Sunday, October 20, 2013

Combat PTSD, the war we have forever

Combat PTSD, the war we have forever
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 20, 2013

There is no question among experts. Combat and PTSD has been in this country since the start. It was called different names but the results have always been the same. Based on simplicity it was understood as a price of war going back generations but few knew what to do.

Young men came home from the Revolutionary war visibly changed. Families waited for them to be able to leave the war behind but the screams came in the middle of the night. Echos of the wounded, dying on the ground, crying out for help reverberated in their ears. The smell of gunpowder and death penetrated their sense of smell to the point where nothing was the same.

Generations came home from war but it was not until the late 70's true research began on what war does to the war fighters.

Investigators who studied psychiatric casualties in WWII combat veterans variously labeled the constellation of symptoms they saw as "operational fatigue (1946) "traumatic war neurosis" (1947) "combat exhaustion (1949)
Medal of Honor PTSD
Audie Murphy
Audie Leon Murphy, born June 20, 1925*, son of poor Texas sharecroppers, rose to national fame as the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II. Among his 33 awards and decorations was the Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery that can be given to any individual in the United States of America, for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty." He also received every decoration for valor that his country had to offer, some of them more than once, including 5 decorations by France and Belgium. Credited with either killing over 240 of the enemy while wounding and capturing many others, he became a legend within the 3rd Infantry Division. Beginning his service as an Army Private, Audie quickly rose to the enlisted rank of Staff Sergeant, was given a "battle field" commission as 2nd Lieutenant, was wounded three times, fought in 9 major campaigns across the European Theater, and survived the war.
Audie sufferred from what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)and was plagued by insomnia and depression. During the mid-60's he became dependent for a time on doctor prescribed sleeping pills called Placidyl. When he recognized that he had become addicted to this prescription drug, he locked himself in a motel room, stopped taking the sleeping pills and went through withdrawal symptoms for a week.

Always an advocate for the needs of veterans, he broke the taboo about discussing war related mental problems after this experience. In a effort to draw attention to the problems of returning Korean and Vietnam War veterans, Audie Murphy spoke-out candidly about his personal problems with PTSD, then known as "Battle Fatigue". He publicly called for United States government to give more consideration and study to the emotional impact war has on veterans and to extend health care benefits to address PTSD and other mental health problems of returning war vets.

Vietnam War
Former Governor and United States Senator from Nebraska and Medal of Honor recipient Bob Kerrey recently spoke about post-traumatic stress disorder. In the Omaha World-Herald article, Soldier reintegration efforts lauded, author Matthew Hansen mentions: "It's nearly impossible to return home from war normal," Bob Kerrey said Monday during an impassioned speech for an Omaha charity helping veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Too many Americans expect veterans to deploy, come home and then take off their uniforms and resume their old lives, the ex-U.S. senator, Vietnam War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient told an Omaha crowd. But many veterans are haunted by a memory “that does not leave them when they sleep,” Kerrey said.

Those memories can “take the joy out of life … make pleasure impossible,” he said.
Staff Sgt. Ty Carter
The struggles faced by many veterans and servicemembers in coping with post-traumatic stress took center stage at the White House on Monday as President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter.

Capt. William Swenson on Tuesday became the first Army officer since the Vietnam War to be awarded the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony attended by his fellow troops and the families of the soldiers who were killed as they fought alongside him.

It was one of the toughest battles of the war in Afghanistan, seven hours of continuous fighting, as Swenson and his fellow troops were surrounded on three sides with bullets, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades raining down on them.

Swenson continuously placed his life in danger as he moved to rescue his fellow American soldiers and endeavored to bring the injured to safety.
He called the kiss on the head that Swenson gave to Westbrook “a simple act of compassion and loyalty to a brother-in-arms.”

He continues to call Westbrook’s widow regularly to check in on her and her three boys.

Prior to that battle, Swenson had served one tour in Iraq and was on his second tour in Afghanistan.

He grew up in Seattle, the son of college professors and surrounded not by GI Joe action figures, but by educational games, Mr. Obama noted.

Since he retired from the Army, Swenson has made no secret of the fact that he has struggled with combat stress. He is currently unemployed, though he has applied to go back to the military on active-duty status, and says he often likes to escape to the mountains where he can find solitude.

There are so many more it would take a month just to find a fraction of their stories but as you can see, since we have wars following more wars, this is a war we will have forever. The question is, are we wining? The answer is, we are not even close.

1 comment:

    *1969* GOT BACK HOME TO


If it is not helpful, do not be hurtful. Spam removed so do not try putting up free ad.