Showing posts with label ghosts of Vietnam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ghosts of Vietnam. Show all posts

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Marine Vietnam Veteran Wonders Who Is In His Grave?

Vietnam veteran recalls coming back from 'dead'
Saturday, July 8, 2017

“You have to be willing to take it a day at a time. You have to set in your mind that you're going to survive. You have to believe that they are not going to defeat you, that you're going to win.” Ronald Ridgeway
HALLETTSVILLE, Texas — Ronald Ridgeway was “killed” in Vietnam on Feb. 25, 1968.

The 18-year-old Marine Corps private first class fell with a bullet to the shoulder during a savage firefight with the enemy outside Khe Sanh.

Dozens of Marines, from what came to be called “the ghost patrol,” perished there.

At first, Ridgeway was listed as missing in action. Back home in Texas, his old school, Sam Houston High, made an announcement over the intercom.

But his mother, Mildred, had a letter from his commanding officer saying there was little hope. And that August, she received a “deeply regret” telegram from the Marines saying he was dead.

On Sept. 10, he was buried in a national cemetery in St. Louis. A tombstone bearing his name and the names of eight others missing from the battle was erected over the grave. His mother went home with a folded American flag.

But as his comrades and family mourned, Ridgeway sat in harsh North Vietnamese prisons for five years, often in solitary confinement, mentally at war with his captors and fighting for a life that was technically over.

Last month, almost 50 years after his supposed demise, Ridgeway, 68, a retired supervisor with Veterans Affairs, sat in his home here and recounted for the first time in detail one of the most remarkable stories of the Vietnam War.

In the end, of the 26 missing and presumed killed in action on Feb. 25, remains of all but nine were positively identified, according to Pipes and Stubbe.

The unassociated body parts were sent home and placed in two caskets that would be buried beneath a large tombstone bearing the nine names of those unaccounted for, Stubbe more here

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Vietnam Veterans Deal With Memories of Those They Lost 50 Years Ago

Hard-Hit Marine Unit from Vietnam War Celebrates 50th Reunion
by Richard Sisk
17 Jun 2017
They grappled again, mostly in silence, with the question that has no answer -- why am I here when so many aren't? Libraries can be filled with books on the subject, going back to Homer.
The 6/67 Memorial at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia commemorates The Basic School's sixth graduating class, which suffered more than 250 casualties, including 43 officers killed in Vietnam. (US Marine Corps photo)
In the fall of 1967, The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, finished training 498 twenty-something Marine second lieutenants. By the end of the year, nearly all were in Vietnam.

Before Christmas, the first of them was killed in action: 2nd Lt. Michael Ruane, of Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, on Dec. 18, 1967. The TBS class that began in June 1967 (TBS 6/67) would have a casualty rate of more than 50 percent -- the highest of any Marine officer class during the Vietnam War.

For those second lieutenants and their platoons, the pace was unrelenting. They would go past the wire -- when there was wire -- on daily patrols through terrain that ranged from paddies and dikes along the coast, through the scrub brush and elephant grass of the interior, and into the triple-canopy jungles of the high ground reaching into Laos.

The New York Times declared that "the era of big battles" had come to Vietnam in 1967. Le Duan, the real power in Hanoi, ordered North Vietnamese Army regulars into South Vietnam to support the Vietcong. The battles became bigger in 1968.
read more here

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Number of Veterans Who Die Waiting for Benefits Claims Skyrockets

Number of Veterans Who Die Waiting for Benefits Claims Skyrockets
by Aaron Glantz
Dec 20, 2012

Over the last three years, the number of veterans dying before their claims are processed has skyrocketed, reports Aaron Glantz of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

After seven months of delay, the Department of Veterans Affairs finally approved World War II veteran James Alderson’s pension benefits last week.

But it was not a cause for celebration or relief for Alderson, whose life’s work was the farm-supply store he founded near Chico, Calif., after returning home from the Battle of the Bulge.

The 89-year-old veteran had died three months earlier in a Yuba City nursing home.

“My father was a very proud person,” Alderson’s son, Kale, said. “Whenever I saw him, he would ask if I’d heard from the V.A. and whether his money would hold up. It really took a toll on him.”

The V.A.’s inability to pay benefits to veterans before they die is increasingly common, according to data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The data reveals, for the first time, that long wait times are contributing to tens of thousands of veterans being approved for disability benefits and pensions only after it is too late for the money to help them.

In the fiscal year that ended in September, the agency paid $437 million in retroactive benefits to the survivors of nearly 19,500 veterans who died waiting. The figures represent a dramatic increase from three years earlier, when the widows, parents and children of fewer than 6,400 veterans were paid $7.9 million on claims filed before their loved one’s death.

These veterans range from World War II veterans who die of natural causes without their pensions to Iraq War veterans who commit suicide after their disability claims for post-traumatic stress disorder are denied.
read more here

Friday, April 30, 2010

PTSD dying to take you away on mystery trip back

They came home alone. They came home abandoned. They came home and were expected to forget about the year they were gone. One series of days turning into months as they piled up together until the magical number 12 was reached. They knew if they survived one more day, they were closer to going home, of not having to watch their buddies die and not having to kill strangers trying to kill them. They knew they would be able to walk down a path back home without having to worry about a bomb blowing them up just as they knew they could go into a house back home without having someone in there ready to shoot them. They knew if they survived they'd be able to eat what they wanted, when they wanted and wouldn't go hungry because supplies couldn't get to them. They knew they could take a shower without having to worry about getting killed or glowing in the dark because of all the talk about what they were spraying in the jungles, Agent Orange the equal opportunity killer. The year passed, they came home and for more, all they wanted to do was go back.

Magical Mystery Tour

A mystery trip.

The magical mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up (AND) THAT'S AN INVITATION, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up TO MAKE A RESERVATION, roll up for the mystery tour.
The magical mystery tour is coming to take you away,
Coming to take you away.
The magical mystery tour is dying to take you away,
Dying to take you away, take you today.

Imagine that!

Considering all they had been through, through enlistment or draft, they were changed. They spent their 12 months trying to stay alive, keep their friends alive as well and waited to be able to go back home. They figured that wouldn't have changed much in a year but when they discovered just how much the war had changed them, they didn't feel as if they fit in back home anymore. How could they? How could any combat veteran ever feel the same again?

The truth is, they couldn't just as all the generations before them were not the same after combat.

Their survival skills were fed but so was the enemy digging into their soul. PTSD was taking charge and for most of them, they figured they would just have to get over it. After all, their Dads did, at least that was what they wanted to believe.

