in most all cases where forced to join with a draft and had to drop from college, good jobs and family's just to be called baby killers and suffer medical issues from chemicals we sprayed to kill not just plant's and trees but humans as we were nothing more than ant's. Please write news that makes some sort of sense...

Stephen Lambert
Stephen Lambert

We don't do near enough for these guys and gals when they come home.

 
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