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For Our Vets


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I felt compelled to share this, just in case it means something to some of our vets, from all countries, who are members.  This was written by Jack Walker, head of the RAO here is Subic / Barrio Barreto.  I think I know of the two cases he is referring to.  Very sad.  For everyone, not just vets, help is out there.  Seek it out if you need it.
 

AN OPEN LETTER TO MY BROTHERS
For the past few days I’ve had a thought bouncing around in my head in writing an open letter to my fellow Vets, but have been unable to find the time. Then I realized this is something that needs to be shared and I needed to make time! So here goes.
To my fellow veterans, whether you identify as a jar head, doggie, squid, flyboy or coastie, I’m talking to you. For the past 8 years I’ve been directly involved in the handling of likely over 400 veteran deaths or hospitalizations. Each one is a different story and some have been very convoluted. Two recent events have driven me to reach out to you all. Due to laws, I am unable to include full details and names, but many will recognize them by their stories. The gist of the following involves PTSD, and alcohol.
Case 1, a veteran committed suicide at a young age. He had PTSD very bad and became involved in a combative relationship. Although no one will ever know for sure why he decided to take his life, one thing is abundantly clear, he had many demons in his head and around him. He had physical injuries with which he suffered on a daily basis, but many of his mental injuries weren’t as easy to see. After an evening of drinking, and a domestic dispute, he locked himself in his quarters and was found dead by his own hand by police a short while later.
Case 2, A veteran with severe PTSD, was at a bar, with a few other veterans and a disagreement ensued, so he walked outside the bar, right into an oncoming vehicle. His injuries resulted in head trauma and some other damages which are less life threatening. Part of his skull had to be removed to relieve swelling and bleeding and he remains in ICU in a comatose state. There is no way to know at this point if additional physical or mental damages will present themselves.
What we do know is neither of these cases had to happen. It does appear that alcohol may have been the trigger that moved them along to the final outcomes. One fact that is undeniable, is PTSD and Alcohol does not mix well. Would the results have been the same minus the alcohol? Best guess is YES! Many of our fellow Veterans live with PTSD in their daily lives and do well until a trigger pushes them into memories they don’t want to have, and can’t repress, or pain and torment they never wanted. My opinion is we all have it but deal with it in different ways. I also believe from personal experience that your early environment dictates how we deal with the trauma we experience later on. If you were the average kid and you lived a leave it to Beaver Childhood, then when the trauma happens you have no mental protection or life lessons to draw upon. Those who have had traumatic episodes in early life usually fare better. I know it’s a long read so I’ll cut to the chase. You are not alone! Our Vets here seem to have a very high percentage of PTSD. If you are having a problem Seek help. We all know there is a Veterans Crisis Line thru VA, USE It! Talk to a fellow Vet, we all speak the same language, and many share the same experiences and feelings. We need to be available to each other as a release. We are in fact an unbreakable brotherhood. If alcohol is adding to the problem seek out meetings and other vets who have shared that disease. Please I plead with you, don’t become one of the guys I have to notify the family you are hospitalized or dead. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please stay safe and alive, my brothers from another mother.
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Posted (edited)

Not all scars are physical.  

It's a tragedy that more Australian vets involved in Iraq/Afghanistan have committed suicide that were actually killed in action.  

I count myself lucky, I live with PTSD, anxiety and depression, I'm basically "ok" now, but still have my moments,  I sought help back when the defence authorities didn't want to know.  I went outside the chain of command and it probably saved my life.  It took 13 years for defence to even recognise my condition despite everything being well documented.  

Even today, I have friends still serving, and anecdotally they state mental health is still only paid lip service in the ADF.  Yeah there's some nice shiny posters and pamphlets etc but on our largest army base, there's up to a 6 week wait to see the only psychiatrist on an establishment with 15000 serving personnel. 

More needs to be done for the men and women that have served and have injuries both physical and mental that knowingly put their lives on the line for their countries.  

Edited by BrettGC
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8 minutes ago, BrettGC said:

More needs to be done for the men and women that have served and have injuries both physical and mental that knowingly put their lives on the line for their countries.  

Absolutely!  It is shameful that some countries do so little for their vets.

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3 hours ago, OnMyWay said:

Absolutely!  It is shameful that some countries do so little for their vets.

……do so little for their vets, yet claim they do. Imho what’s just as bad is they often ostracize those who do seek mental health care. 

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4 hours ago, Gator said:

……do so little for their vets, yet claim they do. Imho what’s just as bad is they often ostracize those who do seek mental health care. 

As I said, big shiny posters and pamphlets as well as press announcements but not much with any real substance.  

There's actually a royal commission into veteran suicides going on in Australia right now.  We'll see if anything comes of it.  https://defenceveteransuicide.royalcommission.gov.au/

What's a royal commission?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_commission

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In the UK its pretty much the charities doing the Government's bidding. I've lost a few mates to PTSD and most you never see coming. Sadly once the war is over you are kicked to the wayside and if it wasn't for your comrades I'm sure it would be worse. 

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