Now their kids are coming home after Iraq, after Afghanistan and the survivors want to go back. It's tugging at them the same way home tugged at them when they were deployed. The difference is, their Vietnam veteran fathers battled this fierce enemy ahead of time. All the treatments and compensation were already fought for by them and they still battle the government, challenge the scientists and researchers to come up with better treatments, challenge the clergy to take care of their souls and heal them even if science can't cure them.

PTSD only comes after trauma. We know average people living in "polite society" can end up with being haunted just as we know firefighters and emergency responders can. We know police officers can carry this inside of them and we know the more times they are exposed to traumatic events the likelihood of PTSD digging in increases, just as the Army predicted it would with the troops being redeployed. Their finding was that redeployments increased the risk by 50%. This was not just about the number of years they were exposed but also the number of events within the year would also increase. There is much we know now. Still what we fail to do is honor the Vietnam veterans forgotten about in all of this.

They wait in line behind the newer veterans even though they have waited all these years to find out what was wrong with them has a name and there is a reason for it. PTSD had taken hold. The blessing is that it is not too late for them to heal and get off this ride of highs and lows so deep they don't want to get up in the morning.

35 Years After the Vietnam War Is Not Too Late

Don JonesProject Manager, LZ Lambeau

A Vietnam veteran once said to a fellow veteran I know: Yes it is way, way late. Maybe too late to be welcomed home...but it is never too late to say to a veteran, thank you for your service.

Friday April 30th will mark the 35th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

I served in the United States Army from 1955 to 1969, with service in the Intelligence Corps in Danang Vietnam.

It's been 35 years and every year since I've returned I've met veterans who had returned home but have never really "come home."

Just over ten years ago, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, Wisconsin Public Television and the Wisconsin Historical Society started interviewing hundreds of Wisconsin veterans of WWII and Korea. The interviews have been collected in a series of books and television shows, Wisconsin WWII War Stories and Wisconsin Korean War Stories.

Now, over last two years, they've done the same for Vietnam in Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories.

There's a remarkable contrast in the stories. During the interviews with Vietnam veterans, the television producers saw and heard a distinctly different message and tone from the WWII veterans and, to a degree, from the Korean War veterans. It was the fact that few had ever been thanked and none had experienced the welcome home parades for the WWII veterans, nor even the few "thank you's" heard by the Korean veterans.
cllick link for more

Vietnam marks 35th anniversary of end of war

Monday, February 1, 2010

Documentary with Pennsylvania vets awakens Vietnam demons

Documentary with Pennsylvania vets awakens Vietnam demons

By Craig Smith
Monday, February 1, 2010
Last updated: 11:18 am

Army Sgt. Lamont B. Steptoe came home to Pittsburgh after fighting in the jungles of Vietnam and bought a gun.

"I was so enraged. ... I was going to go out one day and start shooting everybody I saw," said Steptoe, 60, who now lives in Philadelphia.

Then, reading "A Choice of Weapons," the autobiography of acclaimed photographer Gordon Parks, and the thought of what his mother would face if he carried out his plot, stopped the Peabody High School grad cold.

A poet, photographer and publisher who grew up in East Liberty, Steptoe exorcises his demons from the war through his writing. The author of 11 collections of poetry and three books on Vietnam, he is a 2005 American Book Award winner and recipient of a 2006 Pew Fellowship.

He and other Vietnam veterans from Pennsylvania are featured in "the weight," a three-part, six-hour documentary being completed that chronicles the war experiences of 10 Vietnam veterans and late CBS newsman Ed Bradley. In addition to Bradley, a Marine featured in the film, Jim Downey, has died.
read more here
Documentary with Pennsylvania vets awakens Vietnam demons

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

VFW takes aim at Woodstock anniversary but misses a lot

I love the VFW and do a lot of posts about the good work they do, but this is not so simple. Woodstock was complicated and so were the people who went and listened to the music.

I was only ten. One of my brothers was 17 and so was the man I married many years later. My brother listened to the music and I loved it. I still do.

My husband didn't get drafted. He enlisted. He wanted to be like his WWII father, with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. While my husband did end up with a Bronze Star in Vietnam, he ended up with a wound that did not qualify for the Purple Heart or any recognition at all. He ended up with PTSD. I've been doing this work since the day we met in 1982 and I have no plans of stopping.

When they go to war, they are in the war itself, watching over their brothers and sisters. It didn't matter when lives were on the line if one of them was drafted or enlisted, wanted to be there or not, they just watched out for each other.

Some protested when they got back and some faded into the background. Some got over what was asked of them and some were never close to the same. Some turned into Democrats and some turned into Republicans, the opposite of what their family members were. Some revolted against things and others ran to things.

There was nothing simple about Woodstock because there was nothing simple about America or the veterans back then. It was all complicated by nice intentions, like trying to save the lives of the men and women sent and stopping the forceful deployment of young men who didn't want to go. Things got out of control and the people they were trying to save became the targets. I often wonder how it was for veterans of Vietnam to be involved with protestors at the same time they were called "baby killers' and attacked by the people claiming valued them. Or what kind of heart tug happened when a Vietnam veteran was yelling at a soldier about to deploy.

The way things are for the newer veterans and even the Vietnam veterans finally getting the appreciation they so truly deserved was one lesson learned from the times of Woodstock and the times that came after. Woodstock was painful for a lot of people but the rest of the country managed to take away a lesson in never, ever allowing hostilities against wars fought to be taken out on the people we send to fight those wars.

I firmly believe that the events that harmed our veterans the most, ended up waking everyone else up to help the veterans more than ever before. There was a lot of pain to go around but there was a lot of good that did come out of it.

Culture wars redux: VFW takes aim at Woodstock anniversary
Culture wars redux: VFW takes aim at Woodstock anniversary
Posted by Bryan Bender August 3, 2009 04:08 PM
By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff

WASHINGTON -- Nearly four decades after the Woodstock Festival, the culture wars are apparently still being fought at one of the nation's largest and most storied veterans organizations.

The cover story in the August issue of the Veterans of Foreign Wars' national magazine marks the upcoming anniversary of the four-day concert that symbolized the counterculture of the 1960s with an article penned by its editor, Richard K. Kolb, titled "GIs Died While Woodstock Rocked." (Click here to read the full article.)

Attacking the "illustrious spokesmen" of the Sixties Generation and criticizing the "elite media" at the time for hailing the "tribal gathering" in New York's Catskill Mountains while ignoring the sacrifices of young men in uniform, the article suggests that the hundreds of thousands of youngsters who attended the festival, widely known for its drug use and "free love," had abandoned their nation in a time of need.
click link for more

Saturday, June 28, 2008

PTSD education is veterans mission

PTSD education is veterans mission
MILFORD — U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Charles Trumpower flips open his souvenir Zippo cigarette lighter, the one he carried with him through fields of blood and gore, to reveal its clever slogan. "I'm not here to die for my country," the lighter reads, in words inscribed just below the insignia of the Playboy Bunny with the erect ears and numerals for the year "1969."
"Let that other SOB die for his," it reads.

