Thursday, February 7, 2008

WCAXTV Vermont 3 part series on PTSD and National Guard

Private Battle, Part 1

Franklin, Vermont - February 5, 2008
A fellow Guard soldier captured a photo of Dennis Delisle and his wife, Mikell, on the day of his deployment to Iraq. He was all smiles-- unaware of the horror the next 18 months would bring.

"You're scared all of the time," he says.
At 38 years old, Delisle was called to duty; driving supply trucks in the war-torn country. He spent much of his tour in Ramadi, a hotbed for insurgents and one of the deadliest areas for U.S. troops. Delisle saw hundreds of bombs detonate. "While we battled insurgents, we could hear his screams. It was pretty horrifying."

He witnessed many deaths, including a colleague burned alive.

"I actually didn't think I'd make it back out of Iraq because of how scared I was."
He did get out and had hopes for the future, back home in Franklin.

"You come home and you get all of this honeymoon stage, back with family and reconnecting. You settle into a groove," he explains.

Life seemed normal for the first six months.

"It's like being newly married all over again," says wife, Mikell. "Everything is great. It's fantastic. Everyone is happy and excited. And then all of the sudden everything changes."

Delisle began to have bursts of anger, depression, thoughts of killing himself, and others.

"I still have nightmares," he says. "I still see stuff when I am driving. I pay attention to guardrails, bridges, and sometimes I drive too fast. Sometimes I drive on the opposite side of the road, just like I was in Iraq. So, I still have a lot of it."

He hasn't been able to hold a full-time job since his return.
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Private Battle Part 2
National Guard Sgt. Jim Greene

Franklin, Vermont - February 6, 2008

"I'd been in the Army 30 years ago. You just don't expect 30 years after getting out of the Army to suddenly be in a war situation."

But in 2005, that's where Vt. National Guard Sgt. Jim Greene found himself-- in Ramadi, Iraq, securing the area alongside other Vermonters as part of Task Force Saber.

"We started off with the hopes we weren't going to lose anybody," says Greene.

Six Vermonters from the unit died in combat. Greene photographed each memorial service in Iraq. One casualty was especially difficult. Greene carried a fallen soldier's remains after a roadside bomb took his life.

"We had an officer who brought what was left of these guys in an ammo can... and handed it to me. You don't know that feeling," Greene says, crying. "How do you let that go? You don't let it go. It stays with you the rest of your life."

The memories remain. But Greene managed to move on with his life. He returned to his family and his job back in Vermont. He's adjusted well.

Other Vermont Guard Soldiers are not so lucky.

"Filing bankruptcy and losing our home," says Dennis Delisle.

"We fought a long time to try to keep it but it's not looking good," says his wife, Mikell.

Dennis Delisle deployed to Iraq and lived through countless explosions. But what he saw there still haunts him. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"It's been real hard. I take medicine to keep me from suicide or being homicidal. It's a constant battle now," he says.

Delisle hasn't been able to hold down a job and his wife, Mikell, was laid off. She has to stay close to home to help her husband. They're nine months behind on their bills and house payments.

On this day, the couple heads to court forced to declare bankruptcy.

"Yeah, a lot of family history in the home, his family all grew up in it... and it's just rough," says Mikell.
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Part 3 will be aired tonight

Burlington, Vermont - February 7, 2008

Nearly half of all Vermont's soldiers returning from Iraq suffer a private battle. Experts say Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries are at record levels. And there are a few reasons: the constant danger and explosions in Iraq, more awareness about PTSD, and because the National Guard has been called to duty like never before.

"This is a very different conflict. Certainly in Vermont, many of the people who are serving are National Guards. People who may not have planned to deploy overseas. So I think that also plays a role," explains Dr. Andrew Pomerantz of the VA Hospital.

Darren Perron has more on the Private Battle our soldiers face, treatment, and how Vermont is leading the nation in dealing with PTSD. Don't miss his special report. It continues tonight on the Channel 3 News at 6:00 p.m.


  1. that special report was heart breaking and very informational. kudos to wcaxtv and darren perron the reporter

  2. This nation needs to be ashamed of how we treat our veterans and very proud to have reporters doing this kind of coverage. Kudos is right. Thanks for commenting.

  3. This nation will be ashamed how we treat veterans.we have to prouud very much to have suce a critical coverage by the reporters.I think kudos is absolutely correct.
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