Spc. Allen Hill, can not shake the events of November from his mind. he was on his second tour in Iraq and his job in transportation entailed driving Humvees. “I had driven and drieven and driven and the monotony….” his voice trails off in anguish at the memory. He decided to ask for the position of unnr which is on top and exposed. The 38 vehicle convoy pulled out of Baghdad at 7:30 p.m. en route to Talil, 200 miles to the south. It was a typical drive with normal soldier chatter and bantering. He scanned the darkening landscape, first with a flood light. Nothing. He flipped his night goggles down and scanned again. A man fidgeting with something. Before he could react, he saw a white light, then everything went black. Hill awoke a few days later in a hospital in Germany. Doctors said he had a collapsed lung. He remembers the soldier with a half skull blown off. Flashes of memory. He was eventually transferred to Walter Read where he received excellent treatment.
Hill is spending the holidays with family, still coping with the aftermath of Post Traumatic Stress. He wants to return to Iraq, he wants to complete his work and believes America is doing beneficial things for the people of Iraq. Just another story of a wounded soldier. Anti war critics are furious at the debacle that is Iraq, but American soldiers fighting there believe they are accomplishing worthwhile ends, they do not regard themselves as being involved in an evil task. Perhaps, time must pass before the drama and story of what happened in Iraq can be fully grasped. Today, a wounded soldier lives with flashback memories. Tomorrow, who knows.
A Kentucky soldier facing his second tour of duty in Iraq tried checking into the VA hospital in Lexington but was arrested on charges of being AWOL. Spc. Justin Faulkner said he told his superior officers of his mental condition and went to the VA hospital where doctors wanted to keep him under observation, but he was arrested. “It’s made me lose respect for the military. to come and arrest me at the VA, it wasn’t like I was trying to hide, trying to run. I was getting help. I am being punished for getting help.” Faulkner completed a tour of duty in Iraq and was headed back for a second one when he felt symptoms of post traumatic stress and wanted mental assistance from the Veterans Administration hospital staff.
Fort Campbell spokesperson, Cathy Gramling, claimed the military installation had sufficient medical staff to assist soldiers with PTS symptoms. Faulkner’s wife who is expecting another child said her husband was displaying symptoms of stress and expressed her outrage “that somebody who fought for our country could be treated like this.” Faulkner was a prison guard who signed up for active duty and then began to feel doubts and stress. “To me,” he said, “we’re fighting Bush’s war that his dad couldn’t finish.”
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Liberals, Military, Peace, Politics, Republicans, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged AWOL soldier, Bush War, PTS, US soldier, VA
General James Conway, head of the Marine Corps, issued a directive requiring medical officials to screen marines returning from combat for any signs of post traumatic stress, particularly if their behavior makes a sudden change for the worse. His order states: “Post-deployment misconduct, especially a Marine who previously served honorably, must be considered a possible indicator of an undiagnosed stress injury or a mild traumatic brain injury that if confirmed deserves immediate and comprehensive treatment.” The order appears to regard sudden switches from normal behavior to extensive use of drugs or alcohol as indicators the marine is suffering from effective of extensive combat duty.
Last year, there were reports members of the military who received less than honorable discharges were being denied medical treatment by the Veterans Administration. Conway’s order is a welcome change from the prevailing indifference to effects of combat on men who fought and can not shake off the horrors of being under fire. Hopefully, other branches of the military will copy the Conway directive.
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq War, Military, Veterans, War, World News
Tagged drugs, Iraq, Marines, medical treatment, PTS, VA