Trumpower, 61, didn't die for his country. But he did not make it out of the steaming Vietnamese jungle unscathed: in addition to bullet wounds and shrapnel that sent him home wounded in November 1969 after nearly 10 months in combat as a rifleman, Trumpower suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
go here for more

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Vietnam Remains Our Biggest Military Health Issue

Vietnam Remains Our Biggest Military Health Issue
As we shift our focus of this blog to the emotional side of the synergistic neuropsychiatric disability that faces combat vets, I want to put the context of current soldier suicides and PTSD into perspective.

This series of blogs began with my reaction to this news:
“The Associated Press announced that active duty military suicides hit its highest level on record in 2007, 119 soldiers dead. See the AP story at: “

My first reaction to that number when I read it was that there was something wrong with the record books, because I had remembered reading a number of references over the years about suicide in Vietnam veterans with numbers as high as 250,000 people. Well, the reason 119 is a “record” is the Pentagon didn’t start recording soldier suicides until around 1980 and that number is for active duty soldiers and doesn’t include vets.Still, the overwhelming question that seems to being missed in the political debate and news coverage of 2008 is what about the Vietnam vets? As tragic as the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars have been, their footprint of death, disability and psychosis has yet to reach 10% of the magnitude of that of Vietnam.

While Vietnam is now more than 30 years in our rear view mirrors, the primary group of soldiers it affected are from 55 to 70 years old. That is a serious public and military health issue for at least another generation.$500 million dollars for TBI research for blast injuries in the so-called War on Terror is great – but what about Vietnam? The discovery of brain injury and brain damage in Iraq by the politicos and news media is truly wonderful. But Iraq is not the first war with blast injuries, not the first war where our soldiers suffered brain injury, not the first war where the soldier who returned home is a brittle, vulnerable shadow of the vibrant young man who left.
click above for more

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vietnam Ghosts At The Door

The post I just put up from Truthout on Joe Wheeler got me to thinking about what Vietnam veterans said when they came home.

With Vietnam veterans, they called contact with other veterans, "ghosts at the door." They didn't want to be reminded of what they were still living with. They didn't want to find out which of the soldiers they knew died, which ones ended up with their legs blown off, which ones got yet another divorce. They wanted to put it all behind them.

Years later, more and more were reaching out to find their buddies. Lost and Found from a Vietnam Veterans site ( began as a way to help them find each other.

There are a lot of other links from this site and they should be used for the wealth of information they provide.

If you go to Lost and Found, read some of their stories as they search for people who were there when a family member was killed in action; when they need help to prove a claim with the VA; when they just want to find someone who they knew, your heart breaks. After all these years, they still reach out at the same time they still try to push it all to the back of their minds.

If you want to know what a Vietnam veteran can do, just look at which ones reached the Senate and the House

Vietnam Veterans in the Senate
"#" in front of the name indicates a combat veteran

#Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI)
U.S. Army 1943-47

Robert Bennett (R-UT)
National Guard 1957-61

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Army Reserves 1968-74

#Thomas Carper (D-DEL)
U.S. Navy 1968-1973
Navy Reserve 1973-1991

Thad Cochran (R-MS)
U.S. Navy 1959-61

Larry Craig (R-ID)
National Guard 1970-72

Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT)
Army Reserve 1969-75

Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Air National Guard 1967-73

Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
· U.S. Air Force 1983-1989
National Guard 1989-1994

#Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
U.S. Army 1967-68

Tom Harkins (D-IA)
U.S. Navy 1962-67
Navy Reserve 1968-74

James M. Inhofe (R-OK)
U.S. Army 1954-56

#Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Medal Of Honor
U.S. Army 1943-47

Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
National Guard 1966-1972

Tim Johnson (D-SD)
U.S. Army 1969-

Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
U.S. Army 1951-53

#John Robert Kerry (D-MA)
U.S. Navy 1966-1970

Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Army Reserve 1958-64

#Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Army 1942-1946

Richard Lugar (R-IN)
U.S. Navy 1957-60

#John R. McCain (R-AZ)
U.S. Navy 1958-81
*POW Vietnam 1967-73

Bill Nelson (D-FL)
U.S. Army 1968-1970

Jack Reed (D-RI)
U.S. Army 1967-1969

Pat Roberts (R-KS)
U.S. Marine Corps (1958-62)

Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Army Reserves 1973-86

Arlen Specter (R-PA)
U.S. Air Force 1951-53

#Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Army Air Corps 1943-46

#John R. Warner (R-VA)
U.S. Navy 1945-46
Marine Corps 1950-52
Marine Corps Reserves 1952-1964

#Jim Webb (D-VA)
U.S. Marine Corps 1964-1972
Ass't Sec. of Defense 1984-1987
Secretary of the Navy 1987-1988

Vietnam Veterans in the House
"#" in front of the name indicates a combat veteran.

Todd Akin (R-02 Missouri)
U.S. Army

#Joe Baca (D-43 CA)
U.S. Army 1966-1968

Spencer Bachus (R-06 AL)
National Guard 1969-1971

James Barrett (R-03 S.C.)
Army 1983-1987

Michael Bilirakis ( )
Air Force 1951-1955

Sanford D. Bishop (D-02 GA)
U.S. Army 1971

John Boehner (R-08 OH)
U.S. Navy 1968

#Leonard L. Boswell (D-03 IA)
U.S. Army 1956-1976

#Allen Boyd, Jr. (D-02 FL)
U.S. Army 1969-1971

Henry Brown (R-1 SC)
National Guard 1953-1962

Vern Buchanan (R-13 FL)
Air National Guard 1970-1976

Dan Burton (R-05 IN)
U.S. Army 1956-1957
Army Reserves 1957-1962

G.K. Butterfield (D-1 NC)
Army Reserves 1957-1962
Army 1968-1970

Stephen E. Buyer (R-04 IN)
U.S. Army 1984-1987, 1990
Army Reserve 1980-1984, 1987-Present

Christopher Carney (D-10PA)
Naval Reserves 1995 - Present

Howard Coble (R-06 NC)
Coast Guard 1952-1956, 1977-1978
Coast Guard Reserve 1960-1981

Mike Conway (R-11 TX)
U.S. Army 1970-1972

John Conyers (D-14 MI)
National Guard 1948-1950
U.S. Army 1950-1954
Army Reserve 1954-1957

