Monday, May 10, 2010

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Dreams from the LORD 2007-2010
8 November 2009

"I am a vet of the new 'War on Terror'. I came home in 2003. I was in 10th mountain division. We would kick down doors and secure bagdad. We interviewed over 3000 prisoners in northern Afghanistan. Which by the way for the record 45% of those I interviewed I deemed a non-combatant. But each one was taken as if they were Al-Qaeda. We were in 40+ firefights and I and my brothers killed hundreds of combatants. I still cry for each and every one of them. I served as a marksman and was constantly deployed on missions with a spotter to scout ahead of my group by a days travel. We were sitting tight in a hole that we dug behind a ruined structure (pre-war damage) and we were very well covered. At around 2100 we recieved word that a group of mortars and 15 or so combatants were rallied inside the small village we were watching. While we were aware of the combatants wandering around the town earlier we didn't not know about the mortar team. Around 2130 a UAV flew overhead at around 1500 feet which is rediculously low for standard flight. Later we would learn that supposedly the craft was having trouble with its throttle/speed controler. Well needless to say it brought some attention to the skies and excited the people in the village. We figure they must have figured they were surrounded and being attacked because of the unfriendly craft. They immediately began to pound the skies with bullets trying to hit the craft as it passed overhead. They also began to randomly fire mortars to evoke a reaction from a hidden enemy that wasn't there... except me and Chris in our hole. at around 2215 The mortars started getting a touch close to our position and we radioed for clearance to relocate. No such movement was allowed as it would endanger the suprise of our quickly advancing column of tanks and humvees and loose infantry. well we held tight as best we can but it wasn't tight enough... We were terrified... We knew that at any minute a mortar was going to hit close by or right on us and that would be it. The column was still 45 minutes out. I was at one end of our 4dx3wx5l hole and Chris was at the other watching our right flank. All of a sudden a loud WHOOP hit and I could feel the heat of the blast but I was dizzy with the concussive blow I just suffered... The WHOOP was a mortar that had hit the ruined building in front of us and muffled the explosion. I was blasted by small bits of concrete and sand. I turned to grab the radio and call in our dilemma to command but to my horror I found Chris sllumped forward at the edge of the hole. I scurried over our equipment to him and pulled him back to me to see if he was just unconcious or worse. It was worse... He had evidently been hit square in the face by a chuck of concrete with rebar in it. The concrete had hit him and a piece of rebar had punctured his head from just below the temple. It was still bleeding when I held him in my arms watching his life leave him. I cried, I screamed internally knowing out loud would get me killed. I was terrified and alone. I have to admit that I had bowel problems that night... It was more than terrifying. I got back to most post breathing heavily after crying out to command for help and an answer. The column didn't arrive for 3 hours because of a fake IED. It was me and the body of my partner alone thousands of miles away from home. If I got hit we would perish in the rubble potentially never to be found by troops. In that desert there's no where to run even if I could. I had no options but to be as strong as I could and hold the vigil down until help arrived. Because of the column being stuck and all air support having been shifted far to the west I couldn't even get an evac and because it was blind fire command felt we weren't in enough danger. Hold your posisiton and wait for Battle group sigma to arrive. I was brought back to the greenzone debriefed and sent to the field hospital for evaluation. I couldn't stop shaking and I cried every moment I was reminded of what happened. Eventually they classified me as having PTSD. I was ordered to take some stupid scripts (that they still haven't covered) for the depression and PTSD. I often times am caught staring off into space oblivious of whats around me because I am lost in dreamlike memories. I once in a while see flashbacks of our battles like dreams overlaid on reality of what Im seeing right then. I don't wig out or go crazy... I sometimes will shed a tear for no apparent reason or tend to sign deeply a lot. It still feels like a part of me was ripped out and so I think my sighing is a bit of depression or from the sense of loss... I dunno...But if you speak to anyone who has served as a marksman or even as infantry your spotter and you squadmates are your brothers... closer than anyone could possibly be. We knew eachother down to the craziest details... what color crayola I prefferd for instance... He was closer to me than any woman has ever been... And don't even give any brokeback BS... it wasn't like that... He was my brother... an extention of me... He held my head when I got hit by flying debris back in Afghanistan. I had a concussion for 3 days and he spent every meal break he had those three days to come sit with me and talk and make sure I recovered. I miss him more than most people Ive ever known. Im sure that my brotherhood with him is quite akin to what it must be like for two travelers on the rails or roads. I have never stopped truly blaming myself for not switching posts when we were supposed to. He was brought home and his family recieved a paltry sum of 5 grand to cover the burial... He was cremated because his parents couldn't afford a burial plot or head stone and wanted to keep him with them safe rather than bury him in an unfamiliar plot away from his family. His mother says she will be buried with him that way his family is close together the way it should be. It should have been me... But it wasn't and I owe it to him to live a life thats more than sitting in an office. If he wasnt sitting there where he was I would have most likely taken the hit. I live today and he paid for my right to live today. He was well traveled and loved his homestate of Texas. I owe it to him to do what he can't.

"He used to talk for hours about riding his motorcycle for days through Utah and Nevada and South dakota... He loved to camp and he could party with the best of them. He was always kind to everyone he met even our enemies over there. He respected and appreciated the cop that would pull him over... He got a ticket but his outlook was that if he got it then maybe the next guy would miss the cop... I know that if he and my grandfather were alive today me him and my grandfather would have already been hanging around with you guys out an about the world... So when you meet me out there and I'm a bit sullen at times or I shed a tear in the most beautiful of moments just remember its just me visiting with ghosts who couldn't physically be there. But to that same reasoning.... When you meet me... you'll be meeting me and the memory of two others who would have loved the travel life and I'm gonna share their compassion and appreciation of travel with all you whome I meet (that aren't dangerous)."

"I've rambled on long enough... if you've read it this far... thank's for the time to listen... be well and I'll see you sometime soon and we'll have a drink."

--30 November 2007
Author: flysouth (Digihitch.com)

(The preceding passage was published on Digihitch.com)

Tears of a Warrior
Freedom to Bear Arms

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flysouth is an American hero. I am grateful for the great work of U.S. Military personnel in fighting Muslim terrorists (the Taliban and Al-Qaeda) in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sometimes you have to kill a lot of bad guys to free the slaves of Muslim extremism. God bless President George W. Bush and the U.S. Military.

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