Robert E. Cramer, Jr. (D-05 AL)
U.S. Army 1972
Army Reserves 1976-1978

Geoff Davis (R-04 KY)
U.S. Army 1980 -1987

Thomas M. Davis (R-11 VA)
U.S. Army 1971-1972
Army Reserves 1972-1979

Nathan Deal (R-09 GA)
U.S. Army 1966-1968

Peter A. DeFazio (D-04 OR)
U.S. Air Force 1967-1971

William D. Delahunt (D-10 MA)
Coast Guard Reserve 1963-1971

John D. Dingell (D-16 MI)
U.S. Army 1945-1946

John F. Duncan, Jr. (R-02 TN)
Army Reserve 1970-1987

Bob Etheridge (D-02 NC)
U.S. Army 1965-1967

Terry Everett (R-02 AL)
U.S. Air Force 1955-1959

#Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-11 NJ)
U.S. Army 1969-1971

#Wayne T. Gilchrest (R-01 MD)
U.S. Marines 1964-1968

Louie Gohmert (R-01 TX)
U.S. Army 1977-1982

Charles A. Gonzales (D-20 TX)
National Guard 1969-1975

Virgil H. Goode, Jr. (R-05 VA)
National Guard 1969-1975

Bart Gordon (D-6 TN)
US Army Reserve 1971-72

Phil Hare (D-17IL)
Army Reserves 1969-1975

Ralph M. Hall (R-04 TX)
U.S. Navy 1942-1945

Doc Hastings (R-04 WA)
Army Reserves 1964-1969

Maurice Hinchey (D-22 NY)
U.S. Navy 1956-59

David L. Hobson (R-07 OH)
National Guard 1958-1963

#Duncan Hunter (R-52 CA)
U.S. Army 1969-1971

Darrell Issa (R-49 CA)
Army 1970-1972, 1976-1980

William J. Jefferson (D-02 LA)
U.S. Army 1969-1978

#Sam Johnson (R-03 TX)
U.S. Air Force 1951-1979 (POW)

Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-03 NC)
National Guard 1967-1971

Paul E. Kanjorski (D-11 PA)
U.S. Army 1960-1961

Peter King (R-03 NY)
National Guard 1968-1973

# Mark Kirk (R-10 IL)
Navy Reserve 1989-present

#John Kline (R-02 MN)
USMC 1969-1994

Joseph Knollenberg (R-09 MI)
Army 1955-1957

Ron Lewis (R-02 KY)
U.S. Navy 1973

John Linder (R-7 GA)
US Air Force 1967-69

Edward J. Markey (D-07 MA)
Army Reserves 1968-1973

#James Marshall (D-3 GA)
U.S. Army 1968-1970

Jim McDermott (D-07 WA)
U.S. Navy 1968-1970

Gary Miller (R-42 CA)
Army 1967-1968

Alan Mollohan (D-01 WV)
U.S. Army 1970
Army Reserves 1970-1983

Dennis Moore (D-03 KS)
U.S. Army 1970
Army Reserves 1970-1972

Patrick Murphy (D-08PA)
Army 1999-2004

#John Murtha (D-12 PA)
U.S. Marines 1952-1955, 1966-1967
Marines Reserve 1967-1990

Soloman P. Ortiz (D-27 TX)
U.S. Army 1960-1962

William Pascrell, Jr. (D-08 NJ)
U.S. Army 1961
Army Reserves 1962-1967

Ron Paul (R-14 TX)
U.S. Air Force 1963-1965
National Guard 1965-1968

#Steve Pearce (R-2 NM)
U.S. Air Force 1970-1976

Collin C. Peterson (D-07 MN)
National Guard 1963-1969

John E. Peterson (R-05 PA)
U.S. Army 1957
Army Reserves 1958-1963

#Joseph R. Pitts (R-16 PA)
U.S. Air Force 1963-1969

Ted Poe (R-2 TX)
Air Force Reserve 1970-1976

Jim Ramstad (R-03 MN)
Army Reserves 1968-1974

#Charles B. Rangel (D-15 NY)
U.S. Army 1948-1952

Ralph Regula (R-16 OH)
U.S. Navy 1944-1946

#Silvestre Reyes (D-16 TX)
U.S. Army 1966-1968

Thomas Reynolds (R-26 NY)
National Guard 1970-1976

Harold Rogers (R-05 KY)
National Guard 1957-1964

Mike Rogers (R-8 MI)
US Army 1985-89

Bobby Rush (D-01 IL)
U.S. Army 1963-1968

John Salazar (D-03 CO)
U.S. Army 1973-1976

Robert C. Scott (D-03 VA)
Army Reserves 1970-1974
National Guard 1974-1976

Jose E. Serrano (D-16 NY)
U.S. Army 1964-1966

Joe Sestak(D-07PA)
U.S. Navy [Admiral] 1970-2006

John Shadegg (R-03AZ)
National Guard 1969-1975

John Shimkus (R-19 IL)
U.S. Army 1980-1984
Army Reserves 1987-Present

#Vic Snyder (D-02 AR)
U.S. Marines 1967-1969

John M. Spratt, Jr. (D-05 SC)
U.S. Army 1969-1971

Fortney P. Stark (D-13 CA)
U.S. Air Force 1955-1957

Cliff Stearns (R-06 FL)
U.S. Air Force 1963-1967

John S. Tanner (D-08 TN)
U.S. Navy 1968-1972
National Guard 1974-Present

Gene Taylor (D-04 MS)
Coast Guard Reserve 1971-1984

#Mike Thompson (D-01 CA)
U.S. Army 1969-1972

Edolphus Towns (D-10 NY)
U.S. Army 1956-1958

Tim Walz (D-01MI)
National Guard 1981-2005

Dave Weldon (R-15 FL)
U.S. Army 1981-1987
Army Reserves 1987-1992

Ed Whitfield (R-01 KY)
Army Reserve 1967-1970

Roger F. Wicker (R-01 MS)
U.S. Air Force 1976-1980
Air Force Reserve 1980-Present

Heather A. Wilson (R-01 NM)
U.S. Air Force 1978-1989
*Only woman veteran in Congress.

Joe Wilson (R-2 SC)
National Guard 1972-2003

Frank R. Wolf (R-10 VA)
U.S. Army 1962-1963
Army Reserves 1963-1967

C.W. Bill Young (R-10 FL)
National Guard 1948-1957

Don Young (R-All AK)
U.S. Army 1955-1957

I find it very troubling what with all of these veterans in the Senate and the House, they let all of this happen to this nation's newest generation. Especially troubling are the combat veterans listed here. How could they just close their eyes to what was happening and let the veterans suffer with backlogs in claims and shortages of doctors and nurses along with shortages of claims processors when they were coming back with PTSD and killing themselves, seeing their lives fall apart, their families fall apart and when they joined the ranks of the forgotten homeless?

They can move mountains and most of the sites you see on the net dealing with veterans, began with Vietnam veterans. If anyone is going to understand this new generation it has to be them. So how is it that with so much being done by people in private lives happens yet so little happens in the House and the Senate? Even with the "highest increase in VA history" is still so far below what is needed. How can this be intstead of getting it right, right now? Where are the veterans' centers? Where is the outreach they keep talking about doing? Where are the minds of those with the power to make all of this happen? Is it because they don't want the ghosts knocking at their own doors?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

St. George, Saint of Soldiers wants you to help a Vietnam veteran

A story we don't often find is how the Vietnam Memorial hurts instead of heals. This is one of their stories.

Of all the veterans I have ministered to in outreach work, SOHARD2HATE@AOL.COM has broken my heart the most. He's a good man and proved it in so many ways during his life. When I emailed him to let him know why I wouldn't be responding as swiftly as I normally did to him, he started to minister to me, knowing I was in pain. This veteran, so filled with his own pain, watching his life fall apart, unable to get to the care he desperately needs, put himself aside for my sake.

To keep his privacy, I'll call him George after St. George the Patron Saint of soldiers. St. George is always depicted in art as the warrior with a spear killing a dragon.

George found me the way most of them do, in a moment of desperation. He emailed me, told me part of his life and waited for my response. As always, I got back to him as soon as I could. He told me how a trip to the Wall in Washington did not heal him, make him feel better or comforted, but instead awakened dormant PTSD. Up until then, he had everything he worked for, a relationship and a home.

George is not alone. There have been several cases of the wall awakening the war in a lot of veterans. For them most part, the Wall does help in healing and brining out emotions to the surface. Some are not ready for what they will begin to feel, not prepared to find out the war did not leave them when they left it behind.

George lives in a part of the county where help is hard to get to. I broke my own rule when it came to him. He couldn't get to the help he needed, so I told him I'd stay with him on line until he could get into some kind of program. Usually I get the veterans to understand what PTSD, get them past the stigma up to the point where they are ready to go for help, then send them on their way. If I didn't do this, I'd never have time to get any research done. I saw something in George that I knew was rare. He is an amazing man. I don't have permission to post much about him so I won't. The point of this post is there is a veteran with PTSD who needs help. Right now he needs legal help more than anything else. It's bad enough to have PTSD but to have the additional burden of legal matters jeopardizing what little he has left is getting too much for him to cope with.

I know there are pro-bono lawyers who help veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan but George is a Vietnam veteran. They have been pushed aside and find help very hard to find. There has to be a lawyer for him out there somewhere. He lives in Pennsylvania. His PTSD has ability to fight for himself away and he's up against a real lawyer taking advantage of his limited capacity to advocate for himself. If you know of a lawyer who may be willing to help him, email him to get some more information. Believe me, this man is very unique and I'm not just saying that because of what he did for me when I was devastated by losing my job, but because of the countless emails flying between the two of us. He was able to be open and honest with me, like so many others are because they have nothing to prove to me. George proved his compassion, his faith in God and how loving his heart is throughout every email. Don't let this veteran, this rare man fight this legal battle on his own. He needs our help. After that then we can try to find someplace to help him with PTSD to heal.

Pass this post on to anyone you know in Pennsylvania so that the help available can find him. He lives near State College, Pa. He needs legal help with a family matter, not a criminal one. He also needs help with his claim for PTSD. Help a great Vietnam veteran stand proud again.
Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington
Let's show Washington we can live up to what he said.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Milo Von Strom's story part two

Kathie: Here is a brief account of why I have PTSD out of 365 or more other stories that I remember from my over seas moments.

This incident happened in and around 3rd or 4th of September 1969 at Cam Rahn Bay in South , Vietnam. I arrived at Cam Rahn Bay in Vietnam at a very hot time. It was hard at first to get use to walking in the sand , which was everywhere. It seemed like every step I took, I went 2 steps backwards. Anyway it felt like you never got anywhere at all. I just hung around the place eating and drinking allot of water and doing nothing for about 3 days, because I didn't have any transportation to my assigned unit. Then a couple of us were told to go to the helicopter to the LZ (landing zone) and wait for our ride. Little did I know that it would be a ride I would never forget.

A few minutes after we arrived at the LZ a copter set down and a sergeant with a armful of M-16's got off and approached us. He stood there with us without saying anything for a brief moment. He looked us over like cattleman examining fresh meat. It gave me the creeps. Then he told the 3 of us to get into the helicopter. I took out my orders and tried to show them to him and he didn't even glance at them. He just placed his right hand on his holstered 45 cal. revolver and loudly ordered us onto the helicopter. Not knowing what to do in this situation and fearing for my personal safety I got into the copter and away we went. I had never flown in a helicopter before , so I was nervous, especially when we were flying a few hundred feet over the rocky shoreline of the South China Sea . We were heading North for quite away and then suddenly the helicopter took a sharp left . I was freaking out! I was at the helicopter door without a seat belt on staring at the jagged rocks directly below me. I thought that I was going to fall out as the helicopter flew sideways for a while. The sergeant told me not to worry and that I wouldn't fall out . That didn't reassure me very much at the time. It seemed like we flew over the jungle for about 20 or so minutes and set down on a LZ near a fire base that was right out of John Wayne's movie " The Green Beret " . Now I was really losing it! I was supposed to be going to Phan Rang Air force Base , which was much safer than that place seemed to be and in the opposite direction.

I was quite upset and asked to see the fire base commander as soon as I walked through the barbed wire covered gate with Vietnamese guards. The officer in charge seemed to be no more than 21 or 22 ,at the most, with an black I Core on his uniform. The patch caught my eye , because I was in an I Core unit in Korea. He had on a booney hat on, sun glasses , colorful shorts and Ho Chi Min sandals . He was a weird sight to behold. I gave him my orders and explained to him that this must a big mistake. For a moment he glanced over my orders and then just dropped them into a fire barrel, next to him , and turned around and politely asked me in a nice voice...can I see your orders specialist Strom. I stood there in disbelief and reminded him that he just burned my orders. He turned to the sergeant and told him to assign me to a bunker and a 155mm gun crew and walked away. I realized at that moment I was screwed and up shit creek without a paddle. In other word, welcome to a new reality.

My memory from this point on is rather vague, because so many things started happening in a row that I can't remember their true order. My lack of certain details has bothered me since those days. I feel that it lead to the nightmares that I keep having to this day. I only remember the black soldier that I shared the bunker with. I thought at the time that he was a strange person, because he filled his pillows to the rim with marijuana and we had to drink our water out of an aluminum trash can . It was a taste I won't ever forget. The water always tasted like metal, which made the warm beer even taste better. We didn't have any ice. I can't remember any of my crews names just their faces and this isn't like me, so I know what I don't remember was to traumatic for my immature brain to comprehend at the time.

The only thing that makes any sense is that we were attacked before anyone became familiar to me, because I still can remember certain people that I served with in Korea in 1967. I was there for 14 months. I spent 6 months of that time with I Core's 175mm track tanks in a field unit bordering the 38th parallel or DMZ.

This is why I am puzzled by my certain so-called memory loss . Anyway, the first and almost only thing that I recall was when we came under attack in the daytime, soon after I arrived. I recall this very well because the sergeant yelled at me to load the 155mm canon and fire back. I tried to tell him that I had never been trained to do that. It was then that he kicked the hell out of me in front of everyone there in the mass confusion of the moment. Like I said, we were being fired on with mortars and automatic weapon fire at that time, so everyone was fearing for their lives and my sergeant didn't care to teach me a new trade at this particular time. I tried to do what he wanted, but I accidentally dropped one of the live rounds that had an activated detonator on it and nearly killed everyone. The round landed on it's back side and didn't explode, but the sergeant had already punched me in the jaw and was now kicking every part of my body with his hard combat boots. I crunched up in the fetal position and tried to survive the blows. Then I was jerked back to my feet by him and ordered to keep loading and firing the 155mm. It was a fricking nightmare. I hadn't even turned 20 yet, that is why I know about when this incident occurred.

I vividly recall the nightfall. We had already lost a young man in our crew, who went up on the top of our sand bagged hooch to man the 50 caliber machine gun under fire. He was either very brave or just fricken stupid. I was scared to death and unless the VC came right in the hooch after me I was staying put .. A few minutes later, the young man's machine gun stopped firing and when I checked on him...I lost it. He was still sitting up with both his hands glued to the machine gun, but I noticed that he no longer had a head. There was just a bloody piece of flesh where his head used to be. I climbed down and tried to block it from my mind. My bunk partner asked me what happened and I replied, the dumb ass just got his fricken head blow off. And then I heard the young captain on his radio repeating Charlie company needs air support right now and he was giving someone our location or that's what I thought I heard considering we came under heavy again. I little while later, I heard a loud humming sound. The sound was creepy and I couldn't see anything except a bunch of flares that were lighting up the black sky. And then there was a red highway like a liquid tongue, that descended from the sky and licked the ground before it ricocheted skyward again. I had no idea that highway was made up of tracer tipped rounds from a gun ship called " Shadow or Spooky " . I guess that is what my bunker partner called it. He said that every 3rd round was a tracer and that it fired 3,000 rounds a minute. So I guess that all I was seeing were the tracers. It was almost too freaky to comprehend. But it did look cool , yet intense. And if you can believe this, it was very quiet after the Shadow left that night.

Here is where it gets confusing to me. Earlier in the day I was asked to help pick up the bodies of the VC. I will never forget the sweet sickening odor that stuck in my nose and made my skin crawl. I was told that it was the smell of rotting flesh that blew on the breeze. I then asked one of the radio guys how many VC were killed last night and he replied 1100 KIA. Whether he was just bullshitting me I'll never know, but the gun ship pasted over our fire base a few times and fired long bursts each time . Oh and back to picking up the dead, I couldn't do it. I guess... I am an artist and not a born killer. I was very upset, because of all the lives lost even if they were the enemy. I did not want to look into the faces of all those dead people who had wives, girlfriends and children. Others quickly were picked, but I bet to this day that they wished that they didn't to it. I realize that someone had to do it and I wish that I had been stronger, but I wasn't. Oh...did I mention, two other young soldiers lost their lives to mines on the way out to recover the bodies, because of badly placed tags marking where mines were much for my mind to handle . I guess this incident happened on a different day. Who knows?

We were under attack again and we fired at the ridge line for many hours. There was this one time I wouldn't go out and help fire the 155mm canon , because I noticed that the VC had zeroed in on our par-pit with their motor rounds and that it would have been sheer suicide . I would bet you that even a dumb farmer wouldn't have went out there to fire back in that certain situation. I was a farmer before I enlisted, but not a dumb one. The sergeant called me a coward and many other derogatory names but when he put his hand on his 45cal. handgun and threatened me I reached for my weapon and it ended in a draw. He got pissed off and left.

Some other guys bet my stoned bunker partner, that he couldn't run from the bunker and touch the 155mm gun and run back to the bunker while the mortars were landing. He took their dare and ran out of the bunker. A second later, we heard an explosion and seen him kicking around in a circle like a chicken with it's head chopped off. There was a spiral stream of white smoke coming from about a 4 inch wound on his right leg . One of the guys said, what a stupid idiot as they dragged him back into the bunker. I heard someone mumble, at least he gets to go home... now.

Then as it got dark once again we were in allot of trouble. The sergeant just came to my bunker and told me that we are evacuating the fire base. He then informs me that I have to run around and make sure that I drop white phosphorus canisters down the tubes of the 155mm canons and place one in the center of a couple truck motors, so the VC won't be able to use any of our equipment. The sergeant reminded me that there would be only 2 helicopters coming and if I didn't get done. I knew what he meant by that. I ran around doing what I had been instructed to do with tears blurring my eyes. I was very scared that he would actually leave me anyway. I hated the bastard's guts ! When I finished with the last truck, I knew that there wasn't much time left. There were explosions and tracers flying everywhere around me. I saw the helicopter and it looked like it was leaving , so I ran as fast as I could and the sergeant pulled me aboard. As we lifted off from the fire base all I could see was VC running throughout the base and quite a number of our men running in every direction for their lives. I asked the sergeant where their helicopter was and he said, this is the last one...and we flew off.

A while later we landed at Phan Rang Air Force Base and I was let off. I thought the sergeant was right behind me as I ducked and got away from the helicopter. When I turned and looked back at the helicopter he just gestured at me and flew away. I call it leaving me holding the bag. (Thanks allot ass hole.)

I walked into Service Battery of the 5/27th and right to the First Sergeant's desk and told him my story. He replied, this is over my head and sent me over to the supply building to get a new issue of clothing and a new weapon. And to beat it all , the supply sergeant wanted me to pay for all my missing supplies. After I explained everything to him, he just shook his head and told me what barracks I would be sleeping in. Later I was assigned to ammo section, where I began delivering ammo to fire bases in the surrounding area. And all this happened a week after I was in country. I at least know this , because I celebrated my 20th birthday at Phan Rang Air Force Base on the 21st of September 1969.

And what gets me mad is that I was put through all this and there is not one thing about this in my military files about the fire base incident. I think about this all the time when I have a bad day and wonder what if I was one of those young men that they left behind. To this day I can't prove any of what I just said and I have searched the Internet for any war time incident that is even similar to what I experienced. I have come to the conclusion that I was at a place that we weren't supposed to be. But I swear before God that everything is true to my best recollection. I have told this story to people at the VA and nobody seems to want to hear about it. It was mentioned to me that I must have been needed at the time. I can live with that, but the sergeant kidnapping, beating me and threatening my life is not right in any way. I still have nightmare about it and have to take medication from time to time to just sleep.

It looks like he could use some help from someone who was there or knows anything about all of this. If you're a Vietnam vet who served in the area, help him out. Email me and I'll get you in touch with him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


From the Smithsonian Channel

(Note, this post is a dual post on both blogs)

Introduction From the National Parks Service

Deliberately setting aside the controversies of the war, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors the men and women who served when their Nation called upon them. The designer, Maya Lin, felt that “the politics had eclipsed the veterans, their service and their lives.” She kept the design elegantly simple to “allow everyone to respond and remember.”
If any of your readers want to share their own stories about Veterans Day they can join the Smithsonian Channel Community ‘’ where we have set up a special ‘Veterans Day Tribute’ group where anyone can contribute blog posts about what Veterans Day means to them. Here we are also featuring content from Veterans such as the Deputy Director of the Air and Space Museum, and WWII Fighter Ace, Don Lopez.

REMEMBERING VIETNAM: THE WALL AT 25 Remembering Vietnam: The Wall at 25 goes back in time to tell the story of the memorial through the eyes of those who conceived it, those who were instrumental in pushing it through bureaucratic and political resistance, those intimately involved with its 25-year history, and those it honors. Above all, the documentary tells the story of a place that is more than a memorial – it is a place where old wounds are healed.

'Remembering Vietnam - The Wall at 25,' Original Smithsonian Channel(TM)

Documentary, to be Streamed on Smithsonian Channel Website on Veterans Day (Sunday, Nov. 11)
NEW YORK, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- "Remembering Vietnam - The Wall at
25" - - an original documentary about the history of the famous monument in
Washington, D.C. -- will be streamed on the
Smithsonian Channel website, concurrent with its premiere on Veterans Day,
Sunday, Nov. 11 at 8 pm and 11 pm ET/PT.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund founder and president Jan Scruggs calls
it "the best documentary film about the wall I've ever seen."
"We felt this documentary was so powerful that we wanted to make it
possible for this moving and important program to be seen by all Americans
as we honor the soldiers who have fought for our country this Veterans
Day," said Tom Hayden, General Manager, Smithsonian Networks.
The one-hour documentary is produced by filmmaker Lynn Kessler, and is
part of a package of original programs to be shown in honor of Veterans Day
beginning Friday, November 9 and continuing through Sunday, November 11.
Smithsonian Channel is currently available on DIRECTV's Channel 267.

Smithsonian Networks (SN) is a joint venture between Showtime Networks
Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution. It was formed to create new channels
that will showcase scientific, cultural and historical programming largely
inspired by the assets of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest
museum complex. The networks will feature original documentaries, short-
subject explorations and innovative and groundbreaking programs
highlighting America's historical, cultural and scientific heritage. Visit
them on the internet at

This is in eyes of all who stand by the Wall. The reflection is not of today, but of all the yesterdays, of lives gone long ago and of the living with the ghosts of memories. The Wall makes no statement of politics or of right and wrong, but of the lives lost to war. The Wall cannot heal bodies, nor restore the dead to life, but it does heal the soul and arise the memories of who has gone from this earth. A granddaughter views the name of a grandparent she never met. A wife, long ago remarried touches the stone and wonders what could have been. Children see the name as a chill runs through them and some say the spirit of their parent is still found there in the Wall. Above all who walk the path from end to end are the veterans.

Some went willingly because they were asked. Some were forced to go. As the saying goes from Vietnam veterans "All gave some, some gave all" when it was there time to serve. It didn't matter if they wanted to be there or were forced to be there, they served side by side and what mattered the most was each other. They followed their orders equally, bravely and went through things they would have never thought they could have survived. Some still fight the battles to this very day. They say that if all the deaths connected to the Vietnam war were recorded, they would need two or three more walls to fit in all the names. There are names of those who perished from Agent Orange and from wounds of their bodies and minds. Some had their lives taken from them while others committed suicide. All gave some.

The Wall may not have all the names of all the fallen from Vietnam. We may never know all their stories but each one visiting the Wall holds someone in their heart. It may not be a name of someone they knew. It may not be a name recorded on the Wall at all, but it is written in their heart.

The Wall heals souls and in turn managed to begin the healing of this nation. Watch the video above and then plan on watching the documentary. See if we can find that same kind of compassion and passion behind the building of the Wall to do the same for this generation in harms way today. Then thank a Vietnam vet because had it not been for them coming back, fighting for all veterans, we would not have come as far as we are today to eliminating the stigma of PTSD. We have a lot further to go, but the Vietnam veterans paved the way. They are still reaching out their hands to each other and to all other veterans. To me, they will always be the greatest generation because they did not forget those who came after them.

Kathie Costos

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation."

- George Washington

Friday, October 19, 2007

Combat veteran and backs against the wall

Symptom Clusters for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Vary from DSM-IV in Therapeutics Trials: Presented at ECNPBy Paula Moyer

VIENNA, AUSTRIA -- October 18, 2007 -- Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have symptom clusters that differ from those in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), according to a team of investigators presenting their findings here at the 20th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress.

These results, like those of other PTSD factor analyses, challenge the structure of the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for PTSD," said principal investigator Dan J. Stein, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr. Stein stressed, however, that comparisons are difficult because of the diversity of the people and the types of trauma in the trials the investigators studied.

Dr. Stein and colleagues conducted the study because PTSD is common, chronic, and disabling, and is linked to an increased use of health-care resources as well a substantial functional impairment. The team wanted to analyse the symptom clusters in patients with PTSD who participated in two separate randomised controlled post title for the rest

Readjustment Problems Among Vietnam Veterans
The Etiology of Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
by Kim Goodwin, Psy.D
Published by the Disabled American Veterans

This is what I often quote from. The pages of this pamphlet have already fallen apart, worn and yellowed with the years. It came out in 1978. I was handed a copy of it in 1992, two years after a private psychologist diagnosed my husband with PTSD. By then I had been trying to get the media to understand what PTSD was and how the veteran was not the only one still fighting the war. You would think that they would have been interested, but they weren't. This research stated clearly the diagnosed cases of PTSD by 1978 were 500,000. It also stated clearly the number of cases would rise over the following 10 years. Actually it kept rising and is still going up now.

148,000 Vietnam Vets sought help in last 18 months
In the past 18 months, 148,000 Vietnam veterans have gone to VA centers reporting symptoms of PTSD "30 years after the war," said Brig. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, deputy commanding general of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He recently visited El Paso.

As you can see, even the experts didn't know how long the increase in PTSD would last. Last night was a reminder of that. My husband and I were out for dinner. It's one of the places he is willing to go along with the amusement parks in Florida. He always has to have a booth at least. His best place to sit is with his back against a wall so that no one can come up behind him and he can see everyone else. Our waiter startled him when he was checking on how our meal was when he pocked his head around he corner. Jack jumped. I thought how typical it was of him. I reminded him that sitting with his back against the wall was what most PTSD veterans do. He said "This way I won't get killed." Imagine that! Sitting in a restaurant and thinking you could get killed. It is also one of the reasons we don't go to movies.

Jack is better than he was. When we go to the parks like Disney or Universal, he is able to go into dark rooms, as long as he is holding my hand tightly. I am usually walking right behind him because he feels more secure that way. He knows he can trust me. On the rides, the backs of the seats are usually high and he feels protected. A few years ago I noticed there are certain rides he does not like to go on. I can see the difference in him as we stand in line as his arms begin to twitch, he facial expression changes and his mouth makes involuntary movements. At least for the most part, when we go to the parks, he is like a kid again, enjoying life for hours.

Jack gets really sad when he hears about Iraq and Afghanistan veterans dealing with PTSD. He knows what they're going through and he thinks about the lives they will have to deal with the way he did. I feel the same way, but my sadness comes from also knowing what the families will go through. Spouses will be dealing with a whole new marriage to a virtual stranger. They will live a life on a roller coaster ride of emotional changes with mood swings that seem to have no end and come with little warning. Over the years they will learn to be observant and they will be able to see signs of what is coming, but until then, it is shockingly confusing. Children will be children and do spontaneous things like come up behind them and cover their eyes. They will pop out of hiding saying peak-a-boo. Kids are also so filled with life they are noisy, making load sounds that will startle their parents. I remember the reaction Jack had when our own daughter was growing up. She still has a hard time dealing with a lot of this and she was raised knowing what it is.

The new generation of combat veterans will go through what all other generations have gone through. The blessing is that the net is available to them and their families. They don't feel as isolated as generations before them. Their families are able to reach out for support and gain knowledge from other families who have walked in their shoes for decades. They don't have to go through not knowing what comes with PTSD as they learn to watch for the changes in their veteran. The generations before Vietnam wouldn't talk about any of this. We had to learn on our own. The Vietnam veterans and their families are determined that no other generation of veterans will be left to take care of themselves.

If your veteran comes home from Iraq or Afghanistan different, go into the Vietnam veterans sites to know what they have already learned. If you have a Vietnam veteran, go there for the support that is ready and waiting. We can help each other with knowledge and understanding. No one has to fight this battle alone.

Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vietnam Vet's avalanche flashback

Stress disorder suspected in attack
Family of Olympian's father says he suffered from war flashbacks; Fresno police defend pursuit.
By Denny Boyles and Marc Benjamin / The Fresno Bee
09/26/07 04:31:57

Experts in post-traumatic stress disorder said Tuesday it's possible the condition could have contributed to Cliff Finch's actions during a police chase and shootout Monday.

Finch, 58, father of Olympic snowboarder Andy Finch, remains in critical condition at Community Regional Medical Center after being shot multiple times. Tuesday, Finch's family offered more details about the days leading up to the shootout and the steps they tried to take to get him help.

"He's been as stable as a rock," Craig Finch said of his brother. "But when he broke, we knew it. We knew it was not Cliff."

Police said that regardless of Cliff Finch's state of mind, they responded the only way they could to an armed suspect who refused to stop and then fired at officers.

"Throughout this whole case, we were put in situations where we were left with little or no options," said Fresno police spokesman Jeff Cardinale. "Cliff Finch ran from officers, refused to surrender and shot first."

Craig Finch said he believes his brother did not know what he was doing when he ran from police and shot at them.

Cliff Finch has been charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer. Tuesday, Police Chief Jerry Dyer announced that officers had recovered a second loaded weapon from Finch's truck, along with a box of .223 caliber ammunition.

go here for the rest

PTSD may have led to high speed chase and police shootout

PTSD may have led to high speed chase and police shootout
By Catherine Mylinh
Watch the story Disbelief is starting to give way to pain and confusion for Clifford Finch's loved ones. Timothy Jones still can't believe the accusations against his cousin.

"The family is struggling. Obviously it's been a difficult time," Jones told KSEE 24 News Tuesday evening.

Fresno police say Finch, 58, led them on a high-speed chase. It ended with a crash in the northwest district near Herdon Avenue and Golden State; then a dramatic shootout, where Finch was hit several times.

Finch is now facing two counts of attempted murder on a police officer as well as a host of other felonies.

"There is so much shock. This is out of character. It's difficult for everybody to comprehend," Jones said.

Finch has been a recognized member of the community in part because of his topiary business and in part because his son, Andy Finch, is an Olympic snowboarder.
go here for the rest and for the video

Update on officer-involved shooting
Fresno police say they had no choice but to open fire on a man after a dramatic encounter. Officers say Clifford Finch, 58, shot at them first after leading them on a dangerous high speed chase.
PTSD may have led to high speed chase and police shootout
Could post-traumatic stress have played a role in an officer-involved shooting? Clifford Finch's family says the Vietnam veteran may have been suffering from PSTD when he led officers on a high-speed chase, ending in a shootout with police.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Iraq War Stirs Memories For Vietnam Veterans

Iraq War Stirs Memories for Vietnam Vets
by Libby Lewis

Morning Edition, September 25, 2007 · The number of Vietnam veterans seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder has been steadily rising since the 1990s, and the rate has spiked since the United States prepared to invade Iraq in 2003.

Experts say a number of factors could be at play, including that America's present is rekindling ideas of its past and the Iraq war is triggering Vietnam memories.

For Jim Hale, a Vietnam veteran who ran electrical generators on Phu Quoc Island for the U.S. military, the Iraq war is almost like "watching a rerun" of the Vietnam war.

Since 1987, Hale has lived off the grid with his wife, Deena, in the Ozarks, 10 miles from the nearest paved road. He said that for years he thought he was doing all right.

He's always been a bad sleeper, and he tends to get nervous when he's alone at night. But four years ago, Hale got pulled emotionally into helping two old war buddies whose feelings about Vietnam were resurfacing as the United States began laying the groundwork to invade Iraq. All the while, he said, he listened to the news about Iraq on his battery-powered radio.
go here for the rest